Toaru Majutsu no Index (とある魔術の禁書目録（インデックス） Toaru Majutsu no Indekkusu?) translated as A Certain Magical Index of Prohibited Books and shortened to A Certain Magical Index, is a Japanese light novel series written by Kazuma Kamachi and illustrated by Kiyotaka Haimura; the series is published by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko imprint. The series was made into a manga, beginning serialization in May 2007, and a 24-episode anime which aired between October 2008 and March 2009. A second season of the anime was announced and began airing in Japan on October 8, 2010. A side story manga series, A Certain Scientific Railgun (とある科学の超電磁砲（レールガン） Toaru Kagaku no Rērugan?), began serialization in March 2007 and was later adapted into a 24-episode anime, which aired from October 2009 to March 2010 in Japan. An original video animation episode of Railgun was released on October 29, 2010. Funimation Entertainment has licensed the first anime season of Index and Railgun. Seven Seas Entertainment will begin releasing the Railgun manga in June 2011.
Plot and characters
Toaru Majutsu no Index is set in Academy City, a technologically advanced Academic city located at western Tokyo which studies scientifically advanced superhuman students with powers, but is also set in a world where magic is real. Tōma Kamijō is a student in Academy City whose right hand, the Imagine Breaker, has the ability to negate all magic and psychic powers, but also his own luck. One day he finds a young girl hanging on his balcony railing named Index. She is a nun from Necessarius, a secret magic branch of the Church of England, and her mind has been implanted with the Index Librorum Prohibitorum—103,000 forbidden magical books the Church has removed from circulation. His encounter with her leads him to meet others from the secret world of science and magic and an adventure with his friends where science and magic collide. Tōma's unusual power places him at the center of conflicts relating magicians and science-based espers in Academy City. As Tōma tries to help and protect his friends, he learns the people he knows are not as they appear and begins to attract the attention of magicians and espers alike as they try to unravel the secrets of Academy City and Index.
The side-story, A Certain Scientific Railgun, focuses on Mikoto Misaka, an electromaster who is the third most powerful of the seven Level 5 espers in Academy City. Set before and during the events of the novels, the manga tells the adventures of Mikoto and her friends during that time period from their point of view, eventually coinciding with the events of the third novel.
- Espers/Power Users (超能力者 Chōnōryoku-sha?)
- Also known as psychics or espers, they are people who can use psychic powers or supernatural powers. Most power users are born with supernatural powers while others are ordinary people who have the potential to develop them; participating in Academy City's Power Curriculum Program is one means of developing psychic powers for ordinary people with potential. Most power users are able to use their powers just by thinking. They are able to use magic, but due to their natural powers, they suffer extreme damage to their body if they do so.
- Magicians/Magic Users (魔術師 Majutsu-shi?)
- Magic was created by people who wanted to have powers just like their psychic counterparts. Although magic was designed so that most ordinary people can learn and use it, regardless of what type of magic it is, people with psychic powers are unable to use it without suffering severe injury. Likewise, magicians cannot use psychic powers without grievous harm. Once a path is chosen, one is stuck on it. European sorcerers have a magical name, which is a combination of Latin and a numerical code which serves as a power limiter as saying their magical name to their opponents will unlock their full powers.
- Grimoire (魔道書 Madō Sho?)
- A grimoire is a book containing knowledge about magic that is harmful even to those that are trained to handle them. The knowledge is "poisonous" in the sense that it is too "pure" for the human mind to handle and must be "watered down"- i.e. written in such a way that many of its meanings are obscured - in order for people to be able to read it without their minds being destroyed. Even then, it can severely damage a person's mind if not properly handled. Grimoires often contain powerful spells or magic and can be very dangerous. Many Christian magic organizations like Necessarius were set up to prevent grimoires from spreading in the first place.
- A grimoire is practically "eternal" in the sense that it cannot be destroyed with current human methods, and can only be sealed away. It absorbs natural mana from the Earth itself, in addition to the minuscule mana magicians release unconsciously, to keep functioning. According to Orsola Aquinas, the only theoretically known way to destroy a grimoire is to write data that will force it to destroy itself into it, though Imagine Breaker may have the ability to destroy them.
- A grimoire also has a "mind" of its own, seeking out suitable owners that can spread its knowledge and improving itself by letting its owners add more knowledge into the grimoire. If the grimoire judges its current owner to be unsuitable, it will kill him/her and seek out the next one. A grimoire doesn't have to be in the shape of a book- for example, Aztec grimoires are written on animal skins and stone tablets, and Oriana Thomson's grimoires are written on disposable flashcards, which allows her to use many different kinds of magic, with the drawbacks that it cannot cast the same spell twice and its instability makes it destroy itself after a few weeks.
- Only those able to handle a high number of grimoires have the potential to become Gods of Magic (魔界の神 Makai no Kami?, Gods of the Demon Realm), whose magical power has reached the level of divinity and can bend all natural laws. So far, only two powerful magicians - Index and Ollerus - have shown such a level of talent.
- Power Curriculum Program
- The Academy's City Power Curriculum Program is a large-scale program designed to advance a person's psychic or supernatural powers. The program is a series of tests, studies, lectures, medicines, body simulations and hypnosis used to unlock a person's powers. Most students are Level 0, normal people with no powers, but may have the potential to develop powers and are encouraged to participate in the program to help them train or acquire their powers artificially. While most students fail the program as they never had powers to begin with or failed to increase their power, some are able to advance theirs powers from Level 0 to Level 1 and possibly further. One of the program's success stories is Mikoto Misaka, as she started from Level 1 and worked her way up to Level 5; she is a proof that with enough hard work and determination, anyone can become a powerful psychic.
- However, unknown to the public there is a dark side to this program. Some of the scientists who research psychic powers try to increase a person's powers - especially those with unique powers - using other unethical methods, including dangerous drugs and experiments. Some of these methods achieve their desired results, while others fail with trauma or injury to the participant or, in the worst cases, death. In fact, some of the most powerful psychics in Academy City are the result of these dark programs. It is revealed that the board of directors of the city are aware of these experiments, but choose to turn a blind eye to them, and in some cases even officially approve them as they allow those scientists to do what they want to do as long as the public does not know and it has achieved its desired result.
- Psychic Rank
- Every psychic has a rank that determines how powerful their powers are and how much they can control it. There are six levels, with level 0 being the lowest for no powers or having passive powers with no control over them. Those at level 1 have realized what their powers are and are learning how to control them, despite using a small amount of power. The users train to use their powers more under the Power Curriculum Program, and their level ranks can increase based on how much their control and use of their powers have progressed. There are no known level 6 psychics as according to the Super Computer Tree Diagram, it would take about 200 years for someone to achieve it under the Power Curriculum Program. As a result, Level 5 is currently the highest level. There are seven known level 5 psychics, but only six have been disclosed in the series so far.
- SYSTEM (システム Shisutemu?)
- The ultimate goal of Academy City's research. It is the code name for "The one who Arrives at the Meaning of God while in the Body of a Mortal" (神ならぬ身にて天上の意思に辿り着くもの Kami naranu Mi nite Tenjō no Ishi ni Tadoritsuku Mono?). It was mentioned by Komoe Tsukuyomi in volume 3 of the light novels while explaining what the esper development program was to Index and Aisa Himegami. As a normal person cannot understand God's will, SYSTEM's purpose is to create something beyond a Level 5. The SYSTEM theory is similar to the Magic's Qabalah theory, which states that the heavens are not described on the Tree of Life, Sephiroth, even though entities such as humans and angels are clearly described. As a result of this, various magic factions theorize if ordinary humans are unable to comprehend the will of God, then they only have to obtain a body that's beyond humanity. Those factions' theory is that humans are actually immature gods that have the potential to ascend to a divine existence and obtain God's power, with enough time and training. The theory behind it is 'to purify the murky, lead-like soul of a human into a pure golden soul of an angel'.
- The reason both the SYSTEM Theory and Qabalah Theory are similar is because the former was created by the founder of Academy City, Aleister Crowley, a former magician. While both theories are similar, the former uses science while the later uses magic to achieve the desire result. However, some Academy City scientists would go to extreme lengths with this theory, such as as the 'Level 6 Shift' project and SYSTEM projects, which both cost human lives.
- AIM (An Involuntary Movement) (無自覚 Mujikaku?)
- An invisible energy field that espers involuntarily produce. AIM is very hard to detect without special equipment and the closest thing to seeing AIM with the naked eye is Accelerator's power; Accelerator's body is surrounded by a thin invisible shield of AIM which allows him to control vectors. AIM is very important as the more an esper emits AIM, the more powerful his/her Power Levels are. AIM is also the reason why espers cannot use magic because AIM causes a negative reaction when it mixes with magic which explains why an esper's body gets hurt when using magic. The reverse is also true for magicians if they enter an area with a very high concentration of AIM, a feat that can only be achieved under certain circumstances.
- Imaginary Number District (虚数学区 Kyosūgakku?)
- The "Imaginary Number District" is another plane of existence that exists within Academy City, created by the mass of AIM fields emitting from the thousands of espers within Academy City's walls. This plane houses Hyōka Kazakiri, an "artifical angel" also created by the mixing of AIM fields, when she is not physically present. This realm, which exists outside of our own, is not viewable or detectable by ordinary humans as they cannot feel or see AIM. Those within this plane of existence are able to view ordinary people outside of the realm but cannot interact with them in any way, whether it be through touch or talking. This realm has been said to be key in Aleister's plans to create an "Artificial Heaven", or a gigantic mass of AIM fields, that extends throughout the entire world.
- Imagine Breaker (幻想殺し Gensō Goroshi?)
- Imagine Breaker is the name of Tōma's ability, which manifests in his right arm. It holds the ability to negate all supernatural powers, including the effects of psychic, magic, and divine powers. It has been speculated by Index that in addition to negating supernatural powers it also negates all of God's blessings, which is supposedly why Tōma has such a bad luck streak. The true origins of Imagine Breaker are only known by a few, and those who do know have stated it is of divine origin. Fiamma of the Right, leader of God's Right Seat, has stated that it is the "Holy Right" used by Archangel Michael to seal away 'The Envoy of Light', Lucifer, for a thousand years and also holds the power of "Miracles", being able to erase the "Original Sin". Terra of the Left, another member of God's Right Seat, has also hinted that Imagine Breaker's full capability has not been unlocked yet and stated that when it is it will extend to Tōma's whole body and beyond.
- La Persona Superiore a Dio (神上 Kamijō?)
- Italian for "The Person Superior to God". The purpose of God's Right Seat is to achieve this status and is stated as being the highest form of existence in the Toaru Majutsu no Index series. It is stated that Lucifer once tried to achieve this position after sitting at God's Right Seat, which symbolizes equality with God in Christian doctrine, but was defeated and banished to Hell by Archangel Michael, who now holds the position of God's Right Seat in Lucifer's place. It has been stated that Tōma's power, Imagine Breaker, is the most important part in achieving this status as it is able to erase the "Original Sin", which was eating the "Fruit of Wisdom". It has also been noted by Kaori Kanzaki and all members of God's Right Seat that Tōma's last name, "Kamijō", holds the same meaning as "La Persona Superiore a Dio" when translated into Japanese.
- Angels (天使 Tenshi?)
- In Toaru Majutsu no Index, the term "Angel" refers to beings of either divine origin, such as the Archangels Gabriel and Michael of Christian doctrine, or artificial existences consisting of masses of highly concentrated AIM fields built-up from the thousands of espers within Academy City. One example of an "artificial angel" is Fuze Kazakiri, the "artificial angel form" of Hyōka, an existence that manifested from the mixing of AIM fields throughout Academy City and resides in the "Imaginary Number District" when not physically manifested. Angels, both divine and artificial, have been described as possessing halos above their heads and various forms of wings manifesting from their backs, as well as speaking in a language that sounds like high-pitched gibberish to normal humans. Aiwass, the entity that Aleister Crowley supposedly summoned and the true author of the "Book of the Law", has also shown the characteristics of an Angel, possessing a halo above its head and a divine form. Accelerator and Kakine Teitoku, the two most powerful espers within Academy City, have also shown the characteristics of angels when in their "Awakened" forms, developing wings against their backs and, in Accelerator's case, speaking in the language of the Angels when in extremely tense situations. In order to be "summoned" or take a physical form on Earth, Angels must have a medium, or "core", to keep them bound to the Earth. Likewise, if the core that binds them is destroyed their physical form will leave the Earth.
- Angels are immensely powerful beings and have been referred to as the most volatile existences in the Toaru Majutsu no Index series. Archangel Gabriel has been shown to possess the ability to manipulate any celestial body through the use of "Astral in Hand", allowing it to immediately block the sun by speeding up Earth's rotation. Fuze Kazakiri, an existence that is considered considerably less powerful than an a Christian archangel, has displayed the ability to fire beams of energy that can reach several kilometers in length, project an AIM barrier that protects all those around her, flying at supersonic speeds and manifest a powerful energy sword.
- "Awakening" is the term used to refer to the evolution of high level espers. Its true meaning is unknown, but so far two characters have been confirmed to have "awakened", Accelerator and Kakine, the two strongest espers within Academy City. When in their "awakened" form, both Accelrator and Kakine grow "wings".
- Aleister has stated that "Awakening" is an important step in getting evolve into a Level 6, a being with power equivalent to God. It has been stated that not just anyone can "awaken" and only a few can achieve this status. Besides Accelerator and Kakine, it is hinted that Tōma also has the potential to "awaken", although it is unknown unclear whether it means the Imagine Breaker, Tōma himself, or both.
The light novels have been published by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko label since April 10, 2004. As of October 10, 2010, 22 main novels and two collections of short stories have been published.
A drama CD was released as a mail-in order of Dengeki hp volume 48 and was released later in November 2007. There are two parts of story, the first part originally aired as a radio drama in Dengeki Taishō starts with an encounter with mysterious self-proclaimed "former" magician by Tōma Kamijō and Index in the family restaurant after Misaka decides to go back due to urgent business. The second part involves around Mikoto Misaka and Kuroko Shirai with their "urgent business", and a duel request by a Level 3 Psychic girl from Tokiwadai.
The series has been adapted into two manga series. The one based on the novels is illustrated by Chuya Kogino and started serialization in the May 2007 issue of Square Enix's Monthly Shōnen Gangan. The first tankōbon volume was released on November 10, 2007 and as of November 26, 2010, seven volumes have been published. Even though the manga follows the novel's storyline, it skips the events of the second and fourth novels.
A spin-off manga titled A Certain Scientific Railgun (とある科学の超電磁砲 Toaru Kagaku no Rērugan?) is illustrated by Motoi Fuyukawa and started serialization in the April 2007 issue of ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Daioh. The story tells of the events of Mikoto Misaka and her friends before and during the time of the novels. The first volume was released on November 10, 2007 and as of June 26, 2010, five volumes have been published. North American publisher Seven Seas Entertainment announced that they will publish the first volume of the Railgun manga in June 2011.
A 24-episode anime adaptation of Toaru Majutsu no Index was produced by J.C.Staff and directed by Hiroshi Nishikiori, and aired in Japan from October 4, 2008 to March 19, 2009. The anime was collected into eight DVD and Blu-ray Disc sets which were released from January 23 to August 21, 2009. In addition, two mini bonus episodes depicting Index super deformed, titled Toaru Majutsu no Index-tan, were bundled with limited edition copies of the first and fifth DVDs. The anime covered the first six novels in the series. A second season, titled Toaru Majutsu no Index II, began airing on October 8, 2010, and will also be streamed on Nico Nico Douga. A bonus episode will be included with early pre-orders for the first BD/DVD volume of Index II to be released on January 26, 2011. The limited edition version of the first volume will also contain a Toaru Kagaku no Railgun mini-novel.
An anime adaptation of the spin-off manga series A Certain Scientific Railgun was also produced by J.C.Staff and directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai, and aired in Japan from October 3, 2009 to March 20, 2010. The anime was collected into eight DVD and Blu-ray Disc sets which were released from January 29 to August 27, 2010. In addition, a short story series starring Kaori Kanzaki, titled Toaru Majutsu no Index: Kanzaki SS, was bundled with every DVD release of Railgun. An original video animation episode of Railgun was released on October 29, 2010. At Anime Expo 2010, North American anime distributor Funimation Entertainment announced that they had acquired licenses for both TV series to be released in 2011.
The world of Toaru Majutsu no Index is featured in the video game Dengeki Gakuen RPG: Cross of Venus for the Nintendo DS. Index appears as a support character, while Mikoto is a playable character which can be made accessible through playing the game and Accelerator is featured as a boss. A fighting game titled Toaru Majutsu no Index, developed by Kadokawa Games and published by ASCII Media Works for the PlayStation Portable (PSP), will be released on January 27, 2011. A video game based on A Certain Scientific Railgun for the PSP will be released on April 28, 2011.
Weiß-Schwarz has adapted Index and Railgun into a playable/collectible card game. An official visual book of A Certain Scientific Railgun was released on July 24, 2010, bundled with a DVD containing a five-minute bonus episode.
Maiko Iuchi of I've Sound was in charge of the music in the Toaru Mujutsu no Index anime. Four pieces of theme music are used for the episodes: two opening themes and two ending themes. The first opening theme is "PSI-Missing" by Mami Kawada, and was used for the first sixteen episodes during the television broadcast, but was changed to the first fourteen episodes in the DVD releases. The second is "Masterpiece" by Mami Kawada, and is used in the subsequent episodes. The first ending theme is "Rimless (Fuchinashi no Sekai)" (Rimless 〜フチナシノセカイ〜?, lit. "Rimless (Rimless World)") by Iku, and is used for the first nineteen episodes. The second is "Chikaigoto (Sukoshi Dake Mō Ichido)" (誓い言 ～スコシだけもう一度～?, lit. "Oath (Just a Bit, One More Time)") by Iku, and is used in the subsequent episodes. A single for "PSI-Missing" was released on October 29, 2008. A single for "Masterpiece" was released on February 4, 2009.
The anime adaptation of A Certain Scientific Railgun has five pieces of theme music, two opening themes and three ending themes. The first opening theme is "Only My Railgun" by fripSide, and the first ending theme is "Dear My Friend (Mada Minu Mirai e)" (Dear My Friend －まだ見ぬ未来へ－?, lit. "Dear My Friend (Toward a Future We Haven't Seen Yet)") by Elisa. The song "Smile (You & Me)" by Elisa, which uses the same tune as "Dear My Friend (Mada Minu Mirai e)", is featured as the ending theme of episode twelve. The second opening theme is "Level 5 (Judgelight)" by fripSide and the third ending theme is "Real Force" by Elisa. "Only My Railgun" appears in Konami's arcade music games Dance Dance Revolution X2 and Jubeat Knit. For the OVA, the opening theme music is "Future Gazer" by fripSide, the single of which was released on October 13, 2010, while the ending theme is "Special One" by Elisa, the single of which was released on October 27, 2010.
The first opening theme song of Toaru Majutsu no Index II is titled "No Buts!" by Mami Kawada and the single was released on November 3, 2010. The second opening theme is titled "See VisionS" by Mami Kawada and will be released on February 16, 2011. The first ending theme song is titled "Magic∞World" by Maon Kurosaki and the single was released on November 24, 2010. The second ending theme is titled "Memories Last" (メモリーズ・ラスト?) by Maon Kurosaki and will be released on March 2, 2011. Maiko Iuchi is once again in charge of music direction and composition for Index II.
The opening theme for the Toaru Majutsu no Index PSP game is "Answer" by Maon Kurosaki.
In October 2009, the Toaru Majutsu no Index light novels were reported to have sold 5.2 million copies. In May 2010, it was reported that Toaru Majutsu no Index had sold over 7.7 million copies and became Dengeki Bunko's No. 1 bestseller. Later that year, in August 2010, it was reported that the novels had hit 9 million copies sold and became the fifth best selling light novel in Japan, beating other popular series such as Full Metal Panic!, Shakugan no Shana, and Haruhi Suzumiya. In November 2010, it was reported that the novels had sold over 10 million copies.
In August 2010, it was reported that the A Certain Scientific Railgun manga had sold 2.45 million volumes. The opening theme for Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, "Only My Railgun", won Best Theme Song at the 2010 Animation Kobe Awards.
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