The word 'adaptation' for anime has quite a flexible definition. Most often, the term 'adaptation' means that the production company takes the source material and tries their best to make a carbon copy of the series that they decided to make in animated form. But at the same time, the word 'adaptation' can mean "based on" the original source material, and have their own anime-original plots and endings that contradict what the original series may have entailed. Twinstar Exorcists, or Sousei no Omnyouji is an example of the latter.
Story: The world we live in is a place that exists parallel to its antithesis, a place known as Magano. In it, the negative thoughts of humans merge together and form creatures of corruption and sin known as 'Kegare'. Kegare feed off of the spirtual power of humans and are destructive creatures that threaten the world we know. In order to combat this, there are people known as Omnyouji with high spiritual power and battle the Kegare in a never-ending war to save humanity from their power. To save humanity, the power of the Miko, a being born from the twinstar exorcists must be brought into the world. Who are the twinstar exorcists? Some shithead named Rokuro and an equally prissy girl named Benio. Oh boy...
Omnyouji's story is in short, arduous. Spanning 50 episodes of content, what we're given as a plot is, in simple terms, a slew of shonen tropes that span from the power of friendship, all the way to wanting to save everybody, and sudden bursts of power because, plot convenience. Despite being an adaptation of a relatively popular series, Omnyouji doesn't have much to offer. It becomes painfully easy to see what comes our way, and a lot of what it is boils down to ham-handed philosophies of two opponents fighting each other with fists clenched while shouting each other's names. Rinse and repeat that process over twenty times over, and you have what roughly equates to the entire show's runtime in a flash.
The main attributer as to why the show is so devoid of any originality or interesting developments is because, rather than following what the manga had already mapped out for Perriot to adapt, the studio decided to take a different turn and by Episode 20, change the show's path down an anime original path that has no connection to its original source material at all. This proved to be a very big contributor as to why the show has such big flaws with its story, as the saga we're introduced to turns the show into a display of power as our protagonists "get stronger" as more and more opponents get introduced for no other reason than to make the penultimate plot of "The end of the world is coming" a reality for the end so that the show would have some form of grand finale.
Another problem comes with how I feel as though the show had too much time. Most often than not, the case of screentime boils down to not having enough time for a series in order to tell the story that was intended. Many episodes felt like throwaway episodes, as the show would squander its screentime with flashbacks that have already been shown many times over, recaps of what happened in the last ten or so episodes, or would have episodes solely devoted to talking just to fill up the twenty-four minutes that were allotted for the episode. As such, episodes like this added to the weariness of how Omnyouji displayed itself, making the what was already tedious, even more tedious to watch.
Omnyouji's problems arose when trying to milk what had already been drained dry. The show doesn't try anything new in the realm of shonen anime, as the roughly twenty five hours it takes to watch this series can be described with just a tropes that almost every shonen anime uses in its plotline. That, combined with how slow some of the episodes feel, and how predictable everything is, ultimately creates a tiring experience that isn't worth the time or effort to have.
- All the shonen tropes
- Predictable story
- Many pointless episodes
- Deviation from the source material did not work
Characters: Likewise, characters have the similar problem with being your run of the mill shonen tropes without what seems like little to no thought with how to make them interesting beyond what they're given.
Both of our main characters, Enmado Rokuro and Adashino Benio start off the series hating each other's guts. With the series intentionally pairing them up in order to bring the Miko into the world, it's no surprise by what the end result of the series becomes. The pair of Omnyouji are as expected. You have the reckless, brash boy who listens to no one and wants to get stronger with his own strength and his own merits, and you have the girl who doesn't like the boy (at the beginning) who also wants to get stronger and basically has the exact same goals that the boy does. The character progression for the relationship between these two is noticeable and gradual, which is something that I believe that the show does well on. However, as far as everything else is concerned, that's about where the positives end. Their goals are nothing special, their progression is somewhat minimal, and the show makes it very hard for them to lose. They may struggle, but everything turns out extremely ok at the end. They're boring. They're boring because the show doesn't even attempt to make their pains and struggles seem minimal when everything just comes to them so easily, and it becomes very hard to care for characters who despite everything, have plot armor so thick that not even someone who is virtually god can't break through it.
As far as villains go, most if not all can be described as characters who have a single goal that serves as an obstacle that can easily be overcome once given enough episodes. Become the best, take over the world, destroy humanity; all of these goals have been done over and over again in more interesting ways that have been displayed here. It doesn't help that the villains spend more time talking than executing their evil plan, or hell, let the protagonist live when they could easily kill them, so they become minor hurdles that the characters have to jump over to continue on with the story.
Side characters are a wide bunch that, like most long-running shonen series, are either the friends that the main protagonists are fighting for, and are the less than stellar characters of the same kind who will never amount to anything when compared to the feats that the main protagonists have achieved. They're your standard group of side characters in a shonen series, and there're very few if any noteworthy characters to talk about since they're largely tropes like; the third wheel, the mentor, the annoying mascot, and rivals.
+ Character development for the protagonists
- Entire cast feels like a giant soup of tropes
Art: Perriot's art shines as an example of inconsistency and quality issues. While normally the show has a lot of blunt and bright colors that are less than stellar in quality, the main problem with Omnyouji's art is how consistent the company is with making their scenes.
When the show wants to, the lighting and the shadows can make the scene look good enough to actually look good. However, when the show doesn't want to, the art looks like a mess of colors combined with clear flaws in the details when it comes to characters' appearance. Fight scenes in a supposedly action heavy series are mostly characters standing and talking about each of their side and philosophies while not mercilessly beating the crap out of each other. A one-two punch, a lot of talking, some more punching, a lot more talking, and end the fight. The fight scenes hardly have any 'fight' in them, so they feel very disengaging and unexciting to watch.
+ Can look good
- Largely inconsistent
- Minimalistic fight scenes
Sound: Omnyouji's soundtracks are not memorable. Being roughly 4 cours long, the show has 4 pairs of OPs and EDs that help run the show's opening and ending bits to section off each of the four parts that the show's in. Despite having watched all of the songs in full, none of the tracks stick out to me in my head as something that was both enjoyable or memorable. So if you ask me, the tracks are not worth your time.
Personal Enjoyment: It's been about a year since I started watching the first episode, and I honestly can't remember the reason why I even started it in the first place. Coming out of it though, Omnyouji stands as a show that ultimately was a huge waste of time. Nothing about it made me excited about watching the next episode, and slogging through episode after episode felt like a tiring excavation to find any glint of originality to make me interested in the series. The shift from the source material certainly didn't help its case, as the random encounters with new anime-original villains didn't do anything but make the series even more difficult to like.
Did I like this series?
For me, there's nothing to like. You can find better examples of everything this show did elsewhere.
What didn't I like about this series?
Though I'm tempted to say 'everything', the biggest problem I had was with Benio's shikigami, Kinako. Kinako's high screechy voice shouting at the top of his lungs was like nails on a chalkboard. He wasn't cute, was extremely annoying, and became a huge hindrance to the series because his constant shouting and attempts at 'helping' had me in a tizzy on whether or not I should finish the show, or quit halfway.
Would I recommend this anime?
To me, Omnyouji is not worth it. Reusing almost every shonen trope that exists, Omnyouji's adaptation has almost nothing original about it as its largely anime-original plot turns its 50 episode runtime into a bingo game to see if you can get a bingo from all of the tropes that they shove into the series. Its lack of originality makes it a tiring experience to have, and I for one am thankful that it's over. Because there is no way I'm ever going to watch a 50 episode on-going series ever again.