To Aru Majutsu no Index – 18
As summer vacation comes to an end, Mikoto has some free time and decides to go to the convenience store to read some manga. However, outside her school, she’s approached by a boy named Unabara Mitsuki, and he insists on going wherever she goes. Mikoto finally figures out how to get rid of him when she sees Touma with his friends, so she pretends that she was meeting with Touma there. After tackling him because he ignored her, she forces him to play along and drags him off. The plan is for them to stick together today and hope that it makes Mitsuki stop following her around. The problem is that Mikoto starts to get embarrassed around Touma, especially when he points out the mustard on her nose and when their food gets mixed up. Mikoto does get a chance though to tell Touma about the fate of the Sisters and how most have been sent outside the city. She also helps Touma with some homework that he has to do and then leaves to buy some drinks.
While Mikoto is gone, Touma sees Mitsuki help a boy catch a runaway dog, and he comes over to chat afterward. Mitsuki doesn’t try to hide his feelings for Mikoto, and he also ends up helping Touma with his homework. When Mikoto finally returns and sees the two together, she drags Touma off again and lectures him against becoming friends with Mitsuki, but Touma now sees Mitsuki as a good guy. Mikoto ultimately decides to end the farce of Touma as her boyfriend, however she decides to treat him to something to eat first. Mikoto thus runs off to a fast food restaurant, and Touma encounters Mitsuki again while she’s away. What surprises Touma is that, shortly thereafter, he sees someone who looks exactly like Mitsuki dash into the fast food restaurant. What Touma isn’t able to observe is that the goal of this person – the real Mitsuki – is to warn Mikoto to run away. When Touma tells Mitsuki about what he saw, Mitsuki notes that there are espers who can change their appearance, so Touma goes to investigate. However, right as Touma starts to walk off, he’s punched in the back by Mitsuki.
This fake Mitsuki turns out to be a mage with a black dagger-like item that lets him fire off destructive blasts, so Touma runs away. While he’s on the move, he calls up Index to make sure she’s okay, and she gets him to describe the person who’s chasing him. She’s able to identify the obsidian weapon to be a replica of the lance of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, an Aztec god, and she explains that Aztec priests have a technique where they can appear like someone given a piece of that person’s skin. After hanging up on Index, Touma runs into a dead end inside a construction site, so he’s forced to face the fake Mitsuki. He’s able to stop fake Mitsuki from using the weapon with cement powder, and he follows it up with a punch from his right hand that cracks fake Mitsuki’s face.
When Touma demands answers, fake Mitsuki points to how Touma controls the 103,000 magical texts inside Index and to how there is a powerful group forming around Touma consisting of his mage and esper friends. Fake Mitsuki claims that this is threatening the power balance of the two worlds, and his target was not just Touma, but everyone involved with him. The two then resume their fighting, and fake Mitsuki is now able to use his weapon again. He’s not able to hit Touma though before Touma destroys the weapon with his right hand, however fake Mitsuki does get off a blast that dislodges some steel beams overhead. During a subsequent pause in the fighting, Touma wonders if what fake Mitsuki said about Mikoto was fake too, but surprisingly, fake Mitsuki actually has real feelings for her. The two then resume their fight, and it ends only after fake Mitsuki gets buried under several steel bars. Realizing that he’s lost, fake Mitsuki warns that the attacks aren’t over, and he wonders if Touma can protect Mikoto. Touma promises that much, and what he doesn’t realize is that Mikoto had arrived on the scene moments earlier and had overheard all this.
Well I think the highlight this episode has to be all of Mikoto’s blushing and her growing feelings for Touma. I was wondering after the first half if this episode would consist entirely of that (which I certainly wouldn’t have been opposed to), but lo and behold, something magic happened and there was a good deal of action after all. What I found interesting, aside from Mikoto, was that Touma and company are seen as a threat to the balance of the science and magic worlds, and that would seem to imply that the story might involve both sides more from now on.
I was also a little surprised at how standalone this episode was. The series thus far has been made up of multi-episode arcs, and this is the first time we’ve seen something start and get resolved in the same episode. Granted, I’m sure that there’ll be more to all this in the future with whatever organization fake Mitsuki belonged to – in other words, this was probably a harbinger of things to come – but for the time being, the story is turning instead towards Accelerator and the young Misaka sidekick that he appears to be getting. On that note, a bad guy getting paired with a young girl to (I suspect) rehabilitate the bad guy’s image? I’m reminded of Sesshoumaru and Rin from Inuyasha…