Saturday, 12 March 2011

To Aru Majutsu no Index II - Episode 22

It's crunch time for To Aru Majutsu no Index's second season as we roll towards its finale, and the stakes are at their highest for Academy City as Touma, Index, Accelerator and Misaka all do their bit in the ensuing chaos.

However, this episode primarily concerns itself with two battles.  The first of these involves Accelerator and Kihara over the safety of Last Order, with what turns into little more than a fist fight between the two... that is, until Accelerator "runs out of juice" and becomes little more than a persistent yet largely powerless ragdoll for the opponent to toss around on a whim; a whim, incidentally, that seems to have caused him to forget all about Last Order.  This forgetfulness continues even when Index enters the scene, casually phoning Misaka for a chat to discern what she can do to help, before setting off with a prayer that seems to give Accelerator the power he needs to see off Kihara.

Elsewhere, Vento is still struggling with the effects on magic users currently caused by goings-on in Academy City as she battles with Touma at the "ground zero" that is Fuze Kazakiri.  This gives us some (frankly clumsy) exposition of what drives Vento and why she sides with religion over science, via a story that even Touma quite rightly picks holes in and tells her to stop being stupid.  Of course, this does little to help matters, leaving it up to Touma's fist to finish the job in traditional fashion for this series.  This isn't the end of his part in proceedings, nor indeed is it the final word from the Roman Catholic church by the look of things, while the whole problem of what to do with Kazakiri remains.

Having done such a good job of getting everything into place and set up for some big set pieces this week, this felt like a slightly disappointing episode truth be told - its action segments felt largely stale and without anything to make them stand out from the crowd (although in Touma's case to be fair there isn't much he can do apart from use his right hand to deflect magic or punch people in the face), and other moments of exposition or plot development simply felt weak or clumsy, from Vento's back story on to Index's part in proceedings.  The story arc isn't over yet so I don't want to damn the whole thing entirely, but on this showing a lot of potential has just been wasted; I just hope it can claw back some of that lost potential in the coming episodes, although using the rest of this series as a benchmark I won't be holding out my hopes for it too strongly.

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