This is half of what could be best called a brother-and-sister series. They are related in the fact they occur in the same town (Academy City) at about the same time and the characters do cross over and slightly interact, but that’s about it. They are independent of each other in what they wish to accomplish.
This one is “A Certain Magical Index”. Now, Academy City, a technologically advanced academic city located towards western Tokyo, which studies scientifically advanced superhuman students with powers, is also set in a world where magic is real. Our hero up there is Tōma Kamijō, a fairly average student but a flop when it comes to esper talents and abilities. In this town, your esper abilities determine much in your life and he is at the bottom, possessed with the worst luck ever.
The only thing he has going for him is his right hand, which he calls the Imagine Breaker, which has the amazing ability to negate magical and psychic powers. But since it is only considered an ability, he gets a Psychic Level of…..zero. He might as well be selling hot dogs from a street vendor wagon.
One day, he opens the drapes to see a nun hanging from the railing of his balcony. He helps her in to learn that she is Index (the one doing the head chomp.) OK, her full name is….take a deep breath….Index Librorum Prohibitorum (“List of Prohibited Books”) and she carries within her memory 103,000 magical texts. However, this takes up 85% of her memory, leaving her with 15% for daily activities. This works for about a year, and then she has to get a memory wipe or things go bad. That means everything she saw and felt and learned during that year goes poof.
Toma decides that he will do what it takes to protect her from this event, but runs afoul of Stiyl Magnus, who is bound and determined to carry out his tasks, aided by his minion, Kaori.
The series is both Toma’s ability to protect Index, while suffering the wrath of both Stily, and some other mysterious entity creating clones of Mikoto Misaka, who are bent on destroying everyone. Mikoto gets involved, as she is trying to find out who is making these clones of her and to what purpose. The deepest, darkest secrets of Academy City are laid bare, as the fight continues and may lead to the very destruction of the City.
Even in a series that is based almost entirely on magic, some of the conditions and situation were a bit tough to swallow. The real enjoyment of the show comes from the interactions between Toma and Index (with some kind of head chomp typical of the outcome of their conflicts), so I willing to let the scientific nonsense wash over me. Certainly, the battles are staged well and keep your enjoyment, but it felt like they had to pad the show to take it to 24 episodes, rather than go for a tighter 13. There is a second season for this series, but I have not availed myself of it as of yet. It is worth a look-see, so go look-see.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Standard for what it needs)
Plot 8 (Interesting initial idea)
Pacing 7 (There are a few sluggish single episodes)
Effectiveness 7 (It does work, but you feel it takes too long to get there)
Conclusion 7 (We reach a ‘coupler point’, especially with a second season out there)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (Does get a tad contrived in areas)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Worst. Luck. Ever.