In the scientifically advanced Academy City, a miracle is about to occur: the completion of the world's first space elevator, "Endymion." Meanwhile, a certain high school student, Touma Kamijou, and his companion Index are going about their daily lives when they encounter and befriend Arisa Meigo, a cheerful and ambitious singer. When strange occurrences begin taking place throughout the city, they lead to the discovery of an intricate plot surrounding Arisa and Endymion. Things only get more complicated when the Stiyl Magnus appears, signifying that the magical world is somehow involved too...
So, do you believe in miracles? By miracle, I mean something that happens out of the extraordinary and takes you by complete yet pleasant surprise. This could be as simple as finding a one dollar bill on the ground when you need it the most or saving someone's life when they are just inches from death. Well, if miracles exist, then so should be hope right? Well, perhaps what fans could hope for is someday, that the Index or Railgun franchise would get a movie adaptation. Now, the time has come and it's here. From an action packed series of science and magic brings forth
a new experience in the form of film adaptation for the first time ever.
Toaru Majutsu no Index: Endymion no Kiseki (A Certain Magical Index: The Miracle of Endymion) is a film based off the franchise known as Toaru Majutsu no Index. (also known by its English name as A Certain Scientific Index) The film is designed as an side story in part of the Index franchise. As such, expect some of the supporting and main characters to make appearances with roles in this film. It is important to note that fans should already be somewhat familiar with at least season one of the Index series. Otherwise, the experience you get out of this film might not be as special as you'd hope for.
I had high expectations of the film and I am thankful to say that those were met. The film itself takes place in the same setting as the TV series, Academy City (sometimes referred to as the Experiment City) a sovereign city-state where technology are highly evolved. Among its cities' residents though are students and scientists whom the latter conducts research on psychics known as Espers. However, the film itself steps forth beyond just science but also crosses with the magic realm.
The timeline of the film is assumed to take place between the Remnant and Daihaseisai arc. (refer to the TV series for insight) But because the setting is at the location of Academy City, expect some advanced technologies to make it on screen. Take the Endymion for an example. Based on a name from Greek mythology, Endymion is a pivotal factor in this film as influences both the science and magic sides. It also serves as a symbol of pride for Academy City as well as an instrument of war for military purposes. The mysteries of this technology is revealed in the movie and fans can interpret its revelation in a variety of ways. It's more than just a space elevator, much much more. It's a new story to tell and hope to remember by.
No story can be complete without its characters. In this film, it is crafted from the basis of a new character named Meigo Arisa. As an upcoming rising star, she plays the role of a singer with both a gift and mystery regarding her origin. Although labeled as a level 0, her character is prominent especially when we learn about the influence she has according to a certain magician. Arisa's name also is literally translated as 'sound' so expect to hear quite a bit from her in the form of her songs. After all, it's the songs that attracts the other main characters like Touma and Index early on as well. It seems like fate has plans for them because Arisa does get a surprise regarding her singing talent. More importantly though, we also learn that there are also other people who wants her but for much contrasting reasons.
Among other characters that we might be familiar of includes Academy City's ranked #3 Railgun, the only and one Misaka Mikoto. Going by perhaps a more catchy name as BiriBiri (as nicknamed by Touma), she makes an electrifying appearance in the film with not just her skills but also in her outfit. Fans of the A Certain Scientific Railgun franchise might also be delighted to see her friends (Kuroko, Kazari, and Ruiko) make appearances as well. After all, friends have to stick together to bring miracles. On a more badass side, we also see an esper who is unmatched on the level 5 ranking charts.
Perhaps dream also are soaring high for Arisa because her inspiration to become a singer. There is no doubt that the girl has talent and it's why Index and Touma became entranced by her voice in the beginning. However, the reason others wants her are for more reasons than just talent. That talent isn't just singing but for purposes that crosses the lines between science and magic. For a particular girl on the magic side, it is her duty to protect Arisa. We see that later on, this girl represents a sense of miracle because a certain incident in the film. In fact, you might be somewhat surprised at what you'll yourself. Miracles comes in surprises and this film also brings in some surprises of its own.
So the film incorporates many other factors with its characters. There's a variety of them such espers, magicians, idols, immortals, witches, and wizards. All of them comes in a package as they display their powers to the audience. If that wasn't enough, there's a sense of mystery. Obviously, all eyes are on Arisa as she is a person of high interest. There's many questions going on regarding her origins and why she is so important. There's also a sort of metaphor with her Arisa's character going on as her singing represents inspiration and hope. We hear it like just music but behind those lyrics is a girl who is selfless with a big dream.
Like its original predecessors, the film also adapts some of its more humorous moments. In fact, Arisa shares a similarity with Index that could cost quite a budget out of anyone's wallet. Then, there's Kuroko who retains her fantasies and awe to her onee-sama, Misaka Mikoto. If bad luck hits home, then Touma's name is written all over it. There's the gimmicky and cliched moments where Touma gets himself in compromising positions as well. This should be nothing new though considering the result of a double edged sword from his Imagine Breaker.
Action wise, the film maintains a solid formation with its fighting scenes. There's intensity from both the science and magic side. Flames are expected in the forms of magic while there's also electrifying sparks flying in the air from Biribiri. As both magic and science side clashes, there's that sense of both fear and antagonism regarding our new uprising idol – Arisa. However, also expect fan service. Unfortunately, the film doesn't omit these factors after shower scenes. There's also reused character designs in the form of lolis as Kamachi often spotlights them on the screen. That is hardly refreshing. Anyone familiar with the Railgun manga or Index novels will instantly realize this. Those who have been following the animated Railgun series recently will also find a similar pattern. Lastly, there's some main characters who doesn't seem to get the spotlight they deserve. In fact, they seem to be more in the background as supporting characters. I'm referring to a certain albino boy that is famously known for a certain experiment in Academy City. As a fan of his character, there's some disappointment that hit me home.
As this product is set on a theatrical screen, expect cinematic animation. Most noticeably, this film is performed with vertical resolution complete in concrete details. Therefore, expect more focus on backgrounds and details at many various scenes that are can be noticeable. The adaptation of Academy City is also presented with strong artistic values to reflect its scientific structures. Arisa's character design gives her an outlook that fuses between an ordinary girl with pink hair and an idol singer with her flashy outfit. Other new characters gives off their magical look like the witches hat and trooper like outlook. The way most of the movie is shown reflects on the animation of scientific and magical values. Clearly, this movie should be watched under at least 720P or higher to get a full pleasant experience.
Because a good portion of the movie focuses on Arisa, she is the star and coming with her is that magnificent voice. Her voice performs a variety of songs with various purposes. I give praise to Sachika Misawa for her role as Arisa. Not only does she voice her character but also the various songs performed in the film that clearly shows her talent in the music industry. As an upcoming idol in the fictional world of Index though, there's also a sense of miracle in her voice. It seems to inspire hope/miracle and Arisa's songs presents that. The OST remains consistent during battle scenes and those where comedy pops out in the open.
I don't entirely believe in miracles because not everything happens at that moment when you want it to. However, I got what I wanted and that's an enjoyable experience from Toaru Majutsu no Index: Endymion no Kiseki. The Toaru Majutsu no Index franchise is already massively successful with its spawn of the spinoff, Railgun. Similar results also can be traced for this movie through some statistical figures with its premiere. Of course, statistics aren't what determines your judgement of this film. Still, do give this a movie a try especially if you're a fan of the Raildex franchise.
This movie itself establishes the line when both science and magic worlds clashes. When that line is crossed, you'd expect struggle and conflict. From that, there comes miracles.
Despite its immense popularity in Japan and abroad, the Index series in general has always been wishy-washy (my honest opinion). Sure, there's a running plot with a somewhat interesting ensemble of main characters, but it has plenty of flaws too - too many convoluted terms that are unexplained or mentioned once and quickly forgotten about, an utter lack of character development, and so on.
This movie - Toaru Majutsu no Index: Endymion no Kiseki - continues to extrapolate these same exact flaws, and in addition to that, adds some serious inconsistent plot elements that are both glaring and ridiculous.
off with the positives for once. Compared to the original Index series (which, I would recommend watching first before watching the movie, just to get a sense of what is going on), the artwork has vastly improved. The artwork and animation is crisp, fresh, and light. You can just tell from the first few frames that a lot of effort was put into this movie, and for that I am thankful. But there is just plenty of inconsistencies that utterly destroys J.C.Staff's (& co) hard work and washes everything down the drain.
First off, the plot inconsistencies. Despite having a clear goal in mind, the Endymion movie takes more of a meandering path to get to its destination. In doing so, it introduces many new plot elements that were not present in the original series and does so in a terrible fashion. I would recommend watching the Endymion special if you get the chance - even J.C.Staff points out a lot of the plot points that I have a problem with (in a comedic fashion, too) - but I'll just briefly mention a couple: Kanzaki in space. The three midgets plus Stiyl fighting against Touma and crew. Who are these three individuals? Why are they important in the story? What is their purpose, and why did the writers feel a need to introduce them at all?
I mean, seriously, what is even going on?
Second, the characters. Arisa and Shutaura are clearly the stars of this movie and fortunately they get plenty of screen time. They meet the main characters, learn about them, and grow as individuals. Could their development been flushed out a little more? Yes. Could their relationship be more clearly explained besides trying to shovel everything together in the latter half of the movie? Yes, but it is satisfactory, so I'll just leave it at that.
The main problem I have with this movie regarding the characters is that plenty of characters appear in this movie. You have plenty of characters from the Index series showing up, and also some others from the Railgun spin-off series. But here's the catch: they don't really serve any purpose except to serve the fans and/or make the plot interesting. Of course everybody would complain if Accelerator never shows up, but his transitioning into the movie is both (1) rushed and (2) doesn't really serve a particular purpose except for one particular thing (I can't spoil everything for you, ok?). And that's it. Otherwise from that, if you removed him completely from the picture, the story could have just proceeded fine.
One final thing that I will briefly mention and did like, however, was how the theme of "miracles" was decently integrated throughout the plot. It showed up throughout the movie over and over, and is well-incorporated through both symbolism and the dialogue among the characters. Hell, the entire space station structure is symbolic in itself, but you'll need to put a critical lens on to see just how it is related to the entire concept of "miracles."
Overall, a lackluster story with a little bit of development and some thematic material, but it is weak as a whole. Some of the sound elements were clearly borrowed from the other two Index series. Would have gotten a 3 by my rubric if it weren't for those two big glaring errors.
- Crisp, crisp, crisp art. So crisp. Probably some of the most improved artwork I've seen over a stretch of a series.
- Well-incorporated theme
- Plotline that was (relatively) easy to follow, even for the average viewer; but I would recommend watching the other Index series first just to make sure you don't get lost in everything
- Many of the characters are still one-dimensional, but there is SOME development.
- Many characters were rushed into the movie and don't hold any real significance except to please viewers
One thing I always find great about movies based off of series isn't just more of what I like, but to see how the company handles it, so with J.C. Staff holding the reigns I had expectations and those expectations were surprisingly met. The production value truly shows with Toaru Majutsu no Index: Endymion no Kiseki when it came to top-notch visuals, soundtrack and even though it wasn't as good as it could be, the plot wasn't too bad itself. It seems this movie has had a better share of miracles instead of misfortune.
The plot is something I've always been
skeptical on when it comes to movies from more popular series like Index, Bleach, FMA, etc. I always feels it's more like a way to show off some snazy visuals with a mediocre story(Not for all movies of course) and cash-in, but Toaru Majutsu no Index: Endymion no Kiseki did manage to deliver a slightly better than average story, only slightly though. It follows the main set-up of our favorite Certain Magical Girl Puncher(I kid) Touma, Index, and a new girl Arisa whom sure enough is a mysterious girl with some sort of power that creates friction between the Science and Magic faction with Touma being the guy right in the middle of it. While seemingly standard there are twists to keep you interested enough to keep watching. The main problem after watching the movie I had though was I was left with plenty of questions and not many answers, so while the plot had its advantages in some areas, it lacked in others. That being said though, I was satisfied with what I was given, could they have gone further with it? Sure. Did it lessen my viewing pleasures? Not at all.
This is what I was looking out for in this movie. One thing I know these companies love to do is make spectacular visuals for movies compared to what has been made before for the series and it was spectacular. The fight scenes, scenery, animation, everything was top-notch and very appealing to the eyes. They had put a lot of time and money into the visuals and it paid off very well and it will leave you amazed.
The soundtrack was another fantastic aspect of the film. I had expected some nice Background music here and there, but it looks like they went all out and even gave our main girl Arisa, a stage with plenty of songs to sing for us. The songs are done professionally, leaving me baffled as when you're watching the songs being sung by her on stage, along with the visuals, it truly felt like a concert.
The characters are probably the most important aspect of this movie. We see plenty of familiar faces aside from our main cast, Saten, Misaka, Accelerator, Last Order and so-on, but are introduced to plenty of new ones as well. While I enjoyed seeing so many of these characters, the problem was trying to fit so many in the time-frame the movie had. While we are familiar with our cast, the new characters are left to be desired and even a few seem to just be there to be more fan-service than anything. There was no real development with characters, just plenty of interactions and the most that did take place was between Arisa and Shutaura, while Touma of course helped them along the way. Now was this bad? No, we know our cast already of course, so it wasn't as much of a problem, but when it came down to the new characters and even antagonist, they were really shallow characters with not much of a story to go with them.
The movie was weak in some areas, but it succeeded in others. While I still feel a bit confused and have questions, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. The jaw-dropping visuals, amazing soundtrack and all let me momentarily forget about my questions and just savor the movie. It was a real treat and probably will be for anyone else that's a fan of the series.
Even though Toaru Majutsu no Index: Endymion no Kiseki had its flaws, I sure as hell was entertained. The cameo appearances from several characters, music, stunning visuals when it came to the battles, background and such, were all just superb. The only thing holding it back from being great is the un-answered questions it left and the shallow characters, but Touma, Misaka and the gang made that up as I enjoyed every second of seeing them on screen. It's not the best movie, but it is pretty good and I recommend if you're a fan of the Index or Railgun series to check it out or have misfortune befall you!
It would take a miracle to save this movie from mediocrity.
As always, my reviews are spoiler free.
Before I am burned at the stake for criticizing this movie, please hear me out. I want to say that I am a big fan of Raildex. That’s why I was excited about this movie, and that’s why I feel so let down. That perfect blend of action, comedy, and likable characters that makes Index and Railgun so popular just wasn’t present here, and even JC Staff knew that. It becomes evident quickly, which is why they have… compensated in certain ways.
Anyway, let’s get down to business.
Story - 5/10
I was drawn in by the story’s premise, which was the typical Raildex fare; Touma & company encounter a mysterious girl named Arisa, whose singing captivates those around her and seems to have the ability to make miracles happen. She just wants to live a normal life, and loves singing because she has a genuine desire to please others. Of course, there is more to this girl than meets the eye, and a battle soon erupts between the various factions of Academy City to control her miraculous singing.
I keep using the word “miracle,” and the anime does as well. In fact, the entire movie is based around them, beginning with a spaceplane crash during which all 88 passengers and crew survive. This becomes known as the Miracle of 88, and the entire plot stems from it; the villains, opposing characters’ motivations, and Arisa’s past are all linked to this event.
This premise of miracles is fine. So where does it go wrong?
JC Staff wanted to please the fans, of course. They wanted to make sure everyone’s favorite character had some screen time. This leads to a disjointed mess of scenes, utterly destroying the fluidity of the plot for the convenience of uniting everyone against a common enemy (who is woefully underdeveloped, I might add). The word “convenient” is not quite adequate for the level of plot events that occurr to string the story along. The story climaxes with about 10 minutes of the movie remaining, and the viewer is suddenly blasted with plot points in a last ditch effort to try to tie things up. The ending was painfully forced.
It was not that JC Staff didn’t have time to tell their story. In fact, if they had chosen to cut out some of the needless character appearances and pure-fanservice scenes, things could have been very different. So, my score comes out to an “average” 5, with a good premise but bad execution.
Animation - 6/10
When I watch an anime movie, I generally have high expectations for the animation. After all, with only about 1.5 hours of video, they should be able to make it look better than the average series, or the series it was based on. However, that is not the case with this Index movie. It looked no better than an average episode of the newest Railgun S episodes, and includes some terrible CG scenes. Otherwise, expect the exact same level of animation quality you would get with an episode of a full Raildex series.
I mentioned how JC Staff decided to compensate for the iffy plot points earlier. They do this by putting an excessive level of fanservice in the movie. You name it: panty shots, bouncing breasts, girls falling onto Touma, lengthy bath scenes, walking in on naked girls, girls wearing skin-tight body suits, girls NOT wearing skin-tight body suits, the entire Railgun cast in tiny skirts… I could go on. And some of this comes at the expense of plot. Thanks JC Staff, for using 10 minutes of the movie showing me a bath scene rather than giving me an ending. I appreciate it.
Sound - 7/10
With the main guest character being a singer, it’s expected that there would be a number of new insert songs, and they are, in general, good. There is always mood-matching music, the voice actors/actresses do well, and the concert scenes are nice when you aren't looking at the terrifying CG.
Characters - 7/10
Did you like the cast of Index? How about the cast of Railgun? Well don’t worry, absolutely every single one of them is here, whether it makes sense or not. I ranted plenty about that earlier, so I won’t repeat myself.
All the recurring characters do their normal things; Touma sees a naked girl and gets bitten by Index, Kuroko molests Misaka, Misaka gets angry and independent, Accelerator is a sarcastic dick, etc. We get three main guests for this movie. I can’t go into much without revealing major spoilers, but here they are: Arisa, the heroine, has a good backstory is quite likable. She is an upcoming singer who various factions fight over for her mysterious singing power, and Touma protects her. Shutaura Sequenzia is one of the people attempting to capture her for reasons relating to the Miracle of 88. She has a good backstory, but it’s entirely spoilers. What I can say is that she likes wearing latex, except when she’s naked or in her underwear. The villain, an immortal gothic loli, could have been interesting if she was given development, but that fell by the wayside in favor of showing more characters’ skin.
Two of three main guests were quite good, but the villain left something to be desired.
Enjoyment - 4/10
I’ve touched on it all before. A good premise and guest cast can’t be seen through due to fanservice and a need to get every character on screen. Its action scenes were not up to my expectations, and I was left disappointed. It’s worth watching if you are a fan of Raildex, but don’t bother if you are expecting something revolutionary or even very good. But hey, Touma punches a girl in the face and screams "Such misfortune!", so how bad can it be?
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