2019 Summer 4

Nice blue fantasy world sky to start Cheat Magician.

Isekai Cheat Magician is yet ANOTHER show where some high school kids are plucked out of our world and into a generic western fantasy RPG setting. This time it’s Taichi and Rin, who get sucked into a magic circle and find themselves on a grassy plain and are immediately menaced by a killer horse. Fortunately some adventurers rescue and befriend them. They reach a town and the kids decide to become adventurers too, though they don’t have any magic, or so they think. Turns out their power is through the roof, and so the sexy magician Lemiya is going to start training them in episode 2. Through it all, Taichi and Rin act like it’s all a minor inconvenience.

Taichi broke the magic level detector!

I’m having trouble thinking of anything to say about this show. It does all the isekai tropes, except in a slower, duller way than usual. There was the brief spat between the kids because Taichi tried to sacrifice his life to save Rin and leave her all alone in that strange place, but even that was done in a dull way. Well, we do have an inkling of how they got there–someone tried to do a conjuring spell but was interrupted by an evil organization who are now going to look for them, so we know what the main story arc is going to be. As for the characters, Taichi has some guts. Rin has nothing but a ponytail. The rest are generic RPG characters, even the giggling green leaf that maybe got crushed. Maybe it will get better once the plot gets rolling.

I have no idea what those things are.

In Machikado Mazoku an average, clumsy, impoverished high school girl name Yuko, awakens with horns and a tail. Her mom sighs and admits the family’s dark past, that they’re from a line of demons and that their power was mostly sealed away by the good guys, magical girls mainly. Now that Yuko’s true form has been awakened she has to kill a magical girl and spill her blood on the demonic object that her mom was using as a doorstop. She finds a magical girl, Momo, who not only rescues her from a truck but takes pity on her and gives her some bread. At school the next day her friends have no problem with Yuko’s horns and tail, think they look cool, and tell her there’s a magical girl in class A, Momo in fact, who again doesn’t consider her any threat at all and even gives her some combat advice.

As you can guess this show is crazy low-budget slapstick throughout, and some of it works. Everyone gets some good lines, and Yuko handles her transformation in an appropriately silly fashion. There’s no question of where this is going, either, since we see Yuko and Momo being best buds in the OP, and the show also hints that Momo is actually quite lonely. At least Yuko has a nice mom and little sister; Momo sits alone in her big house with nothing but a cat. On the other hand, part of the curse Yuko’s family lives under is near-poverty, and nothing in the show, demon heritage aside, suggests they deserve that. On the whole, if you like cuteness and silliness you might like this show. As for me, I’ll probably skip it. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good enough.

Your typical Academy City suspicious building.

Next is To Aru Kagaku no Accelerator, starring, well, you know. First, some thieves rob a compressed air research facility which was, this being Academy City and all, also developing a weapon to defeat Accelerator. The thieves then visit the hospital where Accel’s getting some bandages removed and Last Order is planning a celebration with some of the sisters and acting cute. The bad guys, led by a typical Index-style crazy girl, retreat with a drop of Accel’s blood–genetic material!–so he chases them down, grins evilly a lot and, well, it’s over quickly.

Who me? No!

As I expected, a simple standalone episode to start things off. Reintroduce the important characters and give Accel a lot of chances to be his bad self, oh, and gratuitous fanservice of course. Nothing we haven’t seen before. I wonder about the Sisters attending a party for Accel, but Last Order might have something to do with it, anyway, it’s not like this franchise has ever made much sense. I just hope its less senseless than the sprawling mess that was the last Index series. It probably won’t be so bad. After all, the nutty Railgun series was almost coherent compared to Index.

We won’t stay in the real world long.

Tsuujou Kougeki ga Zentai Kougeki de Nikai Kougeki no Okaasan wa Suki Desuka?, which I will call Okaa-san Online like everyone else, stars Masato, an average high school boy, and Mamako, his hot and rather stifling mother. He fills out a questionnaire and then gets whisked to, sigh, a MMORPG come to life, which is, what, the third one this season? Still, Masato is happy to be there, but less happy when his mom shows up too. Some generic king gives him the rundown–it’s a beta game, choose your sword, etc. Mamako pulls out two swords instead of one, and turns out to be ridiculously overpowered, though quick to gush over Masato’s low-level attack. This is too much for Masato, who says some mean things and then feels bad about it. So they set off to recruit other adventurers.

I suppose the only thing you can do with “sucked into a game world” story by now is to add an interesting twist to it, and the story makes it quite clear that it’s all about mother and son bonding with the fantasy tropes just there to be mocked. Fortunately it’s not a bad first episode. There are some good gamer jokes, aided by the fact that Mamako is stuck in the Famicom days. She also does a good job embarrassing her son constantly, in a sweet, loving way, and Masato’s exasperated reactions were usually good and well-timed. I look forward to next week where Mamako will continue to point out that her son’s choice of adventurers are all female. A-la! … Okay, she never said “A-la!” in the episode, but she’s the type who could.

The inside of a slimy dungeon.

Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darouka: Familia Myth II, or DanMachi season 2, starts with your average dungeon crawl scene to remind us who the characters are, but it didn’t work. It’s been four years since season one and while I remember Bell and Hestia, of course, some of the others I can’t really recall. Anyway, the Apollo Clan pick a fight with them and Bell gets beaten up by Hyakinthos, about the only one of the Apollo group that can fight. Next thing you know, Hestia and Bell are invited by Apollo to a fancy ball, and they are challenged to a war game, whatever that is. We’ll find out next week. But at least Bell got to dance with Aiz in a lovely little scene first.

Bell and Hestia haven’t changed.

As I said, I don’t remember all the details, except that the gods can act like jerks. Why Apollo is mad at Hestia’s group I guess we will find out. At least Hermes has taken a liking to Bell. As for the episode itself, it was more of the same, a better-than-average fantasy adventure comedy with some fun characters. Hestia gets to show off both her kind and goofy angry sides. I just Bell would just hurry up and level up already. I’m tired of seeing him roughed up.

A gritty, rainy urban street.

To finish this series I looked at BEM, where the Lower (poorer) district of a city is being threatened by a watery monster who can flee to the sewers and kills people by drowning them. Also a young detective named Sonia who spoke too honestly to her Uptown boss and got banished here. She chases a thief, gets rescued from a car by a guy in a suit, and then finds the thief drowned. Next day, after learning just how corrupt this district is, various people get drowned again, the guy in the suit fights the monster, Sonia shows up and freaks out a lot, as you would expect someone who has never seen a monster like this before. In between the suit guy and two younger colleagues talk about how to become human, and it is worth it?

The good guys, I think, pause to talk philosophy.

Apparently this is a very old franchise, but it looks modern in its style and smartphone usage. It also tries to be very stylish and sometimes succeeds–the jazzy BGM helps. But while I was intrigued by the three heroes talking about humanity, and the monster having happily thrown his away, not every worked. You’d think the public would be more aware that there was a serial killer on the loose, and we got no reason as to why the monster just wanted to kill and laugh evilly. As it was he was just a generic serial killer to get the plot rolling. Sonia as the “girl scout” cop was too generic, and at the end of the episode, she seems to have recovered from her shock too easily. Still, this could turn into an entertaining series.

That’s it for this season. Since there’s nothing I saw that I feel I want to write about every week I think I will go back into hibernation mode until my current situation is more settled, which may mean in the Fall. Well, enjoy the series you liked.

Catching with with Slime and IndexIII

slime14-1Now that the new shows have been taken care of, it’s time to return to the follow-ons. First it’s Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken, which left us at a big confrontation between the Orc Lord and Rimuru. First, though, the show has to deal with Gelmud, who pops up and starts cursing everybody for letting him down and throws out some magic which Rimuru easily repulses, and then Geld, the orc lord, eats him. So much for that. Then we get the battle, which takes a bit longer than usual because Geld has devoured so many abilities, but Rimuru finally just eats him. After that it’s a chance to forgive Geld, who, it turns out, was simply trying to care for his fellow orcs who are starving to death and got conned by Gelmud. Also, some stuff about devouring sins, which seems to mean guilt and forgiveness, but it’s all just post battle slow breathing time to finish up the arc. Alas, Rimuru never did get the name of the guy causing all this madness, but we’re only halfway through the series.

slime15-1Episode 15 feels like a new season, with its new OP and ED, and I suppose it is. But all this time I kept wondering when Rimuru was going to get out of that village and face the true bad guys. He may not have to. His little village, now with goblins, wolves, an army of reformed and transformed orcs, and various others who have wandered in, have made it expand and become an actual country, thanks to the dwarf king Gazel Dwargo popping in to see what this slime business is all about. Gazel is shown to be a possible advisory, but after tilting swords with Rimuru and recognizing his old master Kaijin, he’s fine with making a peace treaty with a place that hadn’t considered itself a nation up to now. But call it the Jura Tempest Foundation, with the capital city of Rimuru, to Rimuru’s embarrassment. It’s getting to the point that his nation might just come up to that evil castle where Clayman is scheming.

But not quite yet. Plenty of time in the episode.

I dreaded returning to Toaru Majutsu no Index III after three weeks, because I had forgotten who was who and who was on whose side, but then again when I watch this show I can never figure that out anyway, not 100%, so I might as well dive in. Episode 14 is almost entirely a standoff between second princess Carissa, with that magic sword, first versus a witch bombardment, and then Kaede, Touma, and Index, oh, and the third princess(?), and it’s still all a standoff with Carissa laughing evilly a lot. But then word gets out what Carissa’s strategy is, which, I think, to destroy everything and to stick herself in some mysterious tomb somewhere, so she has some warships bombard Buckingham Palace with cruise missiles. This gets Knight Leader and Acqua involved, but it’s still a standoff until …

indexiii14-2Yep, the queen shows up with a magic British flag which she uses to call the ordinary citizenry to revolution. On one hand, I loved this. One of the main themes of Index and its offshoots is that individuals wielding power for their own ends is misguided. It’s having friends and allies, not to mention common people, that wins out at the end. … Alas, when the normal people arrive they just stand there, though Touma has a great line about how there are so many heroes here now that the main characters sort of just blend in. Instead, it takes a combination, especially Acqua and Touma, to finally deliver the classic Touma punch-in-the-face. The individual is defeated. The team wins. Too bad the next story arc starts right away, with Index malfunctioning, Fiamma popping in, and Touma declaring he will go to Russia to punch HIM in the face. Well, no rest for the heroic. But next week it looks like we’ll get more Accelerator…

Yep, it’s one of THOSE Index episodes.

After trashing another European town the show returns to Academy City in episode 15. We see the aftermath of various members of those anagram groups like ITEM, SCHOOL, and GROUP. Xochitl and Takitsubo are doing fine, and it’s calm enough that the show can mix some fanservice into the proceedings, except GROUP and Accelerator have to take out a new terrorist organization named Spark Signal, and then everyone is after the fleeing remnants, maybe because they want information about still another group, DRAGON. Accelerator is suspicious, as is Kinuhata, who was recruited for a new group of former members of other groups but walked out, possibly to give Hanazura some fanservice. Frankly, I don’t know what’s going on. However, there is a new murderous famale around, with the splendid name of “Stephanie Georgeouspalace.” and at least her motives are easy to understand: she wants to kill damn near everybody. Anyway, everyone’s rushing over to where the remaining Spark Signal folks are, and goodness knows what’s going to happen. As usual for this show, I have little idea who’s on whose side anymore …

Yagate Kimi finale, Index goes ever on …

yagatekimi13-1I had some predictions for the Yagate Kimi ni Naru finale, all of them resulting in Touko’s breakdown as her determination to be the perfect person crumbles under reality. Either during the play’s performance, or when she is presented with the rewritten script. However, the finale sidesteps these possibilities by not even getting to the performance, the finished rewrites, or even summer vacation. What we get instead is couples hanging out together. First it’s Yuu and Koyomi at the cafe, working on the script, then Touko and Sayaka, the latter wanting to know how Touko’s sister appeared to Touko, then Miyako and Riko with a question about how the other feels, a shocking question, but they’re both adults. Really, all of these scenes are time-killers, with little scenes in between that suggest that Touko is closer to breaking than we expected, as it hits her that after the show, finishing her late sister’s work, she has no idea what to do next. All she can think of is Yuu.

yagatekimi13-2Yuu’s interest in Touko often seems indifferent. Indeed, it’s one of the things Touko needs, that Yuu doesn’t fall in love with a girl who doesn’t even know herself. But I think Yuu subliminally knows what Touko needs and reaches out when Touko needs her the most. Hence the invitation to hang out at the aquarium, where the episode dallies until the end. Apart from a quick rehearsal of their scene together, where Yuu casually mentions that there are rewrites going on, very little happens except that Touko has a wonderful time, and Yuu … is happy that Touko is having it. So they get splashed by dolphins, look at jellyfish and penguins, and say little meaningful things from time to time. Touko is still emotionally lost, but at this moment Yuu is guiding her along until the end, where Yuu says it’s time to switch trains, and so the episode ends with a metaphor.

yagatekimi13-3The manga, I’m told, is ongoing but there’s little left. Whether it actually gets to the school play I don’t know. Perhaps the whole story revolves around Touko’s crisis, which would be fine, but then I would wonder “What happens to them after that?” I had hoped that we would see other aspects of the two and watch their relationship develop further. No matter, it’s still a good story. It took its time and gently examined the characters’ minds from the perspective of their own heads and how others see them, which of course is the main point. I would have wanted more from Koyomi, stuck as she was in “smart, nerdy side character” mode, but I get the impression that if the show had wanted to, she would have been just as introspective as the others. Maki, on the other hand, could have become a meddling little jerk, but after the show established his character he was put on the sidelines and not allowed to interfere. All of the characters were capable of intelligent thoughts, except for the kid with the glasses, and it all was delicately and perfectly balanced. Very good work. I hope there’s more.

One more of Touko and Yuu, sharing a happy moment with no emotional overtones.
Carissa being evil.

As for To aru Majutsu no Index III, it’s a midseason development episode. We see that Touma and whoever that is are safe from their fall (we didn’t get to see the landing), and they’re miraculously met by Villian, still riding William Orwell’s mechanical horse. Then it’s back to William vs Blond guy (actually known as Knight Leader). KL has a cool spell based on Thororm’s ability to dull the opponent’s attack when recognized as one. But he’s freaked out by William’s sword, which can launch sneak attacks, so the battle turns out anticlimactic. Then it’s Touma vs Carissa and the Curtana Original, with Touma/Index rescued by William, who’s everywhere this week. And then a breather while plans are made and we see how Misaka is doing.

Index being evil.

Rather than continue a plot synopsis, which I often find myself doing in a post when I don’t really have anything to say, I’ll just say that everyone’s now headed to Buckingham Palace via its underground magical subway system–of course it has one. The heroes are planning to exploit Curtana Original’s instability somehow. The weirdest part for me, apart from a pre-battle feast where a lot of the girls, including nuns, consider changing into sexy clothes, for Touma’s benefit I suppose, was William and KL, after the battle, talking strategy on the phone like they were on the same side. Jeez, with this franchise you don’t know who to root for, except Touma maybe.

Slime 12-13, Yagate and IndexIII 12

This is not good.

It’s nice to see Tensei Shitara Slime Datta ken moving away from minor and easily-resolved conflicts to something bigger and more complicated. We start with the dryad Treyni asking for Rimuru’s help, which is more of a time-killer because we know he’ll agree. Things get more interesting when we then turn to Gabiru’s group. After they hilariously decide that Gobta must be the goblin leader, some nut named LaPlace talks Gabiru into going back to the marshes and take power from his father. Meanwhile Souei has met the Lizardman leader and they agree to join forces, the Lizardmen playing a defensive role until Rimuru’s army shows up to help. But Gabiru comes back, does the seizing power thing, and soon they’re fighting, unaware that the Orcs gain strength from eating corpses. And there you have it for this episode. Again, bigger and more interesting than what’s been going on (though that stuff was fine, too), but still kind of simple and childish from a real epic fantasy point of view. Silly though it be, I’m still keen on finding out what happens next …

Rimuru just watches.

Episode 13 continues the split story, but the events in each are pretty straightforward and triumphant. First, of course, we need to get a crisis going as the lizardmen are surrounded by hungry orcs. It looks dire and goes on a bit long, but I guess they wanted show Gabiru in a positive light. Whatever else you can say about him, he’s brave, taking on an orc general and fighting well until he starts getting his ass kicked. But that’s the end of the crisis, because mighty Gobta shows up to help, and soon Ranga and the Kijin are exploding things everywhere, each one getting a chance to show their TRUE POWER, and the orc army shrinks. Meanwhile, Souei and the lizard daughter have no trouble at all defeating all the orcs in the dungeon and rescuing the chieftain, and Treyni the dryad makes Gelmud flee to the impressive-looking castle where the guy who started this smirks. As for Rimuru, he’s floating on bat wings above it all, doing nothing but saying “Sugei!” a lot. A little disappointing, because I’d have loved to see him mess with the orcs a little. Well, next week it will be him and the goblin lord, so we have that to look forward to.

yagatekimi12-1Yagate Kimi ni Naru 12 inches toward the season’s conclusion, but I’m not sure they have the time to do it properly. We watch the kids continue to rehearse, and see Touko lose it a little when her character announces that she will be the character her lover remembers, and not the others. I might be reading too much into it, but I wonder if that’s partially a reaction to the fact that Sayaka is playing her lover … Probably not, but there’s some friction between Sayaka and Yuu over who gets to hang out with Touko when she’s had her life shaken up a little. Well, if Yuu is jealous it’s surely dispelled when she invites Touko to her room and they get snuggly. Nothing further on the romance front, however.

yagatekimi12-2And why should there be? Far more important than the snuggles is Touko’s admission that she hates herself, and that’s partly why she doesn’t want Yuu to fall in love with her. “I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me has a member,” and all that. Yuu’s delayed reaction is not really romantic, not in the snuggles sense. It’s realization what has to be done, and her determination to do it–to help Touko–change the play’s ending so that Touko’s character doesn’t choose a past personality based on other people, but to live on as the person she is now. Excellent thought, but boy is it going to be a pain in the ass for everyone involved! The boys won’t like learning new lines. Sayaka is going to be seriously pissed. And goodness knows how Touko is going to take it. A lot to manage, and I believe there’s only one episode to go.

I don’t remember who they are.

There are upsides and downsides to To aru Majutsu no Index having such a rich backlog of story and characters. On on hand, it means you can bring in old characters, both good and evil, and have them fight on either side, depending on their alliances or backstory now. So we get a few surprising characters this week, to add to Oriana from last week. On the other hand, I don’t always remember these characters and either look them up or say “screw it” and let it ride. I chose the latter with Sherry and her Golem Ellis. Not to mention that the organizations and churches and whatnot is downright confusing even when you do the research. So we got Carissa’s knights battling witches, Golem Ellis battling knights, and nuns running from knights. Meanwhile, the more important characters are busy running around or away from others. The most interesting being Villian’s flight to Folkeston, I think, which is interrupted by that blond guy, who’s ready to execute her, when another surprise character shows up.

I remember him all right.

Okay, William Orwell is a jerk, but in this story arc he’s dedicated to protecting Villian (her personal feelings about abandonment aside), so he’s our jerk. You’d think it’d be one sided but the blond guy somehow has archangel power thanks to, er, “the Church of the Cross Rules” (which allowed him to defeat Kaori earlier) So that fight is probably going to last to the finish. Meanwhile, let’s see, the queen and the third princess are stranded in the country but the queen finds a horse. And Touma and one of the evil sorcerer girls escape from a train but are plunging toward certain death, though it’s done for a laugh, and we’re talking about Touma after all. Oh, and Index seems to be a Carissa’s hostage. Did I forget anything? What a mess, and great fun all around.

Yagate Kimi and IndexIII 11, Akanesasu finale

It’s summer camp time for Yagate Kimi ni Naru, and it’s partly a drag. Instead of some cool cabin in the mountains or something they have the camp at the school.

yagatekimi11-1As usual the episode has two parts. The first one involves Yuu, Touko, and Sayaka bathing together and sharing the same room. Since Sayaka is in love with Touko, and Touko’s in love with Yuu (who isn’t sure of anything), the bathing scene is full of heavily repressed sexual tensions, so nothing happens. The sleeping scene is the same–Each saying to themselves “I could reach over and touch so-and-so, but it would really screw things up, so I’ll just lie here and suffer on my own.” This being the slow-paced show that it is, it means no one gets to have what they want, but they’re not hurting anyone that way. This is one of the more bittersweet summer camp episodes I’ve seen.

Touko learns that her beloved sister was actually a bit of a flake.

Part 2 is more interesting in that their sensei brings in a guy named Tomoyuki to coach them. Turns out he was on the student council at the same time Touko’s sister was, and so Touko, curious to know more about the person she’s been trying to emulate for five years, asks what she was like … and doesn’t get the answer she expected. Not that there was anything really wrong with her, only that she wasn’t the perfect student council president she let on to be, but the rest of the SC liked her anyway, maybe because she wasn’t perfect. In other words, Touko has outstripped her idol. Interesting idea and you would think she might be happy about that, but instead it puts her in a blue funk that both Sayaka and Yuu pick up on. The episode doesn’t take it further, but it makes you wonder just what Touko’s been trying to emulate all this time, a model of perfection, or her late sister. Also an interesting comment by Koyomi about her script having the amnesiac heroine choose her lover’s version as her personality, as it comes from something she chose, not family obligations, but Koyomi isn’t really happy with that answer …

Her Royal Highness the Queen.

To Aru Majutsu no Index III, having destroyed enough of France, now turns to England. The inevitable infodump is lightened by the behavior of the Queen and the three princesses, all of whom are kind of weird. The queen is holding a sword Curtana the Second and we’re told the first one, which gives you, theoretically, the power of archangel Michael, is lost to history, so we basically know what’s going to happen in this story arc. But there’s also the Eurotunnel explosion and subsequent friction with France to investigate, AND there’s someone working from within, namely in Scotland. Oh, also some terrorists have finished excavating something, so they have to get to the bottom of that. Go to it, guys!

Touma meets another formidable enemy.

Typically, the evil terrorists, four cute girls, natch, are quite capable of screwing up their nefarious plots. It doesn’t help that the retrieved artifacts, er, skidbladnirs, look like any average suitcase with Art Deco stylings, and soon little Lessar is fleeing from Touma and Oriana (remember her? I didn’t. She works for the Crown now). Since it’s not a situation for a righteous punch, Touma is subject to the laws of comedy and they have a hard time getting her. Two of the others aren’t much trouble, thanks to Itsuwa and the Asukasa branch of Necessarium, even though one of them can conjure up the weapons Thor used. Oh, great, now we got Norse mythology mixed in! But the evil plan is still put in effect, and we discover who the traitor is. I really hope the queen is pissed off enough to enter the battle. I like that old broad.

akanesasu12-1One thing Akanesasu Shoujo was not good at was animation in the little scenes. Characters just stood there, not moving, mouths often open, staring off at something not in the scene. My guess is they were saving up their energy for episode 12, the finale.

akanesasu12-3We get one surreal visual after another as Asuka walks with Super-Asuka, having agreed to go with her. Backgrounds turned black and white, fractured into, well, fragments, reformed when a verbal note had been taken. It’s unlike anything else in the series, even the Twilight world. It also gave the long scene an emotional power that the other episodes could never match. Well, that’s partly because this was not a silly alternate world full of forced marriages or western gunfights. Asuka, showing more canniness than I thought her capable of, quietly(!) and slowly wears Super-Asuka down, and allows her to feel the pain of losing Kyo that she had refused up to now. Turns out they each had ways to avoid the pain.

akanesasu12-2It’s a lovely scene, even if what happens afterwards doesn’t make much sense. Asuka returns to her world, Super-Asuka to wherever, and the Twilight attack just isn’t there any more. But Super-Asuka hadn’t been responsible for it, she had joined the dark side, so what happened to it? Not only that, there’s a ridiculous episode-filler scene where they find a new recruit for their club, even though we didn’t really care.

akanesasu12-4Oh, well. The series wasn’t all that great overall, to be honest. It had great moments, like the sheer absurdity of the alternate worlds, and I remember discovering that this show was going to be somewhat weird and absurd with a smile. And it did have some striking visual moments. The battles were almost always good to look at, if a little bright at times. The first half of episode 12 looked superb. Some of the background art, and the visual direction, was good, though again the clumsy character animation was a distraction. Good and bad. Not the best show I’ve seen, the weakest of the four I watched. On the other hand, I watched it to the end, and I can’t say that for some others.

Yagate and IndexIII 10

yakatekimi10-1The preview for next week’s Yagate Kimi ni Naru has Touko, after a terse comment from her unsmiling father about forcing herself to do this student council play, followed by a memory dream, announce that she’s going to become her late sister. Of course, this is a core issue in Touko’s character, one that she would not really deny to Yuu before, but it was set up in this episode like it was a startling revelation. While I appreciate this character asset, I’m not sure we needed to be reminded of it at this moment, unless they’re setting up a breakdown during summer camp rehearsals. That could be the case, especially when Konomi’s script prods at Touko’s identity issues (Touko plays a woman witn amnesia who has to decide which version of herself the people around her have of her), and, delightfully, casts Sayaka as her lover! I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Elsewhere, we get a nice scene with Yuu and Natsuki, where the latter says she held off inviting Yuu to join the high school club, because she’d have wound up doing it. In other words, having no passion of her own, Yuu gets roped into the passions of others, which is still the case. And yet her indifference is a thing that makes her appealing not only to Touko, but to Natsuki. Not that Natsuki’s going to make a love triangle out of this, but I wonder at how Yuu’s indifference attracts people.

To hell with the terrorists. Index always focuses on the important things.

To Aru Majutsu no Index III, after some goofing around with Misaka, has Touma and Index flying to England aboard a passenger jet where, naturally, there are terrorists. Apparently England/France relations are strained because the “Eurotunnel” got blown up, and the terrorists are French and want some revenge. The terrorists and the crew are equally inept. Well, Touma accidentally damaging a circuit that might get the plane blown up (something that is forgotten moments later) caused the terrorists some trouble. As for how the terrorists were defeated, Touma punches one of them, but the one skulking in the cargo hold with a grenade is harder to explain. Something about hot tea in the duct, which caused a thermal something, distracted the bad guy, but as for Stiyl showing up in stealth jet with magical, fiery cards, I really don’t have a clue. Neither did I really get the point of casting an illusion on the plane’s gauges so it looks like they have a fuel leak … But that’s Index for you. This week was sort of a prelude, a little adventure while magical forces on the ground do little plot things. We don’t have a clear picture of the conflict yet, and with this show, we may never get one. But who cares?

Yagate Kimi and Index III 9

yagatekimi9-1Yagate Kimi ni Naru 9 was about halfway through this sports festival episode when I realized that the show had not featured a race, or showed anyone obsessing about a race. How refreshing! Alas, just then they introduced Serizawa of the basketball team and her long, one-sided rival with Touko, and the big relay event that will guarantee bragging rights! But even with that, it’s not played too seriously. Serizawa and Touko bicker but are friendly, and the big moment of the race is not who wins, but when Yuu is transfixed by watching Touko run her lap. I didn’t think seeing Touko running would be the thing to inspire feelings in Yuu, but there you go.  Indeed, the sports festival is really a sideshow to what would happen afterwards–if Touko manages not to put moves on Yuu until it’s over, Yuu has to kiss HER and not vice-versa. It leads to the second awkward scene in the storage shed. You’d think if Yuu had realized any desire during the race, as she apparently had, she would find the strength to take the initiative, but to my surprise she still can’t, it doesn’t feel right. So once again it’s Touko taking the initiative, with tongue this time, so I guess that’s a step forward, and about the only one. Earlier there was a scene with Maki where Yuu claims she’s fine with not feeling love, and Maki not believing it, but it seemed out of place. So really the episode felt like a race with no winner, everyone running around to no real effect.

Nice moment, cool image, but it didn’t have the effect it should.

The Acqua arc finishes in To Aru Majutsu no Index III, and to no one’s surprise, it’s almost incomprehensible. We start with Kaori’s battle with Acqua, which before long turns one-sided. See, Acqua’s got not only his Saint powers, but the Right Hand of God’s, and also the Holy Mother’s though maybe there’s some overlap. After getting battered around a lot and realizing a weakness, Kaori calls on the other Amakusians to help her, seeing that her big mistake was thinking they needed her protection, a realization that might have had more power in the books but in the show is too brief to have any effect. And there’s a quick line in there about Acqua using basic magic in certain circumstances … Hmm. Anyway, even with everyone attacking, Acqua shrugs it off, mutters some more letters … and is stopped by Touma and his Imagine Breaker. Right on time. Then it’s a finishing blow and we switch to Touma’s hospital bed, and, er, the usual head-biting hijinks and Kaori talked into wearing a maid outfit, that sort of thing.

Not to mention the meat of the next story arc.

Plenty of time left, so they set up the new arc, in Rome, with Fiamma of the Right’s new plan to do, er, something in England. Normally it would be the usual cult-babble talk, but Fiamma’s talking about HIS right arm, which is St. Michael’s, and naturally we think about Touma’s right arm and what he doesn’t know about it. I’m curious myself to be honest; are the two arms’ powers incomplete? However. this looks to be a fight away from Academy City, so I’m not sure why Touma and some buddies are rushing to England in the previews. Oh, and Misaka tells Touma she knows about his amnesia, but since it’s during the battle they don’t make anything more of it. And what IS there to make of it? It happened so long ago that it doesn’t change much. One more thing: I loved Itsuwa handing Touma a towel. I wasn’t sure, but I suspected it was the same girl.