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A Certain Magical Index: Season One, Part Two (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

January 6, 2013 by  



“A Certain Magical Index” is an entertaining, complex, fun and exciting anime series from beginning to end and a series that I recommend!

Image courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: A Certain Magical Index: Season One, Part Two

DURATION: Episodes 13-24

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Bilingual Japanese & English, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: 13+

Release Date: December 18, 2012

Originally created by Kazuma Kamachi

Original Character Designs by Kiyotaka Haimura

Directed by Hiroshi Nishikiori

Series Composition by Masanao Akahoshi

Screenplay by Masanao Akahoshi

Music by I’ve, Maiko Iuchi

Character Design by Yuichi Tanaka

Art Director: Tomonori Kuroda, Yoshinori Hirose

Anime Production by J.C. Staff

Featuring the following voice talent:

Atsushi Abe/Micah Solusod as Toma Kamijo

Yuka Iguchi/Monica Rial as Index

Akeno Watanabe/Stephanie Young as Sherry Cromwell

Anri Katsu/Newton Pittman as Motoharu Tsuchimikado

Kana Asumi/Alexis Tipton as Hyouka Kazakiri

Kimiko Koyama/Jad Saxton as Komoe Tsukuyomi

Kishô Taniyama/Robert McCollum as Stiyl Magnus

Mamiko Noto/Lindsay Seidel as Aisa Himegami

Misato Fukuen/Lara Woodhull as Maika Tsuchimikado

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Austin Tindle as Accelerator

Nozomi Sasaki as Misaka’s Younger Sister

Rina Hidaka/Brittney Karbowski as Last Order

Rina Satou/Brittney Karbowski as Mikoto Misaka

Satomi Arai/Allison Viktorin as Kuroko Shirai

Shizuka Itou as Kaori Kanzaki

Tomokazu Sugita/Jason Liebrecht as Aureolus Izzard

Yuka Terasaki/Kate Oxley as Misha=Kruschschev

Yuko Kaida/Martha Harms as Aiho Yomikawa

Kamijo is a student in Academy City, where people use science to develop supernatural abilities. The guy’s got a lot of heart – luckily for a young nun named Index. She’s on the run from a sorcery society that covets the astonishing 103,000 volumes of magical knowledge stored in her memory. When Index stumbles into Kamijo’s life, she find a faithful friend and protector, and while Kamijo’s easily the weakest kid in Academy City, he’s got something else going for him: the Imagine Breaker, an unexplainable power stored in his right hand that negates the powers of others. With scientists and sorcerers attacking from all sides, the Imagine Breaker will definitely come in handy – but it’s Kamijo’s loyalty to Index that will be his greatest weapon in the fight to keep her safe.

In 2004, writer Kazuma Kamachi and illustrator Kiyotaka Haimura began working on the light novel series “Toaru Majutsu no Index” (A Certain Magical Index).

The novel would then receive a manga adaptation in 2007 which was published on “Monthly Shonen Gangan” and a year later, receiving an 24-episode anime adaptation courtesy of J.C. Staff, followed by a second season airing in 2010-2011.

The series would go on to have a spinoff manga series titled “A Certain Scientific Railgun” which would be published in 2007 and a release in the US in 2011. An OVA series was released in 2010 and a second season is set to air this year.

The series is directed by Hiroshi Nishikiori (“Angelic Layer”, “Gad Guard”, “Ghost Slayers Ayashi”), screenplay written by Masano Akahoshi (“Duel Masters”, “Freezing”, “Ikki Tousen: Great Guardians”, “Zone of Enders”), character design by Yuichi Tanaka (“Last Exile”, “NieA 7”, “Desert Punk”) and art direction by Tomonori Kuroda (“Familiar of Zero”, “Guin Saga”, “Hayate the Combat Butler”, “Sola”) and Yoshinori Hirose (“Familiar of Zero”, “Ikki Tousen”, “Shakugan no Shana”, “Sola”).

With the popularity of the series, FUNimation has licensed the first seasons of “A Certain Magical Index” and “A Certain Scientific Railgun” and the first series was released in two parts on DVD in December 2012.

What has happened so far in “A Certain Magical Index”:

“A Certain Magical Index” takes place in an alternate version of Tokyo where students of Academy City (an advanced academic city) are scientifically advanced and use magic. But there is one student who is a failure in his esper studies but he does have a strong pride when it comes to justice, teenager Toma Kamijo.

But despite being at the lowest psychic rank possible (level 0) at Academy City, he has an undetectable power, something he doesn’t know too much about called the “Imagine Breaker”. His right hand has the power to negate all magic, psychic or divine powers. Unfortunately, it also negates all his good luck.

One day, he ends up getting into a duel against a powerful level 5 psychic named Mikoto Misaka. Mikoto can control and generate electricity and when the two fight, a blackout ensues. Toma ends up waking up to find a young nun from the Church of England hanging off his balcony. He finds out her name is Index and that she is being chased down by magicians because she has 103,000 grimoires.

With his sense of justice, Toma wants to protect Index from harm and both become friends. Index also explains to Toma about his power of the “Imagine Breaker” on his right hand and how his power is very special.

One day after returning home, he finds Index bleeding and suffering and standing there is sorcerer Stiyl Magnus. Stiyl explains that his partner Kaori unintentionally hurt Index and his mission was to protect her as she has the power of photographic memory. Not liking how Stiyl talks about Index, Toma is intent on protecting her and a battle ensues. To Stiyl’s shock, Toma is able to nullify his spells. Stiyl then sends his powerful fire creature Innocentius on Toma, but once again, Toma negates it and Toma ends up beating him.

Needing help to heal Index, he goes to the only person he knows that he can help her, his teacher Komoe Tsukuyomi (who has an appearance of a child but is actually an adult). Komoe has no esper abilities but she can assist with magic spells and the ability to heal Index. Through Index, Toma learns that she belongs to the organization Necessarius and that Index-Librorum-Prohibitorum was implanted into Index’s mind. She is a living library to the church and because the things that she reads are very powerful and she has read the original books that can be used against Necessarius.

Toma meanwhile encounters the other sorcerer from Necessarius. Kaori demands Toma to turn over Index, but he refuses. She demonstrates her power to him and that she can easily slay him but his sense of justice comes out and he tells her that all he wants to do is protect her. Kaori reveals that she and Index are actually good friends and that when Index got hurt, it wasn’t suppose to happen as her magical garb was to protect her (but Toma’s magic negated the magic on her clothing).

She then reveals to Toma that the entire Index-Librorum-Prohibitorum takes up 85% of Index’s memory and that the remaining 15% needs to be erased eacy year to save Index from straining her mind from unnecessary memories. And that she has three days left until her limit is reached. So, she needs to take Index back. Toma refuses and asks Kaori how they can call themselves her good friends when they never consider Index’s feelings and asks Kaori why she wouldn’t try to protect him.

While Stiyl and Kaori go to retrieve Index, Kome reveals to both of them that humans can never suffer or die from being overloaded with information and that the church regularly erased Index’s memory to ensure her loyalty to them.

Believing Kome, the two realize they have been misled. But knowing the complexities of what is happening, a deal is struck and Stiyl working with Aleister Crowley, the ruler of Academic City asks for Aleister to lend Toma to him for an assignment to rescue “Deep Blood”, those who are capable of killing vampires, from a magician in Academy City.

It was revealed in the first half of the series that Mikoto Misaka was tricked by Academy City’s scientist by taking her DNA which was to be used to cure people suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy but instead, her DNA was used to create military-grade combat clones of her.  And because they were created to be level 5 combat clones under a project known as “Project Radio Noise”, when the sisters were deemed weaker at level 3, they were then used for another project called “Level 6 Shift” in which 20,000 of them were created to be killed in order to make someone a Level 6 psychic, which Accelerator wants to be.

And now Toma wants to rescue these clones which he calls them as Mikoto’s little sisters.   Unlike Mikoto, these sisters are without emotion but they are not sure why they feel a special bond to Toma.  But they know they will do what they can to help him defeat Accelerator.

The next antagonist that Toma must take on is Sherry Cromwell, a sorcerer of Necessarius who is intent of creating conflict between Academy City and Necessarius.

But can Toma and friends stop this powerful sorcerer?

The main characters of “A Certain Magical Index” are:

  • Toma Kamijo – The main protagonist. A teenager who has a high sense of justice and despite having a psychic rank of zero, has a mysterious power of the Imagine Breaker which nullifies all magic, psychic or divine powers and unfortunately, his good luck. But because of his sense of justice, each person he comes in contact with develop respect or love towards Toma because of his willingness to protect them.  In episode 6, while trying to save Index, his memories were destroyed.
  • Index – A young nun from Necessarius, a branch of the Church of England. She is literally possesses a photographic memory in which the 103,000 magical texts of Index-Librorum-Prohibitorum is implanted on her. These texts known as the Grimoires take up 85% of her mind and the 0ther 15% is used for daily activities. Because of this, her life span to live normally is less than a year as they tend to erase her memory when it comes to its limit.
  • Mikoto Misaka – A powerful Electromaster who is known as “The Railgun”. She attends Tokiwadai Middle School, a school for the wealthy and one of the elite schools of Academy City. She also has a strong sense of morals and hates injustice.  When she was young, she was tricked into giving her DNA to scientist to help cure Duchenne muscular dystrophy but in truth, her DNA was used to create clones that were originally intended to be used by military but due to the clones not achieving level 5, they are now being used as fodder for Accelerator who is trying to become the first Level 6 esper.
  • Accelerator – The most powerful esper in Academy City and an antagonist of the series. He has joined an experiment to become the first Level 6 psychic, but he must kill 128 skilled level 5 psychics or 20,000 skilled Level 3 psychics.
  • Komoe Tsukuyomi – A teacher at Academy City who has the appearance of a child. She is one of the seven greatest mysteries of Academy City who doesn’t have any esper powers but she is capable of assisting in magic spells and healing.
  • Stiyl Magnus – A sorcerer from Necessarius and also a heavy smoker. He specializes in fire power and has a short temper. He is a diplomat to Academy City on behalf of the Angelic Church and is sent on missions which involve Toma and Index.
  • Kaori Kanzaki– A sorceress from Necessarius who wields a nodachi known as the “Seven Heaven Seven Swords”. She looks at Index as a sister but she became cold and silent when her friend began not to to trust her. But she sees Toma’s strong sense of justice and wants him to protect her.
  • Hyoka Kazakiri – The first friend that Index makes in Academy City.  Very smart but also a very powerful psychic.
  • Misaka 10032 – A clone who loves cats and the second sister clone that Toma met.  She has the most interaction with Toma and because Toma doesn’t think of her as a clone but an individual life, she and her sisters are committed in helping Toma defeat Accelerator.
  • Last Order – A Misaka clone (no. 20001) who is the administrator of the Misaka network and is the fail-safe mechanism if any of the sister clones get out of control.
  • Ao Amai – A former researcher involved with “The Sisters” project, which he help fund and is bitter after Toma and Mikoto gets involved to thwart his experiment and leaving him in debt.
  • Kikyo Yoshikawa – Academy City’s researcher in charge of the “Level 6 Shift” project.
  • Sherry Cromwell – A sorcerer of Necessarius who is a talented decoder and has the power to summon a golem.  She seeks to get her revenge on Academy City and Necessarius and tries to create a war between the two factions.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

I have to admit that I was surprised that “A Certain Magical Index” was not released on Blu-ray. But J.C. staff did a fine job with the animation and also the detail of the art backgrounds were very well done! Characters and backgrounds are well-detailed, well-shaded and look better than a lot of TV series. So, I was impressed.

Audio is presented in English 5.1 surround and Japanese stereo. The English soundtrack has better dynamic range as one would expect form its 5.1 soundtrack compared to the front-channel driven Japanese stereo track. Voice acting for both soundtracks are well-done! Micah Solusod, Monica Rial, Brittney Karbowski and others do a fantastic job and I have to say this series is one of Micah’s best voice work. On the Japanese end, Atsushi Abe, Yuka Iguchi and Rina Satou are also wonderful!

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“A Certain Magical Index: Season One, Part Two” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 14 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Brittney Karbowski (Misaka), Austin Tindle (Accelerator) and Micah Solusod (Toma)
  • Episode 23 Audio Commentary– Featuring audio commentary by Monica Rial (Index), Stephanie Young (Sheryl Cromwell), Alexis Tipton (Hyoka).
  • Textless Opening and Ending Songs – Textless version of “PSI-Missing”, “Masterpie” and “Rimless ~Fuchinashi no Sekai~” and “To Aru Majutsu no Index”.
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer for “A Certain Magical Index”.
  • Trailers – FUNimation trailers

“A Certain Magical Index” is an exciting, smart and entertaining anime series that will instantly captivate you!

And here we are with the second half of the series in “A Certain Magical Index: Season One, Part Two” and the missions continue as Toma along with the sister clones of Mikoto Misaka take on Accelerator.  And just when things seem to cool down, Toma and friends take on another powerful adversary, the sorcerer Sheryl Cromwell!

There are also three more other stories, one which revolve around “Angel Fall”, a spell which has changed people’s appearances and Toma’s parents are in the middle of it.  In the second side story, Mikoto is being stalked by Mitsuki Unabara and in order to have him stop stalking her, she pretends to go on a date with Toma.  And a third story which revolves around Accelerator who hangs out with a younger Misaka clone known as “Last Order”.  But what happens when Ao Amai injects a virus into Last Order?

Suffice to say, there are a good number of stories featured in the second half of “A Certain Magical Index”.  And I like the fact that even after the Mikoto Misaka and Accelerator arc, they continue to feature the characters in the second half.

I am aware that the series has a significant following in Japan. With its light novel series that are so popular, the series has spawned manga series, video games, drama CD’s. In fact, the popularity of Mikoto Misaka alone has led to her having her own manga and anime series and she was voted the #1 female light novel character for 2010 and 2011, while Toma Kamijo was ranked the #1 male light novel character in 2011 according to “Kono Light Novel ga Soi!”.

Sure, there have been many Japanese anime series that feature an individual with a strong sense of justice and wants to protect everyone from harm, but what makes this series so different from other anime series with a similar theme is its storyline and also its separation of Espers and Magicians but also throwing in this twist of Grimoires, books that are about powerful magic that is installed on one girl name Index, that our protagonist is trying to protect.

Also, with its action and dramatic sequences, it does have elements of a harem anime series but the way things are, it’s much different. The story is complex, deep and does a wonderful job of trying to incorporate its characters and be a story-driven series rather than all action (or fan service), which we tend to see a lot of. So, I enjoy the fact that “A Certain Magical Index” tries to break down the banality by emphasizing story and integrating its characters very nicely.

With the series now complete, I felt the overall series was good.  It’s not super deep and the second half tends to get more action-oriented without it being too dominated by the action, which was good.  But for the most part, “A Certain Magical Index” was a very good series overall.

As for the DVD, the animation and art background by J.C. Staff is very well done. It does surprise me that there is no Blu-ray release of this series but for the most part, the series is well-acted on both English and in Japanese with the English getting a better treatment with its 5.1 soundtrack over its Japanese 2.0 counterpart. But fans should be pleased with the animation, art and voice acting of “A Certain Magical Index”. Also, you get two audio commentaries included in part one.

Is there anything negative about the series, really there isn’t anything that I can think of that is negative. Unless you were hoping that the complete series was released instead of it being released in two DVD sets. But other than that, “A Certain Magical Index” turned out to be a pretty awesome anime series and I look forward to seeing the spinoff anime series “A Certain Scientific Railgun” which follows the adventures of Mikoto Misaka.

Overall, “A Certain Magical Index” is an entertaining, complex, fun and exciting anime series from beginning to end and a series that I recommend!






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