Megano is the home of the demons called Kegare, and on occasion these demons cross over into our world and bring death and destruction with them. Thankfully, exorcists exist who, wielding talismans, are able to fight and kill Kegare to protect the Earth.

Rokuro isn’t good at much, and the only thing he is good at, being an exorcist, is something he wants to avoid at all costs after a tragic accident. However, he is forced back into exorcism after he is declared a Twin Star Exorcist, one of the two exorcists who are fated to produce the ultimate Kegare (demon) killer. Unfortunately, his match is with Benio Adashino, who he has already gotten off on the wrong foot with.

Fans of shounen action series, especially those with an emphasis on the super natural, will find appeal in Twin Star Exorcists.

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The highlight of Twin Star Exorcists for me was most definitely the relationship between Rokuro and Benio, not only because of their interactions but because of the way they serve as foils for each other. While they don’t get along well and seem on the surface to be very different people, in truth they are very similar and just choose to act differently. They both have faced tragic pasts, but Benio chooses to lock it up and channel her anger into being an exorcist, while Rokuro merely runs away from it and avoids exorcist activities. These contrasting behaviors, as you might imagine, result in some tension between the two leads that for the first volume is a primary motive force for the plot.

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While the first half of the volume is mostly just introductory, part way through the second chapter things begin to get interesting as the primary story begins and Rokuro and Benio are set up to have to deal with each other. While the fight scenes are interesting to begin with, the evolving dynamic between the two of them makes for more interesting fights, and while I hope that there will be more suspense in future battles, what was there was solidly entertaining and well drawn.

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On top of the characters and the fights, the premise for Twin Star Exorcists is appealing. There are two realms, our world and Megano, the realm of demons called Kegare. The story follows exorcists who fight the demons. While this seems pretty basic and not unlike many other shounen premises, the pairing of the characters and the way the setting is handled so far indicates that one way or another the series has a unique take on the whole ‘demon fighting’ category of shounen manga.

Twin Star Exorcists manages to be a decently interesting manga by the end of its first volume. However, the same cannot be said for its earlier half. I felt like the first half wasn’t intriguing enough at first not so much because of a lackluster premise but because of lackluster execution. There are a variety of small writing issues that dragged the story down and prevented me from being drawn in at first, and while these problems continue in the latter half, there are more positive elements to note that helped make the story interesting.

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There are many elements that feel promising but don’t deliver at first, one being Rokuro’s backstory. The narrative has a focus throughout the entire volume on Rokuro’s past. He originally wanted to be the greatest exorcist in the world, but after a great accident during which most of his classmates were killed, he lost the desire to be an exorcist at all. While this seems interesting, it isn’t actually explored yet to the point of actually being interesting and just feels like a stereotypical dramatic backstory that we often see with so many shounen protagonists. This example is very telling of much of the flaws in the first volume: many aspects of the story, from the interactions to the character development, feel very flawed in their execution. I think that this was due to a rush to push out information and move on to something else, as there didn’t feel like there was enough time spent on some important events and characterizations, and while this is effective in certain instances, others really need more time to be handled properly.

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Twin Star Exorcists is a series that shows great promise in its first volume. The premise and characters are interesting enough, and much of the setup hints at something great. Although there are some writing issues that drag the story down a bit, the volume was still a decent read and one that I can recommend if the idea of it sounds appealing to you.

What do our scores mean?

Twin Star Exorcists Vol. 1 was published by Viz Media on July 7th, 2015. Authored by Yoshiaki Sukeno, the series began in 2013 is still ongoing in Shueisha’s Jump Square imprint. Volume 2 will be released October 6, 2015.

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*Copy provided for Taykobon by publisher.
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