The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Toaru Majutsu no Index: The Movie

Title: Toaru Majutsu no Index: The Movie aka Toaru Majutsu no Index: Endymion no Kiseki
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: J.C. Staff
Format: Movie; 90 minutes.
Dates: 23 Feb 2013

Synopsis: Miracle of 88 is an event that occurred three years ago where all 88 passengers on board the spaceplane Orion survived after an emergency crash at Academy City. Their survival remains a mystery, and since then, the space elevator Endymion has been constructed as a safe means of space travel in place of spaceplanes. Touma and Index bump into a Level 0 esper by the name of Meigo Arisa, who is also an uprising musician and aspiring singer. One night, they are caught in the crossfire between Stiyl and a group of secret law enforcers for unknown reasons. Touma and Index soon realized that Arisa is related to the Miracle of 88 and Endymion.

The Highlights
Visuals: J.C. Staff isn’t holding back on the production budget here.
Plot: Full of holes as expected; ending requires a huge suspension of disbelief.
Casting: Everyone from the Majutsu universe is in it, but just as cameos.
Originality: Zero; borrows ideas from other anime shows.
Miracles: The convenient answer to the movie’s overarching theme.

The demarcation problem is a philosophy of science that debates on the boundaries of science. It is a discussion that has continued for time immemorial, and Toaru Majutsu no Index uses it as an overarching theme, the science-religion boundary being the foundation of its sci-fi storyline. Unfortunately, the plot holes, poor writing and a stereotypical cast renders the title a contrived series that is devoid of any form of profound substance. It finally gets its own movie, Endymion no Kiseki, but as I expected, it proves to be yet another instance of an overblown movie version of the main series.

The word miracle is defined as an event believed to be caused by an act of God, and is the central motif of Endymion no Kiseki. The movie shamelessly utters the word throughout the story and employs the idea to explain events that are scientifically impossible to explain, and thus, contradicts its own theme of science versus magic. The story somewhat recognizes miracles as something that falls between science and magic, and that clashes with its narrative on how the world falls either in the category of science or magic. It goes against its own previous attempts in explaining the scientific or magical foundation behind the construction of the universe, thereby taking away any credibility in the story it tries to construct.

Endymion no Kiseki also illustrates the same glaring weakness shown in the predecessing series: plot holes. They are littered throughout the movie, and one major plot hole pops up not even halfway through. I wondered to myself why resistance toward the space elevator showing up only now after its completion, when it is viewed as a major threat for a long time. Plus, the movie is not without some dubious moments, one outstanding example being - check this out - magicians fighting in outer space.

Another problem with Endymion no Kiseki is the casting. It brings along the entire crowd for the party, and I mean that in a literal sense. The whole cast from both the Index and Railgun worlds are brought into the movie, and this results in overcrowding for showtime. Almost everyone who is a main character in their own arcs are being reduced to making cameo appearances. And among the crowd is the main antagonist with a skimpy background story and a vague hint that the reason behind her grand scheme has something to do with her non-human nature, which is never explicitly explained.

Perhaps the biggest issue Endymion no Kiseki has is with the originality of its premises. The story blatantly borrows ideas from other anime shows such as Gundam 00 and Macross Frontier and puts it all together, resulting in one big mess that is starkly different from what we are used to in the Majutsu universe. The storytelling of Toaru Majutsu no Index (1,2) has always been a messy affair to me, and this movie is nothing different. The only thing I can take away from it is the expectedly high-budgeted production values. Still, when it comes to narrative, the Majutsu universe seems to prove that suspension of disbelief is perhaps the only valid justification for whatever happens in the story.

The Rating: 4
4/10

Reviewed by: AC

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