Sunday, 11 June 2017

MT Series Scan: Magical Index 1

I am a SLOW binge-watcher (and reader). Two hours is about my limit, after which I need processing time. At the same time, I enjoy watching online reviewers, and reactions to things that I’ve previously watched, to see if they’re similar to my own. So, why not take the time during a slow binge to chronicle my own reactions and speculations?

Today we’re looking at A Certain Magical Index (Disc 1). I forget how long I’ve been holding onto this. I’m pretty sure I was introduced to the universe at Anime North, and I have watched A Certain Scientific Railgun’s first season (two years ago), as well as purchasing some of the manga, curiously enough (I don’t buy manga that much).

Like Steins;Gate, I had watched at least the first episode of Index before. I don’t recall when. Likely it was Anime North. Let’s see how this unfolds. Feel free to offer thoughts on the format.

01 Academy City

Stream of Consciousness:
-Clever start of action with narration (how do writers do that?). I’d forgotten I liked the music of these shows, this OP is no exception. It's July 19th. That’s definitely Mikoto. Interesting way of showing their abilities here. Power outage in continuity? I need to look up the timelines. Index, I forgot you were weird. 103,000 volumes I guess makes your head weird. Sorcery society, okay. Supernatural abilities are science, not magic, that fun mix is why I like the universe. Fake magical girl, heh. Magic clothes, handy. Bizarre fan service. Right hand cancelling good luck? Ow. Ah yes, the tiny teacher, Komoe. Kamijo’s friends are kind of jerks. Ah, the sorcerer. The closing song’s a bit sappy. NEXT: Battle.

Thoughts and Theories:
 Hard luck protagonist with a damsel in distress and an esper love interest. It’s a decent start, setting the scene while prompting questions.

02 Innocentius

Stream of Consciousness:
-Into OP from recap. Good point about her nun’s habit not protecting. Ah, the grimoires again. Eidetic memory, okay. Need some ability in order to conjure magic? I feel like this guy is trying to save her, in a horrible way. Magnus is “Fortis 931”? Ah, magic names, interesting. Why killing Kamijo? Witness? Can’t hurt to try and cancel magic. So, he’s fire... and there’s four others, huh? Heat is bad. Title drop! Yeah, the fact Kamijo’s not omnidirectional is a problem. Runes definition, okay. Title drop of next ep! She’s artificial? Thaaat’s a lot of runes.
-He survives that drop?? Hell is kind of apt. Dramatic music! Hahaha, okay, didn’t see that paper thing coming. Well played. Kuroko’s back. Yeah, hospitals are a problem. Ahh, his power prevents him from casting magic? No, it’s an esper thing. A level Zero thing. Oho. The Teacher?? Really? Pfffft, she smokes too?! “John’s Pen” invoked, they have 15 min? Well, nice that Index explains. And there’s one leg pants girl. NEXT: Angels make portals? Huh.

Thoughts and Theories:
 Magnus’ actions bear scrutiny. If he just wanted to pick up Index, why all the runes? He must have expected resistance, and not from Kamijo, plus he said he didn’t wound Index in the first place. So I still feel like Kamijo’s adversaries aren’t the big bad, they simply don’t see Index as human and have no social skills. The worldbuilding continues to gradually occur. I didn’t realize tiny teacher had a larger role.

03 Necessarius

Stream of Consciousness:
-First scene away from male protagonist. July 20th. Internal teacher clock? Handy. Regeneration abilities? A miniature room? Interesting. Hah, yeah, death, no pressure. Singing is required? Bumping the table can’t be a good thing. A link, yeaaaah. You’re a teacher, get a grip. And don’t look, Komoe, it only causes problems. Penance is an issue? Younger sister hijinks, really? Teacher’s absentminded, or playing a trick, it’s real hard to tell.
-The magic world is toxic to this world? Hmm. Politics mixing with religion does cause problems. So Index is from England? And the Church of Necessary Evil? Huh. Warping of the world, interesting. I can get behind the premise. This interpersonal exchange is weird. Index bites again?? Aha, the sorcerers are talking. Protagonist defies categorization. To a bathhouse? (Please no silly nudity.) Oho, Index has no memory of England? Interesting, I’m sure that’s relevant. Index is a weird biter avatar. It’s Kanzaki, we’re sort of back to the end of ep 2 but with more info. NEXT: New Battle. Narration tries to make like she hurt Index, not buying it.

Thoughts and Theories:
 Ungh, I don’t like that the teacher is a loli who acts like a loli aside from (supposedly) smoking and drinking beer. The only mature thing she’s done was say she’d report, and she’s not even doing that. I do like that we cut away for the sorcerer perspective. Also, finding it a bit weird that this “warp the world” thing is all happening now, hopefully that gets explained. The idea of magic being a ‘necessary evil’ is neat though, and explains why people don’t know about it. Also, I looked up the date on a “Toaru Series Timeline”; this DOES synch up with the early eps of “Railgun”. (But this was first?)

04 Perfect Memory Ability

Stream of Consciousness:
-These runes seem pre-fabricated. So the magic name is a “death” thing. Hey, that’s destruction of property. Seven slashes - is she wind? Heh, they know his ability now. He is not that bright - strategy instead maybe? Ahh, okay, wires are clever. Heh, smacks him, I like her. Can’t they work together? He assumes they’re behind the memory loss, sigh. Decent argument though. She’s with Necessarius, aha, good, we’re getting somewhere. She DID cut Index?? Because he tore the shroud, okay.
-Index can’t forget, I can see that being a curse. But now she has forgotten, erased why? Related to the “curse”? So, maybe. 15% of brain use, well, interesting. Three days left to erasure’s awkward. Why maintain the misunderstanding, good question, Toma K’s got good thinking. Hm, diary didn’t work? Can kinda see both sides then. Let her know a better future’s coming, that’s clever. So Kanzaki never gave her magic name, interesting... nice that he lost too, makes them 1-1. Mikoto’s observant. He was out three days?! Yeah, that speeds up the timeline.
-KOMOE carried him? That’s unlikely. So Index is partly aware of her cold other self? Bad luck’s still active. And the sorcerers. Why do you THINK, Toma? Oh, that was a clever ploy on their part. NEXT: He’s gonna mess up the ritual.

Thoughts and Theories:
 Tough to say where this is going. I presume Index will keep memories at the expense of the grimoires, but I’m not sure what that will lead to. Toma becoming part of the society? Except he can’t do magic, not with the hand, so an honorary (or disgraced) member? Or perhaps the sorcery members were lied to all this time, so they team up.

05 Limit

Stream of Consciousness:
-Savings on the animation budget here. The sorcerers just left? Wait, what shackles? I feel like they keep manufacturing tension to end episodes, this phone call could have worked versus them arriving. Church is afraid she’ll turn on them, hm? Hah, use science to deal with magic, that’s nice. I like that Kanzaki accepts he’ll keep struggling. Yeah, places be closed. So he just hangs up? Sheeeesh. More manufactured drama. Misplaced optimism! Ooh, “Index librorum prohibitorum” on the cross talisman. Wait, won’t him just being in the room mess everything up?
-New deadline! Who’s Leo? Is Komoe really still at the baths? This “still human” thing makes me think the sorcerers don’t see themselves as human. Convenient Index awakening! He’ll get stronger, that’s a better speech. Convenient unconsciousness! Wait, is he going to ask to take part of the grimoires? No. Ok, I think questioning the math is a good plan.
-Blowing out the brain at 7 years old doesn’t quite fit, because percentages of percentages never hit one hundred, but good thought. Randomly saying 140 years of memories! Multiple memory types, semantic, procedural, episodic, yay the teacher is actually educating. But yeah, Index IS suffering, that’s interesting. So he’s going to “unrig” her? Interesting. Jupiter symbol? Huh, reverse calculating his hand power isn’t possible? St George Holy Sanctuary for destruction?? Church has failsafes. NEXT: More math connections, as a finite distance takes infinite time.

Thoughts and Theories:
 We’re apparently going with “sorcery members were lied to all this time”, the Church being the big bad. Next ep must fully set that up (in “Starlight” Breaker fashion, I notice). I’m guessing we get more backstory for one of them too, to fill out the episode. Maybe about him dealing with his hand power when young.

06 Imagine Breaker

Stream of Consciousness:
-OH. The reason she can’t use magic is because she was prevented, that DOES make this more interesting, huh? I wonder at this point is she at her weakest or her strongest? New spell, that’ll hurt. So the sorcerers help out, natch. Oh, wait, no, Fortis 931 isn’t a long term thinker, huh? (Why aren’t his runes in runny ink now? Learned a lesson?)
-Haha, his speech is “be main characters”. The prologue being on the long side, is this irony? “Salvare 000” would be her, nice. OH, THAT’S a satellite gone. “Dragon Breath”? Heh, he’s the highest difficulty rating. He finally made it. Zeroth? So she has a “Collar”. That worked faster than I thought. Oh, how very religious. Uh, those feathers maybe still a prob-- yeah, oooh. Oooh, ow.
-Interesting scene switch. She’s reading his mail, rude. Backstory! The English Puritan Church now says status quo? So they’ll fade into the background. (Not backstory!) That message will self destruct? (It’s magic!) Ohhh, HE’S the one with memory loss, that’s a very clever twist. No scientific explanation, huh? WOW, he’s lost a LOT. Aw, it was love. Toma, you’re still clueless.
-Uh, wait, what? A collar pun? WHAT? This isn’t funny. So he’s lost brain cells, but he’s cool? Weird name for his hand (title drop!). I agree, Index, that wasn’t funny. She does like biting, huh? Now it’s a reversal of the reversal, seriously? It’s in character, but I kinda want to bite him too, for the fake out. (Two weeks, huh? Mikoto’s whole arc must be finished.)
-Sooooo, an upside down machine guy with long hair is the Director-General. Oooo hohoho, supernatural balance, my Melissa character is laughing. Makes sense that a magic problem should use magic, I guess. Wait, vampires?! WHAT? Oh, hey, the Doctor’s in the closing credits. NEXT: A Science Cult, and that religious shinto girl from the OP, okee dokee.

Thoughts and Theories:
 So I guess Toma’s working for the Church after all? (Hey, they could tell him he signed a contract, he doesn’t remember.) A secret organization of magic users, who use runes. Not sure how I feel about this yet, since instead of exploring more on Index's backstory, we seem to be headed to vampires. Will the magic be fighting against science? Mikoto’s also been feeling very much in “standby” mode too. With her “Railgun” plot wrapped up, will her role expand, or is Index the true love interest?

That's the end of Disc 1. Unlike some people, I usually can't tell if I'll really get into something based on only a few episodes, it's usually a genre that pulls me in, with characters or plot keeping me there. So far I'm not blown away, but I'm still interested. Anyone else have thoughts? Feel free to let me know. Thanks for reading, on to Disc 2.

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