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Toaru Majutsu no Index I & II / Toaru Kagaku no Railgun June 27, 2011

Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Manga.
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The Toaru series comprises of two seasons of “Index” and a spin off series called “Railgun”. I will cover the “Index” series and “Railgun” series separately within the same post. Here’s a quick synopsis that basically covers both seasons of the Toaru Majutsu no Index (aka A Certain Magical Index) series, taken from Wikipedia:

Toaru Majutsu no Index is set in Academy City, a technologically advanced Academic city located at western Tokyo which studies scientifically advanced superhuman students with powers, but is also set in a world where magic is real. Tōma Kamijō is a student in Academy City whose right hand, the Imagine Breaker, has the ability to negate any supernatural powers, but also his own luck. One day he finds a young girl hanging on his balcony railing named Index. She is a nun from Necessarius, a secret magic branch of the Church of England, and her mind has been implanted with the Index Librorum Prohibitorum—103,000 forbidden magical books the Church has removed from circulation. His encounter with her leads him to meet others from the secret world of science and magic and an adventure with his friends where science and magic collide. Tōma’s unusual power places him at the center of conflicts relating magicians and science-based espers in Academy City. As Tōma tries to help and protect his friends, he learns the people he knows are not as they appear and begins to attract the attention of magicians and espers alike as they try to unravel the secrets of Academy City and Index.

Before I go into my review of the Toaru Majutsu no Index series, let me first mention some of the terminology that is used within both Index/Railgun series, as they are heavily mentioned all the time and anyone who is not familiar with the basic terms of the “Toaru” series will get confused. In the “Toaru” series, supernatural powers fall into two major categories, magic users and espers. Magic users mainly come from the religious side like from churches while all espers come from Academy City. In Academy City, most espers (also know as ability/power users or psychics) are young students who study in this highly technological city that was created for the development of the powers of these espers. The espers are ranked by their esper ability’s power level from Level 0 to Level 5; Level 0 being the lowest level where a esper’s power has not been established or is unknown due to it being extremely low level, with level 5 being the highest ranked power level user with only seven Level 5s existing in a city with thousands of of other espers. Magic in the “Toaru” series is not as complicated as espers are as it is more straight forward. The only thing that makes magic slightly different than normal magic from other anime series is that each mage has “a magical name, which is a combination of Latin and a numerical code which serves as a power limiter as saying their magical name to their opponents will unlock their full powers.” (Wikipedia) The series seems to focus more on the science side in terms of superpowers a bit more than the magic side in my opinion. Any person can learn magic or gain a esper ability, but cannot use both (usually) due to problems with duo power compatibility, (I’ll mention more of this below). A couple more basic terms to mention: Image Breaker is the name of the main character’s (Kamijou Touma’s) ability which basically negates all supernatural powers that comes in contact with his right hand. Despite him having this ability, he is a Level 0 esper because it cannot be detected through ability testing. AIM or An Involuntary Movement is “An invisible energy field that espers involuntarily produce.” In general, AIM fields are used to measure one’s ability level and it also has a negative reaction when mixed with magic. This is why mages cannot use esper abilities, with the same for espers using magic because the user will receive damage to themselves from the incompatibility of AIM fields and magic mixing. This a just a bit of the complicated terms used in the series, but these are the basics, you can look up the rest if you’re interested.

I’ve been following the Toaru Majutsu no Index anime series for a while, but I don’t read the manga which I really should because just like how movies made from their book counterparts leave out certain parts of the book due to the fact that not everything can fit into movies’ time frame, the anime series leaves out many details from the original story of the manga, which I can tell by from comments people make online when they mention how the anime left out this and that and all those things those people talk about I don’t know about. When ever I check out websites that have information on the series (like Wikipedia), there is so much more story and characters than shown in the anime, and so I really need to check out the manga if I really want to understand the story and characters better.

Related to the paragraph above, it’s become a characteristic of the anime for me that at times when watching the anime,  the events and terminology being explained are either confusing or just go over my head. Even if I don’t understand some of the things about the church/magic and psychic terminology, the main story is still understandable, sort of.

The main story of Toaru Majutsu no Index (in my mind so far) is basically the main characters coming across a problem, them trying to figure out a plan of action. Then they meet, talk, and engage the enemy in a battle that at first seems problematic for the main characters. The end of every arc I’ve seen so far in the anime series of “Index” ends with a speech from Kamijo Touma about how and why the enemy is wrong for doing what they are doing, a close fight between the two parties, and a finishing blow from Touma I call the “Absoulte  Touma Punch” because his seemly strongest street fighter type punch + Image Breaker can defeat any opponent that relies on a supernatural power no matter how powerful that power user is. Ironically he can probably be defeated by regular street thugs who can outmatch him in terms of street fighting/martial arts which in prospect could be true because Touma seems only to know how to run, dodge, and punch with no real skills in terms of martial arts.

The action in the Toaru Majutsu no Index anime series is quite enjoyable to watch, whether it being from the magic side or the science side. Besides Touma’s fights, I’d prefer to watch Accelerator’s and Misaka’s fights more because they fight with Level 5 power and they don’t always do their fights in the same way everytime like Touma does. Touma’s fights are still interesting to watch because he is one with a anti-power in a world where he fights people with power, and he seemly always wins someway or another, to defy what a powerless Level 0 Esper can do. There was one time in the first season of “Index” where Index herself solely defends herself against a stone golem. In that battle she shows her skills in recognizing magic systems and interfering with them with her spell intercept skill. Even though in the end she could only defend and she never could attack, seeing that she has potential in terms of combat as the little nun that she is, that is enough to call her amazing. Accelerator is the strongest esper in Academy City, being first ranked out of the seven Level 5 espers. His ability is Vector Change, the ability to change vectors in anything he comes in contact with. This makes almost all attacks against him useless as he can just simply redirect the vectors of the attack to go in the opposite direction. Only a couple of people know how to counter his ability, either it being from Image Breaker or another form of fighting that makes Accelerator’s ability work against him. Accelerator is a sadistic boy who had a troubled past that made him the way he is today, though after a few events that happens within the current timeline series to him, he becomes more protective of what he wants to protect, and will hurt anyone who gets in his way.

Some of my favorite scenes from Toaru Majutsu no Index:

Overall the Toaru Majutsu no Index anime series is a good watch for action and for story. I suggest that maybe you try reading the manga beforehand because things can get confusing if you don’t get whats going on in the anime. Since I’ve been following the anime series for a while, some of the plot devices can get repetitive such as how the arcs and battles end usually with Touma punching a enemy after making a speech about why they are wrong for what they are doing. After the end of the second season of “Index”, the story is incomplete as it did no have a satisfactory ending. I don’t follow the manga but I can tell already from how the events unfolded in the anime that there is more to come. I’m pretty sure there will be a third (and maybe last) season of “Index”, but at this point there is no official news about that. Probably I’ll start reading the manga and catch up to where I am in the anime before the third season starts, because I’m tired of reading spoilers online and also being lost about certain events/characters/terms/etc.

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Toaru Kagaku no Railgun or A Certain Scientific Railgun is a side story that focuses on Misaka Mikoto of the series and her friends before and during the events of Toaru Majutsu no Index. While it is more of a slice of life story, it also contains some of the story about how and why the Misaka clones were created, along with more problems and stories relating to Misaka and her friends. Touma and Index who are main characters in the “Index” series are only supporting characters in the “Railgun” series, making few and short appearances in “Railgun”.

I enjoyed watching this series even though it can be a bit slow with the slice of life scenes. Comedy in anime one of my favore things to watch and “Railgun” has a bit of it. Just like in “Index”, action scene are present but are cooler with the fighting styles as they aren’t just a punch to the face. Misaka with her coin railgun is cool to watch (but that also gets repetitive too), but her other ways of fighting like with iron sand and electric cling also adds to her combat appeal. Shirai Kuroko, while being a full fledged pervert to Misaka, also has her times in the spotlight when acting as a professional Judgement member. (Judgement and Anti-Skill in Academy City act as the law enforcement than normal police, as they deal with people with powers on a normal basis.) She is a Level 4 esper capable of teleporting objects and people. While she does have some limitations on her powers she as how much she can teleport at the same time, and also that she needs to be in contact with the object/person in order to teleport it, her skills and mastery with her ability makes her a worthy opponent to anyone she fights. Besides her esper ability, she also knows take down self defense to increase the use of her teleporting abilities.

Overall, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun is a good anime to watch, but remember that it is a side story of “Index”. It’s meant to supplement the main series, so if you’ve watched “Index” don’t expect the same kind of impact that the “Index” series gave. I enjoyed it because of its action and comedy, probably because I have a open mind to many different kinds of animes.

Comments»

1. fabricerequin - June 27, 2011

For me im more towards the Index side, simply because im into misaka and touma, the first season of index showed a couple of those moments in which i liked plus i felt the story was more between theme compared to season 2, in which i disliked.. no character development, i thought it was something completely different and off, it seems like they forgot about the development of season 1 =/ most of the time i got bored -.-

Railgun was good, at least kuroko game me the laughs!

2. Timothy Harwood - February 25, 2014

I liked your review but I felt I should point out some inacurate information for you, for one the Index anime an adaption of a Light Novel series and the manga an adaption of the anime, which in turn is an adaption of the LNs. So reading the manga would be the last thing you would want read. it isn’t even cought up with the anime. Secondly the anime is a very good adaption to the LNs one the best believe or not all the infromation that was given in the LNs in order understand the plot was infact given in the anime there some sideplots that hold no importance that was left such as a loose serial killer in the Angel Fall Arc but there was no real need to include them. The problem comes that there nearly 40 volumes of novels and its still ongoing then anime only covers about 14 of them so much of season 1 sets up a lot elements, questions, charecters, themes, and ideas, while season 2 starts to answer some them but lays down even more while still leaving some stuff unanswered. The other problem is that alot of events are explained through Quantem Physics so if you don’t have a good understanding of Quantam Theory reading the LNs may be more difficult, the anime gives the basic information to explain how things work but LNs go into extreme detail. So basically you could read the Light Novels which I would suggest becouse they are good reads or you can wait for more seasons to come out so they can fill in some of the holes while of course making new ones. but either way you haven’t actually missed any information desperately need for the plot.

coolmikeol - February 25, 2014

As I have not read the LN or manga of the series, it was kind of wrong of me to speak as if I knew otherwise. Thank you for your comments, and enlightening me to how the LN/manga holds to to its animated counterpart. My reviews tend to be just my own personal feelings and comments, and don’t tend to a more systematic structure as other anime series reviews are.


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