「魔滅の声(シェオールフィア)」 (Mametsu no Koe (Sheōru Fia))
“Voice of the Demon Killer (Sheol Fear)”
And so Agnese finally shows her true colors; a deranged loli with a superiority complex who loves beating up helpless blondes. After the revelation last episode that the RCC were the ones who were actually conspiring to kill Orsola, I’m sure many people were interested in seeing how Agnese, who seemed to be a harmless little piece of fanservice, actually operated, and here we have it. Admittedly, there was something odd about watching a Kugimiya Rie voiced loli act as a villain, physically abusing her victim in a nun gang rape, but I thought Rie played the role surprisingly well and hit all the right notes while taunting Orsola, or that’s how it sounded to my ears at least. As for the actual beating, I didn’t find myself too enraged at seeing Orsola get gangraped, although it did make my thirst to see Agnese get falcon punched grow. We just haven’t gotten a lot of focus on Orsola to really care about her well being, and the only bit of real interaction we got out of her was last episode, and only for about three minutes. Of course, this is the norm for Index, as character development and relations aren’t the real draw or focus of this series. Having said that, I still would appreciate to see the characters Touma saves get more focus, as it would help with the emotional value of watching them being saved.
That aside, the episode overall was solid, if a bit fast-paced. Watching the battle royal unfold between the nuns, the Amakusas, and Touma’s group was pretty thrilling, and having it culminate in a group of nuns mutilating themselves was a nice touch. In particular, I like how we’re shown more of the setting outside of Academy City, which appears to be your average Japanese neighborhoods and cities, of course with the addition of a gigantic church being constructed in dedication to Orsola. It was also nice seeing Touma be the badass he is again, charging headfirst into the army of nuns to save Orsola. One has to wonder where whether he’s brave or just stupid, but it can’t be contested that at the very least he has balls. The most interesting part of the episode, for me at least, was Index’s Sheol Fear, which points out the contradictions in the use of magic through religion in the form of a chorus, using the 103,000 grimores as a basis of knowledge to point out those contradictions. At least, that’s what I think Stiyl was saying. It’s definitely an interesting use of the 103,000 books, and just serves to highlight Index is more than a little pet. In hindsight, this arc has really served to show how useful she can be, when put in the right situations. It also appears the producers took extra care in drawing her, as she’s the only one who didn’t come off looking a bit odd in this episode.
Speaking of that, there was a fairly noticeable drop in quality this episode, not to suggest that last episode was all that hot either. In my write up for the first episode, I commented that it appeared the series got an increase in budget judging from the production quality, but this episode would suggest otherwise. While the backgrounds were solid for the most part, the character designs were suspect at best, and some of the action scenes were just plain painful. In particular, the below average production quality (by Index standards anyway) took away the impact of the nun ear stabbing scene for me, which, while still gruesome and cringe worthy, came off feeling a bit lukewarm as a result of poor choreographing and odd art work. Even so, there were some pretty good parts, like when the nuns were bombing the church or when Index activated Sheol Fear, and overall the production quality was still very good in comparison to other less popular anime. Looking at it from a broader perspective, this might be a result of J.C.Staff producing 4 shows this season, with Otome Youkai Zakuro in particular having some very nice production values. So, hopefully after Zakuro and Milky Homes end this season we won’t see such a severe drop in quality anymore. That said, next episode appears to have some very nice art and animation, judging from the preview, and considering it’s the finale for this arc I’m hoping the production is at the very least decent.
*Note: This episode covers volume 7 Chapter 3 Part 2 to Chapter 4 Part 3 of the light novels (pages 216-285).