Rokuro Enmado was only twelve years old when a kegare, or demon, attacked his dormitory. All but Rokuro were brutally slaughtered, but here’s the rub: he and his dorm-mates were studying to be exorcists who would grow up to defeat the kegare. Two years later, Rokuro—understandably traumatized—dodges all exorcist training and spends his days hitting on girls who turn him down every single time. As his potential powers lay idle, there is nothing exceptional about Rokuro to make the ladies notice him—until a fated meeting with Benio Adashino forces him to tap into the strength he’d vowed to leave behind.
When reviewing a series with which I have no prior familiarity, I make sure never to read spoilers in order to avoid prejudice. At first glance, the cover of Twin Star Exorcists suggested to me that Rokuro and Benio—both with black hair and of similar height—were twin siblings. Not so. Benio Adashino is the golden child of her clan: a star exorcist, she is so talented that she has the ability to enter Magano, the home dimension of the kegare, inadvertently dragging Rokuro along with her. Rokuro is forced to fight for the first time when Benio’s formidable powers fail against an exceptionally strong kegare.
The title Twin Star Exorcists is explained by Arima, the eccentric leader of all exorcist clans. Because Rokuro and Benio are the strongest fighters of their respective regions, they are destined to marry and sire the miko, a prophesied child who will bring an end to the fighting once and for all. Of course, by the laws of shounen manga, this naturally means Rokuro and Benio must hate one another.
The storyline of Twin Star Exorcists isn’t the most original: reluctant fighter kid is the strongest and most powerful until he meets a girl who is his match in power. They fight. He walks in on her in the onsen. Hilarity ensues. However, that’s no excuse to write this series off; it has the potential to be a lot of fun. For instance, there are some cute little dialogue gags: when Rokuro meets Benio for the first time and attempts to engage her in conversation, at first it appears she lacks the ability to speak; later, she whispers that she simply does not enjoy small talk.
The art and character designs are also quite interesting. Though Benio might first appear to be a stock character with her hime hairstyle and giant eyes, her fighting uniform transforms her into a warrior with a sleek kitsune mask. One of Rokuro’s current dorm-mates has Sia-like bangs that cover his face, and Arima is an interesting take on the perverted monk trope. Furthermore, the angles and landscapes are top notch, as are the action sequences. The onomatopoeia text boxes even have textures, adding an incredibly fun flavor to the fight scenes.
With an anime currently on air, it is certain that Twin Star Exorcists could very well be poised to capture the attention of shounen fans everywhere. Omake (extra pages) at the end of this volume include some gag pages; a short story about Benio’s life prior to the core plot; and a short comic in which mangaka Yoshiaki Sukeno details the transition from writing his last series, Good Luck Girl, to this one.
Twin Star Exorcists, vol. 1
by Yoshiaki Sukeno
Publisher Age Rating: Teen (13 +)