In a world dominated by Attack on Titan and Sword Art Online’s there exists another which has spawned a franchise and as early as 2019, 3 shows will exist within it’s shared universe. That’s right, an anime that has a shared universe – it is The Avengers of anime! A Certain Magical Index has just entered its third season and, with that, why are there so few conversations about this anime? Let’s Talk about this and see if we can uncover the true reason behind such an odd occurrence.
In layman’s terms, A Certain Magical Index is a show released in 2008 that takes place in a city built for students, a city recognised as a technological hotspot where a majority of occupants have powers. We get to know the protagonist as a typical anime slacker with rotten luck and a normal-ish life, when his world gets flipped upside down because of a girl. So far, so normal. There is a twist, however. Not only are people born with powers, but the church also has the powers of magic and not science. This is the setup for the main conflict of the series. The “magic” users in this series are almost exclusively of the Christian faith and the in-fighting of the different sects of the faith are the catalyst for it. In short, the students who have powers and were given them by “science” are known as “espers” and the Christians with magic are known as “magicians.” Our main character finds himself between the two worlds as the biggest loser around, but one with an incredible gift.
A Certain Magical Index deals with in-fighting and what it means to be presented with a choice which has the protagonist questioning his own beliefs. The first spin-off, A Certain Scientific Railgun, is going to be entering its third season in 2019, and has a main focus on the advancement of mankind and if the ends really justify the means. While the second of the spin-offs is also going to be released in 2019 and will be titled A Certain Scientific Accelerator. This will most likely follow the themes of redemption and if one could ever come back from committing atrocities, as well as if their formative years are to blame or could they say no. A theme that is constant throughout each of the series thus far is the struggle of class, as the science side of the students are ranked by levels 0-5 and how some feel like they are better than others. With the themes presented in each of the series, it is surprising that it hasn’t garnered the attention of similar animes.
One of the primary reasons for which this anime might not get the widespread recognition it deserves, is the fact that it toes the line when it comes to Christian mythology. For the rather large percentage of Americans who fall within the Christian faith, this might be seen as offensive as all sects are shown in a rather questionable light. As for the atheist and agnostic viewers, it is reasonable to surmise that those watching may feel lost or annoyed when the religious imagery takes the spotlight. This might not be as a big of a deal in Japan considering a majority of Japanese citizens don’t fall into either of the categories and are used to anime and the exploration of taboos. There is also the fact that much like other anime, there is quite a bit of fan service and awkward moments that might not sit well in American audiences. This anime often tackles ideas that are too mature for young kids, in the guise of a show that looks almost directly aimed towards that demographic. There is a lot to this show but with three seasons, two spin-offs, and a movie it is hard for the uninitiated to jump into it.
This show has a lot of qualities that would make it worth the watch. It happens to have an excellent English dub with a cast that is well suited to each individual character. The current simulcast of the show is in both Japanese and English, with the English dub is only a few episodes behind. This is rare in modern anime with the dub for the first season of Attack on Titan taking several months to come out. There’s a lot here so take your time if you decide to jump in. The entire series and its spin-off dubbed, subbed, and the movie is located on VRV with a premium membership. This series deserves to be talked about more, watch the show and make it a part of the conversation.