Toaru Majutsu no Index + Index II Review

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Table of Contents

  1. Story
  2. Characters
  3. Animation and Art
  4. Soundtrack
  5. Final Verdict

TAGS : Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Magic, Sci-Fi, Super Power, Supernatural

STORY

Academy City, Japan, is at the forefront of science. Besides being 30 years ahead of the world technologically, more than three-fourths of this peculiar city’s population consists of students developing their psychic abilities as espers in various institutions. Among these students is Touma Kamijou, a high school boy with the lowest psychic rank of zero, but with a mysterious power no scientist can understand: “Imagine Breaker,” which allows him to negate other supernatural abilities.

This, however, doesn’t affect Kamijou’s life in the least as he plays his role as a regular teenager; that is, until he meets the strange Index Librorum Prohibitorum, a young girl who has memorized the entire forbidden grimoires, and now a dangerous organization is hunting Index down. With several magicians looking to harm the girl, Kamijou will defend his new companion at all costs as he discovers a strange new realm of the supernatural.

Welcome to Toaru Majutsu no Index, or as we in the west call it – A Certain Magical Index. Or, as I think it should be referred to – A Certain Women Punching Simulator. A parent story for Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, Index focuses more on Kamijou Touma and his encounters. However, is the parent story any good? Let’s find out, Ladies and Gentlemen!

The premise is similar, yet different compared to Railgun. To start off, we don’t get to see nearly half as much of everyday life in Index. The story goes from arc to arc very quickly, though the arcs themselves are varied when it comes to pacing.
One major difference is that while Railgun dealt with the “Scientific” part of the Academic City, Index deals with “Magical” side of it. Because of that we learn a lot about magic and magicians, and not nearly enough about Espers.

Certain Magical Index is heavily focused on religion. Titular Index is from English Church, and is being hunted down by them and every other church alike. As the series goes on we see just how different are the approaches of each church when it comes to their perception of the faith. I wouldn’t say the series takes a piss at Roman Catholic Church, but it sure did seem like it.

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The two seasons are connected by the timeline, and the transition is very smooth. Story of both seasons is equally dark, though the stakes are much, much higher in the second season.

Now onto the part that you may have been wondering about. Toaru Majutsu no Index is a Women Punching Simulator. At this point, I feel like some people should back off. Kamijou Touma has to fight various magicians. The thing is, most of them are women. And Touma is not a guy to discriminate between sex, so he punches both men and women alike with his right hand straight to the face. At first, I wasn’t bothered by it, but later on I did indeed have a laugh or two over that fact.

The fights are well choreographed, and the abilities are great. Each enemy and ally have a different set of skills, and they are very fun and intriguing.
The story that is behind all of that is very coherent, at times dives into deeper subjects and leaves you wanting more.

The thing that may not interest you here is the story itself and characters, to which I’ll get in a minute. Railgun by some is considered a better version due to its focus on it’s cast and the story that was more engaging emotionally (varies person by person). Index doesn’t have nearly as much of slice of life moments, but it has more and arguably better action. Choose your own medicine, as they say.
Also, the conclusion to season two…I get why they did it the way they did, but I just think that ending an episode or two faster would have this “major climax” ending it deserved.

CHARACTERS

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Cast of Magical Index is huge. It’s bigger than Railgun’s, and has some trouble keeping all of them relevant. Sure, everyone has some development, and appears every now and then, but characters like Stiyl appear much more often than others. Nothing bad to be honest, he’s a great character. The rest don’t really follow a set archetype, but that’s not the first impression you’ll have. Their first appearances just scream “cliché!”, but redeems that soon after.

Speaking of great characters, the “main cast” is developed really well. Granted, Index doesn’t really change much in the first season, but still. They go through hardships and that makes them grow. Touma receives a lot of development as the main character, especially due to the events of the first arc of season one. In season two he grows even more.

The cast is big, likeable, but compared to Railgun isn’t developed nearly half as much as a whole. That may also be the  factor of you disliking the series. It lacks that slice of life feel to it, but like I’ve mentioned, makes up for that with action.

ANIMATION AND ART

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The art stays the same throughout both seasons of Index. Sure, there are some minor changes to adjust to Railgun that came out in between Index’s season one and two, but nothing that would change the aesthetic too much. Index uses darker colour palette, or generally more bleached out colours, especially later on to add to the fact that it’s a darker show. The character designs are fairly unique, though you may have seen some of them before.

Animation as well as the effects are really good. For the most part, nothing will stand out, but that changes during fights. It may not be so much of an animation thing but rather the camera angles. They are on-point! It really improves on that front in season two, becoming even better.

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SOUNDTRACK

A Certain Magical Index has great soundtrack. Check. No, seriously though, it is amazing. It has an electrical music vibe to it mixed with some tunes that strongly indicate the religious background of the series. Given all of that, it’s great to listen most of it on its own, and it helps the show a lot. But there are times when the show reuses the same track. Too bad, as the OST has quite a lot of them.

The series over the span of two seasons has four openings and four endings. They are all great. Granted I have a sweet spot for the first OP, they are all great and have nice visuals to go along.

The show has been licensed for dubbing by Funimation. It’s a relatively good dub all things considered. It changes Kuroko in a way many fans, myself included, didn’t like, but baring that it’s great. No real issues there. The Japanese Seiyuu are great as always, and fit the characters. Nothing bad can be said about them, as they did an amazing job.

FINAL VERDICT –  A Certain Women Punching Simulator is great!

Toaru Majutsu no Index and Index II are great series. Granted, they make the main character punch women left and right. For all the reasons mentioned above, and for everything else, Index is a series worth your time. If you’re into religious wars plot point, you’ll like Index that much more. And if you don’t – there’s plenty for you to enjoy here, from supernatural to scientific.

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