Exposition On A Plane With Index And The Terrorist

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode Review Title Image

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 10 Review

There are fewer things sadder than falling out of love with a franchise but I just have to admit that is where I am with A Certain Magical Index. I’ve put the final decision off until episode 13, but I’m almost certain this one is a drop. What is making it worse though, is that this season is making me really question why I actually even liked this show in the first place.

To go through the issues of this episode would take too long, so let’s just look at the moments that really illustrate why A Certain Magical Index season 3 is failing to really engage. 

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 10

Firstly, we have an encounter between Misaka and Touma at the oh-so-familiar vending machine. That seems great and all. Misaka’s a great character and the vending machine is a staple set piece in the anime at this point. However, what was this scene doing? Really? Other than hoping fans would squee with delight over seeing Misaka was there anything happening in that sequence? Touma asked Misaka not to tell anyone about his amnesia? There were quicker and more logical ways to get to that point. Was it the comedy that was supposed to land as Misaka blushes and actually feeds coins into the vending machine? Because that was most definitely a swing and a miss as the anime continues to undervalue its female characters.

Then we get the scene in Touma’s apartment where he gets the call telling him he needs to go to England. The joke where Touma asks Tsuchimikado to make it quick and so no further information was given before hanging up was actually pretty amusing, so even though from a plot point of view it is maddening because we’re having a scene change for no explained reason, it kind of worked. What doesn’t is that right after that the window is broken as a smoke grenade is lobbed in to the apartment and both Touma and Index are knocked unconscious. 

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 10

That could work if they woke up all surprised by where they are, but instead, through flash backs, we find out they went to the airport, rejected the plane that was organised for them, and took a regular flight to England. So why even knock them out? Could the writer not figure out how to end the scene? 

Then we are finally subjected to terrorists on a plane. Index, we’ve seen terrorists on planes before. So many times. You have to at least be vaguely competent in this one because what you’ve delivered this week is half-hearted at best and what should actually be an interesting transition sequence from one city to the next turns into yet another mangled mess. About the only positive is that Stiyl shows up, in another plane for some reason, and throws some magic around. And again, unless they are just hoping that the mere presence of a character cooler than Touma makes the audience jump in delight there really isn’t anything to this scene.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 10

So positives are few and far between and negatives are overwhelming. This episode isn’t alone in this though as Index has gradually worn away any leeway I was willing to give a franchise I genuinely liked. I’m now at the point where I just have to wonder why they even continue to churn this out.

Then I realise, I’m still watching it. As are a lot of people. So either other people like it more than I do, or we’re all just continuing to keep up the popularity of an anime that really should just fade away. One thing I do know, A Certain Magical Index is falling flat for me right now and while I’m committed until episode 13, I’m almost certain to drop it after that. 

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Karandi James
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A Certain Magical Index Rubber Strap Collection Box
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That Moment You Know The Magic is Gone

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode Review Title Image

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 9 Review

Let’s be real, I haven’t been overly thrilled by the return of A Certain Magical Index at all this season. The first arc was mostly nonsense that even on going back to season two it is still fairly hard to figure out what was going on or why. The second arc ditched the protagonist altogether. Now we’re in this third arc and the glaring issues with this narrative are becoming almost impossible to ignore. It isn’t a case of being fun anymore surrounded by exposition dumps. It is now a case of tired attempts to recapture something of the spirit that drew people to the show being crammed in amongst nonsensical dialogue just to ensure the audience hasn’t cracked their nose on the keyboard when the dozed off.

Alright, that was pretty harsh and actually not true.

At heart the lightning, the movement lines, the cheesily delivered lines mid-fight all still actually work for me, but – and this is a huge but – now these feel like inserted filler to a narrative about characters I don’t care about in a world that has become increasingly random.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 9 Kanzaki

Maybe it is all a byproduct of the long gap between seasons. Maybe it is a result of my being much older now and less easily impressed with shiny, pretty things (who am I kidding, I love shiny pretty, things), but I just know that I almost forgot this even came out yesterday and when I did watch it I found myself really just kind of nodding along to the expected beats.

Kanzaki turned up as the last minute hero of last episode and lasted less than five minutes before she was coughing up blood. I’ll admit, they were a cool five minutes. Actually, I’ll fix that. There was about a cool minute in those five minutes of actual fight, meanwhile the two saints prattled various bits of nonsense at one another that I guess passes for plot or exposition at this point but honestly, who could care.

Then we have Acqua more or less pounding Kanzaki while pointing out how stupid she is and her church for even fighting if they are that weak, blah, blah, blah… More big hits, more property damage, where the hell is anyone from Academy City while the churches are fighting it out destroying entire levels? Nope, no answer to that one.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 9 Kanzaki

And then there’s the revelation. Team work. Kanzaki calls on all the glorified extras who were beaten down in last week’s bit of filler and they all jump down an entire level and then proceed to more or less just stand totally still while Kanzaki and Itsuwa try a repeat of the saint spell they used last week and they still would have lost except that Touma manages to arrive, at that precise moment, in the middle of the battlefield and blocks Acqua’s attack with his hand.

Wow.

While watching this, it occurred to me, that not even the shiny, pretty action is that shiny anymore. During that final strike we didn’t get to see the characters in relation to one another once. We had close up of Kanzaki, close up of Itsuwa, close up of Acqua, one very brief panning shot of the scene that didn’t even make it down to Touma, and then back to close ups. There was no chance to get a sense of what was actually happening and all the characters had more or less identical pained looks on their faces so if they were going for revealing emotions, they kind of failed.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 9 Touma and Itsuwa

I’m giving this one to episode 12. At that point, I’m almost positive I am done. It is going to need to do something pretty spectacular in the next three episodes though because to be honest, this was just bad.

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Karandi James
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A Fight Between Saints Should Be Exciting, Right?

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A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 8 Review

Part of me wonders if maybe I’ve just outgrown this series? Looking at this episode from a distance it should be really exciting. We’ve got a whole pile of characters from the church gathering themselves together to take on a saint. It’s a dramatic fight, the music is pumping and we move through multiple set-pieces leaving destruction in their wake. Their inevitable defeat isn’t a problem because they aren’t the protagonists, not even close. 

A Certain Magical Index Episode 8

Yet, as I watched episode 8 of A Certain Magical Index, I couldn’t help but find myself wondering why I was supposed to care. 

Touma is in the hospital after being severely injured and then thrown of the bridge last week and the saint gave him one day to hand over his arm. The fight now isn’t doing anything. A day hasn’t passed, Touma isn’t even awake, it is all just filling screen time. Perhaps if I thought there was any chance they might have resolved the situation prior to Touma waking up their might have been some point to it, but all and all it just seems like an excuse to throw around more terminology and jargon and have a ‘cool’ fight sequence.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 8

This impression isn’t helped with the arrival of Kanzaki after the B Team are definitely taken out despite Itsuwa getting all fired up. Kanzaki was a cool character back in season one but she just kind of shows up now, broods a bit, occasionally does something cool with her sword, and then Touma will show up to save the day. And while I get they were trying to show that Kanzaki is a part of her group, using more or less the same sequence of attacks that we just watched against the enemy but faster and more powerful isn’t all that interesting.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Episode 8

Then of course the whole thing is proven to be pointless by the post credits scene where Touma wakes up and instead of sensibly resting in his hospital bed off he goes to join the fight leaving the conveniently sleeping Index oblivious to the plot as normal. 

Yeah, I really don’t know why I’m watching season three of this. The issues with the plot and characters just get more and more pronounced with every passing episode.

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Karandi James
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