Review: Twin Star Exorcists vol. 6

Twin Star Exorcists manages to follow the shonen storytelling style, while also breaking a lot of the norms. When a story starts off following middle schoolers, you rarely expect it to jump ahead to high school by the sixth volume. Especially given the intense events of the previous five volumes. That’s what happens here, though, as the story jumps to high school and two years later with Rokuro and Benio having completed their training to go the island and now just waiting to be tested. Let me repeat that because I want it to be clear how different this is from typical shonen; the story actually chose to skip two years of training to get to the point. I’ve never read a story in which the creator passed up showing people training over and over. Sure, there’s some training shown in this volume, but it’s a part of the story rather than the focus of the story.

twin-star-exorcists-vol-6Where it stays faithful to the form is the harem element. We started off with the obvious childhood friendship angle between Mayura and Rokuro; then Benio, in fact, fell in love with Rokuro, and he might have feelings for her as well, but he’s an idiot in that area so of course, he can’t see either woman’s interest in him. Now with this volume, we add a female character that’s head over heels in love with him and very open about it. Before we get to that, let’s talk about the volume leading up to this.

The opening establishes that Rokuro and Benio are complete and total badasses now. It’s a quick opening, and we even check in with Mayura which I find to be a pointless aspect of the story now. Unless they have some trick up their sleeve for her, it would be better to move the story forward without her. After the opening, Rokuro is tested by Shimon Ikaruga who saved him and Benio in the last book. He hates Rokuro because of how formal he talks to people and for the fact that Seigen left him to train Rokuro. The battle is decent, and we do see how Rokuro has improved, but he still loses, and it leaves you as the reader wondering if he could really handle the island.

Ikaruga’s test wasn’t the real test, though. His was a strange, probably made up, pre-test. The real test isn’t even a fight. It’s a girl with extraordinary spiritual power that taps into your spiritual power to see if you have what it takes. Enter Chiko, who is of some relation to Ikaruga. Chiko’s never left the island because of how powerful she is and while we learn that she’s been very sheltered suddenly she’s allowed to dismiss her bodyguards and walk around on her own which goes against her character development later on. Rokuro is her hero because he unwittingly gave her a reason to leave the island, but the test… well, the test ends on a cliffhanger, and only Benio and the reader know why the test is a bad idea.

Other than all the time wasted with Chiko, this is a great volume. I wish it didn’t have so much harem elements, this time, around, but it does due to the genre. There is some good ecchi moments at the end between Benio and Rokuro and it just really shows why that’s the only relationship that the story should focus on. The rest is just page clutter. The point of the story isn’t “who will Rokuro pick,” but rather, will he and Benio do what they set out to do or will they need to have a kid to finish the job? That’s the focus, and so when it loses that focus, it’s frustrating. Thankfully the bulk of the book is spent in battle and with actual character development.

The artwork is impressive given the fact that seven people are now working on this title. It’s getting to the point that I don’t think it’s going to be allowed to fail, but as long as it continues being this damn good, I don’t mind. I would like to pretend that you’ve read my previous reviews for the series and remember what I said so that I don’t have to retype my feelings about the art here, but that would be foolish of me.

It follows the standard layouts, lots of panels intersected at angles which in a way breaks the flow of the action, but something about it works rather well here. It doesn’t feel as standard, but rather the creator and assistants are using it to further the action. The details are of course great and maintained throughout. I still really enjoy the blank bubble looking characters that are used with the story is humorous. A big standout in the art is the facial expressions and a number of default expressions there are. Everyone has a natural default face that doesn’t stem from a genre trope.

I was looking forward to this volume a lot, and I wasn’t let down. Watching the release schedule, though, I don’t think we’ll be seeing another volume until next year which sucks because I want to read it right now, but also for the best so that I’m never so caught up that I have to pick up the weekly Shonen Jump issues to read along. Having given up on the anime after three or four episodes, I can’t say if it’s in line with the anime. From what I saw of it and from reading all the volumes, I would say stick with the manga. It’s one of the best of its genre.

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Twin Star Exorcists vol. 6 Writer: Yoshiaki Sukeno Artists: Yoshiaki Sukeno, Erubo Hijihara, koppy, Tomohiro Fukuoka, Takumi Kikuta, Testuro Kakiuchi Publisher: Viz Media Price: $9.99 Format: TPB; Print/Digital