Book Review: A Certain Magical Index Volume 8

September 17, 2016

A Certain Magical Index Book 8 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good weekend.

Things have been going pretty well here, now that I have finally eliminated a huge stress factor that I had to deal with for a few months, though that does not mean things will not crop up to take its place.

Still, it is nice to be able to do something relaxing.

As many of you guys know, I have gotten a few books recently using some Amazon credit that I received.

So far, I have covered three of the new books and many more remain.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of those titles, which is called A Certain Magical Index Volume 8 by Kazuma Kamachi.

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

It is just another day for the students of Tokiwadai Middle School, with the usual examinations to see how far each esper has come with their abilities.

However, when Kuroko Shirai gets called in for a case while shopping with Misaka, Kuroko encounters an esper with a similar ability and rank as her own, who knows quite a bit about both Kuroko and Misaka, and Kuroko must stop her, before more darkness descends upon Academy City.

I have to say that this book was really enjoyable.

I liked how within the very first few pages, I did not really want to put down this book for any reason.

While there were quite a few volumes in this series that managed to catch my interest in the beginning, this one literally overtook all the other volumes in this aspect.

Yes, I will admit that it is somewhat because Kuroko, a member of the Railgun cast, is now in the spotlight, as opposed to Touma, and I am a fan of A Certain Scientific Railgun, but that is not the entire reason, considering that I do not think that every arc of the Railgun manga is brilliant and/or exciting.

If I had to say what the true reason is, it is because it did not feel like it dragged on at any point during the course of this book, even though Kuroko's usual antics, which I tolerable and funny in the manga, but annoying in the anime, are definitely present in the book.

Back in the previous volumes, even though Kazuma was able to capture my attention relatively quickly, there was still the feeling of things being dragged out, and it really took some time for things to really pique my interest.

Kazuma seems to be improving greatly, compared to his earlier works, and this is something that I like to see in people.

Hopefully, he can keep up the good work, but it might be a while before I find out, if I decide to continue following this series, because I am kind of annoyed that the Daihasei arc, which starts in the next book, according to Amazon, takes two whole books to cover, according to the Magical Index wiki, and that arc one was one of the boring arcs in A Certain Magical Index II.

All I can say right now though is that this book definitely is making me feel like reconsidering my decision to stop here, in spite of the fact that one of the links provided, and the product page on Amazon seemingly confirms, says that there will be fewer volumes of this series released this year than there were last year.

Like the third book, I liked how Misaka's involvement in this arc was better explained than it was in the anime.

Even though this arc this book covered was one of the best arcs I saw in the entirety of the Magical Index anime adaptation, I could not really connect the dots together, thus making it hard for me to actually feel anything about what Kuroko and Misawa were going through.

Here, however, the connection between this series of events and the events of the Sisters arc were actually connected to one another, and I was even more shocked that Awaki knew about what Misaka went through during that time.

As one of the seven strongest people in Academy City, and, according to what a character thought in A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 7, is also normal enough to do public demonstrations, Misaka would be pretty easy to identify on the streets, but a lot of this knowledge Awaki revealed was not something that the public at large would know.

Then again, since Kiyama did mention something in A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 3 that suggested she may have known about the Misaka clones, though whether it was the Level 6 Shift project that started up in the volume afterward or Project Radio Noise remain debatable, there does have to be some kind of way that people can find this out information.

Still, with the connection between the events what happened in the third book and this one was established, I was able to actually understand the thoughts that Kuroko was having and her motivation to try and keep Misaka in the dark, even though Kuroko had no idea about what Misaka had gone through during their summer vaction, and why Misaka got involved in the events of this book made more sense as well.

Nice job, Kazuma. You are already better than the staff that J.C. Staff has working on the Magical Index anime adaptations.

Another nice thing about this book was that greatness that was the fight between Kuroko and Awaki.

Ever since I got into the Railgun portion of the Raildex universe, Kuroko's battles were just as enjoyable as those that Misaka engaged in, maybe even more, seeing as Kuroko does not really have a trump card, like Touma Kamijou's right hand or Mikoto Misaka's Railgun.

Those events in the book are the ones that made me want to keep on reading to the end without stopping the moment that they started up and showed that Kuroko is definitely a force to be reckoned with, even though she is not a level 5 esper.

Seriously, this makes me want to see much more of Kuroko abilities and how she can get out of certain situation.

Unfortunately, Kuroko's fights are more often seen in A Certain Scientific Railgun than this series, especially because this is the only major fight that I can seem to find her being part of in A Certain Magical Index.

Great job, Kazuma. I can already see why Kuroko's fight have always practical been so great, and if things were not done right here, I kind of doubt that her later fight would be just as good.

If the fights early on in this series were this good, I do not think that I would have had such a hard time getting this series as I did, though the anime did give me a bad first impression to begin with.

The thing that I liked the most was that Kuroko was not as annoying as she is normally portrayed to be.

As many people who follow the entire Raildex universe knows, Kuroko tends to make advances towards Misaka, and while it is fairly tolerable in the Railgun manga, things tend to go overboard in the anime to the point where she does not seem like she would make good protagonist material.

However, when she gets wrapped up in the events she goes through, Kuroko's antics stop and she ends up being a fairly interesting character, enough so that I wish that Kuroko got some arcs in the Railgun series that followed her, even though Misaka does steal the spotlight quite a bit.

In fact, if J.C. Staff did not try to stuff in Kuroko's antic as much as they do in the Railgun anime, I doubt that Kuroko would be hated as much as she normally is.

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

Because the book did not feel like it dragged on at all, in spite of the fact that there were moments that would make people think otherwise, and that things made a bit more sense than the anime counterpart did, as well as the fact that Kuroko had a great fight and was a good protagonist, made this book extremely enjoyable.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as Yen Press's choice translating certain things, and because the author talked about my only real annoyance in the afterword, nothing really bothered me too much.

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

Considering that there was a lot that was done right in this book, and there was nothing really wrong, this was definitely worth reading.

I strongly recommend this book to fans A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun, because this is one of the best arcs in the Index portion of the Raildex universe and features one of Kuroko's best fights.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but it would be best to read the third and fifth books before jumping into this one.

What are your thoughts on A Certain Magical Index Volume 8? Did you like it or hate it? Was there something you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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