"A Certain Magical Index II" TV Anime Review

Toaru Majutsu no Index II
とある魔術の禁書目録(インデックス) II

A Certain Magical Index II

*SPOILERS BELOW!*

A Certain Magical Index IIFor this 24-episode sequel to A Certain Magical Index, the “misfortunate” main character KAMIJOU Touma returns as well as his female nun roommate, Index, who still carries 103,000 forbidden grimoires in her noggin, for more Roman Catholic Church vs. Anglican Church vs. Academy City adventures. Joining them on a restricted basis is MISAKA Mikoto, the level 5 esper known as the Railgun, who also happens to have a crush on Touma since (1) he doesn’t fawn over her and (2) his Imagine Breaker ability means he can thwart her impressive powers with his right hand.

A Certain Magical Index IIAs before, the series is broken down into arcs. The ones involving the Roman Catholic Church’s attempts to either control or attack Academy City make a big attempt at trying to be interesting, but ultimately are kind of boring.  That’s because there are vast amounts of exposition regarding supposed church doctrine or the like, to say nothing of the boring, cliched spewings of Touma.  I’ll talk more about that in a bit.  When the series makes a shift to look at Mikoto or Accelerator and the “Railgun” side of things, the stories are much more interesting.  However, there’s still this unnatural divide between the “magic world” and the “science world” that is Academy City.

A Certain Magical Index IIOne of the things that frustrated me is the use of characters.  Touma and Index are supposed to be the stars of the series.  Unfortunate, both are weak in that role.  Touma is a one-trick wonder horse with the “magical” right hand that can cancel any magical or esper attack, barrier, or whatever.  In the first series, it made more sense that Touma could get lucky and score some wins. Now, with him known to the Roman Catholic Church as an enemy to be destroyed, it makes no sense that he’s still able to win with his usual shounen, cliched spewing, followed by a cliched charge with his right fist, nullifying any supernatural attack, ending up with him punching his opponent out.

A Certain Magical Index IIAs for Index, she’s mostly a helpless waif who has access to a vast library of information on top of having an eidetic memory. We’ve seen her capable of highly destructive abilities, even accidentally destroying a satellite.  Unfortunately, except on rare occasions, she doesn’t do anything except call out Touma’s name, talk about being hungry, and basically not have anything useful to do.  On those rare occasions where Index becomes useful, I think to myself, “Why didn’t Kamachi-sensei do a better job at developing her character?”  The only answer I come up with (for both Index and Touma) is that Kamachi-sensei wanted to try to have different kinds of heroes. Unfortunately, for this kind of story, they don’t work so well as leads.

A Certain Magical Index IIOn the other hand, Mikoto and Kuroko work because they aren’t helpless, nor are they one-trick wonder horses.  For all her faults as a yuri chick who desperately wants to play scissor-scissor with her “oneesama,” Kuroko is intelligent as well as powerful. We got to see this again during the Remnant arc, where Kuroko has to match wits with a fellow teleporter named Awaki.  Her brief other appearances where she shows her jealousy over the mere thought of Mikoto and Touma spending time together come off as funny, even if the jokes are old.  That’s because one never knows when a jealous Kuroko might suddenly appear (thanks to her teleport ability) to attack Touma.

A Certain Magical Index IIAs for Mikoto, the series really tries to keep a blanket on her, knowing that she’ll steal the show in an instant. For starters, during the aforementioned Remnant arc, Mikoto does shine (along with Kuroko), and things become very interesting as she tries to make sure her clone sisters are protected. Mikoto as a tsundere around Touma is also humorous, even if predictable.  However, for the most part, Mikoto gets pushed to limited comedy parts.  Heck, even the arrival of her mother (Misuzu) doesn’t provide any character development like one would have hoped. When the story actually allows Mikoto to be involved in whatever adventure Touma is working on near the end of the series, she’s still relegated to the sidelines battling worthless troops rather than head to the action with Touma as would make more sense.

A Certain Magical Index IIThat’s because Touma couldn’t have his lucky, bloviating win if Mikoto came along.  It is unfortunate that this is how the series was designed because frankly, I’d like to see Mikoto in the thick of things WITH Touma and Index. I want to see her involved in the Church-Magic plots as well as the Science plots she’s already involved in. Bringing in Kuroko and even Uiharu to round things out would make things much more interesting as they become deeply involved in the happenings of Academy City. However, because this is not the way Kamachi-sensei went with the light novels, the anime doesn’t go this way, and as a result, the series suffers some because of it.

A Certain Magical Index IIThat’s not to say that the series as a whole is boring.  Quite the contrary.  When the last episode ended, I found myself wanting to know more, not only about the plots going on with the Science side, but the Magic side as well, especially since there are strong indications that war is about to break out between espers and magicians. I liked how the psychotic Accelerator found a purpose in protecting the last Misaka clone, “Last Order.” The fact that he joins some apparent rebel group against the Science side made things more interesting, especially since two of the members have been antagonists in the franchise and the third is tied in with both the science and magic sides.

A Certain Magical Index IISome of the characters introduced in the first series are relegated to cameo roles here.  Most notable among them is KANZAKI Kaori, the swordwoman who played very important roles in the first series. Now, she’s sidelined, shown once to kick the butts of a bunch of knights for whatever reason, and then she’s relegated to an ecchi, comedic filler moment when she and other Church female characters from both series try to figure out a large, brand new washing machine.  HIMEGAMI Aisa also shows up in cameo appearances.  Touma’s teacher, the loli-looking Komoe-sensei, is mostly used for cameos, but does get what appears to be some minor development, when Accelerator meets her and implies she was part of some anti-aging experiment.

So while this series does have a number of flaws, on the whole, the overall plot had gotten me to a place where I was sad to see the series end with the clouds of war on the horizon. There are plenty of other light novels in the franchise to be adapted, so hopefully a new TV series will launch after the movie runs its course.

A Certain Magical Index II
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8 Responses to “"A Certain Magical Index II" TV Anime Review”

  1. Tim says:

    That’s because Touma couldn’t have his lucky, bloviating win if Mikoto came along.

    Heh, ‘bloviate.’ I learned a new word today.

  2. sixfivesix says:

    >The fact that he joins some apparent rebel group against the Science side

    GROUP’s job is to do cover-ups and solve problems that Academy City can’t handle through normal means. They are the ‘cleaners’ of AC’s underground society.

  3. Tenka says:

    The one thing that kept me watching was Accelerator, a more interesting character than Touma IMO.

  4. Mathias Rosier says:

    I am excited for the third season especially since the Magic Arcs if they do one are actually very interesting and good and if they go around and do a season of NT, You’ll see…

    Spoiler Inside: mild spoilers SelectShow

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