Synonyms: To Aru Majutsu no Kinsho Mokuroku, To Aru Majutsu no Index, A Certain Magic Index
Published: Apr 10, 2004 to Oct 10, 2010
Score: 8.681 (scored by 2071 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisSet in a city of not only scientifically advanced superhuman students, but in a world where magic is also real. Kamijyo Touma's right hand, the Imagine Breaker, will negate all magic, psychic, or divine powers, as well as his own luck. One day he finds a young girl hanging on his balcony railing. She turns out to be a nun from the Church of England, and her mind has been implanted with the Index Librorum Prohibitorum—all the magical texts the Church has removed from circulation.
Related MangaAdaptation: Toaru Majutsu no Index, Toaru Majutsu no Index II
Alternative version: Toaru Majutsu no Index
Sequel: Toaru Majutsu no Index: New Testament
Side story: Toaru Majutsu no Index SP, Toaru Majutsu no Index SS, Toaru Majutsu no Index SS: Necessarius Tokubetsu Hennyuu Shiken Hen, Toaru Majutsu no Index SS: Norse Mythology, Toaru Majutsu no Index: Endymion no Kiseki, Toaru Majutsu no Index: Road to Endymion, Toaru Majutsu no Index: Toaru Love Letter SS
Spin-off: Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator
Other: Toaru Majutsu no Indekkuchu, 4-koma Koushiki Anthology: Toaru Kagaku no Railgun x Toaru Majutsu no Index
- Just as an info - every volume of To aru Majutsu no Index is available for reading in english on baka-tsuki.
Review is a little long, since ive tried to write about everything you can expect to see here, without giving any major spoilers, that would affect your reading experience.
If you've already watched/read something with TaMnI universe, feel free to jump to the part marked as ---Storylines and pace of the novel---. If there are spoilers, they're mostly about early events in the novel.///
--- World shown in the light novel---
To aru Majutsu no Index is a light novel placed in alternative and surprisingly complex world written by a person under the pen-name Kamachi Kazuma. Many things, like names of the characters, places and even symbols are taken from the “real” world, so most of the time, typing characters names or places in wiki will lead you to a long wall of text about them. In the universe created by Kazuma, both supernatural powers, which people can be born with and/or develop them in special place called Academy City, and magic only usable by those, who aren’t gifted with superpowers and doesn’t develop their powers, coexists while balancing on the line. That line can easily start the war between both sides if it’s crossed. Superpowers can be described as a “natural” thing, but magic was created through religion, only as a countermeasure against those, so everyone who doesn’t have any hidden powers wouldn’t be overwhelmed by those who were lucky enough to have some powers to develop.
People, who has got some kinds of superpower, like being able to teleport, control electricity or even vectors, are all gathered in one place in the world – Academy City, and they’re called “espers”. Esper powers are ranked using measurement tests from time to time, from level 0(no supernatural powers) to level 5, that only 7 inhabitans of the city managed to reach. Academy City is separated from rest of the world with thick walls, so not everyone who wants to can enter it. In addition to being a place where people who has some potential supernatural powers can develop them further in special schools, it’s also a home to the most intelligent people from the world. Thanks to it being separated and filled with all those scientists, in the terms of technology, the city can be described as 30 years ahead of the rest of the world. Board of directors uses all available methods to keep the technology from leaning out from the city. Quite accurate picture of the future, city filled with windmills creating electricity, so it can exist independently. Advanced technology also leads to evil ideas, which has only one target: to move further in science. Human clones, experiments on espers, organizations working behind the scenes or even magicians hiding within the city, are just a little part of the “dark side” within the city, which most of students and teachers have no idea about.
When I’ve reached the point about things that are considered as a secret, it’s needed to say while everyone knows that people with supernatural powers exist, there aren’t many people, than knows about existence of magic, besides those already working on the magic side. Telling someone not connected with the side that magic, angels, and saints really exist, would just make him laugh. Some may take names of organization on the magic side as offensive, because those are closely tied with religion and their actions can’t be described as “holy”. Roman Catholic Church, Russian Orthodox Church and their branches like Neccesarius and Annihilatus are a few examples of the biggest organizations on the magic side. Military forces of these consist mostly of nuns with wide range of unusual weapons. Unusual weapons means few meters spears, explosive wooden wheels and even magical cards, you never know what to expect next from them. On top of these organizations are people with high status in Church, like bishops (women can be a bishop here) and pope. As the science side has strong espers, like those level 5 ones, the magic side has several people called saints and in certain circumstances magicians can even summon angel powers. But the most dangerous things that exists in the world of TaMnI are the books containing knowledge about magic, using one of these gives an immense power, but it often ends even with death of the one using it.
The fact that author of the ln explains everything regarding the characters, places and even abilities in a really detailed way, makes that complex world understandable and neither manga nor the anime can captivate everything from these over 7000 text pages.
That was just a short introduction to the world shown in the light novel, time to write about the actual story.///
Ive mentioned that grimoires are very dangerous books, but there is one girl with perfect memory that was able to remember 103.000 of them, or rather all these books were forcefully hammered into her brain. One could say it’s a living library containing knowledge about the magic. If someone were to be able to use these grimoires, he would have enough power to distort the world as he pleases. Of course, no one from the magic side would let a person who possesses all that knowledge live without using special and exceptionally violent means, like memory erase, making her unable to recall what she was doing in the last year or putting a barriers inside of her, so she can’t possibly use magic herself and all that has a one purpose – to keep grimoires from falling into the wrong hands. Through certain circumstances that nun called Index Librorum Prohibitorum while running away from magicians, lands on the balcony of a certain room within Academy City, where one of the level 0 espers, Kamijou Touma, lives. In his case calling him level 0 isn’t quite accurate, since his power can’t be measured. The power that allows him to neutralize any esper power, and not only, when he touches them with his right hand. Too bad for him, that by having this right hand he is the most unfortunate in the whole world, because it also reduces his luck in life to nothing. Things that are almost impossible to happen for normal people, like breaking a credit card by stepping on it, or maybe even having a nun hanging on his balcony, are everyday bread for him. So finding a futon in form of silver-haired sister hanging on his balcony is just considered as an another unfortunate event by him. After arguing about whether magic exists and destroying her nun clothes with the touch of his hand, they finally say goodbye and it seems that it’s the end of their acquaintance. To his surprise, when he comes back from school, he meets almost dead nun laying on the ground with a red haired magician that was chasing after her, standing in front of his room. Within one day he gets to know about the existence of magic and builds up a resolve to protect her after hearing the dangerous truth. Starting from this day he gets pushed into the middle of the world which he had no idea about and thanks to his mysterious power in the right hand, he is able to change a certain person’s fate and to survive while playing a key role in the events that are yet to come. ///
---Storylines and pace of the novel---
At first it seems that Kamijou Touma is the only male main character in the story, but later in the show, without counting many chapters where main characters aren’t even involved, there are 3 main plotlines going on next to each other after over the half of the currently released volumes. Probably the most significant one is the one about Kamijou and Index. This is the only one main plotline that is directly connected to events on the magic side from the start, but it still has a lot to do with the science side. The other two are definitely much “darker” and in most part are about events that happens behind the scenes on the science side. As the story goes on, these two gets more significant and at some point all three storylines takes place in the same place and same time, when the open war between science and religion finally starts.
From the female characters, there isn’t an individual storyline going like these mentioned above, but Misaka Mikoto, the 3rd ranked 5 level esper is also counted as a main character. She usually have a less or more important role in the storyline with Index. As an addition there is also a side story manga, where she is the protagonist of the story and it is sometimes connected to events in the light novel. While manga based on the TaMnI light novel isn’t the best, the Railgun side story is definitely worth a look.
About the pace of the story, as the story goes on, the events and people introduced in the novel have more significant roles on either magic and science sides. That doesn’t mean though, that the first volumes aren’t important story-wise, since most of them are connected with the events in the future and skipping some of them may result in “wtf’s”, while reading pages of the later ones. “May” is a proper word here, since Kamachi Kazuma writes in the way, that someone who would start from the middle of the story, would still be able to understand most of what’s going on and the characters that doesn’t appear too often are reintroduced, so the reader doesn’t need to go back or just be left with a part that he doesn’t understand.
At first the main action takes place only in within the Academy City, but later it also happens in other countries, like Italy, England or Russia. While first 11 volumes are mostly arcs that are covered by 1 volume each, the second half of the novel is one bigger arc, which finally moves to the very important events that have a huge effect on the balance in the world and both higher-ups from science and magic side are directly involved in it.
---Comedy, romance and ammount of these---
What also is needed to be said, there is quite a lot of comedy, a very good one between all the serious things. If i would need to describe it, it's mostly your everyday random funny scenes, occuring because the people aren't ideal and their ways of thinking differs. It's not ridiculously stupid and forced comedy, it's simple and funny - we get a lot of it between "bigger" and very serious events and not too much or too little of it. Just when you think "i want the plot to move forward already" you get that 5 pages later.
There are some light romance parts, but dont expect that these are one of the most important parts in the novel, since most of them goes together with comedy - if you want to see characters developing feelings for each other quickly, you will be disappointed. You will see these quite often, but nothing that can be considered a major relationship until the story goes much further. ///
That may seem a stupid way of naming a part of a review, but it is indeed something that needs to be said as a separate part. Namely, the novel can be read in different ways. You can just read it straight like a shounen-like manga or try to understand every aspect of it. Actually there is a lot of explanations like "how does vector control power work?", "how supersonic bombers can fly at 7000km/h?", "why did he survived?" and many, many others like that. It feels like you're reading some kind of scientific book sometimes. So what i exactly mean is, that you can try to understand every supernatural or invented by the author effect, because he wrote about everything very closely, or just focus more on the plot and dont pay big heed to these parts.
There are some parts, where dialog is 1/10 of the text and the rest is about how something happened, or what does the person thinks or feels. It can both be good or bad thing while reading something, but here it's the first option (good) - the way author of Tamni writes, builds up the tension and gives even more for your imagination to experience. So you see, there is actually a reason, why the anime series could cover so much material, without skipping many parts. It's really hard to show everything from LN in it's adaptation, since it mostly require gestures or even a narrator wouldn't be a bad decision for a very close adaptation:o ///
Writing that the most of the characters in TaMnI starts as the “bad guys” has some truth in it. At least that’s how we see them from protagonist’s point of view when he meets them, but on the closer look there aren’t any genuine evil characters in the novel. Everyone acts on their own beliefs and the basic concept is not to only defeat or sometimes kill your enemy, but also to change their way of thinking. It sounds a bit too lovely tho, because usually it takes a big shock or near-death situation to change someone and not every situation turns this way.
About all the supporting characters, there aren’t two characters that have the same personality. By the way of speaking, you can recognize most of the characters, since the more important ones usually like to add "their" lines sometimes. For example, Accelerator will walter very often and give a certain feeling that he is a badass guy in every aspect, othe character likes to often add word "super" to her sentences, just like that, many characters have their own way of talking and there isn't even a need to write who is talking.
Kamijou Touma – a lot was already said, but not much about the protagonist’s personality. He is of course one of those positive characters from the start. Later in the novel it’s clear that he is the kind of person that would jump into the fire for not only someone he cares about, but also for a stranger he just met, which together with his misfortune creates some unexpected happenings. The other two main male characters and their separated plotlines, are actually an effect of his actions. While he is quite good at fighting with his body, he doesn’t stand a chance when it comes to people who are trained in these aspects, but his right hand, which is able to deal with the powerful magic is often a key to win against the antagonists. Ultimate misfortune can sometimes be a blessings, but he is very cautions when it comes to something based on luck only. While I’m writing about all these “unlucky” parts, they’re mostly a comedy and being unlucky doesn’t mean the same as being clumsy. In terms of the actions he takes, he can be described as the perfect hero, that doesn’t hesitate to go forward. Someone later in the show describes him that he does what he thinks is right, instead of doing what is good, which is what people think based on his actions.
Index – despite her name being in the title, the most important roles for her are only at the beginning and the end of TaMnI first novel series, otherwise she is mostly there to connect the events in the novel and she herself as a person doesn’t have much role besides what I’ve already mentioned. People from the magic side usually occurs with her being their destination, or rather for the knowledge she possess and the one who usually has to deal with these problems is the one mentioned above her. Later in the show you'll see that there are people who also desire to protect her and they were in same situation as the protagonist, but she just forgot about them after her memory erase.
Misaka Mikoto – one of the seven strongest espers in the Academy City, she uses every kind of electricity as her power and is nicknamed “Railgun”, same as her special attack that uses coins and electricity. She is called “biribiri” which can be translated as a Shocker by Kamijou. After the 3rd volume, which is about her fight with Accelerator, that gives us some hints about her past(in Railgun manga the same part of the story is shown more from her view, than it is in the novel and it shows what happened before) she starts to have more important role in the story, than just being there to chase the protagonist with an intention to fight him, because she lost to him before. She is one of those positive characters from the start, besides her first appearance where she is trying to fry the protagonist. She started as level 1 and only thanks to her work she was able to reach level 5 reserved only for the strongest ones, despite being a 3rd strongest esper, she doesn’t take pride in it like the other ones does. Her DNA was taken for creating clones without her knowing about it, only for the purpose of being slaughtered in the process of creating level 6, which became her nightmare later and she was even ready to sacrifice herself to stop the experiment.
Accelerator – the strongest esper, ranked 1 within the Academy City. He is able to control any kind of vectors with his powers and is the antagonist in the 3rd volume, using Misaka clones as a test subject in the experiment of creating a level 6 esper(invincible). He plays one of the most important roles in the LN and even later keeps calling himself evil. Unlike the protagonist of the story, he doesn’t really care about strangers and doesn’t hesitate to kill someone. The level 6 experiment had more effect on his mentality than it had on Misaka, since he killed thousands of sisters just to hate himself for doing so.
Hamazura Shiage – the main character introduced the latest from the ones mentioned. Like Kamijou, he is level 0, but he doesn’t have any secret power, he is just an ordinary person working on behind the scenes in the one of organizations in the city. Like other level 0 espers that are members of Skill-Out, their target is to keep together and struggle on the dark side against those with power. Later, after the fight with Kamijou, he joins other organization and finds someone he wants to protect at all cost.
The only character from the main ones that belongs directly to the magic side is Index, but despite that, the novel isn’t 1/5 about the magic side and 4/5 about the science. Actually there are more chapters, where magic side is more important than the science one. ///
Illustrations in To aru Majutsu no Index are very well drawn, the draw style changes after first few volumes and then keeps the same. It’s almost the same like in the TaMnI anime, where some points that characters looks somewhat thin. Illustrations are usually placed when someone new is introduced or on the more important parts. Just like the writing style the author uses, the illustrations are meant to be viewed if you want to fully experience it.///
---Enjoyment & overall---
If I would need to tell which genders TaMnI belongs too, list would be quite long, since it’s in the sci-fi world that even includes magic in it. Besides serious events, there is a lot of good comedy and even some (mostly one-sided) romance. 24 volumes+2 volumes of the new series seems quite long, but despite it’s length it doesn’t get boring, bah, the truth is it actually gets better as the new characters are introduced and things gets really intense later in the novel.
I didn’t had any dilemma about the final score (Im right now at 22 volume) and even after saying it somewhere before, it needs to be pointed again – both anime and manga aren’t nearly as good as the TaMnI Light novel is and saying that they’re cut down version of the light novel has a lot of truth in it. If you’ve watched the anime, you’ll notice that even the dialogs that were shown in it, are slightly different and longer in the LN. About the side story – Railgun manga, I recommend reading it aswell, even if you’ve watched the anime. Since the manga is something more than filler about 4 cute girls, like the anime was.
Ratings for each part of the novel:
Comedy parts : 10
Story: 9 (8 for the first half, 10 for the rest strating with vol 13)
Character :9,5(i still feel that Index's role or at least past should be more significant, right now she is just a key needed to start new events in the novel series, besides that, no complains)
Light novel manages to deliver a lot of tension to the reader and the situations where life is at stake, really feels like that. Comedy parts are good to the extend, that i think the author could write a very good comedy novel or manga. You’ll love the characters as they’re able to throw away everything for someone’s else sake at some point and they change themselves after time, while keeping their own ways of thinking and talking. Everyone here, whether he can be described as evil or good, just does what he beliefs at the time.
But the thing that is the most impressive about the LN is the world created by Kamachi Kazuma, which is really huge and rich. It's probably the major factor why ive enjoyed this novel this much, the way it's build is thoroughly thought and with all those detailed descriptions it really becomes something great. With Kamijou Touma we get to see the magic side, and with Accelerator and Hamazura we go deep into the dark side behind the scenes.///
Some of my personal thoughts about reading it:
I thought at first that it's a damn lot to read, but when ive started i could actually read a full volume at one go and start reading the next one. Maybe nothing special, but reading on cellphone browser or other electronical thing isn't even a bit comfortable like reading a "paper" book. After these few thousand pages i am not even a bit bored while reading it and instead i enjoy it more and more, as i get further into the novel and everything is slowly exposed.
Big thanks to people who were translating Tamni at some point, you all did a great job. read more
STORY: story of To Aru Majutsu no Index is long and complex. While at first it will look like every volume is a completely different story with little to no relations to another, later on all plot threads will slowly be put together and you will be surprised just how far into the future the writer planned certain plot threads.
Also, expect a lot of Scientific Exposition and Religious (especially Christian) symbolism.
ART: with this being a Light Novel, there is not much to say about the art tough most of illustrations are pleasant to the eye.
CHARACTERS: there are many characters in TAMNI, ranging from overpowered Espers and Mages to weak so called "Level 0's", most of them being unique from one another.
There are three main characters in the story:
Kamijou Touma - THE main character of the story. While being labeled a "Level 0", his power is Negation of other supernatural powers with his right hands... tough as the story goes on it becomes more and more obvious that there is more to the power that meets the eye.
Kamijou Touma himself is an unlucky guy who always ends up being dragged into some kind of mess concerning the Dark Side of various factions and being a true Hero (tough he never will admit to be anything more but a common person) he always chooses to help the good guys.
For many characters, especially later on in the story, he is the ideal that inspires them. They see him as a hero and inspired by his deeds, they gain unfaltering wish to fight against what is not right and for former villains, he is the list at the end of the tunnel on their road to redemption.
And thats his main role in the story: not to be a developing character with inner fights (that is left for others) but to be the ideal hero.
Accelerator - the most powerful Esper in the world. His power is the ability to control all kinds of vectors.
He starts as a villain early on, with more then 10 000 deaths on his hands. After his conflict with Kamijou Touma, the story of his redemption starts.
While being a mass murderer, Accelerator believes that "Pieces of shit that fell into the Dark Side" should fight only one another and never try to mix the innocent people into their games. So when he meets a girl that is target of many darksiders, he becomes her personal guardian and falls further and further into the dark side where he pleases us by giving evil villains their due.
However a question remains: can a villain protect an innocent life that is targeted by so much evil in the world?
Hamazura Shiage - while Accelerator is the strongest Esper, Shiage is a "Level 0". At beginning he is a member of a Level 0 group called Skill Out, a group that seeks to protect other 0's from Espers... and at the same time bully the Espers. As such, from the very beginning he is a dark-sider.
When Kamijou Touma beats him up, he leaves the Skill Out and becomes a grunt worker for ITEM, a dark side 4-member organization that uses illegal methods for good of the Academy City... or more exactly, for the good of their greedy and immoral leaders. There, he helps get rid of corpses and such.
But like Accelerator, he also will find someone that he wants to protect. And soon he will become an enemy of the Academy City. Can a powerless person like him protect himself, the girl he loves... as well as his friends... from the evil of the world they belong to... an evil that has powerful technology and Espers that would make armed soldiers shiver in fear?
SETTING: the story happens in a world similar to ours... with some exceptions.
First, in Japan there is a place called Academy City. That city is part of Tokyo and it is around 20 years ahead in technology. Their technology will never cease to amaze you, especially since it is nicely explained how it works.
It is also a place where people with supernatural powers called Espers are created, raised and researched. There are many different powers and you will always look forward to seeing those Espers in battle.
However, there is a dark side to this organization... brutal experiments over children, immoral scientists, mass murders, Soviet-like secret organization... all existing in shadows of people who just seek to lead a normal life... and that dark side threatens to make many victims world-wide...
Second, Magic exists and the world is mainly ruled by Religious organizations that act behind the scenes. Unlike the Academy City, these factions follow religious ideas rather then scientific and the spells the mages use are filled with religious symbolism. As a Christian myself I am amazed at how well the writer researched religion and how well he made it all work in this story.
There are hundreds of magical organizations but three are the main ones:
Anglican Purist Church or more exactly Necessarius - their main goal is witch-hunt and control of mages throughout the world. For most of the story, Kamijou Touma is their ally.
Like Academy City, they have a dark side which is mainly felt through their leader and some of their actions. While they were not villains through TAMNI, there is a high possibility they will be in TAMNI's sequel: TAMNI: New Testament.
Roman Catholic Church - most powerful organization in the world, claiming to have 2 billion followers.
But that size is also their greatest enemy and their primary goal is to hold Status quo in the world and use all means necessary to not let the Catholic power plummet. And because of that desperation, the dark side is powerful here and thus Kamijou Touma finds himself to be their enemy in most cases, weakenign their dark side little by little.
God's Right Seat - part of the Roman Catholic Church's dark side... and teh faction that actually leads the Roman Catholic Church.
It consists of four members, every of them wielding power of one of God's Archangel's (Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel and Michael).
Their main goal tough is not to protect Catholic Church but to sit right to the God... which means to become equal to him. Their leader will do anything for that goal, even if it means sacrificing millions of lives...
ENJOYMENT: TAMNI is definitely an enjoying read. It has everything you may want: action, Slice of Life, comedy, moral questioning, great characters, intriguing storyline, well built world... if you give this a try, there is really a great chance you will enjoy it. read more
- Magic and Science are exist in both novels, with the only difference is that in MKNR both aspect are supporting each other, while in TAMNI they are just simply coexist.
- Protagonists from both novels are considered weak (both Tatsuya and Touma) by their respective society(Tatsuya for being unable to use magic properly and Touma for being unable to display any Esper power).And despite being weak, both of them possess unusual ability.
Related ClubsAcademy City, Aisa Himegami FC, Anime America Club, Awaki Musujime, Dengeki FC, Dere Girls Alliance, GROUP, GROUP, Hamazura Shiage Fan Club!, ITEM Fan Club, Kamijou Touma Fanclub, Kiyama Harumi Fanclub, Last Order x Accelerator Fanclub, Light Novel Club!, Misaka Mikoto Club, Misaka Mikoto"BiriBiri" Fanclub, Misaka WORST, Musujime Awaki, Please Separate Purists and Franchise Lovers!, Shizuri "Meltdowner" Mugino Fanclub, Stiyl "Fortis931" Magnus FC, Super-Powers Anime Club, Sweet Anime World (S.A.W.), The Anime Uber-Elitist Club, The FanClub of Yuichiro Jienotsu Nagashima, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun Fan Club, Toaru lovers, Toaru Majutsu no Index, Tsuchimikado Motoharu Fanclub, Ultimate Secret Brotherhood (U.S.B.) [Memorial Mode], Where to find...?
External LinksOfficial Site, MangaUpdates, Wikipedia