Leadup to Tri Weeks 2 and 3- A Certain Magical Index

MarcFBR

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Haganai went well, so time for another show.

Due to some people being interested in the chatroom in a way to fit in a longer show, I decided weeks 2 and 3 will be a single longer show, likely with a movie break next weekend.

And of course people are still discussing Haganai, and more than a few people wanted to watch season 2, and that can still be discussed in the Haganai thread.

This time we will be watching A Certain Magical Index

The entire show can be watched on the following:
Subbed on Hulu for free http://www.hulu.com/a-certain-magical-index
Subbed on Funimation for free http://www.funimation.com/shows/a-certain-magical-index/videos/episodes
Subbed on Youtube via Funimation for free https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=ELTIQR1sGLo9s
If you are a paying member at Funimation you can watch the show dubbed.
If you have the DVDs, Blu-rays, or any other way to watch the show you can watch them however you want.

We're just going to do season 1 (episodes 1 through 24.)

An oddity for Youtube watchers- The show only goes thru 22 on Youtube, so you'll have to watch the last 2 somewhere else.

I picked Index because it has a nice action/adventure mood (at times it feels like a nice mishmash of various genres) and I think people will appreciate that there is some actual separation between plot arcs, making it easy to go 'ill watch a handful of episodes and walk away for awhile.' I happen to like that characters can vanish for a plot arc that isn't relevant for them to be in, rather than attempting to shoehorn every character in every episode like many anime series tend to do.

Does it have any connection to Digimon? Well, with minor searching... not really much. The biggest connection I could find is Arbormon's actor plays the main characters father in a handful of episodes.

Feel free to post as you wish in this thread. You can post as you watching, episode by episode, when you finish. Whatever you want. Try and remember where others might be in viewing so people have time to try and view stuff without spoilers, while still interacting in the thread.

Feel free to make any suggestions regarding how I made the thread also. Improvements can always be made.

I've embedded the Youtube version of episode 1 to help get everyone started.

 

TMS

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I got the first five episodes in tonight. Each .one seems to end on a cliffhanger, so it's more difficult at the moment to find a stopping point than it was with Haganai. Once I got a handle on the setting I liked it. I notice Clark Ashton Smith's Book of Eibon is mentioned in the first episode, and I wonder if there will be any other connections to fiction I'm familiar with.
 

MarcFBR

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I got the first five episodes in tonight. Each .one seems to end on a cliffhanger, so it's more difficult at the moment to find a stopping point than it was with Haganai. Once I got a handle on the setting I liked it. I notice Clark Ashton Smith's Book of Eibon is mentioned in the first episode, and I wonder if there will be any other connections to fiction I'm familiar with.
Episode 6 is the last episode of the initial arc, which is the longest.

The rest are between 3 and 5, and only one is 5 episodes long.

Each effectively acts as a miniseries/series in the larger series and provide relatively solid breaking points (part of the initial one being so long is it spending time introducing characters and concepts.)

Once you finish that it'll be a bit easier to take breaks without feeling like you are walking out in the middle of a plot.
 

Trilby1992

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I can't seem to access Hulu and Funimation because I live in the UK and Youtube just says it's not available. Is anyone encountering the same problem?
 

MarcFBR

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I can't seem to access Hulu and Funimation because I live in the UK and Youtube just says it's not available. Is anyone encountering the same problem?
All 3 streams would be up via license from Funimation, who generally can only stream stuff to people in North America. Unfortunately you are on your own finding the show, as I'm not familiar with what streaming stuff you have in the UK, or even if the show is licensed there. I know there are various browser plugins that will let you watch stuff outside your region, but you'll have to look that stuff up on your own.
 

Trilby1992

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Well... if I can't legally stream this anime then I'll skip it. I got a few other anime shows to finish so I'm not too bothered. Hope you all enjoy this one.
 

Py687

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For the record, for anyone who can watch this, use YouTube when available. Hulu (and Funi which I believe embeds Hulu) often has unskippable ads.

I'm about to start it in a couple min. Will be in chat to discuss if anyone else likes doing that. I've heard and seen things about this show and while I think certain aspects will turn me off, on the whole it sounds decent enough for the general anime audience.
 
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MarcFBR

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Is the lack of discussion that people aren't liking the show, that they are trying to watch more of it before discussing, don't have the time to watch this one, etc?

Should the show after Index go back to something more haremy?
 

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The anime is interesting so far. I like how the seriousness and comedy are balanced. There are a lot of details and twists to pay attention to, but the overall plot doesn't seem very coherent, at least not within the first few episodes. I think there are some cases where the characters' abilities are inconsistent with the explanations. Maybe some of my questions are answered later in the series.

Harem anime usually aren't appealing to me.
 

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For my part I like it pretty well, except for the occasional burst of gratuitous technobabble. Dividing the series into distinct stories several episodes long (apparently punctuated by Touma's stays in the hospital) is an interesting way to present it, and reminds me somewhat of the way Call of Cthulhu is played. So far I've gotten through the first three arcs, and I'm wondering whether some of the characters in those arcs (pretty much all of whom appear in the opening) will have a role to play later despite their initial stories having been brought to a conclusion.
 

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...so in week two we're moving on from a harem ecchi series, which is normally a genre I tend to stay far away from, to an anime that seems to be more shounen action which just happens to be the other genre I tend to stay away from (Digimon being one rare exception) but I guess I'll have to get used to that here...
at least with this kind of show I can indulge in a little hobby that I have with more action oriented shows in which I try to see at which points in the action the character's movements are animated in 24fps instead of 12 (for more than 5 frames) and then watch the moment frame per frame to see how exact I got it. (haganai had a couple of moments like that of course, like when Yozora was doing tickling motions with her hand while scaring maria for example, but stuff like that is relatively minor and of course with action you get more spectacular moments like that) I don't expect anyone to join me in that little game but it's fun for me :D

So anyway here are a few of my thoughts about the first few episodes...

Episode 1 did a decent enough job of introducing some characters. I'm not sure if I really like Kamijo but that right hand of his is certainly very interesting. The way the first few minutes of the show went it almost looked like ha was some kind of vigilante taking on out of control espers but the way the rest of the episode portrayed him he just seemed more like an unlucky normal guy and the showdown that kicked of the series was just something he more or less stumbled into.
I really kinda liked the ironic nature of his arms "usefulness" as he had to run away completely helplessly from that group of normal tough guys yet was completely unfazed when facing of with that apparently top tier esper girl.
And when he gets home he meets Index. I'm not sure how much I like the old mysterious girl with magical powers trope here... we'll see how interesting she'll become in the long run, right now she's just a cute personality that doubles as a walking library of magic books she herself can't use for some reason (btw does the title “a certain magical index” imply that there are other magical indices around?)
anyway we get more information about Kamijo's arm, it seems it doesn't only neutralize esp but also magic as is demonstrated with Index's magic “walking church” dress, which was quite a funny scene especially since Kamijos ends up getting bitten by index for it. I'm pretty sure that there a re people out there who wouldn't especially dislike getting bitten by a naked girl. The little information we got about the nature of the arm's power were quite interesting, especially the part about it negating all luck and blessing simply by touching the air around Kamijo. This was a welcome first time in this anime that I got a “they thought this through” vibe, since it happens relatively often in fiction that powers that are described as something like “does X to anything it touches” simply ignore the fact that air is something that exists and that we're touching it constantly.
The two other thoughts that shot through my mind after hearing this explanation of his misfortune were first: “I guess that means that Kamijo would not be unlucky in the emptiness of space” and among the same lines “theoretically he could get rid of his misfortune effects by wearing something like a plastic tube around his arm (with the plastic not touching his hand) and pumping all the air out of the tube, so that only vacuum remains causing his right hand to touch literally nothing.” of course having to wear such a contraption would probably be just as impractical as his hand's normal “side effects”.

I think the most interesting character introduced so far has to be Komoe. She just seems so weird and I want to know more about her. Is she a child that just happens to be a teacher? Is she an adult that just happens to look (and sometimes cry) like a child? What the hell is up with her methods of discipline (what does she mean with “making a Columbus egg” anyway)?
that esp girl Misaka also looks like she could be someone to watch out for, being one of the five most powerful espers in the city (she still uses her powers really recklessly). I didn't imagine that those weird cleaning robots would have some sort of crime prevention mode but unfortunately we don't find out what exactly they can do (yet).

The second Episode was mostly the fight against that fire mage called "Style" umm quite a weird name. Anyway that guy seems quite evil with all his evil grinning and ominous talking about "recovering" the Grimoires in the Memory of Index (No Idea how exactly he would want to do it, cutting her brain out or magically extracting the information). At this point we also find out how Index came into possession of all these books, I expected something fancy like an magic imprint but it seems she has just relatively mundane photographic memory and was aparrently forced to look at the books (at least that's my impression of it) what seems to be imprinted magically on her however seems to be some kind of stoic "security mode" personality that ends up helping Kamijo in his fight. After trying out some fairly unspectacular flame bursts on Kamijo's arm he went all out and summoned a pope of all things. If this portrayal is accurate then you really gotta hand it to those medieval people for having the guts to actually elect some kind of mad flame demon as their religious leader. Just imagine: Bishop: "and the holiness the pope will now hold a sermon!" Pope Innocentius: Raahrg *fizzle* grrrrrr, hiss splorch *burns down church*
And as it turns out Kamijo's right hand is kinda ineffective against the pope's flames so instead he defeats him by... turning on the sprinklers to destroy the runes Style had placed all over the building. I have to admit that just felt a little bit cheap mostly because there was no trace of those runes anywhere before Index mentions them, so a bit more foreshadowing would have been nice. When destroying the runes first came up as an option to defeat Innocentius I first thought Kamijo would just make the pope chase him through the entire building so Innocentius would burn down the runes with his own flames but I guess the sprinkler option was more efficient.Altough if Style had used plastic instead of paper and waterproof markers he could have won that fight easily. But he didn't so he got punched in the face instead.
I kinda hope that somewhere in the rest of this series Kamijo gets some upgrades like some kind of esp or something to make his arm more destructive because him just running up to his opponents and punching them in the face after blocking all their attacks could get old soon. And while it seemed to be pretty effective against Style and he could probably also take down Misaka with one punch, it's gotta be pretty hard to win any fights against opponents that are either armored in some way or skilled in hand to hand combat.
After defeating Style he still has to actually save index though and that seems to be harder than expected as we find out that for some reason as an esper he can't use magic (even though he's a level 0 with no power?). So he brings her to Komoe and It was nice to see her again in a bigger role so soon. Despite her looks she smokes and drinks so I guess it's really a kind of adult in a seemingly young body thing. It still seems just a bit unnatural and since the third episode focused a lot on her I expected maybe some kind of explanation but it didn't happen. what did happen in he third third episode was lots of rituals and magic. I'm not sure how exactly linking the events inside the room to the miniatures on the table ended up healing Index's wounds but it was probably that angel that had to be summoned twice. After that suspenseful scene the rest of the episode didn't really feature a lot happening. There was some exposition about some of the grimoires inside Index being able to "poison the world" the explanation was really kinda vague so I don't know how we're really supposed to understand it. All I got from it is that it might just be magic that makes things real that shouldn't be real. I'm also not sure what kind of role the "English purist church" will play in the series the whole "necessary evil" thing could be setting them up to be villains but if Index was willingly working for them that might be another story.


In general I felt like this series was hitting me over the head in some way in its first three episodes. We're not introduced to only one but two systems of supernatural powers but so far neither has been explained particularly well. I think it's interesting when the characters use some fictional terms in their dialogues without explaining them on the spot, that can really help with world building but Index just seems to go a little bit too far and throw its entire dictionary at the viewer without really explaining anything. We don't really know how magic works except it sometimes has to do with the stars, and we don't even know anything about esp, yet the series already tries to set up a rivalry, a contrast between those two sides which seems to be a bit premature as at this point we as viewers don't have any real idea about either side, which makes the distinction feel a bit arbitrary. I mean what exactly is the difference between the power of the guy who can throw flames with his hand and the power of the girl that can summon lightning from the sky? The only difference we know of right now is that Style has to scream weird incantations and use runes for stronger stuff and ESP has supposedly to do with "science" but unless the fundamental differences of the methods or sources of these kinds of power are explained in more detail it still strikes me as a bit too vague; simply saying "science!" is not enough, especially when it comes to things like ESP which in many series is (rightly) treated as a form of magic. One series that had a particularly interesting magic portrayal or rather a magic-like framework built around ESP was "Shinsekai Yori" and it worked really well in that case, however with "index" trying to go in the opposite direction and declaring it all science it still has quite a way to go until the contrast to "real magic" actually works.
Maybe I'm expecting too much from those first episodes, maybe the next episodes will give more explanations and clarifications and give a better overview of what kind of world we're dealing with, but as of now Index is not drawing me in as effectively as Haganai did.
 

MarcFBR

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I need to catch up and re-watch that episode, but the way I recall it from watching it before, was the idea was the table with the 'set pieces' of the room were acting roughly as a totem. Basically connecting the room to the mini set of the room to make it an acceptable 'place' for what was needed.

As for why the grimoires getting out would be bad. Each one is effectively it's own high end magical book, either good, neutral, or bad. If you've seen the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness films, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis is a grimoire. Think of all the chaos that single book caused, then imagine that there are over 100,000, some weaker, some more powerful.

They've shoved them all into someone who will remember them for safekeeping, can't really use them because she can't really use magic actively (the emergency mode they've shoved in her can use them to some degree, but it can only do anything when she's dying or in serious trouble), and also understands that the books CAN'T get out there.

It's a catch 22- They can't let the books get out there, because they are inherently dangerous... but the books have so much information that could be useful that unless they have no choice, they want the information to still exist 'just in case.'

Index has a disadvantage versus a show like Haganai in the sense of grabbing some people quickly because Index has a 'world' to setup, along with it's own rules. Haganai is effectively a 'character play' so once you know the characters, you know what you need to know for the show. It can be very easy to get basic character traits and information out quickly, while the world-building of Index takes significantly more time.

Both have their advantages. In Index's case the show HAS to frontload a lot of it because the main characters are aware of it. In Index they basically frontload the science stuff, because it's an innate part of the world. The magic stuff shows up more slowly. Many other shows tend to go with a more "normal world, until you find out x" setup where they can just introduce the characters, then introduce the 'x factor' to you. Here, we have an x factor from moment one, and a second one is introduced relatively quickly.

It leads to a rich world, but it makes it slightly harder to hook people off the bat unless they really get jazzed from moment one.
 

TMS

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I watched through episode 18 tonight. I'm continuing to enjoy the series. There are a several places where I can't quite follow what's going on, but it doesn't really detract from it much. Comments below are in spoilers, since most people aren't watching through the show at my pace.

Episodes 7-9
I didn't really understand the significance of Izzard performing Ars Magna with his mind rather than his words. I don't see why it should have been a handicap that prevented him from summoning vampires, etc. We saw he had no problem with using his abilities to control other people (taking their memories, putting them to sleep, and all that).

Episodes 10-14
This arc was probably my favorite so far, with the disturbing nature of the experiment and how it affects Touma and Misaka. Also, maybe it's the white hair, but Accelerator reminded me a good deal of Saiba Neo.

Episode 15-17
The Angel Fall arc was odd, as it was probably supposed to be, but I liked it better as it drew nearer the conclusion. Although, here again I'm a little puzzled by something. Angel Fall is attributed to two different causes that seem to contradict each other. Was it caused by all the souvenirs in the house or by the angel? What was the connection there? Maybe I could find the solution by looking back through the episodes, but I'd rather not have to put up with all the commercials. By the way, it's a little funny that the show is named after Index, when she had practically no significance in either this or the previous arc.

Episode 18
This was a good episode, and seems to stand on its own at the moment, though it looks to be laying the groundwork for the bigger conflict to come. I see that Accelerator is returning in the next episode. I was wondering if he would show up again (and am still wondering about Izzard - both of them appear in the ending credits).
 

Exodd

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And as it turns out Kamijo's right hand is kinda ineffective against the pope's flames so instead he defeats him by... turning on the sprinklers to destroy the runes Style had placed all over the building. I have to admit that just felt a little bit cheap mostly because there was no trace of those runes anywhere before Index mentions them, so a bit more foreshadowing would have been nice.
You would think the guy would plan better against his magic's natural weakness.
Another weird part in the battle is when Kamijo just seems to somehow teleport to safety. While he is fending off Innocentious with his hand, Stiyl shoots flames at his back, but Kamijo ends up one apartment floor lower with apparently no injury. His shirt is on fire for an instant, but is not burnt afterward. Even he remarks he doesn't know how that happened.

After defeating Style he still has to actually save index though and that seems to be harder than expected as we find out that for some reason as an esper he can't use magic (even though he's a level 0 with no power?). So he brings her to Komoe
Well, they did mention Kamijo's ability would probably interrupt magic rituals. Still odd though because there's an implication the whole population of the city are considered espers, so none of them should be able to use magic including Komoe. Maybe this is just an issue with the translation.


We're not introduced to only one but two systems of supernatural powers but so far neither has been explained particularly well.
But wait, there's more!



I didn't really understand the significance of Izzard performing Ars Magna with his mind rather than his words. I don't see why it should have been a handicap that prevented him from summoning vampires, etc. We saw he had no problem with using his abilities to control other people (taking their memories, putting them to sleep, and all that).
I think what they meant was more that his power was limited by his own imagination, concentration, and willpower. He started to think his power wasn't working, so that's what happened. I guess he couldn't summon vampires or help Index because he didn't fully believe he could and/or he couldn't fully imagine the result. For all the explanation the show gives, some more could be helpful. I'm not sure why alchemy was even brought up.
 

MarcFBR

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Well, they did mention Kamijo's ability would probably interrupt magic rituals. Still odd though because there's an implication the whole population of the city are considered espers, so none of them should be able to use magic including Komoe. Maybe this is just an issue with the translation.
80% of the city population are students. All of the students are rated on the system between level 0 and 5. This does not include the adult technical staff, teaching staff, etc.

Komoe is not an esper and would be able to use magic.
 

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another underaged nun... coincidence? I think not.

Well moving on its good so far. It seems its trying to have a conflict with magic and science which I like, and the main character Toma is more interesting then the last one. I also like how it starts all mysterious and stuff, sure its confusing at first but you'll get in to it. Going to watch episode 5 now
 

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Again, when I'm trying to watch this anime, I can't do it through the usual streaming platforms... My alternative would be either watching it dubbed in English or subbed in Spanish (and imo Spanish fansubbers are horrible).

I'll keep searching for a while, and if I can't run into an English subbed version other than hulu or Funimation, I'll have to skip it again. Too bad, since the few minutes I've watched it dubbed looked like something I would enjoy.
 

Py687

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Haven't discussed it yet simply due to being busier in the last week of 2014 and also since I'm tying up Ergo Proxy. Tackling two anime series is nothing new, but devoting time to discussion is harder since I tend to shy away from that until I've seen everything. As it is I've gone through six episodes (the first/intro arc, it appears) and I think a little talk will do me good.

First off, animation, audio, similar logistics: I approve. Index sounds cute and her VA is expressive. Everyone else is decent as well, I'm finding no issues personally. The animation isn't what I consider my favorite (I prefer Bones-y material) but it's high tier for sure. I'm not partial to either the OP or ED but they appear to fit the tone of the show. The pacing is very good, in terms of overall story and also during fighting scenes. Granted, a lot of new information is thrown at you with relatively no exposition-dedicated scenes, and the specifics of Academy City and what is considered "scientific" in the show are glossed over until you really need to know them. How does one become an esper, and how long have people been able to train to become one; and so on. This aspect of exposition I don't generally like, but I do appreciate that it requires you to pay attention and comprehend things quickly.

Regarding episode two, and Theigno's comment on foreshadowing, I almost prefer the lack thereof. In real life, when you encounter a problem, there is no foreshadowing beforehand. Dramas, suspense shows, and action movies aren't the type of media imo where foreshadowing is appropriate. These things are focused on the present, and the immediacy of the situation is something that reflects on-the-spot situations one might encounter IRL. I stress again, in real life there is no such thing as foreshadowing. Going further, I don't believe foreshadowing is appropriate in anything outside of classics, studied literature, works that exemplify the struggles of the individual or of humanity. And potentially mysteries.

In fact, I have great disdain for shows with completely obvious foreshadowing. Like, when the start of the episode shows a flashback of A-kun being bullied by B-san, and then the dilemma of that same episode is when B-san suddenly transfers into A-kun's class after n years. Or showing C-tan with a surefire skillset that enables only him to solve the episode's problem--and of course this skill is only mentioned one or two other times in the entire show, or becomes some running gag.

I do agree that the series thrusts too much information too quickly. And by "too much" I mean different topics but without detail. In any case this show still grasped me and I'm gonna continue on rather excitedly.
 

Exodd

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80% of the city population are students. All of the students are rated on the system between level 0 and 5. This does not include the adult technical staff, teaching staff, etc.

Komoe is not an esper and would be able to use magic.
Oh okay. I misremembered the population number that was said in the first episode compared to what Kamijo was talking about in episode five. And seems the esper level thing is further clarified later on.

Stiyl's printer paper runes are still a strange decision considering what he uses later on.
I figured that "judgement" girl would be a teleporter.
Maybe she was the one that helped Kamijo escape Stiyl. Meh, that's probably too much credit.

Edit:
The battle against Accelerator was underwhelming despite what he was shown to be capable of before. He had a bunch of tricks, but Kamijo's plot armor was super thick.
Episode 15 was hilarious, especially Kamijo in the straight jacket and how he assumed someone in weird costume must know him.

Edit again:
So Kamijo barely gets hurt at all by metal pipes, a dust explosion, or shots of plasma, but being punched and kicked a few times hospitalizes him. What the heck?

Episode 15-17
The Angel Fall arc was odd, as it was probably supposed to be, but I liked it better as it drew nearer the conclusion. Although, here again I'm a little puzzled by something. Angel Fall is attributed to two different causes that seem to contradict each other. Was it caused by all the souvenirs in the house or by the angel? What was the connection there?
They definitely said the spell was activated inadvertently by Toya placing the souvenirs a certain way. However they also said the appearance switching was caused by an angel.
I don't think they clearly stated the actual effect of the spell, but my guess is that the spell called the angel to take on a human form.
I think that's what Kanzaki was trying to imply when she was talking about the angel's purpose, anyway. Otherwise that just seems like unrelated trivia. Also, they made a point about angels (or some likeness) being summoned in spells earlier.
 
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