A Certain Magical Index, Vol. 5 by Kazuma Kamachi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What is there to say about A Certain Magical Index, Volume 5? Well, I liked it, but I didn't like it as much as the other books of the series. I think that's because this particular series felt a little out of touch with the other stories. It didn't seem as linear. However, that doesn't mean that this wasn't an enjoyable tale.
This volume is split between two separate stories. One is about Accelerator, the strongest level five esper of Academy City. The other is about our resident Happless Hero, Toma Kamijou. These two stories don't intersect at all, and so it's almost like having two different stories combined into one volume. Of course, each story is really short, so even though this is two stories, they only last about two chapters each.
So, first things first, Accelerator is one of the most badass anti-heroes of all time. I've always liked anti-heroes, and this dude is quite possibly the physical embodiment of anti-heroism. In this volume, we learn a lot about his background, and while I don't think it condones what he did in the previous volume (no spoilers for those who haven't read it), I do think it allows us some insight into his psyche, which helps us understand why he did what he did.
We also get to see a softer side of Accelerator in this volume. In Volume 5, he meets a young girl called Last Order... yes, it's an odd name, but if you read the story, it'll make sense. Anyway, Last Order is the annoying little sister type of girl who jabbers on and on. In it, Accelerator seems really annoyed by her, but at the same time, I feel like he enjoys her company - after all, she's still alive.
Accelerator's side of this story seems to be about redemption beyond anything else. While I don't necessarily think Accelerator was redeemed by any means, I do think that the insight we're given, and the actions he takes in this volume, show off that he's not really a bad person - just batshit insane.
The second person this story follows is, of course, our resident hero, Touma Kamijou. I didn't like this side of the story as much. I think the reason for this is because Touma's story felt a lot like filler. There didn't seem to be any purpose to this story other than to have Touma in it because he's the main character. He was simply there to fill in the extra space, not because he was doing anything particularly important.
Overall, while I have to say that I did, indeed, like this volume, and there were many good aspects about it, I didn't enjoy it as much as previous volumes. However, I believe the next volume will be better, since we're getting back to the main story.
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