“The Amakusa Style”
Whew, very fast pacing this episode, a bit rare for Index. Then again, season 2 has felt far faster (and better) paced than season 1, where nearly ten minutes of an episode was dedicated to Touma on the phone once. In hindsight, that is to be expected since the earlier novels had a very heavy focus on explanations and setting up the world, whereas from volume 7 onwards there is a lot more action and somewhat less exposition. In my opinion, the pacing was spot on for this episode, going from Touma, Index, and Stiyl cooperating with the Roman Catholic Church to set up a trap for the Amakusa Catholics, to the revelation that the real enemy of this arc is the RCC itself. I doubt many people were expecting this twist, with the Roman Catholics actually being the ones after Orsola, but when you think about it, it actually makes perfect sense. As Tatemiya Saiji (Toriumi Kousuke) stated, “Why would the largest Christian sect want to destroy the world ruled by Christians”? Naturally, they would try to kill the hypotenuse that could lead to the destruction of the Christian world. On the same token, I’m certain many people weren’t expecting the Amakusas’ true objective to be regaining Kanzaki’s respect, rather than seeking vengeance on her for leaving them. While some may think it was cruel for Kanzaki to leave the Amakusa, one must consider how hard it was on her, not being able to protect those under her and watching them die constantly; it’s understandable that she would step down as Lady Pontiff of the Amakusa. On a side note, Kanzaki looks lovely in a kimono. <3
As for the RCC, despite the their paranoia, Orsola’s true objective in learning how to read the Liber Al vel Legis is to destroy it, with the reasoning that the only way to destroy a grimoire, an object which brings nothing but pain and sorrow, is to understand it first. Surely a noble goal, but despite all the knowledge Orsola has supposedly gained, it obviously didn’t help in understanding the anatomy of a male, with her nearly giving Touma a moe heart attack when she asked him to put the necklace he received from Stiyl on her personally. A dangerous sister-san indeed. Speaking of dangerous sister-sans, we were finally formally introduced to the two prominent nuns that we caught a glimpse of last episode, Sister Angelene (Katakoka Azusa) and Sister Lucia (Ise Mariya). While Lucia appears to be a calm little nun, she’s actually very Yangire for people outside of the RCC, as shown when Touma merely patted her shoulder. Thanks to that though, we got a glimpse of Angelene and Lucia using their abilities. The anime rightfully skipped the lengthy explanations of the magic behind Angelene and Lucia’s abilities, but I’m here to fill in the blanks. Lucia’s magic is based on the legend of Catherine of Alexandria, a Pagan who converted to Christianity. In the past, many saints were executed due to their beliefs in Christianity, and in the many stories and art works depicting these executions, a spiked wheel can be seen behind the bodies of fallen saints. In many of these stories, the spiked wheels have been written to explode when touched by a saint, and when St. Catherine is executed the wheel which exploded killed all of the observers of her execution. As such, her principle symbol became the Spiked Wheel, and is now known as the Catherine Wheel. As we saw in this episode, when Lucia activates her spell, her spiked wheel explodes into many pieces that injure her opponent. As for Angelene, her magic is based on the Apostle Matthew as a tax collector. When infused with angelic power, the bags Angelene carries around her waist gain the ability to lock onto Angelene’s opponents and manifest a glow that represents the four elements of Water, Fire, Wind, and Earth. However, as Angelene is not an expert magician, her method of performing the spell is crude, which allows Index to easily intefere with the spell using “Spell Intercept”.
Magical explanations aside, the fights themselves this episode were relatively well done. One of the charms of Index is that it’s not a show that basis its fights around who has the biggest laser, but rather what’s the best strategy to beat the overpowered magicians that appear before Touma. In front of his right hand, all supernatural abilities are useless, so it makes for very interesting battles. Admittedly, much of the strategic thinking is lost in the translation from novel to anime (half of the strategy explanation comes from Touma’s head) but the anime did a good job of retaining the quick thinking feel of the scene between Stiyl, Touma, and Saiji. This certainly wasn’t the most well animated fight scene in the series, but the episode didn’t call for a big budget and the scene still came out looking okay for the most part. That said, this episode only gave us a small taste of Touma’s Falcon Punch, and I’m looking forward to seeing it’s glorious return in anime form when Touma certainly destroys the RCC’s screwed up illusion.
*Note: This episode covers Volume 7 Chapter 2 Part 5 to Chapter 3 Part 1 of the light novels (pages 135-216).
**Note: I said last episode covered around the first 169 pages of vol 7; I was off about 34 pages. ┐(￣ー￣)┌