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A Certain Magical Index: Volume 21 manga review
By Leroy Douresseaux

April 28, 2020 - 13:37

Yen Press
Writer(s): Chuya Kogino, Andrew Prowse
Artist(s): Chuya Kogino
Letterer(s): Phil Christie
ISBN: 978-1-9753-3198-6
$13.00 U.S., $17.00 CAN, 194pp, B&W, paperback
Rating: T (Teen)


certainmagicalindex21.jpg
A Certain Magical Index Volume 21 cover image

Rated “T” for “Teen”

A Certain Magical Index is set in a world where supernatural abilities exist.  Touma Kamijou is a high school student who has an unusual ability; his right hand is the “Imagine Breaker.”  It has the ability to negate any supernatural power, but it also negates Touma's own luck.  Touma lives in Academy City, a scientific marvel of the modern world where superhuman abilities are artificially cultivated and commonplace.  Touma meets an English nun named “Index,” or maybe she thinks she's a nun.  Touma's abilities and his relationship with Index prove dangerous to many entities that want to discover the secrets behind him, Index, and Academy City.

As A Certain Magical Index, Vol. 21 (Chapters 123 to 128) opens, protests against Academy City have broken out worldwide, and the never-ending tensions between the forces of magic and science escalate even further.  Who truly stands to benefit from the specter of conflict, and can anything be done to prevent the worst-case scenario?

Touma finds himself confronted by a mysterious old woman who turns out to be Monaka Oyafune, one of Academy City's board of directors.  She sends him on a mission to Avignon, France to discover who is really the mastermind behind the protests against Academy City.  Accompanied by his friend, Motoharu Tsuchimikado, and assisted by a young female magician, Itsuwa, Touma will find himself facing a most fierce enemy, Terra of the Left, a member of “God's Right Seat.”

THE LOWDOWN:  I had never heard of the A Certain Magical Index manga, nor of the light novel series upon which it is based.  I had to learn about the series when my Yen Press media rep sent me a review copy of the manga.

A Certain Magical Index Graphic Novel Volume 21 is the one I received.  After some intense Internet research, including using Wikipedia and Google, I had some information on the series' publishing history, adaptations and mythopoeia.  I figured out enough to enjoy Vol. 21, and I can see how some readers would drawn into the complicated, complex, and multi-layered world of A Certain Magical Index, both light novels and manga.

I certainly enjoyed the art by writer-artist Chuya Kogino, who both adapts the novels and draws the manga.  His multi-genre style is appropriate both for the action-fantasy elements of A Certain Magical Index and its comic moments.  I would read practically any manga Kogino illustrated.

The English translation by Andrew Prowse deftly conveys the large cast of characters and the multiple competing interests and conflicts.  I can say that Vol. 21 is good enough to make a new reader consider going back to the beginning of manga series, and giving it a try.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of manga based on action-fantasy light novels will want to read Yen Press' A Certain Magical Index.

B+
7 out of 10


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