Anime Review: A Certain Magical Index

September 7, 2013

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Well, since I have been referencing one series a lot during my reviews of the Railgun manga and Railgun anime adaptations, I decided to get the show from iTunes, so I do not have to deal with the annoyances of legal streaming services, and other streaming sites. Today, I will be reviewing that series, which is called A Certain Magical Index.

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Academy City is a place where people go to study, gain, or develop psychic abilities.

Out of everyone in the city, there are those that unable to gain psychic abilities and Touma Kamijou is one of them.

One day, when he finds somebody he thinks is a nun, his ordinary life is shaken as he becomes involved in the world of magic.

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I am not too sure about this one. Yes, I have stated before that I was not very impressed by this series. However, I do not hate the series entirely. I did like how things started off quite quickly. As much as I like watching A Certain Scientific Railgun, there are times when the way to grab one's attention is to jump right into things. In fact, this is one of the reasons I hated The Book Thief, other than the fact that the narrator was annoying. Of course, the Railgun manga also seemed to start things off quickly, when I decided to go back and read the Level Upper Arc. I also liked how there did not seem to be any filler, at least from what I could dig up about the light novels. Then again, that could be because there is a lot of material from the light novels, whereas Railgun supposedly has only two novels and volume 9 was released last month, according to Amazon's Japanese site. I also liked most of the characters and wanted to actually get to know them. Outside of that, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly liked. The fact that the show got into things quickly and there did not seem to be filler did make this somewhat entertaining.

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Although there were things that I liked, there are certainly some issues. First, I hate how things are not really explained. Because this is the series that first introduces us to Academy City, seeing that this is the parent series of A Certain Scientific Railgun, I expect things like Judgement, Antiskill, and espers to be explained. Unfortunately, they do not go into explaining that stuff. True, it may be explained in the light novels, but considering that I can only get access to unofficial translations, I cannot really say for sure. It is like they do not think people that who not have heard of the Magical Index series would first get introduced to it through the anime. The only reason I even have an idea of how things work is because I got introduced to the Railgun series first. Another thing that I hate is Misaka and Touma's encounter in the first episode. Thugs chase Touma because the show wants us to believe that he is helping somebody, but Misaka gets mad for apparently no reason. If somebody started with this series, they would think that Misaka should be grateful. I really wanted to know why Misaka was mad at Touma. Unfortunately, the only thing that has an answer, as far as I know, is the first volume of A Certain Scientific Railgun, which states that the Level Upper Arc occurred during the same period of time as the Index Arc. I also did not really like seeing Touma fight. I have heard that he does think things through, but he does not really seem like it most of the time here. Also, he is only seems to attack with his right hand. From what I can tell, he is able to fully use all of his limbs, unlike me. As such, he could have used his right hand to negate things and then use his left to deal damage, in the same manner as using a shield to block attacks and counter with a blade. After all, his hands should be getting injured a lot because of his habit of punching. Another that I did not like was the Sisters Arc. I just could not really get into it because it did not seem like I could feel any emotion, characters that were supposed to be badly hurt were on their own feet without issue, and Accelerator did not seem to learn anything. However, in the Railgun manga and Railgun S, things were as they were supposed to be and the arc was so much better there. The worst thing about the arc, on the other hand, was Accelerator not going through any changes. He is supposed to be one of the main characters in Magical Index, but he does not really seem to change until he meets Last Order. I also did not really like having Touma as the main character. Throughout all 24 episodes, I just felt like I wanted him to die in every arc, including the Sisters Arc, because he was the least interesting character in the show. If Accelerator was the main character, and not a main character, this show would have been much more interesting. I think this is because I did not feel like I was watching this to just finish it when Accelerator was the main focus. Unfortunately, since Accelerator is getting his own series, according to Anime News Network, I doubt that the author is finally going to kill Touma any time soon. I also did not like how I did not really get to know any of the characters. I think this is because things were paced a bit too quickly and the number of characters. If things are like this, I do not really see how people could actually think that Magical Index is better than Railgun. The light novels may justify such thinking, but until there is an official translation, I will stand by my opinion that Railgun is much better because of its small cast and good pacing, especially since Magical Index II did not change my opinion much. I also did not really like openings much. They were not bad per se, but it seems like the people who made this anime really liked a transition effect that seems to occur in the openings. Yes, transition effects are not bad but this effect was bad because I thought I had got something that had video problems. Transition effects are not supposed to do that. I sure am glad that it does not happen in either of the Railgun anime adaptations. While I find Touma to be a terrible character in his own series, the things that hurt my enjoyment the most was the following:

  • Things that were supposed to be explained were not
  • I did not feel like I got to know the characters
  • The openings made me thing there were problems in the video
  • The Sisters Arc
    • seems to lack the emotional aspect that should be there
    • Accelerator did not seem to go through a change like he did in Railgun
    • characters did not appear to be as injured as they should have been


Despite the good things about this series, the negative is enough to make this a waste of time. I only recommend this to people acquainted with the series already. As for everyone else, I would recommend looking at A Certain Scientific Railgun instead.

What are your thoughts on A Certain Magical Index? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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