「速記原典（ショートハンド）」 (Sokki Genten (Shootohando))
“Stenography Text (Shorthand)”
Some payback was in order after Oriana’s Shorthand nearly killed Seiri, and Touma gladly obliges by doing what he does best after preaching — punching girls in the face! They don’t call it the Imagine Breaker for nothing, as Touma’s right hand saves me from wondering what it’s like to put scantily clad anime girls in their place. Not only that, it sure shattered the illusion that her single shirt button could hold up for as long as it did. The trade-off seemed to be my bewilderment over how Touma was able to stand there questioning Oriana about getting innocent people involved when Tsuchimikado was writhing in pain on the street after his regenerative ability was used against him. Granted, Touma didn’t go on nearly as long as he probably could have to confirm that Oriana deserved a punch in the face, before things got underway with her wide variety of Shorthand magical attacks. Ultimately, Touma does get the jump on her — much like he tends to do with everyone who’s up against his Imagine Breaker for the first time — but it does kind of surprise me how much of a beating he can take as a Level 0 esper. I probably could have done without the scene just before the commercial break where he convinced himself that he had to do this for Seiri’s sake, though it did reemphasize that that’s Touma for us.
In terms of story progression, all the Stab Sword stuff quickly went wayward when it was discovered that Oriana was carrying a billboard sign all along. Given her nickname, I can’t say it comes as too much of a surprise that it was a complete feint. In its place, the threat’s now been escalated to the Petrine Cross, a.k.a. the Cross of St. Peter. As we learn from Styil and Tsuchimikado, the inverted cross supposedly has the ability to place all the people around where it’s planted under the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, and can severely upset the science/magic balance of the world if it’s used in Academy City. While Laura’s naturally not fond of that idea and how the trade that’s happening is likely over who gets to rule over a converted Academy City, I’m curious as to what will become of all the Stab Sword build-up. At the moment, it’s only served as a plot device to work in some immediate suspense and showcase Oriana’s abilities as Route Disturb; however, the next episode is titled “Stab Sword” suggesting that it’s not completely out of the picture just yet. Incidentally, that’s good news to me, as I was looking forward to seeing what comes from a magical weapon that’s perceived as the nuke of the magic world. Whatever happens, this plot development did work well to reiterate that there’s always more to the story than we’re initially let on, which gives off a conspiracy-like vibe that I tend to enjoy.
On the more lighthearted side of things, we had a rivalry of sorts developing between Index and Mikoto. While there wasn’t too much to take away from their bickering, I did get a good laugh out of Index questioning Mikoto if she’s Touma’s girlfriend or something. It just had to be in front of Touma’s parents as well, plus Misuzu who’s clearly a Touma x Mikoto shipper that will happily push her own daughter into Touma’s arms. For the time being, I don’t see too much coming from that though, as the focus shifts back to Oriana in her new outfit next time. She did make further contact with Lidvia Lorenzetti (Sakuma Rei) this episode (as noted in the credits), who’s expressed some concern over the transaction going well. Subtle foreshadowing or not, it’s probably safe to say that Touma and the others will foil their plans in the end, so I’m just curious to see how Himegami gets dragged into the mess next time. There’s also Komoe with blood all over her, whose I’d imagine would be Stiyl’s since he’s seen in the park with her in the preview just prior.
* P.S. I find it hard to believe that Oriana’s wearing any underwear at all.