Otaku USA Magazine
[Review] Twin Star Exorcists

Let’s be real here: Twin Star Exorcists is textbook shonen action. Our hero is a boy with amazing abilities but a bad attitude, tasked with fighting monsters. He meets a girl who motivates him to reach his true potential. They don’t get along at first but will eventually (probably) fall in love. He even walks in on her in the shower and she chases him down the hallway with a sword. If you’ve ever read a shonen manga, you’ve been here before.

To be more specific, Rokuro is a 14-year-old exorcist-in-training, fighting monsters that sporadically appear from a dimension called Magano to laugh maniacally and murder children. Unfortunately, Rokuro all but gave up his training two years ago when a group of them killed all of his friends. When a girl named Benio falls from the sky and starts fighting the creatures, Rokuro finds a reason to fight again, and before long the two are paired up, both as an exorcist team called the “Twin Star Exorcists” and an arranged married couple fated to give birth to a prophesied child.

As with most entries in the genre, Twin Star Exorcists is defined largely by where it deviates from expectations. Rokuro doesn’t have to work his way up from nothing—he was already a talented exorcist before his childhood tragedy, so what he needs is someone to kick him back into gear. That tragedy is a pretty dark addition as well, reminiscent of the grisly opening pages of Deadman Wonderland. Benio thankfully isn’t a damsel to be saved, either; she’s Rokuro’s rival (in fact, the only people who need saving in Volume 1 are some children and an adult man).

Yoshiaki Sukeno (Good Luck Girl)’s artwork is clean and energetic, especially in the faces. Despite this, it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s going on in the fight scenes, and a lack of distinct abilities (Rokuro’s power is a “really strong arm”) further muddies things. I blame the choice of subject: Viz’s translation uses the term “exorcists” for onmyouji, Japanese mystics who have historically performed exorcisms through fairly esoteric, nonphysical means. Translating this into combat is a common goal of supernatural action manga, but rarely have I seen them provide anything close to the clear supernatural rules systems of Yu Yu Hakusho or JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. There’s some comedy to be had as well, though it’s all pretty standard stuff, playing off the rivalry and romantic tension between Rokuro and Benio.

Twin Star Exorcists is solid supernatural shonen action, but its basic premise of teens fending off otherworldly monsters adds too little to a formula already covered by World Trigger. Still, it’s a popular Jump title, so maybe it will fare better upon its inevitable anime adaptation.

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