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DVD Review

DVD cover

A Certain Magical Index
Season One
Episodes 1-24


Starring (voice): Atsushi Abe, Yuka Iguchi, Akeno Watanabe and Anri Katsu
Distributor: Animatsu
RRP: £39.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 14 September 2015

Academy City is the most advanced city in Japan. A third of the size of Tokyo it is a place dedicated to learning both science and magic. Tōma Kamijō is the lowest of the low, a level 0 Esper, presumably a student with little or no ability, but unknown to his tutors his left hand has the ability to negate any magic. His hidden power does come with a cost as his luck is inversely proportional to his power; yup he has permanent bad luck. After one particular run in with local bullies, Tōma finds a young woman hanging off his balcony railings. Index Librorum Prohibitorum explains that she was being chased across the apartment’s roof, when she fell. Index explains that she is a young nun from Necessarius, an offshoot of The Church of England, and she contains in her head 103,000 forbidden magical texts with power enough to kill for...

A Certain Magical Index: Season One - Episodes 1-24 (2008. 24 eps) is a magical thriller, based on the original light novels written by Kazuma Kamachi and illustrated by Kiyotaka Haimura. The story has been adapted into multiple different media, including manga, film, and game and of course an anime. The anime was directed by Hiroshi Nishikiori from a Masanao Akahoshi adaptation.

Different animes will be attractive for a number of reasons, unattractive for even more. One of the most common mistakes the shows make is assuming the audience is already well versed in the world depicted, meaning first time audiences often feel a little lost at the beginning of a new show. Not so Index, which takes its time with both world building and character introduction.

Central characters both Tōma and Index are very attractive figures. Tōma is aware of his power, but is mostly driven by a personal sense of justice, which explains why he decides to protect Index from whoever was chasing her. Index meanwhile is having a bit of a problem with her memory, which makes her vulnerable and the perfect person for Tōma to protect.

The first half of the season spends it time exploring their relationship, as well as the wider world where differing power structure compete for both what is in index’s head and what Tōma can do with his power. Then a really strange thing happens as Index almost completely fades into the background and another female lead takes her place.

Disc one has a full length commentary for episodes three and six from some of the dub vocal cast. Obviously they were not involved in actually making the show, the commentary tends to be light and fluffy concentrating, in the main, on titbits about making the voice over, but mostly they spend their time goofing off. Disc two holds both the textless opening (1 min, 32 sec) and closing sequences (1 min, 32 sec). There is another similar commentary track on episode fourteen and twenty-three as well as another pair of textless title sequences and the American trailer.

For audio options you have either the DD5.1 American dub or the stereo Japanese original and an aspect ratio of 16:9 - 1.78:1. The animation is very clean and sharp, there appeared to be no problems with the quality of the presentation.

This is a sweet and memorable story, a little lighter than some of its competitors, but nonetheless has strength in its concentration on its characters rather than just stringing together a bunch of action sequences.


Charles Packer

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