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July 25, 2012

Anime Review: Toaru Majutsu no Index II

Sequels tend to be more fan service with little or linear story development and here it seems to be the case. Whereas the story continues on throwing in random events, it does little to explain the plot and has left many questions unanswered.

Toaru Majutsu no Index IISynopsis:

Index is still a fugitive and many powerful Magical organizations and individuals want to take her to use the books in her memory eliminating her in the process. War between those organizations is also starting to emerge. Index can only rely on her friend Touma who has always protected her along with Misaka and other friends from the Academy.

Review:

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.
After giving us a nice ending to an awesome series, the after-credit scene gave us a glimpse to what will happen in the sequel. Unfortunately, the story in Toaru Majutsu no Index II does not explain or even directly relate to the events happened in the prequel. There is no explanation to whether Touma will get his memories back, why is Index still with him, does Laura Stuart and Aleister actually come into contact with Touma, why is are there no "boss battles" with the higher-ups. To me, the sequel was just about a bunch of subordinates fighting each other with their problems being solved by Touma. We also have random unrelated events that are more of "side-quests" because they do not really contribute to a central storyline. We see Touma running around helping random people in need. So basically the plot was rather linear and seemed to not go anywhere.

The art was once again superbly animated and illustrated. The characters all had unique features and there was a variety of class distinctions among them. Backgrounds and sceneries were full fledge with high details on structures, objects, and reflections. Characters were full of "life" with plenty of appropriate facial expressions, and comical action elements. It was very well done.

The theme songs were appropriate for the anime and was relatively catchy. Voice acting for the main characters was the same and was perfect. However, some new characters' voices didn't feel right to their character representation and so it felt a bit unnatural at times. Apart from this, there were plenty of sound effects and background music that complemented the anime pretty well.

We see the return of Touma and Index as they defend themselves and the city from harm. The anime does not really develop any of the characters further and so I am still confused at the major role these characters play in the overall story. One strong example is Laura Stuart and Aleister. We see them plenty of times throughout the series giving orders to subordinated and planning schemes, but we do not actually get to know them better. More importantly, Index is still a mystery to me. How and why does she have 103, 000 grimoires inside her and what is she going to do about it? Basically, she runs away from the Church just to stay with Touma. No in-depth explanation or progress of discovery at all. What about the various MISAKAs that tend to appear randomly and contribute some action to the plot. What does the main console (MISAKA 20001) actually do? Who is actually Kanzaki Kaori and why isn't she explored since she's a "Saint"?

In the end, there are too many questions and so little character development that the story has lost its direction. Even though the story is just going around in circles, there is plenty of fan service to be enjoyed. I pretty much stopped analysing deep into the story and just enjoyed the action scenes. I felt that the story should have been improved in many ways, explaining more background information of the characters, clearly distinct the relationships between characters, and have a better ending! Overall, this sequel was slightly disappointing story-wise than the prequel, but the overused fan service throughout the anime was enjoyable indeed.

STORY: 7
The story seems to have lost its direction and what is left is a story that doesn't make sense. Too many unanswered questions here to completely understand the situation.

ART: 9
The art was one again superbly animated and detailed. Characters looked awesome.

SOUND: 8
Theme songs were relatively catchy and suited the anime appropriately. Voice acting was a hit or miss for the characters.

CHARACTER: 7
I was disappointed that the anime introduced new characters but did not explore the background of any of them. This also happened to the recurring characters as well.

ENJOYMENT: 9
The fan service was definitely enjoyable but the story was a bit of a flop.

OVERALL: 8
If you watched the prequel, then you definitely must watch this just for the fan service. Don't expect much from the story as it won;t get you anywhere.