English Dub Review: A Certain Magical Index “Holy Mother Veneration”

In the immortal words of Michael Jackson: “Mama-say Mama-sa Amakusa!”

OVERVIEW (SPOILERS)

Kanzaki and continues her fight with Acqua, though it quickly becomes clear that she’s losing ground fast. Meanwhile, Misaka runs into a ragged Toma who is killing himself trying to get back into the fight. Exasperated, Misaka admits she knows about his amnesia and offers her help, but he brushes her off, saying he’s still being driven by some echo of the man he used to be, and continues to stagger towards wherever the battle is happening. Misaka, despite her protests and offer to help, simply watches him as he goes on his way, though she does realize her feelings for him.

Back at the battle of the Saints, Kanzaki is increasingly perplexed about Acqua’s odd combination of Saint and Right Seat of God abilities, which are usually incompatible, while Acqua mocks her for standing alone when the very nature of war is to involve even those with no way to defend themselves. She answers this by finally swallowing her pride and calling on the rest of the Amakusa Church for help, acknowledging their strength and their greater force when working together. She also uncovers Acqua’s secret ability: Holy Mother Veneration, similar to how being a Saint gives him qualities of the Son of God, but this gives him those of the Holy Mother…which helps him to balance his many other powers, apparently. The Amakusa use their signature brand of object based magic to recreate the crucifixion in order to attack and destabilize him, though Acqua tries going for the killing blow.

This is narrowly stopped by Toma, who gives Kanzaki and Itsuwa the opening they need to strike, knocking Acqua into the water. Toma awakens in the hospital, but gets a chewing out (literally) from Index and Itsuwa while Tsuchimikado pushes Kanzaki to “properly thanking” him with a sexy outfit.

At the Vatican, the Pope is paid a visit by Fiamma of the Right, who plans their next big step against England. Disturbed by this, the Pope tries imprisoning Fiamma in a spell, only to be overpowered and nearly killed by Fiamma’s “Holy Right”, something he needs Index’s knowledge to better control. Once Fiamma leaves, the Pope calls on the newly recovered Vento of the Front to pursue and kill him.

In Academy City’s depths, Aleister Crowley plots his next move.

OUR TAKE

Another arc in the books and it’s probably the most focused and effective finale we’ve gotten this season. As I said last week, Toma is once again in the backburner to make way for the Amakusa, but it’s done well enough to be worth the time. Though while last week was about the group as a whole, this episode is mostly about developing Kanzaki, another character who is usually lost in the shuffle. Previous seasons had given her some solo character growth, but this finally breaks down a hang up she’s been known to have since the beginning of the second season: where her place was amongst her own church. Because of her own Saintly powers, she figured the best way to make sure her comrades weren’t hurt was to leave them behind whole watching and protecting from a distance, but this fight against Acqua gave her the chance to see fighting WITH them was the best option.

As for the fight itself, it definitely lives up to how I would expect a battle against one of the show’s main boss characters would go, at least compared to how the fight against Vento was handled last season. The downgraded animation is still irksome, but giving the fight to someone other than Toma certainly helped to give it more variety over the previous two. However, while I do tend to just smile and nod whenever the esoteric magical and religious jargon is spewed in this series, I found myself pretty lost when it came to Acqua’s Holy Mother Veneration. Perhaps this is one of the shortcomings of this adaptation of the material, but it really did start to feel like they were just throwing words and random powers together without much explanation.

And while Toma is not the key focus of this fight or the episode, he does get one major scene between him and Misaka which you would hope would be a major turning point in their relationship…but, from what I can tell, is not. I was actually really excited to see Misaka be thrown into a fight against not only a magic user, but one of the most powerful. It would have probably undermined Kanzaki, but it would have been an opportunity to finally bring Misaka into the fold of all the magic going on in the city. I know, she has her own spin-off series to do stuff in, so it’s not like we’re not already drowning in stories about her, but THIS was a pretty big letdown. Almost as big as her just standing in the road watching her crush walk off right after saying she’d help.

There’s also the first formal introduction to the leader of the Right Seat of God, Fiamma of the Right, who currently just seems to be a pretty mustache-twirly kind of antagonist, but there’s ways they can make that work. A shame we only get to see him in action once all of his other color-coded minions are either defected like Vento, dead like Terra, or defeated like Acqua. It kind of makes this villain group feel more like obstacles than real people, though there’s probably time to remedy that. Time like next week, which sees the beginning of another flight across the world! Man, Toma should really start collecting those Airline Miles.

Score
7/10

David Kaldor

Green Lynx (David Kaldor): Aimless 20-something given a paid outlet for his thoughts on cartoons. Fears being boring slightly more than being outright disliked.

David Kaldor has 611 posts and counting. See all posts by David Kaldor