How to Watch A Certain Magical / Scientific Series

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How to Watch A Certain Magical / Scientific Series

At face value, A Certain Magical Index and its spin-off story, A Certain Scientific Railgun, shouldn’t be difficult to watch. You watch both seasons of Index then both seasons of Railgun and enjoy. However, that’s kind of a recipe to make this already complex series more confusing than it needs to be.

Incidentally, there are also those that argue that by watching Index first, it greatly diminishes the best arc in the series that is infinitely more expanded upon in Railgun, but loses a lot of the grandeur when you have already seen the shorter, less fleshed out version in Index. Furthermore, it is also notable that the first few episodes of Index’s first season make this series seem almost worth a pass when compared to how amazing it gets for the next three-fourths.

So if you are looking to give A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun a try, consider the following watch orders to get the most out of the series.

Index First / Broadcast Order

When we watch anime, we tend to pick the series that came out first, watch all those seasons, then move on to any spin-offs. That’s kind of the way that makes sense, but you are doing yourself a disservice by doing this in this case. Instead, if you are looking for the most cohesive watch, you should consider the actual broadcast order, which is:

  • A Certain Magical Index
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun
  • A Certain Magical Index II
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun S
  • A Certain Magical Index the Movie: The Miracle of Endymion (A pretty self-contained side story)

Railgun First / Chronological Order

If you ask any fan, they would say watching Railgun first is the right choice because you get a more emotional impact from events that don’t get the same focus in Index. As those events are spoiled by Index, knowing the outcome is…Disappointing.

A simplified Railgun first watch is as follows:

  • A Certain Scientific Railgun
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun S
  • A Certain Magical Index
  • A Certain Magical Index II
  • A Certain Magical Index the Movie: The Miracle of Endymion

This watching order preserves the mystery and emotion of the show. Furthermore, I personally believe watching Railgun first has a better initial hook than the somewhat difficult to like first episodes of Index.

If you really want to get into it, you also have the option of a full chronological order watch. While I personally recommend the simplified Railgun first order above, if you have watched it before or simply just want a standard timeline of events, you can do the following.

True Chronological Order

  • A Certain Scientific Railgun 1-14
  • Railgun OVA
  • A Certain Magical Index 1-6
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun 15-16
  • A Certain Magical Index 7-9
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun 17-24
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun S 1-10
  • A Certain Magical Index 10
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun S 11-16
  • A Certain Magical index 11-14
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun S 17-20
  • A Certain Magical Index 15-17
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun S 21-24
  • A Certain Magical Index 18
  • A Certain Magical Index II 1
  • A Certain Magical Index 19-24
  • A Certain Magical Index 2-7
  • A Certain Magical Index the Movie: The Miracle of Endymion
  • A Certain Magical Index II 8-24

Complicated, certainly. However, it is uniquely interesting to see how events unfold side by side in each series.

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