「猟犬部隊（ハウンドドッグ）」 (Ryouken Butai (Haundo Doggu))
“Hunting Dog Corps (Hound Dog)”
Now is it just me or is this series so much better when it doesn’t beat around the bush with religious mumbo jumbo and stuff actually happens on screen? We had Accelerator trying to get Kihara’s Hound Dogs off his back, Touma trying to do the same before Vento came along, and Kuroko causing a commotion over Mikoto like only she can. Throw in Uihara for good measure and the end result is To Aru Majutsu no Index just the way I like it.
The best part of it all is that the progression is seemingly straightforward, except with a lot of foreshadowing on things to come. This includes the attack on Academy City that Tsuchimikado’s looking into, and Anti-Skill mistaking Accelerator as the culprit after he was forced into a corner and went all sadistic on the Hound Dogs. The former served as a nice overarching problem that will need to be addressed before long, while the latter gave us something to be immediately engrossed in. Combined with Touma’s ongoing struggles fending off Vento and protecting Last Order, the balance between explicative dialogue and actual things happening this episode was ideal in my mind. It likely helped telling the story from multiple perspectives — a total of five if we include Kikyou and Aiho.
Interestingly enough, one of the things that really grabbed my attention was Kihara’s “no-nonsense, kill first, pick up the scraps” later attitude with both Accelerator and Vento. Kudos to Fujiwara Keiji for pulling off villainous roles like only he can, which at times makes it hard to believe he plays cheerful characters like Maes Hughes too. I don’t like Kihara one bit, but I do find it amusing how he’s a total ass with anyone and everyone, including his own men. I was actually hoping he would go head-to-head against Vento when she showed up, given how psychotic she is too (hats off to Hiramatsu Akiko for that).
However, it doesn’t look like we’re short of craziness this time around, as Accelerator even had me feeling sorry for the female Hound Dogs who he absolutely slaughtered. I don’t even recall him being this heartless during the Radio Noise Project (i.e. Sisters arc), though it could be that I’m just accustomed to how he’s softened up being around Last Order all the time. Of course, there’s always Kuroko in the crazy department as well, except when she flips out it always leads to good times for me. With all the havoc going on, the high tension attitudes all around seem appropriate though. It’s actually been calming when the focus flip to Touma, as he’s the only one who’s not going bat-shit insane to cope with all the problems on two fronts — the Hound Dogs and the Roman Catholic Church.
Anyway, I think we need Mikoto to start blasting all the bad guys away. Only my railgun~