「蓮の杖 (ロータスワンド)」 (Hasu no Tsue (Rōtasu Wando))
And so we finally arrive at the finale of this arc, and what a finale it was. While it was a bit rushed, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to the pacing with the sheer amount of win in this episode. The obvious highlight of this episode was the loli Falcon Punch Touma delivered to Agnese to break her illusions, a punch I’ve been waiting to see animated again for a long time. It felt wrong pumping my fists as a little girl got a new face arrangement, but you couldn’t help but feel excited to see the patented Touma Falcon Punch in action again. I found the fight itself between Touma and Agnese to be pretty good, although it mostly consisted of Touma getting beat around until he figured out a strategy, which is pretty common place for Index anyway. Of course, one of the reasons I like Index so much is because the battles require actual strategy on Touma’s part and not just a bigger laser, and that was shown in full force here when Touma faked out Agnese in order to cancel her magic, rush in, and get a hit in on her. Speaking of that, we were finally shown the Lotus Wand, the extremely long staff that Agnese carries around with her, in action this episode. The anime changed the basis of its power a little, but according to Agnese (in the anime) its ability is to transfer any damage done to the staff onto anything of the wielder’s choice. As usual, Index villains have pretty broken powers, but Touma and the gang overcome it with the reemergence of Innocentius, a spell we haven’t seen since episode 6 of season one, and this time it’s super-sized. Part of me was hoping that Majo Kari no Ou would start playing during the scene, but the new BGM was excellent in its own right and certainly gave the scene an epic feel to it.
The end of an arc also means a trip to the hospital for Touma, and just when he thought he was starting to get better at not being hurt. Even so, he should probably thank Agnese for sending him to the hospital this time, as a deredere Kanzaki was there waiting for him. After only seeing Kanzaki’s hard side whenever she’d show up in season one, it was nice to her soft side for once. I know some people were confused as to where this attitude came from, but you have to remember that this is not the first time Touma has solved her problems, and she feels greatly indebted to him as a result. That doesn’t mean that she’ll become a service station like Tsuchimikado suggests, but you should keep that in mind while watching Kanzaki interact with Touma. That said, I’m hoping this won’t be the last time we see Kanzaki flustered this season, since she’s just way too cute to not see do this again! Considering that Laura is only allowing the Amakusa to join the Anglican Church in order to keep a leash on Kanzaki, this is probably not the last time we will see Kanzaki needing the services of Touma.
Still, I had my fair share of problems with the finale of this arc, although they aren’t particularly noteworthy or big. As I mentioned earlier, this episode came off as very rushed, not showing Orsola, the Amakusa, or the Agnese Forces after Touma defeated Agnese, leaving it up to a verbal explanation from Kanzaki. While this is somewhat justifiable considering future events, as a standalone arc, I thought it was a very sloppy way to rap things up and could have been handled differently. I also didn’t like how sudden the shift from Touma being with the group to him confronting Agnese was, one moment he was with everyone and the next he was busting into where Agnese was located with no explanation as to how he found her location or how the group devised their plans. I understand that the anime has time constraints that it must adhere to, but I still believe there could have been better choreographing in the transition between those scenes.
That aside, looking at this arc overall, I found it to be an average Index arc in nearly every aspect. It wasn’t the worse, but certainly wasn’t one of the best either. While the story itself was interesting and gave us a chance to see the world outside of Academy City and how the major religious institutions go about conducting politics, the newly introduced characters in this arc were not given very good characterization and the interactions between them and Touma felt less impactful than say, when Touma rescued Index or fought Accelerator for Mikoto. In particular, I’m disappointed that Lucia and Angelene did not end up doing much this arc, despite the fact that they were made out to be Agnese’s two right hand
women. Likewise, the art and animation for this arc slipped quite a bit in contrast to other Index arcs, a degrade that was especially noticeable last episode, with tons of off model character designs and jerky animation, although this episode and episode 2 were okay as far as production values go. That said, I still found the arc entertaining and can’t find anything particularly important to gripe at other than those little peeves, so I’ll simply label it as okay. Moving on to next episode, we’ll be going into volume 8, which focuses on Kuroko and her battle against fellow teleporter Musujime Awaki (Sakurai Harumi). Of course, Uiharu and Mikoto are in it, so Railgun fans should be ecstatic, especially considering a Railgun OVA was just released last week.
*Note: This episode covers volume 7 Chapter 4 Part 3 to the Epilogue of volume 7 of the light novels (pages 285-344).