To Aru Majutsu no Index Movie – Endymion no Kiseki
「劇場版 とある魔術の禁書目録 エンデュミオーンの奇蹟」 (Gekijouban To Aru Majutsu No Kinsho Mokuroku Endyumion Mo Kiseki)
“To Aru Majutsu no Index Movie – Endymion no Kiseki”
Touma is back (and so is his misfortune) as Toaru Majutsu no Index arrives on the big screen. Long story short? For better and for worse, it’s a lot of the same in terms of what we’ve come to expect from TV series-turned-movies (and from Index in general).
With that said, let’s first look at some of the conceptual similarities to Index:
First up? The Science Fiction elements. With its introductory segment, the Index Movie gives us two big examples of this right off the bat. The space plane is one such example, and it’s especially notable due to the fact that we’ve actually been exploring higher altitude flight as a potential option for faster trips around the globe. If you’ll remember, the now retired Concorde was originally one such plane (travelling at nearly twice the typical cruising altitude of commercial flights while cutting the average trip time by a half), and it’s interesting to note that there were some structural similarities between the plane designed used here and the Concorde itself. Moving on though, the next big example involves the space elevator Endymion. Needless to say, the concept of a space elevator is a huge Sci-Fi element that has seen its share of iterations (Gundam 00 comes to mind as a recent series that utilizes this), and it’s notable in particular in regards to how the name it receives end up being significantly tied to the Greek mythology surrounding the person with the same name.
Next, we have the slice of life elements—which stay true to the TV series for the most part. For instance, we got Touma forgetting to get Index dinner (and subsequently receiving the punishment he and his wallet deserves), Kuroko harassing Misaka even though she’s in a wheelchair (the question of the day is why she’s in one), and so on and so forth.
And last, but not least, we have the movie staying true to the series’ original tag line: “When magic and science cross paths, this epic will begin.” Indeed, the clash between Stiyl and the newly revealed “Civil Affairs Resolution Intervention Unit” highlights the beginning of the story’s main plot line, and everyone’s got something new up their sleeves. Stiyl’s got three apprentices working with him in Marie, Mallybath, and Jane, and the Science side… well, let’s just say Shutaura Sequenzia got some darn fancy new toys—even though they’re eerily reminiscent of the WTOC’s in Towa no Quon.
Moving onto the main plot line itself, the movie ends up revolving around rising star Meigo Arisa, who ends up having some very interesting parallels to our equal rights for all advocate, Kamijou Touma. Essentially, they’re both Level 0′s, both possess some kind of power that can’t be explained by Science or Magic, and both have no memories before a certain point in their lives. With that said, she also ends up contrasting nicely with Touma’s misfortune too—as she ends up the conjurer of miracles instead—and both of them end up playing quite well into the inability of our main antagonist’s inability to die. After all, Ladylee Tangleroad’s immortality is essentially on the extreme ends of both the fortune and misfortune spectrums respectively (a gift and a curse).
As it turns out though, Arisa is neither a saint (as the magic side believed she was) or an esper. Rather, she ends up being the split off self of Civil Affairs Unit Leader Shutaura Sequenzia, and we end up with the revelation that the “Miracle of 88″ did in fact result in the death of the plane’s pilot (and Shutaura’s father), Daedalus Sequenzia. The irony of the name Daedalus aside (he was the father of Icarus), it’s admittedly here where things start becoming quite shaky in terms of the movie’s development.
See, on one hand, Meigo Arisa’s existence ends up being a very interesting medium from which to emphasize two important things: the notion that “if it’s something you want, and something you can do, then you have to do it” and the notion of miracles vs. coincidence. In the case of the former, it’s similar to the belief that if “you have the talent, you have a responsibility to use it,” and it was something I felt was important because it touches upon moral obligation and responsibility, and also relates to how we’re living in an age where more and more people are becoming increasing disillusioned about their future prospects, and people aren’t going into the fields they want to more than ever before. As for the latter, it’s importance lies in philosophical contemplation than anything, and at the very least, the movie brings up some interesting points regarding how many different things could fall under the definition of a “miracle” (and likewise for “coincidences”).
As such, there are some aspects that were developed fairly well. The problem is, what the movie ends up doing is falling into the trap that other anime movies have set, which is the belief that a movie needs to get everyone and their family involved in the action. As much as I liked seeing all of our cast return in some shape or form, the fact of the matter is that when you try to squish in a dozen different characters into the resolution of the main plot line, it’s inevitably going to take away from the quality of development—especially if you only got 1.5 hours to work with and you have to pull a rushed ending as a result. And basically, what ends up happening is that in the haste to get Stiyl, Misaka, Accelerator, Kuroko, Saten, Uiharu, Anti-Skill, the Misaka Sisters, Touma, Index, Shutaura, and Kanzaki (the list goes on) in on the action, the whole reasoning behind Ladylee doing what she’s doing with the Endymion ends up getting lost in the ether. By the time get that revelation (which ends up being extremely late), the movie’s devolved entirely into action-oriented fan service, and well, at that point I didn’t even really care about Ladylee’s whole immortality and wanting to die bit anymore. Nor did I really feel much in regards to Shutaura and Arisa’s resolution either. Furthermore, in a story that’s supposed to be mostly focused on Touma and Index, he only gets to punch one person in the face. ONE! And it’s at the very, very end!
And ultimately, that’s the movie in a nutshell. There’s enough elements from Index to make it worth a watch for fans of the series, enough audiovisual eye/ear candy to get some enjoyment from it all, and it does some things well… but it’s not exactly something you’re going to be watching for the plot or quality development. I don’t know if it’s due to the time constraints or if they were just too busy trying to borrow elements from other series, but yeah, they just didn’t fulfill the potential the movie had this time around. And while I did enjoy the movie myself—I’m a sucker for over-the-top action scenes and was looking for an Index fix following the Sisters’ Arc in Railgun S—it’s probably safe to say that a fair amount of people probably didn’t feel the same way.
ED: 「FIXED STAR」by 川田まみ (Kawada Mami)