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Index VS Railgun: Settling the Debate Once and For All

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Joined: 22 Dec 2016
Posts: 5
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:20 pm Reply with quote
Inspired by Gigguk's video, I recently started getting into this franchise (via this guide), I've read the first volume of Index and am working my way through the first season of Railgun.
I quite liked the LN (it was the first one I ever read), and I'm enjoying Railgun, even though I'm not a big fan of the CGDCT genre. So far I haven't really encountered the so-called "lull" in the beginning of the story, so I'd recommend anyone who thinks this franchise should be for them to just get to it!
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Joined: 13 May 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:22 pm Reply with quote
Railgun anime is definitely better but I think the Index overall plot line is much stronger. But I also think comparing the two overall is kinda pointless since you really need both to appreciate them each fully. Index S3 was a disaster, unforuantely. But S1 and S2 are all that's needed for everything in Railgun T anyway.
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Joined: 11 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:30 pm Reply with quote
This would be a much better article if it didn't assume people are "supposed to" dislike Index III, which is one of the most frustrating norms of the Raildex fandom.

Yes, as an adaptation it's not ideal, but I thought it was really, really good and interesting. It has the quick pacing and self-contained stories I enjoy out of the Index franchise. I loved how much it expanded on the stories of other characters like Accelerator and Hamazura. While it could've used a few more episodes for breathing room, I thought it was mostly a good and engaging viewing experience, especially on rewatches where you're able to focus on what everything happening contributes to the overall series lore. It made me want to catch up on the novels sometime, because I love the world Kamachi's been forming.

Anyway, Railgun's fine. Because it has the pace of a manga and all of the anime original content it moves much slower, as explained in the article. But it's still generally less interesting than Index to me, even as an anime. No matter how amazing they make everything look, or how things are paced or presented, I think what's more important is the core of each story, and Index wins for me because it just has so much more to offer.
That said, I'll admit Railgun's Daihasei Festival arc has been a real treat though.
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Joined: 06 Mar 2016
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:41 pm Reply with quote
Had they killed off Kuroko early in the series, I would have liked Railgun better than Index.
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Joined: 01 Jun 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:46 pm Reply with quote
Fingers crossed for Index IV and V, or a Blood Sign anime.
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Lin Liren

Joined: 11 Dec 2018
Posts: 24
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:46 pm Reply with quote
I found it curious how Kuroko’s “teleportation sound” switched back from the Awesome-Sounding “Electronic Roar” in the Railgun Season One back to the simple, quiet “Swish” in Index 2, and back to the Awesome Roar again in Railgun2 and vice-verse.
Such a lack of consistency, considering both series are basically different chapters in the same “Cinematic Universe” Story.
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Joined: 20 Oct 2014
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:56 pm Reply with quote
I suppose the main crux of the debate is if you find Touma or Misaka more interesting as a protagonist since that's a key distinction.

Honestly for me, Touma feels very unthematic and bland to me. This feeling was made worse for me after Index 3 anime and after reading a bunch of the LN. Yes, the LNs do try to develop touma but it's so far into the story that at that point, it felt too late.

I also hate how he drains Misaka of her personality at times. Misaka may be a simple character in terms of personality and ideals but when she's around Touma, she get reduced to tsundere all too much and loses some of her edge in a sense.
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Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:57 pm Reply with quote
As the franchise moved into the 2010s, Railgun tapped into the mood and trends of the time, while Index was feeling more and more like a time capsule of early and mid-00s fantasy anime, especially when it came to the needlessly complicated lore in the magic side of its worldbuilding.

This point is the main takeaway on the article for me. I have alluded to this point myself in some of my reviews of the franchise but don't think that I have ever stated it as succinctly as Kim does here. Other factors aside, the most recent Index season feels more dated than the most recent Railgun season does.
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Joined: 04 Nov 2017
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:18 pm Reply with quote
"What's your favorite part of the Raildex franchise?"

I prefer Index primarily because that's where I get to see Accelerator's character growth. His own spinoff felt more like diversionary fanservice. I'm not typically into antiheroes--especially when they're bleeding with edge. However, his story resonated with me more than whatever Touma or Misaka were up to. Accelerator is also a much more tolerable tsundere than Misaka since his behavior seems more natural as an extension of his experiences; whereas Misaka becomes insufferable whenever Touma enters her periphery. It's like she's fulfilling the tsundere role in a VN in the most cliche manner possible.

Sakuga isn't important to me. I enjoy it, but can live without it. And while I do enjoy slice of life, there were stretches where it felt like Railgun dragged. I also despise Kuroko. Only Index (the character) comes across as irritatingly trope-y. If it wasn't for seeing the Sisters arc from Misaka's perspective, I wouldn't have rated Railgun as highly as I did. I still consider that arc the highest peak of the franchise as a (for now) anime only. The tension and dread from Sisters just isn't present in Railgun T's side of Daihaisei for me.
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Joined: 30 May 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:34 pm Reply with quote
I had no idea Astral Buddy was even licensed.

I was expecting a shit show when reading the title but am glad Frog was the one writing this. Good article.

I'll have to side with the "Index III was a disappointment, yes, but I don't think it was bad" opinion. Hell, I liked it more than Railgun's first season (and, for comparison's sake, I dislike K-On! and its types, so make of that what you will). Then again, I'm a novel reader and my memory sucks, so getting reminded of those plot points and moments I forgot was its own reward. Not exactly an universal experience.

I can only say that if you are interested in Index and want to read more than what Yen has, the fan-translation is about as good as fan-translations get.

What's your favorite part of the Raildex franchise?

Now this is an easy one
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Joined: 27 Apr 2010
Posts: 355
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:05 pm Reply with quote
I remember when the Index anime was first set to premiere. I was so hyped to get into it, and thought it was going to be such a fantastic story. But it all went downhill from there for me.

Granted, I haven't read the novels, so I will grant that there is that much talked about potential to appreciate teh novels more than the anime. But considering my gripes with the Index story over the animation, I don't that to be likely in my case.

My main gripes start with the MC, Touma. For much fo the first season he came across to me as a whiny brat who liked to stick his nose into trouble only to complain about being involved in said trouble. I get that as the MC he has to be in these incidents, and there's no reason he should like it. But to write him as being so "dumb luck" prone, complaining about how he found his way into all these problems, and then preaching to others about it, got very grating very fast. The fire priest dude - whose name I can't even be bothered to remember or look up - would have made an infinitely better MC.

The world building is too scattershot. As a person who understands the temptations and the inclinations in writing, it seems very much like anytime a new idea comes along for this world, the author can't help but hobble together a means of squeezing it in. It's resulted in an overly bloated world masking as being deep or diverse. At times it feels more like a conspiratorial wet dream chasing its own tail in an effort to make sense rather than a complete story.

The attempts at comedy generally feel forced, as though it's a box to be checked off rather than a natural flow to the story.

The attempts to "redeem" characters, particularly Accelerator, are contrived. I don't want to get in the mire on the issues there, so I will leave it at simply saying that not every story needs an anti-hero, especially if the one you choose isn't justified.
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Joined: 29 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:20 pm Reply with quote
Good and well thought out article, gotta give credit where it's due.

While I have watched most of raildex anime I have been holding off on wathcing index iii, similarly for reading the novels as they are to verbose (as usual of light novel, nothing weird here) and that makes them take too long to read.
So, after having a similar chat with a friend who went thru index iii that it's a good idea to read the index manga as a compromise.
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Joined: 30 May 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:29 pm Reply with quote
^ We'll see you in 20 years, when the manga finally catches up to the anime - provided there's no more anime, of course.
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Joined: 23 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:30 pm Reply with quote
As far as the anime adaptations are concerned, this is not a debate for me. Railgun is easily better than Index. Heck, even the disappointing anime adaptation of Accelerator is better than most of the Index anime.

I also have the impression that the anime community at large prefers Railgun.
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Joined: 01 Apr 2018
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Location: Heart of africa
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:36 pm Reply with quote
For me it comes down to characters. In terms of plot and world building, both have the same problems, to me, although index is definitely more bloated. But i can follow any story if i like the characters and i like the cast of railgun more than index; i especially dislike index (the character) and i'm neutral towards touma.
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