「女王艦隊」 (Joou Kantai)
“The Queen’s Fleet”
They say payback’s a bitch, but from my perspective, I was happy seeing Touma take a right punch to the face for a change. Granted, Agnese’s punch didn’t quite have the same oomph as the one she received during the Book of Law arc, plus Touma returned the favor by shredding up her nun habit like only he can. First Index, now Agnese, and later Lucia and Angelene in his sleep. Touma’s an animal! Can we get some more safety pins over here?
Amidst the lighthearted humor, this episode had an abundant amount of explicative dialogue detailing the magical spell known as the Queen of the Adriatic Sea. After Touma was dragged into this mess last time and we were taken along for the ride, the time spent clearing things up and changing my perspective on Agnese’s character was actually appreciated. While I’m still pretty indifferent to the fact that the story’s done a quick reversal on us and suddenly made her out to be the victim of the Roman Catholic Church’s schemes, namely using her to activate the aforementioned spell due to her affinity with the Rosary of Appointed Time (Kokugen no Rosario), the extra focus on Lucia (Ise Mariya) and Angelene (Kataoka Azusa) is a nice fallout from it. My initial impression of them in this series was that they were just another pair of psychotic religious fanatics, yet I was admittedly anticipating some more depth to their characters given how they stood out from the crowd. So far, this arc’s provided just that, along with flashbacks of a childhood of poverty to elicit some compassion from the viewers. Personally, it wasn’t enough for me to feel sympathetic towards their situation, but it did make me more understanding of why they’re desperately trying to save Agnese.
In contrast, the one girl who I’m completely supportive of in her endeavors would be Itsuwa. Her repeated hot towel attempts to put herself under Touma’s radar are rather cute and show just how patient she is with him. It’s as if she took a page out of Keima’s book about sowing the seeds in a relationship by increasing the number of encounters. It’s just too bad she fell in love with such a dense guy who may never pick up on all the hints she’s dropping and actually start a conversation with her. How Touma’s able to ignore her tight tank top and low-rise pants is beyond me, especially when he got up close and personal with both. I guess he must have some sort of a sister fetish after all.
In terms of production quality, consistency looks like it’s returned in a good way this arc. The character designs are a lot better proportioned, even in the case of Agnese’s anorexic figure, though I can’t really say much about the animation side of things since there simply hasn’t been that much movement. The battle at sea between magical ships doesn’t exactly count, leaving most of the actual action on the tail end of this episode when Touma boarded the flagship of the fleet with the help of Tatemiya and the rest of the Amakusa members. In lieu, there were quite a few panning shots for me to spend time putting together, which look nice but come off as an inexpensive way to fill up time. Hopefully the next episode will continue on with the pace that this one left off on, as we not only have battling sisters but also a bishop by the name of Biagio Busoni who could use a punch or two to the face. Best of all, he’s voiced by a veteran seiyuu, the one and only Wakamoto Norio.
* There was a tweet on the official site saying the new opening sequence will be included with episode 17.