The subtitle for my review of A Certain Magical Index was easy to come up with: Wizards vs Science. It’s just as easy for the sequel. In this story Kamijo and Index find themselves up against all sort of foes but especially churches and their penguin-esq army of nuns.
If this doesn’t make sense then you’ve probably not seen the first yet and this isn’t a show you can leap mid-way into. However, as was the case the first time round, this show is beaten by its own spin-off. You might well prefer to watch A Certain Scientific Railgun first. Yes, it’ll be out of order and there are therefore some mild spoilers, but it’s the best way to get into the rich world of Academy City and its characters.
A clue that the writers might have some sympathy for my point is here is screen time. It can feel that Index is a side character at times. Misaka, the Railgun, is moved to a similar role too but now she feels like a powerful cameo and someone who could sort the drama out. Indeed, the way the tension begins to rise towards the end of the series makes me think a crossover might be coming.
I really like Academy City. It’s hard not to notice the towering wind turbines that decorate the streets. There are little police bots and technological clues that remind us we could be somewhere in the far future… and at other times it feels contemporary, even historic (especially with the churches involved).
The fact that Academy City might have been set up purely as a talent farm for wizards (or their esper rivals) is entirely believable. That there are shadowy powers waging a war behind the docile, school society policed streets, makes sense.
It’s just as well. I enjoyed A Certain Magical Index season 2 but it didn’t quite have the same lure as the first season did. Index, though, is less annoying.
Fortunately, Index and Touma are joined by a familiar cast. The backstories that weave these interesting characters in are necessary, paced and beautifully animated. There’s a layering effect with all these side stories and extra characters that brings more complexity to the plot than you might have predicted from the first season. I liked it. Complex, clever plots are exactly where the best animes find their strength.
My copy of A Certain Magical Index season 2 was provided for review.