“Differing Intenions – A Hero’s Worth”
Wednesdays 7:00 am EST on Crunchyroll
Benio begins attending school with Rokuro and causes a stir among his classmates. While his buddies go off to investigate a large impurity, Rokuro decides to hang out at an amusement park with his long time friend Mayura.
I started writing about this for The Roundup and there just ended up being too much RAGE for one paragraph, so full post it is! At least for this week anyway, we’ll see how next episode goes.
Before I get into the burning anger part, let me say that even on its own merits this episode was pretty boring. There was the cool new girl at school clichés with Benio, the same old childhood friend nonsense with Mayura, and then the bit with the roller coaster at the end was painfully dumb. I still don’t like the mascot either, but he has now become the least of my worries. I could live with him if they stuck to the manga to the extent that they have so far. If you want to keep your anime experience untainted, stop reading now because it’s RAGE TIME.
Basically, almost none of this episode happened in the manga. It seems to be a replacement for chapter 3, in which Rokuro’s bros go to do an exorcism, nearly die, and Rokuro is forced to ask Benio to help rescue them. We establish Ryogo as this nice dude who is extremely close to Rokuro, and seeing him struggle becomes a powerful motivation for Rokuro to return to being an exorcist. It also gives the main couple a chance to work out their awkward situation on the battlefield, immediately coming to accept each other to a certain degree. It’s sentimental and heroic, giving us some great character development and helping us understand Rokuro’s feelings better.
Contrast that with the anime, which seems to want Rokuro’s DARK PAST to be his motivation. We as the audience don’t really know what that is yet, nor do we really care about the kids that are in danger, nor can we even take that scene seriously because they are HANGING OFF OF A ROLLER COASTER. No time is spent on developing Rokuro’s relationship with Benio or his surrogate Big Bro, and instead it seems they are putting more emphasis on Mayura’s role to make some kind of love triangle. Personally, I think that is the worst possible development.
As we’ve said time and again, Twin Star Exorcists is a pretty straightforward shonen story. It’s not the most creatively fascinating series out there, so it has to find specific ways of being unique. Reading the manga, the most unique (and best) element is the relationship between Benio and Rokuro and how it grows as they live and fight together. There is some playful animosity, but ultimately they kind of like each other right away. Keeping a bigger wedge between them, as the anime seems to be doing, is only going to the lead to the same old boring “will they/won’t they?” conflicts that we’ve seen a million times before and takes away some of the adorable charm and positive, uplifting energy we get in the manga.
Look, I hate being the guy that always complains about the source material being better. I made sure to wait a day before writing this so that it didn’t come off as a hot take over reaction, and ultimately maybe that’s all this will be. Maybe it will be back to following the manga next week and everything will be fine. I hope that’s the case, but this episode set off all kinds of warninng alarms. There is currently no official digital release for the manga so I’m not going to link anything, but should you happen to find a way to read chapter 3 I’d suggest you check it out and understand where I’m coming from. We’ll see if they can pull it together next week.