English Dub Review: A Certain Magical Index “Spark Signal”

(And the Fantabulous Emancipation of Kinuhata Saiai)

OVERVIEW (SPOILERS)

It’s been some time since the Battle Royale between the other Dark Side teams and GROUP have been chillin like villains ever since. Accelerator is balancing his work with time for Last Order, Musujime is living with Komoe, Etzali is looking after a recovering Xochitl, and Tsuchimikado is raring to reclaim his lead on Toma for appearing in the most episodes this season. But as the team enjoys their time at rest (and makes awkward jokes about adopted sisters, “lolicons”, and “shotacons”), a new mission arises, this time to stop a group called Spark Signal from holding hostages and then to kill them.

They make short work of the goons, but what bugs Accelerator is what they were demanding: information on DRAGON, the only organization that didn’t get involved in the fight last time, which means GROUP’s bosses probably used them to snuff out any leads. They soon get further orders to kill the rest of Spark Signal, which they begrudgingly follow.

While this is happening, the remaining former members ITEM, Hamazura, Saiai, and Takitsubo, are still recovering from last time, though Saiai is planning on joining a new team. The next day, she admits she turned it down due to it being made up of the members from other groups. They’re then pursued by mysterious helicopters.

There’s also Stephanie Gorgeousplace, a new figure who’s been hired to kill Accelerator, but really wants to take revenge on all of Academy City.

OUR TAKE

This arc acts as a sequel to the fourth through sixth episodes of this season, as well as happening concurrently with the Brexit stuff in the last arc. Looking back on that second arc (which wasn’t that long ago), it really turned into a mess with how many characters were introduced and dealt with, though that likely had to do with it being a poor adaptation of what I hear is a pretty good novel (which seems to be a recurring theme in this season, sadly). Though having it in my recent memory did make reacquainting myself with GROUP and ITEM a lot easier, and so far the core cast of this story seems to just be focusing on them…and this Gorgeousplace lady, who is kind of an enigma at the moment. At least it’s not dozens of new characters at once, so I can handle one new antagonist if she’s fleshed out a bit more.

Though as our closest thing to a protagonist in this cast, I do like what I’m seeing from Accelerator in terms of development. His “I’m a villain” line whenever he does something actually noble speaks towards his personal standards on what makes a hero, something he probably wants to be for Last Order. I’ve been told there’s more to it than that which just isn’t being picked up on by the anime (throw that on the pile, I guess), but there’s enough that’s showing that he’s grown quite a bit from feeling obligated to murder ten thousand clones in the name of science. He’s apparently going to play a big part in the latter part of the season, so this should serve as set-up for that.

And we should also talk about the re-hanging of the dangling plot thread that is the DRAGON group. What they are is seemingly considered so top secret that anyone who mentions it is put to death, but does that mean its members are out there as part of an even darker version of GROUP? Perhaps this is what that patchwork team of former members that Saiai turned down was? Or maybe it’s something else altogether. The point is that there’s still a lot that the leaders of Academy City aren’t telling everyone, and if the Streisand Effect has taught me anything, it’s that trying to hide something only makes people want it more. That and many more as the arc continues next week.

Score
6/10

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.

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