Book Review: A Certain Magical Index Volume 14

February 27, 2018

A Certain Magical Index Volume 14 cover

I hope you all have been having a good week, even if it has
been spent dealing with the monotony of the daily grind.

Aside from things getting thrown off schedule, such as the
constant rescheduling of the final volumes of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi,
things have been going fairly well and I can still do. The things I enjoy doing.

Recently, the first of the final two titles I was expecting
to get this month arrived, and it is time to get the book out of the way,
before things get out of hand.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called A Certain Magical Index Volume 14
by Kazuma Kamachi.

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

After the events surrounding the Vento's invasion came to a
close, things seem to have finally become peaceful, as the residents can
continue going about their day.

However, the rest of the world has started to uprisings and
people are turning against Academy City, and while this does not seem like
something with a simple solution, a member of the Board of Directors goes to
make contact with Touma, wanting things to be resolved without the blood shed
that would otherwise take place.

While I have made it pretty clear that I am not particularly
fond of this series, though not enough to consider worse than Accelerator's own
manga, things have been a bit more interesting in these novels, but I know very
well that it would not remain that.

And after reading this, I must say that I kind of liked this
book.

From the moment that I opened and started reading this book,
I found myself so engrossed in it that I did not want to stopping reading for
any reason.

Back when I first started reading this, I had a really hard
time getting invested in what was going, because the flow of Kazuma Kamachi's
writing did not pull me in and many the events I found my annoyed with in the
anime adaptations from J.C Staff came off as dull here, except for volumes 3,
which was the best version of Index's Sisters arc, and 4.

However, ever since the events of the last of the only two
or so good arcs from Index
2
were covered finished up in the recent releases from Yen Press, things
have started to become quite a bit interesting, as the writing has greatly
improved to the point where I did not find myself bored out of my mind, like I
did back in the first two volumes.

One of the most important things that a great work needs to
have is the ability to draw people in, and while there are many ways to do this
in writing, depending on the genre, the thing that really helps draw in the
audience is if the words found in the pages of the book flow so well together
that the reader cannot help but to drawn into the world, regardless of what was
happening, and Kazuma Kamachi was able to finally bring this to the table in
his work.

If Kazuma had not been able to deliver in this capacity, I
would have been mad enough to stop following this series, even if it sometimes
explains things that do not make sense A Certain Scientific Railgun,
because that would mean that I wasted my time on something that is supposed to
be the superior series, instead of a spin off that is superior, yet should
not have been needed.

Fortunately, Kazuma Kamachi delivered something decent for
once, and that makes me feel like giving him a bit more applause, especially
since this content actually new to me, unlike the previous 13 volumes.

I also liked how I did not really feel lost too much while
reading this book.

Back when I first delved into this series, which was after
FUNimation made the first anime on iTunes, I had troubles getting into things
because I saw that Touma was trying to help Mikoto Misaka near the beginning
and she attacks for what he did, but I had no idea of why or why he was scared
her.

Even though his fear towards Misaka did make a bit more
sense in the first
book
, I still kind of felt lost about the whole thing because there seemed
to be something missing and it was only resolved in the first
volume
of Railgun's manga, which kind of ruined my enjoyment of that
volume, along how tedious things felt.

Seeing how this book takes place after the final events
shown the second Magical Index anime, I was kind of worried that I would be
facing the same problem, as Yen Press decided to not published the side story
that took place before this, which the afterword eludes had been published
before this volume, because Kazuma Kamachi does not have that strong of a
record in my book.

Surprisingly though, I did not feel like I was missing
anything while I read this book.

This is what I really wanted to see from the series that is
considered the parent series of the Raildex universe when I first started
reading the novels, and Kazuma was finally able to deliver.

If Kazuma had written this in a way that I absolutely needed
to read the side story that Yen Press decided to ignore, like how I needed to
read the Railgun manga to fully understand the events in the first Index novel,
I would have been very angry at Kazuma for doing something that no reader
should have to deal with, as well as Yen Press for deciding to only release the
mainline novels, whereas they published pretty much every installment of Spice
& Wolf
.

Thankfully, that did not happen, so I can give Kazuma
Kamachi another good round applause for a job well done.

Hopefully, he can keep this up in future installments,
because the series finally seems to be on the right trek to becoming great,
though I am not too if it will be able to upset my current ranking of the
Raildex universe series.

Another thing that I kind of liked about this book was how I
was able to get a few actual laughs of it.

While the humor found in this book was not that unique, when
compared to the rest of the series, or even anime and manga general, things
were at least executed well enough that they seemed to be genuinely funny.

One of the things that I kind of do not like about A
Certain Magical Index
is how the comedic moments just scream that they are
too much like slapstick and come off as something that the audience has seem
numerous times, while only being able generate a bit of a chuckle at best.

Now, some of you guys might be surprised to hear this, since
I do not usually knock down the comedic moments too much, as I do generally let
things like the slapstick found in anime off the hook, but the humor is part of
what gives a series its charm, unlike the awkward moments in American sitcoms
that need laugh tracks to seem funny, and if there is no humor, things tend to
feel a little lifeless.

In this book, Kazuma Kamachi might still be relying on the
same old tricks, but things like the baseball incident towards the beginning
and Misaka becoming mad at Touma because he has her mother's number ended up
being just as funny as Kuroko Shirai is in the Railgun manga.

If the humor were not as good as it was here, I would have
been very angry, as this series is finally starting to stand out more than just
when certain events take place, and I would rather sing a work's praises than
wish it shot in the sun or coming off so badly that the creators should not
come out without scratch.

Fortunately, the humor ended up being funny, and helped to
make it easier for me to enjoy reading this book.

There were two things that I liked the most though.

First, the Interludes did not feel like they were unneeded
to the point where there were too many.

Back in the 12th
book
, which started off the last of the only two arcs I enjoyed in the
second anime adaptation, I was annoyed with how many of the interludes felt
out-of-place and prevented flow of the book from having a nice, consistent flow
and contributed to why I considered it to be such a terrible book, in spite of
the fact that start of an arc that I was interested in.

Here, however, the interludes actually felt like they
belonged and made me want to continue reading this book, as I was led to
believe that there was quite a bit going on and this was the start of something
much bigger.

Readers, regardless of the kind of work that they are
interested in, want and need reasons to continue reading a book, because that
helps them become invested in a work, and Kazuma Kamachi delivered that in this
volume.

If the interludes felt as pointless as they were back in the
12th book, I would have been even more disappointed in Kazuma and
started shaking my head, while wondering why people want a third season of the
Index anime so badly, because it would have made all of Kazuma Kamachi's
improvements so far look like nothing more than a joke.

Luckily, that did not happen, which makes me want to give
Kazuma another good round of applause.

The second thing that really caught my attention was that
Touma's Imagine Breaker was revealed to not be all that powerful.

Other than the poor writing, which has plagued quite a few
works in this series already, the thing that I really hated about this series
was how Touma Kamijou practically won every fight through dumb luck and the use
of his all-mighty Imagine Breaker, though I was already aware that it had some
weaknesses, which made things feel less believable, especially to somebody like
me, who has only one good arm to fight with.

Because of this, I viewed Index to be lesser series, as
Touma does not seem to be able to strategize as well as Misaka and the fights
proved to be rather uninteresting.

However, now that it is revealed that Imagine Breaker is not
as powerful as I was led to believe, and that it is seemingly incomplete, I am
actually interested in continuing on with this series, because Kazuma Kamachi
seemed to realize that Touma needed to have some challenge other than having to
fight Accelerator while already heavily injured and has also decided to explore
Imagine Breaker.

If Imagine Breaker were left as it was, I would have dropped
this series sooner or later, because the fights would eventually become just as
dull as they are in the anime and there would be things about Touma that would
be left unanswered.

Thankfully, that did not occur here, and I feel like giving
Kazuma bit more applause.

Hopefully, Imagine Breaker continues to explored throughout
the rest this series, because I do need to have some other reason to continue
following this than just making sure I get explanations for things I see in
Railgun, but seeing as Kazuma Kamachi is human and has failed to impress quite
a few times, I would not be surprised if things go down the drain after this.

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

Because my interest was captured quickly and held right up
to the end, by having a writing style that actually pulled me in, I did not
feel like I needed to read the preceding side story novel or watch the final
episodes of the second anime adaptation, there were things to laugh about,
Imagine Breaker's status as a hack was removed, and the Interludes actually
made me more interested in reading the book, this book was a pretty decent
read.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about,
such as typos, only one thing really bothered me.

There were quite a few punctuation errors.

Now, some of you guys might be laughing this off, seeing as
my writing is not exactly perfect, and thinking that I should not be one to
talk, but this is still something that needs to be discussed.

One of the reasons great books flow well from beginning to
end is that there are few, if any, moments where the wrong punctuation is used,
which makes it easy for readers to immerse themselves.

However, when punctuation is not placed correctly, things do
not seem to flow as smoothly as they would have, and can make it so that a
reader cannot become immersed too well, and there were quite a few instances of
that occurring in this book.

As much as I want to blame this on Kazuma Kamachi and his
editors over in Japan though, the real blame belongs with Yen Press because
they commissioned the translation found this book and it seems like there was
no proofreading done at all prior to the publication of this, though it was
mainly relegated to comma usage.

While it was not exactly hard for me read through this,
there are people are not as used to reading through things like them, and if
Yen Press actually took the time to proofread the translation more than once,
this book would have been so much better and might have been considered to be
one of the best books that they released.

Unfortunately, Yen Press was more concerned about getting
this out on time, and made me wonder if I was really reading things correctly.

Hopefully, things like this do not happen again any time,
because readers want to see that everyone involved in producing did their job
well, and really showed they put effort into it.

Thankfully, that was the only thing that really bothered me,
so I can end things here, instead of having to rip into the book any further.

While there was only one issue, it was not bad enough to
hurt the quality of the book too badly, though it did make it seem like Yen
Press did not proofread things too carefully.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like and the only
problem was not something that really caused damage, this was definitely worth
reading.

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

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but
it would be best to at least either watch both anime adaptations of Magical
Index or read the previous volumes first, so that one could get the full
enjoyment of this book.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider either supporting me on Patreon or buy the reviewed
title from Book
Depository
, who offers free shipping countries around, so that I can
continue following this series and possibly find more worthwhile reads for you
guys.

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