A Certain Scientific Accelerator
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 7 of
A Certain Scientific Accelerator ?
With episode 7, I think I've finally settled on why I don't like Accelerator much as a character; it's at least partly because of the exaggerated vocal performance by Nobuhiko Okamoto. That kind of over-the-top performance (and especially that irritating laugh) work well enough for a villain, but once Accelerator became a protagonist, it just starts sounding painfully cheesy. Granted, playing at being a villain is part of the point; if nothing else, Academy City is all about glorifying teenagers. “Why in Academy City are there so many kids who take everything upon themselves?” Yomikawa asks in possibly the single most defining quote about the Index franchise. Only on rare occasions can this story be taken seriously anyway, as it revels in being ludicrous even when it's not deliberately trying to be funny. Still, toning down the exaggerated reactions would be a welcome change that will probably never happen. (To be clear, I have loved Okamoto's work in several other roles, especially Karma in Assassination Classroom, Obi in Snow White with the Red Hair, and Ikuta in Alderamin on the Sky, so I don't have anything against the actor.)
One of those lighthearted moments comes relatively early in this episode, and this time it actually has nothing to do with Last Order, who doesn't even make a cameo. For whatever reason I found Esther and Huotou trying to convince Accelerator to be Esther's master to be tremendously funny, especially in the way that Huotou maintained her deadpan delivery and expression even while running around in circles wearing only a cloak over her undies. (Girls in undies seems to be a motif for this episode, as Hirumi – the girl who's been hanging out with the villain – is similarly clad.)
Nothing else about the episode overall is lighthearted, however. What starts out as a discussion about future direction turns into a battle and chase scene when a trio of empowered mecha attack and snatch the Sister, while Esther decides that she's not content with being helpless anymore, especially in a situation that she partially blames herself for. It's uncertain what she's doing there at the end of the episode, but I'm looking forward to finding out more.
Despite some imperfect CG integration, the action scenes are not trivial this week. Their nature gives Accelerator free reign to get creative with his powers, such as by reading air currents to get a sense of where a cloaked mecha is hiding. That ability to exploit his power from many different angles is why his nature as the strongest in the room does not become tiresome. The series has done a good enough job of posing just enough threat to Accelerator to force him to make an effort. On the downside, the villain is descending to the level of being comically evil, but that's also par for the course for this franchise.
The last notable aspect of this episode that may be easily overlooked is how completely Yomikawa is taking all of this in stride. I guess being on the police force in a city full of espers inures you to all manner of oddities over time.
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