A CERTAIN MAGICAL INDEX THE MOVIESYNOPSIS:

After three years under construction Academy City’s space elevator, Endymion, is finally finished. Meanwhile, Toma and Index have befriended the up-and-coming street performer and internet sensation Arisa, who’s just gotten her big breakthrough – the chance to perform a concert as part of Endymion’s grand opening.

 

Unfortunately for Toma, his perpetual bad luck is still holding steady, because Arisa is more than she seems. Not only are her songs rumored to bring good luck, she has no memories from before the ‘Miracle of 88’ three years ago, when a spaceplane crash-landed in Academy City but all 88 people on board supposedly survived. The forces of both magic and science have taken an interest in her, while Ladylee Tangleroad, the mysteriously young CEO of the company that built Endymion, seems to have ambitions all her own, and it all might be connected to that miraculous incident from three years ago. As everyone prepares for Arisa’s concert, it soon starts to look like the fate of Academy City, and possibly the world, is at stake. Magic and science are about to collide – IN SPACE!

 

REVIEW:

Between the two of them, A Certain Magical Index and its main spinoff, A Certain Scientific Railgun, have explored their setting of Academy City, its population of young people with special powers, and the conflict between magic and science that underpins their home, quite extensively. So how do you up the ante for a feature film? Send it all into space, of course!

 

It’s just another day in Academy City. Toma’s wallet has fallen victim to Index’s appetite, he’s met someone unusual – in this case the up-and-coming street musician Arisa – and then he got caught up in a battle between the forces of magic and science. You know, the usual. And as if that wasn’t enough, he’s also had to remind Index about, of all things, the space elevator. You know, the one that’s been under construction for the last three years and thus has totally been there this entire time, even back at the beginning of the series before creator Kazuma Kamachi (who wrote the movie’s script himself) thought of it, honest! Those establishing shots are clearly not scenes from Index reanimated to insert Endymion in the background, really!

 

Regardless of retroactive continuity, however, the space elevator, called Endymion, is finished, and its builder, the Orbit Portal Company, has decided to mark its grand opening by using it as a venue for an idol concert. You know, like you would. But they aren’t going to use just anyone – this will be a chance for an up-and-comer to have her big breakthrough, and the lucky winner is

none other than Toma and Index’s new friend Arisa. There’s just the teensy little problem that both the magic and science sides in Academy City are trying to get their hands on her. Seems she’s dangerous somehow. And there’s something about the fate of the world, but Toma doesn’t really care about that high-concept stuff, he just wants to protect the latest person he just met but is still willing to put his life on the line for anyway. So, you know, the usual.

 

When a conflicting schedule forces him to call in Mikoto and her friends to keep an eye on Arisa in his stead, the latter become involved and discover that not only are the rumors that Ladylee Tangleroad, the CEO of Orbit Portal, is a ten-year-old girl apparently true, she’s up to no good. The movie is basically an episode of both Index and Railgun playing out simultaneously, with Mikoto and the gang investigating Ladylee’s scheme while Toma confronts more direct threats to Arisa’s safety like Shutaura, the commander of Academy City’s elite Black Crow Unit, who seems to have some sort of personal beef with Arisa. The end result involves elementals, spider tanks, cute witch girls, a goth-loli company president, idol concerts, a sinister scheme that melds magic and science, and almost every character from both Index and Railgun showing up at some point and having a role, however minor, to play. Usually – sorry Saten fans, she doesn’t get the chance to smash anything with a baseball bat in this movie, although she tries.

 

There’s also some fanservice – female characters’ chests and backsides, Shutaura in her underwear, some of the outfits Arisa wears during her concerts, Toma walking in on Index and Arisa naked in his room (it makes sense in context). In other words, the usual. If you enjoy that stuff, it’s a nice extra; if you’re not a fan, it’s minor enough.

 

This is an anime movie within an existing franchise, and like…probably all of them, really, it goes the ‘we won’t bother explaining anything that isn’t new to the movie since most viewers probably know that stuff already’ route. Other than maybe providing a taster of what the franchise is all about if you don’t have the time or inclination to start one of the series proper, newcomers are bound to experience confusion on the level of ‘why did two clones of that one girl suddenly pop up out of nowhere and get an important role in the climax?’ If you know what that’s all about, the new stuff isn’t always the best – I can’t remember if the three witches who accompany Stiyl are ever referred to by their names during the movie, and Ladylee Tangleroad is mostly there to give the movie a villain, but doesn’t end up being all that interesting, which does undermine the stakes a little. It’s basically an excuse to, as previously mentioned, do a kitchen-sink version of the entire franchise with lots of action and spectacle. And it does lead to a suitably action-packed climax with most of the cast joining forces to save the day. And it takes place, of course, in space, because this is the franchise’s big action movie, so why not go for broke?

 

The animation, while pretty consistent with the rest of the franchise’s animated material for most of the movie, definitely kicks things up a notch for that big climactic battle. And it most definitely looks impressive.

 

EXTRAS:

Commentary by the English voice actors for Toma, Index, Arisa, and Shutaura; various Japanese trailers, promotional videos, and TV spots; U.S. trailer; trailers for other Funimation releases.

 

IN SUMMARY:

If you’re a fan of Index and/or Railgun, it’s an action-filled movie jam-packed with basically everyone and everything from both series and plenty entertaining.

 

  • Released By: Funimation Entertainment
  • Available on BLU-RAY + DVD Combo Pack
  • Running Time: 90 minutes
  • Rating: TV – 14
  • Release Date: 02/17/2015
  • Reviewed By: Adam Craig

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