Review: Twin Star Exorcists, Episode 3: Differing Intentions – A Hero’s Worth

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Review

With the recent revelatory bomb that Rokuro and Benio were given about their destiny to marry and produce a child which is to basically be savior of the world, it’s expected they might not be fond of such sudden developments. Rokuro immediately has a nightmare about his new future, and Benio is openly seething and rejects the idea of such a relationship ever developing between them.
School is about to become a more common environment in the story, so naturally the author needed to pull the gimmick of suddenly switching Benio to Rokuro’s home classroom to up the ante of their already bubbling awkwardness.
I have lost count of how many anime and manga do this. Can you feel my subjective irritation, yet?
With Benio’s entry into this new class, she becomes the subject of all the boys’ affection and the girls’ jealousy, especially the female class representative Otomi Mayura. Note, Mayura totally has a crush on Rokuro, so that’s gonna lead to some fun developments, especially since Benio and Mayura are deskmates. What’s that old storycrafting rule? Coincidences are great as long as they’re for getting people into trouble? This embodies that concept.
There are several other characters in this series, mostly comrade exorcists and friends of Rokuro, who I have yet to address at all. That is because they are still not relevant enough to warrant any attention, and I do not want to encumber anybody with a bunch of names that may or may not be significant in two or three episodes. If this ever changes (as it did with Otomi Mayura), I’ll be sure to make note of it.
There’s an obligatory rooftop scene where Benio notices Kegare movement in Magano (demon world). I bring up this scene only because I swear her little imp companion, Kinako, has an intense disparity in personalities. In one moment he’s calm and cute, in the other he’s furious. I understand this happens a lot in anime, but it’s particularly noticeable with Kinako, to the point that I’m beginning to suspect it’s a canon part of his character.
While doing an exorcism, some exorcists note an increase in powerful Kegare that have been roaming around Magano. Also, that creepy laugh I mentioned the Kegare have back in Episode 1? I figured out where I remember it from. If you’ve ever seen the Dragon Ball Z film Fusion Reborn it’s the same noise premature Janemba makes. For the layman, just understand the aforementioned sound is some kind of nightmare fuel.
We are given a name to the traumatic event that keeps flashing through Rokuro’s memory. We still don’t have details, but it has been coined the “Hinatsuki Tragedy.”
Introduced in this episode are the vague silhouettes of “The Twelve Guardians,” an elite exorcist counsel. We learned practically nothing about them, but stuff like this is always a good development. Whether in reality or fiction, the people who are the best at what they do are always fascinating.
The overlap between the Magano dark world and the real world in this episode takes place in an amusement park, which is conveniently where Rokuro happens to be bonding with Mayura. Remember that thing I said about coincidences being great as long as it gets characters into trouble? This is the opposite of that. If Rokuro hadn’t been there, things would have been more intense and exciting for Benio’s fight against the Kegare. It works, though, because we get character development for Rokuro when he saves some kids from dying on a rollercoaster which gets damaged in combat.
Which brings me to a technical detail. If you do not like technical details, you may want to consider skipping this paragraph. There does not seem to be any consistent rule for how or when the Kegare can influence the real world. In one scene, they’ll tearing up a building in Magano, while the normal equivalent is left perfectly in tact. Next scene, they’ll inflict damage on a rollercoaster in Magano and that rollercoaster’s real-world parallel will collapse. There does not seem to be any reason for this other than plot convenience, which is frustrating as a critic and viewer.
I’ve yet to address the voice acting, but so far it seems pretty on point. I’m not very fond of the voice for Kinako the imp because I think it’s too deep, but I’ve thought similarly with other characters who ended up having voice actors that grew on me.  I’m looking at you, Natsu Dragneel.
Speaking of which, I’m growing fond of the opening cinematic. The song is fantastic, the animation is dynamic, and there’s enough foreshadowing to other characters and developments to keep my interest, without ruining any of the fun along the way. These are the ingredients for a good opening theme.
I thought the end theme was going to change between each episode, but I’ve been proven wrong. Episode 3 had the same ending as episode 2 and will probably remain that way for the season’s duration.
Lastly, a note on our protagonists. So far Rokuro is fitting the standard Shonen “Chaotic Good” bill of the idiotic male lead who is unnaturally powerful (*cough* Luffy, Naruto, Goku, Natsu, a bajillion others). However, he’s not quite as dense of a knucklehead, which is a relief. On the flipside, Benio is textbook Tsundere (a character, especially female, who puts on a cold front, but actually has a soft inner heart). This is not a negative criticism so much as an observation. Both of these character types can be done wonderfully. It’s just a matter of how they develop and if they can be written to bring out the potential in their archetypes.

Christian Guide

1 John 4:19-20 – “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
While I cannot in good conscience say Rokuro loves God (there has been no deity mentioned at all in this series so far, Christian or otherwise), it is pretty clear that Rokuro is a natural practitioner of love towards others, even people he doesn’t know or like. He can be bratty, but he’s also fourteen so that’s forgivable, especially in light of his willingness to put himself in harm’s way. He does not make snap judgments of people’s characters, he does not condescend on anybody in any way that isn’t joking, and he’s both appreciative of and reciprocates kindness towards his friends.
This is the kind of behavior Christ would have us emulate. Even though we might not necessarily agree with somebody or like them, it is a responsibility of our Christian walk to show love as unconditional as our human ability will allow. We are not always going to be successful, but that should not stop us from trying and reflecting on what we could do to better be the kind of disciples we are called to be.

Content Guide

Spiritual Content: I somehow missed this before, but when Rokuro activates his (still unnamed) flaming gauntlet ability, an evil expression flashes through the fire as it envelops his hand. While it has not been detailed yet, I’m going to take a shot in the dark and assume this ability is directly granted/influenced by the Kegare, meaning Rokuro *might* be part demon. Again, this is speculation. However, being a veteran anime viewer, I’d be surprised if I wasn’t at least partially right.
Violence: Battle against Kegare leads to many of the creatures being cut in half, impaled, or otherwise chopped up and destroyed. No blood is drawn, but they do explode into their signature dark matter. One of the Kegare influence the material world by damaging a roller-coaster, thus imperiling the lives of those onboard. No death or harm comes to the victims.
Language/Crude Humor: None in my translation (Crunchyroll). I’m becoming suspicious of the lack of language. I mean, this isn’t the most mature series ever, but nothing? Good job, Crunchyroll. You’re on a… roll.
Don’t hate me.
Sexual Content: Otomi Mayura, the aforementioned class representative and prospective love deviant towards Rokuro, is in middle school. Remember that as we move forward.
In an exhibition of female high-jump activities, Mayura fails to make the cut because her bust catches the bar. There is a still-frame of this. Furthermore, while at the amusement park with Rokuro, her chest is shown to be moving in ways that do not make sense considering her movements. Now, I’ve come to terms with the fact that silly, oversexualized things are going to be in your standard shonen anime. It’s one of the staples of the genre and it’s meant to appeal to the primary audience, which is males of a similar age to this character. So, whatever to that. But does it have to be so nonsensical and gaudy? I mean, I suppose it’s better than making it hyper-realistic.
Anyways.
The school uniform for girls consists of a pretty short skirt. Unless you’re Benio, then you wear whatever you want, apparently. She wears a longer skirt and covers more of her body in general, so that’s nice. Also, her attire simply has a better design. The perks of being a protagonist.
Drug/Alcohol Use: None
Other Negative Themes: None

The Bottom Line

 

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Cooper D Barham

Aspiring author, marriage and family therapist, and active behavioral health technician, Cooper fills his world with God, music, videogames, anime/manga, drawing, reading, writing, and some physical stuff in between. If you ever want to talk about the big or little things of life, fire him a message. Helping others through tough times is both his passion and way of living. 'Got it memorized?'

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