After watching A Certain Scientific Railgun and developing an insatiable hunger for anime, I naturally started searching for anything similar to it. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was merely a spin-off of a bigger series. My search having gone far better than expected, I immediately started downloading episodes.
~~~Review is being punched in the face; please wait...
To Aru Majutsu no Index - a.k.a. A Certain Magical Index - is an action series that straddles the line between supernatural fantasy and science-fiction, like a modern day Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. Similar to Arcanum, the forces of science and magic clash, creating most of the big-picture plot. Unlike Arcanum, however, instead of clockwork-armoured pistoleers fighting sorcerous elves, science and magic in Index are typically represented by espers of questionable morality and batshit crazy religious folk respectively. But in the end, the protagonist still winds up with a harem on both sides. What the fuck.
THE FOUR REASONS I WATCH ANIME
Our protagonist, Kamijou Touma, has the supernatural power to nullify all other supernatural powers, such as magic or psychic abilities. Unfortunately, it also seems to nullify the concept of 'luck'; in almost every episode, something awful happens to him, and it often becomes a plot point. Call it schadenfraude, but Touma's terrible luck, the hijinks that follow and his overreactions to his own misfortune are one of the biggest selling points of the show for me. FUKOU DAAAAAA~!
Seeing magic flung about with wild abandon: cool.
Seeing that AS WELL AS teleporters, vector manipulators, electrokinetics and other espers showing off in no-holds-barred combat: awesome.
Seeing all of that AS WELL AS a protagonist whose only means of defending himself against all of that is punching things with his right hand (and his right hand only), and the ways in which he outwits (and outpunches) his stupidly-powerful opponents: GODLIKE.
I won't give out spoilers, but let's just say that the people and things Touma ends up delivering a good old left hook to just get more and more over the top as the series continues. And it's AMAZING.
While there sometimes isn't much of a link between story arcs, many plot points that might seem insignificant or throwaway to begin with are often brought back later on in a rather surprising way. Also, a rather important plot element comes up at the end of the first story arc, the effects of which are seen throughout the entire series.
There are conspiracies, the hidden war between science and magic, the motives behind the antagonists, and a whole lot of other stuff that really pulls a viewer into the show. And you thought it was going to be all about punching things.
'Science vs magic' types of stories are one of my favourite genres. And in Index, the weaving of magic and supernatural into psychic powers and supercomputers is pretty much what I'd consider perfect. Furthermore, although the setting and behind-the-scenes sort of stuff is explored far more in the light novels and manga, the anime did a very good job of bringing out as much as it could without ruining the pace or pushing the half-hour time limit per episode.
As for the characters, although we see some occasional flicker of archetypes, they are very unique and have excellent dialogue with one another; the exchanges between characters are just as fun and engaging as the action sequences. The designs, personalities and voice acting are all very high quality, and you won't see any two characters alike in the whole show.
- I think I would vote for Accelerator as Best Anime Villain of All Time. His powers, personality, backstory and characterization all tie in to each other superbly, and who doesn't love an almost untouchable homocidal psychopath? He really does belong in a horror genre show, he's that dangerous.
- 'Evil' mages are almost always Catholic. 'Good' mages are almost always anything else. Real subtle, guys.
- Biribiri is best girl~ |3
OVERALL RATING: 10/10