English Dub Review: A Certain Magical Index “The Third Level”

Itsuwa, he’s just not that into you.

OVERVIEW (SPOILERS)

Toma’s class prepares to strategically retrieve lunch before it’s all gone, but are almost stopped by a teacher. Before teacher can get to Toma, though, he’s attacked by a well-intentioned Itsuwa. Seems she’s been tasked to be Toma’s bodyguard while they wait for the inevitable arrival of Acqua of the Rear, another member of the Right Seat of God that Toma met briefly after beating Vento of the Front (and sadly, reminding me of when this show was better animated). Acqua has apparently announced to the Puritans that he will attack Toma as retaliation for him interfering with their plans. Meanwhile, the rest of the Amakusa are monitoring Toma and Itsuwa, rooting for her to finally make a move on Toma since she’s got a crush on him. To get the ball rolling, their leader Tatemiya launches a soccer ball at Toma’s head so he flies right into her chest.

Index (who I just remembered is also in this show!) is not too happy about Toma bringing another girl home, but changes her tune when Itsuwa starts making them all dinner. Toma figures this is a good time for Index to start doing chores, though this ends up failing spectacularly when she destroys the bath with too much pipe cleaner, so they decide to go to an outdoor bath in the underground 22nd School District. They take Itsuwa’s motorbike, though she takes the opportunity to speed up on the highway so Toma has reason to hang onto her tighter. At the bath, they run into Misaka, who’s been worried sick about Toma now that she knows he’s been hiding his amnesia, especially since she has no idea when he lost them. As far as she knows he could have forgotten everything they’ve been through and is just being polite.

Afterwards, while Index wanders around, Toma and Itsuwa decide to take a nice walk and chat, but the good mood is soon shattered with Acqua makes his entrance, having apparently beaten a few of the Amakusa before getting there. Despite their best efforts, he easily defeats the two, and Itsuwa’s healing spells don’t work on Toma due to his right hand, leaving him a bloody mess. Aqcua gives Toma one day to cut off his right arm and deliver it, otherwise he will die.

OUR TAKE

Well, that’s more like it in terms of fighting these Right Seat guys. After the fight with Terra turned out to be such a letdown and the last arc being covered in scissor marks, I was starting to lose faith that the fights in future episodes would have the same problems. And this…has a few. The cut corners in the animation are still all over the place and very distracting, especially when played alongside clips of previous seasons that looked way better managed, but at least now I can tell what’s going on. This is probably helped by the characters and plot being a lot more focused than in the last arc, with the focus being primarily on Toma and Itsuwa getting all lovey dovey while waiting for Acqua to show up, and when he does, the tone instantly ramps up in intensity and hopelessness, with Toma barely getting out of there alive and living on borrowed time.

It hasn’t been that long since we last saw Itsuwa or the Amakusa, so I can’t say I missed them all that much. Unfortunately, I also can’t say I’m entirely happy to see them again either, since while they may be a large group, they’re really just two characters: Itsuwa and the rest. Tatemiya, their leader and the one who looks like if Mugen from Samurai Champloo got into Christian Rock, used to have his own personality when the group was introduced early in the second season as supposed antagonists, but now he’s more of a doting dad who wants his underling to get a good boyfriend. Itsuwa is a competent fighter and is cute as hell, but given the nature of Toma as an aloof, clueless to romance Light Novel protagonist, I’m afraid her efforts to woo him will be all for naught.

We also get a bit more world-building for Academy City with the introduction of the 22nd School District. It’s not the most interesting place, but the anime has done a good enough job at making it look very pretty and a place I would certainly want to visit if it were real. Part of making the setting feel more alive and a character itself in the story is making it feel like a place you would want to go to if you could. Academy City is already a technological marvel on its own, so it’s cool to see it’s not just being relegated to being another city location when there’s so much left to explore.

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 385 posts and counting. See all posts by David Kaldor