Anime Review

A Certain Magical Index Season 3: Review, Premiere Date, Recap, English Sub

July 8, 2019
8 min read

‘A Certain Magical Index’ is a show that gave us a lot of high hopes in the beginning but the further it progressed, the more it turned out to be a disappointment. What initially pulled most viewers towards it was the way it blended elements of sci-fi and fantasy. While it did have all the cliches one can expect from a light novel adaptation, they were still palatable alongside the other new concepts that it was trying to bring in. Even the odd world that is portrayed in the series has been quite impressive all along. But ‘A Certain Magical Index’ Season 3 truly suffers when it comes to its time of release and also the amount of source material that has been intentionally crammed up in its plot. In the desperation of making this renewal worth it, the creators of the show mishandled and even slashed off certain arcs of the story only to make sure that it reaches an interesting arc. This was indeed a grave mistake.

Just by going through the summary of its plot, one can tell that the story involves way too many arcs. The good thing is that each of these is shown with a very different perspective but the problem is that because of its insufficient runtime, it later fails to make any connections between all of the portrayed perspectives. Undoubtedly, its fast-paced story brings in a lot of excitement as well, with lots of action and minimal downtime. There is absolutely no time left for placing any fillers in the season, but the fact that it is not even able to bring proper closure to all the arcs that it introduces is a major fun-killer. Fewer volumes of the source material or just a few more episodes in the season would’ve made it so much better.

The previous seasons focused more on standalone stories that eventually add up to a bigger overarching narrative. This season focuses more on bringing pieces from the previous seasons together and creating a series of dominos that all direct you towards the bigger fight against the Right Seat of God. This aspect of the anime is a little rewarding for all those who were patient enough to stick around with it. ‘Toaru Majutsu no Index’ Season 3 can certainly be an enjoyable experience for the ones who have seen the first two seasons and for the ones who have read the source material. Nothing I say here can stop them from watching this one.

‘A Certain Magical Index’ is not entirely bad but it’s just that most of its flaws cannot be overlooked. The fact that it has been consistently poorly executed definitely brings it in my bad books. I still wonder how it still manages to be so damn popular. In most cases, it is usually the anime that promotes the source material and boosts its sales but here, it seems like its the other way around. Most manga fans somehow find their way to the anime in the hope that it will be equally impressive only to feel disappointed later. Whatever draws you to the show, whether its the magic or the science fiction concepts, be warned that eventually, the execution of both of these themes is laughable. There was a time when fans expected a lot from it, but now, even that is starting to fade. Even then, there have been certain rumors regarding its renewal. To know more about them, refer to our preview on A Certain Magical Index Season 4.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Release Date:

‘A Certain Magical Index’ season 3 premiered on October 5, 2018 and came to an end on April 5, 2019. During this span, it released 26 episodes with each one of them being 23 minutes long.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Plot:

Season 3 of ‘A Certain Magical Index’ starts off by portraying the Darker Side of the Academy City where some very secretive groups have been formed to protect the city from its enemies and also, to keep an eye on its officials. One of these groups consists of Etzali, Tsuchimikado Motoharu, Accelerator, and Musujime as its core members while the other one named ITEM has Mugino Shizuri, Takitsubo Rikou, Kinuhata Saiai, and Hamazura Shiage. All of them now start questioning the orders given to them and they set out to search for their own independent answers. The growing pressures from the Roman Catholic church have never been higher and the Academy City finds itself stuck between the pressures of this chaos.

Meanwhile, Touma again finds himself in the middle of numerous complicated situations. What had started off as a hunt for the mysterious artifact of Document of Constantine has now turned into a war against the very powerful group of elite magicians known as the God’s Right Seat. There are endless battles for power while World War III is starting to unfold and amid all of this, a large scale violent event takes place that threatens the existence of the entire world. As all of these events occur, the story also shifts between the perspectives of Hamazura and Accelerator. Needless to say, there is a lot going on.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 Review:

When it comes to the story, it seems like even 26 episodes were not enough to bring out all the content in the volumes of the light novel that have been adapted. The overall story just does not live up to the reputation set by its source material and it makes you believe that certain franchises are just better off without an adaptation. If you have not read the light novels and you want to see a better side of this show, then you could just read volumes 14-22 of the source material instead of wasting your time on this season. The only good thing about this season is that it resolves a few unanswered questions of the previous ones. I really want to hope that all this damage caused to the original story will somehow be recovered later but that almost seems impossible now.

‘Toaru Majutsu no Index’ does have some great character moments and the three main characters—Touma, Hamazura, and Accelerator—are quite well written. Accelerator’s character gets a good amount of screen time in this season and out of all the others, he is given a particularly interesting development somewhere close to the end. Now it’s good to see how the anime makes an attempt to develop these three characters simultaneously in the final arc by switching between all of their perceptions. But the problem with this is that it just makes the story more confusing and in the end, most viewers just fail to properly connect with any of them.

Getting to the animation side of it, I just love talking about J.C Staff Studio. Unlike other renowned Studios like Madhouse who pretty much excel with every single show they produce, J.C Staff’s animation can be really unpredictable. They’ve been known for creating some of the greatest shows like ‘Toradora‘ and ‘Maid-Sama‘ but at the same time, they have completely disappointed fans with shows like ‘One Punch Man Season 2‘. Surprisingly with this one, the only thing that’s actually worthy of any appreciation is the art style. It is certainly not a masterpiece and has its own set of inconsistencies even with the animation quality but even then, noticeable changes can be seen in the designs of the characters and also the detailing in the backgrounds.

‘A Certain Magical Index III’ also has some worthwhile music and sound-effects that amplify the whole viewing experience, especially the back scores that are played during the fight scenes. Compared to ‘A Certain Scientific Railgun’, which is a spin-off series, the soundtracks may not be all that great but are still memorable in their own way.

Overall, ‘A Certain Magical Index’ Season 3 is more of a mixed bag which consists of more negatives than positives. It does have a few cool enjoyable moments here and there but the flaws diminish the value of these. Also, the unnecessary amount of fan-service with bath scenes just makes the whole viewing experience even worse. On a scale of 1 to 10, I don’t give below 6 ratings to any of the shows unless they’re downright dreadful. In this case, ‘Toaru Majutsu no Index’ manages to get away with a weak 6 because I was somehow able to complete the season and the animation quality was better than what I had expected it to be. However, I personally would just say go for the light novels first and if you have enough time and patience, only then go for the anime.

A Certain Magical Index Season 3 English Dub:

The English Dubbed version of ‘A Certain Magical Index’ Season 3 can be streamed on Funimation and if you’re more into watching anime with subtitles, then you can find that as well on the same platform.

Read More: Sword Art Online Season 3 Review

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