A Certain Magical Index, Vol. 10

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. Translated by Andrew Prowse.

This picks up immediately after the end of the previous volume, as befits a two-part arc. In fact, Kamachi helpfully provides a recap for anyone who may have somehow skipped the previous book. I had wondered if we’d get more athletic events for the festival, but no, sadly the festival is mostly offscreen for Touma, as he spends 4/5 of the volume chasing after Oriana Thomson, watching her nearly kill his friends, and arguing with her on the nature of doing good and how it’s impossible for everyone to share the same view, ethics, or religion – it’s all influenced by their own head. Luckily, the Roman Catholic Church is coming to the rescue to change everyone’s minds into their own! For some strange reason, Touma objects to this…

Introduced in this volume: no one! Given this is the second in a two-parter, we get no new characters. That said, Lidvia certainly gets a lot more to do here, and she’s really not a pleasant person at all, though when given Lady of the Tiger choice she at least attempts to do the right thing by choosing Lady AND Tiger. We also see Laura Stuart (or rather hear Laura Stuart) at her most devious and cunning – Lidvia has a long way to go to get to Laura’s level. Himegami also gets a larger role in this book, and it once again reflects on her status as a “failed heroine” – she wants to do romantic things with Touma, but he’s too busy saving the world, and in the end she ends up an innocent victim who Touma doesn’t even have the time to rescue – Stiyl and Komoe-sensei have to do it. (I will simply ignore the ship tease between Stiyl and Komoe in this book, because eurgh.)

Luckily she’s cheered up by Index, who also gets very little to do this book, but that’s by design, as most of the Magic Side know that Index is a plot maguffin and so they have to keep an eye on her to see what’s going to happen. Of course, finding out Touma is once again getting himself hospitalized without her knowing anything makes her grumpier. I find Index far more tolerable in prose form – no offense to Yuka Iguchi, but I think Index herself simply sounds less stupid in the books as opposed to the anime. She’s the emotional core of the series, and it’s her purity that inspires many other characters – most obviously Touma and Stiyl here. (She also gets a great line about Peter Pan when looking at the youthful looks of Touma and Mikoto’s mothers, which the anime sadly cut.)

The book itself does its level best to conceal its big secret: this entire runaround was pointless, and chasing after Oriana was meant to be a distraction. Luckily, like follows like, and pointless follows pointless – for all that Lidvia succeeds in her ritual, it’s useless due to Academy City’s fireworks show lighting up the sky. I think one reason Index is so upset is that she could have saved him a lot of running around and injuries by simply having hm ask her, but then when you’re a walking magic wikipedia… In any case, a good volume, and less magic theory than the 9th book (though we still get some, mostly related to astrology). Next time, Index Does Italy!

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