Book Review: A Certain Magical Index Volume 2

October 17, 2015

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It looks like I got in a few more posts in this month than has been the usual for the year so far, huh?

As I mentioned in my last two posts, I recently got three books from Barnes & Noble, and they have been covered one by one, though the first book was very disappointing.

Today, I will be reviewing the last of three books I got, which is A Certain Magical Index Volume 2 by Kazuma Kamachi.

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

Two weeks after Touma met Index and found out what caused Index to have problems when her memories are not erased, Aleister has one of Touma's recent enemies and Touma Kamijou himself infiltrate a prep school and rescue somebody with the power to kill a creature thought to only exist in myth.

However, when they find out that they contact interact with things normally, their objective become more complicated and they must find out a way to break through, even if it means going up against somebody that can make anything they say reality.

Boy, I have not been looking forward to this one.

While many should already know that I have not been that big of a fan of the Index portion of the Raildex universe, even though the first book of this series was indeed better than the anime, the first book of the three books I recently got and reviewed was absolutely terrible because of what Yen Press did.

Unfortunately, this book also came from Yen Press as well, but I am hoping that Yen Press is not the one who makes this book look bad this time.

Because of this fact, I am not too sure about this book.

Still, before I get into what I hate, I should really go into what I liked.

During the course of reading this book, I really liked how I did not need to be familiar with what had happened in A Certain Scientific Railgun.

Even though I do like Railgun better than Index, and would prefer to have nothing to do with the Index portion of the Raildex universe, there are times that I really need to have knowledge of what happened in the Index portion, which makes sense, considering that Index is the parent story of the whole universe.

However, more often than not, I need to watch or read Railgun in order to understand the events occurring in the Index portion, such as why Misaka was angry with Touma in the bridge scene that took place in the first novel, or even what Misaka was really going through during the Sisters Arc, which I find is a major turn off, considering that Railgun is supposed be a spin off.

Fortunately, nothing that happens in this book has that problem.

This is what I expect from a series that started up this whole universe, not how things usually are in the Index portion of the Raildex universe.

The thing that I really liked the most was that Yen Press did not seem to butcher anything too much.

Now, I am no expert in Japanese and the way Yen Press released the first book may have angered people, but things did not seem like they were cut out like they were in Judge Volume 6. In that book, Yen Press cut out large portions of chapters and had scenes repeat unnecessarily, which resulted in one chapter being skipped and another to be repeated.

Here, however, I did not get questions like “What happened?” or “How did he get this way?” or “What led to this conversation?” like Yen Press's release of Judge's final volume.

This is what I actually want to see in an official release of a manga or novel that has been translated, not what happened with Judge.

If Yen Press did this with Judge, the whole thing would have been better and the fact that they were the ones who published this book where I live would not have been a factor in why I could hate this book.

Unfortunately, with what they did with Judge, it will be a while before I can be happy about getting a title from them other than Pandora Hearts.

Still, I do have to applaud the fact that Yen Press did not actually make this story worse than it was.

Outside of those two things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly liked.

The fact that I did not need knowledge of events from A Certain Scientific Railgun, like I did with the first book, and that Yen Press did not seem to do anything that would ruin the book's quality did make this somewhat enjoyable.

Although there were things that I liked, there are some issues.

Like the first book, I hated how reading this felt like a chore.

First, the pacing seemed to be rather too slow.

While I did hate how A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 1 seemed to go too fast because I could not really get to know the characters as much as I would have liked, though that was mainly due to things I had done prior to reading that volume, there are times in which a slow pace in not as desirable. For example, I hated The Book Thief because things seemed to go rather slow, even if I were to take out the tangents that the narrator went on.

How can I possibly even get into the story if it feel like it is too slow? In my eyes, there is absolutely no way, and I pretty sure that there are a lot of people out there that will agree with me.

As much as I want to blame Yen Press, however, due to the fact that they did an absolutely horrible job in publishing the last book I read from them, I cannot.

In reality, and if I am correctly interpreting a comment that was posted on my review of the first book, the problem lies with Kazuma Kamachi.

Now, I will kind of forgive him a little bit, considering how this is one of his earliest works and getting making sure one's story is going at a decent pace is pretty difficult, but I still cannot really overlook this problem, because the pacing is one of the reasons that I cannot just sit down and read this without stopping, especially considering that a few chapters are 50 or more pages long.

I really hope things improve from here on out, though I am not too sure if I can go through too much more of this, so I am hoping that volumes 3-6 are as good as I have been told they would be, with volumes 3 and 5 appearing to be the best.

The other thing that made things seem slow, and added to the chore like feeling, was that the action scenes were quite boring as well.

Every time something would happen around Touma or Stiyl, I was hoping that I would be dragged into the story by the sheer awesomeness of the action.

However, the thing that keeps coming to my mind instead is “Can we end this already?”.

Really, Kazuma? Did you not even learn how to create interesting fights until A Certain Scientific Railgun started up?

If so, then I am still not seeing why there are people who like Index more than Railgun.

It also does not help how unlike the first book, where I at least saw Touma come up with some strategy, this book felt more like watching the anime, since Touma appeared to win due to luck instead of strategy.

This must be the reason why I was told that this book was far worse than the first one.

Speaking of things feeling much more like the anime than the first book did, I absolutely hated that I really wanted Touma to die here, much like I keep wishing Touma would die in every arc of the anime.

What happened to the feeling of wanting Touma to succeed that I had gotten in the first book?

If I do not care too much about the protagonist, there does not really seem to be much point in continuing on with the novel version of this series, but the fact that I do kind of want to see if the Sisters arc and Tree Diagram Remnant arc were any better in the novels than the Index anime adaptations does somewhat motivate me to continue on, though I do kind of doubt that the former would be as enjoyable as Railgun's Sisters arc and that the latter would be that enjoyable without knowledge of the events of Railgun.

As far as I can tell, Kazuma should have really worked on this more than he appears to have done.

If he did, he would have been able to at least make a story as decent as the first book, or, better yet, as good as Railgun is, with the exception of Railgun Daihasei Festival arc.

Fortunately, other than those things, nothing really bugged me enough to be worth mentioning.

While Yen Press did not do anything major like they did with Judge's final volume, the fact that the story seemed to move too slowly and that the actions scenes seemed dulled, as well as the fact that I wanted Touma to die just as much as I do when watch the Index anime adaptations makes this books one of the worst to have been written.

Despite the fact that there were things that I liked and Yen Press did not ruin things too much this time around, the negative aspects of the book far outweighed the good and made this a waste of time. I recommend that everyone, even fans of the Index portion of the Raildex universe, avoid this book like the plague, especially because the only important things of note are seen in the anime.

What are you thoughts on A Certain Magical Index Volume 2? Did you like or hate it? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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