To Aru Majutsu no Index – 24 (END)
Touma rushes down the tunnel after Hyouka, but he gets stopped by Cromwell who informs him that she let Ellis run ahead but also let Hyouka by. When Touma questions what she’s after, Cromwell explains that, twenty years ago, there was an attempt to create a user of both magic and esper powers. The original Ellis was Cromwell’s friend and an esper and had died protecting Cromwell when their facility was destroyed. This is what makes Cromwell feel that the science and magic sides should stay segregated, and Touma realizes that Cromwell would be satisfied with a situation where a war is merely about to happen. Cromwell then brings out all the magic seals that are on the tunnel around them with the intent to bring everything down, but Touma notices a seal in particular at Cromwell’s feet, and he realizes that this is the one she’s using to protect herself. He rushes at it and dispels it with his right hand, and that leads to the ceiling collapsing around Cromwell. Although this doesn’t crush her, it does leave her open to Touma’s follow-up punch. Touma is angry that Cromwell got Hyouka and Index involved, and he feels that true strife comes from pointing a weapon at someone. Cromwell admits that she’s been confused, so Touma points out that she merely did not want to lose someone important, and he doesn’t want her taking someone important – Index – from him either.
In a rage, Cromwell lunges at Touma, but he easily punches her and knocks her out. This leads to the golem going into automatic control mode up above ground, but fortunately, Hyouka arrives in time to save Index. Hyouka tries to get Index to escape while she keeps the golem at bay, and when Index objects, Hyouka reveals that she’s not human. Hyouka wants to protect Index because Index is her friend, however right as she’s about to get hit by the golem’s fist, Touma runs in and dispels the golem. In the aftermath, Mikoto arrives on the scene, sees the mess, and guesses that this is all Touma’s doing. She doesn’t get to stay very long though because Kuroko drags her away, and Touma subsequently decides to go talk with Hyouka. Hyouka felt that she had to save Index, but she thinks that this means that she’ll have to lose her friend because Index now knows that she’s a monster. Touma, however, feels that her pain and sadness mean that she’s human. As if on cue, Index appears, and although she’s initially angry, when she gets close, she jumps into Hyouka’s arms because she still sees Hyouka as a friend. Meanwhile, in Aleister Crowley’s lair, Tsuchimikado comments on how Crowley is getting closer to the completion of the key to control the Imaginary Number District – Five Elements Institution. Based on his deductions, Tsuchimikado thinks that Crowley is trying to artificially construct heaven, and he warns Crowley that if he plans to make use of the Imagine Breaker, then he should be ready for the right hand to consume his illusions. Crowley, however, claims that the illusions he believe in have long been broken.
Since he came out of all this relatively unscathed, Touma visits the doctor and is quite happy about how things turned out. Down in the hospital lobby, Index notices Hyouka starting to phase out, and Hyouka acknowledges that she has an unstable existence. She knows that she has to disappear, but she feels that it’s not death and that she’ll be at Index’s side even if Index can’t see her. As she vanishes, Hyouka promises Index that she’ll come play again sometime. With this, things return back to normal: Index is bored at home, Himegami is still in Touma’s class, Tsuchimikado has a job to attend to, Accelerator is recovering with Last Order by his side, Yoshikawa places the aforementioned two in the care of Yomikawa, and Kuroko is still making moves on Mikoto. Unbeknownst to Touma and Index, Archbishop Laura Stuart is off somewhere telling Stiyl that they need Index’s help. Stiyl wants to head to Japan with Kaori to get Index and Touma, but Laura reports that they can’t get in touch with Kaori. Back at school, Touma finds a hungry Index waiting for him. She’s angry at him because there wasn’t any food left in the refrigerator, and yet he’s currently eating something delicious without her.
Well I can’t say I liked this finale. Cromwell’s reason for doing all this was muddled – some mixture of revenge for the past and wanting to keep the science and magic sides separated – and I really can’t stand Touma’s preaching. Hyouka meanwhile somehow got super ninja powers, and yet it ended up being Touma who had to save the day anyway. I actually laughed at that scene because of how time slowed down just so that Touma could preach some more while he was airborne – it was almost as ridiculous as the never-ending dash from back in episode six. Hyouka’s concern about losing Index was also quite contrived, though I will give them a little credit for the scene where she disappeared. Regardless, the most enjoyable part of the episode ended up being the ending song playing over the epilogue scenes for all the characters.
They seem to be hinting at a sequel with the scenes between Tsuchimikado and Crowley and between Stiyl and Laura – neither of which makes much sense at this point – but as most of you probably know by now, the To Aru Kagaku no Railgun side story manga is going to be animated first. I’ll probably watch that because I’ve been a much bigger fan of Mikoto’s than any other character on this show, but at this point, I have to say that I’m not too motivated to watch another Index series if they ever make one (and knowing J.C.Staff, they probably will).
Final Thoughts: In retrospect, this has been a show that I’ve generally criticized more than I’ve complimented, and that’s been due in large part to how there are a lot of long – sometimes boring, more often confusing – stretches of exposition. That really bogged down what would have otherwise been a pretty interesting action series that had good production quality. I probably enjoyed the show the most when Mikoto was around, but there really wasn’t enough of that, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the Railgun anime turns out.