Book Review: A Certain Magical Index Volume 7

A Certain Magical Index book 7 cover

This is certainly surprising, huh?

After being behind for a few months on some titles, mainly due to when the retailer that I order from decides to ship preorders, I was able to get at least one title around the time of release.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called A Certain Magical Index Volume 7 by Kazuma Kamachi.

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

Touma Kamijou is looking forward to continuing to live a normal in Academy City, with announcements of a huge sports festival popping up everywhere, and quite a few things to deal with.

However, the magical world has encountered yet another problem when a powerful book and a nun from the Roman Orthodox Church goes missing, and some familiar faces decide to drag Touma into a mess that may not appear to be what everyone thought it was.

I am not too sure about this book.

After the events of the first anime wrapped up in the previous book, I was kind of expecting things to take a downward spiral, seeing as the only arcs I really enjoyed in A Certain Magical Index II were the Tree Diagram Remnant and the Academy City Invasion arcs, but things turned out to be better than I thought.

I really liked how this book did not feel like it dragged on too much, at least for the majority of the book.

During my time reading the Magical Index novels, which may come to a temporary, if not permanent, end after the Tree Diagram Remnant arc, which comes out next month, according to Amazon, a lot of the books seemed to drag on in the beginning, though not as bad as the first book, and held my interest quite well, enough so that I did not want to put the book down.

Here, however, there was even less dragging around that the earlier books, and it made me feel more interested in finishing the book, as the chapters never really seemed to be dull.

When one is writing a story, it is kind of difficult to keep things interesting because publishers expect a work that has tens of thousands of words, unless the book is anthology, though the total number of words would still probably be tens of thousands of words, and meeting that amount of words means that there is going to be quite a bit of filler or extreme amounts of descriptions and details that may not be necessary to form images, not mention numerous typos and other problems that may slip through as the work gets longer.

Because of this fact, Kazuma did an excellent job with this book, especially considering that it is one of those arcs that I do not really care too much about, and he deserves quite a bit of praise.

Hopefully, he can improve from this point forward, even though I hate how the Daihasei festival arc takes up two book, since the light novel page on the Magical Index wiki labeled volume 9 as part 1 and volume 10 as part 2.

If he can do that, I might have more reason to continue on with this series, once I find out for myself if Tree Diagram Remnant arc made more sense in the novels than in the anime, like the Sisters arc did.

Unfortunately, the quality of work from people kind of fluctuates up and down, otherwise we would not be disappointed by people we thought were great writers, so I am not going to put as much faith in Kazuma's abilities as I would Jun Mochizuki or Hiromu Arakawa, who have both produced great work.

I also liked how Touma and everyone else were played for fools by the true enemy.

While this is not an entirely unique occurrence in fiction, Touma has only encountered incidents where only one person or group was behind everything, with the exception of the Sisters arc, though enemies other than Accelerator really only show up in A Certain Scientific Railgun's Sisters arc, not Magical Index's Sisters arc, and it really got annoying because Touma did not really seem to do anything big, though I still do not like Touma being as protagonist as much as I like seeing Accelerator and Misaka being the main focus.

Here, however, it really seemed like Touma had stopped something major from happening.

Yes, this is one of those events that causes the Academy City Invasion arc to occur, but that does not mean that things ended just because Touma fought only one person with his usual trump card that he has been using without reservation.

After all, things would be even worse than the anime if things ended with only one major fight like things have in the last five or so books.

This series is getting really close to becoming as enjoyable as A Certain Scientific Railgun, but Kazuma still has to improve his abilities by quite a wide margin before Magical Index can have as many good arcs as Railgun has had, though Railgun has had a few arcs that were disappointing to me too.

Still, it is kind of hard to believe that such a popular series has taken so long to become even remotely interesting, and if this were the halfway point of the series, I would have to say that this series is way too overrated, much like how some people thought I preferred Railgun over Magical Index because of the abundance of fan service, which is more prevalent in the anime than its manga.

For now, I will just leave Kazuma with the very minor praise of letting him know that he has done a good job.

The thing that I liked the most though was how Index tried to make Touma walk away from things.

Once it was revealed that their initial enemy was not really evil, Index said that it was good enough to let somebody that something was happening and leave it to others.

Even though not doing anything when one is able does lead to laziness, nobody can do everything and the backlash from doing something that we should not.

This is why we have to rely on other people, even when we do not want to, and I certainly wanted Touma to disappear and have the story end.

This really showed that Index does care for Touma and she is not as immature as she seems in the anime, though she is still just as annoying as she is in the anime, and makes me want to give Kazuma a bit more praise for making Index seem like less of an idiot.

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

Because the book did not feel like it dragged on as much as the previous books and Touma's struggles did not end after only one fight, and that Index tried to have Touma get out while he could, this book was somewhat enjoyable.

Although there were things to like about this book, there are some issues.

However, aside from issues too minor to talk about, such as typos, only two things really bugged me.

This arc was rather dull.

Yes, I did say that the book never really felt like it dragged on and the chapters did not seem dull, but things still were not as good as I would have liked them to be.

First, Index's kidnapping was just bait to lure Touma into another mess and when he gets there, his only reason for being there immediately disappears.

Really? Is this any way to get make me want to root for Touma and want him to succeed?

No, it is not a good way to do want me want to cheer for him.

In fact, it makes me really want to see him die this arc, just like every arc in the anime makes me want to see Touma die.

The Sisters arc in the novels and the Railgun anime both give me a reason to want Touma to succeed, though it is mainly because Misaka's side of things is explored and she exhausted every avenue that she could on her own.

Here, however, things seem to just devolve into an Adventures of Touma and Friends series.

Am I really reading the same series as all the other Magical Index fans?

I sure do not think so and Kazuma should feel ashamed, since I do not even feel like giving this series a chance any more after going through the novel version of the Tree Diagram Remnant arc.

Yes, Yen Press is responsible for the translation of this series and people do not translate things the same way, but that does not mean that this problem can be overlooked.

After all, this is the parent series of the Raildex universe.

You need to go back to the drawing board Kazuma, because after impressing me in the other four books, this was a huge disappointment, even taking into account that writing good stories is not an easy task.

Hopefully, this improves over time, but I might not ever know if I stop following the novels after the Tree Diagram arc, and with the Daihasei Festival arc taking up two books, it makes me want to follow through on that all the more.

The thing that I hated the most though was how the book dragged on in the end.

After Orsola was saved, Touma ends up in the hospital and Laura talks about the incident a bit with Stiyl.

Really, Kazuma?

As nice as was to have things explained, I really wanted to be done with the book at this point. The other thing that was necessary was either Stiyl and Laura's discussion or Touma in the hospital, but not both.

After all, I am still not huge fan of Touma, though he does seem to be a bit better in the novels than he is anime, considering that this is first book, since the first two, that I was really wishing that Touma would die.

True, finding a perfect end for a book is not an easy task, especially considering that Nobuhiro Watsuki finished Rurouni Kenshin later than he would have liked, but it did not feel like things were being dragged on like they did here.

Besides, seeing Touma in the hospital after every incident is getting as old as Jimmy Kudo using other people to reveal his deduction in Detective Conan.

At least Mikoto Misaka does not end up hospitalized after each and every incident she gets involved with.

Accelerator himself seems to have only been hospitalized for something major only once, so far.

Touma, on the other hand, did not end up getting hospitalized only once.

As such, Touma being hospitalized was rather pointless here and only Laura and Stiyl's conversation should have been covered, since the results of what happened could have just been merged into that discussion.

Hopefully, Kazuma improves in this department soon, or I really will say that A Certain Magical Index is overrated.

While there was not too much to complain about, the things that I found annoying hurt the book quite badly.

Despite the nice things about this book, like starting off well and not ending after only one of Touma's major fights, the few negatives outweighed it enough to make it a waste of time.

I recommend everyone avoid this book like the plague, because the arc covered in here was about as bad as the anime and the first two books, and it is not really that important to the series, other than being a motivator behind the events of one of the better arcs.

 

What are your thoughts on A Certain Magical Index Volume 7? Did you like it or hate it? If you liked it, am I missing something here or am I really reading the same series as the real fans of Magical Index? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.