Twin Star Exorcists left off on an intriguing note in volume 6. Can volume 7 do anything with it and keep the momentum going?
Twin Star Exorcists Vol. 7 (Viz Media)
Written and drawn by: Yoshiaki Sukeno
Translated and adapted by: Tetsuichiro Miyaki and Bryant Turnage
Lettering by: Stephen Dutro
Rokuro’s Ascertainment Ritual with Sayo Ikaruga takes a strange and very surprising turn when it is revealed the exorcist spirit he possesses is more than anyone would ever expected. Perhaps this is the reason for his odd, possession-like behavior in the past? However, there’s not much time to dwell as Benio’s ritual approaches and new foes make their appearance. Some dangerous Basaras have traveled from Tsuchimikado Island in search of someone with intense spiritual energy and no one will get in their way.
While volume 6 of Twin Star Exorcists can be seen as a rather slow slog without much progression or development in the story outside of seeing things after a time skip, the newest volume of the series feels like it’s getting things moving once more. While we don’t make much ground toward the island everyone’s aiming for, we get other relevant and interesting tidbits to sink our teeth into. We learn a bit more about Rokuro, whose Spiritual Guardian may be a lot more powerful than anyone could ever imagine and may explain some rather strange moments from his past. It’s an okay development by itself, but the real treat comes at the end of the volume that raises so many intriguing questions that I’m really interested in knowing where the writer is going with this. We’re also introduced to some new villains, who are pretty powerful and introduce an idea about the Basara we didn’t know about yet. There are some decent reveals here and there that make the volume far more interesting story wise than last time.
Making the book even better is some strong character development we got this time around. Outside of the reveal with Rokuro, the side and supporting cast get further explored in positive ways. I was kind of mixed on Sayo last volume, but she grows on me the more I get to see her and learn about her history. While the creator still puts her in some rather off-putting moments considering her age, she’s quickly become one of the most sympathetic characters in the series. Shimon has gotten some more focus and we got to see some insight into his relationship with his cousin. His desire to protect and help her isn’t simply just being the stereotypical big brother character, but more that he just wants to be able to free her from her fatal curse. The issues these two both have give this story a bit more weight than I previously felt. Then there’s Mayura, who is still trying her hardest to become an exorcist herself, but just doesn’t seem to be able to get over her own psychological hurdle. Like in the last volume, her character arc is clichéd and here, maybe even moving too fast, but it’s not poorly executed and I do like that she is becoming more of an active character that’ll fight alongside the leads in the future.
The writing overall remains decent, but could be better. The pacing is very brisk, constantly keeping characters and the story on the move. As such, it doesn’t ever feel like it’s dragging its feet at any point here. There are nice bits of characterization and reflection throughout that gives this book a rather melancholy feel as the characters look to the future and think back on the past. For instance, there are scenes with Rokuro realizing he’ll need to say goodbye to old friends or Sayo talking about her time away from the island. It’s stuff that I like honestly and I hope there’s more like this in the future. Sadly, the weakest link remains Benio in the manga, who still feels incredibly underutilized. While both leads were sort of pushed to the side for this volume, it just felt more than ever like Benio was an afterthought here. The preview text for next volume says she’ll be getting more focus and I hope it is for the better.
The artwork in the latest volume continues to look just as good as always. While it still suffers in areas when it comes to depicting characters at the correct age (the fanservice is mercifully toned down to almost nothing here), the other areas of the art make up for it quite a bit. The characters still are drawn very well, capable of showing some good range of expression. The artwork is usually capable of letting the imagery tell the story and the mood without needing to say anything. There’s a stronger focus on the action, making things a lot more exciting to watch unfold. Also, as always, special props have to go to the character designs by Sukeno. Regardless if they are brand new, important villains or simple one-off characters, everyone is distinctly recognizable and distinguishable from one another. Even if you don’t remember their names, you can instantly pick out a person in a group shot and know who they are. I really like that about the art the most.
Twin Star Exorcists Vol. 7 is a solid step up from the last outing. While the main goal of reaching the island is put to the side for the time being and the pacing a bit too quick for its own good, this detour with new villains and stronger character growth for other members of cast is one I can really get behind and I see other fans doing as well. More than previous volumes, I am incredibly eager to see where the next volume of the series takes us.