English Dub Review: A Certain Magical Index “A Reason to Protect”

The end of the beginning of the end.

OVERVIEW (SPOILERS)

While Toma and company recover from their fight with Fiamma, Hamazura enters his own fight defending the village harboring him and Takitsubo. He manages to fight off some of the tanks with improvised landmines, but soon gets caught in the sights of an assault helicopter, only to be saved by Acqua, who offers his own help.

And while all THAT is going on, Carissa faces the “Maiden of Versailles”, who the closed captions are calling “Femme Fatale”. She tells her that this war was clearly because of Fiamma, not the Roman Orthodoxy that she says she’s defending.

Misaka Worst awakens to find her wounds are healed somehow. When she questions Accelerator about how she could possibly still be alive despite her trying to kill him, he responds the only natural way: laughing maniacally and sprouting his black tornado wings again. His newfound insanity draws Toma’s group to them, and the strongest Level 5 and weakest Level 0 (which may not be true anymore with Hamazura around) face off once again. In his crazed state, Accelerator chastises Toma for being “the big hero” but allowing more bad things like Last Order’s condition to keep happening, while a “villain” like him can’t help anything except with more blood and destruction. Toma, of course, has no idea what the hell he’s talking about, and tells him to stop oversimplifying things as “good guys” or “bad guys” before laying down a barrage of his signature face punches.

Toma then leaves Accelerator and a now cured Last Order with Elizalina, then goes back to chasing Fiamma now that he’s found his resolve again. Fiamma looks over the captured Sasha and begins Project B’Tselem.

And lastly, Misaka Classic gets word about Toma being in Russia and decides to get involved in the fight herself. But she won’t be the only other Level 5 looking for a scruffy haired protagonist heading there, as Mugino is also on her way and looking to finish Hamazura.

OUR TAKE

So closes the first third of the World War 3 arc. This was basically just continuing the plots we’ve seen in the story already, so still not a whole lot more to say about most of them. Hamazura continues to show his pure ballsiness in facing off against the invading forces, though that obviously was only going to take him so far. And now he’s got Acqua backing him up which is…kinda interesting? I honestly hadn’t ever considered putting these two characters together, but maybe there’ll be some interesting moments to get out of it.

“Doug Dimmadome’s Dimsdale Dimmadome Presents: Princess Carissa On Ice” continues with a sudden new opponent out of friggin nowhere in the form of the Maiden of Verssailes. And once again, I’m getting that feeling of certain things being better expressed in the book, AKA the version of this story I’m not reviewing. Who the hell is this person, what is she to France, and why does she have a name in the captions that no one refers to her as? And, perhaps most importantly, why doesn’t she have a cartoonishly thick French accent?! I ask for so little, Funi.

But also once again, the main character stuff comes down to Toma and Accelerator’s big rematch which…is a bit of a mixed bag for me. There are things I like as ideas and what they mean for the characters, but I’m not crazy about the execution. First off, why is Accelerator going berserk like this right now? Last time this happened was against Kakine where he was pushed too far during their fight, but here, he’s already beaten the new Misaka handily, so…maybe he’s just pissed about how he’s been manipulated? But then why is he laughing? I like that he’s getting a rant off to Toma about how he’s been dealing with taking care of Last Order when he expected Toma to be the big hero…only Toma never claimed to be that to Accelerator, did he? Just seems like the two of them are having different conversations instead of a layered debate about the nature of heroism.

Though what I actually ended up digging a lot was how Toma reacted to it. After getting lectured to by Fiamma, he’s out of sorts because, while he never claimed to be doing things for a righteous cause, he DID lie to Index about his memories because he was worried about her reaction. Now he realizes that, even though he doesn’t have the right to say what she should or shouldn’t know, he still wants to protect her. And what I like is that the stuff he’s saying to Accelerator are exactly the things he needs to say to himself to get him back on track. I just think that this might have been better handled as a regular argument or fist fight. Or maybe that whole scene felt cooler in the book.

While I won’t say this was a bad episode, it did feel like it flubbed a bit of what I liked about the last two, though while keeping the ideas and character development impactful and meaningful. Maybe just a bit too jumbled. We’re down to the final six episodes, so there’s plenty of time to build the momentum back up.

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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