Review: Twin Star Exorcists vol. 4

I can see why this series became popular rather quickly. To use a wrestling term, think "hotshot booking." That is to say, in a way that makes sense to most people, that it takes the typical shonen formula and cranks up the speed. Think of Dragon Ball Z if there weren't several hundred pages of Goku charging a spirit bomb while Frieza sat and watched. Imagine instead if Goku just charged the fucker and sent it flying in three panels. That’s Twin Star Exorcists. Not only did this story reveal vital details about both characters’ pasts almost instantly, but it also did it in a way that still felt significant to the story. There was a weight to the reveals, but it’s so atypical of manga and shonen just to pull the trigger like this. Hence, the hotshot booking.

twin-star-exorcists-vol-4Because if you think that’s going to slow down with the fourth volume, think again. Originally I had planned to review the fourth and fifth volumes together. That changed the minute I finished the fourth because it absolutely needed to be reviewed on its own. Why do you ask? Because Rokuro and Benio actually go to fight Benio’s brother Yuto. A battle they both know they can't win.

I practically expected for the fight to be one of those bullshit fights in which the heroes get to show their moves, and the villain just laughs it off in the end. Telling them some shit like, “get stronger,” which does technically happen but from an entirely different villain that shows up. No instead, this fight has real consequences and changes not only the story but the characters as well. No one walks away from this battle the same, including the villains.

With that said, I’m not going to waste a lot of time talking about fights. The training before the fight is relevant to the story even if it looks like filler pages. Then the fight itself moves at a breakneck pace and is full of consequences. And the fight doesn’t conclude in this volume, but instead of that feeling like a rip-off, I was happy to catch my damn breath and be excited for more.

Yoshiaki Sukeno is delivering some of the most impressive storylines I’ve read since diving face first into manga again. You will see how much I’m reviewing, but you won’t see how much I’m reading (mostly because not all of it is review worthy). If I’m honest with myself, the only thing that’s in front of this series on my reading list is One-Punch Man, and that’s surprising even to me because first glance the plot seems pretty basic. The setting comes across typical, and when you add in the fact that they’re in middle school, the tropes just add up quickly. Sukeno manages to take all of that and make it fresh and unique, but above all else entertaining.

Originally I enjoyed the artwork, but I wasn’t blown away by it. That changed with this volume as the artwork became more dynamic. The battles had a real weight to them as punches are thrown, injuries are sustained, and our heroes are continually beaten down. The designs were always cool and stood out, which I assume is part of the success because manga readers love awesome designs. Something about the art just really hits its stride in this volume. The designs, the battles, the settings and the detail comes together to create one hell of a manga to look at and enjoy.

I know that this sounds crazy, but if you just want to dive into this series, you can do that with this volume. The recap and the beginning and the clever use of flashbacks during the story itself makes it easy to jump on. You’ll still enjoy the payoff and the things that develop because as I said, it’s so well done that you can’t help but enjoy them. If that’s not your bag, then pick up the first four volumes altogether, but you might want to get the next one as well. Either that or you’ll be kicking yourself later.

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Twin Star Exorcists vol. 4 Creator: Yoshiaki Sukeno Publisher: Viz Media Price: $9.99 Format: TPB; Print/Digital