A Certain Magical Index Review (Anime)

A Certain Magical Index is based on one of the worlds best-selling light novel series’ – one I read and enjoy – and so having the chance to watch the anime is one I couldn’t turn down.
Magical Index follows Kamijou Touma, a highly unlucky student who can negate any power including luck with his right hand, as he fights to protect a girl garbed in nun clothing who’s memorised the content 103,000 grimoires which hold the secrets to powerful magic and so this information cannot be allowed into the wrong hands. At first Touma wants to be rid of her but he grows to care for Index and battles other people who have their own special skills and are looking to reclaim Index, and so begins Touma’s unlucky journey where his lucky possibly couldn’t be any worse.
If Touma isn’t accidentally breaking his phone or losing his wallet or getting hurt, then he’s trying to do a good deed which turns into a life-threatening situation. Something of the sort happens when he defends tsundere Misaka Mikoto, one of the most powerful students of Academy City, who then begins to view Touma as a rival and is convinced that he won’t battle her as he doesn’t take her seriously. You then have tiny teacher Tomoe, chain-smoking and aggressive Stiyl Magnus and gorgeous swordswoman Kanzaki Kaori, the latter two of which are on a mission to find Index and want Touma out of the picture. All the characters are well-written and you’ll find yourself questioning their motives and true intentions as you root for Touma to be victorious in his goal to defend sweet Index.

The first arc is exciting but it’s the later arc that introduces the brutal Accelerator as he faces off against Touma and Misaka that’s truly thrilling, and where it starts branching off to sister series A Certain Scientific Railgun. The risks are higher as Touma struggles to survive with only his right hand being able to protect him from all these superpowered people trying to murder him, and watching him find ways to overcome the odds is always enjoyable to watch. Index gets surprisingly violent with plenty of blood and visceral action shocking me, creating a stark contrast to its sometimes over the top humour such as Index opening her mouth wide enough to bite Touma on his head.
J.C.Staff have had the pleasure of being able to animate one of the world’s biggest light novel series’ and, from what I’ve read of the source material, they’ve done a pretty good job at animating it here. J.C.Staff are my favourite studio as I love how well they adapt source material and this is no different even if it does seem to go through events somewhat faster than the light novels do. The anime feels well-paced and it takes the time to explain all about Index’s unique terms and lore, and the animation itself is crisp and clear. The character design delights and J.C.Staff really bring the action to life with high quality special effects and art that doesn’t lose its detail despite being a lot more taxing on the animators. Of course, it all looks beautiful on blu-ray despite Index not originally being animated for HD, and the DVD transfer impresses too.

There aren’t many names I recognise in the English Dub, other than Monica Rial who voices the titular character herself, although I feel that the casting is on-point and a joy to listen too – I particularly enjoyed Brittney Kawbowski as Misaka, Micah Solusod’s determined and caring Touma and Austin Tindle’s twisted Accelerator. For those who prefer to listen to anime in its mother language, then you can listen to the Japanese voice-over instead. The OST is excellent but shines most with its aggressive and suspenseful tunes composed specifically for battle, whilst the OP and ED both prove to be rather memorable. There’s a high quality in all aspects of A Certain Magical Index and it’s undeniable that J.C.Staff have adapted the series to screen with a good understanding of the source material which is made clearer with the commentaries available for certain episodes.
A Certain Magical Index is packed with a huge cast of likeable and intriguing characters with many tense, dangerous and exhilarating events to draw them all together and whether you’re already a fan or looking for something new to sink your teeth into, then you can’t go wrong with A Certain Magical Index. The anime breathes life into the series in a new way and although it’s unlikely that there will ever be a season three despite there being more than enough content, that shouldn’t stop you from giving the anime a go and picking up the light novel if you enjoy it – it’s a universe you won’t regret getting into.

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