Posted by psgels on 22 August 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



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.

Suggestions:
Betterman
Night Head Genesis
Hunter X Hunter

13 Responses

  1. Avatar Anca says:

    I rather liked Index. Well, 82% in your ratings system, so not that far off.

    I liked their endless exposition because it made the whole thing seem more realistic. Powers like that need to be explained a lot to not demand too much suspension of disbelief.

    The way they contrasted magic with science magic is based on attitudes people in the real world really do keep. In fact, it was exactly the way certain corners of the occult community (the corners that take themselves very, very seriously) clash with the easy-going everything-goes PSI types.

    Railgun annoyed me a good deal because it lacked these interesting parts.

    I personally loved the alchemist battle – magic where you shout what should happen and that stuff happens – word based – and you have to get incredibly creative and exact in your phrasing is one of my action kinks.

  2. Avatar Scorcher says:

    I loved this show…
    I think you were too unfair with the characters score… I mean, the females are annoying, but I think Touma is a great lead…
    Also the exposition is something they could not avoid, because the setting in the light novels is so complicated that without proper explanation nobody could follow the story…
    As for the second season, I´m guessing its going to be a lot better, If it animates volumes 7 to 14 of the novels…those are great arcs…

  3. Avatar Hogart says:

    You’re right. It was too chaotic and a bit caught up in it’s hubris. I think if they dropped the exposition, focused only on the major arcs, and relied more on characters and teamwork than saving-throw plots, this would be a very good series. But at least it tried to not be boring or too insulting, unlike Railgun.

  4. Avatar mds says:

    yeah,agree with you,I loved that Russian angel arc :D simply because it’s very funny at the beginning and ended up breathtaking…
    Well, in my opinion the score for setting is a bit higher…since they used so many references and huge attention to details :p

  5. Avatar Scorcher says:

    Forgot to say…I don´t think that there are pointless arcs in the show…
    Deep Blood had that awesome fighting scene…where Touma scared the crap out of that alchemist…
    And Imaginary Numbers is important for the rest of the story…(Fuse=Kazakiri, im looking at you)…
    But its like you said, first season was mainly used for building up, but sadly not even with a second season we will have a conclusion, because the plot is huge, there are 21 novels and it keeps going…season one only covered the first 6 volumes, and 2nd season will hopefully cover until volume 14…

  6. Avatar Suzuku says:

    Let me start off by saying that Index, as a light novel, is one of my favorite series. It’s very unique in that it takes multiple religious and scientific theories and incorporates them all into a story without seeming half-assed. For example, I’ve never read a story that has used Aleister Crowley, English occultist, as a bases for the story and incorporates his theories into it nearly flawlessly. Crowley’s theory about magicks, the science and art of changing through one’s own will, and the esper’s “Personal Reality” which gives them their powers is just one example of many.

    Now, as an anime, I had some problems with it. As you said, the anime really was very chaotic in that it hopped from action, to long dialog, to fanservice in the span of a couple minuets without allowing us to get a very good feel for the characters. This is in contrast with the novels where many of the conversations give us a better idea of who the characters are and the transitions between exposition, comedy, and action come much more smoothly. Of course, this can be attributed to the fact that the anime had only a limited amount of time to fit 6 volumes worth of content in it. That said, I have a gripe with how the anime staff decided to cut some rather important explanations from the story and other small things that would make understanding where the characters’ abilities come from easier. Since I read the novels it’s no problem for me, but for anime only watchers I’m sure some were confused.

    Those gripes aside, I enjoyed the anime very much. The art and animation was top notch for the most part and the story was still enjoyable overall, despite the cuts in some areas. Season 2, going by the trailer and common sense, will cover up to volume 13. Slight spoilers, but season 2 will have far more involvement in what goes on outside of Academy City and many more characters will be introduced. The concept of Touma saving people (still cute girls) will still be there but it will have more to do with the magic side of the story as opposed to season 1 which was more grounded in the science side, which honestly isn’t as interesting as the magic side.

    Also, most recent novels (17-21) have been truly epic and I don’t want to say too much as to not spoil, but let’s just say things get very hectic and the delicate balance between the magic and science sides finally break. Hell, even before that, things really get truly interesting starting from volume 13 when God’s Right Seat finally gets involved in the story and Accelerator starts becoming active in the underground of Academy City.

  7. Avatar AKI says:

    Great! Finally, psgels, you have made a review for Index.

  8. Avatar AuroraFlame says:

    Sometimes it seems like they were trying to make the character development fail on purpose, with giving the main character permanent amnesia after just introducing him. Then that alchemist arc… was completely pointless when the motivation of the villain was revealed. And the angel thing…. ugh.

    The quality of this show is way too dependent on how good season 2 is. It was all build-up. They introduced people and concepts but they’re still at square one.

  9. Avatar Ichiban Faggot says:

    77.5 for this turd and 72.5 for Geass. Yeah..good joke:|

  10. Avatar Solaris says:

    Index has a very complicated scenario to deal with. The war between magic and science is something that need a proper buildup and can’t be taken for good without explanation. Adding explanation is easy on a novel where you haven’t to deal with timescreen at all. As a rather huge amount of explanation hinders the comprehension and linearity of the plot, Index has been divided into arcs focusing on one of the two main sides, magic or science and the explanation is being divided among those. As the readings goes on all of the pieces of this complicated settings go in place, for the showdown when the war between opposite factions will break in. So, whoever is looking for a tieup in the chain of events, you just have to read it all for the meta-plot to gain sense. Moreover hints and infos are being realased little by little, and details you passed on could be developed in later arcs of the story. See spoiler down here*.

    If you just take out explanation you’d gain something similar to railgun. Thus being entertaining, Railgun missed all of that setting that made Index deep and well developed. In Railgun you only del with science side. At least you have a hint of what scientist are tring to do on their side, but the feeling is that Railgun was too much light harted if compared to Index, thanks to a huge portion of the settings being cut down for good!

    Index anime was hindered under the weight of its own setting. All of the explanation segments were miss placed and put in the middel of combat, where they were in the way of action scene fuidity. Really they chose the worst timing to make explanation. Moreover they chose to make up with silly slapstick commedy to tone down drama, but resulted in flatting out chars that are really nice to begin with. It didn’t help that chars are build up in their arc of competence. Kuroko, the annoying and schiecking Mikoto’s kouhai, is nothing more than a side char for fun till volume 8 of the novel. There you read how good of a char she is. Every char, with the exception of Touma, and later of Accelerator, are important for only their arc. Index too is nothing than a fun char unless in the very first arc. The fact she names the all serie is very missleading.

    MEGA SPOILER
    *One of this is Hyouka: She’s introduced in the immaginary number arc and, while that being an apparently bland arc, it reveals one of the main themes of Index. Science and Magic target is the same, that is to create with different means a superior being. And Hyouka’s the first attempt at that. Just wait for Vol 13 and see what i mean. (it hopefully will be included in the 2nd season).
    /SPOILER

  11. Avatar jak321 says:

    well it give me great joy to see that so many people like this series … its often under-rated and solaris having read the light novel i know what u mean :D .. also waiting for the god of magic to appear in the anime its gonna be awesome

  12. Avatar Solaris says:

    @Jak321. I could only read the novel @ Baka Tsuki, as my japanese isn’t good enough to read them raw :(. So i actually know the facts till about vol 13 and anime season 1.
    I am afraid we’ll have to wait till season 4 to see war breaking in!
    I long to see Railgun arc with the sister before that.

    @Ichiban Faggot. Joke? Could it be cause Geass is your average mecha story with so many good premises wasted in a trainwrek-ish finale compared to Index that has much more complexity and ideas Geas would take 5 season to develop and throw in the toilet after that.

    @Suzuku. Thank you for your review. Crowley’s theory as a basis for index setup is something people didn’t recognize at start and what makes this novel really outstanding.

    Here’s the wiki article about Crowley. Just notice how much terms Index brought from that.

  13. I totally feel you about railgun, that crap was just too annoying, I deleted the file after about 8 minutes of watching the first episode. Personally I think just 98% of anime is just the same ol same old, mixied with full of crap that only is marketable to self hating male otakus (i.e. the male lead always being beat up by women, or being unable to do simple things like have a decent relation ship with a woman. . .you know the whole *oh my god I touched her hand/body/hair/eyes meeting blah blah blah, I must act all shy* bullshit most of tha tjust gets in the way of a good story. . .or rather is put inplace to also distract the viewrs that the story isnt any good by adding *tension* which in normal human interaction, would be rediculous, hell even Planest had this crap and that was a GOOD show!

    Ive pretty much stopped watching anime, except for shows that have a decent story, with normal human interactions and great characters, I swear there are only like 2 shows every other season that come out that have this and last for 26 or more eps.

    I mean its gotten to the point where creators have to do something like kaiba (having abstract designs) to actually make something MATURE because its *cartoony* therefore not all that serious.

    Im just glad that Ive stopped watching anime for the most part Ill only watch like an episode of either one piece or some other show that is good like katanagatari.

    I just have more time to enjoy life with normal human beings, not be *f0rced* to immerse myself in a culture of self hatred that is 99.9% of anime/manga

Leave a Reply

Star Crossed Anime Blog

7 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Vinland Saga – 7 [Normanni]

Welcome to the true start of Vinland Saga, as this week adapts what was originally the 1st Chapter of the manga. This week Thorfinn hits puberty, Askeladd makes bank and the French get laughed at. Lets jump in! Starting off, this week was a series of highs and lows for Vinland’s production. I said it […]

DanMachi2 – 6 [City of Lust (Ishtar Familia)]

DanMachi, as an anime, grew up this week. From the show that brought you the cosplaying mechanic of the “Hestia ribbon” comes an episode dealing with largest taboo in hero anime, and in some ways, Japanese conservative culture as a whole. Watching DanMachi this week is like this: you have a friend who you hang […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 20 [Pretend Family]

After last week’s episode, I had high hopes for Kimetsu no Yaiba this week. Sadly, I think I came away from it with more criticisms than complements. Perhaps natural, since living up to last week was nigh impossible. But I wasn’t prepared for Yaiba to undercut its best episode either. Welcome to Yaiba, episode 20, […]

Dr.STONE – 7 [Where Two Million Years Have Gone]

Ah today is a good day. The day where Dr.STONE reinforces what I loved about it when I first read it. You see this week Science takes center stage, we meet the ancient sorcerer Chrome, and the legendary Kinro gets his fabled weapon. Enough with the preamble though, welcome to this weeks Dr.STONE and lets […]

Mononoke – 2 [Zashikiwarashi – Part 2] – Throwback Thursday

There really isn’t a good way to introduce this episode. Nothing is really going to soften the madness of what I just watched. As this week Mononoke has given us one of the darkest/creepiest yet most endearing episodes I have seen in a long time. So let’s just get on with it. Starting off, a […]

Cop Craft – 06 [Need For Speed]

Cop Craft mixes up many unusual elements such as porno magazines, gay policeman, car chases and even romance into its trip this week. The result is that while it’s light in content, it proves to be more entertaining than when it deals with serious plot. While at this point I still prefer the relationship between […]

Kanata no Astra – 08 [Past]

There sure is a lot to unpack in Kanata no Astra this week. Kanata no Astra loves to give clues, and with every reveal it opens up more questions and make it think how all these puzzles fit in a big narrative frame. I must say that I am enjoying the ride so far, it’s […]

Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note – 6 [A Girl, a Department Store, and a Gift ]

It turns out that next week will be the beginning of the adaption of the source material of volume four and five and this episode marks the end of original anime content. I rather like this episode as it breaks away from Waver solving cases and has a fun little shopping adventure with the three […]

Vinland Saga – 6 [The Journey Begins]

Another week, another dose of Viking murder, courtesy of Vinland Saga. This week we watch our baby boy grow up, learn a bit about Viking history, and get into the series proper. Let’s dive in! Starting off, as always, the production aspect. This week showed us some of the cracks in Vinland’s production. For while […]

Latest Reviews

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100 – Throwback Thursday

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]

[Star Crossed Anime Exclusive] Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection Review – 80/100

I was lucky enough to be at Sakura-con in Seattle on 20 April 2019 for the Funimation’s movie premiere of Code Geass’ third movie with the Director himself, Gorō Taniguchi, along with his senior staff in attendance inside a room full of raving fans. Was it was worth the decade-long wait to have a worthy […]

Paranoia Agent Anime Review – 67/100

In an era of the mundane, where every series is the same moe blob, the weird sticks out. Even the most mediocre series can get attention just by being weird. Paranoia Agent is not mediocre, and it is far beyond simply “weird”. Written and Directed by Satoshi Kon, Paranoia Agent is one of his last […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]

Kemurikusa (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 79/100

Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]