「法の書」 (Hō no Sho)
“The Book of the Law”
With this episode arrives the true beginning of Index II, covering more or less the first 169 pages of volume 7 of the light novels. What can I say? It’s the usual Index fair, with an entire episode being dedicated to exposition, which is really good pacing when putting into context that this is adapting a light novel. Speaking of that, the first thought that came to my mind once the episode wrapped up was “thank god, they didn’t turn it into Shana II“. That’s right, everything in this episode is adapted directly from the light novels, even the delicious nun-service scenes. From what I’ve seen, there is a lot of misconception on the internet concerning the origin of these scenes. Well, I can assure you that every single scene in this episode is straight out of the original material. I can understand why some would find the service scenes a bit jarring, but they really weren’t that bad. There were three service scenes in total (unless of course you count meido-san Index) and all were placed at the very end of the episode and served to show how clumsy our new red-headed nun is.
Speaking of that certain red-headed nun, we’re formally introduced to battle nun loli Agnese Sanctis (Kugimiya Rie) this episode who, as I mentioned before, is rather clumsy. Of course, her clumsiness is understandable considering she walks around in the biggest pair of platform sandals I’ve ever seen. Of course, those screw up aren’t so bad for Touma, not until Index shows up at least. Being a Roman Catholic Church battle nun, she has been sent to track down and retrieve Orsola Aquinas (Endo Aya) and the Liber Al vel Legis from the Amakusa Catholics. Needless to say, it’s certainly an interesting plot to start off the second season with. The story is finally beginning to dive deeper into the magic aspect of the story and flesh out the ideas, characters, and institutions on that side of the Index world. We even got a little peak at England and St. George’s Cathedral while Stiyl and Necessarius Archbishop Laura Stuart (Kawasumi Ayako) were walking through the streets of London. While on that topic, I should probably mention the basis of the Amakusa Catholics and the Liber Al vel Legis involved in this arc. For those of lesser knowledge, both the Amakusa Catholics and the Liber Al vel Legis have connections to the real world. As Kanzaki mentioned back in episode 17 of the first season of Index, the Amakusa Catholics use a magical style incorporating both Christianity and Buddhism, a practice that developed from the need to hide themselves within society as Christians were once persecuted in Japan. As for the Liber Al vel Legis, or “Book of the Law”, it was written by none other than Aleister Crowley in 1904, supposedly guided by his guardian angel Aiwass. I won’t spoil anything, but sufficed to say that it’s not a coincidence that the Superintendent of Academy City is based on the real life Aleister Crowley.
Lengthy explanations aside, this was simply an exposition episode, as mentioned earlier. Personally, I can’t wait to get to the meat of the story when we’re formally introduced to the Amakusa Catholics next episode and find out their true motive for capturing Orsola. It seems that a sizable amount of action comes along with that, judging from the preview. I know a lot of people have been itching to see the fight scenes they had become somewhat accustomed to from season one, and have been disappointed that the first two episodes of season two have not offered a lot in the way of seat clinching action. However, in Index there can’t be good action without good plot development first, and with the set up for this arc out of the way the stage is set for a battle royal. Looking from the perspective of a novel reader, as I mentioned before, I take this episode as a good sign that J.C.Staff won’t go the route of Shana II with Index. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with putting in filler and focusing on love triangles, and I can understand why some people would enjoy that more than plot, but I watch and read Index for plot, and seeing J.C.Staff leave the story for what it is with minimal changes does my heart good.
EDIT: *Note: This episode covers the Prologue of volume 7 to Chapter 2 Part 4 of volume 7 of the light novels (pages 15-134).