Fours: Index, Arterial, Letter Bee

A Certain Magical Index II 4 brings us plenty of what makes the series so fun to watch.

Touma to the rescue.

The first part is surprisingly low-key. The Catholics have Orsola, and Anglicans can’t interfere, Tatemiya goes off to fight them alone. Touma’s job is done. There’s a long bit where three characters just walk, and you can almost hear the gears turning in Touma’s head as he decides what to do. Unlike some others, he is a free agent, and he has no decreed reason to rescue Orsola, except that she’s a girl in trouble. This is reflected in a nice speech Orsola makes while the nuns are roughing her up. She had received aid from people with nothing to gain. What a gift!

Stiyl and Tatemiya close behind him ...

And you figured that Touma, walking in unarmed and facing a battalion of fighting nuns, would need some aid himself. It’s not surprising that Tatemiya joins him, of course, but then Stiyl finds a loophole in the Anglican policy (I knew that cross that Touma gave Orsola would come into play eventually), and Index is there because Touma is. And we got ourselves a big fight between magic users and nuns. Explosions! Fire! Leaping escapes! Epic swordplay (well, Tatemiya just swings his sword and a bunch of nuns go down, but his friends are pretty good)!

... and Index with her light show.

And the show’s specialty: Cult babble! This time it’s Index’s turn to whip it out. “Sheol Fear,” which, according to the fansubbers, “… thoroughly impeaches contradictions in the Christian teachings.” For our purposes, she starts to sing, a light show begins, and the nuns all fall down. Apparently she can use the power of all those secret books in her brain. Nice trick. But the nuns come up with a rather gross way of overcoming Index’s song, and so the episode ends. It was a good one. It had something for everyone, except fanservice.

Fortune Arterial 4 continues to be a most bewildering vampire show. Once again the only hint of threat is an evil smile from an unknown girl at the very end. Oh, and there’s this part at the beginning.

Lori and Erika give Kohei a matter-of-fact rundown of what vampires really are and aren’t. Yes, they drink blood, but consider actually biting people to be kind of gross. They’re indestructable and immortal, but they’re not sure about that. And Erika doesn’t like hot foods. Now, it’s clear that they have some plan for Kohei, at least Lori does, but I’m beginning to think it’s not going to be very sinister.

The remainder of the episode deals with Kohei in charge of the annual athletic festival, a huge undertaking. Kohei is suddenly beset with work. But he’s determined to fit in and make it fun for everyone, and the student body begins to rally around him. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, to have him fall ill from exhaustion, or maybe a bloody vampire shows up, but instead we get one inspirational scene after another. While it’s nice that Kohei is testing his strengths and having a good time, after too much of it I was checking my watch. The festival must be next episode. Maybe a vampire, I mean, a new vampire, will show up.

Letter Bee Reverse 4 is a good one. We start with Lag, working on the engines of the imagery lighthouse he maintains with his beloved grandfather, happy that he’ll one day take on the caretaker’s role, when he starts hearing voices … Huh, what?

Guess who the monster is.

It works well. I try to figure out what the heck is going on with no clues except for a flashback scene where we learn Lag is going on a delivery near the same lighthouse. By the time the beloved grandfather shows up with a gun, muttering “hate,” I was thoroughly perplexed. But with any effective mystery, there’s a letdown once the solution is revealed.

The stories are uneven, but Letter Bee can be great to look at.

Once we learn what’s going on (and Lag uses his spirit amber to get to the bottom of this grandfather fellow) it becomes mundane. There’s bonding between Lag and the cool new character, Jiggy. Lag cries at the grandfather’s grave. The usual Letter Bee stuff. But at least the first half had me going.

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