Book Review: A Certain Magical Index Volume 13

A Certain Magical Index Volume 13 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good week, and are getting plans for the weekend finalized.

Things have been going fairly well here, with only a few annoyances, and I can still do what I want to do.

Recently, I got a couple more books, one of which was an early gift, and I have covered one of them already.

Today, I will be reviewing the other title I got, which is called A Certain Magical Index Volume 13 by Kazuma Kamachi.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

After meeting the person who helped Accelerator develop his abilities, Accelerator and Last Order are once again separated and Accelerator is determined to go after the people who started this trouble, even if it means going against the only other person who can pose a threat to him.

However, even if Accelerator can deal with his new threat, Academy City is still being threatened by an intruder and things get dire for Touma and friends, as a run in with Last Order, who Accelerator is looking for, entangles them in a mess that might escalate hostilities between the worlds of science and magic.

I kind of liked this book.

From the moment that I opened up this book and started reading it, I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as every other human out there.

While this might seem a little surprising, seeing as I keep making it clear that I not particularly fond of A Certain Magical Index, seeing as I only follow because of those rare occurrences where things go unexplained in Railgun, like how Kuroko ended in a wheel chair during the Daihasei Festival, which was revealed back in the 8th book, each installment of the series has been getting better in this area.

Back when I first tired the novels, I had troubles getting into it because Kazamuza Kamachi could not grab my attention by not making things interesting, and even playing things in a manner that had practically been done to death, resulting in my experience feeling like chore, and worsening my impression of the series that I had developed because of the terrible adaptations staff at J.C. Staff delivered.

However, after a while, even the Magical Index arcs that I hated, such as the Index arc, started to look better by doing things right to capture my attention, and that was no different here, though I still cannot say that it was not because of the fact that this is one of the few arcs I enjoyed before trying the novels out.

If I had to say why it captured my attention so quickly, other than the aforementioned fact that this was one of my favorite arcs in the second anime, it would have to because it gave both a very brief rundown of what happened in the previous book and picked up where had left off.

With how much time passes betweeen releases of this series, the brief rundown helped to refresh my mind on what had happened before, and easily get right back into the story.

If this little refresher was not, just like how the tenth book just jump right into things, I would have been a little upset because Yen Press is releasing these volumes one at a time, unlike Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, which is being released two volumes at a time, as that would mean that this book could only be fully enjoyed if the events of the previous installment were fresh in one's mind.

Readers might be willing to wait for the next installment of their favorite series, but even they have a certain limit to how long they can maintain their interest, and if there is too big of a time, the excitement is gone, which is why I absolutely hate two-part stories in prose fiction.

However, because Kazuma had started off the book in this way, it not only made it easy to continue on with the events of the Academy City invasion arc, without the side effect of my interest waning.

Hopefully, this becomes the new norm for multi-part installments of this series, as that would make it more worthwhile for me to continue reading each volume as it gets released, especially now that I am exiting Index II territory and heading into what might remain light novel exclusive for a bit longer, unless there is news of season3 beyond current speculation and rumors.

Unfortunately, because Kazuma Kamachi is not quite as good as Isuna Hasekura was when he wrote Spice & Wolf, I suspect that I will have to put this series on hold again so that I could get a full arc and have the best enjoyment of it.

I also liked how this felt like I was watching a movie, instead of reading a book.

While this particular arc that is covered in this book was one of the better ones in the anime, I could not really immerse myself in it because things shift between characters constantly, which does happen in this book too, and my interest in what was going was only present when certain characters were around, mostly Accelerator and Misaka, and that really took the quality of the arc down a bit, since Accelerator's fight and Last Order's antics were the only things that made it worth watching.

However, in this book, even though things do shift around a lot, I never felt like things suddenly became dull just because a particular character was not shown, and I could see things moving along like a professionally edited movie, even though this is a textual work of fiction.

Yes, there are limits to what can be done in any medium that provides entertainment or can present a story, which is why the original work is usually better than adaptations, but I think the reason why my level interest in this arc is a bit different than it was when I saw Index II is because Touma and many of the other characters in the Raildex universe seem to be more interesting in the novels and the fights are not bore fests, whereas the only decent fights, which do not end consistently through sheer luck or, in the case of the Sisters arc from the Index anime, seem unrealistic crop up only when Accelerator or the Railgun cast on the scene.

This is what I wish I got from the Index series when I first introduced to it and Kazuma Kamachi was finally able deliver that in this volume.

If things were more like what J.C. Staff delivered in the anime, I would have been very disappointed, as that would have given me more reason to view the Index portion of the Raildex universe as an afterthought, though it is the parent series, and I would begin to focus on only A Certain Scientific Railgun.

However, because that did not happen, it makes me much more interested in what will come next, and that makes me feel like giving Kazuma Kamachi a good round of applause.

If he can keep this up, A Certain Magical Index would start to look like a pretty decent series that deserves some respect, as opposed to being one worse entries in the franchise's universe, the other being A Certain Scientific Accelerator, and I am a little confident that Kazuma can pull it off, though the rough start of this series would still make it look second best to people like me, who view Railgun to be the superior series.

The thing that I liked the most though was how this book ended.

One of the things that I really hated about A Certain Magical Index, which exists in both these books and the anime, is that the arcs are not really connected together into what could be thought of as a plot or storyline.

Instead, each arc was presented as individual story in which Accelerator or Touma, depending on who Kazuma wants to be star, gets mixed up in something and they have to take care of it, much like the works found in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, whereas Railgun's arcs seem to have a connection with one another, at least in the manga, and that makes this series feel like an Adventures of Touma and Friends series, rather than a work that should be given the pedestal that DBZ used to have, before people realized how bad it was.

Yes, Railgun is not perfect in this aspect, especially because of how the manga is progressing now, but it helped to make Academy City seem much more mysterious and gave me reason to continue following the series, and that was what A Certain Magical Index lacked, because it tried to focus on both Academy City and its darkness and the world of magic.

Fortunately, that little problem changed a bit with this book.

After Touma beat Vento and gave his little speech, which seemed to have more feeling behind it than any of the speeches gave in the Index anime adaptations, he tries thinking about what could be done to help Kazakiri, a man who calls himself Acqua of the Back suddenly appears and takes Vento, with some protests from Touma, leaving Touma with souvenir.

Later, Acqua talks to an ally and the conversation leads into talk of bringing down Academy City, and Accelerator talks to a mysterious individual about something big happening, as they want to prevent the fall of Academy City, moments after Acqua acknowledged Touma an enemy that he would have to fight.

The end of the second season of the anime may have done a good job of brininging out this feeling, which did get me excited for another possible season, in spite of my extreme dislike of the series, but the way it was presented here was on whole different level, because I had nothing but questions that I want answer right now, even though the next volume will not come out until February, according to the product page on Amazon, though I am not sure if Yen Press will publish the preceding side story here.

This is the kind of hook that I have been waiting for that would make me want to check out more of the series and Kazuma Kamachi finally delivered.

If Kazuma Kamachi had kept things going like usual, with Touma and Accelerator's random troubles that crop up as frequently as body is found wherever a fictional detective goes, I would have been done with this series, as the cast is not interesting enough to see what happens next as the smaller Railgun cast, though I would probably be badgered again by people who are only familiar with what makes Kuroko Shirai so annoying and what Saten seems to do a lot on screen in the anime.

However, because things have changed up dramatically now, I feel like giving Kazuma a bit of applause for giving me more of a reason to continue following this series than just to make sure that there are not any gaps in the Railgun timeline, and does not make it seem like people like me are wasting their time.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could stand out as much as what I talked about.

Because my attention was captured quickly and held right to the end, because of a refresher and things did not become dull just because the good characters were not around, and there is finally a sign of something bigger to come, this was definitely worth reading.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as minor typos, and one thing that I thought I noticed, but cannot seem to find now, nothing seemed to bother me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like, and not too much to hate, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of A Certain Magical Index, as they will be able to like this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, as it seems like Magical Index has finally started to look like a good series, but it would probably best to read the other volumes first, in order to be able to really enjoy this.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or either buy the reviewed title or, if you are anxious to find out what happens next, sans the side story volumes, preorder the next book from Book Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so that I can continue following this series and probably find more worthwhile reads for you guys.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.