To Aru Majutsu no Index II – 22

Based on the way things look, there might not be much new anime to blog about for a while – things are still on edge in Japan, to say the least. As of now I still plan to fly in next week, but that could still change.

For now, we have a humorless, incredibly violent but exciting episode of Index to talk about this weekend. While no slower paced, things at least seemed a little more understandable this week – there was less new material introduced and even a little exposition here and there (though not much).

Basically following two tracks – Touma’s battle with Vento and Accelerator’s battle with Kihara – just as it did last week, just a bit of Index and Biri-biri was stirred in this time. Vento shared her backstory with us – the villain always has a backstory on this show – and it was a head-scratcher. She hates science because she and her brother were in an accident on a ride at an amusement park, and then because the doctor in the emergency room said he only had enough blood to save one of them. Her little brother volunteered to sacrifice himself, and she’s never forgiven science. Really? What an odd tale – and not really hugely convincing for me. But it was still interesting when the battle ended with Touma delivering a kind a mercy-blow, an “enlightenment” Falcon Punch that laid her out flat.

Meanwhile, Accelerator’s battery ran out – D’oh! But even after Kihara delivers an awesome beating to his seemingly inert form, he rises up as if animated by external forces – motivated by the desire to save Last Order from being dragged down to hell along with he and Kihara. So in an amazingly gross moment he rips off half of Kihara’s scalp, which understandably pisses him the hell off. Kihara beats on him some more, Index shows up and identifies L.O. as the source of the power for the Angel magic imprisoning Kazakhiri, and after a quick consultation by phone with Biri-biri (while Accelerator and Kihara are fighting, mind you) she starts crooning a song to L.O. to free her from the spell. Accelerator grows some massive black wings and finishes Kihara off in spectacular fashion, sending him into orbit in a streak of fire.

But wait, there’s more – one of Vento’s God’s Right Seat comrades shows up – a soft-spoken chap named Acqua. He scoops her up, tells Touma he’s trashed Vento’s magical ability forever (giving him her cross as a kind of trophy) saved Academy City for the moment, and basically warns Touma that he’s a Saint and if he wants to live to see adulthood, Touma should steer well clear.

At this point, I feel as if I know at least the basics of what’s going on – which is more than I could say last week. Everybody is using somebody – Alestair mostly. He’s using Last Order and in turn Fuse Kazakhiri to create his AIM dispersion field, along with all the other sisters to boot. Accelerator, Vento, the Hound Dogs – they’re all basically tools in someone else’s hands. Touma, OTOH, is still a free agent more or less – and he, as always, acts as a kind of wild card to what’s happening in Academy City. As for Index, as always it’s nice to see her intricately involved in the plot – and the absurdity of her singing her little song, eyes closed, as Accelerator and Kihara brutalizing each other a few feet behind her is one of the indelible and – perhaps unintentionally – funniest moments of a very dark episode.

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