To Aru Majutsu no Index and Kagaku no Railgun. They’re both two series that I dropped very quickly when they first aired, though for completely different reasons. Railgun to me was genuinely annoying; I really don’t want to watch anything more of that. Index however… yeah. I dropped it because I had no idea what it was trying to be. “You want an interesting setting? Well, we’re too busy with action right now.” “You want action? Well, here are some long dialogues full of exposition.” “You want dialogues? Screw that! Here are some cute girls to annoy you!” It feels like all of those parts tried to cockblock each other.
Still, I have to admit: this series is based on some neat ideas, in which people can either have naturally born powers, or have to learn them as magic. The creators seemed to have put a lot of attention in coming up with interesting scenarios and backgrounds, so in another one of those “why not”-moments I gave this show a second chance. Overall, it’s a series that definitely has its moments, but as a standalone series I wouldn’t recommend it unless the upcoming second season really gets significantly better.
The series consists out of a number of different arcs, often completely unrelated, in which Touma (the lead character) saves a bunch of people (often cute girls). These arcs really vary from surprisingly good to completely pointless, and they can all be pretty much seen as separate entities. The worst for me were the Deep Blood and the Imaginary Number arcs. Both felt too forced, featured the worst characters of the series and felt completely pointless in the end. My personal favourite was the Angel Fall arc, because it’s that arc in which we actually learn the most about the lead character, Touma. I really liked what that arc added to his character.
The main weakness of Index isn’t the fact that all of these arcs are unrelated. In fact, this way the series can neatly show different kinds of aspects in its setting, explore its own magic system and show what its world looks like. No, my main problem with this series is that it’s so caught up in its own exposition that it often forgets its character.
So because of this, half the cast in Index is just a collection of walking plot devices. The creators are just so focused on progressing the story, and explaining the details behind the stories of the different arcs that they often forget the characterization, and half of the scenes that are allocated to fleshing out the characters have no idea how to do this so instead they just focus on the cute girls of the series and have them participate in really annoying antics. Granted though, the scenes that don’t involve action, tension, exposition or any of the cute teenaged girls are well written, and actually quite charming.
This show really does have some very neatly animated action scenes. You can also really see that the creators tried to spice those up to make them more than just a bunch of people zapping their powers at each other until one goes down: the battles here require some crazy tactics, and they really force the lead characters (the good guys, anyway) to think on their feet. I do have a big beef with them, though.
This is another one of those series in which characters can really have extreme powers: there are a ton of people walking around that can kill someone in the blink of a second, and the series itself reminds us of that very often. This brings along an extra layer of suspense of disbelief however, which is something that this series can’t live up to. I mean, it’s great that the series is trying to build up this atmosphere of serious business and all, but when Touma just keeps jumping into certain death situations, only to miraculously survive due to sheer luck that he couldn’t possibly have foreseen, it really destroys the tension a bit. I mean, the sheer amount of ludicrous saves in this series was just too much for my standards.
Apart from that though… it’s entertaining. There were a few episodes in which I really edged to just stop watching this series, but they were overshadowed by the episodes that did manage to keep my attention. I like this show for getting completely crazy at times with its ideas and scenarios, while I dislike it for having too much moe and one-dimensional characters. If the second season can use the build up that this season provided, I can easily see it get better. But it really needs to do something about these characters…
|Storytelling:||8/10 – Interesting script, knows how to create tension.|
|Characters:||6/10 – Too many walking plot devices and annoying teenaged girls.|
|Production-Values:||9/10 – Very neat animation, especially during the action scenes. Nice soundtrack too.|
|Setting:||8/10 – Interesting concepts and ideas. Don’t go here for realism, though.|