Book Review: A Certain Magical Index Volume 17

A Certain Magical Index 17 cover

I hope everyone is doing well, as we all start experiencing the more extreme scales of the end of the year.

Things have been going well here, as the class I am taking is starting to wind down to the point where it can be considered over, and I am still able to do what I like.

While I have not been actively looking for titles to check out recently, due to the kind of schedule I have, I have been able to make sure that I made sure to get things squared away in advance enough that I still had things cover, and the second to last title I could order in advance has recently arrived.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is call A Certain Magical Index Volume 17 by Kazuma Kamachi.

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

Touma is hoping to have a relaxing life for once as the Ichihanaran Festival is fast approaching, especially with Index demanding food.

However, their peaceful life is disturbed when a neighbor informs Touma that they need to go to the home country of Necessarius and that trouble has begun, but the conflict there is not the only thing that awaits the duo, as they get wrapped in another mess, and they must resolve both, to get back to their ordinary lives.

While I have not really been that much of a fan of A Certain Magical Index, the novels have been able to show some improvement that I had no problems with following, but seeing how things have started to decline I am becoming less and less interested in it, especially because of the flaws seen in the fifteenth book.

However, I did say that I will give the series to redeem itself when I review the previous installment, so I decided to give this one try.

And after reading it, I have to say that I really disliked it.

Fortunately, there was one good thing be found, so I do not need to jump to right into what I hated, which I do not really enjoy doing.

From the moment that I opened up this book and started reading it, I found myself so engrossed that I did not want to stop reading, at least for that moment in time.

One of the biggest problems I have had with this series, regardless of which version of the series, is things start off in very boring manner, which mostly occurs when Touma Kamijou gets the spotlight, though there are exceptions, and it meant that I had to suffer through quite a bit trash before things got good.

While things in this department did improvement eventually, once the content covered by the end of the second anime adaptation came about, things started to get worse again around the time Accelerator fought Academy City’s number 2 esper, which was recently featured in the third anime adaptation.

Here, however, things seemed to improve a little, by starting off slow, yet came off as interesting.

As I have said numerous times, how a story begins is very important, as its purpose is to draw the audience in enough that they want to find out what is going on, and will be able to give them reason to ignore the most flaws, and the beginning present in this book was able to do that for a brief moment.

If Kazuma Kamachi had worked harder on this, it would have help to make me feel like the final installments of this series, not counting the new testament, were going in the right direction, and possibly held my attention better, but knowing that things could very well be worse, considering how the fifteenth book started off, I can allow him to just barely pass here.

Hopefully, things will improve from here, but with the way things have been in this book, I do not really have patience for this series anymore, especially seeing as the next installment starts the final five and I am not certain if new testament will ever be officially released here.

Sadly, this was the only thing that I really liked about the book, so all I can say is that Kazuma Kamachi and the others responsible for will have to deal with the consequences.

While there was one thing to like, it was not good enough to balance things out, which makes me feel just plain sad.

Although there was something to like, there were some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, there were a few things that I did not like.

First, when I opened this book and started reading, I had troubles getting into it.

While I and did say that I was able to immerse myself in the book for a bit, it still took a few pages for me to really get into things.

When I turned to the very first page of actual content, after a nice-looking table of contents, I was expecting to get actual content, but instead I got a picture with text inside of it.

Now, some of you guys might be scratching your head, wondering why I am complaining about getting text inside an image, seeing as I tend to read manga a lot, and that is pretty much the same thing, but the text featured in that is usually readable in terms of both the font size and color.

Here, however, the text is way too small to make out.

Seeing as I usually read books in a digital format, to save space here, this is not usually a problem, as I can zoom in on things and attempt to make things out, though the same problems with blowing up a bitmap image would likely occur when zooming, but with both the app I was using and Amazon’s official reader, I was unable to read it at all.

I had to place blame on anyone for this, it would have to be Yen Press, especially because I do not know if this problem exists in the Japanese version.

Yen Press may have been able to get the formatting right for the print release, though I cannot really confirm that due to my move to digital, but they, or whoever they had working on the digital release, completely and utterly failed to get it right.

The text in the image may or may not been important, but because of formatting like that, I feel like I might have missed something.

What is going on Yen Press? As company that is responsible for providing professional translations for manga, which combines text and images together, they should know the importance of being able to release work that is readable, yet they deliver something like this.

Yes, they might have had issues from not having the master document, though I do not know if manga publishers here get stuff with something akin to a PSD or a jpeg, but even I could make text more legible and readable than what was provided here, and I do not even do print design formatting or ebook formatting on a regular basis.

If Yen Press put in as much effort in making all their ebooks as readable as possible, I would have let them go, as the amount of errors in their translations are usually at an acceptable level, and I would have been able to find out if that text had any relevance.

Unfortunately, they did not do the job they were supposed to, and it hurt the quality of the release.

The other thing that annoyed me was how there was not anything to laugh about here.

One nice thing about a lot of the series that are part of the Raildex is how there are things that can come off as quite funny and I can enjoy them, though the ones seen in Index seem to be to be the most inferior.

However, in this book, things seemed to sink a new low in terms of comedy.

Now, some of you guys might be thinking that it could just be my tastes changing, since I am getting older, but I do not think that is the case, as I can still laugh about Kuroko’s antics in the Railgun manga, and I still think that Baka & Test is one of the most hilarious series out there.

If I had to say why things just were not that funny, I would have to say that Kazuma did not execute the things well enough to be funny, as I could tell I was supposed to laugh at seeing all these things happen, but I just could not even bring myself to chuckle about anything, except for the events that transpire before Touma gets wrapped up in either of the two messes.

I might not be expecting a lot out of Kazuma Kamachi, seeing as how he has disappointed numerous times, but I was really wish I had gotten some laugh, so I could have enjoyed myself.

If Kazuma had really worked at things, I might have had more to like about this book than just how it began.

Sadly, Kazuma Kamachi failed, and that gives me even less reason to continue on with this series, beyond some things in Railgun that create questions in mind.

The thing that I hated the most though was how I felt bored out of my mind while reading this book.

While this is not exactly the first time that I found myself bored with an Index novel, with the first and second books being prime examples, I usually go into every book I encounter hoping that I would be able to get some enjoyment from it, just like any other reader out there, because readers read to temporarily escape reality and/or pass the time.

Over the course of my time with this series, things improved in this area enough that I could sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride, and this book started off like that, even having things that I knew should have been interesting that were.

However, after I was nearly halfway through, in terms of chapter count, things nosedived quickly to the point where I found myself reading to be done with things, rather than out of excitement or any genuine intrigue.

Really, Kazuma? Is this any way to write story? I certainly do not think is the right way to do things.

People read for many reasons, but avid readers read because that is how they have their fun, and that fun is only found when everything between the beginning and the end make the reader excited and/or wonder how things will play out.

Unfortunately, all I saw after the halfway point was the same thing that hurt the fifteenth book pretty badly, which were events that I knew I should have been very interested in seeing, yet where nothing more than a dull series of events.

If Kazuma Kamachi had put in a little more effort, this would not have been a problem, and I would have had a lot more to like, but because he delivered something like this, I feel like I am done with the series, even though I know there is another group that will rear their ugly heads and Touma and Accelerator will have a rematch, where Touma is familiar enough with Imagine Breaker’s weaknesses to them into strength.

I really wish things were different, but because I know that my time on Earth limited, though not quite as much as my elders, I have to face the reality that it is time to give up on this series.

Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly hated, at least that stood out as much or could not be shoe horned into what I already talked about.

Because Yen Press did not make sure everything was readable, the comedic moments failed to make me chuckle, and things went downhill in enjoyment after the halfway point, this was one of the worst books I have read.

Considering how there was quite a bit more to hate than enjoy, and one or two of the negatives really made it hard for me to enjoy myself, this book was a waste of my time.

I recommend everyone avoid this book like the plague, unless you plan to read the next installment or are a really big fan of A Certain Magical Index.

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