Even after punching through her spells Touma finds himself still kicked around by Oriana unable to land a single blow, seeing his chance Stiyl summons Innocentius and declares his sorcery name, Fortis931 as he proceeds to join the fray.
Of course in doing this he doesn’t appear to care if Touma is in his way or not so Touma punches it back and takes his chance to hit Oriana while she’s distracted. Stiyl prepares to attack with dual flame swords and though their teamwork isn’t exactly the best, they’re both able to land a hit on Oriana. However she won’t be defeated this easily as she gathers her resolve for a basis and attacks once more, taking down Stiyl with a rain of ice and dispelling Innocentius.
Before Touma can run to him Oriana calls out to him and tells him how it doesn’t matter what it is, she’ll still protect that basis and when she tells him why she feels she must do it, he tells her that if she failed she should get back up instead. And so hearing this Oriana rips out all of the flashcards for one final attack. Creating a massive sphere of magic and while Touma plows through it with the Imagine Breaker, there’s still the matter of the rocks inside which fire out. As he falls Touma remembers everything that’s happened and regains his footing for one final punch.
With Oriana defeated Touma runs to Stiyl but he tells him to get the location of the St. Peters Cross from Oriana instead, at this point Lidvia’s voice resounds for them all to hear as she tells them that it’s too late to stop her and that they wish to help them as well, but only if it’ll be beneficial to them. She then reveals that the activation range of the Cross is enough for it to be activated outside the city and still place it under their control, even as she tells them that it’s meaningless Stiyl tells Touma to get Tsuchimikado to locate the Cross so that the outside forces can take care of it. However even then they still don’t have enough time, an idea as he realises that the activation time coincides with the Night Parade, and as he watches the fireworks light up the sky he reflects on how it was those who worked hard to make Daihasesai what it is that defeated her.
During the epilogue Touma explains everything to Index from his hospital bed and the reason for why he didn’t tell her makes her bite his head again. Mikoto and Kuroko then walk in on them with get well gifts and Kuroko has to remind Mikoto that she’s in a hospital when Index tells them to get lost, once she manages to calm down somewhat she then tells him how Tokiwadai has sailed into first place and that his injuries still won’t get him out of the punishment game.
Defeated for the time being, Lidvia looks upon how fun it will be to rescue Oriana and try again, however Laura Stuart won’t let her get that far as she speaks to her through a rune card on the outside of the plane. Both introducing herself and telling her how she finds her personality creepy in how she’ll laugh harder the more painful the task is, the door then flies off sending Lidvia plummeting towards the ground. Laura then offers her a way out through bowing down to her and when she refuses, not only the Cross but the pilot also flies out, forcing her to make the decision to which one she’ll save. However instead of picking one Lidvia smiles a twisted grin and picks both.
With the arc at it’s end Aleister Crowely looks upon his plan and the development of the Imagine Breaker, wondering if he’ll have to take action at some point. Back in a certain hospital Himegami wakes up to find Index sleeping on her bed, and when she notices that she’s sad she asks her if Touma did something reckless again. So she sums up everything, making her see that he’ll save anyone who needs to be saved and Index tells her that he must like spending time with her, along with that it must be something that makes him happy as they hear him talking to Fukiyose before he steps into the room.
After the New Years break last week this was a pretty good episode, containing both the end to the fight with Oriana and the epilogue to the arc itself to clean up any loose ends. Aside from that the art side to the animation was also pretty good for the most part and the actual fight with Oriana was fun to watch. It was also interesting to see some to see some developments to the plot as a whole during the epilogue, where both Laura and Crowely showed up at different points.
Part of what made the fight with Oriana fun to watch was the teamwork between Touma and Stiyl, simply because in working together they were actually doing worse than if they were to take her on one on one. But then again if there was also something that it showed it was that Oriana was actually quite skilled in close range combat, in how Touma couldn’t even land a single blow on her at first when he’s already been shown to be a confident street fighter. So even taking her on without her flashcards would have been difficult enough for them. It was also great to see Touma and Stiyl get a few awesome moments during it as well, with things like Stiyl getting serious and them both punching her at the same time.
Oriana also seemed to get another bit of development in this episode, where after knowing how she doesn’t really want to hurt anyone and just wants everyone to be happy. It was topped off in how she just wants to protect the basis of what ever stands for her ideal, showing that in her pursuit of it the hardship she faced had led to her giving up on pursuing them alone. In exchange for following someone who had a similar goal and protecting that basis. For which it was good to see Touma tell her to just get over it and stop moping about her past failures as a way of trying to convince her that she should still try even with those failures behind her.
In some way the way that the arc ended was also kind of weak, as while the spirit of Daihasesai being what really defeated Oriana and Lidvia in the end was kind of nice for what it was. It still meant that a lot of the actions and pain that Touma and company had went through trying to stop them was for the most part, meaningless. As the end result wouldn’t have changed all that much if Touma and Tsuchimikado actually did participate in the events. On the other hand though it was kind of nice in how it was through everyone’s efforts that they won, making Seiri’s words from before a bit more important. Also giving her a bit of significance in how she embodied the spirit to make Daihasesai a success.
There also appeared to be a fair bit of development as far as the overall story went as well during the epilogue, where Laura first strengthened how she could be a potential villain in the series due to the actions she took with Lidvia. It sort of felt like it was a game for her (and Lidvia as well in a way) to see just how much she had to throw at Lidvia to get her to bow to her, and not only that she wasn’t afraid to involve innocent people when she threw the pilot out as well. Aside from that there was also a bit on Crowely‘s half when he looked back upon the Imagine Breaker’s development and wondered if he may have to take action himself, which has me wondering about what was shown on the monitor could be.
Overall having a fair idea of what would happen during this arc I actually liked how it turned out, with things like the chase scenes and the fights themselves being improved a bit by being animated. However at the same time the continuous chasing got kind of repetitive and didn’t appear to go anywhere most of the time, and Tsuchimikado’s moment of badassery when he bluffed his way against Oriana just looked weird. As it took place during those two episodes where the art side to the animation didn’t look good at all. There was also a bit of wasted potential for Daihasesai itself, where something as awesome as a sports festival where the competitors are espers was almost completely skimmed over. So I hope that the Railgun manga will cover this side of it when it reaches this point.
The characters introduced were also pretty fun as well, ranging from the Iron Wall, Seiri and Mikoto’s mother, Misuzu who went about trolling her daughter at each opportunity, if that wasn’t enough I also kind of liked Oriana as the antagonist. As she was someone who’s actions and aim were kind of ambiguous, as in the end she didn’t want to hurt anyone and was only following what she thought was necessary, which in the end also appeared to pain her as well. One can’t forget the little scenes either, which acted as brief intervals from the continuous chasing and gave time for Touma’s parents and Mikoto to get some screen time, being one of those things that the arc was at least worth watching for. Seeing Himegami get some relevance during this arc was pretty nice as well, dealing with the feelings she had for Touma and also being something that doesn’t happen all that often for her. Which I think is kind of odd in how she feels like one of the three main heroines with Index and Mikoto, probably due to how she was introduced so early in the second novel/arc.
So in the end while this arc may have been kind of dull at times it still had it’s moments and a fair share of awesome and otherwise entertaining scenes that made it worth watching. But anyway with this arc now over, next week’s episode will bring a new one and with it hopefully a new Opening Theme and Ending Theme.