Sousei no Onmyouji, or Twin Star Exorcists is an action anime, but with a funny twist. It is not an original twist by far, but it presents a challenge for the 2 main characters, especially with their prsonalitiy types. The first episode doesn’t quite finish off the first chapter of than manga. It leaves off about 5 pages, but in those 5 pages is the standard ‘oh you two have met before’ re-meeting.
In the Sousei setting, there are Exorcists. It isn’t shown how common exorcists are, or if they are hidden from the public like Wizards are to Muggles. There is a council and elders that decide on matters concerning Exorcists, but Rokuros non-Onmyouji friend doesn’t appear to know about his abilities.
Kegare are the monsters that the Exorcists are trying to destroy, as they can kidnap people and take them to Magano, an alternative world layer. The Exorcists use Talismans to enter Magano, rescue the humans and fight the Kegare. Entering Magano may be a skill only certain Exorcists can do, but I’m not completely sure yet.
The house where Rokuro, our male protagonist lives, houses other young exorcists, and is owned by an elder. When a Kegare appears, the Exorcists dispatch like firefighters, dressing in their Exorcism clothing and gathering their weapons and talismans.
Rokuro does not fight Kegare anymore, he has for all intents and purposes quit being an exorcist. Ryogo, an older friend of Rokuros explains to the best of his ability as to why that is when the other housemates complain about his ‘pointless presence’ in the house. He was involved in an incident known as the Hiinatsuki Tragedy when he was 12 years old. Pre-OP we saw a scene where Rokuro was sitting in a destroyed house, flames surrounding him and blood everywhere. There were bloody hand prints, and what looked like the focal point of a body explosion. Rokuro was crying on the floor repeating names, apologizing for being the strongest exorcist.
No one outside of Rokuro knows exactly what happened, but from that information we can safely assume Rokuro was at least partially responsible for that incident. A couple possible series of events could be that he lost control of his abilities. ‘the strongest exorcist’ could mean the strength of his ability, while his young body could not sufficiently hold that much power. Another option could be that his power drew in a strong Kegare. We do not know if Kegare are attracted to strong powers like Hollows in Bleach and whatnot but they seem to prefer powerless humans. The third possible option could be a mixture of the two. A Kegare attacked the building where everyone was and in order to protect everyone he over used his powers, destroying not only the Kegare, but everyone around him. That would explain why he is unhurt and why he quit being an exorcist after that. If it was the first or second option, quitting wouldn’t solve the initial problem, training would increase his control and Kegare would be attacking him still.
A fourth option could be that, knowing Japans fascination with human experimentation, Rokuro is the subject of an experiment in which a Kegare was implanted inside him. During the battle in Magano a talisman seemed to be lifted off of Rokuros arm before the Black Talisman could be used. This would explain the monstrous appearance of the arm as well. If, as a 12 year old the Kegare freaked and broke free, this could also explain the Hiinatsuki Tragedy. Rokuro may not know about the experiments and blame himself. Experiments concerning Exorcists being possesses by spirits has been used in Exorcist animes plenty of times, most noticeably in Blue Exorcist(manga not anime) and in Owari no Seraph.
When not confronted with the Exorcism world, Rokuro seems to have a sufficiently human life. He repeatedly asks girls out and is rejected, and he defends kids from bullies. We don’t see a lot of his life as a normal human though.
While Rokuro is lamenting over a bridge, Benio falls from the sky. She had been in Magano prior. Benio is a female Exorcist, and one of comparable strength to Rokuro. She looks like a priestess with long black hair and petit frame. She takes being an Exorcist very seriously and when 2 children are kidnapped by a Kegare in front of her she rushes to open the gate to Magano. Rokuro is unwillingly dragged with her. It is only when her powers have expired and she is out of options that Rokuro steps in. His type of exorcism seems to be unconventional to Benio, a Rokuro uses a black talisman to transform his right arm into a monstrous looking thing. With that arm he is able to one-shot the Kegare. He seems to have a good grasp on the power level of the arm, despite probably not using it for 2 years since the Tragedy.
The character design was for the most part the same, except for the hair. The look and movement of their hair is different from the manga. I know that sounds weird, but Rokuros hair is far too ‘cartoonish’ or ‘choppy’ in the anime. In the manga it is smoother. Also, the hair on the top of his head doesn’t move at all. Isn’t the reason for those stray hairs to bop and move almost sentiantly?
The animation difference in Magano is a good way to keep the tone of the world spooky. The outlies of characters are not black, but more reddish. The whole area has a reddish overtone. The backgrounds are really blurred, but the scenes are all fairly close up on the characters so its hard to notice. The ground on the other hand is sharp and resembles veins. There is black veins running across a red landscape. Its pretty creepy.
So one of the concerns with this anime last season was that it was not doing the manga justice. In the first episode there have been 2 major discrepancies, with the character design and the unfinished first chapter.
The plot twist is not mentioned until the second episode then, making the first episode really standard. It only really introduces one of 2 protagonists, and explains very little of the world. As far as content goes, that’s pretty weak. The characters personality’s don’t mean much without the knowledge that they will have to get along, or that their futures will affect the world. It was a mistake to leave out the last 5 pages of the chapters. As a viewer I am not compelled to watch the second episode, the monster is defeated, there is no cliffhanger, no immediate questions. Yes there is the mystery of the Hiinatsuki incident, but after a large battle scene it is not the immediate question on my mind.