Our heroes Benio and Rokuro are facing down Benio’s evil brother Yuto in a battle… to the death. Will they win?
Is it good?
Twin Star Exorcists Vol. 5 (Viz Media)
Written and Drawn by: Yoshiaki Sukeno
Translated and Adapted by: Tetsuichiro Miyaki and Bryant Turnage
Lettering by: Stephen Dutro
Benio has gotten her second wind, gained the power of the Kegare, and started beating the hell out of Yuto. However, will even her new powers be enough? Also, we’re given a look into Rokuro’s past and a chance to learn about his mysterious background.
The fifth volume of Twin Star Exorcists acts as both the conclusion to the Yuto arc and some of the in-between storylines. The in-between material looks more into Rokuro’s backstory and shows the early days at the orphanage and when he first met Yuto. This volume also introduces us to some new characters and sets up some new storylines, mythology about the world, and the goals and direction for the main characters to go in; it also ends with the story preparing to do a time skip, jumping two years forward and moving everyone into their next stage in life.
These new developments and reveals are for the most part very intriguing and look to lead the characters down some interesting paths, most notably taking the protagonists directly to the frontlines of the war with the demons. Sure, some story elements come out of nowhere, like the upcoming new location, and the conclusion to the Yuto fight not being particularly satisfying (you think Yuto would show some other emotion besides smug satisfaction for once), but there’s a lot more to chew on here than previous volumes story-wise and I find myself generally excited to see where things are heading.
However, what truly shined in Twin Star Exorcists Vol. 5 was the characters (besides one). A lot of the smaller and supporting cast gets more focus and development. We learnt more about Ryogo, Rokuro’s friend, and their connection to one another; Ryogo used to look after him when he first arrived at the orphanage and he and Rokuro are shown have a pretty close connection on suffering from major tragedies. We have Mayura, who steps up to the plate to learn how to fight the Kegare and become less of a burden to others. Then we wrap up Seigen’s mini-arc and the fallout of him protecting the leads before. We learn more about Yuto and his thoughts when he first met Rokuro. Even the new characters, as brief as their appearance was, have my attention with their amusing designs and some of their quirks.
Then there is Rokuro, who continues to be the best written character in the series. Still very sympathetic and understandable in everything he does, the introduction of his mysterious backstory is intriguing. Who were his parents and where did he come from, especially with his unique powers he has? It opens the door on what could be done with him and how he can grow. We see his rivalry with Yuto when they were still little kids and it shows even more how hard the betrayal was for him. His motivations have evolved over the course of the series with him interacting with Benio, Yuto, and the others, making his decisions in the end believable and rather well-developed. He is a very good Shonen protagonist and I look forward to seeing how he’ll continue to develop in the next act of the series.
And then there is Benio, who sadly remains the worst written and most underutilized character in the series. I still very much like this character and I see so much potential with her, especially with her new legs and how her abilities may evolve from there. However, Yoshiaki Sukeno has done a subpar job writing her; she has a decent backstory and a really personal connection with the villain — however, it’s never explored and the only viewpoint we’re given is Rokuro’s and how personal it is to him. Benio is incredibly powerful, very skilled at combat, and can be seen as Rokuro’s equal. However, she always needs to be bailed out or is easily overpowered by almost all foes she faces, including her brother after she gets her special power-up (then is quickly upstaged by Rokuro). She had this strong independent side, but now she wants to get with Rokuro and have his kids despite barely knowing him and is acting all jealous and frustrated when he doesn’t return her feelings (which she refuses to explain to him). I don’t want to call this manga sexist, but man has the creator seemed to have taken an unfair stance when writing this character.
However, to be more positive, let’s discuss the artwork. It is just as good as the previous volumes, even with its awkward fanservice and Sukeno struggling to make people look their own age. The action is very good, even if it’s mostly confined to one single chapter. It can be static at some times and fluid at other points, but it looks completely energetic the whole way through. The characters are nicely drawn and the layouts are excellently designed, allowing for readers to easily follow along. It’s a fine looking book from beginning to end outside of some problems, but the good completely outweighs the bad here even with not much to discuss.
Is It Good?
Twin Star Exorcists Vol. 5 is an improvement over the past volumes, setting up for what looks like an interesting and exciting future. It’s done well with the story, Rokuro as a character, and has some nice looking artwork. The only problems holding it back are minor, except for it’s terrible writing regarding Benio. Hopefully, the future is bright and sunny as the stories jumps two years into the future next time.
Twin Star Exorcists is currently available from Viz Media. The sixth volume is scheduled for release in October. An anime adaption of the series has just recently debuted in Japan, with Crunchyroll currently streaming the show. Yoshiaki Sukeno had worked as an assistant for another Viz Media series, Rosario+Vampire. Sukeno also wrote another manga called Binbō-gami ga! (not available in America), which was adapted into an anime. The anime, Good Luck Girl!, has been translated and is currently available from Funimation.