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Certain Magical Index II: Season 2 - Part 2
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 who 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), who is pursuing the opportunity to become the first ever level 6.
Where my Part 1 review left off, Toma and his friends were spending the day at 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 (voiced by Rob McCollum) had been made aware that an extremely powerful magician, Oriana Thomson (voiced by Jennifer Green), had snuck onto the grounds in order to make an exchange to get a magical weapon called the Stab Sword, which wields the power to kill a Saint. After taking out both Stiyl and Tsuchimikado (voiced by Newton Pittman), Toma must set out to stop her. Part 2 picks up just as the action gets going, and the rest of the arc only lasts for the single episode, dominated by the fight.
The next arc of Part 2 kicks off in episode 14, where Toma's bad luck seems to take a turn for the better when he wins a lottery for an all expense paid one week trip to Chioggia, Italy for him and a friend. After he and Index arrive at Chioggia, Index obviously is captivated by all of the food locales and is soon lost in the fray. Toma tries to find Index but soon runs into Orsola, the nun from the previous box set who was chased after due to her knowledge of the Book of Law, who is currently in Italy to finish packing her belongings for her move to London. Unfortunately for Toma and Index, their vacation is quickly interrupted when Orsola is once again attacked by an assassin. Toma must save Orsola once again while coming face to face with a previous enemy who has different motives this time around.
The show thankfully quickly shifts back to Academy City, as we get a pretty good arc that gets underway involving Mikoto trying to get Kamijo to follow through on their penalty bet harkening all the way back to the middle of Season 1 where she has him acting like her boyfriend so she can get an limited phone charm that she wants. While this is happening, we get to see some nice character development from the Last Order (aka the underdeveloped and premature Misaka clone) as she has essentially forced Accelerator to turn him into a much better person against his will as he feels responsible for the killing of the 11,000 or so clones he had murdered for the Tree Diagram project.
Accelerator is still banged up from his fight with Toma and being shot in the head back in the middle of Season 1, walking on a crutch and his powers are still slowly returning and have to be controlled by a device he wears around his neck. As he gets out of the hospital, he's invited to come live with a teacher from the local school. Soon Last Order takes off and gets lost, leaving Accelerator the task to find her. Taking place at the same time as Mikoto and Toma's false relationship, Last Order eventually runs into Toma, while Index runs into Accelerator. The respective group spends the day together looking for their lost friends. It's a nice breather arc that provides some solid laughs and entertainment.
The final arc of the box set clocks in at 6 episodes in length and puts the focus firmly onto Accelerator and Last Order. While walking Last Order home from the last arc, A black ops force known as the Hound Dogs come looking for The Last Order, he is soon attacked by the group of armed soldiers and is shocked to see it is led by his old mentor, Amata Kihara. While Accelerator easily deals with the grunts, Amata, who had helped Accelerator learn his powers, knows all of the tricks to negate his ability and proceeds to brutally pummel him. We soon find out that Amata had been responsible for all of the bad things and various experiments Accelerator has taken part in, this being the first time Accelerator has been able to confront his former guardian, so the stakes are high. Accelerator has to muster up the strength to be able to take on his former friend and mentor to save the one person who treats him with love.
This box set had both my favorite and least favorite story arcs of the Index franchise, the opening arc of the box set seemed like it was a retread from the first collection with Orsola being attacked by yet another assassin, while the final arc of Season 2 solidified exactly why Accelerator as my favorite character from the franchise. While he's a total badass, he's also vulnerable, has had a ton of character development for a character who was only meant to be a one off villain and his scenes are honestly just a delight to watch.
+ Some great character development for Accelerator and the Last Order.
+ 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, while they're all good here, the standout is probably Austin Tindle, who gets ample opportunity to stand out in this box set and delivers, Tindle proves he has improved 10 fold since the first season.
+ 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.
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 last 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 English 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.
- Episode 14 commentary with Micah Solusod and Malory Rodack, who play Toma and Orsola, respectively.
- Episode 22 commentary with Austin Tindle and Marcus D. Stimac who play Accelerator and Amata, respectively.
- Opening and closing themes.
- U.S. Trailer for the dub.
- Trailers for A Certain Magical Index: Miracle of Endymion, Dragon Ball Z, Fairy Tail, One Piece, Chaos;Head, Hal, and Princess Jellyfish.
The back 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 2 continues to be as fun as it ever has been and it comes recommended