To Aru Majutsu no Index – 09
After Stiyl leads Touma back into the cram school building, they find an unconscious Index with Aureolus and Himegami at the top. Keeping Touma from immediately charging forward, Stiyl tells Aureolus that he won’t be able to accomplish his goal of saving Index. As it turns out, Aureolus was Index’s partner three years ago, and because he still thinks that she needs her memories erased every year, he’s come up with a plan to turn her into a vampire because vampires can save an infinite amount of memory and not lose their self. Aureolus is thus shocked when Stiyl reveals that Touma has already saved Index from that problem using the Imagine Breaker. Stiyl feels that Aureolus’ efforts were completely in vain, and he cites how Index is quite happy with her current partner, just like Aureolus wanted. As if to prove that point, Index starts calling out to Touma in her sleep because she’s hungry. Furious at how his feelings have been trampled on, Aureolus uses his ability to force Touma and Stiyl onto the ground and prepares to kill them. Himegami once again steps in to stop him, but since Aureolus no longer needs her, he doesn’t hesitate to kill her.
While unconscious, Himegami remembers how she attracted vampires in the past and how they died when they bit her. She had agreed to help Aureolus because it would allow her to save instead of kill and because she could tell that his sole desire was to save the one he loved. The only thing that prevents her from dying from Aureolus’ command now is Touma using his right arm to free himself and then touching her with it. Touma is furious, and he counters whatever Aureolus throws at him – suffocation, electrocution, and death by crushing – with his right hand. Realizing that Touma can negate anything his right hand can touch, Aureolus conjures up a gun that can fire a bullet at a speed that exceeds human kinetic vision. His first shot is to the left of Touma though, and to make things more entertaining, he conjures up ten guns and fires them all at Touma’s body. He intentionally doesn’t do any damage to Touma, and as he gets ready to fire again, Stiyl interrupts him with the observation that he can distort reality with his words. Stiyl goes on to question why Aureolus needed Deep Blood if he could have just created a vampire with Ars Magna.
Before Stiyl can completely finish what he’s saying, Aureolus uses his ability to lift Stiyl into the air and rip off all his skin. Seeing this makes Touma want to throw up, but Stiyl’s words resonate within him, and he starts to question why Aureolus didn’t just order for Index to be saved. Touma suspects that Aureolus simply hadn’t thought that he could save Index, and from all this he realizes the true nature of Aureolus’ power. Aureolus acts first by cutting off Touma’s right arm, but Touma reacts by laughing, and none of Aureolus’ subsequent attacks hit their mark. As Touma slowly approaches and challenges Aureolus to use his power, the alchemist panics and thinks that his Ars Magna has lost its power. He tries to stop himself from thinking that, but it’s already too late. Touma already knows that Aureolus’ power is not the ability to distort reality with his words, but rather the ability to make his thoughts into reality. Based on that, Touma’s arm turns into a dragon’s head, and the sight of that puts an end to the battle for Aureolus.
In the aftermath, Touma finds himself back in the hospital with his hand reattached. Stiyl pays him a visit and notes that the dragon was the form of the despair that Aureolus had felt. Aureolus had subsequently lost all of his memories and his ability to use magic, but because putting an end to him would have made Stiyl feel guilty, Stiyl had changed Aureolus’ face and figure before setting him free. Stiyl knows that what Touma did was simply to make Aureolus self-destruct, and he makes Touma realize that he was similar to Aureolus in several ways. Index and Himegami then show up to visit Touma, so Stiyl leaves. Himegami wants to thank Touma, and when she questions why Touma saved her, he explains that he doesn’t need a reason to do so. Index ends up revealing that the church will be taking care of Himegami, and as she watches Touma yell at Index for bringing Sphinx to the hospital, Himegami smiles.
Well that was rather disappointing. Visually, the battle was very impressive to watch. In fact, with all the blood and Stiyl getting his skin ripped off, this episode had more grotesque stuff than CHAOS;HEAD has had in recent weeks (which says as much about CHAOS;HEAD as it does this series). The problem wasn’t with the production quality though, it was with the plot. They spent all this time making us wonder what Aureolus was after and how it was connected to Deep Blood, and it turned out to be simply something that had already been done. As a climax to the arc, I thought that was really weak. It’s not exciting to see a character realize that everything he did was in vain because he didn’t bother to keep tabs on Index and what was going on with her in the three years since he’d seen her. He was even too stupid to figure out that he could just use his amazing power to get what he wanted. It’s even worse when the audience had to partake in the buildup towards that, particularly in regard to the Deep Blood and Himegami angles. In fact, I’d say that all the Deep Blood and Himegami stuff was completely unnecessary given how irrelevant they were to the conclusion.
In the bigger picture, was there a purpose to this arc other than introducing Himegami and creating another challenge for Touma to overcome? Index’s involvement wasn’t all that deep, Aureolus is finished, and it looks like from the preview that we’re already moving on to the next part of the story with Mikoto and the guy who Touma fights in the OP. I’m not getting my hopes up, but for this next arc I’d like to see a bit less exposition and a better conclusion.