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A Certain Magical Index (とある魔術の禁書目録(インデックス), Toaru Majutusu no Index), also known simply as “Toaru,” is a Japanese science-fiction light novel series created by Kazuma Kamachi, which follows a young teenager as a faithful encounter leads him into secret world of science and magic. Since its debut in 2004, the series went on to inspire many successful manga and animated adaptations, as well as a dedicated online following among Japanese and foreign readers.
The “Toaru” light novel series was written by Japanese author Kazuma Kamachi and with illustrations created by artist Kiyotaka Haimura, and released in Japan by the publishing company ASCII Media Works on April 10th, 2004. The series follows Touma Kamijou, a teenage boy possessing an unusual ability known as the “Imagine Breaker” in his right hand, when an encounter with a young female nun named Index leads him into many conflicts with super-humans known as magicians and espers within the fictional Academy City. The series continued its run under the light novel inprint Dengeki Bunko for seven years, before concluding the main storyline with its 27th volume on August 25th, 2011. The sequel to the series New Testament: A Certain Magical Index (新約 とある魔術の禁書目録, Shin’yaku Toaru Majutsu no Index) was published on March 10th, 2011, where ten volumes has since been released in the series.
The early success of the series has helped produced a line of manga adaptations. The spin-off manga titled A Certain Scientific Railgun (とある科学の超電磁砲（レールガン）, Toaru Kagaku no Rērugan) debuted on Dengeki Daioh on March 2007 and was later published on November 10th, 2007, where it follows character Misaka Mikoto before and during the events of the novel series. An adaptation based on the original story was then released April 12th, 2007. On August 2013, a second manga spin-off based around antagonist Accelerator titled A Certain Scientific Accelerator (とある科学の一方通行(アクセラレータ), Toaru Kagaku no Akuserarēta) was announced and later began serialization on Dengeki Daioh on December of that year.
The anime adaptation of the novel was then launched by studio J.C. Staff and aired in Japan on October 4th, 2008, where it would later receive a second season on October 8th, 2010. Another adaptation based on the manga A Certain Scientific Railgun was then produced and aired on October 3rd, 2009, with its second season airing on September 27th, 2013. The first animated film of the series titled A Certain Magical Index: Endyumion’s Miracle premiered in Japanese theaters on February 23rd, 2013, where it featured an original story created by Kazuma himself.
The novel series has received critical acclaims and accolades since its release. It began appearing in the top ten racking list in the annual light novel guide “Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi” since 2009, while character Misaka Mikoto has ranked #1 in the “Top female characters” list for five consecutive years since 2010. By the latter half of 2010, the series became one of the top selling light novels in Japan, selling over 10 million copies in the country alone. Meanwhile, the anime also received fair reviews, with Index receiving 7.1/10 on IMDb and receiving a “very good” rating on Anime News Network.
Since the release of the series, Japanese fans began discussing the series within blogging services and forums, and including bulletin-board sites 2channel and Futaba Channel. General interest for the series began to gain traction on the English-speaking web after the airing of the anime series, with discussions being found on sites like 4chan, Tumblr, and reddit. The wikia site for the novel was created on September 19th, 2009, serving as a place to compile articles and as well as news relating to the Toaru series, with over 2,000 articles having been submitted.
Fans has since begun creating a large collection of tribute illustrations, and as well as a slew of doujins based on the series, where they’re often distributed a doujin conventions. On pixiv alone, over 32 thousand fan creation can be found on the site. Meanwhile, deviantART holds as many as 2,000 artworks on the site and on FanFiction.net, over 500 fan-created stories has been submitted as of May 2014.
In addition to fan art, the series has also became a notable subject to fan-created videos, many ranging from MAD videos, opening parodies, and AMVs. Hundreds of these videos began cropping up in the video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga since March of 2009, with many of them ranking over a million views and as well as contributing to specific trends on the site.
Left: U.N. Owen Was Her? | Right: Mayim Mayim
Left: K-On!! OP "GO! GO! MANIAC" | Right: "Can-Can" (Heaven & Hell)
Only My Railgun
“Only My Railgun” is the opening theme song for the anime adaptation of the manga A Certain Scientific Railgun. Performed by the Japanese trance/pop duo fripSide, the song not only became the group’s most successful release, it is also regarded as the quintessential theme song of the “Toaru” series, with it inspiring many remixes and musical covers.
Accelerator’s Whisper is an exploitable series based off a comic page taken from the fifth volume of A Certain Scientific Railgun, which featured antagonist Accelerator introducing himself to main character Misaka Mikoto in her ear. In similar vain to L’s Intro, the strange nature of the page helped it become a source of parody on the image-board 4chan.
Toaru Logo Parodies
Toaru Logo Parodies refer to a series of fan illustrations that mimics the various title card logos from the “Toaru” series. These parodies began appearing in early 2009, with site generators being launched for easy creation.
SoGeBu (そげぶ) is an abbreviation of “Sono Gensou wo Buchikorosu” (その幻想をぶち殺す) which translates into “I’ll destroy that illusion of yours”, the signature catchphrase of protagonist Touma Kamijou. This short-hand phrase became popular among Japanese fans after being accompanied with a Shift_JIS art creation on 2channel, where it would later inspire a series of parody illustrations on art-sharing sites.
Anime News Network – Toaru Majutsu no Index’s Accelerator Gets His Own Manga / 08-26-2013