A Certain Scientific Railgun is a Japanese manga series written by Kazuma Kamachi and illustrated by Motoi Fuyukawa, which began serialization in the April 2007 issue of ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki Daioh magazine. The manga is a spin-off of Kamachi’s A Certain Magical Index light novel series, taking place before and during the events of that series. The manga is licensed in North America by Seven Seas Entertainment, who began publishing the series from June 2011. An anime television series adaptation by J.C. Staff aired in Japan between October 2009 and March 2010, followed by an original video animation released in October 2010. A second season titled A Certain Scientific Railgun S aired between April and September 2013. A third season titled A Certain Scientific Railgun T aired between January and September 2020. The anime is licensed in North America by Funimation.
A 24-episode anime television series adaptation, produced by J.C. Staff and directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai, aired in Japan between October 3, 2009 and March 20, 2010. The anime was collected into eight DVD and Blu-ray Disc sets released between January 29 and August 27, 2010, with each volume containing a short story series titled A Certain Magical Index: Kanzaki SS. The series was licensed in North America by Funimation, who released the series on DVD on April 16, 2013. A bonus episode was included with a visual book released on July 24, 2010, and an original video animation was released in Japan on October 29, 2010.
A 24-episode second season, also directed by Nagai, titled A Certain Scientific Railgun S, aired in Japan between April 12 and September 27, 2013. It was simulcast by Funimation, who released the series on DVD in North America in two parts on July 1, 2014 and August 19, 2014, respectively. Another bonus episode was released with a visual book released on March 27, 2014.
A third season titled A Certain Scientific Railgun T aired from January 10 to September 25, 2020. The third season ran for 25 episodes. Two bonus anime are set to be released from the third season’s first and fifth Blu-Ray/DVD volumes. Unlike previous seasons, the season was simulcasted on both Funimation and Crunchyroll, with Crunchyroll streaming the series in Japanese with English subtitles, and Funimation streaming the English dub.
The anime adaptation of A Certain Scientific Railgun has five pieces of theme music, two opening themes and three ending themes. The first opening theme is “Only My Railgun” by fripSide, and the first ending theme is “Dear My Friend” by Elisa. The song “Smile (You & Me)” by Elisa, which uses the same tune as “Dear My Friend (Mada Minu Mirai e)”, is featured as the ending theme for episode twelve. The second opening theme is “Level 5 (Judgelight)” by fripSide and the third ending theme is “Real Force” by Elisa. “Only My Railgun” appears in Konami’s arcade music games Pop’n Music 20: Fantasia, Dance Dance Revolution X2 and Jubeat Knit. For the OVA, the opening theme music is “Future Gazer” by fripSide, the single of which was released on October 13, 2010, while the ending theme is “Special One” by Elisa, the single of which was released on October 27, 2010.
For A Certain Scientific Railgun S, it has six pieces of theme music, two opening themes and four ending themes. The first opening theme is “Sister’s Noise” by fripSide and the first ending theme is “Grow Slowly” by Yuka Iguchi, the latter of which was released on May 15, 2013. The song “stand still” by Iguchi is featured as the second ending theme for episodes 11 and 14. The second opening theme is “Eternal Reality” by fripSide and the third ending theme is “Links” by Sachika Misawa. The song “Infinia” by Misawa is featured as the fourth ending theme for episode 23.
For A Certain Scientific Railgun T, the first opening theme is “final phase” by fripSide and the first ending theme is “nameless story” by Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets.
- Tōma Kamijō
- is the main protagonist of A Certain Magical Index and an important side character in A Certain Scientific Railgun. He tends to stay away from trouble but possesses a strong sense of justice. He is an average student and knowledgeable about certain subjects yet is a failure in his esper studies. While he is an idealist for the hopes of other people, ironically he is cynical about himself possibly because of his powers.
- His right hand contains a power called Imagine Breaker, an ability which negates all supernatural powers but also his own luck (“divine providence” as defined by Index). Because this ability cannot be detected through testing, he has been given the lowest esper rank, Level 0. Due to the nature of his power, the founder of Academy City considers him neither an esper nor a magician, but rather a normal person with a unique ability.
- Throughout the series, he tries to live his life normally while still facing against the many adversaries from the worlds of science and magic and the conflicts that follow. Despite his very bad luck, he has managed to get the interests and hearts of many characters that are in love with him, which Aisa jokes about. The reason is not only to his personality, but he avoids the red thread of fate, according to Index.
- In order to save Index from the need of a memory reset, he had activated her self-protection system and destroyed the spell responsible for her mind strain. However, he ends up having his memories destroyed when he comes into contact with the Feather of Light. Though he no longer remembers the past, he claims his heart has not completely forgotten the people he cares about. His memory loss is kept a secret known only to himself and a few others, including his doctor Heaven Canceller (who unknown to Tōma is Aleister’s personal physician), Terra of the Left (who manages to figure it out by himself), Mikoto (who learns about it from accidentally overhearing the conversation between Tōma and Terra), Fiamma of the Right (who, after learning about it, sends this information to Index using the mental link he established with her using John’s Pen mode), Index (who finds out from Fiamma), Seria Kumokawa, and Misaki Shokuhō.
- One of the series’ main mysteries is the origin of Imagine Breaker, since it is neither an esper ability nor a magical ability. Later in the series, whereas Touma’s entire right arm is cut off a dragon head referred to as the Dragon King emerges. Within Christian Church, the dragon represents to be of Divine origin according to two members of Right Seat of Gods. Fiamma believes Imagine Breaker is the Holy Right, which holds the power of miracles and Terra hints Imagine Breaker’s full powers have yet to be unlocked; if it does, its powers would extend to Tōma’s whole body and beyond and the second about the meaning behind his surname ‘Kamijō’ as it means “The One Superior To God” for God’s Right Seat and “The One Who Cleanses God” for Kaori Kanzaki and Aleister.
- Due to the troubles he faces with delinquents, Tōma is a skilled street fighter, is physically fit, and manages to outrun his opponents. As he faces espers and magicians, he combined his fighting skills (including using his powers) with his quick thinking to outmaneuver his opponents. Mikoto considers him to be extremely strong, having never beaten him despite having repeatedly challenged him (who before she beat him once during his fight to save Othinus from the entire world after she shocked him directly). However, his ability can only be effective when espers use their power on him directly, which is why he had a tough time against Accelerator, who uses his ability on projectiles.
- He also has a sixth sense for incoming magic and esper attacks based on their AIM fields and Telesma flow and uses his powers to minimize the damage taken.
- is one of the main heroines from the magic side and the titular character of A Certain Magical Index. She is a young nun from Necessarius, a branch of the Church of England. Index is small in stature and has a petite build. About 15 years old, she has thigh-length, silvery-blue hair with very white skin and large green eyes. She also wears a white robe with golden embroidery sewed onto every edge of it, the Walking Church, that prevents any injury on her, but it is later destroyed by Tōma when he touched it with his right hand, which is why her uniform is stitched with golden pins. Her mind has been implanted with the 103,000 magical texts of the Index-Librorum-Prohibitorum as she possesses photographic memory, which makes sorcerers wonder if she really is human because just one Grimoires is poisonous to the mind, and one is more than enough to kill a person without the proper preparative.
- Her sorcery name is Dedicatus545, “The devoted lamb protects the knowledge of the strong”. The Church says that the Grimoires take up 85 percent of her mind, so she only has 15 percent of memory space left to use in daily activities, which allows her to live normally for less than a year. However, all of this is revealed to be a lie after Tōma begins to question how the Church even got to numbers like 15% and 85% and finds out from his teacher Komoe that the human mind can store an unlimited amount of memories up to 140 years at least. This was purposely done as the Church planned to make the Grimoires harder to access by telling their underlings to perform “maintenance” on her mind in exactly one-year intervals once her memory has come to its “limit”; that way, she will not remember her close friends and accidentally and/or purposely reveal the contents of the Grimoires.
- When she is being invaded by outsiders or injured, her self-protection system personality, John’s Pen, will be activated to allow her to use magic to cast high-class magic attacks such as St. George’s Sanctuary and Dragon’s Breath. Her self-protection system will use the Feather of Light to force a reset on Index’s own memory should a manual reset fail to be performed. Although she does not know that she has magical powers, she can easily identify the types of magic by seeing it or somebody describing it to her and know how to counter them. Her vast knowledge of the Index-Librorum-Prohibitorum within her mind makes her to be one of the most powerful characters so far and becomes very helpful to her friends in various situations using skills like Spell Intercept, and Sheol Fear.
- She is often elated by a variety of things and is slightly ignorant and curious of modern technology. She usually is gentle and polite with people and has a kind nature, but is also a selfish spoiled brat when together with Tōma. She is also abusive towards him and hypocritical in nature, chiding him for doing things she doesn’t like, yet does the same things herself. She constantly jumps to conclusions without learning the circumstances first and constantly punishes Toma, wrongfully, by biting him or starting arguments with him, much to his confusion and exasperation. She also has a large appetite and uses any excuse to get food from anyone and likes watching an anime series called Magical Powered Kanamin. She has strong feelings towards Tōma and even confessed her love after hearing Tōma lost his memories because of her; however he avoided answering by changing the theme of the talk since he has no idea about what kind of feelings he used to have with Index.
- When she returns to England, she is sought out by Fiamma who wants her knowledge and reactivates John’s Pen mode through her remote control spiritual item. Later during her stay at Necessarius Headquarters at St. George Cathedral, she learns the bitter truth about Tōma when Fiamma reveals Tōma lied to her about his memories, which sends her on a rampage and grows angelic “Crimson Wings” and corners Stiyl (who tries to restrain her) with ease just by flapping her wings. She also has displayed the ability to summon legendary weapons and artifacts to attack, such as the “Sword of Freyr”, the magic sword of the Harvest God from the Norse Mythology. After defeating Fiamma, Tōma releases Index’s mind from Fiamma’s control, apologizes to her, and both promises each other to meet again. At the end of volume 22, she returns to St. George Cathedral with Stiyl to learn what happened to Tōma.
- In New Testament, Index eventually reunites with Tōma when he reappears in Academy City after the events of the Third World War.
- Mikoto Misaka
- is one of the main heroines from the science side in A Certain Magical Index, as well as the main protagonist and the titular character of A Certain Scientific Railgun. Despite her rich background, Mikoto had a typical childhood.
- At a young age, she was discovered to be a Level 1 Electromaster, espers who have the ability to generate and control electricity, and see beyond the visible electromagnetic spectrum. She enrolled into Academy City to train her powers and worked very hard until her powers were ranked Level 5. As an electromaster, she can generate and manipulate electricity which she can use to shock opponents, hack into electronics like computer networks and security systems, and use electromagnetism to cling to surfaces or manipulate iron particles into a chain-sword whip. Mikoto’s signature move is her ability to shoot metal projectiles such as coins at high destructive speeds, hence her nickname, “Railgun”. If she is in a bad mood, she will sometimes let out bursts of electricity describing her emotional stress, usually resulting in power failures or in worse cases, a thunder storm that causes citywide blackouts.
- Mikoto attends Tokiwadai Middle School. To most people, she is considered a proper lady, but in reality, she has a short-tempered, prideful, and improper attitude with some tomboyish tendencies and insecurities, a fact few other characters know. She is fond of cute, childish things, such as flowery pajamas and Gekota, the popular frog mascot franchise. Contrary to what she claims, she has a strong sense of morals and hates injustice. Mikoto has a one-sided rivalry with Tōma, who, even after experiencing permanent amnesia, nicknames her “Biri Biri”, ever since their first meeting before the events of the first novel when he first dissipated her electricity after he unsuccessfully tried to rescue her. Since that incident, she is always trying to have a proper match with Tōma and defeat him despite his many attempts to avoid conflict with her.
- When Mikoto was young, she was tricked into giving the city’s scientists her DNA under the pretense of finding the cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy; their actual goal to create military-grade combat clones of her. When it was discovered that the clones did not have the same power level as Mikoto, they were instead used in a project called “Level 6 Shift”, intended to make Accelerator the first level 6 esper by having him kill 20,000 clones. The events of how Mikoto tried to stop the project are briefly mentioned in the third novel and expanded upon in the Railgun manga. When all of her attempts failed, she contemplates letting herself be killed by Accelerator, as an unexpected variable to destroy Tree Diagram’s calculations. However, it is not until Tōma intervenes and beaten Accelerator, proving Accelerator to be really weak, that the project is canceled and the remaining 9969 surviving Sisters are spared.
- After the events of the third novel, she eventually develops strong romantic feelings towards Tōma but is unable to express them due to her insecurities and the fact other girls are also interested in him, and he treats her like a tsundere. Even though she and Tōma tend to bicker and argue with each other, they share a friendly relationship. During the events of the 14th novel, she calls Tōma, who is on a trip to Avignon, France when he is attacked by Terra of the Left. Even though his cellphone is damaged, Mikoto is still able to listen in on the conversation on the other end and is shocked to hear from Terra that Tōma actually lost his memories and has been hiding this fact from his friends all this time. Confused, she confronts Tōma when he returns to Academy City in the 16th novel; she is relieved that Tōma still remembers the incident with Accelerator and the Sisters. After that, Mikoto overcomes her initial confusion regarding her concern for him and realizes she loves Tōma. She reappears in volume 20, when upon learning Russia might launch missiles against Academy City and seeing Tōma in a live TV report from Russia, Mikoto heads to Russia after hijacking a jet from the Academy City Invasion Force (incidentally, said jet was ordered to find and capture Tōma). After arriving in Russia, she and Misaka 10777 head towards a nuclear military base to stop the missiles from launching. Near the end of volume 22, she tries to rescue Tōma from the falling Star of Bethlehem but he stays behind in order to stop an Archangel. After the Star’s destruction, she tries to find him but only finds his cellphone strap.
- During the Daihasei Festival, Misaka 10032 is kidnapped by Gensei Kihara whose scheme is to gather the requirements for his attempts to make Mikoto a Level 6. Gensei required Exterior, the giant cultivated brain used by Misaki in order to infect the Misaka Network with the electric virus and get around its defenses. His forced attempt in creating a level 6 involves sending Mikoto’s power out of control. At 53% of the theoretical limit her mind would transform into something from a different dimension. Afterwards, Mitori likely used the Exterior to guide Mikoto’s psyche. She brings out her fears and anger towards the city, and has her attack the Windowless Building, saying bad things would happen and someone will always get hurt. Mikoto complies and uses her newfound power to make an incredibly powerful beam of electricity descend from the overcast sky, though the Windowless Building survives. Tōma, allied with Sogiita Gunha, are confronted by Mikoto’s huge mass made of metal and rubble formed from various metal containing structures. Mikoto’s subconscious wakes up, but she has no control over her transformed body, as the great black sphere of energy continues to grow, and energy exudes from the ground. The sphere’s power was too great for Tōma’s right arm to bear and it is ripped from his body intact. At that moment, the Dragon Strike in the form of eight other dragons emerges, and then bites the black spheres and makes Mikoto’s transformation crumble. With Mikoto restored, Tōma comforts her by saying that there are people who are working to help her change bit by bit; she agrees with tears in her eyes.
- After the Third World War, Mikoto returns to Academy City feeling depressed over failing to save Tōma, but is relieved when she is reunited with him, as he survived after returning to Academy City. Later, she was one of the few who were involved in an operation in Hawaii. She intended to enroll in Tōma’s school during the Ichihanaran Festival, though this was interrupted by Misaki Shokuhō.
- is one of the main characters in the science side in A Certain Magical Index, as well as the main protagonist and titular character of A Certain Scientific Accelerator. He is the most powerful esper in Academy City, ranking at the top of the seven Level 5s in the city. His real name is unknown, though Accelerator recalls his surname was composed of two kanji characters and his given name consisted of three kanji characters. First appearing as an antagonist of the third light novel, he later becomes a main protagonist in the science side of the Toaru Majutsu no Index series in a notable number of volumes of the light novels. His name is written as “Ippōtsūkō”, meaning “One-Way Road”. His ability allows him to control any vector he touches including motion, heat, electricity, and wind. This allows him to perform various feats such as reflecting bullets, launching heavy objects, and even reversing the flow of blood in people’s bodies. Since his natural ability blocks all ultraviolet radiation, he has an appearance with white hair.
- Accelerator’s unique ability makes him the subject of an experiment attempting to create the first Level 6 esper: according to the city’s best supercomputer, Tree Diagram (which was unprecedentedly destroyed by Index’s Dragon Breath), this feat could only be achieved by killing Misaka Mikoto, the Railgun, 128 times without a single failure. Since it was impossible to procure 128 Railguns, an alternative plan was formed to “level up” Accelerator by having him kill 20,000 skilled Level 3 espers: the Misaka clones. He willingly joins the experiment to gain a reputation as the most powerful and feared esper so that no one would be foolish enough to challenge him. His desire to achieve this goal leads him to kill many who got in his way. Mikoto tries to stop the experiment to save her sisters, but it is Tōma who finally does so and defeats Accelerator after discovering his weakness: Accelerator was physically weak because of his total reliance on his powers and his overconfidence in his esper abilities. Therefore, Tōma beat him with his Imagine Breaker and street-fighting skills.
- After his defeat in volume three of the light novels, he reappears in the fifth novel where his past was also revealed. He was taken to Academy City at a young age when his powers were first discovered but because of the lack in their understanding of his powers, people fear him and in some cases tried to kill him. Due to the many attempts on his life and the numerous experiments performed on him, these events shaped Accelerator into a sadist and made it difficult for him to trust anyone except for Kikyou Yoshikawa, the only scientist who ever cared about him and saved his life. He also takes a more heroic and fatherly role by protecting a young girl named Last Order, the last Misaka clone who believes through the memories of the Sister clones who fought him that Accelerator is not bad person and actually never wanted to hurt the clones but tried to merely intimidate them into not fighting him, a theory Accelerator dismisses. In the aftermath of the incident, Accelerator is shot in the head by Ao Amai and acquires aphasia due to brain damage. The injury also affects his ability but Heaven Canceller jury-rigs a choker-like device to his brain, allowing Accelerator to tap into the Misaka Network to make up for his injury and function normally. He can also switch the transmitter to full power, restoring his ability for a maximum of 15 minutes at the beginning, but the time is later extended to 30 minutes by an update to the device. Toward the end of volume 13, Accelerator begins to “awaken” after nearly being killed by Amata Kihara and his aphasia is somehow temporarily cured. He truly “awakens” in volume 15, gaining black wings when fighting another “awakened” level 5, Teitoku Kakine. In the events of the 19th novel he meets Aiwass, a higher dimensional being, summoned to their plane of existence. Aiwass explains to him when AIM entities like him are manifested, Last Order is heavily strained and may die if left untreated. To help Last Order, who has collapsed from sustaining Aiwass, Accelerator follows Aiwass’ advice and heads to Russia during World War III in search of Index, unaware that he has met her before.
- In Russia, after being ambushed by Russian mages, he acquires the “Goatskin”, a mysterious document sought after by both Academy City and the Russian government that has the knowledge about the Archangels and Heaven, and later runs into a Misaka Worst clone, learning that Aleister intends to eliminate Last Order, now obsolete to create a new Misaka network. Despite being more powerful than Misaka Worst, Accelerator is unable to bring himself to harm another Sister clone after the Level 6 experiment and becomes mentally unstable after the clone attempts to kill Last Order and later tries to kill herself. Accelerator goes on a rampage until Tōma arrives where he turns his frustration regarding Last Order’s condition onto Tōma and a fight ensues between the two. After Accelerator is defeated again, Tōma uses his Imagine Breaker to stabilize Last Order and leaves a note informing him of Index’s true whereabouts. Later, he joins forces with Elizarinian soldiers and Misaka Worst to find spies in their country, and fought Archangel Gabriel along with Hyōka, where after studying the Goatskin, he learns to understand the angel’s language and turning himself into an angel as a side effect. With his new powers, he is able to decode one of Index’s songs and was finally able to cure Last Order but is injured in the process.
- After the Third World War, Accelerator is given his freedom with the help of Shiage, after he threatens the Academy City’s administration to leave him, Last Order and Misaka Worst alone and orders them to stop all illegal black projects in the city. However, both he and Shiage actions anger a new group of espers called the “Freshmen” who are aware of the existences of Magic and sees them as an obstacle in Academy City’s war against the Magic factions. After being helped by Tōma and Leivinia Birdway, the latter invites him to join the world of Magic.
- Shiage Hamazura
- is one of the main characters in the science side in A Certain Magical Index he is a former member of Skill-Out, a group of Level 0s who use various means to counter esper abilities, who accidentally gets caught up with the Dark side of Academy City. He is first introduced in the Side Story novels where he became the leader of his Skill-Out gang after Accelerator killed the former leader, his best friend Ritoku Komaba on the orders of the Board of Directors. On the same day he became the new leader, his gang was forced by the Board of Directors to kill Mikoto’s mother, Misuzu or face extermination. However, he and his gang were defeated by Tōma and Accelerator and they failed to kill Misuzu. Humiliated, he left the gang to his friend Hattori Hanzo and became a chauffeur and informant for Team ITEM where he fell in love with one of their members, Rikō Takitsubo.
- During the 15th novel, Team ITEM is involved in a war between the various underground organization where Shiage helps them by providing transport by stealing cars around the city. But when Team ITEM is defeated by Team SCHOOL led by its leader, Teitoku Kakine, Shizuri Mugino, the leader of Team ITEM, wants revenge for being humiliated no matter what and forces an injured Rikō to use her powers to find Teitoku despite the fact that repeated use of her powers will kill her. In order to save Rikō, Shiage fights against Shizuri and despite the odds, he manages to defeat Shizuri by using her pride and powers against her. However, this unexpected incident becomes a thorn in Aleister’s plans as there was no way Shiage could defeat Shizuri as she is a Level 5. Seeing him as an unpredictable anomaly that will disrupt his future plans, Aleister puts a bounty on Shiage and orders the forces of Academy City’s dark side to kill him. Ironically, he is saved by Shizuri, who survived their battle and now has a sense of twisted love for him (declaring she will castrate him as her sign of affection). She lets him and Rikō escape Academy City by stealing a jet and shoots down his pursuers, declaring that he is her prey and hers alone.
- Shiage and Rikō escapes to Russia only to find themselves in a war between Academy City and Russia. After being saved by Acqua of the Rear, Shiage and Rikō heads to the nation of Elizarina where Rikō is partially healed by Accelerator and aids Acqua. In order to protect a document called the Kremlin Report, Shiage and Rikō heads towards the same nuclear military base that Mikoto went while they were being chased by Academy City forces and later Shizuri. However Shizuri collapses from over-exhaustion as her fragile body is suffering from the effects of using too much Body Crystal, a dangerous drug that Rikō uses to activate her powers. Unable to see her this way, Shiage begs Shizuri to let go of her pride and see reason and be the Shizuri that use to care for her teammates which strokes a cord within her and makes peace with him as she protects him and Rikō from the rest of the invading Academy City forces. After capturing a member of the Board of Directors who led the Academy City forces and torturing him, he reveals to Shiage a document called the Parameter List, which reveals that the Academy City administration has been secretly interfering with the Power Curriculum Program and preventing most of the city’s students from gaining or raising their powers.
- After the Third World War, Shiage is given amnesty and the assassination order on him removed thanks to Accelerator and makes a deal with the Academy City’s administration, where he will not expose the truth about the Parameter List and he, along with Rikō and Shizuri are allowed to return to Academy City to reform Team ITEM. However, his and Accelerator’s actions have made them enemies with a new group of espers called the “Freshmen” which is aware of the existence of Magic who sees both of them as an obstacle in Academy City’s war against the Magic factions. After Tōma and Leivinia help him and Accelerator against the “Freshmen”, Tōma introduces them to the world of Magic.