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CyanideBlizzard's To Aru Majutsu no Index Tv Review

To Aru Majutsu no Index

To Aru Majutsu no Index tv Review

Touma Kamijou is a student in Academy City with seemingly no luck at all; one day he meets a strange girl dressed in a nun outfit named Index. His encounter with her leads him to meet many other people all with strange powers of their own. Now Touma is out to solve my mysteries behind Index and the city itself.

Credit: MisaSasekage

Story & Characters

So, a few months back I covered a review for the second season of Toaru and gave it a pretty mediocre score based upon several aspects of the season that I did not enjoy. Despite having issues with the majorly increased fan-service , a disorganized plot that was fairly slow in pace and a general lack of appeal. The cause of all of those? The first season of Toaru being as good as it was. So, for my tenth review I figured I would cover a show that ranks extremely high with me and the reason on why the second season suffered so badly. Bear with me through this experimental review!

Touma Kamijo is blessed. Blessed with incredibly bad luck. It seems like no matter what happens to this guy, he just can't catch a break. We're introduced to him right off the back running away from some thugs while he tried to help out a young women from being hit on. However, things aren't as they appear, as Touma wasn't helping her, but the thugs. The young woman happened to be Misaka Mikoto, one of the seven level five espers in Academy City. After escaping to a nearby bridge, Touma turns around to find that the thugs have been "taken care of" by Misaka and due to some poor choice of words, he ends up getting attacked by Touma. While Touma is only a level 0 esper, he manages to fend off the attack with his right arm's special power. The next day, he finds a young woman in a strange outfit draped across his railing like a futon, asking for food. All of this introduces us into the show and begins our journey of adventure, shattering illusions and more importantly. tons and tons of dialogue.

Touma Kamijo is the main character of the series and for a character, he's nothing extremely special. All the guy wants it to simply live a peaceful life without such great misfortune and can never seem to catch a break. During the first ten minutes of the anime, we are introduced to three of the four major players throughout the series. Misaka Mikoto, a young women who has the power to generate electrical currents and Index, the young girl wearing a mysterious outfit who takes Touma on a wild ride. To get it out of the way, there are a ton of characters introduced in this series and the wonderful thing that the first season of Toaru does is gives us plenty of time with each of them. There are several different story arcs that generally range in the several episode category and each one of them involves different characters, or sometimes the return of previous characters mixed in with new characters. This is by far the strongest aspect of the story, as we get to not only learn more about the motives behind each of these characters, but also their personalities and ties they develop and grow with Touma. It cannot be denied, though, that there are a lot of female characters and it seems after each arc they always end up growing closer to him. However, Toaru (season 1 anyways) does a great job of simply restricting it to that arc and not dwelling far too greatly on it. You get more of a sense that they've formed a deeper bond with him instead of simply joining his harem. I cannot stress enough how the character development is absolutely amazing for Toaru.

Another aspect is the story and my gosh, this will be the true test of if you can stick with this series or not. I won't lie, when I first watched Toaru I dropped it after several episodes. At the time, it just did not fit what I was looking for and I just found myself bored with the novel sized amount of dialogue in this series. Toaru is a detailed series that was based upon the light novel series written by Kazuma Kamachi and it does not skimp on any details. While it can certainly make the show feel far longer than necessary, if you can get through it you are rewarded with a much deeper understanding of the Toaru universe. Characters, reasons for actions, the terminology and the differences between espers and magicians and then some. This show is probably one of the first anime series I've watched where I felt like I was reading a novel. Once again, there is a plentiful amount of dialogue and for those that prefer less, they will have a difficult time sticking it through Toaru. However, despite this I have to make mention of the fact that the show does a great job of blending hilarious comedy scenes with deep emotional ones and well played action scenes. My hat goes off to the director of the series for doing a fantastic job of pacing the first season of Toaru. Nothing ever feels like it hits you out of left field or was too unnecessary. Even the fan-service, while somewhat uncalled for with certain scenes doesn't really feel terribly unnecessary. I wish I could cover more about espers, magicians and so much more, but unfortunately it would cause anyone who was reading my review to shut down after the story aspect, and I don't know if I want to be put in jail for Death By Review.

My only true complaint is that certain elements feel far too generic for the series and that sometimes it gets a little too wordy for it's own good. Touma is fine being the way that he is, but the problem is that he doesn't really stand out either. His right arm ends up being a bit of a clutch to always get out of a situation, which can really eliminate any suspense for some. His solution to most problems also tends to get a bit old after awhile too, as his solution towards shattering the villain of the arc's evil illusions is to simply punch them, in the face. I kid you not, it seems like every arc someone is getting punched in the face. Men, women, anyone that needs a good illusion shattering is getting hit. While it's rather nice to see Touma think on his feet and develop as a character throughout, the punching is always there.

As previously mentioned too, the dialogue can tend to drone on for a bit and while every bit does count, I do feel that sometimes there are just episodes that focus on nothing but dialogue. While this certainly isn't a bad thing in terms of plot progression, this can be a disappointment to some.

Rating: 9

Art

One of the things that was definitely more noticible watching the first and second seasons of Toaru is the change in art. The second season is definitely the stronger one in terms of art, but we're here to talk about he first season.

Toaru is definitely well animated. Backgrounds are gorgeous and very far from static and rather varied. Characters are well drawn and while from a distance they do take a lot more liberties, for the majority of the time the characters look great. They do tend to lax on quality from time to time, but the overall consistency is very strong, especially in battles. Combat is the main star when it comes to animation. Battles are fluent, beautiful and extremely creative. I sure hope they had fun animating this series, because it is an absolute visual treat to watch. Spells and esper attacks are incredibly vibrant, distinct and really liven up the show overall.

Aside from a few dips in a few places, Toaru overall is extremely well animated.

Rating: 8

Sound

Sound, like the second season, is still rather consistent. While the Accelerator doesn't have nearly the roll he does in the second one, he still brings us just as strong of a range. However, the real treats lie with Touma, Index and Misaka. Maybe it's more a personal opinion, but I felt that Atsushi Abe, Yuka Iguchi, and Rina Satō (Touma, Index and Misaka respectively) were given far more changes to have far stronger dialogue and emotional ranges in the first season. While Touma was more of the same, it still seems as if his character was just much stronger this time around.

The soundtrack itself is rather well done, using guitar riffs (at times) during the more dramatic scenes, and bears a strong electronic sound throughout it. This is especially apparent during the introducing and ending themes. Overall, the soundtrack is very fitting during changing of paces throughout the show. I'm normally not fond of anime soundtracks, but I could easily see myself picking up the OST for this series.

Rating: 9

Presentation

Toaru Majutsu no Index is one of those shows that completely caught me off guard. I deeply regretted not giving it a full view the first time I watched it. The first season has probably one of the strongest plot progressions I've seen in quite some time. Strong characters, a continually interesting storyline, well done animation and a great soundtrack, it's no wonder I've viewed this show three times. The worst part is I get more addicted to it each time I view it.

If you don't mind lengthy dialogue, some generic story elements here and there, and a bit of fan service here and there, Toaru season 1 will easily fit the bill. It's just such a shame that the second season seems even worse after my re-viewing of Toaru Majutsu no Index season 1. I said this once before, and sadly re-watching this series reaffirmed it, but Toaru Season 1 really is far better in practically every aspect except animation.

After reviewing this season I've decided that this is the first show I've seen in some time that literally had what I would consider a perfect presentation. It covers a large variety, while keeping things strong in all departments. By far a show that I will continue to recommend whenever I can as a perfect example of what should be done with an anime series to hook your audience.

Rating: 10

Final Verdict

9.17 (very good)

Reviewed by CyanideBlizzard, Aug 15, 2011

Comments

  1. z827 Aug 15, 2011

    Yeah , I see what you mean by the dialogues - though interestingly enough that was one of the reasons I got hooked onto it XD
    Still , it's pretty rare to see you so into a series.

    I guess the ability to nullify anything supernatural has kinda killed the imagination of the watchers since his going to use the same tactic every single time against his opponent.
    Still , I'm not all too impressed by the sequels since they aren't quite as immersive as the first Season and the romance side of things is a bit blocky as a whole. ( Another Harem perhaps? )

    Still , To Aru held many surprises. Upon first glance - it may prove to be the stereotypical Shonen Anime loaded with fan service but it held a fair load of humor ... and yes , fan service and interestingly - more conversations than butt kicking.
    Either way , this review fits the bill - oh , have you watched To Aru Kagaku no Railgun yet?

  2. Nessbad94 Aug 15, 2011

    Your review has just ' lighted' everything in each section)) that's what I like to see - informative, yet no boring)) great^^/

  3. SnickerdoodleNinja Retired Moderator Aug 15, 2011

    Death by Review? Very nice. xD

    I feel like you covered the series well for the most part. However, and I don't mean to seem nitpicky (and I'm also not fully awake yet, which could be part of it), there were a few sentences that made me a tad confused at points, one of which was:

    Quote: This is really what drew me into Toaru Season 1 and it is leaps and bounds beyond what I've seen in the past decade. Especially not when compared to Toaru Season 2.

    Other than that, you managed to cover each area thoroughly and not even the 10 for presentation seemed biased. As always, the occasional bits of humor help and make your review fun to read. As a whole, I would say your experiment was a success! :)

  4. CyanideBlizzard Retired Moderator Aug 15, 2011

    Thanks Snicker, I made sure to remove that section!

    Thanks to everyone else as well for the comments!

  5. mbeckley Aug 15, 2011

    Great review on Index Cy! I completely agree with ya. I get hooked on it. Lol.

  6. angelxxuan Banned Member Aug 15, 2011

    took me awhile to read, but I thought you did justice for this review, I like how you covered things and didn't bother with many plot suggestions. I've seen this awhile back and you are right about the scoring. it was quite nice in music and art, the plot kept me interested as much as it possibly could. you always do good reviews can't wait to read the 11th !

  7. MisaSasekage Moderator Aug 15, 2011

    I really liked this show, though I must agree it did get a bit old watching Touma handle things the exact same way almost each and every time. Though I did really enjoy this series. I thought a lot of the music used in the series was good as well, the animation was also very nice but in some places the dialouge did drag on more that it should have. I do wish that Accelerator had a bit of a bigger role. Nevertheless I loved this show! Awesome review Blizzard-kun^^

  8. CyanideBlizzard Retired Moderator Aug 16, 2011

    Thanks so much everyone for the comments!

    I made a few updates and learned an important lesson. Don't proof-read a review at night and then submit it.

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