A Certain Magical Index, Vol. 19

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.

Just as Index 17 and 18 formed a two-parter, this is essentially the second part of the 15th book, where GROUP battled against ITEM and all the other dark student organizations used by various Academy City folks for Black Ops. They ended up on top, but as you can imagine, that made some people very unhappy. As a result, one of the Board of Directors is trying to deal with them, especially Accelerator. Meanwhile, Accelerator continues to be a really nice guy while insisting he’s a horrible villain. He’s rescuing abused teenage girls, triaging pregnant mothers, and saving little kids. Indeed, the little kid he saves has to literally point out what a hero Accelerator’s being to get the “good guys” to do anything. Are there any good guys in Academy City? Mikoto, maybe, but she’s not in this book at all. Maybe it’s Hamazura, who insists he’s just a thug as much as Accelerator insists he’s a villain. But what Hamazura really is, and this book cements it, is the third male lead in Index.

Introduced in this volume: Stephanie Gorgeouspalace, who bears possibly the silliest name in all of Index. Also, Aiwass, who we’ll definitely be seeing more of. There are a few more of the Aztec teens, as well. Sadly, again, Yen Press has not licensed the Index short story books, which is where we first met Stephanie. Or the Railgun shot story book, which is where we first met Tochtli, though I think she was retroactively written into the Railgun manga as well, like Xochitl was. This takes place at the same time as Books 17 and 18, when Touma is in England dealing with the British Royal Family. It ends with Touma, Accelerator, and Hamazura all separately going to Russia, where we’ll no doubt get the 20th volume. It’s also worth noting that there are only three volumes to go after this one in the main Index series… of course, we also have Index New Testament. Its sequel. Also 22 volumes.

As I said, Hamazura is explicitly called a protagonist by Kamachi in the narrative here, as if it weren’t obvious enough. He also gives the author an opportunity to do a real romance. Touma is, of course, oblivious to his 642 love interests. Accelerator is too self-loathing to even think about a relationship, and Last Order is a daughter to him, not a lover. But Hamazura, despite all the banter and pseudo-flirtation with Kinuhata (who is twelve, making this my least favorite part of the book), is in love with Takitsubo, and she with him. Of the three “threatened” relationships at the end of this book, it’s the romantic one. Accelerator and Last Order are the familial one, and Touma and Index… well, they’re the titular one. It’s also interesting to have it pointed out that, while Touma and Accelerator are part of Aleister’s BIG PLANS, Hamazura is not, and his interference with Mugino (who comes back from the dead to try to kill him some more, and even looks just like the Terminator here) could pose a big problem in the future.

Mostly this book is filled with cool fights, giving Kinuhata more to do (despite my dislike of her underage teasing, she’s developed very well in this book), an analysis of what it means to be a hero, as seen through two guys who don’t think of themselves as one, and setting up the pieces for the last three books, which are a three-parter. It’s a solid entry in the Index series. It also means we are one book away from one of my favorite Index characters being introduced. Is she the best? Well, no, she’s the absolute WORST, actually.

(Final note: I love this cover, one of the best in the entire series. The contrast is fantastic.)

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