A Certain Magical Index III
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Certain Magical Index III ?
It's not often that an anime episode about an attempt by saboteurs to bring down a jetliner comes off as low-key compared to the series' normal shenanigans.
Touma is once again getting shipped overseas for a crisis, but this time he's got Index in tow as a partner. He skips the hypersonic transport Tsuchimikado arranged in favor of commercial transportation and just happens to land on the same plane as a couple of French terrorists targeting their destination, England. Naturally Touma gets wind of what's going on and puts his right fist to good use again – but this time, Imagine Breaker isn't a factor because there are no powers involved. These are just garden-variety fanatics with tools as ordinary as a grenade and a bone knife (to pass airport metal scanners). In fact, visible power use of any kind in this episode is limited to a brief flare-up in Mikoto's obligatory cameo and one brief stunt performed by Stiyl at the height of the incident. (We're told about some kind of illusory effect being used at one point, but it isn't obvious.) So it's just a completely ordinary action scene with the stakes merely limited to the plane's passengers.
As jaded at that reaction sounds, in a series where psychic and magical powers are practically ubiquitous, there are certain expectations for thrill factor, and this premise doesn't cut it by this franchise's standards. Fortunately, there are a few other things going on to help offset this storyline's lack of verve. This episode proves that Index should dress in street clothes much more often; as cute as she is in the nun's robes, she looks much cuter dressed like this. Itsuwa and Mikoto both make the most of their cameos to amusingly fret over matters of the heart concerning Touma, and we do finally get a brief shot of the racy maid outfit that Kanzaki wore in Touma's hospital room at the end of last episode. (That does make me wonder what even more risque outfit Itsuwa was looking at, which was probably the point of her scene.) Laura Stuart, the too-young-looking head of the Anglican Church, also makes an appearance to reinforce her gentle brand of ruthlessness, and the end of the episode introduces us to a group of sorceresses (?) who will presumably be the next foes for Touma and Index. In other words, the show seems likely to return to the more outlandish content fans expect soon.
But for now, this is just a basic transitional episode between story arcs. It's not so much downtime as linking one plot to the next while provide a little more context for the political and economic situations in this universe's version of Europe. It serves its purpose well enough without standing out.
A Certain Magical Index III is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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