To Aru Majutsu no Index II – 23

Due to the particular timing, this series may just have had the longest layoff of any series due to the disaster in Japan. Maybe that’s why the transition from episode 22 felt so jarring to me – my memory is of things ending in the midst of chaos, but it’s a quiet and reflective ep right from the beginning.

The Fuse Kazakiri arc ended with a whimper, and a short one at that. She woke up and Touma comforted her as she tried to wish herself out of existence, and that was that – she was gone from the episode almost as soon as the OP credits stopped rolling. In fact, there wasn’t a whole lot of wrap-up from the crazy and frantic action of the last two eps – we went straight from chaos and gore to slice-of-life.

I must confess I have a hard time keeping up with the avalanche of competing interest groups that populate this universe, and we had so many acronyms this week I felt like I was drowning in a bowl of alphabet soup. The gist of it is that all-out war appears to be coming between The Vatican and Academy City. God’s Right Seat is licking their wounds and analyzing for weaknesses, though the mercenary Acqua would just as soon launch a direct attack. Meanwhile Academy City is also gearing up attacks from internal terrorist groups trying to take advantage of their movement of defenses to protect them from invasion, and Accelerator is drafted into support of this effort. While this is happening the gang at school decides to have a sukiyaki party to enjoy the bounty before impending war makes it rare and/or expensive.

It was all fine, but as I said, this felt like a pretty jarring transition from last week. It’s a “calm before the storm” ep if ever I’ve seen one – both Alastair and The Vatican are moving their forces into place for the major battle that will surely provide the season’s final arc. I don’t mind these slower-paced episodes in this series as a rule, but this wasn’t one of the better ones – it was light on the comedy and as a result, felt like treading water more than anything else.

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