OP: 「Gravitation」by Maon Kurosaki
Well well… wouldn’t you just look at this. We’re finally back in the Raildex universe, a futuristic setting where science and religion are diametrically opposed, giving way to unpredictable yet exciting conflicts between science and magic. Touma gives a brief recap – a necessary inclusion if you consider that Index II aired 7 1/2 years ago. And this brings us up to speed with the growing tensions that were brewing between scientific and religious factions on a global scale, prior to the end of Index II giving this impending sense of danger. Something is about to happen and the world is going to be a very different place – certainly worse for wear – once machinations start rolling to fruition.
The Return of Touma and Friends
But for now, we’re thrown back to the normalities of Index, picking up from where things were left off. It almost feels like the series has never been missing for the past few years, with the same old familiar characters and same old familiar gags (FUKODA!!!) making round after round, possessing the intimate warmth of a long-lost friend. How I’ve missed them! Touma’s misfortune is the stuff of legends and who wouldn’t derive amusement from the unfortunate misunderstandings he gets caught up in? It really seems like he can’t avoid precarious situations involving women, getting chomped by Index, fastballed by Fukiyose, having a chair thrown at him by his teacher, then getting zapped by Misaka when walking home (that’ll teach him from chasing after MILFs!) What amazes me is that this all happens in the space of a single episode to boot! Truly, such misfortune. And it isn’t just the young girls too – with old granny Monaka looking to get a slice of the action by coercing Touma at gunpoint. However, unlike circumstances with other girls inflicting violence onto Touma, Monoka’s appearance is not motivated by tsundere inclinations and actually advances the plot by a significant margin. Thanks to her, this episode ended up being relatively fast-paced and we got to the crux of the matter fairly quickly.
Based upon what Monaka implied, the worldwide protests against Academy City don’t appear to be entirely natural. There seems to be something inciting folks via magical means, and Monaka reckons that Touma’s right hand has the power to dispel this mass brainwashing against Academy City. But in a shock twist, Tsuchimikado appears then proceeds to shoot her (prompting a Touma Punch in the process!!!) at the behest of the other directors – clearly showing that her whims go against what they want. This poses a really intriguing proposition, namely that the people running Academy City seem to welcome the breakout of war against their institution. Would war be the means to some end? Possibly to expose the existence of magic, as well as the despotism of religious factions, which could turn ordinary people against both? Or are the directors truly confident in their ability to fend off an attempted magical invasion thus making a declaration of their prowess to the world? I doubt that Alistair Crowley has gone senile yet, meaning there’s method in this madness. So I’m sure that he’s masterminding moves to push his personal agenda, while bringing about the downfall of his enemies.
Sadly, it doesn’t look we’ll be back at Academy City for a while. With Touma being spurred into action, it looks like he’s been deployed on a mission to a foreign country, presumably for the purpose of dispelling whatever magic has brainwashed the global population into protesting against Academy City. Judging by the previews, it looks like he’ll be sure to have an eventful time trying to achieve his goal. And the appearance of new figures guarantees that we’re about to encounter a new faction, one that will potentially serve as the antagonistic group for the upcoming arc. Whatever happens, I’m just glad to have Index back. Who isn’t? And I really look forwards to seeing where everything goes, regardless of the final outcome.
The Raildex franchise has attained incredible success, selling a combined total of novels that would be enough to rival the likes of Sword Art Online. In my opinion, the widespread acclaim for the franchise is thoroughly deserved. Index has one of the finest constructions for a fictional universe, with arguably unparalleled world-building in the realms of animated medium, possessing an impressive depth that could seriously contend with Lord of the Rings or Starwars. Yet third seasons are like a mythical creature, notoriously non-existent even when a series achieves extreme levels of popularity. So it came as a surprise and a very delightful one, when a third season was finally announced . Even moreso for Index, since I didn’t have a hope in high heaven that this day would come. I’m incredibly glad that Dengeki Bunko and J.C. Staff took their time with this one, and it’s clear that quality was at the forefront of their considerations, having learned from their mistake with rushing out Index II. Pristine, consistent and gorgeous would be the three adjectives I’d use to describe the animation. Although it felt pretty strange that Mami Kawada wasn’t involved at all, the OP and ED themes were awesome and felt like a real throwback into familiar territory, sounding like they came from the previous decade. The pacing was also fantastic, seeing how we didn’t linger or gloss over important matters, taking liberties to indulge in the same-old things while sprinkling on new stuff. All in all, a near perfect premiere in my books, and I’d be extremely pleased if the remaining episodes maintained this level of quality throughout.
Unfortunately, I’ll need to lay down some expectations. The bad news is that I’ll be covering the show. Even more bad news is that I probably won’t be able to continue blogging after Christmas, and I’ll be taking something of a temporary blogging sabbatical to focus on the final exams of my undergraduate studies. However, not all is doom and gloom. The good news is that we have placed great importance on seeing Index III receiving coverage, meaning it is pretty much guaranteed coverage for RandomC. For now, I have been tasked with covering the first cour with a view to mind of Pancakes taking over after Christmas. Here’s hoping for the best of adaptations, because the potential of Index III is immeasurable and if correctly executed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it becoming a series to define the best of anime in our current decade. Anyway, that’s all from me. Thanks for reading my post and look forwards to seeing you next week!
ED: 「革命前夜」 (Kakumei Zenya) by Yuka Iguchi