Toaru Majutsu No Index: 7.0/10
TV Series; 24 Episodes
Aired: Oct 4, 2008 to Mar 19, 2009
Genres: Action, Magic, Sci-Fi, Super Power
Original Creator: Kamachi Kazuma
Production Studio: J.C. Staff
A Somewhat Unlucky Boy
Academy City, the Mecca of Science, is where most of it's denizens are student that have been scientifically engineered to be espers, or wielders of certain unique abilities: manipulating electricity, teleportation and controlling natural forces.
Touma is a student in the Esper Development Program, with very unique skill, the ability to negate supernatural powers, like the ones manifested by other Espers. This, of course, nullifies his good fortune as well: vending machines devour his yen, his cellphone crushed into silicon fragments by his foot, and he has to attend extra classes during the summer.
But fate isn't done with Touma, ready to twist the string of his destiny around it's cold slender fingers. Enter Index, hanging to dry from Touma's balcony, a church sister being hunted by... magicians. The plot has an interesting hook, the conflict between science and magic. The first four episodes prove to be interesting, serving as a prelude to what would be a plot line epic in proportions. But Toaru Majutsu no Index [no Index] quickly shifts gears, abandoning an expansive story, for smaller three to four episode arcs surrounding the various characters. It's amusing but for the most part leaves you asking: Why does this matter?. Though the last episode does give some hope, hinting at a conflict between science and magic, that's about to build, brim and explode.
The characters are likable, if somewhat cliched. Touma is the can-do hero that attempts to save 'everyone'. Misaka is a shining star in somewhat average cast. Her love/hate relationships with both the lead and her friend Kuroko coupled with her superiority complex is amusing. One of the plots faults is the harem that is accidentally formed. Harems cause symptoms of shallow character interaction and plots driven by mindless love polygons. Shades of these indicators are found in no Index, but hopefully the 'harem factor' won’t be a crutch for the plot in the future.
The animation and the art is excellent. The palette is bright and vibrant, painting Academy City alive. Cool silvers and grays are layered on the natural colors woven in between the streets. Action scenes are fluid and are filled with some intense scenes on this backdrop. Character models are drawn well, the magician's being the most interesting of the bunch. Kiori and Stiyl seem otherworldly in their outlandish clothing. There were irritating bits of fanservice unappealing because the heroines, for the most part, were flat chested.
The music was engaging, a techno flare that fit the whole scientific motif. Neither opening was exceptional, their upbeat chords danced about, setting the appropriate mood. The voice acting wasn't noteworthy, though some of the voices became grating. Index's voice had an annoying timbre that scratched at the senses.
Watchability and Enjoyment
The structure of the show made my enjoyment of the program, mixed. Some of the chapters were splendid, balancing humor, drama, and action while others made me want to drop the program all together. I have hope for the second season, which promises a return to the whole conflict between magic and science, which intrigued me in the first few episodes.
The ambition of the plot quickly disappears and what remains is a cast of likable characters, great art, and a promise. Hopefully Toaru Majutsu no Index will deliver on that promise. The small gems of story telling give me confidence that there is still hope for the exploration of the main theme presented. We can only hope.