「神の子」 (Kami no Ko)
“Son of God”
It is done, it is over—and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one relieved for it. After two seasons of scorched pavement and screaming rubber Index has finally drawn to a close, and more or less done everything you could expect. Accelerator continues being the perpetual badass, only now in a slightly more angelic form, while Touma not only gave us one punch but two for all that nagging trouble of arguing with the baddie of the moment (and don’t even get me started with Misaka’s comedic rejection). As for that baddie no real surprises either with Fiamma succumbing to the curse of outlived purpose, although the means of his death are likely to raise a few eyebrows. Aleister leaving the bat cave to talk about the truth of Touma’s arm? Oh you know where this story is heading next.
Speaking of main man himself, I wouldn’t expect him to be separated from the action (and everyone’s favourite set of teeth) for too long. Index may have wrapped up arguably its largest and most impactful arc, but there’s lots more waiting for adaptation. With the Index franchise back in force (summertime Accelerator says hello), we’ll just have to see how long it takes for Index IV to finally make its appearance.
There’s no two ways about it: Index III objectively sucked. Hard. From start to finish we received one of the largest, most rushed hatchet jobs of recent adaptation history, cutting out significant amounts of material and plot connections for the sake of reaching a convenient starting point in the story for future sequels. No matter how much the season was billed for light novel readers, no matter how it tried to appeal to its target audience, Index simply took the brakes off and sped right past the cliff.
While numerous problems plagued Index’s latest offering, the main one was definitely story, specifically characters. Even for those intimately familiar with Index’s cast this season was often inexplicable at times, throwing various names and faces at us with various important tasks being performed which often lacked context or explanation. Our French girl, this new harem member—Academy City underground round two? Best hope you follow the source material closely, because you’re getting no introductions or answers here. Even for those with some sense of time and place and ability for audience deduction—i.e. Misaka Worst, cyber-Mugino, Hyouka—are lacking in information to explain why they’re specifically showing up and their reasons for acting. For all intents and purpose Index relied on the appearance of key characters to carry the day and overcome the structural defects, but as any anime lover can tell you, it takes more than eye candy to make a show.
Besides character troubles the other noticeable issue plot—or rather the lack of it. Was there an underlying plot? Yes. Was the plot teased? Certainly. Did it all make sense and leave an urge to see more? Not really. Much like those random Stiyl and Amazon magician appearances Index didn’t do a good job at grounding many of this season’s arcs into the greater picture. Arcs like the underground group free for all may have their place in the overall story, but without some sort of explanation (no matter how minor or ambiguous) the we’re left wondering just what the hell is going on—and just in time for the show to move onto the next bit of science-magic chicanery. Again this setup was designed entirely for Index’s source readership and should ideally be judged on it alone, but that caveat doesn’t take away the frustration felt a lot of the time, particularly in this season’s latter half. If Index I and II could manage creating good, enjoyable, and narratively consistent anime, why couldn’t III do the same? It’s a question whose answer we will never know.
In the end however, Index is as Index does, and considering we were never guaranteed getting a sequel after all this time, it’s hard looking in the gift horse’s mouth for too long. While incredibly flawed and imperfect, there’s more than few who’ll be happy having Touma and friends back in anime form, and with this only the first of several new Index franchise works (Accelerator and Railgun being next up to bat), there’s plenty of time to right the ship going forward. Index III may not have been the Index we all wanted or desire (or one which will be looked back fondly upon), but as the first true opening salvo of this franchise’s return, I’d say it did the task of reintroducing Index to the world at large well enough indeed.