A Certain Magical Index III Review


It’s time to look at the next season of Index and this one finally wraps up the original saga. We get a few different arcs here, but the big one is definitely World War III. Index is definitely a franchise that has gotten a lot of media over the years as the spinoff Railgun got 2 seasons, Accelerator is getting a show, and in general there have been a lot of novels and manga. It’s definitely a pretty fun series with a good plot even if it is held back quite a bit by the fanservice. That’s the case here as well as the first half of the season has quite a bit of this but then World War III gives us the best arc in the series. All in all, it’s a show worth checking out.

The first arc is about Touma heading over to France to recover the document of C. It’s a mass hypnosis document of sorts that has been used to turn everyone against Academy City. He’ll have to deal with Terra though, one of the 4 members of the Right Seat of God. Fortunately his old ally Itsuwa is here as well so together they’re able to fight a lot better than they could individually. They may also have more allies than they know.

There are a few mini arcs between the main ones with Accelerator and his group tracking down other nefarious groups. They seem to be trying to get other countries to fight against each other and to cause a divide in Academy City so they can’t let this happen. These arcs are usually only 2-3 episodes long, but they’re definitely quite solid. The whole vibe of the show feels so different here as it all takes place at night where the true Academy City shows its colors. Then you cut back to Touma and the happiness of the daytime. Academy City is definitely as shady as it gets.

Touma gets to fly to a few other countries to fight off the threats until we get to the big arc. The season ends with World War III. At last the tensions between the various countries have caused everyone to attack each other. At this point we’re following 3 different characters so there are a lot of plots to unpack here. While the 3 characters don’t all get to meet each other at the same time, each of them do meet the others individually. I suppose they’re probably saving a meeting of all 3 for the sequel show. Well, I’m not positive that Touma and Hamazura met here, but I think they did. Touma’s mission here is to take down Fiamma. Fiamma aims to crash a large meteor known as the Star of Bethlehem and basically wipe everyone out before saving the survivors with his power. Accelerator wants to find a cure for Last Order and also needs to stop a rampaging angel so Last Order will remain safe. Meanwhile Hamazura mainly wants to keep ITEM safe from the various government groups who are after them. They’ve all got different goals, but they end up at the same place.

One thing that’s always been very good about Index is the exposition. Exposition can be a mixed bag of course, but on the whole I tend to like it. Throwing info dumps around is a nice way to quickly expand the world. I know that for some it can just be rather boring, but I think that’s actually a rare case particularly if it’s about abstract concepts and lands as opposed to someone’s sob story. If it’s the latter then it’s gonna get pretty boring. Pretty much every character in Index goes on long winded rants about cosmic events, and various religious artifacts that have amassed a lot of power in a short amount of time. It’s cool to recognize the events that are being talked about even if they are not exactly accurate from real world events. They’ve gotta put that sci-fi spin on them after all.

Index has also gotten to the point where there are enough characters and plots for the series to really have fun mixing characters together. This is especially evident in one of the early mini arcs with Accelerator as you had 4-5 different factions running around. Even in the show various characters would start mixing up the groups. “You’re from ITEM!” “No, I’m from GUN.” “GUN is actually FORM” and stuff like that. It’s convoluted, but the more convoluted the better. It’s also pretty good for replay value. This is Index at its best, just throwing more and more info at you even during the battles.

Index definitely has its share of fun battles as well. For the most part Acelerator tends to have the best fight scenes although my overall favorite fight in the season was Acqua vs everyone. He was fighting off a whole army, Kanzaki, Touma, Itsuki, and a few others. That was just really impressive. The show does have a lot of plot hax with the fights though and probably has some of the more inconsistent power levels that I’ve seen. This is because Touma is the main character and that’s something that has always been a little dicey. Keep in mind that he is basically just a normal kid whose right hand can nullify all magic. That’s definitely very handy of course, but it doesn’t help against villains who have super speed and crazy attacks.

As a result his final fight in the series doesn’t really make any sense. Especially since the show went out of its way to stack the deck against him. Touma is standing on a pillar and there is nowhere to run or dodge to. His only real option is to fall to his doom and that’s not really much of a choice if we’re being honest here. Somehow during the fight he always lands on the same pillar though and Fiamma never thinks to just cut the pillar beneath him. There are hundreds of ways that should have been enough to beat Touma but it never happens. This is never really an issue with the other fighters as they all have super powers. Touma is really just the one who throws in the plot hax. I do think Acqua’s rival got a little nerfed by the end but that’s more debatable.

The animation may not be quite as impressive as Railgun or the earlier Index seasons, but it still has its moments. The company has been having quite a bit of trouble lately, but I’m sure they did their best. The fights that count still look really good and the openings look solid. In particular the final opening of the season is excellent and the best opening in the series. The animation style also does make Touma look a lot older. Not sure if it’s an intentional effect of the animation, but it does work pretty well since Touma acts a lot more mature than he used to be. He’s more of a hero here. In general the season also has a much darker look than the first two which makes sense since I’d call this the darkest season. As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty solid as well. My favorite theme only shows up once, but the rest of the battle themes are still pretty solid. The show definitely delivers on this front as well.

Now lets talk about the characters. Touma is the lead as always and I dare say that this is his best appearance. He makes a lot of good speeches as always and does a better job of keeping himself out of sticky situations. The first half of the season is still tough for him, but for the most part he stays strong. He’s also very resolute in trying to save Index after she is put in a dicey spot by Fiamma. He’s willing to make the heroic sacrifice when need be and in general is definitely a solid hero here. He may be a bit naive like with shooting Fiamma to Earth first, if the guy was still evil then he could simply start his murder spree all over again. Touma always believes in the good in people though which I suppose isn’t a bad thing.

Index doesn’t get a whole lot to do here. For most of the season she is stuck at home and once she enters the fray she is quickly taken right back out. She’s definitely a character who ultimately wasn’t that important in the series and could have been swapped out. Considering that she has a bunch of knowledge stored inside of her it would have been nice to have seen her finally fight for real at some point. Meanwhile Mikoto unfortunately also shares the same fate of not being very important in this season. If anything you could say that her role here is basically filler. She did finally learn about Touma’s amnesia, but doesn’t actually do anything with that knowledge so it doesn’t feel like this matters. She even lets him go off to a fight when she very easily could have followed him to try and help. She just accepts his decision to try and do everything on his own. It’s a noble call on Touma’s part, but as a real friend Mikoto should have absolutely stepped in to help instead of simply leaving. You know that Touma would have never just walked away.

Accelerator gets a pretty big role here and he’s definitely still one of the best characters. Before this season he actually was #1 but someone finally passed him, you’ll see who that is soon. Accelerator definitely looked awesome regardless though. While he still doesn’t like to be called a hero, his days of being a villain are basically over. Aside from one outburst he has where the guy almost turns back into his old self, Accelerator does a lot of good in this season. He saves a lot of prisoners on multiple occasions and does all he can to save Last Order. His abilities still seem to not have an upper limit so as the series progresses I expect he’ll become more and more valuable to the heroes. He’s definitely nobody’s pawn though and even when he’s tied up the guy is calling the shots. All of his scenes in this season are dynamite and it’s worth mentioning that all of his mini arcs were quite good.

As with Index, Last Order doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time here. Still, she’s reasonable enough I suppose and does her best not to be a burden. She just wants to have a peaceful life even if the government refuse to let that happen. Misaka Worst is a minor villain who shows up at one point, but seems to have become a bit of a supporting character. She’s definitely pretty cool and I’d like to see her fight more in the future. An evil version of Misaka is definitely a good idea and while her abilities don’t seem all that impressive, she was fighting Accelerator. Otherwise I’m sure she’d be doing quite well.

Monaka is an old lady who knows quite a lot because she was in a position of power for a long time. She’s retired, but the villains haven’t so people are still out for her life. As it stands she has a very painful time in the series as she gets shot and then has to shed some skin in order to help the heroes infiltrate the villain base. She’s not my favorite character though and takes a long time to make a decision. Meanwhile I still don’t like Tsuchimikado who is always acting vague and keeping secrets from Touma. He should just spill the beans already and comes across as a faker. At the end of the day he’s a government lackey more than he is a friend so he’s not someone that Touma should trust. He also doesn’t really have much of a power set so he’s not that good in a fight.

Itsuwa is one of the nuns who aids Touma when possible. Her abilities aren’t all that great, but she can definitely still fight and does aid Touma as best she can against Terra. The heroes are outmatched there, but she never gives up. She is around for several of the other fights as well. Terra is one of the big 4. He’s openly corrupt and enjoys harming everyone he fights against. He even brings innocent civilians into the mix which is something Acqua wouldn’t tolerate. Terra’s ability to change whatever matter is coming against him to 0 is very handy. It has some obvious weaknesses of course, but in a one on one fight it is very hard to see him losing. He made for a pretty good villain.

Then we have Acqua who is the best villain as well as the best character in the series. The voice that was chosen for him is perfect and I always like villains who have an honor code. He’s definitely a solid fighter and does realize when he is on the wrong side. Acqua bows to no one and makes time to help everyone he can. He even jumps to obscure towns to help fight off the government when possible while everyone else was busy dealing with the large scale threats. Acque goes where he is needed and the guy has a lot of determination. He’s one of the more impressive characters in the series and in a fight he can take down just about anyone. The guy’s also really knowledgeable which isw helpful since in Index you need to be able to comprehend all of these abilities and traps very quickly.

Vento is another one of the four. She appeared in season 2 and doesn’t have much of a role here, but she does show up for a fight real quick. Her opponent quickly takes advantage of her big weakness though and that is the fact that she fights with a cross in her mouth. There’s a lot of ways that this can go wrong and it gets pretty violent for her. In general Vento just doesn’t seem as impressive as the other 3 although her large constructs are pretty handy for defense. I can’t say that she’s one of my favorite members of the four though.

Finally you’ve got Fiamma who probably gets the biggest role of the 4. He is debatably the main villain of the series after all. His right hand is similar to Touma’s except that it destroys anything that it touches rather than nullifying it. He makes for a good villain and the guy is definitely very confident. He makes a lot of plans and always has backup ideas as well so taking him out of the picture is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.

Hamazura is not quite as heroic as Touma but makes more of an effort than Accelerator. At the end of the day he’s fine with murdering people and doing what he has to in order to protect his comrades. He’s not particularly invested in the missions so much as he just wants to protect his friends. He’s a fun character to have around but he’s definitely a lot more iffy than the other characters. He tends to make some dicey comments and is usually guilty of getting himself in trouble. Nobody to blame but himself in these cases. I also think his decision to try and team up with Mugino at the end was super risky and realistically they all should have been blown up at that point.

Etzali is a pretty interesting character and his plot probably gets the least amount of screen time here. He has a backstory involving him being a part of a shady organization from a while ago. It seems like they got even worse after he left as now they force their memebers to turn into monsters while trying to wield super powers. He definitely got out at the right time. This part never really gets any closure and I wonder if it would probably get finished in the sequel series or something.

Awaki doesn’t do a whole lot here, but her teleporting is definitely as handy as ever. It’s a great ability to have and really lets you bypass a whole lot of security measures that you would have to deal with otherwise. She gets a pretty fun fight against one of the villains. Really there are a lot of extra villains I won’t be mentioning here because the season has a ton, but I’ll still be mentioning the big ones at least.

One of those is Kakine. He’s the second ranked Level 5 esper and his abilities are pretty nice. He’s able to keep up with Accelerator to an extent after all and that’s not something that just anyone could do. He’s a pretty solid villain and gives Accelerator a really good fight. He certainly did better than the other teleporting guy as there Accelerator was winning without his powers for the most part. Either way Accelerator wasn’t about to lose here though.

Takitsubo spends most of the season knocked out or injured. She’s not quite as good as Last Order or Index, but she isn’t bad. the girl means well even if she is a little out of her league here. With crazy strong individuals running all around the place her enhancement pills are good, but they just won’t cut it. Then you’ve got Mugino who used to be the determined leader of ITEM, but now she’s gone completely crazy. She seems to be losing her sense of self as she becomes more and more like a zombie. In her final form she is barely even alive anymore. It’s interesting seeing her as a total villain, but that’s why it is pretty hard to accept her turning at the end. She brutally took care of Frenda after all..how do you come back from that? Kinuhata doesn’t get nearly as much of a role as the others, but she’s definitely a fun villain. Her abilities are handy and in a 1 on 1 fight she’s probably the only one who could possibly hold her own against Mugino.

Well, Frenda also doesn’t get much of a role here. She meets her fate pretty early on. She’s always been a fun character so it was unfortunate to see this happen to her. She probably should have tried to escape or stayed strong earlier, but I guess she probably never suspected that things would escalate so quickly. Then you’ve got Lessar who joins the cast near the end. She seems pretty crazy and while the character had potential at first she goes off the deep end later on. Lessar becomes incredibly obsessed with Touma and basically loses all of her potential. A shame that her character arc had to go that way.

Meanwhile you’ve got Aleister who is still as mysterious as ever. He doesn’t do much here so that’ll probably be saved for the sequel. He’s still content to watch everything from his water jar. Then you’ve got his alien double running around who seems to be a 4D being who can barely even talk in a way that humans can comprehend him. It’s hard to say where they are going with him, but his plans seem super risky. He needs Touma alive and yet there are so many times where the hero nearly died. You’d think he would pay a little more attention in that case right? When the double does show up he tends to be pretty invincible so far. Only Accelerator likely has much of a chance against him unless they can get Touma to grab him. It’ll definitely be tough though.

Then you’ve got some of the season 1 cast running around. Kanzaki definitely isn’t as impressive as she used to be. She seems to lose every important fight that she gets into here. I suppose the power creep was just too intense. She’s still a good character, but one that desperately needs a power up. Hopefully she will get that soon and she also needs to stop letting Tsuchimikado troll her all the time. Then you’ve got Stiyl who I never found to be all that impressive anyway. He does a good job against Index…but it’s Index. He seems to be a little too obedient though. Kanzaki disobeys the group when she feels like it, but so far Stiyl hasn’t done that. You’d think that he would be ready to ditch the group since they were prepared to end Index. He’s friends with Index right? A threat like that should make him take notice.

Carissa is my favorite of the various princesses. While her methods may be a bit extreme, she is definitely looking out for Britain in a way that the others clearly aren’t. Her abilities are pretty impressive since she wields a sword that gives her an incredible amount of power. She has a lot of fire and determination. Carissa also does battle with some other princesses who look pretty cool but we never get to learn much about them. Then you’ve got the Knight Leader who was able to do battle with Acqua on even ground. After that fight he never looks quite as impressive again, but it was still a great role and he was one of the best villains here.

As mentioned the series’ only real weakness is the fanservice. It pretty much vanishes after the first half although then you’ve got Lessar trying to mess with Touma in World War III. Her scenes quickly become annoying. The season felt a little more violent than the last two, but it’s hard to say for sure since it’s been a while since I saw season 2. At the very least you can expect the characters to really go through the wringer here. Several characters are shot point blank and others take so many injuries that they basically bleed out. It’s definitely no Titan, but it does get a little intense here. The scene has some pretty shocking moments like when Mugino took out Frenda. You just wouldn’t have thought that something like this would happen so it changes the whole dynamic of the show up to that point.

While I wouldn’t go as far as calling the whole show very dark, there are moments where it gets pretty serious. Going back to the animation style, it works really well as a result because while the first two seasons were pretty optimistic, here everyone is quickly forced to adjust to the situation. It’s war now and the casualties start to build up. There are moments of levity here and there, but the season maintains a steady serious tone. By and large this season probably works as a good example of a “dark” show that isn’t super gritty. It’s always hard to maintain that balance and to this day Madoka Magica is the best example of it.

The pacing of the season is definitely very fast. The events really go by in a flash so you want to absorb everything you can right away. It does help the series always stay exciting though. With the exception of the early Touma episodes, there is always something happening around the corner. There are so many groups and villains that you’re always wondering who is going to show up next. It’s a really good thing if you ask me. There are some fights that I would have liked to have been a little longer like Touma vs Accelerator, but as it stands most of the fights seem to last for a good amount of time.

Overall, Index Season 3 was definitely a good way to wrap up the series. World War III definitely felt like the big climactic event that it was supposed to be. Everyone got to throw their hat in the ring and we got a lot of cool fights and plots going. The season does get hurt a bit by the first half which suffers from the usual issues, but it’s still a good season in the end. You’ll probably have a better time if you watch the other two seasons first since you’ll really be able to appreciate all of the storylines, but I think you’d be able to hang in there with this season if you follow all the exposition. Just try to keep all of the names straight.

Overall 6/10

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