Anime Review: A Certain Magical Index

Hey all, it’s Kernook here, I typically review anime that I like. That’s not the hallmark of a good reviewer though, so I’m starting to dive into anime I’m not particularly a fan of. A Certain Magical Index fits that bill.

I find it hard to talk about this anime without wanting to pull my hair out. It just isn’t that good. I’m not alone in this assessment, either… more on that in a moment.

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While many people do love this particular anime, and others find it to be a decent one to watch, there’s a decent number of people who dislike A Certain Magical Index. I’m among that number, and the reasons I dislike the series comes down to a slapped-together feel of the entire series.

Nefarious Reviews also pans the show… and the criticism in that review is heavily warranted. IF you want another poion, check there too.

Frankly, I just don’t see the value in this series, at least not on a personal level. The anime had a good premise, but it failed to follow through. It couldn’t execute on the ideas it tried to present. It’s a weird show, honestly speaking. While I do think A Certain Magical Index will cater to some anime fans, I’m often brought to wonder just who I can honestly suggest this series for.

That’s one of the reasons I hesitated to review it for so long. Just who would watch this series, and who might enjoy it? I honestly don’t know. If you did enjoy the series, please let me know why you liked it. I’d be interested to know.

To me, the themes just fall short, as do the influences of its setting. Futuristic or magical? Science fiction or fantasy? What themes best contextualize the show? Those questions aren’t simple to answer when A Certain Magical Index can’t even decide upon them itself as a series… let alone what I think of it.

Honestly, I expected better from a series adapted from light novels written in 2004 by Kazuma Kamachi and illustrated by Kiyotaka Haimura. The anime itself is produced by J.C. Staff.

While it certainly looks like an action based science fiction, it isn’t even close. The series distinctly lacks action. It doesn’t exactly hold the hallmarks of good science fiction either. Perhaps I’m simply being much too harsh. I’d say this anime falls distinctly into the “guilty pleasure” category for a great many viewers.

It isn’t the cream of the crop, but I have seen worse…

So, maybe it’ll fill a void for you as a viewer. I suppose if you enjoyed Strike the Blood, Guilty Crown, or Charlotte, you may in fact like this series too. For the rest of us, we’re out of luck. Bypass the series. There are better options out there.

Here’s the problem… or rather the list of problems.

To begin with, this is a somewhat long anime to get into. With several seasons under its belt and spin-offs galore it feels like an absolute slog to dive into. While the animation is decent enough and the soundtrack isn’t entirely awful, this is only a standard anime at best. It just isn’t worth the time investment to justify watching the series.

The story isn’t that good, either. This is a real shame too. On the surface, the idea of science and magic clashing against each other could be very interesting. Where A Certain Magical Index drops the ball is that it doesn’t give us a bone to chew here.

The series ultimately fails to offer a compelling narrative or one that even ties together its plot elements. Nothing feels meaningful.

To do this kind of plot justice, you need characters that have a firm ethos one way or the other. You also need a main protagonist that’s interesting in the first place. That’s the next issue. The characters are bland by nature.

They’re happy to pose theories upon their abilities more often than actually using them. It feels trite considering that these characters are also annoying and juvenile. I don’t expect them to be geniuses here, I just want characters to be a little self-aware as a cast.

They’re not… they’re idiots more often than anything else.

Beyond that, the dialogue drags and honestly, so do the fights. I’m all for deep and compelling character introspection. There’s just a time and a place for that. The series can’t figure out how to handle its pacing for the life of it. That’s my biggest issue.

I wouldn’t say you should avoid this anime like the plague, but there are better series worth your time out there.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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8 thoughts on “Anime Review: A Certain Magical Index

  1. This has also been a weird series for me for a long time. I enjoyed bits of it, but I found the whole thing (at least the two seasons I saw) to be pretty underwhelming. My favorite stuff was actually the memory twist right at the beginning, but I feel like that loses impact pretty quickly.

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  2. Now I agree the anime isn’t the best (cough season 3 cough) but I don’t think you should hate it for the anime, it’s actually a really good book series, the anime cut out a lot of important stuff like some of the dialogue, character development (especially touma’s development, in the light novels his not your generic protagonist), ruined some really good fights, and cutouts the foreshadowings that lead up to the new testament series. The anime also doesn’t explain the whole concept of magic unlike the books. I would strongly suggest you check out the light novels

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    1. I might do that when I get the time. I do have to admit the anime left a very sour taste in my mouth. If the light novels can redeem the series at all, then it will merit a thoughtful reading.

      I sincerely don’t like to “hate” upon anime, but this one is just not that great, so I’ll certainly be looking into the written media, because Kazuma Kamach can be a good author… Heavy Object proves that hands down, so I’ll be looking into his other written works like “A certain Magical Index” for sure.

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  3. Before adapting Toaru anime series, J.C. Staff is famous for its exaggerated moe and fanservice. They don’t have experience adapting fantasy light novel to screenplay format. If you look deeper into J.C. Staff repertoire, you will understand why Toaru Index anime version is just meh.

    tl;dr
    anime bad. novel good.

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  4. I really love the serie perhaps because the 2 spin-off/parallel series, a certain scientific railgun and acceleration (the last 2 are in my opinion better series), I really like the conflict between religion and science, looking forward I’m guest it was the interconnection between series and character and the OP/ED music was really good.

    Recently I watched The Crimore of Zero (anime of 2017) and I’m thinking it was a okey/good and read a few review and comment and look like a lot people really like, but recently I watch The Dawn of the Witch (anime of 2022) a spin-off/secuel and in my opinion was way better anime, there comments and reviews was really bad and I don’t understand why. They compared the 2 anime saying the first one have a better history and character development and I was like ¿really? So I don’t know I guest I diferent XD.

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