A Certain Magical Index began in the early 2000s, giving rise to a three-pronged anime franchise that combines science fiction with magic and fantasy. Seeing several anime, manga and light novels in an almost 20-year period, A Certain Magical Index also has sequels in the forms of A Certain Scientific Railgun and A Certain Scientific Accelerator. Before these came about, however, there was the original series, which ironically resulted from one of its creators failing to win an award.
Exploring the role of magic while juxtaposing it against science, A Certain Magical Index has continued to be an incredibly popular franchise to this day. Thankfully for anyone who's yet to get into it, the books and anime are both incredibly easy to get a hold of at this point. Here's what people should know about a certain magical anime series and its various permutations.
The Plot of A Certain Magical Index
The world of A Certain Magical Index is one in which supernatural powers and abilities are a common everyday element. These gifts are gained either through scientific means in the case of Espers or magical in the case of sorcerers. The protagonist is Toma Kamijo, a student at Academy City, a gigantic educational city-state in Japan.
Toma's powers allow him to cancel out the magic of others -- while also decreasing his own luck. He meets a nun named Index, who is imbued with the knowledge of over 100,000 forbidden magical books. Together, they become drawn into the growing conflicts between the various magical factions, all of whom seek to uncover the true history behind Academy City.
Where to Read A Certain Magical Index
A Certain Magical Index was created by Kazuma Kamachi and Kiyotaka Haimura, who began it as a series of light novels back in 2004. Running until 2011, this initial series had 22 volumes, as well as three short story collections. These were followed by a sequel series, A Certain Magical Index: New Testament, which lasted for 23 volumes, with a third series, titled Genesis Testament, beginning in 2020.
There's also a manga adaptation, which began in 2007 and so far has 26 volumes, along with a two-volume adaptation of the movie. So far, all but the latest two volumes of the manga have been brought to the West. Both book versions of the series can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. Only one of the newer short story collections, A Certain Magical Index SS, has been localized, however.
Where to Watch A Certain Magical Index
Beginning in 2008, the anime version of A Certain Magical Index was produced by J.C. Staff, which is known for shows such as Date a Live, Edens Zero and Shakugan no Shana. So far, the anime has continued all the way to a third season, which finished airing in 2019. All three seasons had 24 episodes except for the last one, which had a total of 26. This third season was actually going to reboot the story but instead continued from the previous episodes. 2013 also saw the release of A Certain Magical Index: The Movie – The Miracle of Endymion, a movie with an entirely original story by creator Kamachi.
Licensed in the West by Funimation, the A Certain Magical Index anime can be streamed through Funimation's streaming service, as well as Crunchyroll, VRV and Hulu. Funimation and Crunchyroll also stream the movie, so it's pretty easy to get into this magical anime series.