Finished this series about a month ago, but only got round to writing a review recently.
Its very fascinating storyline, as summed up by its tagline “when the paths between Magic and Science cross, this Epic will begin”, was what initially drew me in. Unfortunately, A Certain Magical Index was far from being anything epic. Come to think of it, I didn’t actually see the paths between Magic and Science crossing.
Firstly, I have not read the novel, so it could be that the novel is really just like that and it’s not the fault of JC Staff. Besides, unlike Gonzo, JC Staff has been shown to be able to produce good adaptations with ToraDora! being the most recent example that comes to my mind and I’ve read the novel for ToraDora! so I can agree that it is successful. According to several fans, Index was actually a rather accurate adaptation of the novel, but I can’t confirm this, so I’ll simply restrict my review purely on the anime, disregarding adaptation issues.
There are often cases where fans complain that they don’t know what the hell is going on because of the lack of explanations. And then there’s the reverse. Index is the latter, where almost every episode gets an information overload. “When the paths between Magic and Science cross, this epic will begin”? Why are we getting all the Science lessons, where’s the Magic!? Heck, we’re even getting lots of explanations for the magic. Anyway, since this is a novel adaptation, what I felt that they could have done was to make use and get the best out of the characteristics of the two mediums. Death Note’s anime adaptation cut down lots of the details and there are still fans ranting about boring conversations. For the case of Death Note conversations were inevitable, but not so for Index. They really could have just summarized the phenomenon, leaving the more extensive details to the novel and instead focus more on choreographing the actions. Most importantly however, they need to shorten the monologues of Touma. They need to cut lot of that.
The characters can be easily summarized by one line: the side cast outshone the lead. And by a rather huge margin too. In fact it’s mainly because of the side cast that despite my constant complaints I still can’t bear to drop this series. Index thus suffered the same problem as Shakugan no Shana: excellent concept, interesting side cast but boring protagonist; so much potential wasted. Heck, this series should have been called A Certain Scientific “Bir-biri” Misaka. Most of the events seem to center around her and she’s also the one getting the fans (unsurprisingly, there’s a spin-off manga about her). Except that unlike most of the fanbase, my favorite is Himegami Aisa. Why? Because I like her one-liners. 😀 Indeed, the saving grace of Idex is in the form of its comedy, which I don’t mind saying, was really quite funny and also a reason as to why I actually gave this series anything as high as a 7/10 on the overall.
I’ve got praises as much as complaints for this. Since this is JC Staff, the character designs were certainly excellent and the art quality superb. However, I wished that the actions scenes were dealt with much better. Or rather, I know it could have been better—just look at the animation in ToraDora! where Taiga goes berserk; I get the feeling that JC Staff places more effort for ToraDora! than Index.
I like OP2, Masterpiece. Both OPs really suited the series. BGMs was rather average though.
6.5/10. I’ll be lenient and round it up to a 7 because, believe me, I wanted to like this series. It had lots of stuff that interested me. And still does.
Personal Overall Rating: 65%