A Certain Magical Index III
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 22 of
Certain Magical Index III ?
What's going on in Russia right now is not unlike a massive, multifaceted shonen action battle scenario, the kind where so much is going on and so many individual fights are breaking out that the series has to spend multiple episodes just to cover all its bases. The only minor difference is that the different battle scenarios are ever-so-slowly starting to converge as Fiamma's grand scheme continues to play out.
The amount of content is both the best and worst aspect of this episode. It's the best in the sense that all of the different storylines leave almost no room for extraneous content, so there's no wasteful stalling just to get the timing to work out right. That doesn't mean that there aren't slight bits of frivolity, such as how Touma's attempts to sever any magical connection between Sasha and the angel flying around outside could easily be misinterpreted as something else, but even those moments mostly exist within the greater context; the aforementioned scene involves trying to figure out why Touma is talking to Sasha when he thought she was flying around outside. Gabriel borrowed her form back during Angel Fall, so presumably whatever Fiamma did re-manifested Gabriel with Sasha once again as a pattern, hence the Misha references. And yes, that's every bit as trippy in execution as it sounds.
But there's so much else going on that makes even less sense. The leadership of the Roman Catholic Church is in flux as the former pope is leading some kind of popular march as a counter-play to Fiamma's schemes, though how that's supposed to work is not clear. Red Princess and French Gal seem to have come to some sort of truce and now they're all in Russia somehow; did they get sucked there when Fiamma manifested the star or via some other quick-transport method? Either way they're dishing out a trash-talking-heavy bout. Those scenes offer some decent action sequences, although I was more impressed at the salvo of conventional missiles actually doing some good for a change. Oh, and the eyes of French Gal at the beginning of those scenes make it pretty clear that she and Elizarina are related, perhaps even sisters. William, Mikoto, and her sister both get brief scenes but not enough time to do much, and the same can be said for Accelerator, or Stiyl and Laura Stuart dealing with Index. Meanwhile Hanazawa and Takitsubo get the episode's best moment in their hug after she's designated as cured, while Touma unexpectedly encounters Sasha and Fiamma dissing the guy who was trying to ascend to leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. Whew!
That's a lot of plates to keep spinning, and on top of all of that, it looks like at least some of the cast is going to have to stop a Russian nuke from being fired – because of course a nuke has to get deployed in an anime series if it's mentioned. But hey, something's gotta fill up these remaining two episodes to the breaking point. Whether or not the series succeeds at anything else, at least it won't be boring as it enters its endgame.
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