To Aru Majutsu no Index II 19

Heavens, the managed to cram a lot of people into this episode. Sasha Kreuzhev and Vassilisa, whom I only vaguely remember from the earlier series, appear in the prologue. Then, while on their way home, Accelerator and Last Order are cornered by Amata Kihara and his “Hound Dog” group. A member of “God’s Right Seat”, the pierced Vento of the Front, crashes Academy City with plans to destroy it. Finally, the upside-down Aleister Crowley makes an appearance, shooting down Vento’s threats as nothing but talk.

The sudden inclusion of all these bad-ass characters at once is a little overwhelming, but at the end of the day, it’s all about science versus magic. Or even more simply, it’s about Touma punching all these guys in the face to defeat them and return normalcy to the city. I mean, there’s clearly a lot going on here, but if we’re honest with ourselves, that is all Index II has been about this series (with the lone exception of Misaka’s mini-arc): Touma punching out the enemy, and the enemy going away. I’d like to think there will be something more interesting in store for us, but since this episode was all just set-up, we won’t know till next week. Rating: 3

Fractale 5

Their escape thwarted, Clain and Phryne are put to work on the airship doing menial labor – closely following Pazu’s path in Castle In the Sky. The rest of the ship’s compliment mercilessly riffs off the young couple’s obvious romantic tension, while the tsundere Enri constantly accuses them of debauchery. Meanwhile, Nessa is nowhere to be found. Clain thinks it’s because she’s mad; Phryne thinks its because she doesn’t like her.

But as the airship functions gradually go haywire, Clain crafts a new theory: Nessa isn’t angry anymore, and has forgotten why she went away, so now she’s just having fun playing hide-and-seek. After trying to get the crew to do fun things in order to draw her out, it is ironically Phryne who convinces her to end the game, ceasing the ship’s malfunctions.

I always like airship slice-of-life, but the whole time there was the feeling this could have been a ship at sea; not enough of the majesty and freedom of the skies was explored here (something as simple as performing maintenance from a precarious perch on the ship’s exterior would have sufficed, as was used in Castle). Still, with no safe harbor and enemies circling them, there’s no doubt that when the airship inevitably needs to land, there will be considerable hardships, contrasting with the lighthearted time-killing that takes place this week. Rating: 3