A Certain Magical Index – Anime Review

The Essentials

A Certain Magical IndexName: A Certain Magical Index, To Aru Majutsu no Index
Genre: Supernatural, Action
Episodes: 24
Aired: October 4, 2008 – March 19, 2009
Based On: A Certain Magical Index light novel series by Kazuma Kamachi
Director: Hiroshi Nishikiori
Produced By: J.C. Staff
US Distribution By: Not Licensed


Character Japanese Cast English Cast (N/A)
Toma Kamijo: Atsushi Abe
Index: Yuka Iguchi
Mikoto Misaka: Rina Satou
Motoharu Tsuchimikado: Anri Katsu
Aisa Himegami: Mamiko Noto
Misaka: Nozomi Sasaki
Komoe Tsukuyomi: Kimiko Koyama


A Certain Magical Index revolves around Toma, a student in the esper-filled Academy City, and Index, a magician and member of the Church of England.

Toma is a level-0 esper, meaning that he has virtually no power, yet he able to stop or deflect any and all esper or magical powers using his right arm, which has a power named Imagine Breaker.  One day, Toma finds Index alseep on his balcony railing, after she landed there while being chased across Academy City by fellow magicians.  Index tells Toma that her memory contains the texts of 103,000 magical books forbidden by the Catholic church – books that many rouge magicians or rival religious groups are persuing.

Toma’s meeting with Index starts him down a path into a world where the magical world and the “scientific” esper world meet.

The best way to describe this series is perhaps by saying that it largely a collection of marginally-related story arcs.  I say marginally-related in the sense that sometimes later arcs depend somewhat on what occurred in previous arcs, but often the story arcs are largely if not entirely independent of each other.

This leads me into one of the major things I don’t like about this series:  The prolific number of essentially “come and go” characters – characters which show up at the start of the story arc, and then when that arc ends, are rarely if ever heard of again.  Outside of about 5 or 6 core characters, nearly every character is only around for 3 or 4 episodes during a particular story arc, and then largely disappear.  This is one of the main reasons why most of the story arcs seemed so disconnected to me, even if they were tied together by including one or more of the primary characters.

Another thing I didn’t particularly like about his series is that I’m not sure when the last time I saw an action-based series where the title character has so little to do with what is actually going on.  Yes, Index is around, but sometimes she seems to disappear for whole episodes at a time, and is only really the center of action in only one or two story arcs near the start of the series.  Otherwise, she largely becomes a character used for comic relief and little more.

Yet another thing I didn’t like is that the show started to explore some of the conflicts in the magical world – both between magical factions and between magic and science, but never really came to any real conclusion for any of these conflicts.  Perhaps these will be fleshed out in a sequel some point down the line, but for the time being, the show had a bad habit of leaving too many loose ends.

Having said all that, the stories within each individual story arc is often pretty good.  The problem is that the good storytelling usually is self contained within specific story arcs, but doesn’t span them.

The one place where the show excels is it’s animation, where the producers of the show did decide to go all out.  However, the music seems to be overall only mediocre.

In the end, A Certain Magical Index is kind of like a food that comes in a flashy package, but in the end doesn’t taste good and isn’t very filling.  As a result, some people may still like it because it’s flashy, but I think most people will probably come away asking what the point of it all was.


Story: 3/5
Animation: 5/5
Music: 3/5
English Dubs: N/A

Overall: 3/5

First Watched: October 2008 – March 2009
Do I Own: No
Do I Recommend: No