In the first volume of Twin Star Exorcists, readers met former exorcist Rokuru, who has given up fighting against the evil of the Kegare after a traumatic experience. However, his attempts to leave his old life behind are doomed to failure: Rokuru finds out he is prophesied to marry dedicated exorcist Benio Adashino and together, the two are the Twin Star Exorcists.
Even more shocking is Benio’s discovery of Rokuru’s true role in the tragedy at Hinatsuki Dorm, but Benio and Rokuru don’t have much time to process his past before an innocent bystander is struck by the Kegare curse and they have to make some fast decisions. By the end of the third volume, Rokuru has decided to return to his calling as an exorcist and Benio is facing up to her connections to Rokuru’s tragic past. Although they’re still not sure about the whole marriage thing, they decide to pursue the traitor Yuto, who they meet in a bloody confrontation in the fourth and fifth volumes. Rokuru’s inexperience might be the death of them, but Benio’s nemesis—the powerful Kegare who killed her parents—appears and offers her a deal. Will she take it? And if she does, will she and Rokuru be able to defeat Yuto?
After the battle, Rokuru and Benio recover back in the human world and make decisions about their future as more pieces of Rokuru’s past are revealed, along with hints at greater mysteries and dangers yet to come. As secrets are revealed and power struggles erupt, the lines between good and evil, human exorcist and demonic Kegare, are blurred. The story shifts rapidly from the tragic mysteries of the characters’ pasts to violent battles and innuendo-filled humor. The workings of the human and magical worlds are slowly revealed, but every time one secret is unveiled, another takes its place.
Readers who like classic supernatural and action manga will enjoy the lively artwork, filled with plenty of dramatic movement and the occasional gore-splashed monster. Those who appreciate more subtle effects will enjoy its details, from Benio’s kitsune mask to the character designs and the talismans they use. There are also plenty of clichés in the plot, including pervy old men repeatedly walking in on Benio naked in the bath, and the usual discussion of the warrior girl lamenting her lack of figure with a more well-endowed friend. Some of the rapid flashbacks can be confusing, especially as the characters change hairstyle and color, and Rokuru frequently changes his appearance mid-battle as well. The battle scenes can be repetitive, with high-powered punches, flying words and limbs, and super speed shown with blurred figures and lines. However, readers who enjoy action scenes or want to skip forward to the meat of the plot will have no problem with these interludes.
The anime version of Twin Star Exorcists is currently airing and the manga only extends to eight volumes at the time of this review, so it’s a good start for smaller libraries and beginning manga readers. The series is definitely Teen due to the amount of gore—some, but not excessive—and the jokes about Benio and Rokuru, whose age is around 14 to 16. Readers who are uncomfortable with demons, talismans, spells, or similar types of spiritual magic may want to skip this title. However, fans of Fairy Tail and Blue Exorcist who are looking for fast-paced action with a helping of humor will enjoy zipping through this series.
Twin Star Exorcists, vols. 2-5
by Yoshiaki Sukeno
vol 2 ISBN: 9781421581750
vol 3 ISBN: 9781421582177
vol 4 ISBN: 9781421583211
vol 5 ISBN: 9781421585185
Publisher Age Rating: Teen