Review: Twin Star Exorcists, Episode 5: Twelve Guardians, Vermillion Bird – The Guardian Shimon


Okay, can I just mention that this series has some of the most convoluted naming schemes for its episode titles that I’ve ever seen? If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear it was trying to dethrone the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Did I just breach into the territory of another medium for the sake of a burn?
You’re welcome.
Continuing on… Holy cow, an episode recap? If somebody could tell me how I returned to the 90’s, I’d love to know. I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these. Maybe it’s more recent than I think, and I’m just trying to put the horrid experience out of my memory.
I am going to name two more characters that have been around forever, just to get it out of the way. You may promptly forget them after this moment, because I can pretty much guarantee they are condemned to an existence of inconsequential worth to this story. Since episode 1, Kunizaki Shinnosuke and Sukumozuka Atsushi (Shin-chan and At-chan according to Rokuro) have been residents of the same student/exorcist dorm as Rokuro, Benio, and Ryogo. In the three or four fights against Kegare they’ve participated in to date, they have contributed absolutely nothing except to show us how useless the standard exorcist can be. That alone would be bad enough, but even as character foils, they are fodder for killing episode time-quotas. They talk without saying anything. They act without doing anything. If you ever hear me say “some exorcists” after this paragraph, assume I’m talking about these guys, and understand that I’ll be doing so with a seething annoyance in the back of my mind that I need to remember they even exist.
So, some exorcists are having a daily meeting in their dorm, with Ryogo and the Twin Stars. They are practicing calligraphy and making new Talisman’s for use in combat. As a brief aside, apparently it’s more important for the two middle-schoolers, Benio and Rokuro, to focus on their studies than their responsibilities as the destined exorcists meant to help dawn a new age of peace in the world. Priorities are on-point.
Word comes in there’s a Kegare presence nearby, so they go to investigate. The Kegare are attacking an elementary school during soccer practice, having absorbed the young boys into Magano. Giving chase, Rokuro and Benio open a portal to Magano and prepare to fight. Battle ensues and they are quickly outnumbered, with Rokuro getting captured and some exorcists watching helplessly from the sidelines, where they belong. Then a character named Ikaruga Shimon shows up out of nowhere, Deus ex Machina’ing himself straight into the narrative. I suppose we had a brief scene where we learned he was dispatched to meet with the Twin Stars by the Chief Exorcist, so it’s not true DeM, but his timing is painfully impeccable.
With the introduction of this member of the Twelve Guardians, the supposed youngest member at that league, we get to see some of the power those esteemed figures can dish out. Maybe he’s going to show us some cool new exorcist ability? An awesome transformation?
Nope, just more fire. A giant wave of it, sure, but still fire. I’m starting to suspect fire is the only special ability available to exorcists aside from increased strength and speed. I guess the fire technically came from his sword, and that was pretty cool, I guess. The only thing giving me hope that I’m wrong is Shimon is known as the “Vermillion Bird,” a harking to the Japanese lore of the four heavenly guardians of Osaka. The Vermillion Bird is particularly associated with fire even in that mythology, so maybe the others will have different powers to better correlate with their real-world counterparts?
Shimon berates Rokuro for his weakness, which in turn reminds the boy of his old aspirations to be a great exorcist. Considering they are of the same age, Rokuro internally emotes at his disappointment and astonishment that he is so much weaker than this newcomer. However, Benio stands up to defend Rokuro’s skill as an exorcist, which is a refreshing gesture. Can you feel the love tonight?
Apparently Kegare can eat one another to grow stronger now? *Shrugs* I’ll pretend like that was always a thing, since nobody seemed surprised when this occurred. Also, why does Rokuro sometimes need a Talisman to activate his (still unnamed) flaming gauntlet ability, and sometimes he doesn’t? I need consistency, TSE. Consistency, I say!
Ominous, blue-haired guy is watching over the battle with the Kegare. He’s somebody we can recognize from the opening cinematic, but whose purpose has yet to be extrapolated. Shimon is recalled back to exorcist headquarters for an emergency by the Chief Exorcist (which I will continue to call him, since “Tsuchinikado” is laborious).  This “emergency” is an excuse for the Chief Exorcist to show Shimon a new women’s bathing suit magazine, to which Shimon is appropriately irritated. But it seems Shimon has served his purpose of inspiring Rokuro, wrapping up the episode.

Christian Guide

1 Corinthians 13:11 – “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
I use this verse to emphasize the character difference between Rokuro and Shimon. Despite being the same age, there’s a clear disparity not only in their exorcist powers, but in their levels of maturity and discernment. Rokuro spends his time indulging in relative comfort, self-importance, and retreat from his personal demons, unwilling to face the things that will help him grow. Shimon is forward-thinking, honest, and produces a general aura of being world-wise beyond his years. You can feel the weight of the decisions and actions he’s needed to make because of his position as one of the Twelve Guardians, which casts Rokuro’s behaviors in a childish light by comparison. Shimon has forced himself into bravery and wields the confidence that comes with having conquered himself.
The verse I chose comes from Paul. However, unlike how standardized societies today tend to define adulthood by age, Paul suggests no such limiter. Adulthood comes with sacrificing childish behaviors and modes of thinking, adopting new, more refined opinions and philosophies.

Content Guide

Spiritual Content: None beyond the staple elements of the series.
Violence: Cartoon violence with no blood.
Language/Crude Humor: None in my translation (Crunchyroll).
Sexual Content: Only the “emergency” the Chief Exorcist had in order to show Shimon a women’s bathing suit magazine. The audience is shown a couple cursory images from the contents of this magazine.
Drug/Alcohol Use: None.
Other Negative Themes: None.
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Cooper D Barham

Aspiring author, marriage and family therapist, and active behavioral health technician, Cooper fills his world with God, music, videogames, anime/manga, drawing, reading, writing, and some physical stuff in between. If you ever want to talk about the big or little things of life, fire him a message. Helping others through tough times is both his passion and way of living. 'Got it memorized?'

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