Friday, 3 December 2010

To Aru Majutsu no Index II - Episode 9

After establishing the major point of its current story arc in what was otherwise a slightly filler-esque affair last week (and I'm trying my best to ignore what a daft name "Stab Sword" is for anything), To Aru Majutsu no Index II's ninth episode is at least perfectly placed to get down to its serious business.

Thankfully this instalment does just that, with Touma's chance meeting with villain of the piece Oriana Thomson and his realisation that she could be the person everyone is looking allowing him to tail her.  However, actually tracking down and catching Ms. Thomson was always going to be a far more difficult affair, meaning that what follows is a whole lot of Touma, Stiyl and Tsuchimikado chasing her around the city.

As this pursuit continues, so Oriana's abilities come to the fore, misleading their chase and sending them down a dead before further opportunities to track her are thwarted thanks to some hastily assembled counter-measures on her part.  It's these measures which become the new focus for Tsuchimikado et al, particularly once it becomes clear that the home of these rather dangerous magical spells are slap-bang in the middle of the on-going Daihaseisai tournament.  Cue Touma finding himself in the midst of an event at this tournament which brings him face to face with a certain Mikoto Misaka once again as he races to hunt down the source of their current problems.

As we've seen on occasion from this series previously, this is another example of a well-paced episode of To Aru Majutsu no Index - okay, it didn't have a vast amount going on but there was enough action, tension and plot progression to carry it through without ever becoming overly verbose or too languid, and while also squeezing in a few choice moments with other major characters to keep the fans happy.  The only real problem here is that Touma's "touch anything to make it okay" routine is pretty old hat now, which strips away some of that tension, but at least on this occasion the series managed to charm or otherwise talk its way out of making it feel too routine or unimportant.  After a slow and overly fan service-laden start, this story arc is now in a far stronger position than it was after the last episode, which is most certainly a good thing.

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