「水の都」 (Mizu no Miyako)
“City of Water”
If you felt this season was a bit short on fan-service, then a certain magical index may just make you feel otherwise. All that stuff about magic and science clashing and a story beginning? That’s just a cover-up to get sisters out of their nun habits for all to see. Stab Swords and Croce di Pietros don’t have anything on this kind of religious taboo. To that end, what better way for the girls to strip down and be displayed in all their glory than on vacation in Italy, after Touma manages to win a pair of tickets despite his horrible luck. Naturally, what’s too good to be true turns out to be just that, as this lighthearted episode kicks off a new arc at the end with the return of the Roman Catholic Church. At this point, I can’t really say I’m expecting anyone other than that religious “cult” as the antagonists, though I am a bit surprised to see the return of Agnese in a very revealing outfit. I guess someone figured Orsola and Index fan-service may not be enough, and threw in the Kugimiya Rie-voiced Agnese for good measure. It never hurts to have options, so if one sister isn’t doing it for you, there are two more to choose from. Personally, I’m leaning towards Amakusa’s Itsuwa (Kayano Ai), who’s taken an interest in Touma after he beat down a bunch of nuns. Apparently, punching girls in the face wins other girls over. *shrug*
Given that we’re just over the midpoint of the series and that the episode opened with a monologue by Touma, it almost seemed like a recap was in order. Luckily, those were just some highlights from the end of the Daihaseisai — most notably Touma’s folk dance with Mikoto that prompted a drop kick from Kuroko — before things got underway with the aforementioned “what happens in
Vegas Italy stays in Italy” type of happenings. Afterward, things got rolling pretty quickly with the attack on Orsola, where Touma quickly landed a couple punches to the face, plus the summoning of a fleet ice ships for some yet to be revealed purpose. In conjunction with the animation quality moving back up several notches, this episode quickly reminded me of all the good aspects of this series that I enjoy. It almost made me forget about the previous six-episode arc, which didn’t look all that great and spent too much time talking about plot development instead of showing it. This time around, Touma didn’t say much and was unknowingly dragged into a religious conflict like usual, leaving the explanations for later. For now, I’m content with the assumption that the Roman Catholic Church is after the Book of Law again while Touma and Orsola try to figure out what’s going on. Judging from the preview, Amakusa and Tatemiya will be joining the mix again, so I’m secretly hoping that Kaori makes an appearance this arc as well.
I was actually expecting a new opening sequence as well this week, but it looks like the second one featuring Kawada Mami’s “See visionS” will be held off until next week at the very least. As for Kurosaki Maon’s “Memories Last”, it’s a lot less upbeat than “Magic world” and is much more befitting for an ending theme because of it. I’m finding that it works really well as an outro the more I listen to it.