A Certain Magical Index III
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Certain Magical Index III ?
After being entirely absent for the last three episodes, Touma is now back to being in the spotlight. The result is a substantially less frenzied pace than we've seen recently, with the story actually taking time to show what established characters are doing rather than throwing oodles of new ones at us. In other words, after a comical opening sequence involving a grand quest by A Certain High School students to get a proper lunch, the episode is mostly an exploration of Touma's relationships with the key girls currently in his life.
Of course, the story cannot remain sedate for too long. Acqua of the Rear's threat to go after Touma looms over much of the episode and eventually proves to be legitimate, putting Touma up against maybe his most difficult mismatch since he fought Kanzaki over Index early in the first series. Imagine Breaker's game-changing ability gives Touma a fighting chance – and in some cases even an advantage – against foes who exclusively rely on their powers for offense and defense, which is normally quite handy in a world rife with espers and magic-users. However, it's no advantage against a foe who both knows about Touma's powers and only uses powers to enhance their potent combat ability; in other words, Acqua wipes the floor with Touma. Choosing to give Touma a day to decide to give up his right arm in exchange for his life comes across as villainous gloating, though perhaps that's his concession to what he was saying to the Left guy a few episodes back about not killing unless it's necessary. Regardless, this may be the one foe that Touma will actually need help to combat directly. I can't see him being any more willing to do so than Mikoto was in Railgun S, but it's not like he doesn't have allies who would come running. My guess is that they'll probably show up to help on their own, and the next episode preview does suggest that Kanzaki is going to show up.
But before that, Touma gets to frolic with the girls – sort of. Itsuwa shows up again as an ostensible bodyguard, which is no surprise since the opener shows her in Academy City clinging to Touma. She's also clearly there because she likes him, but the amusing angle is that the Amakusa folk seem to think that she's capable of a honeypot operation to bind Touma closer to the Amakusa, especially given that she can only accidentally exploit her sexuality toward one of the densest of all harem protagonists. Index gets a turn to act up in scenes that remind me how uninteresting she is when her powers aren't involved, while Mikoto gets to go full-bore tsundere, provide another dose of fan service, and even add some humor in the suggestion that she had to be carted from the spa after fainting in the hot water. The little maid girl even pops up in a silly bit about Itsuwa's secret cooking ingredient. In other words, it's all typical series antics.
But that's true of the episode in general. This is about as typical as this side of the franchise gets. The battle scenes seems a little short-changed this time, but effective use of the musical score makes up for that. I'll be curious to hear what got skipped from the source material, as this one doesn't have the obvious omissions of the last few episodes, but what's shown about the underground city is at least fantastic. In general, the series is back on firmer ground this week.
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