To Aru Majutsu no Index – 17
I’ve listened to this song a few times now, but it just doesn’t appeal to me all that much. I think I may have said this before, but Kawada Mami’s songs have started to sound all the same to me, and nothing about this song makes unique. At least the animation that goes with this OP is interesting with the inclusion of several new characters and what looks like a new villain.
Upon finding his father on the beach, Touma questions why he got involved in occult stuff. Although initially hesitant to say anything, his father eventually explains that it has to do with how Touma used to be known as a jinx because of all his misfortune. He sent Touma to Academy City because it wasn’t a superstitious place, but even science couldn’t get rid of the misfortune, and that’s why he relied on the occult. This frustrates Touma because despite the misfortune, he never said that he regretted it, and he wants to walk his own path. Realizing that Touma had actually been happy, Touma’s father promises to give up on collecting the souvenirs, but this alarms Touma because it means that his father hadn’t been talking about Angel Fall. In fact, Touma’s father doesn’t even know what Angel Fall is, and Touma confirms that his father can’t tell apart the people who had been switched, meaning that he is indeed being affected by Angel Fall. When Misha finally appears, Touma tries to protect his father, but Misha pulls out a weapon.
Fortunately, Kaori shows up at that moment to stop her, and she reveals that this girl isn’t actually Misha. Kaori had found out from the Russian church that there was only someone named Sasha Kreuzhev, and she suspects that the person in front of them now had borrowed that appearance. What’s more, Kaori thinks that this person is an angel, and when the angel turns day into night and reveals its wings, she realizes that it’s the power of God, Gabriel. With Gabriel looking ready to destroy the world, Touma points out that the angel had tried not to touch his right hand, meaning that the Imagine Breaker works on angels as well. Kaori, however, doesn’t want Touma fighting and tells him to go stop Angel Fall instead so that Gabriel won’t go after Touma’s father and purge the world. Kaori claims that she doesn’t intend to waste her life here, and she wants Touma to save her like he did with Index before. Given that, Touma takes his father and returns to the inn, leaving Kaori to fight Gabriel.
Kaori knows that theoretically she can’t defeat an angel of the same Christian faith as her, but fortunately for her, her Amakusa-shiki church is a fusion of religions, in this case Shinto and Buddhism with Christianity. Even with this though, she has a hard time going up against Gabriel, so she’s relying on Touma to stop Angel Fall. By now, Touma and his father are back inside and have found everyone knocked out. Touma still thinks that his father knows something about Angel Fall and tries to get him to reveal the ritual location, but Tsuchimikado appears and stops him. Tsuchimikado explains that the person responsible for Angel Fall is indeed Touma’s father, but he himself isn’t aware of it. This confuses Touma because Angel Fall requires a large-scale location for the ritual, so Tsuchimikado explains that the location is Touma’s parent’s home. All of those souvenirs that his father collected are placed in the right spots in accordance with feng shui, and that made for a synergistic effect that led to one big power.
This all thus happened by chance, and to stop it, they have to destroy the magic square in one shot. Otherwise, they have to defeat the person responsible. Since Tsuchimikado can’t use magic, he prepares his fists for the latter option, so Touma protects his father. Tsuchimikado, however, easily knocks Touma down and then does the same to Touma’s father when he tries to protect his son. With both of them out of the way, Tsuchimikado then pulls out some canisters with paper bits and origami creatures. Putting everything in the right spots, Tsuchimikado proceeds to cast a spell, and because he shouldn’t be able to use magic, he starts bleeding and violently coughing up blood. His goal all along was not to kill the person responsible but to destroy the magic square at the cost of his own life, and since he knew that Touma would try to stop him, he beat him up. Right as the spell finishes casting, Tsuchimikado admits to being a liar. A large blast then goes from the inn to Touma’s parent’s house, destroying it and stopping Angel Fall.
As a result of this, Gabriel stops fighting Kaori and disappears. When Touma regains consciousness a little while later, he finds Tsuchimikado lying dead in a pool of blood. In the aftermath, Touma is again admitted into the hospital. Much to his surprise, he’s paid a visit by Tsuchimikado who turns out to be still alive and well thanks to his esper power called Auto Rebirth. Tsuchimikado has also brought along Touma’s parents, and Touma finally gets to see his real mother in person. Since their home was destroyed, Touma’s parents reveal that they’ve moved temporarily back into their old home. Touma is visited by Index who still remembers how badly she was treated during Angel Fall despite the fact that it wasn’t her appearance. In her anger, she bites Touma again.
Well that was a rather convenient, deus ex machina way to keep Tsuchimikado alive. Obviously though Tsuchimikado isn’t a major character (at least I don’t think he is), so it’s not that big a deal – I’m just a little irked that there wasn’t some more creative way to let him use magic and live through it. The fact that Angel Fall was all thanks to just a coincidence was also a little disappointing, but at least Touma’s father turned out to be a good guy. I think the moral here is that we should all study feng shui and gather tons of charms and souvenirs if we want to change the world.
In any case, this episode was fairly good overall, but the arc didn’t end as well as I had hoped given how it started. A lot of religion stuff in the middle of this episode also seemed way out of place. The whole angel Gabriel thing was surreal, and the fact that Kaori claimed to be able to fight an angel because her own religion was a fusion of Christianity, Buddhism, and Shintoism bordered on ridiculous. It seems like the story is just using religion where convenient to the plot, and it doesn’t have much of a grounding in actual religion or religious thought. I’m not saying that that’s what I want out of a series like this, but as it is right now, that aspect of the story feels a bit shallow. Oh well, I guess it’s still entertaining. Anyway, next week things look to improve with a return to the science side and Mikoto.