More of the same, but is that necessarily a bad thing?
Last night I got to watch the first episode of another show I have been really looking forward to this season. Beyond Panty & Stocking (with Garterbelt) and Yosuga no Sora (both shows that have met my expectations thus far), the second season of Index is something that I have been patiently waiting for. Even though I got to watch Railgun a few couple seasons ago, it focused on Misaka who is my second favorite character in the franchise (the first being Touma). With that said, sure, Railgun was cool, I got to see Misaka kick some serious ass, but deep down I just wanted to know more about Touma’s Imagine Breaker. So let’s hope this season doesn’t disappoint.
Before I begin in earnest, I want to say that the first season really left me hanging. After the first few story arcs, the idea of Touma using his right arm (the Imagine Breaker) became something that brought me back to the show on a weekly basis. It was something that not even the character that used it knew much about, so it was interesting to learn whatever bits and pieces the show gave me. However, the first season didn’t really focus that much on Touma; I felt that the goal of the season was to introduce characters. Hell, we even got a two (or was it three?) episode arc that had another character as the protagonist. Most of the arcs were about different girls that needed help. By the end of the series Touma had saved Index, that Himegami shrine maiden chick, Misaka, MISAKA, Kazakiri Hyouka and probably Misaka and Index a couple more times. In the end we had a pretty big cast but not much character development. As you guys might have guessed by now, I’m huge on character development. Even the last arc of the series was kind random and lame: it ended with a fight versus a golem and then that was the end of the series. No dangling plotlines, no suggestions, just a battle and then credits. It felt awfully out of tempo. I really hope that the writers focus on character development, or even plot development rather than introducing more characters. The plot in the last series seemed almost random: the main characters ended up fighting a bunch of random people from random factions, there was really nothing binding the story together. So with that, I’m really expecting a lot from this season.
Toaru Majutsu no Index.
For those of you that haven’t watched the first season or the spin-off (Railgun) I guess I should catch y’all up: The series is about this dude named Touma who lives in a city called the Academy City. It is the most technologically advanced city in the world and scientists from all over try to get jobs there because it is the foremost leader in the research of esper/psychic powers. Touma however, is not an esper (someone who can use psychic powers) and is thusly dubbed a level 0 user. That’s not to say that Touma doesn’t have powers though. His right hand is able to cancel out any and every supernatural power it comes into contact with. One day Touma gets mixed up in trouble involving a girl named Index who is on the run from some church. It turns out that Index has stored away in her mind, by the use of magic, 103,000 grimoires (read: texts) on magic of various cultures, elements, origins, purposes, etc. Up until this point, in the known world, only psychic powers exist, something that is rooted in science; magic is unheard of and normally dismissed as misinterpretations of psychic abilities or fairy tale. Unfortunately for Touma, magic is real and he gets into a lot of trouble because of it. About a quarter way into the first season though, we’re hit with a pretty big plot twist: Touma, during one of his encounters with magic, loses his memory. After he recovers from the battle we find that Touma has no recollection of anything that happened before he lost his memory, though he still is able to do things like use a stove and do homework; it seems he has just forgotten about people, places and activities he has done before. For now I think this little recap should suffice, if I need to cover back story on characters I will do so when needed. And so, onto the summary. 😡
Touma and Index.
This season opens up with Index and Touma sitting around his room. It is the last day of summer vacation and Touma is doing homework (which he should have been done with already) and Index is being Index. It’s not really interesting so I’ll skip ahead some. Before the OP starts we see some guy with -_- eyes walking on a street talking about Index.
If I order the pics like this, does your mind make up the sound affects?
So the opening is kind of what we’ve come to expect from a show like Index, all flashy and action-y with a techno song. I feel it’s all within the normal range of things, I mean it doesn’t really surprise, but neither does it disappoint. We get to see a few new faces, like those nun girls, but other than that it’s just alright. Also, WHO THE FUCK HARDSUBS OPs AND EDs? Ayako, obviously, which I think is the stupidest idea ever. How do I get a clean picture if they’re hardsubbed? GG Ayako. This is why I should have waited for UTW-gg’s subs. QQ
INDEX 2 START!
I am immediately interested in this character.
MUGEN, is s’dat chu?
Anyway, after some more tomfoolery in the house, Index finally persuades Touma that they should go out to eat. After they leave -_- guy shows up outside the apartment complex were Touma/Index live. Using the crossbow attached to his arm (which looks kinda like that pachinko ball shooter that that dude from Ookami used) he casts two spells, one that bounces him high into the air and another that blows down the balcony door to Touma’s apartment. While completely trashing the place, Eye Guy finds that his spell didn’t hit anyone: both Touma and Index are out and about.
New insurance company slogan: Win battles by bankrupting your opponents.
At the restaurant Index and Touma go about in their usual banter: Index wanting to eat something excessively expensive and Touma just trying to get some work done. Suddenly Eye Guy shows up outside of the restaurant creepily staring at Touma. Using his crossbow again, EG blows the restaurant’s glass walls to shit and shunpo-s (as in that stuff they do in Bleach) behind Touma. EG says that he just wants Index, but as usual Touma gets all rage and tries to fight. Surprisingly though, no fight ensues because EG turns both he and Index invisible (who he is carrying in his arm) and runs out of the store. We see Himegami make a cameo as well.
Imagine Breaker at work.
On a rooftop somewhere in Academy City, EG has tied up Index (in what looks to be a stable bondage mold) and explains to her the reason why he kidnapped her. Obviously, EG wants to use a book that Index has stored in her mind. Meanwhile, Touma and Sphinx (their cat) run around the city randomly trying to find Index. They run into Misaka who becomes increasingly shy as she tries to talk to Touma (in the first season we find that she might have some kind of feelings for Touma) before he runs off saying that he doesn’t have time to chit chat.
Biribiri >> bibiri.
Back on the roof, EG starts the ritual that will allow him to read the books that Index has. Index warns him however that the ritual will probably cause him harm. He replies that he knows that all too well. As the ritual commences, EG’s memories and emotions flood into Index. She learns that EG’s want of power isn’t out of self-improvement, but so he can help a woman he has fallen in love with. The chick had somehow contracted a curse and EG couldn’t help her with his personal knowledge so he sought out Index for her tomes of knowledge. By this time EG is bleeding out of a lot of places, a side effect of trying to connect (mentally) with Index to read her tomes. She tells him to stop because she understands why he’s doing what he’s doing and that if he continues he will probably die. EG says it doesn’t matter as long as he gets the job done. Suddenly, like all heroes do, Touma bursts onto the roof just in the nick of time. He touches the hanging ropes and cancels the ritual. He then takes his time to preach to EG about how Cursed Girl would probably feel if EG died in the process of saving her. Touma offers another solution: since the affliction is a curse and not a disease, the Imagine Breaker should work at least a little on it. The episode ends with Touma lending a hand to EG.
“Son, you got brass balls.”
I can show you the world. (Sorry, gay joke, couldn’t resist)
The ED is more of the same, though I find this song much, much, much, much better than the OP. Perhaps time will change that though. 😡 For the ED we just watch Index, Touma and Misaka walk around, a ensemble pic and then some random flashy stuff. After the ED we get a little plot teaser; we see some knights (dressed in dark plate armor) climbing out of the water only to meet Kanzaki Kaori (a katana wielding female with stigmata , she was originally Index’s nakama before they wiped her memory [previously it was thought that since Index held so much information in her brain that unless her memory of past happenings, not the books, were erased yearly she would die; this is something Touma disproved in the first season] and is still partners with Styil) who then proceeds to kick their ass. The scene cuts to Tsuchimikado (a classmate of Touma who turned out to be part of the mage faction spying on the scientists, who then turned out to be a scientist spying on the mage faction; to put it simply he is an esper and mage who is a spy with no known loyalty to a faction) who then walks over to Kanzaki. After exchanging some words Kanzaki walks away and Tsuchimikado asks what she’s doing so far from England (the church that Kanzaki and Styil work for, which is also the church Index once belonged to, is based in England). She replies saying, “Who knows?”
End Thoughts: Well, at least we know that J.C. Staff’s production values for the show haven’t dropped. The OP and ED aren’t as catchy as the songs they had for Railgun, but at least they don’t suck like last season’s. I guess we kinda got off to a slow start in the episode; perhaps they were trying to slow it down so they could recap for the viewers. I liked that we got to see a few cameos from the girls from the previous season, but where is Komoe-sensei? >:[ This episode was alright…Ah, who am I kidding guys? This episode sucked bollocks.
In this episode we got a lot of conversation, a lot of fooling around (courtesy of Index and Touma), an antagonist that will probably be discarded after this episode and ZERO ACTION. I mean seriously, we saw Touma use his Imagine Breaker all but three times this episode. This is NOT how I wanted to start this season of Index. I did NOT want to start this season in the same lull that ended the first season. In the last arc of Index S1 we had Touma being preachy. We didn’t have him fighting the golem that was terrorizing the town, we just had him stand, talk a little and then touch the golem causing it to fall into useless rubble. And then we had that happen about three times. I don’t even know if the golem’s user was arrested, Touma just kinda left her lying around on the floor. For the most part Index and Hyouka were the ones fighting the golem. I felt seriously let down; the only real hints to a solid story line (by the end of the season) were the scenes that had Aleister Crowley in them. The first episode of this season doesn’t seem to be moving in the right direction.
Don’t worry bro. If I was in a shitty first episode, I’d be crying too.
Granted, I’ll watch this series weekly because I’m invested in it. However, I really do hope something changes. I felt that the first season started to fall threw towards the ending. I also felt that Railgun sucked after she beat that huge baby monster. This season is starting a lot different though: it’s sucking in the beginning. So let’s hope that in the next few episodes it returns to those awesome action segments and explosive esper vs magician fights. I don’t want these preachy half-philosophical scenes; they are ridiculously boring, especially because the writers can’t write moving dialogue to save their lives. Toaru Majutsu no Index II, don’t disappoint me. I haven’t been waiting this long for you just to be slapped in the face. I’ve been looking forward to you since I heard you were going to air, so please, don’t let me down.
Preview: In the preview we see the Archbishop we got a peak at during the last moments of the last episode of the first season. We also see one of those new nun characters we saw in the OP. I wonder who and what she is. Her character model reminds me of a pokemon trainer for some reason. o.O
P.S. screens were taken from the gg-UTW release. Decided to wait for it before screen-capping. >:3