A Certain Magical Index III
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 17 of
Certain Magical Index III ?
NOTICE: Due to being busy at a convention next week, I'm unlikely to review episode 18 on its own next Friday. It will instead be covered together with episode 19.
Last episode was enormously fragmented and messy even by the standards of this franchise, and this episode continues that confusing pattern. At least episode 17 ties up or explains some of the big-picture elements driving the broader story. It also points to a clearer direction for what comes next and sets most of the major players (sadly sans Mikoto) on convergent paths for a change.
The satisfaction level of all these conclusions varies dramatically, however. Accelerator's fight against Agent Guy gets bogged down the most by limp philosophizing, in this case over who's good or evil. That's a debate worth having about Accelarator, but the way it's handled lacks conviction and waters down the action, giving off a feeling of the characters just going through the motions. Their too-brief fight does at least involve a couple of neat reversals. Meanwhile, Kinuhata faces off against Stephanie Gorgeouspalace and finally manages to outwit her, although other agents take custody of her in the end; that's hardly surprising, since multiple forces are in play. More surprising is that Hamazura is being targeted specifically by the forces of Academy City; apparently he's a disruptive element in the overall schemes of Aleister Crowley because he's not as easily manipulated? That logic seems like a stretch, but it does allow him to have another dramatic confrontation against a partly-reconstituted Meltdowner, who's back with a glowing eye and energy arm claiming that she wasn't allowed to die because she's still part of Crowley's machinations. I'm still not convinced that he's legitimate hero material, and he still seems all-too-capable of some outlandish things, but once again he and Takitsubo make an appealing couple.
On the other front, Etzali has a death match against his former comrades, which was interesting enough that I would have liked to see it go on longer, and Musujime once again gets knocked unconscious before she can do anything. But Accelerator does get to meet DRAGON, aka Aiwass. (Aiwass is the “alien intelligence” that the historical Aleister Crowley claims to have been inspired by to write his most important works.) Is he an angel? Is he another product of the AIM diffusion field? He seems to be a bit of both, and his relationship with Crowley is not fully cooperative. He seems to have his own agenda that at least partly involves messing with Crowley's grand plans. That could be very interesting if the series does anything more with it, but given that most of the major players are being sent to Russia by the end of the episode, I suspect that he'll be fading into the background again.
The title for the next episode is also suitably ominous: “World War 3.” I've seen references to this in a wide number of character profiles, so I have to assume that it's a defining event for this part of the story. Even without that, we have Touma and Index, Accelerator and Last Order, and Hamazura and Takitsubo all converging in Russia with Fiamma of the Right, which definitely sounds like a party waiting to happen.
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