A Certain Magical Index – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Toaru Majutsu no Index


Related: A Certain Scientific Railgun (spin-off – included in review)

Similar: Strike the Blood

Guilty Crown

Shakugan no Shana


Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Supernatural Action Science Fiction

Length: 48 episodes (Index – 2 seasons), 48 episodes (Railgun – 2 seasons), 4 OVA, 1 movie



  • Nothing.


  • Won’t shut up about character names.
  • Talks more about abilities rather than using them.
  • Insufferable characters.
  • Moronic through and through.
  • Almost all dialogue is useless.

(Request an anime for review here.)

So close. So close! We were this close to peak stupidity. We have idiotic characters, some of anime’s tropes at their worst, and fantasy mechanics so lazy that you could shuffle a fantasy/sci-fi deck and pick at random to create something better.

A Certain Magical Index is set in Academy City, a place where magic meets science and most citizens have a supernatural power. Kamijou is unique among the populace, for his ability cancels out the abilities of others. He doesn’t need it though since he keeps his nose out of trouble. This easy life changes when a nun girl called Index Librorum Prohibitorum containing over 100,000 magical texts in her brain comes under his protection. A powerful organisation of psychics would love to crack that skull of hers and see what knowledge comes tumbling out.

The first issue the author should have nixed in the planning phase was Kamijou’s tension nullifying ability – sorry, I meant his ability to nullify others. The most powerful enemies throw everything they have at him and he flicks them away as if it’s nothing. What’s the point? Nullifying characters aren’t new and have worked in other fiction. Usually, the character has to hold onto the enemy to nullify their power, thus limiting the range and giving a counter (throw him off), or the nullification puts them on even footing but the character still has to win a standard sword fight (a.k.a. No Items, Fox Only, Final Destination). For Kamijou, it’s a free win. So again I ask, what’s the point?

Needless to say, the action sucks.

Then we come to the characters, each of which are insufferable from the first meeting. Where to start? The eight-year-old girl we’re supposed to believe is a 30-year-old teacher? The 25-year-old guy we’re supposed to believe is 14? The character who thinks being able to tell the time without a clock is the coolest skill ever? Or each character’s obsession with secret names? Every fight, half the dialogue is about their stupid names, as if anyone would care. If it revealed some secret identity or twist that changed the flow of battle, sure, but it doesn’t.

What I said about the 8-year-old looking teacher and the middle-aged teen is serious, by the way. Index takes anime tropes and cranks them up to the max unironically. It’s possible the author was trying to be ironic, but I suspect he just copied from all other supernatural high school anime like a hack. Wouldn’t it be cool if allies fought each other for no discernible reason?

Oh yeah, I haven’t talked about Kamijou himself. There’s nothing to say. He’s the generic “nice guy” protagonist of this genre. Meanwhile, Index is a typical moe genki girl that should have taken a shotgun to the jaw in episode 1.

The worst aspect of Index has to be the dialogue, which is almost entirely exposition to explain the awful mechanics and lore of this world. We aren’t watching a story. We are hearing the author read aloud his world-building diary (a bad world build at that) instead.

There is so much useless dialogue. It doesn’t get any worse than when it introduces the Misaka clones that talk in the third person with dialogue tags. Not only is it overused, but also makes no sense. And just when you think the clones are finally gone, one returns as a naked loli – still narrating in the third person – with the added twist of saying her name twice each line. Yay! (If ISIS ever takes me, all they need to break me is her dialogue on repeat.) And she has clones!

The audience has no reason to care about anything. Characters talk and talk instead of having personalities and development. They even talk about their abilities more than they use them! Not that it really matters. The abilities are unimaginative and as mentioned previously, don’t affect the protagonist.

Yet with all that said, this isn’t as bad as it could be. The abilities look alright and I’ve seen worse animation. The pacing is fine as well. I wish they had put more effort into making A Certain Magical Index so bad it’s good. It’s just bad.

In the end, I only have one question. How in hell did this garbage get multiple seasons and spin-offs?

Art – Low

The character designs are among the worst in anime. The spell effects are alright though and the animation could be worse.

Sound – Very Low

This awful script has padding, not characters. There is so much dumb here that it will leave you speechless.

Story – Very Low

One super powered teen in a city of many must protect a walking library from a villainous organisation. No one could save this story.

Overall Quality – Very Low

Recommendation: Avoid it. Unless you want to walk into the den of stupidity, avoid A Certain Magical Index and all its spin-offs at all costs.

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Awards: (hover over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None


Awful DialogueHollow World BuildingHorrendous ActionInduces StupidityNo DevelopmentRubbish Major CharactersUseless Side Cast

20 thoughts on “A Certain Magical Index – Anime Review”

  1. I actually didn’t mind this first season. I don’t like the protagonist as I find him really bland and uninteresting, but I found the world fascinating and liked some of the arcs and found it generally fun (the exposition in the dialogue was pretty bad though). The spin-offs (Railgun) are better, though if the clones are killing you probably pass on it.
    However, I recently dropped season three because it seems to highlight pretty much every criticism of the series you have here and seemed to jettison anything that might be considered fun or fascinating in favour of killing the audience with endless exposition about characters we haven’t been given a reason to care about. So yeah, I’ve kind of abandoned this franchise at this point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I with your first point, and this is coming from a person who enjoyed all the anime’s he’s watched besides an anime where the main characters goal was to kill herself.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve had this low-key on my watchlist forever but it sounds like it’d be a colossal waste of time and effort. Ugh. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Look, shut up all of you, there is no bad anime out there, at least this isn’t an isekai and where else do you see a story exactly like this when, there’s tons of variety in this and it’s not as bad as you guys think. Look at it like this, main antagonist is a psychotic the most insane one I’ve met, and then it’s just funny watching all this high and mighty guys falling to a loser, the moral of the story is that power means nothing, if you use it for the wrong reasons, look at Asta take away his devilish looks and place Kamijo in his place the only difference is that one has a sword and the other Doesn’t, but no black clover isn’t garbage Asta is a great character, well tell me something that proves that, all I’m pointing out is that every single god damn anime has its issues every anime sucks in its own way, it’s lacking in one area because the author didn’t intend to have his story shown in that way, the plot, dialogue and characters are crucial to how the story goes. None of you can see past that though, look at it like this it wouldn’t have been animated and it wouldn’t have 3 different spin offs with them all totalling 170 episodes if there wasn’t people watching it, this just shows that the story is good the characters are likeable to other people. Just because all of you don’t Dosent mean that Everyone is going to hate it. Bamn done boom, don’t listen to this guy and give it a shot it’s up to you weather you like it or not.


  3. currently im watching a certain scientific vecter~? im not sure on the name, and im just hoping that a certain magical index, was just a lore story for its spin offs.


  4. i think you didn’t get a lot of the concepts in this series first that’s confusing there are two magic sistems in place in this series what a few people don’t get since that’s an pretty wierd concept in media.

    next that the magician tell you there magic name is just an tradition they have. I know wierd an fantasy organisation with traditions. What’s next an fantasy world who isn’t an carbon copy of the lord of the Rings? And yes i got a bit sarcastic I’m just a bit anoyed about this Review. Btw the magic names are all latin or just straight up englisch and tell you a bit about the character.

    And about the thing that the sister’s talk about themself in third person you can’t blame old anime for being old.

    And last but not least touma has a few weaknesses who in my opinion makes his abillity a bit more interesting. First his power is only in his right hand which means he has to tuch it with his right hand to negate things. Second his power don’t work that well on things that have an constant suply on new power for example Style’s Innocentius. And his powers only work on Supernatural attacks and won’t work in case someone atacks him with something non supernaturall.


  5. I am very much in agreement that this anime melts brain cells. I can’t even think of a core demographic of who the series might be for, which I think says a lot about the overall failing of the series to begin with.

    Beyond that, the endless spin-offs and nonsensical plot leaves me agitated that I tried to sit through this horrendous anime in the first place.


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