To Aru Majutsu no Index II 24

The finale of Index II had some very nicely-animated combat scenes and plenty of cameos from all of the characters introduced throughout the series’ run, but ultimately it wasn’t very satisfying. The predictability of the outcome of this season’s arcs got a bit tiring, and by this, the fifteenth or so instance of Touma saving the world by punching someone, was both anti-climatic and a tad boring.

That defragmented montage of cameos at the end kinda said it all: all of these dozens of characters made appearences, but they never seemed to play any real crucial part to the story. It’s as if once their one of two episodes of fame were used up, they kept showing up in episodes, as if no one had told them they weren’t needed anymore. Index II tried to stuff as many people and as many layers of intrigue it possibly could, and ended up with an unfocused, muddled mess.

Iif there will be a second season of Index II to continue all of the stories and conflicts left open-ended at the end of this first season, I may not be troubled to watch it. So much of this series was wasted with the inclusion of excessive characters with schemes and motives that usually boiled down to they’re bad guys Touma needs to punch. Perhaps the unnecessary window dressing jaded me. Splitting up Touma and Mikoto (who IMO have the best chemistry of any other pair) didn’t help matters, nor did giving Accelerator so much friggin’ screen time (he’s a psychotic, invincible mass murderer, and I yet I still don’t find him interesting). Rating: 3

Series Mean Ranking: 3.312

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To Aru Majutsu no Index II 23

The war for Academy City apparently experienced a false start, as Kazakiri’s angel transformation is halted and the Right Hand of God temporarily withdraws. No sooner does Accelerator regain consciousness is he recruited by some prettyboy in suit who apparently has a fake name and face.

There are brief moments with Index, Last Order and Misaka, but the majority of the episode is one last taste of school slice-of-life before the war starts in earnest. Touma has lunch with Hinamori, who starts to choke on a potato. When he rubs her back, it breaks her bra. Then Fukiyose takes her place, and before you know it, the entire class elects to hit up a sukiyaki joint. I have to say, after so much needlessly convoluted intrigue and saber-rattling between the magical and scientific factions in this impending war, this kind of calming episode suits me at this time.

While this isn’t a complete break from all of the political shit, it’s enough of one. I also didn’t mind Awaki Musujime returning, if only briefly. Still, I’m wondering if the climactic battle will make any sense, or the layers of muddled intrigue will collapse like a kind of anime souffle. One thing’s for sure: Touma will be punching a few more baddies before all’s said and done. Rating: 3

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 22

Hmm…not much to say here. Touma fights Vento and inevitably punches her after she reveals why she hates science so much (and it’s a fairly flimsy one…the hospital didn’t have enough blood to save both her and her brother after an amusement park ride accident? Really?) Naturally, an even more powerful member of God’s Right Hand shows up to collect her; Touma barks at him, and yet another future duel is set up. Can’t Touma lose occasionally, just to spice things up?

Meanwhile, back in some office where Kihara has Last Order hostage, Accelerator fights him until he “runs out of juice”, then fights some more. The stamina of this guy, seriously. He also lets out a few Niizuma Eiji-esque adolescent squeals for good measure, refusing to go down even when Kihara tosses a grenade on his face (!). Accelerator is so hell-bent on protecting the munchkin, he even grows black wings and launches himself and Kihara into the stratosphere like a rocket…though that may have had something to do with Index’s singing…I’m not quite sure.

And as Mikoto Misaka was fighting off Hound Dog, the whole trio had stuff to do. I just wish I cared more about it now that so much has been built up. Sadly, listening to Index try to understand what’s going on herself while on the phone with Misaka kind of justifies my bemused indifference to the events of this episode. A whole lot of stuff happens, but the impact is sadly lacking. I guess all the complex factional wrangling and all the religious, magical and scientific mumbo-jumbo is starting to jade me. Rating: 3

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 21

Okay, so let’s sort all this madness out: Crowley is bad, because he’s hurting Kazakiri; Vento is bad because she’s trying to kill Touma, and Kihara’s bad because she’s trying to use Last Order and kill Accelerator. Touma finally hooks up with both Index and Misaka to try to sift through all the chaos these bad guys are causing.

It’s here where it isn’t really and issue whose “side” you’re on; magical or scientific. Touma has friends on both sides, and there are good people on both sides. He’s not interested in either side dominating the other; he just doesn’t want people messing with his friends. And a lot of people are messing with his friends…and his city.

Accelerator is doing things his own way, taking out a board director to find out what the seedy underbelly of Academy City has planned for the church invaders. He also seems to be having quite a lot of fun killing people in the process. And punching a building, moving it several blocks, and smashing it into another? Nice trick! Rating: 3.5

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 20

This week Accelerator escapes with Index from his Hound Dog captors, who hound him the whole rest of the way as he tries to get a bead on the situation via a phone chat with Dr. Frogface. Meanwhile, Touma, protecting Last Order, is first chased by the same Hound Dog, until Vento of the Front shows up. Meanwhile people all over the city are starting to collapse.

I’ll admit I like Vento’s cavalier attitude and zest for mayhem, and the way she attacks, striking the cross at the end of her long tongue chain with her mace to shoot a missile of light. Naturally, cool as it is, it just gets canceled by Touma’s right hand. I fully expected this chick’s face to meet Touma’s fist, but she coughs up some blood and splits in the middle of their fight.

Tsukimikado also returns, apparantly recovered somewhat, since he’s got the moves to dodge several iron spikes that pop out of the ground, which he surmises will be used to kill the passed-out, and hence paralyzed, cityfolk. This is a full-on assault on the city, and both Judgement and Antiskill seem hapless to the task, especially when Accelerator is running wild on his own agenda. But the episode still manages to keep things interesting shifting from one situation to the next and providing lots of peppery action. Rating: 3.5

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

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 18

A somewhat transitory episode is made nonetheless watchable by some neat interactions as Touma ends up hanging with MISAKA and Last Order while Index bumps into Accelerator. It’s amazing how un-annoying Index sounds when compared to all the self-narrating MISAKAs. The normal-sized MISAKAs also seem to be gaining more in the way of personality, which is nice.

Dialogue styles aside, Accelerator and Last Order have a relationship almost identical to Touma and Index: a big brother protecting the little sister. Only Index has saved Touma’s life on numerous occasions. Now that Accelerator is weaker, Last Order vows to be the one to protect him. I’m not quite sure why she stole goggles and ran off (beyond setting up this episode), but it’s nice to know there are thoughts in her head and not just impulses.

This series is always best when it focuses on Touma and Misaka, and not all of the shallower characters – on both the scientific and magical/religious sides – who really just take up space and time. Since the series is poised to introduce yet more new characters in the magical conflicts ot come, I’m weary that the solid core of characters will get lost in the soup of peripherals and jargon. But I hope I’m wrong, and the new stuff that’s coming will be interesting. Rating: 3.5

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 17

With week 17 comes a new OP (I wasn’t immediately sold but it’ll grow on me), as well as a fresh Academy City arc. The first one was excellent, and after all the religious war and magic mumbo-jumbo, it will be nice to get back to some scientific conflicts Touma must smash with his fist. The change of scenery immediately re-peaks my interest. Touma also has to deal with Misaka, who is so enthusiastic about being able to order Touma around that she’s dreaming about it, much to Shirai’s chagrin.

I actually quite like Touma and Makoto as a couple, and I wish the series would do a little more than just dangle them around each other. Their chemistry is great, and their pretending not to like each other when they do was really sweet and entertaining. The new OP almost seems to revel in all the pairing possibilities involving Touma and practically every other female, but most of those are pointless in my view. Touma and Makoto have been through so much together, and they both carry the burden of unbelievable powers. They’re made for each other. Any time the series wastes time with Touma and someone else, I grow disinterested fast. Touma and Misaka are just plain fun to watch.

This episode was also practically crawling with MISAKAs, who seem to be gaining personality. Their dialogue is initially amusing, but it grows tiring after a while, though I appreciate the voice talent and skill necessary to say all that crap so precisely. When a MISAKA pulls out a large rifle after having her visor stolen by the ‘lil MISAKA, it’s certainly foreboding, especially when she talks of “revolution.” But I do like the prospect of Real Misaka and Touma having to fight side by side to fight off whatever new threat is coming. Rating: 3.5

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 16

Once more, the fate of all freedom and science-loving peoples rests in the right (and left) fist of Kamijou Touma. Why he decided going on vacation in the country that’s home to Catholic HQ was a good idea, but it’s a good thing he did; otherwise the Ice Fleet would have done irreparable damage to human society, culture, and history.

What I found odd was that while every time his fist hit a wall, it created an opening, what i don’t understand is why his ability wouldn’t negate the entire ship itself. I mean, that constituted a very serious limit to his powers: yes, he has to make sure the rest of his body isn’t injured to use Imagine Breaker, but I don’t see why he couldn’t just destroy the whole dang ship that contained all the apparatus needed for Biagio the Evil Priest to carry out his dastardly plan.

No matter; Amakusa kept the sisters at bay while he dueled with the awesome-voiced Biagio, ultimately scoring that oh-so-important blow to the face after telling him he should have made sure he was dead. Then he goes and makes the exact same mistake, turning his back on his opponent. You’d think he’d learn from Oriana Thomson and all the other people he’d punched in the past: sometimes one punch isn’t enough. Rating: 3

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 15

So yeah…the fleet of boats…now it makes sense. My Roman-Venetian history is a little fuzzy. Im sure there were gobs of naval battles in the Adriatic between the Pope and the Republic. This fleet is kind of a slight nod to that, but that’s about all. The rest is more Index II sectarian conflicts. Oh, and Touma is finally on the receiving end of a punch from a girl, instead of vice-versa!

Sister Agnese turns out to be kinda on Touma and Orsula’s side, as she and her two sidekick nuns are no longer in the Catholics’ good graces. Agnese agrees to spring them if they take Lucia and Angelene with them while she goes off to do some ritual only she can perform – to create a weapon something that could wipe Venice and all its culture off the map.

So those are the stakes ~ pretty high, considering Venice is a real city and Academy City is a fictional one, but one wonders why the church wants to destroy Venice anyway. Whatever the reason, Touma, Touma’s fist, Orsola, Lucia, Angelene, Index, and Amakusa are all going to work together to stop that weapon. Touma should have gone on vacation in the D.R...Rating: 3

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 14

The second season of Index II starts out as a bubbly Venetian excursion for Touma and Index, and then somewhat coincidentally bumps into Orsola and Amakusa and even thought Amakusa is just helping her move, you know that their mere presence portends a fresh confrontation between the churches.

This is soon confirmed when catholic assassins attack Touma, Orsola and Index. Some quick thinking and incantations from Index combined with Touma’s fist seems to pacify the situation, until, well, something strange happens. An enormous green glass/ice ship pops out of the water. I don’t quite get this, but I guess if you have magic, you can do anything.

Orsola and Touma are along for the ride, but Index is left behind as the ship goes out into the water and joins an armada of identical ships. Then Agnese shows up again, apparently to again get punched in the face in a future episode. Rating: 3

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 13

With this belated last episode of the first half of Index II, the Croce di Pietro arc comes to a strong, satisfyingly action-packed conclusion. It starts with the umpteenth fight between Touma/Stiyl and Oriana, but after healing his serious internal injuries with pure determination (apparently) Touma smashes half her face in with his fist. Of course, knocking out the knockout accomplishes nothing: all along, she was a decoy for Lidvia Lorenzatti, the one who spearheaded the Catholic invasion of Academy City.

Pride always comes before the fall, however, and even 107 seconds from total victory, Lidvia loses…because she never bothered to check the festival schedule. 6:30 PM, the time when the Cruce would activate, the same time the night parade starts. A barrage of fireworks occludes the night sky, incidentally nullifying the Cruce’s power. Down but not out, Lidvia flees on a private jet.

Unfortunately for her, the Anglican archbishop, Laura Stewart, has friends at Haneda, who plant a bomb card on the fuselage, which blows, sending Lidvia, the Cruce, and her pilot careening towards earth. The somewhat deranged Lidvia chooses saving herself and the Cruce over the pilot (natch) and will live for another day. Meanwhile, Aisa, Fukiyose, and Touma all recover in hospital, while in some purple skyscraper, upside-down woman and unseem mastermind discuss the Imagine Breaker “key”‘s progress.

Dunno what they’ll have in store for Touma & Co. Anyway, while this arc ended well, with lots of exposition, slick combat, and catharsis, one or two fewer episodes would have made for a much tighter, more urgent narrative. Next week: an Italian Holiday! Rating: 3.5

With this belated last episode of the first half of Index II, the Croce di Pietro arc comes to a strong, satisfyingly

action-packed conclusion. It starts with the umpteenth fight between Touma/Stiyl and Oriana, but after healing his

serious internal injuries with pure determination (apparently) Touma smashes half her face in with his fist. Of course,

knocking out the knockout accomplishes nothing: all along, she was a decoy for Lidvia Lorenzatti, the one who

spearheaded the Catholic invasion of Academy City.

Pride always comes before the fall, however, and even 107 seconds from total victory, Lidvia loses…because she

never bothered to check the festival schedule. 6:30, the time when the would Cruce activate, was the same time the

night parade started. A barrage of fireworks occludes the night sky, incidentally nullifying the Cruce’s power. Down

but not out, Lidvia flees on a private jet.

Unfortunately for her, the Anglican archbishop, Laura Stewart, has friends at Haneda, who plant a bomb card on the

fuselage, which blows, sending Lidvia, the Cruce, and her pilot careening towards earth. The somewhat deranged

Lidvia chooses saving herself and the Cruce over the pilot (natch) and will live for another day. Meanwhile, Aisa,

Fukiyose, and Touma all recover in hospital, while in some purple skyscraper, upside-down woman and unseem

mastermind discuss the Imagine Breaker “key”‘s progress.

Dunno what they’ll have in store for Touma & Co. Anyway, while this arc ended well, with lots of exposition,

slick combat, and catharsis, one or two fewer episodes would have made for a much tighter, more urgent

narrative. Next week: an Italian Holiday! Rating: 3.5

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 12

For seemingly the twelfth straight episode, Touma, Tsuchimikado and Stiyl are chasing Oriana around while communicating with each other on cell phones. This has been one long freaking day too, but by the end, they’ve once again caught up with her, only the sun has started to set, both on the day and on a non-magical, non-religious Academy City.

I remain astonished that at no point throughout all of these lengthy chases and confrontations, these guys still haven’t asked for any help. It somehow feels like the B-team has showed up to deal with Oriana and the Catholics, but are too proud and stubborn (and stupid) to as for back-up. The fact they’ve been so outmatched against Oriana so far will make it that much harder to devise a plausible way for them to ultimately beat her.

Next week’s final act will decide my final thoughts on this arc, but so far it’s been poorly-paced and until the final minutes was definitely dragging. The series has now insisted upon attempting to rush a decent ending. If they succeed, I’ll likely forgive the long slog that preceded it. Rating: 3