Series Review: To-Aru Majutsu no Index II (8/10)

There is never enough Misaka.
The first season of To-Aru Majutsu no Index has one major problem; the story spent too much time on stuff like explanations and hero speeches. That's the primary reason I didn't catch Index II as it aired, even though I did so for the first season.

However, I must say that very few series has done moé as well as the To-Aru series, which is why I liked Railgun so much. That is, ironically, the main criticism I've heard about this series as it aired, which is "too much moé", "blatant fan-pandering", etc. The general outlook of the show that I've read online are mixed, but overall it leans towards negative, and most of those reviews portrays the show as a "sell-out". So, I guess I have a pretty good idea what I'm getting into when I started watching this.

Well... with all the negativity surrounding this title, I feel really bad that I got hooked so easily. I guess it's all about expectations; the light novels are incredibly popular, and while I haven't got the faintest idea what the novels are like, I figured that the expectations are pretty high for the series, or at the very least, they would cut back on the endless ramblings. I, on the other hand, came into the series expecting it to be chock-full of moé shit, and boy, it does not disappoint. Perhaps this is why I'm enjoying this like how it should be.

Not only it's full of fan-favourites like Index and Misaka Mikoto, the show also brought back most of the (female) cast from the first season, including Himegami, Misaka Imouto, Last Order, Kanzaki, Hyouka, Kuroko, Maika, Komoe-sensei and Uiharu. The point is that these characters usually has little to no importance in the storyline of Index II; they're only here to please the fans and maximize the moé output of the show. And it worked.

And if that's not enough for you, practically every new character that is introduced is a female. It is said that a good story doesn't require a good protagonist, but a good antagonist, and this is perhaps the reason why practically all the antagonist line-up in this season is a bishoujo. I'm no advocate for violence against women, and I'm not saying that this automatically makes them worthy antagonists, but this is perhaps an extremely easy (and cheap) way of upping their value as one.

To reiterate the point of the screenshot above, Misaka fans would no doubt love the show. Not only we get a healthy does of our original tsundere Misaka, we get plenty of screentime for our kuudere Misaka imoutos, a loli Misaka (Last Order), and as a bonus, a new adult sexy version in the form of Misaka Misuzu. There's even a high-school-age and slightly evil version that's likely to come out in the next season. The writer DOES know what the fans want.

In terms of storyline, there's actually a bit of improvement. Touma still couldn't stop giving hero speeches, but they aren't as drawn-out and corny as it did previous season. The fact that half the time he wasn't even the main character helps a lot; Accelerator took up the role of a second protagonist, and being an anti-hero that doesn't shy away from mindless bloodshed, his time on screen is actually way more interesting. Sadly, his characters doesn't net him a lot of girls, so Touma still has his role in the franchise.

Every arc follows a similar pattern that usually pits either Touma or Accelerator (or both) against the evil faction of the particular arc, making them fight several times before defeating the final boss in the end, saving the good guys/damsel in distress/the city. Things can get really formulaic and predictable, but the writer ingeniously recycle characters in previous arcs for newer roles, allowing the characters to develop past their debut arc. For a franchise where the character designs is its main strength, this formula has worked out brilliantly. I must remind you that the story is not the main selling point of the show.

The songs aren't as good as the one they used for Railgun, but it's a step up from the ones in the first season. In terms of animation, there are quite a number of hiccups that made the scene look awkward, but Index II is still definitely one of the best that J.C Staff as to offer.

In conclusion, I couldn't get enough of the series, and I can't wait for whatever the next season has to offer. It matters a lot on what you wanted the show to deliver, and I definitely gotten more than I've asked for. Forget about intriguing plot twists and deep storylines; Index II offered the best of moé you could have asked for. They even dared to dedicate two episodes to pure Misaka goodness, and while there isn't any real story to speak of, this move is f*cking genius. It give those who know what to expect, what they wanted. It's time to look forward to To-Aru Majutsu no Index III.

Also known as "Punching girls and saving the day 3".

Plot/Concept: Excellent!
Story Style: Good
Audio/Visual: Very Good
Value: 8