There’s a lot of anime and manga that take their inspiration from exorcism, and if you read Shonen Jump you’ll no doubt be familiar with Blue Exorcist which has been running for a few years now. But it’s not the first series to be inspired by exorcism, and it certainly won’t be the last. Case in point, Twin Star Exorcists. For most people, it might be difficult to accept two manga running simultaneously with similar inspiration, but I’m always willing to give something a chance. Especially when it comes attached to the Shonen Jump label, because let’s face it — Shonen Jump has a great reputation as a brand, and for good reason.
It’s hard for me to think back to a time when I read a bad manga from Shonen Jump. Sure, there might have been some that were less interesting — this week’s issue offers a JUMP start of a new sports manga, titled Best Blue — but if you enjoy shonen, you’ll probably be happy with their output. In fairness, I’ve only gotten into manga in recent years so my experience is limited, but it’s safe to say that they know their audience better than anyone.
It would stand to reason that when they publish a new series here in North America, it’s because they think there’s an audience for it. Just because two series have a similar premise doesn’t mean they can’t co-exist. So what is it that stands out about Twin Star Exorcists? Well, quite a bit, actually. Like most shonen manga out there, there are some hallmarks of the genre, but that doesn’t mean that it’s flat-out derivative as some people may assume by the subject matter. As with any story, it all comes down to how the story is told, and Yoshiaki Sukeno does a great job of telling a story with Twin Star Exorcists.
Yes, you will find some tropes. But it’s tropes that make up a genre and in some cases even define a medium. With Twin Star Exorcists, you have the pervy geezer, the determined young male lead with a dream, and plenty more. Some people might find that a little formulaic, and indeed it is, but in my mind it’s something core to the genre. Those character archetypes aren’t unheard of, they’ve been around for years, but as I said earlier — that’s not what differentiates Twin Star Exorcists. If anything, it merely serves to reinforce the method of storytelling and remind you that you’re reading a shonen. It might seem tired, but to me it’s just a nod to those who came before.
The real meat of Twin Star Exorcists is in the art and story, and Yoshiaki Sukeno does a good job managing both of them. The art is full of bold black lines and interesting character design, particularly when it comes to the monsters of the series, which are known as Kegare. In the context of the story, the Kegare are manifestations of the sins of humanity, and it is the job of exorcists to hunt them down and cleanse them. That’s where the protagonists, Rokuro Enmado and Benio Adashino, come in.
They’re both exorcists, and while Rokuro is reluctant to pursue his dream, meeting Benio eventually changes that. It’s what gets the story started, and without revealing too much, it’s what will drive the story in the future. Needless to say, there are some interesting developments along the way. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Twin Star Exorcists, but after reading the first volume I’m sold. It might be a little earlier to tell whether or not it’s going to be a hit, but Viz and Shonen Jump definitely have another great story on their hands. If you want a great blend of comedy, drama and romance with another interesting take on exorcism, I’d highly recommend giving Twin Star Exorcists a shot.
Publisher: Viz (Shonen Jump)
Translation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
English Adaptation: Bryant Turnage
Touch-Up Art/Lettering: Stephen Dutro
Cover/Interior Design: Shawn Carrico
Editor: Annette Roman
Release Date: 7/7/15
Disclaimer: A copy of Twin Star Exorcists Volume 1 was provided to BentoByte by the publisher for the purpose of review.Tweet