A Certain Magical Index, Vol. 7

By Kazumi Kamachi and Kiyotaka Haimura. Released in Japan as “To Aru Majutsu no Index” by ASCII Mediaworks. Released in North America by Yen On.

There is a certain amount of religion in Index, more and more as the series goes on, in fact. The whole point of the Magic side of Index is that it’s made up of various religious factions who are at odds with each other and themselves, and even an Angel has gotten in on the act. That said, I’m not really sure Kanachi has anything deep to say about religion in particular. I think he’s just using the basics as fodder for what he wants to do, which is tell stories where cool things happen. Which is fine, and there’s lots of cool things going on in this volume of Index. I quite enjoyed it. But I also grew up Roman Catholic, and the group of nuns that are introduced here adhere far more to the “Spanish Inquisition” type than the more modern Catholic Church. In fact, the text goes out of its way to say “Roman Orthodox”, and casually says the word Catholic doesn’t really apply to them anymore. Which is true, because what we have here is not a convent, it’s a paramilitary unit.


Introduced in this volume: Laura Stuart, Orsola Aquinas, Agnes Sanctis, Lucia, Angeline, Saiji Tatemiya. Yes, Yen’s translation spells it Agnes, not Agnese. I think that’s fine. For anime and manga readers expecting Itsuwa, she was added to the adaptations but isn’t in the light novel. No worries, she’ll turn up later. This takes place a whole week after Book 6, which is huge in Index terms. for Railgun readers, Misaka’s not in this one, probably as she’s still in California dealing with events in the Railgun SS novel. For Accelerator fans, the Accelerator manga’s start takes place around this time.

Laura Stuart is the most important of the names mentioned above. For all of the amusing “Your Japanese sounds stupid” jokes and occasional dojikko moments she gets, she’s clearly meant to be to the Magic Side what Crowley is to the Science side, i.e. a chessmaster who’s always thinking 10 moves ahead of everyone else. As Stiyl notes, she’s the one who told all those lies about Index that kicked off the series in the first place (a popular fan theory is that she’s Index’s mother, possibly as that makes it much worse), and certainly nothing that happens in these pages seems to surprise her – everything turned out as planned. That said, simply due to her nature and the way she’s written the reader tends to find her more sympathetic than Crowley (who, as we learn here, is likely also a magician in any case).

Much of the volume deals with a grimoire called The Book of the Law, written by Crowley, which is supposed to be undecodable, except Orsola thinks she knows how to decode it. Orsola is basically the one Roman Orthodox nun we meet here who isn’t a villain, and her tendency to underplay horrific injuries and forgive those who have attempted to kill her must surely strike a familiar chord with Touma. As for Agnes and the others, they’re zealots, thinking nothing of lying to Touma and the others about absolutely everything as, well, they’re non-Catholic heathens, so who cares? That said, Touma, who possible has been spoiled for the 11th novel, says he can totally see him being on Agnes’ side later. Touma tends to be on the side of whatever he thinks is right at the time.

There’s more I could discuss, including Index (who once again gets a lot to do) using a whole lot of magic given that she’s someone who supposedly is unable to use magic (I suspect that Laura may be responsible for that as well), but I think this is getting a bit long. Suffice to say this is a strong volume of the Magical Index series that will please its fans, unless they’re hardcore Catholics, in which case please note that Index is to actual religious theory of today what Goofy is to an actual dog.

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