A Certain Scientific Accelerator, Vol. 1

By Kazuma Kamachi and Arata Yamaji. Released in Japan as “Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator” by ASCII Media Works, serialization ongoing in the magazine Dengeki Daioh. Released in North America by Seven Seas.

The danger of spinoffs, as always, is that those unfamiliar with the series may be spoiled for later events when they read it. On the other hand, what reader is going to be picking this up having no idea what’s happened in Index already? That said, be aware that this manga series takes place sometime after the fifth novel, due out next month from Yen On, and that if you don’t know who Last Order is yet it may be wise to wait till you read that before digging in. On the other hand, if you are a fan of the index series but wish it had more action scenes, things blowing up, and girls being brutally murdered, this is an excellent series to get involved with.

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For the more experienced Index fan, this manga is interesting primarily for Accelerator’s introduction to the Magical World, though he has no idea that’s what it is. Estelle Rosenthal is, as with everyone in Index who isn’t Touma, involved in some way with a shadowy organization, but for once she’s trying to bring it down. She also appears to be a necromancer, something which baffles Accelerator, who’s never heard of that sort of scientific ability. Given events of later Index books, it’s possible that the whole series may finish without him being any wiser as to her being a magician, but it makes for a good dynamic, particularly as she’s not the stuttering introvert I was expecting Accelerator to be paired up with. Indeed, her casual stripping in front of both him and Last Order shows she doesn’t seem to have too many social cues at all – and she has to be lectured about this by Last Order, who is hardly one to talk.

For those wondering, Last Order’s speech quirk is doubled, thus she sounds like the clones except she says “Misaka Misaka “. This is awkward, but honestly there’s no good way to convey the cutesy way she talks in English, so I’ll roll with it. Last Order herself is captured well here, as we get her hyperactivity and jealousy present and correct. As for Accelerator himself, he gets his defining moment right off the bat, as Estelle battles a mook right in front of his nose, and he never stops reading his book, having directed sound to not hit his ears. this is post-Vol. 5 Accelerator, meaning he’s still standoffish and basically a jerk, but is making the transition from villain to antihero, and nothing pisses him off more than people thinking that he’s been “brought down to Earth’ now, which is what leads to the best fight scenes in the volume.

Throw in a truly terrifying murder scene halfway through (it’s OK, she’s going to get her corpse reanimated so it’s all good), and you have a series that should appeal nicely to Index and Railgun fans, even though Touma and Misaka aren’t in it. Though the preview for Vol. 2 did note that one of the clones will have a big part in Vol. 2, which amused me. It’s spinoff fodder for sales, but done quite well. I look forward to more.

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