To Aru Majutsu no Index II – 15

Part two of the “Queen of the Adriatic” arc was another winner, though a little short of last week’s classic in the humor department. It was a nicely balanced episode, a kind of all-purpose “Index” entry that should satisfy almost all the fans.

This was exposition week for the current arc. Turns out the Queen of the Adriatic is not just the flagship of the ice fleet (a truly cool idea, and well-executed here) but also a spell. It’s a kind of weapon of cultural mass destruction, designed by the Roman Catholic Church when they and the Venetian Catholics were arch-rivals. If activated it not only destroys Venice, but the history and culture of the city-state too. And it needs Sister Agnese to set off the “Time of the Rosary” spell that acts as a trigger, as a kind of human sacrifice. As it turns out she’s actually a prisoner and the fleet is a kind of prison, so she’s willing to let Touma and Orsola go if they rescue Sisters Lucia and Angelene. So Touma and Orsola head for the ship where they’re imprisoned while Agnese goes to the flagship to confront Bishop Biagio, played with the usual scenery-chewing greatness by Wakamoto Norio.

That’s actually a very well-designed and interesting plotline I think, one of the better this series has come up with. Of course, all that leaves out Index – but she ends up saving the day by recruiting our old friends the Amakusa Catholics, whose submarine/ship is on-hand to save our heroes when the fleet sinks the ship holding Lucia and Angelene. It’s always good to see Index intricately involved in the plot and not just used as a comedic device.

As I said, this episode seems to have a little of everything an Index fan could want (except Biri-biri). Some nunservice, some comedy, beautiful animation, food porn. It’s interesting to see Agnese spun as a victim now, though I sort of sensed it was coming, The Roman Catholics really do come off as the villains in this series, don’t they? I also enjoyed the…unique efforts of Amakusa subordinate Itsuwa to woo Touma. These seem to consist of two elements – wearing a tank top and offering Touma a hot towel at every opportunity. Equally amusing is Index’ increasingly annoyed reaction to any interaction Touma has with the other Sisters, which in this episode is a lot. All in all this is the best arc of the season so far for me – “Index” doing what it does best and staying true to form.

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