As we power into the second week of this very busy season, the usual patterns are beginning to emerge. Most of the series are more or less meeting expectations – which, boring as that may be, is what usually happens with anime. A few outliers are surprising on the upside and one or two are not quite where I’d hope they’d be yet. Sousei no Onmyouji is very much in that first group – I’m getting exactly the show I was expecting based on my limited reading of the manga. And since I was expecting a solidly entertaining traditional shounen without too many surprises, that’s mostly a good thing.
A couple of elements of Twin Star Exorcists are, in fact, a bit too “traditional” for my tastes. Do we really need to see the protagonist walk in on the female lead in the bathroom again, or another physically abusive girl M.C.? That kind of juvenile stuff does get tired pretty quickly, though of course in this case both the leads are both juvenile and juveniles. I like seeing the protagonists of a show like this be a little younger than the usual high school template because it adds a little novelty and freshness to the story. And while I’m not 100% sold on ether of them as a character yet (especially Benio) they do have an interesting chemistry.
The MacGuffin in the premise, of course, is that Rokuro and Benio are fated to be married and give birth to the “Miko” – the ultra-powerful onmyouji who will tip the balance in favor of good. And the one delivering the news is the chief onmyouji of them all, Tsuchimikado Arima (Namikawa Daisuke in full slapstick mode). This is especially unwelcome news for Rokuro, who professes a loathing for all exorcists due to the fate of his childhood friends. Arima uses this to stir up Rokuro’s shounen passions when he initially refuses to mix it up with Benio (a fight she’s only too eager to take on).
The battle between the two middle-schoolers is a good one – nicely drawn and choreographed – and they make a good match. She has a huge advantage in speed, he in raw power, and they both seem to possess the immaturity and impetuousness one might expect from fourteen year-old kids. We’ll see how good a match they make outside the ring – the series will likely rise or fall on it – but the two of them are certainly of contrasting personality at the very least. There are all kinds of rumors about how long this series will run, everything up to four cours (which would easily outstrip the available material) so it’ll be fascinating to see how Sousei no Onmyouji develops. I’m definitely bought in at least for now, though with a few cautionary yellow flags waving in the background.