“Grand Champion Star Festival “
And we finally arrive at Daihaseisai, the great festival where espers from all over congregate to test their skills against one another. Needless to say, with this type of event taking place we’re able to see a clusterfuck of an episode with nearly every character in the series introduced thus far making an appearance, bringing back first season side characters such as Himegami Aisa, Aogami Pierce, and Tsukuyomi Komoe. Ah, and lest we not forget that even Aleister Crowley and Laura Stuart were slipped in during this montage of character appearances. The reappearance of various character and their interactions with each other will probably turn out to be the number one charm of this arc. That said, I thought this episode captured the spirit of Daihaseisai perfectly, showing all of the students competing in games with their school and Touma bouncing around from one place to the next. This also gave us another great excuse to see Touma and Mikoto interact more, much to the chagrin of Kuroko. I found their exchange at the beginning of the episode extremely cute, as they were making bets on whose school would win the competition between each other. It probably didn’t occur to either one of them, but they looked just like a flirting teenage couple during that scene, a fact that obviously didn’t slip pass their parents, who witnessed the scene. Speaking of which, this Daihaseisai not only gives us the chance to see all the students within Academy City who we’ve been introduced to so far come together and interact, but to see the parents of Touma and Mikoto as well. Of course, we were introduced to Touma’s parents back in the Angel Fall arc of the first season, but this is the first time we have been shown Mikoto’s mother, Misaka Misuzu (Shinohara Emi), who looks like Mikoto’s older sister rather than her mother. If her looks are any indication of how Mikoto will turn out in the future, then Touma should hurry up and get his dense head out of his ass before it’s too late, because any man would be dying to nab that.
The highlights of this episode though were probably the introductions of our other two newest members of the cast: the uptight, headstrong, top heavy committee member Fukiyose Seiri (Fujimura Ayumi) and the curvasious, flirtacious, Western magician Oriana Thomson (Yuzuki Ryouka). From first impressions, you can’t really get a sense of whether Seiri is tsundere for Touma or just full on tsuntsun, and likewise it’s difficult to get a hold on exactly what her archetype is. While she has a habit of hitting Touma when he acts like an idiot, she shows no outward affection of the romantic kind towards him and is more playful with than genuinely irritated by his
misfortunate antics, shown when she jokes he’d obviously go support the girl’s sport event rather than the boys’ as he is “Kamijou after all” . She also doesn’t seem to be aware of her own charms as a female, as she finds no shame in getting her shirt wet and doesn’t even realize that her bra could be showing as a result. It’s also odd that she didn’t blush at all when Touma walked in on her while she was changing (might I mention that that scene was indeed DELICIOUS). Basically, it’s difficult to tell whether Seiri is an airhead, naive, or simply doesn’t care about the fact she is a girl with female parts. In contrast, our other new temptress seems to be far more aware of herself, or not, considering the outfit that she’s wearing. While we only caught a mere two minutes of her this episode, it was easy to tell that she’ll be a very sultry opponent for Touma, Stiyl, and Tsuchimikado. It’ll just be a shame when Touma has to Falcon Punch that pretty face of her’s, which we all know will happen.
Speaking of that, we’re given another magic side problem within the midst of this festival on the science side. While I think this arc would have been perfectly fine if it concentrated strictly on the sports festival aspect, I also think that the festival plot device is far overused in Japanese anime and the magical rendezvous plan overarching the festival adds an interesting element to what would otherwise be your standard trope. As for the plot itself, we’re once again dealing with the Roman Catholic Church and one of their nuns. It should be getting a bit clearer at this point that the RCC is becoming the main antagonist of the Index world on the magic side, so it should be no surprise to see it being the one plotting some kind of scheme again, this time involving the holy relic “Stab Sword”, which has the power to instantly kill a saint with by using the religious symbolism of Jesus being stabbed to death on the cross. As Tsuchimikado warned, the only reason why anyone would want this type of weapon is to prepare for war, but considering how the villains always have some underlying plans in Index, what appears to be their intention on the surface is probably something completely different.
*Note: This episode covers the Prologue of volume 9 to Chapter 2 Part 7 of volume 9 of the light novels (pages 10-152). Also, this arc is the first one that spans over two volumes in the series, so this will have 6 episodes in all (3 covering volume 9, 3 covering volume 10).