The Daihaseisai or Daihasei Festival (大覇星祭 (だいはせいさい) Daihaseisai ?, lit. "Grand Champion Star Festival") is an annual city-wide interschool sporting competition that takes place September 19 through September 25 in Academy City. It is a major milestone in the Toaru Majutsu no index story, with currently two story arcs occuring during the events of the festival.
Daihaseisai is a famous Academy City competition where students from various schools compete against other schools in numerous athletic events. During the week of the competition, Academy City is packed with tourists and the students' parents. The city-wide sports meet is broadcast worldwide, with ratings comparable to even the World Cup. Because of this, it makes Daihaseisai an inherently viable political tool for Academy City.
During this week, people are usually prohibited from entering school premises, in order to avoid outsiders from seeing the power development facilities unique to Academy City schools. Sports grounds also tend to be heavily guarded in order to prevent people from stealing DNA maps of high level espers.
Participants are encouraged to use their abilities during the matches, which is why the high-class schools like Tokiwadai Middle School excel during it. In some cases where events are held in the general public, abilities past a certain threshold, specifically the Level 5s, are forbidden in case they harm people, like when Mikoto was in the 'borrowing-items race' she could not use her powers as it was too dangerous, even if she restrains herself. These restrictions don't apply in other matches where it is only school versus school. Schools are ranked according to their scores based on their wins and losses, and the highest one becomes the champion of Daihaseisai, though only the top 5 schools of Academy City are the ones that are truly competing for the championship. Each school divides its own students to a red and white team, with the number of wins each colored team gets, the points earned would be added on to the school's score.
Although it is a large-scale sporting event, not all the students would be bounded by the events all the time. They just need to follow the rule of reaching the area in the specific time, and any time other than that was free time for them. Schools are even allowed to set up stores to get some earnings like the management or home economics schools that Tsuchimikado Maika is in.
According to details in a pamphlet given to students, the main purpose of the festival is to observe large-scale interference between Espers. The Daihaseisai is also used by people to evaluate the esper development program of each school, and thus affects the budget of each school receives.
Preparations for the Daihaseisai are performed weeks in advance, with the Daihaseisai Management Committee, composed of students, doing the work and preparation, such the layout out for the roads to prepare for the oncoming traffic, as well as refereeing competitions. They are separated by the levels of education. For example, Fukiyose Seiri is part of the High School Division of the committee. Academy City Board of Directors are able to contact this committee as well and can order them to do specific things. Committee members are not exempted from taking part in matches however in spite of their duties, as such they had to arrange their work schedule such that it didn't affect their own matches.
Schools prepare well in advance as well, training for the upcoming competitions. An example of this would be Tokiwadai Middle School, more so during the current year of the timeline after they came second to Nagatenjouki Academy last year, setting up a school-wide P.E. lessons for the Daihaseisai. For the festival, both Judgment and Anti-Skill like Uiharu Kazari and Yomikawa Aiho respectively are deployed to keep peace and order and aid outsiders.
For transportation, other than the rerouting of traffic flow by the Committee, the Daihaseisai marks the widespread use of automated buses in restricted conditions in spite of the difficulty of using them, while ordinary vehicles are banned, though taxis, delivery trucks, and ambulances and likely other emergency vehicles are still allowed.
Nagatenjouki Academy was the previous year's Daihaseisai champion with Tokiwadai Middle School at second place. The current year's Daihaseisai has both schools retain the previous year's ranking.
- 10 Kilometer Race (一〇キロ走 10-Kiro hashi?)
- 1800m Mixed Doubles Relay Race (1800m男女混合リレー 1800m Danjo-kongō Rirē?): It occurred at 5:30pm.
- Ball Tossing Contest (玉入れ Tamaire?): Competitors are to throw their color designated balls into 10 baskets up on poles. The team with the most of their colored balls in the baskets win the competition. Esper powers are allowed to be used in order to prevent other competitors from throwing their balls into baskets. It occurred at 2:30pm.
- Balloon Hunter (バルーンハンタ Barūn Hanta?): Competitors wear caps with balloons on top of them as well as carry a belt with a bag containing balloons for the competition. The objective of the game is to puncture an opposing competitor's balloon using the designated balloons in a designated amount of time. Though tossing the ball toward the balloon is normally applied, the rules are flexible enough to allow a competitor to hold the ball to puncture the balloon. When a balloon is punctured, the competitor is removed from the game. The team with the most players remaining in the game after the designated time ends is declared the winner. The grounds for this competition are vast, encompassing the starting area as well as alleys and roads, allowing for competitors to hide or take refuge. However, going out of bounds such as going into stores or unsigned roads leads to disqualification. For the purpose of this game Homing Cameras are deployed, allowing for judges to observe the games and make calls.
- Balloon Sandwich (風船サンド Fūsen Sando?): Teams are given a balloon to inflate before the competition. The objective of the game is for two competitors to hold the balloons between themselves without using their hands and then run towards the finish line. Dropping the balloon is apparently allowed and can be picked back up by the team.
- Baseball Bat Race: Competitors spin around their baseball bats until they are dizzy and try to run towards the finish line.
- Bread-Eating Race (パン食い競争 Pankuikyōsō?): Competitors run on track and are to snatch up a piece of bread dangling from a bar and finish the race with the bread still in their mouth.
- Cavalry Battle (騎馬戦 Kibasen?): Composed of teams of four, three members of the team is supposed to carry the fourth member wearing a cap during the game. The objective of the game is to hold the fourth member while they attempt to remove the other teams' equivalent's hat. The team is likely eliminated when they lose their cap. Apparently, the scale is large enough to require a preliminary match. It is apparently separated by sex.
- Ladle Match (おたま競争 O Tama Kyōsō?): A relaxed match that involves balancing a cooking ladle on a ball with 2 centimeter diameter and running 100 meters with it. It occurred at 4:30pm.
- Group Gymnatics (組体操 Kumi Taisō?)
- Obstacle Course (障害物走 Shōgai-mono Hashi?): Likely a race on a track with obstacle courses on it. It is apparently separated by sex.
- Relay Race (リレー Rirē?)
- Roll the Ball (大玉転がし Ōdamakorogashi?): Performed in an arena, there are 25 balls two meters in diameter located to the right and left side of the competitors. The rules are that when the match starts, the competitors must push the balls towards the opposing team's line. The winner would be the team who has pushed more than 25 balls pass the opposing team's line. The participants from both sides would have to touch all the balls at least once, as such, during the event, participants could use their powers to obstruct the opponent.
- Scavenger Hunt (借り物競争 Karimono Kyōsō?): Also known as Borrowed Item Race and Find an Item Race, is a competition where a player is to find the object written on a piece of paper they have drawn at random at the start of the competition and come back with it to the starting point. The competition area includes School Districts 7, 8, and 9, in spite of this players aren't allowed to use any forms of transportation like buses or subway trains. The competition is famous for its high difficulty in finding something. No points are rewarded to those who come back without their item, though points are still rewarded when the player returns with the specified object even if the player finishes last place.
- Triathlon (トライアスロン Toraiasuron?): A triathlon that the third years of Touma's school participated in. It is apparently separated by sex. It occurred at 2:00pm.
- Three-Legged Race (二人三脚 Nininsankyaku?): Teams are to run towards the finish line while each of them has one ankle tied to the other. A team that loses their rope and uses powers to directly injure an opponent will result in disqualification. High-level ability restriction is still applied here. For example, Misaka Mikoto cannot use her electric powers, though any other power such as her magnetism is allowed.
- Tug of War (綱引き Tsunahiki?): Two opposing teams pull on a pole until one of them is able to successfully pull the other team towards them. It occurred at 5:00pm.
- Wrench Pole Competition (棒倒し Bōtaoshi?): The match has opposing teams set up 7 meter long poles on their side of the field. While defending their own pole, competitors have to push down the enemy's pole. It is a very aggressive contest with the use of powers to defend against the opposing team. Moreover, body contact is inevitable.
- Treasure Hunt Game (宝探しゲーム Takarasagashi gēmu?): The competitors try to find the treasure (in the form of golden balls smaller than a tennis ball) hidden in the field and return with it to the schoolyard before anyone else. The search area apparently extends out into other districts.
- Opening Ceremony (開会式 Kaikai-shiki?): Students gather in a football stadium while the opening ceremony commences, which includes speeches of carefully selected school principals by the Board of Directors. In Toaru Kagaku no Railgun the opening ceremony included a speech by Shokuhou Misaki and Sogiita Gunha. Gunha later improvises his speech after forgetting his lines, and later uses his powers to make explosions. The ceremony ends at 10:30 AM.
- Night Parade (ナイトパレード Naito Parēdo?): A large light festival conducted at the sunset of the the first day of the Daihaseisai. There is of course a parade with decorated cars, mobile stage processions, and floats. Television sponsors and actors will also participate in the parade. Occurring on 6:30 PM, the festival is so bright that it overpowers the light of the stars.
- Folk Dance (フォークダンス Fōku Dansu?): Done at night some time after the second day of Daihaseisai but prior to its last day, a large bonfire is lighted in the middle of a field. Students can invite other students from other schools to dance with them. Food stands are located near the bonfire.
- Ensemble Parade (吹奏楽部の複数校合同パレード Suisōgaku-bu no fukusū-kō Gōdō Parēdo?): Multiple schools parade on a road to give a good impression to the public, they include brass bands.
- Visitor Numbers (来場者数ナンバーズ Raijōshasū Nanbāzu?): A game stall attended by Kirigaoka Girls' Academy. Those who join the lottery need only buy a card, write the estimated number of people that would be attending Daihaseisai and hand it over to them. Finally, the number closest to the actual target would get the largest prize.
Toaru Majutsu no Index
- Main article: Daihasei Festival Arc (Index)
Daihaseisai takes place on September 19 during volumes 9 and 10. In the volume 9 prologue, Touma makes a bet with Mikoto that his school will beat hers, which leads into the premise of volume 12. During the event, Touma doesn't actually participate much, as the majority the 19th is spent chasing after Oriana Thompson along with Tsuchimikado Motoharu and Stiyl Magnus. While they pursue Oriana, they try to learn the real goal of Oriana and Lidvia Lorenzetti. Along the way, Himegami Aisa is hospitalized due to a misjudgment by Oriana, Fukiyose Seiri is also hospitalized by touching one of Oriana's traps, and Motoharu is injured several times. After pursuing Oriana until dusk, Touma manages to defeat her, but it turns out his efforts were futile, as not only did Oriana not have the relic to thwart their plan, the magicians' plan wasn't going to succeed since the beginning. In the end, Touma is hospitalized from the injured caused by Oriana, and in the next day, he was alright, but got into all sorts of unfortunate events for the rest of Daihaseisai, finally winning first prize in a lucky number contest on the last day of Daihaseisai, which earned him a trip for two to Italy.
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun
- Main article: Daihasei Festival Arc (Railgun)
The Daihaseisai in Toaru Kagaku no Railgun takes place at the same as the one Toaru Majutsu no Index, though it extends to the second day unlike the one in Toaru Majutsu no Index. Moreover, though the Daihaseisai still serves as a backdrop for much of the events of the arc, there is more focus on the games early in the arc, where Misaka Mikoto herself participates.