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File:Railgun1 6327.jpg

Left to right: Kazari Uiharu, Mikoto Misaka, Kuroko Shirai, Ruiko Saten

Mikoto Misaka is the third most powerful esper in Academy City, a state-of-the-art city dedicated to the study and development of superpowers. Along with her friends, she protects the city from the daily threats which disturb the city's peace. However, behind this idyllic, advanced city lurks a darkness which even the third most powerful esper in the city can't take on her own.

A Certain Scientific Railgun (とある科学の超電磁砲 , Toaru Kagaku no Rērugan) is a manga spin-off and supplementary reading to the A Certain Magical Index Light Novel series. Similar to the original, it has received an Animated Adaptation courtesy of J.C.Staff, which covers the first major arc of the manga as well as some anime-original material penned by the author. In addition, there are side-story novels which involve the protagonists with the Magic side.

This series shares a character sheet with A Certain Magical Index.

A Certain Wiki may help in understanding various terminologies that may be found on this wiki.

The anime has been licensed and released by FUNimation entertainment, along with both seasons and the movie of A Certain Magical Index.

A note on timelines: The manga's events begin two weeks before the Index novel and anime. The anime, however, violates this by adapting events from Volume 8 of the novels into the anime's first episode. As it stands, Chapters 18 to 39 occur around the time of Volume 3 in the novels, Chapter 40 is around volume 5, Chapters 41-42 and around volume 8 and Chapters 43-current take place around volume 9.

Tropes used in A Certain Scientific Railgun include:


  • Adaptational Attractiveness In the manga, Saten was shorter than Mikoto and had a flat chest. In the anime her height is sometimes the same as Mikoto's. Her bust in some official art (when she is in a bikini) is increased to a C cup. JC Staff really likes her (Director's Pet).
  • Adaptation Expansion: The anime gives more character development to the cast from the Railgun manga and even explains more details about Academy City and the people who live there. Furthermore, It continues where Level Upper arc left off and gives it a proper end.
    • The entire series is essentially this, especially Railgun's version of the Sisters arc, which explains Mikoto's struggles against the Level 6 experiment in more detail compared to the Index version. It also shows a more introspective side of Accelerator, which makes his Face Heel Turn more understandable.
  • Adult Fear: What made the tragedy of Professor Kiyama Harumi so easy to relate to for adult audiences is the very human fear in every mother that society would hurt, betray and take their beloved children away from them. This infuses her quest to save her students, extreme measures notwithstanding, with a sad and admirable nobility that you can't help but root for.
  • Affably Evil: Frenda, Mugino, Rikou and Saiai act like your normal everyday teenage girls except when they do mercenary work as Team ITEM, they are damn good.
  • Alertness Blink
  • All Part of the Show: In the Railgun Side Story: Liberal Arts City, a battle between Mikoto and a Mixcoatl piloted by Xochitl is passed off as a show to everyone else, despite the danger being very real. Once things get completely out of hand later on, they couldn't keep it up.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The "Level Upper" Hive Mind gives its instigator the free use of the powers of all of its members, when an esper is only supposed to have one. By the time of The Reveal, this count is literally 'over nine thousand.
  • Alpha Bitch: Mitsuko Kongo usually looks down on Kuroko or any "ruffians" who dare disrespect her but she is kind to children and her kohai's, Kinoho Wannai and Maaya Awatsuki.
    • Surprisingly even Kuroko acts like the Alpha Bitch towards those she see as below her and does it unintentionally sometimes.
    • Considering they're both from Tokiwadai, a school for girls of the elite rich, there are bound to be some Alpha Bitches at that school.
    • Averted with Mikoto who, despite coming from a rich family, grew up like a normal girl thanks to her mother and acts kind and friendly to all people, no matter what social class they come from.
  • Amusing Injuries: Kuroko would not have survived getting her darned neck broken by the dorm supervisor in Episode 2 if it wasn't so darned funny.
  • Anti-Magic: Touma's right hand, the "Imagine Breaker".
  • Anti-Villain: Professor Kiyama, whose motivation of saving children who were her students rendered comatose by a corrupt government experiment is noble enough to earn Mikoto's sympathy and offer to help her accomplish it.
  • Artistic License Astronomy: In the ED, the sun casts a moving shadow on some drink cans as it traverses the sky. The only problem is that the shadow moves the wrong direction in the time lapse footage — Japan must be in the Southern Hemisphere, or the footage is played backwards.
  • Artistic License Physics: In reality, lightning travels extremely fast (about 92,000 miles per second, or 148,000 kilometers per second) so dodging or blocking Misaka's attacks should probably be out of the question. That's just the first one. This series isn't about the clash of Magic and Science, but the clash of Magic and Techno Babble. Given it opens with a acknowledged psychic powers, you should really expect that sort of thing.
    • Also, Misaka herself comments on the fact that she is limiting her power just so they can get a reading in the first episode. The people administering the test are probably too scared by her power to notice anything odd.
    • This is actually touched upon however briefly in the Accelerator vs Touma rematch. According to the former, the latter is able to block the blasts because he can subconsciously sense the minor changes in the AIM field, as well as in the magnetic field, and react accordingly.
  • Artificial Riverbank: Where Misaka and Touma have a duel.
  • Ascended Extra: Saten and Uiharu. In the manga, while they were very prominent during the Level Upper arc, they have extremely minimal appearances in subsequent ones. Even Shirai doesn't have nearly as many appearances in the manga as she does in the anime.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Kongo and Kuroko, who are both rivals teaming up against the MAR mech troops!
  • Badass Normal: A couple, including:
  • Bait the Dog: In the manga, two scientists are around when 9982 cleans up. They joke and laugh and 9982 criticizes the tea. All very friendly and affable. Oh, by the way 9982, don't forget to clean up the half dozen bloody corpses of your sisters before you change into the uniform, or you're just going to have to do it again. Toodles!
  • Balloon Belly: Tsuduri
  • Barely-There Swimwear: Kuroko's in episode 13. Mikoto was not amused.
    • Same in Liberal Arts City.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 13, with holograms.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Touma blocked the Graviton Bomber's power, saving Uiharu and a little girl, as well as Mikoto.
    • Not to be outdone, previous Butt Monkey Kongo Mitsuko pulls this off twice. The first time was, unfortunately off screen. The second time she knocks two helicopters out of the sky by blasting a truck at them. Not bad.
  • Big Eater: Index's and Himegami's respective appetites haven't vanished even while cameoing over to this series.
    • Also an Informed Ability of Mii Konori, to the point where Kuroko refuses to pay when they get takeout.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: The reason for Miho for attacking Tokiwadai students in the first place.
  • Black Bra and Panties: Saten rummages through Kuroko's underwear drawer, pulling a progression of worse and worse items. It starts with a pair of these, and ends with full-body fishnet stockings.
  • Bland-Name Product: A brief shot in episode 10 (when the characters are discussing computer networks as an analogy for how Level Upper might work) reveals that Konori uses a "Macindows" laptop equipped with an "Outel" processor.
    • And then averted when the Dorm Supervisor is seen going into a Pizza Hut.
  • Blood Sisters: Mikoto, Kuroko, Saten and Uiharu.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Much of the humor in Kuroko and Mikoto's friendship stems from this: the former says or does something spectacularly stupid/perverted, and the latter rewards it with a hard knock to the head.
  • Book Ends: In the beginning of the first episode of Railgun, Mikoto is humming at a bridge. The last episode ends with Mikoto at the same bridge but now with her friends Kuroko, Saten and Uiharu watching a blimp with a birthday message to Kiyama.
  • Breather Episode: The Beach Episode provides a much-needed break after the close of the Level Upper arc.
  • Brown Note: The main plot in the first half of the anime centers around a "Level Upper", which turns out to be an audio file. It works by synaesthesia, using sound alone to manipulate all of the senses at once--not, sadly, The Power of Rock--in order to effect an increase in power by networking the users together and sharing their powers with each other.. Unfortunately, its users inevitably fall into comas...
    • Here's the audiofile itself.
    • The real file is on the second soundtrack of Railgun as the 12th track. It is not as harsh as the one on YouTube.
    • In the second half of the anime, there's some importance given to another Brown Note "Capacity Down", which causes any power users to experience great pain and be incapable of calculating the necessary things to use their abilities. Good thing the resident level 0 brought a baseball bat to the last battle...
  • Butt Monkey: Kongo Mitsuko.
  • Call Back: In the beginning of episode 1, Mikoto is humming a particular tune. Later in the end of episode 7, Touma is humming the same tune.
  • Call Forward: In the Sister's arc, Mikoto has to fight Frenda of ITEM. At one one point she almost loses her legs and comments that they're her pride as a woman. Guess what happens later on in the Index novels... If you guessed having her legs blown off, give yourself a pat on the back.
    • The AIM Burst in episode 11/12 is a more subtle Call Forward. Notice that halo on top of its head? Notice the shape of its core? Now fast forward to the Academy City Invasion arc. That's right, the AIM Burst is a forerunner of FUSE/Kazakiri.
  • Canon Immigrant: Anything from characters to plotlines in the Railgun manga/anime is canon in the main Index series as it was made by the author of the novels. This include Saten who makes a cameo appearance in the novels and Capacity Down is used on Accelerator in Vol 19 of the novels. This also counts in the Railgun manga where anything that happen in the Railgun anime actually did happen in the manga hence why Erii is canon including Harumi's students being cured.
    • There's also Shinobu Nunotaba, a scientist formerly working on the Radio Noise project, and Nayuta Kihara, who has already ascended to canon through Word of God.
  • Catch Phrase: Nearly everyone has one.
    • Kuroko's catchphrase: "Judgment desuno!".
    • Saten's catchphrase: "UUU-III-HAAA-RRUUUU!!!", plus with a skirt flipping.
    • Kurozuma's catchphrase: "If it's milk, it has to be Musashino!"
  • Cat Smile: Komoe-Sensei, and other characters during the Furo Scenes in Railgun episode 17.
  • Continuity Cameo: Index and Aisa appears in Railgun episode 17. And everyone in Index appears in the ending of episode 24.
    • The Queen of Tokiwadai finally makes an appearance in Chapter 41 of the manga, complete with a reveal of her full name.
  • Chainsaw Good: Mikoto attacks Touma with a chainsword materialized from iron in the air and sand, nearly lopping off a few limbs before she turns it into a Whip Sword and he's able to dispel it.
  • Character Development: Mikoto started as an idealist but later becomes an understanding realist when she learns not everyone has the will and effort to become a higher level esper and learns to respect and be sensitive to other people's feelings especially the Level Upper users like Saten. But then it gets bad when she becomes a unbalanced, cynical Stepford Smiler during the Sister arc. It Got Worse, very worse, and then she got better.
    • Saten start as a cheerful Genki Girl despite being a Level 0. As the series progress, she gets jealous and envies her other friends who have powers which lead her to use Level Upper to finally get one but at the price of getting into a coma. After waking up from her coma and realizing there are somethings more important than powers, she becomes proud of being who she is and resolves to work harder to get the powers she had under Level Upper, the right way.
  • Character Exaggeration: Yes J.C. Staff, we know Kuroko is madly in love with Mikoto, but was it necessary to make it over the top in the Railgun anime?
  • Chekhov's Gun: Episode 4: in a list of "urban legends", the Level Upper is mentioned. Similarly, closeups of a pair of headphones playing some music, it is eventually revealed that the Level Upper is actually a sound file that one can listen to.
    • Episode 12: The camera focuses to a group of four girls at a restaurant (who we'll see again in season 2) and a mysterious lady who likes Margery Daw at the nuclear power plant (who we'll see again in a few episodes).
    • Remember episode 17? The one featuring a mysterious girl whose pendant has a picture of a certain scientist's student and the earthquake that happen in that episode? Guess who's the new transfer student at Uiharu's school, and what Antiskill and Judgment are talking about in episode 20?
    • Remember the Capacity Down? Yeah, we get to see who built it, and see it in use again.
    • Chapter 44: Saten's urban legends strike again. She briefly mentions that there's a legend that the hundreds of clashing espers can create a kind of Unobtanium that can only be made during the Daihasei because that's the only time that so many espers are actively fighting against each other. Anyone want to place bets on what the conflict of the current arc is going to revolve around?
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Saten Ruiko is a Level Zero, so even with an aluminum baseball bat she can't do much in a battle with a giant mech, yet she proves instrumental in the final battle in episode 24 as she was the only one Telestina didn't detect, and the only girl in the group aside from Kiyama not being affected by Capacity-Down and manages to destroy it!
  • Continuity Nod: Railgun is filled with nods to the rest of the series if you look closely.
    • Episode 20 shows Mii on the computer, and next to it is a bin, overflowing with milk cartons. Remember that? "If it's milk, it has to be Musashino!"
    • Episode 19 explains why the Tokiwadai Dorm supervisor in Index is different from the one in Railgun, explaining there are in fact two Tokiwadai dorms.
    • Remember episode 18 when Uiharu's and Saten's teacher wanted to propose to the teacher from Cypress Park? Guess what's on his hand in episode 20.
    • In episode 15, everyone except Kuroko still haven't forgotten that Saten used Level Upper.
    • In episode 6, we see a girl who is suspected of being the Graviton bomber. She isn't. We meet her again, during the special classes for the Level Upper users.
    • Several characters from the Railgun anime appeared in the manga like Erii and that female gangster Mikoto fought.
    • A minor one. The Judgement member who saved a girl from the Graviton Bomb by knocking her down and protecting her with his own body was an instant hit with the fans. We later found out in the manga that he's dating her. Good job Hero!
    • Chapter 43 references Misaka's experiences during the Someone's Watching incident of the OVA.
    • The Railgun manga has added many nods to the side stories. In chapter 43 Mikoto is mentioned to have experience doing demonstrations in Russia (Shopping Mall Demonstration side story), in chapter 44.5 a disguised Xochitl runs into and remember Saten from the Liberal Arts City side story, and even more subtly, in chapter 42 Saten makes an offhand comment about how the jeans she ordered from England haven't arrived yet (Norse Mythology side story).
  • Cool Airship: The Mixcoatls in Railgun SS, made of obsidian, wood, and cloth, that can out fly fighter planes.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Esper powers affect reality based on their users' internal reality. According to the pseudoscience of the series, if a Schrödinger's cat experiment was set up, espers would find the cat in the state that they believed it to be, because they believed strongly enough that the cat was that way. Hypnosis, brainwashing and drugs are used to throw the subjects' internal reality out of whack. So, it might be argued that the strongest espers like Mikoto and Accelerator are the most stubbornly out of touch with the reality normal people live in.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Kuroko, who threatens Touma the moment she sees him out of suspicion over his relationship with Mikoto, telling him that if he wants to make a go at Mikoto he'll have to go through her first. Though despite her jealousy, she never tries to sabotage or otherwise impede Touma's conversations with Mikoto. While clingy and jealous, Kuroko has the best interest for Mikoto at heart.
  • Cry Cute: Misaka in Episode 4.
  • Cool Car: Kiyama's Lamborghini. Saten is also seen cross-stitching a different Lamborghini during the school festival.
  • Cutting the Knot: Averted with Touma. A lot of Railgun's plots could have been solved in about three seconds if he were there.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Mugino was smart enough to leave Saiai to defend one of the research centre's while she, Frenda and Rikou fought Mikoto at the other one in case Mikoto was just a diversion. She was right.
  • Date Crepe: Kuroko gets the same flavor of crepe as Mikoto in an effort to get more intimate with her, and is horrified when Mikoto shares a bite with someone who got a different flavor.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 17 is about the teacher and Antiskill officer Tsuzuri Tessou.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: When it comes to orphans and love, the Dorm Supervisor shows a nicer and kinder side. Too bad the love part didn't last.
  • Delinquents: They sure like to hit on Misaka.
  • Designated Girl Fight: When the scientist in charge of the Sisters project learns that Mikoto is destroying their labs, he decides to sent in a team of mercenaries. Said team is Team ITEM, but it's a subversion as they hired not because they were girls, but because the team is composed of professional mercenaries and their leader is a Level 5.
  • Eagle Land: definitely flavor 2 in the Railgun side story: Liberal Arts City, almost to the point of being anvilicious; the author sees America (in a very stereotypically Japanese way) as the movie-obsessed land of women with huge breasts, overly large vehicles and people toting guns everywhere.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Railgun manga and its anime adaptation has characters from the later novels appearing much earlier.
    • In manga Chapter 1, Aiho Yomikawa makes a cameo appearance after the crime scene.
    • In Chapter 8, you can see Stiyl passing by Uiharu.
    • In Chapter 11, Mikoto and Kuroko meets a certain "frog-face doctor".
    • In Chapter 15, the "Shonen Hero" in one of the Level Upper user's memories is none other than Gunha Sogiita, the seventh Level 5 esper, and in the same chapter we have the appearance of a group of girls hanging out. Those girls are none other than the members of ITEM, lead by the fourth Level 5 esper, Shizuri Mugino.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For all the obstacles, the setbacks, the pain and the suffering she went through and the way the city treated her beloved students, Kiyama finally got her happy ending where she is reunited with her now awakened and cured students. And it's one she truly deserves.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The AIM Burst creature after people have been shooting it, causing it to grow and deform, most notably developing eyes in random places. Oh My God.
  • Ensemble Cast: In the anime, the core main characters consist of Misaka, Shirai, Saten and Uiharu and they all have ample turns in the spotlight. In the manga, the only real "main" character is Misaka. Shirai is a recurring secondary character while Saten and Uiharu aren't very important outside of the Level Upper arc.
  • Eureka Moment: Episode 3: The girls are stumped over why a girl shows up on camera but isn't seen by her victims, since everyone with the power to turn invisible has an alibi. After Kuroko remarks that she "didn't notice" the pigeon Uiharu saw fly by, Mikoto realizes that the girl must have the power to erase her presence from the minds of people who see her directly.
  • Epic Fail: Episode 17 makes very clear Tessou is the resident Butt Monkey, in one-and-a-half minutes.
    • Another was when Mikoto tries to blow away the graviton bomb with her railgun, but drops her coin. However, Touma was there to protect everyone from the explosion.
  • Evil Laugh: The opening credits already mark Telestina out as an obvious bad guy, but she invokes this trope in Episode 23 with such furious insanity that it is utterly scary.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: The students of Tokiwadai adore Mikoto. Except some don't like her and/or pretend to like her while others are part of the biggest faction within Tokiwadai who are followers of Tokiwadai's other Level 5, "The Queen".
  • Every Girl Is Cuter With Hair Decs: All the main characters have some form of hair decorations, but Uiharu is definitely overdoing it with the flower bouquet on her head. The four main girls' accessories are highlighted in the first ending.
  • Evil Albino: Accelerator. Although he gets better in Index.
  • Evil Old Folks: Kiyama's former boss, Gensei Kihara, is a heartless scientist who sees no problem with using children for his experiments. To him, they are "ingredients" to be use in the name of science.
    • What's worse is It Runs in The Family, as his son Amata Kihara is an evil bastard just like his father, as Amata was the one who "raised" Accelerator. Add Telestina Kihara Lifeline, Gensei's granddaughter to the list of evil (and mentally fucked up).
      • Surprisingly averted with Nayuta Kihara, aka “Loli Kihara”, who was introduced in the new Railgun mininovel and who may be the only good Kihara in the family - even though she isn't evil like the rest of her family, she's still manipulative just like them. She easily manipulated Mikoto and Gunha, two Level 5's, to fight against each other! And she's a member of Judgment too! Then again, the novel was written by Ryohgo Narita, and anyone familiar with his work will know to Beware the Nice Ones.


  • Failure Is the Only Option: For Mikoto in the Railgun Sisters Arc and when fighting Touma.
  • Fandom Nod/Sure Why Not: A minor one. The Tokiwadai Dorm supervisor's appearance changes from the Index anime to the Railgun anime. Some fans think it was change to match her looks in the manga while others think they are just two different people with the same job. Along came episode 19, which mentions there are two Tokiwadai Dorms, which suggest there are indeed two different dorm supervisors.
  • Fan Service: With a huge female-only cast including at least one perverse loli and skirt-chaser, you can guess there is LOTS of it. Though it manages to be self-conscious, tongue-in-cheek and good-natured.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Though everyone in Academy city is treated with equal rights in theory, in practice your chances of getting passed over for jobs, universities and all other opportunities in life steadily increases the lower your Power Level gets. Well-meaning Level 5s[1] try to reassure their "lesser" peers with ultimately hollow mantras of "Do your best!! Your power level doesn't matter!!" oblivious to the fact that certain people are simply born incapable of crossing certain hurdles no matter how hard they try. Naturally, this breeds intensely bitter resentment, especially amongst the Level 0's of the city's population; ripe for exploitation by people like Professor Kiyama Harumi through schemes like the "Level Upper" incident.
    • Some scientists, such as Telestina and the rest of the Kihara family, don't even treat espers as humans; merely test subjects for their experiments.
  • Fetus Terrible: A flying psychic malformed embryo... thing... formed from the negative emotions of thousands of espers. Not really conscious but damn good at blowing stuff up. Regenerates in a fraction of a second. Also, tentacles. Only The Power of Rock can save you now.
  • Filler: Because there were only four manga volumes of Railgun at that time, with the then-current arc (The Sisters arc) still ongoing, filler episodes were created after the first arc in the Railgun anime to fill in its 24 episode slot. Thankfully, most of the filler episodes and the characters introduced in the anime were written by the author of the novels so it's Canon - and some is referenced in later works. That particular arc would be adapted to fill the first 15 episodes of the 24-episode second season of the anime.
  • Flip-Flop of God: In the beginning of the Index novel and anime, Mikoto fires a railgun which passes by Touma but in the Railgun manga drawn by Motoi Fukuyama, she fires the Railgun at him which he stops using Imagine Breaker. Unfortunately, this caused some backlash with fans since it is contested by the fandom if this is possible. To avoid this contradiction, the Railgun anime has the events that lead to the Railgun incident Retcon to an earlier date before the time of the first Index arc.
  • Flower in Her Hair: Uiharu practically wears a flowerbed on her head, while Saten wears a lone white flower. As Uiharu has both refused to answer Kiyama about what they are (or answer any other questions at the time), and only answered "What are you talking about?" when someone pointed them out to her at the Tokiwadai Midsummer festival, they may be more than a headband.
    • The novels state they are artificial flowers.
  • Foreshadowing: In the manga Kiyama gives a hint to Mikoto over where she got the idea to create Level Upper. The origin of that idea? The Sisters project. Skipped in Railgun anime which is switched to Telestina telling Mikoto everyone in Academy City is a guinea pig to reach Level 6.
    • Remember some of those Urban Legends the girls were talking at episode 4? Other than the ones directly addressed in the Level Upper story arc, all of them hint about things that happen in the Index anime.
  • For Great Justice: The Liberal Arts City had been implied to have captured espers and experiment on them, as well as get rid of people who snoop using Secret Police, control information, and other various things to create their own espers using a different method from Academy City, based off the magicians attacking them for this reason. They claim it's so they wouldn't be behind the times as the "World Police" since it's possible that espers would become common place in the future, but they were just as bad as Academy City's For Science!!
  • For Science!!: We get a flashback of a previous incident in which orphaned children (complete with one girl talking about how grateful she was to the city for taking care of them) are used as research experiments (you see where this is going, right?) and ultimately sent into comas when put through a treatment to test pushing psychic powers to their limits. As the experiment goes terribly wrong, the head researcher stops another from calling for ambulances, saying the results are much more interesting and no one will miss the children.
    • It doesn't help that the Academy City's Board of Directors allows this kind of activity.
      • It doesn't help even more that Academy City is just a testing ground for them to be able to get the god-like power of a Level 6. Everyone within are guinea pigs for many kinds of experiments, at least that's what Telestina Kihara Lifeline said.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: Mikoto, Kuroko, Uiharu and Saten... they complement each other well, don't they?
    • Add Kuroko and Uiharu's supervisor in Judgment, Mii Konori, to get a Five-Man Band.
    • Frenda, Mugino, Rikou and Saiai can count as a Four-Girl Ensemble, too, despite being villains? Nah, who cares!
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Mikoto's so fond of bunnies and frogs it's no wonder she wears shorts under her skirt... (nervous laugh)
    • Some of what Uiharu wears may also qualify (though we don't actually see it).
  • Gratuitous English: As partially explained in the main entry under Alternate Character Reading, all the Gratuitous English skill names and terms are simply readings assigned to that name/term's kanji. eg. Anti-Skill (kanji reads Guardsmen), Dummy Check, Imagine Breaker (kanji reads Illusion/Fantasy Killer), Judgment (kanji reads Disciplinary Committee), Skill-out, AIM (kanji reads No Awareness), as well as the anime openings.
    • Also the English terms "Level Zero", "Level One", etc. are used for the super power levels.
  • Guilty Pleasure: In-universe example: Mikoto has a love for childish cute things like the Gekota franchise, but feels incredibly embarrassed about it and tries to hide it because many characters point out how her likings are rather childish.
  • Head Desk: When given the idea that Mikoto could contract the stripper lady disease, Kuroko does this
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: X-Ray vision may not seem to be that impressive on its own, but when that means Konori Mii can never be surprised by concealed weapons, coupled with her bone-breaking martial-arts skills, makes her more than a formidable match in battle.
  • Heroic BSOD: Mikoto suffers a bad one after she failed to save Misaka 9982 from being killed, and almost got killed herself by Accelerator and spends a night moping about it until she decides to destroy the Research Centers involve in the Level 6 Experiment. Unfortunately, it was all in vain when she learns Academy City can replace those labs as many times they want making her return to her BSOD state. And It Got Worse when she finds her only lead to help stop the plan, the Tree Diagram satellite, was revealed to be destroyed.
  • Hero of Another Story: The Anti-Skills, Academy City's real police force. Despite the fact that always seem to be 10 seconds too late to help Kuroko arrest criminals, or stop Misaka from using them as a lightening rod, they really are useful at times, and actually have a bit of a cavalry / The Rest Shall Pass moment when they disobey orders and keep Telastina's mook army occupied during the highway duel.
    • This can also be applied to Touma, who is literally the hero of the other' story. Most of the time he will show up just walking in the background, and a few times he encourages Misaka, or points out how stupid she's being, there are occasions when he becomes The Cavalry and saves her from various threats, ranging from exploding balls of aluminum, or just the son of the head of her school.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Miho Jufuku shares the same voice as Nanoha
  • Hive Mind: The true purpose of the "Level Upper" is simply to harness the combined mental power of 10,000 espers as a super-computer substitute; this has the side effects of temporarily increasing the participants' powers (through leaked experiences) and granting the mastermind All Your Powers Combined but later sends the users into a coma.
    • And of course, the SISTERS' hivemind also makes an appearance here.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Misaka Mikoto herself. Granted, she's a master of electricity, but bypassing passcard locks, hijacking security robots, erasing herself from security footage, and breaking into a secure facility's network from a phone booth can't be THAT easy, even if you can control electricity.
    • Of course, she IS a Level 5, one of the strongest and most skilled Espers there is. And then there's the Rule of Cool to consider.
  • Hot-Blooded: Mikoto's battles, especially those in Episode 12 and 24 qualify; In particular the second, her final battle atop a speeding vehicle to save Harumi's comatose students from the clutches of Big Bad Telestina in a Humongous Mecha. When she catches the mecha's Rocket Punch, rips it off the and fires it like a giant missile BACK INTO the villainess to the heart-poundingly Hot-Blooded beat of "Level 5 Judgelight", MANLY tears will be shed. Quite an accomplishment considering the hero in question is a girl.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Kuroko berates Kiyama for undressing in public as it's immoral yet Kuroko will do the same things to Mikoto.
    • Also done by Mikoto chastising Kiyama's heading off into danger, alone. This one's lampshaded immediately by Kuroko and Saten.
  • The Heartless: The Fetus Terrible, above.
  • Hand Wave: In the first Railgun DVD extra, Mikoto wonders why there are so many windmills in Academy City and wonders whether there are really enough to power the city before the whole cast agrees that anything is possible in Academy City and they should stop talking about it.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: When Telestina, in her giant robot, is chasing Mikoto, she says that her railgun has a range of 50 meters. Mikoto then tells her that coins are not the only thing she can shoot, and proves it by shooting the robot's own detached claw, which must have weighed at least as much as her, at the robot. It could also count as a Power Limiter.
    • On a more general note, any time a Level 5 doesn't instantly vaporize their enemy, they were holding back.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: A large part of Ruiko's angst, as she has absolutely no potential in Esper ability, in a city full of people training to be Espers. Then she gets her hands on the Level Upper...
  • Fundamentally Female Cast: Aside from Touma, there is a conspicuous lack of male characters of any significance in this particular series.
    • However, Kurozuma, a badass guy is introduced in episode 15... just to be Put on a Bus at the end of the next episode.
    • Accelerator also makes an appearance as the main villain of the Sisters arc.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Poor Kuroko.
  • Indirect Kiss: Kuroko becomes elated at the prospect of getting a bite of something after Mikoto and later freaks out when Mikoto and Saten innocently spoon-feed each other samples of their ice-cream. Kuroko desperately asks for equal treatment, but Mikoto refuses--after all, didn't they order the same thing?.
  • Inverse Law of Complexity to Power: The level 5's of the world seem to have very broad powers. Misaka boasts power over electricity, while Accelerator has control over all physical vectors. Lesser espers have abilities like Jufuku Miho's Dummy Check, which simply makes her less noticeable to those around her.
  • Invisibility: The anime mentions offhand that there are 47 students with the power to turn completely invisible, and that count doesn't include more specific powers like the ability to not be noticed by direct sight.
  • Ironic Echo: During the Tokiwadai Midsummer festival, Uiharu berates Saten for eating a beautiful flower made of sugar. Later, Saten berates Uiharu for cutting and eating a beautiful cake.


  • Kid Detective: Our heroines' favourite pastime when together, the main source of their many adventures.
  • Limited Special Collectors' Ultimate Edition - The Index DVDs contain an 8-part Railgun side story mini novel written by the author of the novels, Kazuma Kamachi and art drawn by Motoi Fuyukawa of the Railgun manga. Wanna have good reasons why you want to read this mini novel? Lets see:
      • The Railgun cast vacationing in the USA with a Beach Episode too.
      • The US forces versus the Aztec Organization.
      • The Aztec's flying Fortress versus Xochitl, the Aztec magician who first appeared in volume 15 of the Index's light novels, flying on her surfboard and teaming up with Mikoto who's is flying. Yes, Mikoto is flying and fighting a flying fortress! Get the Limited Edition DVDs now!
    • For the Railgun DVDs, the limited editions contains an 8-part Index side story mini novel staring Kaori Kanzaki, written by the author of the novels, Kazuma Kamachi and art drawn by Kiyotaka Haimura of A Certain Magical Index light novels in each DVD. So what's it's about?:
  • Limited Wardrobe: It's stated in Railgun that Tokiwadai requires its students to wear their uniforms at all times when out in public. This becomes a plot point twice.
  • Love At First Punch: Inverted. Mikoto first met and took an interest in Touma after he blocked her electric attack.
  • Love Potion: Kuroko laces this in the sports drinks she gives Mikoto... which backfires on her...
  • Luminescent Blush: Misaka in some situations involving Touma where she isn't trying to kill him, and some where she is.
  • Mama Bear: Professor Kiyama Harumi : "I will do anything to save those children! Even if it involves making this entire city my enemy, I WON'T STOP!! "
  • Meaningful Name: Shirai Kuroko's name literally translates as "White-Well Black-Girl", a nice contrast that reflects her outwardly cute but inwardly perverted persona. Mikoto even points this out in Episode 2 before beating her senseless, shouting "I'm gonna fry you as black as your name!!"
  • Mission Control: Uiharu puts her computer skills to good use in episode 3, watching the action through an extensive web of surveillance cameras and giving directions to the other three girls through their earpieces.
  • Modesty Shorts: Misaka is currently the poster girl for the trope.
  • More Dakka: Episode 24 is filled with this trope.
    • Kongo shoots down two armed helicopters by blasting a truck into them!
    • Kuroko arms herself with an ammo belt of Needles and spams them into the MAR mechs Grenade launchers!
    • Mikoto fights against Telestina Giant Mech. When coins can't penetrate the mech's armor, she summons Kuroko to send one of the mech's fists to her and use it to blow the mech to smithereens!
    • Mikoto's Railgun versus Telestina's portable Railgun. When both blast their railguns which are equal in power, Mikoto overcomes Telestina by firing in full power and blasting Telestian to a wall!
  • Mundane Utility: Mikoto using her electric powers to cook rice and curry.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Mikoto led Telestina Kihara Lifeline straight to Harumi's lab and the Child Errors who are indirectly responsible for the Poltergeist incidents. As luck would have it, she takes after her grandfather just like his son did.
  • Not So Different: Kiyama and Mikoto. Both of them are good people who became cynical due to the fact those they care and loved were screwed by the corrupt Academy City administration (for Kiyama is was her students, for Mikoto her clone sisters) and both of them could not fight them as they were powerless against the administration. Though as shown in the "sequel" Index, Mikoto eventually grows out of said-bitterness. And thankfully both of them got their Happy Endings.
  • Only Sane Woman: Yoshikawa berates her fellow scientists over wasting their time figuring out what type of panties Mikoto wear so they could make the Sister clones wear the same panties when they only need the cheap discount panties she bought for them. Even the Supercomputer Tree Diagram thought their idea was stupid too.
    • On a similar note chapter 43 of the Railgun manga Lampshades Mikoto as "the only sane level 5".
  • Ojou: Most, if not all, of the Tokiwadai students are Ojous.


  • Panty Shot: Subverted with Saten and Uiharu. Despite Saten always flipping Uiharu's skirt, we never see the contents.
    • Played with when we are shown Kuroko's collection of erm...tasteful underwear. Does it still count if no one is wearing them?.
      • Earlier in that episode it blurs this line by showing Kuroko putting on panties.
  • Pettanko: Mikoto is very self conscious of the fact she is not as... "developed" as other girls her age, if not younger. Meanwhile, Kuroko on the other hand is "less-developed" than Mikoto and is not ashamed of it.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Kuroko has used her ability to spy on, take pictures of, cop a feel of, and even strip Misaka of her underwear. Yeah, the potential for teleportation's misuse has been touched upon.
    • There is also Kuroko's reaction to being electrocuted by Misaka, but that is more to do with Kuroko than some of the uses of electricity.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Fondling Mikoto in the shower? Yup. Taking stalker picture albums of her? Sure. Lacing her drinks with aphrodisiacs "Computer parts?" You bet!
  • Rape Is Love: Kuroko's idea of her "first meeting of fate with her beloved Onee-sama" is forcing herself into her room and onto her...
  • Relationship Voice Actor: Definitely NOT easy to spot unless you've been doing your research. Kanae Ito, who is the seiyuu of Amu in Shugo Chara is the skirt flipping Ruiko Saten. Aki Toyosaki, who is Su, is Kazari Uiharu.
    • They also play Nana and Momo respectively, twin sisters.
    • Also Atsushi Abe(Touma's seiyuu) is Amu's friend, Kuukai in Shugo Chara.
    • Speaking of Aki Toyosaki, her fellow seiyuus, Satomi Satou and Minako Kotobuki who played as Ritsu and Mugi respectively in K-On!! (which Aki also voiced in), with the former voiced Edasaki Anri, one of Kiyama's students in Railgun, who looks like a mini Ritsu and the later voiced Mitsuko Kongo;, who is not like Mugi in anyway except being rich.
    • The Tokiwadai Dorm Supervisor in Railgun (the one who always break Kuroko's neck) is voiced by Hitomi Nabatame while 'her wife' Shizuka Ito voiced Kaori Kanzaki in Index.
  • Required Spinoff Crossover: Mikoto running into Touma, which happens time to time before and during the events of the first and third novels.
    • Since the Sisters arc is included in the manga, Accelerator also makes an appearance.
  • Rescue Romance: Subverted. Touma's and Mikoto's first meeting has Touma trying to safely lead her away from another gang and unintentionally pissing her off with repeated references to her being just a brat while talking to the guys. Electricity ensues.
  • Retcon: The events of the Level Upper arc in the anime took place two weeks before the 1st Index novel which the latest manga chapters confirms it.
    • In the 12th novel of Index Mikoto greets Uiharu with "You are Uiharu Kazari, right?" as if they had only met once or twice before. Odd considering that they spent the whole summer solving cases together. This was of course before the Railgun manga (and their adventures together) was published. In an omake in the 4th Volume of Railgun this is explained as Mikoto just having forgotten Uiharu's first name. The omake is even called "Matching consistency"
  • The Reveal:
    • We finally learn what Uiharu's power is in episode 22 and it's...."temperature regulation of objects she touches". Wait...What? What kind of power is that?
      • Consider Uiharu is only Level 1. Now, consider the deeper physical implications of keeping an object's temperature "at will". Put in other words, this is "negation of entropy". This might be what allows her to keep the flowerbed on her head always fresh, and if she had as much creative spirit as Mikoto with electricity, think of the possibilities.
      • Of course, that's only looking at the most obvious uses. Picture sending her to the sun(which she can do, because temperature control, remember?) and then she takes a plastic ball out, and fills it up with sun(which she can do because she controls temperature, remember?) and then return her to earth. Suddenly she has a 10 million degree bomb sitting in her pocket. Kill her, the power stops, the bomb goes off. Hmm.
    • There's also the Queen of Tokiwadai's name and face, finally revealed after being in hiding for 20+ volumes in the novels.
    • The United States is fully aware of Academy City's true technological prowess, including the fact that it has a military.
  • Revision: More details are given about certain people in the novels without changing the plot much like how did Last Order gain human emotions, what lead to Amai bankruptcy in the first place, the rivalry between Mugino and Mikoto, where Amata's behavior came from and the original creator of Capacity Down.
  • Running Gag: Several including:
    • Kuroko trying to get kinky with Mikoto and getting a beating by her.
    • Saten flipping Uiharu's skirt to show her panties.
    • Kuroko's punishments from the Dorm supervisor.
    • Mitsuko trying to be serious only to get Butt Monkeyed.
    • Dr. Kiyama stripping in public.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: The Dorm Supervisor of Tokiwadai Dormitories. Also Mii Konori in the manga, especially around Kuroko.
  • Scissors Cuts Rock: During the Sisters Arc, Frenda Seivelun makes the mistake of underestimating Level 5 Electromaster Mikoto by using ceramic, the strongest insulator of electricity, against her. Unfortunately, however, ceramic doesn't take heat very well.
  • School Festival: Episode 19.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: Kuroko, who gets concerned at how much fun Mikoto seems to be having in her rivalry with Touma. Clingy Jealous Girl, too.
  • Schrödinger's Cat: Used to explain why Espers are able to use their abilities.
  • Senseless Violins: Played straight by one of the Misaka clones in the manga.
  • Serious Business: In Railgun, a team of top scientists spending an entire omake chapter speculating on what kind of panties Mikoto wears under her shorts, even sending a special ops team in a (thwarted) attempt to steal them.
  • Shock and Awe: Mikoto has power over electricity, which she exploits in her signature railgun attack, accelerating a coin to multiple times the speed of sound. She also uses it to materialize a chainsaw whip out of nearby iron particles in Railgun. Whatever else you say about her, she certainly is creative as a Level 5.
  • Shout-Out: A Shout-Out to the 1942 classic Casablanca appears in Kuroko's imagination in Episode 2, with Mikoto playing Humphrey Bogart's Rick and Kuroko as Ingrid Bergman's Ilsa on the mist-filled runway in the finale; right down to Mikoto/Rick lovingly caressing Kuroko/Isla's cheek saying "Here's looking at you, kid!"
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: Delivered by both Saten AND Mikoto to Telestina's hateful declaration of the worthlessness of human life. Saten takes a firm grip of her aluminum baseball bat, shouts "Whatever Levels we are, we're not garbage. YOU LEAVE MY FRIENDS ALONE!!" and SMASHES the console controlling the Capacity-Down device that paralyze her superpowered friends. Mikoto then shoves the rest of Telestina's hatefully delivered Hannibal Lecture right back in her big ugly mouth... with her railgun.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Kuroko towards Misaka, obviously, but also Saten towards Uiharu. At one point she's warned not to flip the new girl's skirt, and she can't understand why she would want to.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Misaka uses electromagnetism on the sand and dirt around her to create a Whip Sword out of iron sand.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Misaka chases Touma around the city, once for a whole night.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Misaka to Kuroko.
  • Stock Footage: Averted, making it difficult to determine when events are occurring compared to Index.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: During episode 13, most of the girls are just talking or bickering before posing for photos. Then comes Mii in her swimsuit. All the girls immediately shut up and just stare in awe at her. Hell, even a female snake! This is history in the making, when a trope surpasses the boundaries of species!
  • Technopath: Mikoto can directly control security computers, cameras, robots and read the circuitry of computers directly as an extension of her electricity powers. Truly a Level 5 indeed.
  • Tele Frag: Kuroko's teleportation ability displaces anything in the target area, so she can use it to stick metal needles directly into a person's body... or use plate glass windows to topple a building by slicing all the support beams.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Kuroko can teleport herself or anything she comes in contact with as long as it weighs 137kg. The higher concentration required relative to other types of powers prevents her from using it if she can't stay focused.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: During the final part of the fight with the AIM Burst.
    • Happens twice in Episode 24, when Mikoto takes down Telestina's Humongous Mecha with a huge Railgun attack and then when she defeats Telestina herself after Saten destroys Capacity Down.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Mikoto singing "Only My Railgun", the first OP theme in episode 13 and her violin solo of "Real Force", the second ED theme in episode 19 .
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Kuruko seems to enjoy the electric shocks Misaka gives her.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Loosely with Misaka and Kuroko, but definitely present with Saten and Uiharu.
  • Tsundere: Misaka, so much that it is lampshaded.

Harumi: You uh... You like him?
Mikoto: W-What?
Harumi: You know, when a girl behaves all cold towards the guy she likes. It was popular a while back... Tsun... Tsun... Tsundara? No... Tsunjire?
Mikoto: Not a chance!



  • Unknown Rival: Misaka to Touma, as she thinks his Imagine Breaker is the sign of immense power. It isn't helped by the fact that his nonchalant attitude towards her and her power hurts her pride.
    • Kuroko also considers herself Touma's rival for Misaka's affections, not that he would ever notice.
  • Urban Legends: Episode 4 shows us that there are a few of these around. The Undressing Woman and The ability to nullify other abilities are... well the former is shown in the episode and the other is obviously Touma, so those two are confirmed. There are others though.
    • Except for Undressing Woman and Level Upper, every urban legend listed (in the subtitled version) is shown in the first season of A Certain Magical Index.
    • Goes further than that. Heck, the entire plot of the Railgun anime is based on these. From the Level Upper to Someone's Watching in the OVA.
  • Vapor Wear: When Dr. Kiyama takes off her skirt, she doesn't appear to be wearing panties.
  • Waif Fu: Kuroko.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Uiharu calls out to Kuroko when she learns the latter had Mikoto illegally hacked into the student database to check Erii's background to see if she's a suspect in the Poltergeist incidents.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Accelerator. The manga explains that his appearance and physique are due to his power unconsciously reflecting UV rays, eliminating the need for pigmentation and making it difficult to produce certain hormones.
  • We Have Reserves: The Sisters. See For Science for details.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Kiyama-sensei and her Level Upper plot. A little less extreme than most, since she does have a way to reverse the effects of the Level Upper-induced comas once she's done.
  • Wisdom from the Gutter: Subverted horribly. Mikoto gives some advice to Saten telling her Level's aren't important in life yet she is quietly offended by this since Mikoto's a Level 5 while she's a Level 0. Mikoto realizes the consequence of what she said when she learns Saten fell into a coma using Level Upper and the AIM Burst begins broadcasting the collective thoughts of all 10,000 Level Upper users: I Just Want to Be Special.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: This was the fan's immediate reaction to Uiharu's power. Then a little bit of Fridge Logic kicks in - she is only a Level 1, her power was never going to be very impressive. Give it time to grow though, and depending on how it works, it could be a very useful power indeed.
    • Episode 20 reveals that her power lets her keep things at a constant temperature. Cool.
      • Negating one of the most basic and important laws of thermodynamics at will is "blessed with suck?" Wow. I'd hate to see the uber powerful in THAT handbook.
      • That's the point. Right now it only has one, minor use, but if she ever powers up...
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Episode 3 is about a culprit who sneaks up on girls, stuns them with a taser and while they are unconscious performs on them the depraved, heinous act of drawing them huge eyebrows.
    • Because tasing someone to the point of unconsciousness is totally not bad on its own.
  • X Meets Y: Nancy Drew meets X-Men.
  • You Leave Them Alone: Invoked by Saten in the Final Episode of the first season as she smashes the device that paralyzed her superpowered friends and left them at the mercy of Telestina, the Big Bad.
  1. Considering there are only seven Level 5s in Academy City and most of them aren't very nice, "Well-meaning Level 5s" is for all intents and purposes synonymous with "Mikoto".