A Certain Magical Index is among the well-known light novels out there and I did my best to dodge it because it’s too famous for its own right to expect anyone reading my light novel reviews to not know it. More than the typical Japanese angsty high-schooler plot, A Certain Magical Index is a sci-fi fantasy that lets its readers enjoy a world lit by extraordinary characters both good and bad and overshadowed by a mystery looming, able to get anyone in its grasp.
A Certain Magical Index is penned by Kazuma Kamachi and has commanded quite the fandom during its anime adaptation by JC Staff. The story revolves around Kamijou Touma – an ordinary high-school student who studies in Academy City, a high-tech city that houses powerful students gifted with special “psychic” abilities and their studies of these students. Each student is ranked according to their gifts, a la X-Men’s Greek letter based level system. Touma is ranked as Level 0, the students with very weak or no talents whatsoever. However, Touma is normal, if not for the ability that revolves around his right hand: The Imagine Breaker – an ability that dispels any ability or supernatural phenomena, psychic or magical, at the expense of his luck being negated.
The cult following of A Certain Magical Index has allowed it to spawn spinoffs and tons of merchandise which were successful independent of the original story. Be it as it may, Index is a crazy story and a good combination of comedy, sci-fi and mystery all in one mix. All of its characters are likable and interesting, serving their purpose in every story arc and even beyond that. Villains can become anti-heroes and Touma is an overall badass. It’s easy to see why A Certain Magical Index has its fanbase.
The mysteries that Academy City holds within its walls are so great that the story digs a little bit deeper every volume, until we see that the beautiful technological city is swimming in political intrigue and cover-ups that make A Certain Magical Index beyond a simple high-school story. Every battle, every rebellion and every interaction lends to a story of revolt, forgotten friendships, intertwined pasts and questions that spawn more questions.
The character development of A Certain Magical Index’s cast is superb and Touma gets to string around the most determined comrades I’ve seen in a non-shonen story. What I truly enjoyed with the story is how events gravitated around Touma, even if he is an unwilling participant in each of them. He understands he is not as powerful as a girl who can command electricity or a guy who can control vectors, but he also knows that he needs to fight and protect the weak. He’s the type of self-righteous that is not annoying, because he understands that he is not a god amongst his peers and he’s still ready to protect others. A Certain Magical Index is not a simple story of friendships but the story of events converging towards a man who has forfeited his luck and is willing to go against the grain.