How to Watch A Certain Magical / Scientific (Toaru) Series in order

The Toaru series watch order or A Certain Magical / Scientific is complicated and convoluted with loads of characters and stories. Here’s how to make it a lot easier to start out!

Toaru, a famous anime series that involved magic, science, and tons of action, started out with the light novel “A Certain Magical Index” written by Kazuma Kamachi and illustrated by Kiyotaka Haimura. With the popularity of the series, a spin-off was made called “A Certain Scientific Railgun” followed by another spin-off “A Certain Scientific Accelerator.” However, these spin-offs play an integral part to the entire story so they are a must-watch.

“A Certain Magical Index” centers around Toma Kamijou, a high-school student in Academy City. In this world, certain people have supernatural abilities powered by either science or magic. People who derive their powers from science and the manipulation of AIM diffusion fields within their bodies are called espers. People who study and practice magic are rightly known as magicians. The plot involves itself with the conflict that arises between science, represented by Academy City, and magic, represented by various Magic Cabals. Toma sees a girl with a white nun uniform climbing into his window who introduces herself as Index, a being who possesses the information of all 103,000 magical grimoires. People from various organizations are chasing her down to retrieve the information and Toma decides to shelter and protect her. The entire series follows their adventures fighting people on both science and magic.

To understand how the spin-offs were based, a brief overview of Academy City is needed. Academy City is the most technologically-advanced city in all of Japan, housing an overwhelming percentage of espers. Espers derive their powers from the concept of “Personal Reality” or rejecting the ideals of original physics and manipulating molecules to their will by indulging in their own “reality” and ignoring the reality in front of them. All espers in Academy City are a result of the Power Curriculum Program, which students have to enroll in to become an esper. These espers are ranked by levels with 5 being the highest and 0 being powerless or almost non-existent power. There are only 7 Level 5 espers and these espers are ranked from 1-7 in terms of applicability to research. Toma Kamijou is a Level 0 esper but he does have an ability. In his right arm is a mysterious power called “Imagine Breaker” that can nullify any esper or magical ability.

There are mainly three ways to watch this series. One is the broadcasted order, the pseudo-chronological order, and the true chronological order. The first two orders are equally chosen by first-time watchers but the true chronological order isn’t really done by many other than seasoned watchers.

*DISCLAIMER: These three shows will be referred to as “Index,” “Railgun,” and “Accelerator” for convenience*

Broadcast Order (A Certain Magical Index)

The broadcast order presents Index first. Index was the first to show up in the franchise and provides a good introduction to the Toaru universe. It starts with Toma meeting Index for the first time and is the beginning of the series in terms of how the show was presented and how the light novels were written. However, the two shows are still intertwined because they were broadcast in a way to present an erratic, yet fulfilling, experience.

  • A Certain Magical Index I
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun
  • A Certain Magical Index II
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun S (Season 2)
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun T (Season 3)
  • A Certain Magical Index III

Pseudo-Chronological Order (A Certain Scientific Railgun)

This order is not the true chronological order but it has Railgun first instead of Index. The spin-off “A Certain Scientific Railgun” illustrates the stories of Mikoto Misaka, the 3rd-ranked Level 5 esper, with her friends at the prestigious all-girls private Tokiwa academy. The events that occur in Railgun happen before the meeting of Index and Toma so many people watch Railgun first to get a sense of chronology.

  • A Certain Scientific Railgun
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun S (Season 2)
  • A Certain Magical Index I
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun T (Season 3)
  • A Certain Magical Index II
  • A Certain Magical Index III

What about “A Certain Scientific Accelerator” and the Movie?

“A Certain Scientific Accelerator” is a pure side-story that has an equal effect on your Toaru experience if you watch it at anytime. This anime focuses on the maniacal, genius, 1st-ranked most-powerful esper who only goes by the name Accelerator. There is no personal loss or correct order to watch this so there is a lot of freedom with this option.

This also applies to the Toaru movie: “A Certain Magical Index the Movie: The Miracle of Endymion.” It’s a pretty isolated side-story that doesn’t influence on the main storyline.

True Chronological Order

A Certain Magical / Scientific (Toaru)

For people who are curious or trying to tackle the series in its pure flow of events and the correct timeline, this is the choice for you. Here is the episodic true chronological order of Toaru.

  • Railgun Episodes 1-14
  • Railgun OVA
  • Index Episodes 1-6
  • Railgun Episodes 15 and 16
  • Index Episodes 7-9
  • Railgun Episodes 17-24
  • Railgun S Episodes 1-10
  • Index Episode 10
  • Railgun S Episodes 11-16
  • Index Episodes 11-14
  • Railgun S Episodes 17-20
  • Index Episodes 15-17
  • Railgun S Episodes 21-24
  • Index Episodes 18 and 19
  • Index II Episode 1
  • Index Episodes 20-24
  • Index II Episodes 2-7
  • Index the Movie: The Miracle of Endymion
  • Railgun T Episodes 1-3**
  • Index II Episodes 8-13**
  • Railgun T Episodes 4-15
  • Index II Episodes 14-16
  • Railgun T Episodes 16-19
  • Index II Episodes 17-24
  • Railgun T Episodes 17–25
  • All of Index III

**Railgun T Episodes 1-3 and Index II Episodes 8-13 occur simultaneously so the order is interchangeable here**

What is Shinyaku?

Shinyaku Toaru no Majutsu or “A Certain Magical Index: New Testament” is the latest installment of the Toaru light novel series and provides the continuation of the main storyline after the events of Index III

This is definitely a very complex series with tens of characters, overlapping plots, amazing character development throughout, and tons of lore and action. For a shounen anime, Toaru does a great job bringing in seinen elements while providing enticing battle scenes and a great story when you look back. Don’t be daunted by the sheer size of the series and follow this guide to help you enjoy Toaru as much as I do.

Leave a Comment