A Certain Scientific Accelerator
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 3 of
A Certain Scientific Accelerator ?
Because Accelerator is far from being one my favorite characters in the franchise, I wasn't sure at first how enthusiastic I would be able to get about this series. However, for all of its occasional messiness and even incoherence, this franchise is never boring. Through episode 3, this spinoff has many potentially interesting elements.
One of those is a return to the concept of Personal Reality, which the franchise has occasionally brought up as an explanation for how esper powers work. Accelerator uses Personal Reality to explain the magic-like necromancy that Esther performs. That scene can be interpreted two different ways. One is that this is Accelerator's first chronological exposure to true magic, and he's just trying to interpret it in a way that makes sense to him, but the other is that Esther's “magic” is actually a psychic ability that she and those in her family lineage are just treating as magic. I am inclined to think that the former is the actual truth, but the latter being true would have some interesting implications for how magic works in this setting. Either way, Accelerator interpreting contact with Hasami's memories as a data transfer sits comfortably within his worldview.
It's also interesting that Esther is so unfazed by a guy seeing her in her underwear. This and other comments she makes about the food at the restaurant suggest a very restricted upbringing. (And speaking on that restaurant, I've been to Japan twice now and dined in family restaurants there and don't recall ever seeing anything like Tuna Head on the menu.) That Last Order only knows this because the Mikasa Network has apparently been reading magazines for girls is also somewhat amusing. But hey, this franchise has no shortage of individuals from extreme backgrounds.
Anyway, episode 3 also proves that the series is going to operate at a more reasonable clip than A Certain Magical Index III's breakneck pacing, as it introduces plot advancements while still allowing time for regular doses of Last Order cuteness, keeping previously established characters in circulation and further developing one of its newcomers. We now have a full name for the arc's apparent main villain: Mikihiko Hishigata, the jerk who is misusing Esther's necromancy. The question now is how Esther is related to the pigtailed girl who was naked with Mikihiko in an earlier episode (she also appears in Esther's memories, so they are connected somehow) and whether or not she's the “puppet” that Mikihiko is using to power the mecha Qionqi, a mecha capable of thwarting even Accelerator's attacks. Kikyu Yoshikawa, who also made a brief appearance in a previous episode, also pops up again. (For those who may have forgotten, she was the scientist involved in the Level 6 project who wound up taking a bullet to protect Accelerator and Last Order, which is why she's in the hospital now.) Those weaponized backpacks that the fake Anti-Skill guys are wearing are also a neat little trick, and it should be interesting to see what Hasami might do now that she has awoken.
Basically, the series is moving along smoothly right now, with decent production values, solid musical support, good character chemistry, sensible plot development, flashy power displays, and doses of both cuteness and sex appeal. The only negative at this point is that Accelerator is operating wholly separate from anything else in the franchise, but that may be a plus for some viewers who want a break from the main story.
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