Toma lives in 'Academic City', where science reigns supreme. The pupils are all ESPers who learn to control their abilities in school. But Toma has no power to speak of -- except perhaps for his ability to negate anything supernatural by touching it with his right hand. This saves his hide quite a few times, but the drawback is his spectacular bad luck.
One day, he finds a girl in a nun outfit draped over his balcony railing. She calls herself 'Index': she has been conditioned to memorise 103.000 tomes of forbidden magical spells. Her parent organisation is a branch of the Church of England. However, there are magicians after her to get to the forbidden knowledge! Of course, this is hard to believe for Toma, but when he gets back from school to find Index bleeding on his doorstep with a magician nearby, he is forced to review his beliefs.
The series is divided into several arcs. And surprisingly enough, Toma and Index are not the focus of some of the plots, even though they're the titular characters... But the cast of supporting characters is very rich, and they can support a story arc of several episodes without any problems. For instance, there's Misaka, the 'Railgun' that we meet in the first episode -- she's hotheaded and she wants to save her MISAKA clone sisters and Accelerator, the ESPer they are meant to fight. And there's the magicians who alternately try to protect or attack Index -- and sometimes even both at the same time!
Every character occurs multiple times in the series, sometimes with quite the surprise up their sleeves. This keeps things quite interesting: Academy City is a very rich environment with many story opportunities. Sure, not everything revolves around Toma and Index, but it's easy to forgive the writers for putting them in the backseat if it means story arcs such as that between Accelerator and Last Order.
It is quite clear there's more going on in Academy City than we see in this series. I'm looking forward to further adventures there.
Visually, the series is pretty good. OK, the character designs are not that detailed, but the backgrounds are cool and the animation is fluid. The digital (spell-)effects are very nice.
The voice acting is nice for what it sets out to do. Toma's character suffers from the Protector trait (wanting to 'protect' everyone, because that's just The Right Thing To Do), which means he spends a lot of time shouting defiant crap to his attackers -- that could have been toned down a bit, for all I care. Still, there's a rich cast of voice actors that breathe life into the characters. And yet... I don't know what it is with these whiny and bossy voices of young gemale characters like Index and Chiaki from Minami-ke... Is this the new trend instead of squeaky voices?
- Really interesting story lines;
- Good mix of action packed scenes and 'downtime';
- Visually appealing.
- Voice acting was not entirely my style.
Quite an interesting series that's sure to appeal to anyone looking for good storylines that mix magic and 'science'. I'll give it an 8.