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Certain Magical Index II - Season 2, Part 1, A
A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to review the collection sets for A Certain Scientific Railgun S, a franchise I wasn't too familiar with outside of it's immense popularity here in the states. Despite my starting to watch this in it's 3rd season, I was hooked and immediately sought out the first two seasons and immersed myself into the Raildex universe, falling in love with the well written characters, fun stories and doses of comedy injected in to keep things light. How does Season 2 fare to past installments to the franchise?
If you've watched the first season then don't expect anything different from the format here as it's pretty much the same. Several different story arcs loosely tied together with one another and the occasional filler episode thrown in-between. For those who do not know the setup to Index, I'll give a quick rundown...
A Certain Magical Index as a whole centers on the life of Toma Kamijo (voiced by Micah Solusod), a regular guy whom doesn't seem all that special, and Index, the keeper of something called the 103000 grimoires, books containing powerful magical knowledge that many people seek out to use for their own devious plans.
Each magic user (usually called Espers) in Academy city are ranked according to their abilities, by way of leveling system, between numbers 1 through 5. Toma is what's known as a Level 0, a commoner with absolutely no esper capabilities. However, he does possess a power not seen before in his right hand, called Imagine Breaker. What the Imagine Breaker is capable of is that of negating ALL magic, including esper and even divine powers, making him a formidable opponent for even the most feared esper, Accelerator (Voiced by Austin Tindle), whom is pursuing the opportunity to become the first ever level 6.
Index II starts off with more of a filler episode, picking up the day after Toma had his fake date with Mikoto Misaka from the first season. It's now the final day of Toma's summer vacation and he has yet to do any of his required summer school work due to the hectic events that have taken place and the attention depraved Index. When he finally buckles down to do the work, they're both suddenly attacked that ends with Index kidnapped in an attempt to perform a ceremony that will allow the man to access the grimoires inside Index's head to find a cure for a curse inflicted on a woman he has fallen in love with.
The first real arc of the show doesn't begin until episode 2, when the Archbishop informs Stiyl Magnus (voice of Rob McCollum) that the Liber AL vel Legis, otherwise known as The Book of Law, has been stolen by the Amakusa Catholic nuns. Stiyl has been tasked with retrieving both the sacred text and Orsola Aquinas, the only person who can actually decode, whom has also been kidnapped. Enlisting Toma's help (by "kidnapping" Index, no less), the pair set off to stop the nuns before they can cause unspeakable damage.
The next arc is pretty quick at just two episodes, tying into the previous Railgun S season, where it's revealed to Kuroko (voiced by Alison Viktorin), whom is spending the day shopping with her sister, Mikoto, that the tree diagram's remnants are being collected by that of Awaki Musujime (voiced by Bryn Apprill.) Knowing the hell Mikoto had been put through in trying to destroy the Tree Diagram, Kuroko sets out to put an end to it once and for all. Even Accelerator (voiced by Austin Tindle), whom is trying his best to live a peaceful life hears about the recent events. Knowing that if the Tree Diagram were rebuilt, the Level 6 experiment would start over again, so he decides to take precautions to ensure that no one brings the evil experiment back.
The last arc that rounds out these first 12 episodes (and will continue into the next set of episodes) takes place on the day of Academy City's annual Grand Champion Star Festival, a sports competition between the various schools of the city that is open to the public. Stiyl has been made aware that an extremely powerful magician, Oriana Thomson (voiced by Jennifer Green), has snuck onto the grounds in order to make an exchange to get a magical weapon called the Stab Sword, which has the power to kill a Saint. Toma, Stiyl and Tsuchimikado (voiced by Newton Pittman) set out to stop her.
+ Just as fun as the previous seasons.
+ Slick action sequences.
+ Improved dub. When the first season came out, the dub was ridiculed as an overall bad effort, but the actors have really come into their roles.
+ Great animation that looks gorgeous on Blu-ray.
- Despite it being a fun show, season 2 doesn't really add anything new to the story, it's more of the same really.
- The second arc, which is only 2 episodes, feels like nothing more than fan service to Mikoto Misaka/Kuroko, and to show us that Accelerator is still around in his two brief 30 second cameos.
Video and Audio:
This is the first season of the Index/Railgun franchise that has been made available to us on Blu-ray, and it was worth the wait. The image is vibrant and clean, and the details are sharp. A beautiful production overall.
There are two audio options for the first half of Index. The first is a 5.1 TrueHD Dolby English track, and the second is the original TrueHD 2.0 Japanese track. I sampled a few episodes of the Japanese track and watched the rest in the Englih dub. Both efforts were quite good and I really didn't prefer one over the other, although I'm quite used to the English voices. The mixes were done well with no dropouts or distortions present.
Extras: - Episode 7 commentary with Alison Viktorin and Bryn Apprill, whom play Kuroko and Musujime, respectively. - Textless opening and closing themes. - Trailers for other various FUNimation titles including Black Butler, Princess Jellyfish, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, One Piece: Film Z, A Certain Magical Index, Ghost in the Shell Arise: Borders 1 & 2, and Hal - The Movie Overall:
The first half of season 2 gives us more of the same of previous seasons, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you're a fan of this series, then you won't be disappointed with this collection of episodes. Index II: Part 1 continues to be as fun as it ever has been and it comes recommended
- Episode 7 commentary with Alison Viktorin and Bryn Apprill, whom play Kuroko and Musujime, respectively.
- Textless opening and closing themes.
- Trailers for other various FUNimation titles including Black Butler, Princess Jellyfish, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, One Piece: Film Z, A Certain Magical Index, Ghost in the Shell Arise: Borders 1 & 2, and Hal - The Movie