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  • 4 weeks later...

New GitS, eh? Sweet.

The last two episodes of Hellsing Ultimate need to hurry up and get dubbed.

On the other hand, I have been watching Psycho Pass, and I'm quite excited for this one. It's Minority Report the anime.
Maybe also Psycho-Pass.

A friend pointed me toward this. I haven't gotten to it, but it sounds interesting. How did you guys like it?

Edited by K.B.
yeah, that was dumb. redline is awesome though.
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... Thought I was gone, did you?

I quickly threw this impressions writeup together today to get back into the swing of things. Hopefully it's up to snuff.

In addition, I'm putting together lists on MAL and VNDB to keep track of the anime and visual novels I've watched/read and plan to watch/read. I'll put them up when I finish. If you see something on there you want to see reviewed, regardless of whether or not I've completed it already, say so and I'll see if I can do it.


A Certain Magical Index

とある魔術の禁書目録 ; Toaru Majutsu no Indekkusu

Year: 2008, 2010

Studio: J.C.Staff

Genre: Comedy, Action, Drama, Science Fantasy



Academy City: the city of science. Scientifically-enhanced students capable of superhuman abilities, known as espers, live in this city. Kamijou Touma, an esper whose right hand can negate any superhuman abilities, one day finds a young girl hanging on his balcony railing. She is a nun from Necessarius, the secret magical branch of the Church of England, and in her mind are 103,000 forbidden magical books of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Their meeting pulls Touma into the conflicts between the worlds of magic and science, and between the many churches seeking the power contained within the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.


「不幸だ!」 - or in English, something akin to "Such misfortune!" Get used to hearing that phrase, because that's how Kamijou Touma sees his life. The story of A Certain Magical Index revolves largely around him constantly being dragged into conflicts, petty or otherwise. This is more or less the standard ‘call to action’ for the hero in most stories, but in Index, it happens with every arc. There’s a vague overarching plot, but every time Touma gets involved it’s only because the fighting has somehow involved something he cares about; once the immediate threat is neutralized, Touma goes back to day-to-day life. Until, of course, the next time the outside world’s problems comes knocking again.

The stories that result from these battles are often rather interesting. Things are never quite so simple as just having a clear antagonist to defeat in Index. The writing always involves some kind of twist, and the writers do a good job of concealing exactly what that twist is right up until its reveal. However, the writers aren’t so good at keeping things fresh; every story arc comes down to the problem-fight-twist-solution formula. Every. Single. One. It’s repetitive, and so the audience knows going in that they’re missing something and start looking for it immediately. The unfortunate part is that there’s usually little to find. The writers don’t give many, if any, clues before the each reveal, so there’s no tension being built even when we know something is coming.

In this way, Index feels much more like an episodic series than a story with an advancing plot. All the story advances are going on in the background and it all feels somewhat irrelevant to the immediate happenings of the focal characters. Each arc only lasts three or four episodes on average, so we’re given plenty of different foes to face, but no real sense of coherency or building of tension. That is, perhaps, the most disappointing aspect of the series. At the beginning and through the first arc, we’re given the sense of getting into a much bigger story, but then it fails to deliver on that in a meaningful way. All the great plot threads feel like they’re just beneath the surface, waiting to be used. The stories are great in themselves; if they could’ve been tied together somehow and made more relevant to the overarching themes and plot, it could have the potential be a fantastic story.

The other mixed bag in Index is the character lineup. Once again, we’re presented with the potential for great development, but given little of it. The main character, Touma, is about as easy to understand as a rock. He’s about as dense as one, too, sometimes, and stupidly stubborn to boot. Very typical of a shounen protagonist, and unfortunately, we don’t get to see much development of his character. Nor do we get to see much development of the titular character, Index. In fact, despite being in the title and showing up first-thing in the series, she barely qualifies as a side character through most of it. Most of the actual side characters are far more interesting that either of these two. The backstories of two, the electromaster Misaka Mikoto and the one known as ‘Accelerator’, are just two examples of much better characterization and potential for exploration. Both get an arc or two dedicated to them, but are otherwise relegated to the background until called for. The potential in many other characters are similarly squandered. Instead, we’re mostly offered up cliché, archetypal character situations that give us a sense of the depth that could be there but are never really explored.

Still, it’s not all bad news for Index. The structure of the series and the constant influx of new threats means the series still manages to serve as the equivalent to a popcorn flick. For what it does with the story and characters, it tends to do well. The characters, despite the lack of development, will still carry some weight in the viewers’ minds. Dialogue and reactions are drawn out very well and carry a decent amount of impact. Sometimes it takes a while to get to these points, but if you can stand several minutes of them standing around explaining exactly what’s going on and why it’s important, then you’ll probably enjoy the outcome that follows. The previously mentioned twists are also fun to watch play out. Essentially, the writing is strong enough that, even with series’ problems, you’ll be drawn into the world itself enough that seeing what happens next, seeing what other secrets are kept in this story, is plenty to keep you watching. The enjoyment coming from the setting is at times so much greater than the story and characters themselves.

One of the other main draws to this series, of course, are the fight scenes. The animation and fight choreography for these scenes are all well-planned and well-executed. They’re fluid and, for action arriving just at the climax, builds the kind of tension required to actually care about these people and the world they live in – something the characters themselves oftentimes couldn’t do themselves. And then witnessing the inevitable final punch from Touma – seriously, his punches seem to solve everything – makes it all the more sweet to watch; those wallops are framed so well you can practically feel them yourself. At the same time, the soundscape is great; the mix of typically electronic-themed music and more mellow classical themes work quite well to build mood. Sound effects are neither too generic nor too outlandish and distracting. In those pivotal scenes, the animation and sound work together to great effect. Outside those scenes, however, the animation sometimes suffers, and we’re treated to low-framerate animation or just little animation at all in the aforementioned exposition scenes.

A Certain Magical Index is one of those series that could have been great but is cut down by a number of faults and left to occupy the seat of mediocrity. Its potential great strengths are downplayed too much in favor of adhering to flavor-of-the-week character and situation writing. Even so, Index manages to do well enough to entertain. It’s a series that will do the best for those looking for a series they can use to kill time with on a slow day.


Story – 7.5

Characters – 7.0

Writing – 7.9

Animation – 8

Sound – 8

Overall – 7.7

Edited by HalcyonSpirit
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Index is about Touma punching the shit out of people, and I love it for that.

I... should add that to my impressions. I completely forgot how great those punches are.

Also Railgun S is starting this season so I'm excited for that.

Noted. I haven't seen Railgun yet, so I don't know how that spinoff is compared to Index. But considering it's (apparently) focusing on one of the more interesting side characters from Index, there's some hope in my mind.

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I finished the AD Police Files OVA, which is not too great a feat, considering it's only three 25-minute episodes.

It was, well, alright. I suppose I'd enjoy it more if I watched Bubblegum Crisis first, since it's three different self-contained stories, which means that there isn't really a whole lot of opportunity to connect with the characters, though I liked the tough police chick, who reminds me of a likable Angel Cop. I really wish the series was about her.


I really, really wish it had followed one building story over the course of the series, instead of three separate ones. The three episodes all have cool ideas, but they never go far enough or have enough time to develop into something greater than "hey, that's kinda cool."

I also really had to laugh at how this show would throw tits on the screen for absolutely no reason. My personal favorite of these ADULT ANIMATION FOR ADULTS moments is when this scientist chick fucks this robot for absolutely no reason.


Above: She wore this to work. Her science*laboratory*work. I guess Tuesday is dress-like-a-whore day at MAD SCIENTISTS INC.

It was out of place and silly, trust me on this one. Kind of like most of the "sex" scenes.

The art-style is great, as it is classic old-fashioned mecha/robots/anime stuff with a heavy dose of Blade Runner, SNATCHER, and cyberpunk.

So if you don't feel like watching something deep or with a message, and have watched Bubblegum Crisis, I'd say give this a shot. It's entertaining, but it leaves you wanting more. I guess that's where BGC comes in.

I suppose Bubblegum Crisis comes with nothing but the highest recommendations among the "old cool anime" crowd.

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I recently finished up Mongolian Chop Squad on DVD and have to say that I was rather glad I bought it. I had eyed it for years, being a fan of music, so an anime about a young band struggling to make it had always sounded interesting to me. I felt the characters were real, more so than in other anime I've watched (considering its set in modern day) and overall had a well paced vibe I could get into. And the music was quite catchy.

And now I'm running over Sorcerer Stabber Orphen, the complete series. I've watched the first three seasons of The Slayers so I kind of have high hopes on in...

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How so?

Alternately: worth it for the first 3/4?

I would say yes but the last quarter is reaaaaaaaaaaaally boring. Oh and the entire show is more about quoting western literature at you than demonstrating it.


Noted. I haven't seen Railgun yet, so I don't know how that spinoff is compared to Index. But considering it's (apparently) focusing on one of the more interesting side characters from Index, there's some hope in my mind.

Railgun is better. Much better.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The next review will go up just as soon as I have a chance to write it. In the meantime...

PSA: If you aren't already watching the currently-airing Shingeki no Kyojin... well, why the hell not?

Shingeki is seriously gunning for the title Best New Anime 2013, and not only have we not yet gotten halfway through the year, but the show's only on its fifth episode. As long as it doesn't drop the ball, it looks to be one hell of a ride all the way through.

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I purchased, on a whim, Cyber City 808 on DVD and, **sus Chr*st, it's one of the craziest and most mesmerizing animes I've ever seen.

Without giving too much away, its basically sort of like a Cowboy Bebop prototype (since it existed before CB) with all the nihilistic horror of Ninja Scroll (since it was done by the same guy) and the results are literally jaw-dropping, for better or worse. The dub has some ridiculous lines complimented by good voice acting, and, for some reason, an episode that seems to have inspired the Soma Cruz Castlevanias (you'll know what I mean when you see it).

The only thing I have to complain about is that its only a 3 episode OVA and the story just... stops. Each episode focuses on a different main character, but it builds up so much of an awesome and intriguing saga that its a crime it didn't go any further than that.

Anyway, go look that shit up - but only if you have a REALLY strong stomach.

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Speaking of, I've been watching Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040. So far it is badass and I almost never describe anime as such.

Haven't saw the 80s series though.

You're missing out.

Sonada's character designs in the original demolish the remake's look in every single way.

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I purchased, on a whim, Cyber City 808 on DVD and, **sus Chr*st, it's one of the craziest and most mesmerizing animes I've ever seen.

You got lucky, that's one of the best 80's cyberpunk anime titles out there and one of my faves too.

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