"Before the Outbreak of War" (開戦前 Kaisenmae?) is the twenty-third episode of the second season of the Toaru Majutsu no Index anime adaptation, and the forty-seventh episode overall. It was first aired on March 25, 2011.
Fuse KAZAKIRI has been suppressed. Hyouka Kazakiri returns to normal.
Touma rushes to her side, still careful not to touch her, and watches as Hyouka wakes up. She realizes that extent of damage that Academy City has sustained, and feels the responsibility on her shoulders. Despite the fact that Hyouka feels bad about what happened, Touma shows an expression of relief upon seeing her unharmed. After lifting Hyouka's spirits, he decides to use the time remaining for Hyouka to reunite with Index and to assess the status of his friends.
Meanwhile, Index finds herself with Last Order and Accelerator both unconscious. She is still puzzled as to what just happened — especially what sprouted from Accelerator's back, which she found similar to Telesma — and to add, Misaka Mikoto wants Index to spill the beans on what just happened. Despite Mikoto's questions, she leaves for the nearest hospital.
Moments later, several mechanical units surround Accelerator as he regains consciousness. He soon receives a telepathic message from a person accompanying the mechanical units. The mysterious person asks him to seal a deal with him: for Accelerator to join forces with him. Accelerator immediately rejects the offer, but the mysterious person remains calm and asks him to reconsider his choice.
Accelerator decides to ask one more question before he decides to rethink his answer: "Who ordered the involvement of Last Order in this incident?" The mysterious person admits to know the answer, but also tells Accelerator that it might be yet another scapegoat. With this, Accelerator decides to let them do what they wish.
With a greeting into the dark side of Academy City, the mysterious person fires a gunshot.
Acqua stops a few kilometers from Vento's previous battlefield and contacts someone on the phone. It is revealed to be another member of God's Right Seat: Terra of the Left. Acqua reports on the status of the operation and asks for necessary actions to be done. Terra advises them to wait for the perfect moment to strike and orders the troops of the Roman Catholic Church to retreat. Acqua, however, prefers a display of sheer might than strategic offense.
After their conversation, Acqua exposes his inner doubts towards the true weakness — or rather, strength — of Academy City. Despite the dubious reuse value of the "fallen angel" and the extent of damage of Academy City, he thinks that there is much to the city than expected...
The next day, Heaven Canceller confronts Aleister Crowley on one concern: he warns Aleister to keep his hands off his patients. Aleister playfully asks him about what would happen if he would do otherwise, and Heaven Canceller just points out Aleister's role as a patient, like several of his patients in his hospital. In response, Aleister tells him that his actions will no longer be interrupted.
With that, Aleister cuts the line.
A few days later, things appear to have returned to normal.
At A Certain High School, it is lunchtime. After the others have run to the cafeteria, Touma brings out his own lunch. Himegami Aisa accompanies him with her own boxed lunch, and the blunt girl with the hime-cut proceeds to comment on Touma's preparation of his boxed lunch.
Touma decides to stop Aisa's comments by offering a potato, which she instantly accepts. However, as Touma returns to eating, Aisa's face shows an uncomfortable expression. She appears to have choked on the potato and asks help to Touma, who offers his hand to loosen the clogged potato. Touma's gentle approach did not work at first, and when he puts force into it, he unexpectedly unhooks Aisa's bra.
Touma receives a sharp right hook to his stomach and curls up in pain as an embarrassed Aisa flees.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), another girl accompanies Touma: Fukiyose Seiri. She decides to eat a bland but nutrient-rich bread, much to Touma's disappointment, and Touma offers a potato to her, which she instantly turns down. Seiri also reminds Touma that she wears a front-hook bra.
Soon, several of their classmates talk about what is going on outside the school and its effects on their academic schedule. According to them, travel restrictions will cause their next field trip to be canceled, and might also affect Ichihanaransai. Also, midterm exams might also be affected because of the faculty (who are Anti-Skill members as well) will be deployed as defense forces.
Seiri soon mutters that a war might be coming, and it would affect the prices of commodities like meat, vegetables and petroleum products.
Touma then picks up an idea: "How about having hot pot before the prices rise?"
The very mention of the word "hot pot" creeped throughout the classroom almost immediately, and the take out between close friends becomes a class dinner trip. However, someone needs to organize the trip no matter how simple it is, and Fukiyose stands up for the job, tying her hair back and exposing her forehead.
Then, the meeting for that night begins.
Meanwhile, Tsukuyomi Komoe walks with colleague Yomikawa Aiho. Aiho comments on Komoe opening her apartment room for another "run-away kid", and Komoe tells in response that things got lonely after Aisa left her apartment room for the school dormitory, and that now is fine since Musujime Awaki is living with her. Likewise, Aiho remembers Accelerator leaving her house.
Soon, Komoe and Aiho arrive in front of the class that Komoe usually teaches and the pink-haired teacher is shocked by the chaos inside the classroom. As Komoe assesses the situation inside, Aiho remarks that she is somewhat jealous of Komoe's class, who is able to enjoy things without any worries.
At the middle of the feast with the entire class, Komoe voices out her worries, especially with the impending war that would involve Academy City. However, neither Seiri, Touma or Aogami worry about such things, and instead focus on their hearty dinner. Especially Touma, who although pampered too much by Seiri, has to take care of Index, who is taking the meat by storm. Unfortunately, Touma is yet to get his share of meat.
Touma later leaves to get a whiff of fresh air and is joined by Tsuchimikado. The agent of Necessarius assures him that the war is not entirely Touma's fault, but because of various mistakes that built up over time. Nonetheless, Tsuchimikado warns Touma on what's to come, with tougher battles that might get him killed.
Touma knows this, and upon clenching his fists, he declares that... he will learn English.
This warranted him a strong blow from a disappointed Tsuchimikado, since learning English is the last thing he would have thought as a survival method.
Elsewhere, Accelerator prepares himself for his new job — as a member of GROUP. As he fails to find the perfect gun to suit him, he is accompanied by the boy "known as Unabara Mitsuki and is not" (Etzali). Mitsuki relays the improvements of the electrodes on Accelerator's device and also tells him that there is an incoming mission for them.
As they head outside the shooting range, Unabara explains to Accelerator what has been going on recently. With Academy City severely damaged by Fuse=KAZAKIRI's manifestation, the city is strengthening its defenses against the Roman Catholic Church, and this creates a gap in security that certain armed groups might exploit. Thus, GROUP, in which Accelerator and Unabara now belongs to, is created.
Unabara and Accelerator's first interactions clearly possess very high friction, and Accelerator even demands Mitsuki to stay away from the Level 5's own business. Nonetheless, Mitsuki stays calm even despite Accelerator's threats of killing him off with ease.
Mitsuki continues on his briefing of Accelerator. He identifies their target as Skill-Out, who has been mobilizing once again recently. According to him, 20,000 cases have been recorded, albeit menial compared to real threats to security, and suspects that the flood of menial crimes might be a deliberate setup to cripple the communication systems of Academy City. He then shows the picture of their main target: Komaba Ritoku, leader of Skill-Out.
Minutes later, Accelerator is dropped off at District 10, where he is tasked with the primary objective to eliminate Komaba Ritoku. Upon first glance, he notices the different stealth tactics the Skill-Out have placed along the area: electric fences to short out security robots, lengths of cloth draped across rooftops to shroud possible escape routes, not to mention the destruction of cameras throughout the district.
Soon, Accelerator receives a call from Tsuchimikado, who warns him of various things. First, to not trust his fellow agents from GROUP. Second, to finish the job quickly, as Musujime Awaki has already started. Accelerator is surprised to find out that it would become a competition in the end, but Tsuchimikado tells him that Musujime only wanted the bounty.
Tsuchimikado soon closes the line, and with Accelerator entering esper mode, he estimates the time needed to finish off the job is ten minutes.
Meanwhile, Awaki is already fending off the members of Skill-Out, with nine objetives (money hideouts) already destroyed by her attacks. Soon, a towering figure of a man stands in her way... the primary target, Komaba Ritoku.
With a smile of surprise and relief, she prepares herself as she faces the Skill-Out leader.
- The invasion of Academy City by the Roman Catholic Church ends.
- Kazakiri Hyouka returns to normal.
- Academy City and the Roman Catholic Church prepare for war.
- Accelerator, Etzali, Tsuchimikado Motoharu, and Musujime Awaki are recruited into GROUP and are forced to defeat Komaba Ritoku's Skill-Out.
By order of appearance
- Kamijou Touma
- Kazakiri Hyouka
- Index Librorum Prohibitorum
- Misaka Mikoto
- Vento of the Front
- Acqua of the Back
- Heaven Canceller
- Aleister Crowley
- Himegami Aisa
- Fukiyose Seiri
- Aogami Pierce
- Tsuchimikado Motoharu
- Tsukuyomi Komoe
- Yomikawa Aiho
- Etzali in the form of Unabara Mitsuki
- Last Order
- Musujime Awaki
- Fuse KAZAKIRI - Kazakiri Hyouka
- Imagine Breaker - Kamijou Touma, Level 0 (referenced only)
- Telepathy - Unknown
- Appearance borrowing - Etzali
- Move Point - Musujime Awaki, Level 4
- Accelerator (Ability) - Accelerator, Level 5
No new abilities were introduced during this episode.
- Academy City
- Academy City Outer Zone
No new locations were introduced during this episode.
- Pray ~Inori~ is used as an insert song during this episode.
- Ichihanaransai is referenced for the first time in the series.
- This episode would mark the second appearance of the spiky-haired girl with glasses and the girl with the headband since their debut back in episode 8.
- The fact that Tsuchimikado Motoharu drinks alcohol was not addressed in the episode, unlike the light novels.
- The HsPS-15, first seen in the Toaru Kagaku no Railgun anime makes it debut in the Index anime adaptation.
- Skill-Out and is introduced in the Toaru Majutsu no Index for the first time since their debut back in episode 15 of the Toaru Kagaku no Railgun anime.
- A Hot pot is featured during this episode.
- Accelerator uses several hand guns during his training in the firing range, the most notable one is his use of the VP70 pistol.
- Accelerator refers to Motoharu as senpai, an honorific used to refer to a colleage who is one's senior.
- Awaki uses a MK II Hand grenade to blow up a manhole. She features the common television and movie cliche of pulling the pin off of a grenade using teeth. In reality, pulling the pin from a grenade in that manner would seriously injure the user's teeth.
- During the close-up of Index when she was worrying about Accelerator, one glass pane from the windows remains completely intact without a sign of damage despite the fact that the glass windows were destroyed during Accelerator's battle with Kihara Amata.
- Despite talking to Mikoto using a cellphone, Index shows no visible signs of currently having one.
- Several frames during Accelerator's conversation with the person who recruits him into GROUP, specifically when Accelerator is sitting up while looking towards him while the screen pans to the left is repeated in the same scene.
- What happened to Last Order? Answer: She is currently with Heaven Canceller who is removing the virus injected into her.
- Who is Terra of the Left and Fiamma of the Right? Answer: Two other members of God's Right Seat who will appear later in the series.
- How did the Heaven Canceller save Aleister Crowley's life? Answer: Heaven Canceller saved Aleister back in England and later on founded Acadamy City.
- Why is the Aztec magician, Awaki and Motoharu in GROUP? Answer: Aztec magician is in GROUP because he wants to protect Misaka Mikoto from Academy City's darkness, Awaki wants to release her comrades from Tree Diagram Rement Arc who are currently hostages and Motoharu wants to protect his half-sister Maika.
- Hyouka: "Why did this all this happen? It's all my fault. Why am I only one unharmed? If I can't be with everyone, why I was born? I'm just a monster that can only exist thanks to all the espers. Even though she called me a friend... Even though I thought I'd become a little more human... I'm sick of its all! Please punch me and end it all! Why... Why are you smilling?"
- Touma: "Because I'm relieved. I don't why I have this power in my right hand. But I'll cut this hand off before I use it to make any of my friends disappear. You protected everyone. You did you best to protect everyone. Isn't that the human you wanted to be? Be proud, look forward. You continued to fight and saved people you didn't even know. There's no reason to be disappointed."
- Aiho:"How nice,they get to spend their time just doing stupid things."
- Touma: "You're right... Actually, I think it's a miracle that I've gotten this far. I've been too naive. I've let everyone else deal with the other world. But I can't do that anymore. I have to take my own steps into the new world."