I can’t tell whether this is a weak episode of Index, or whether the other episodes of this second season simply make it look bad by comparison. I think I’ll go with the latter theory, because even if it didn’t feel up to scratch coming off the back of the previous arc (which pierced the heavens of win), it was still fairly entertaining! It centers around the big inter-school sports carnival, which offers an array of strange events for espers to lock horns in, and the stakes are risen by a bet between Misaka and Touma over whose school will come out on top: the winner gets to make the other do their bidding! To me, this seems like a win-win situation for Touma, given Biri-biri’s obvious yearning for him! There’s also a growing plot to do with a legendary sword (Stab Sword), and the introduction of a sexy new villain, Oriana Thompson (seiyuu: Ryoka Yuzuki). Throw in a cameo appearance of Misaka’s mother, and a wholesome dose of fanservice, and you’ve got a pretty fun package.
The only downside for me was that the episode felt a little cheap and awkward. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly, but there was definitely something about it that made it feel below the standard of Index. The director/storyboarder was Shinya Kawamo (川面真也) (who ANN has about 5 different profiles for, with different spellings of his name), and the animation direction by Keiichi Sano (佐野恵一) seemed to be lacking something. I was actually reminded of the thing that put me off Railgun this episode (the flat visual style), which isn’t surprising given that Keiichi Sano was the chief animation director for that series. But it just didn’t feel all that good on the whole. On the upside, the fanservice was awesome! This second season has been so much more generous in showing off the Index cast! This time, it’s not only Index who gets exposed, but student admin, Fukiyosa too!