Category Archives: Opinion

I don’t do this much, but where I feel like sharing my opinion on something, this is the category the post will be under.

Watching Rockets, Writing Cyberpunk

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So, I have NASA TV on in the background in the hope of seeing a rocket fly (safely) and I’m writing cyberpunk. The guys in the picture above are the main characters and I’m not going to say much about them right now. The image was inspired by part of the opening credit sequence of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig, though this kind of ‘identification lineup’ image is pretty common, especially in anime, though also in one famous live action movie I can think of.

Also, I’ve been reading some of the Thaumatology books recently, so here’s a little something I put together recently…

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(No, I’m not going to do another Thaumatology book right now. But I am sort of feeling it a little more… Don’t get your hopes up.)

Meanwhile, good luck to SpaceX and NASA. Let’s hope it’s a go this time.

No More Celebrity Lifestyle

Well, the British prime minister has just announced that the country is going into a near-total lockdown. We have to stay inside unless shopping for food, dealing with medical needs, or a couple of other reasons.

I don’t know what I’m going to do! No more parties. No more inviting groupies around to my place. I’m going to have to cancel that world book-signing tour.

Oh, wait…

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

I said I was going to be quiet, but…

I now live in a world where the local supermarket needs to put a guard on the toilet rolls. If I wrote that in a book, people would say it was unbelievable!

Also, the British have now given up any right to that “Keep Calm and” meme. Seriously, Italy now has more deaths than China, and the Italians aren’t stripping supermarket shelves like mutant locusts.

/EndRant

Weird Science

This is NOT the announcement of Death’s Handmaiden‘s release. Soon. This IS technically a spoiler for Bitter Wind, but it’s not much of a spoiler, so I’m doing it anyway.

I have just had the surreal experience of discovering that one of my outlandish ideas is a real, scientific theory.

Last week, I dropped an idea into a character’s exposition regarding the science of magic. Basically, it went like this:

  • In quantum mechanics, the ‘observer’ is all important. Quantum superpositions only collapse when observed.
  • There is a problem – the fine-tuning or Goldilocks paradox – which questions why the laws of physics seem to be so finely tuned for the existence of life.
  • The solution is that the universe did not really exist until the first observer made their first observation. At that point, reality ‘collapsed’ into a state which allowed that observer to exist and the possible variations which did not allow for the observer ceased to exist.

I thought this was a cute but probably wrong solution to fine tuning. I don’t really believe that conscious minds are needed to make a superposition collapse, but it was a nice solution.

Today, I bought a copy of New Scientist because they were doing a special report on the nature of reality. That stuff is always good for ideas. Then I got to a bit called ‘Do We Make Reality?’ and what do I find there but pretty much the exact same hypothesis I wrote in Bitter Wind last week. It’s a real interpretation of quantum mechanics!

Of course, it’s just a hypothesis and there are other ways to interpret the physics. The idea that a conscious observer is needed to make measurements is by no means a certainty and some inanimate objects may possess a form of consciousness (at least for this purpose). Still, my mind was a bit blown. Apparently, I can still have clever ideas. I’m pretty sure my old physics lecturers would never have believed I’d grasped enough of the subject to come up with that one.

 

PS. As I write this, Amazon have shifted Death’s Handmaiden back into ‘In Review.’ I may have been premature about when it’ll be ready.

The Long, Long, Very Long Road to Death’s Handmaiden

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Lately, I seem to have been asked where I get my inspiration quite a lot. I really don’t have a very good answer. It’s usually a lot of things. In the case of  Death’s Handmaiden, it’s a lot of things going back a lot of years.

The most recent influence is a light novel series and the anime made from it. Mahouka Koukou No Rettousei, better known in the west as The Irregular at Magic High School. (The literal translation makes more sense: ‘The Poor performing Student…’ Less catchy, however.) This is available on Netflix (at least in the UK), if you feel like watching it. It’s subtitled: you have been warned. The story is a bit typical for a high school anime, but the world-building is awesome and the characters are interesting. The protagonist (despite his protestations otherwise) has more of a personality than many. Anyway, The Irregular put in my head the idea of doing a sci-fi magic school story. or rather, it put it back in my head, because I’ve been trying to get that idea right for a long, long time.

So many years ago that I don’t want to think about it, I read a book called A Wizard of Earthsea. You may have heard of it, hopefully not just because of the fairly dreadful TV adaptation. Ursula K. Le Guinn was a rightfully-lauded author, but I have to admit that I find most of her stuff opaque at best. A Wizard of Earthsea is another matter. The world is beautifully drawn, the characters are relatable. The magic school on Roke became one of those inspirational ideas to me. (And I spent hours and hours recreating the magic system in my favoured RPG.) I recently got the trilogy as audio books, and they haven’t aged badly like some of the books I read as a teenager.

Around about the same time, I used to get art books given to me for Christmas and my birthday. Classic sci-fi and fantasy art, generally with some form of text, either fictional or fact. One of those contained a picture which, sadly, I can no longer find. It showed a floating craft of some description moving through a swampy environment, powered by magic. The vessel was obviously more to do with technology, but it was flying because its pilot was a magician. Okay, so that kind of fitted with the school on Roke Island: the students all learned to sail boats driven by ‘the mage wind,’ because they lived in a world which was basically a lot of islands in a vast sea.

And so, the ideas combined and I came up with the idea of a solar system in which magic would be learned by various races. They had to learn teleportation and levitation to get between the worlds in the system. They learned their art because FTL travel and communication relied on magic. And the idea of that system was about all I had for a long time. Eventually, probably twenty years ago, I developed it further. I now had a collection of races, each with a different speciality regarding magic, and a human newcomer who did not fit in well and would make a collection of friends from among the more put-upon races. Eventually, of course, it would turn out that he was something special. I’ve tried to kick that idea off several times, but I’ve never been able to feel the characters.

And then I got another kick in the form of The Irregular… Rehashing the old idea with one species (humans) and two magic specialities, a mysterious, out of place female protagonist, and culling the idea of spreading the school over an entire system seems to have worked. Frankly, Death’s Handmaiden came running out of me like water. So much so that I’ve gone ahead and set off on the sequel immediately. I figured I was looking at something in the 80k words region and it’s over 120k! (Don’t get used to it; the second book will be shorter.)

So, Death’s Handmaiden owes a lot to The irregular at Magic High School and A Wizard of Earthsea and some art in a book I had decades ago, but also Anne McCaffrey’s Harpers of Pern books and all those books and films where there’s an ancient, long-dead progenitor race, and all the weird ways my brain goes off on tangents when exposed to something. Where do I get my inspiration from? Just about everywhere.

Death’s Handmaiden will be out (Amazon willing) on February 1st, everywhere. (I’ll be processing it through for publication tomorrow, so even in Australia, it should be out when you wake up on the first.) The sequel, Bitter Wind, will be out at the beginning of April.

Dumb Things to Do On Election Day

Next Thursday (December 12th for those reading this in two weeks) is election day in the UK. The fate of the country will be decided by its citizens (or the ones who can be bothered to vote). Will we be governed by a less charismatic Donald Trump or a far less charismatic Bernie Sanders? Who knows? Are we doomed either way? Probably.

So, I’ll go vote and then I’m going to go do something which means I can’t possibly hear anything about the election for a couple of hours: I’m going to watch a subtitled Japanese movie!  KonoSuba: Legend of Crimson is coming to UK cinemas on the 12th and I’m a sucker for  KonoSubs so… I have never in my life gone to a cinema to watch a subtitled movie, so this should be interesting. Who am I kidding: it’s Megumin yelling ‘EXPLOSION!’ while wearing her school uniform. I’ll enjoy it (certainly more than election night coverage).

If you’re interested and want something pleasant to do while waiting for the world to end, check your local Odeon or Vue cinemas to see if they’re showing it. There’s an enormous list of which places have screenings on the Crunchyroll web site.

Lost in Translation

Today is going entirely to pot, so… a post about names!

I’ve been working on a good name for the isekai book for several days and not finding anything to my precise liking. I want something with a light novel feel to it, which means that it should more or less give you the basic concept on the cover. For some reason, it’s a thing for light novels (a Japanese literature form and the basis for a lot of manga and anime these days) to have really long titles.  That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime A Certain Magical Index In Another World With My Smartphone, and A Blessing To This Wonderful World. Wordy.

Now, that last one may not be known to many, but that’s because it got slightly retitled for the western market:  KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World. The shortened form, ‘KonoSuba,’ is taken from the first two words in Japanese: Kono Subarashii and this is where we get back to me thinking about names for a book. I thought I’d come up with a good one: Not the Right Hero for this Fantastic New World. Wordy, descriptive, and evocative of the isekai theme. Cool, I thought. But when I stuffed it into Google Translate to see what it looked like in Japanese, I got: Kono subarashī shin sekai ni fusawashī hīrōde wanai. It’s Google Translate, so I reversed the translation to check it was working meaningfully and it was… close enough for jazz. Why would I translate it into Japanese, you ask. Well, I had this idea for the cover to try to emulate light novel and manga covers, so I’d put the title on there in Japanese characters in the background or something. But not if it looks nearly identical to KonoSuba (and it looks even more like it if you write it in Japanese). Turns out ‘fantastic’ and ‘wonderful’ translate the same (at least in Google Translate).

So, I’m not using that one. Not the Right Hero for this Magical World is better; that starts out ‘kono mahō.’ Still a little similar, but it turns out that anything with the phrase ‘this adjective world’ in it is going to start with ‘kono adjective no sekai,’ so I’d have to come up with some entirely different, and likely convoluted, phrasing to avoid it. Still working on it.

It all reminds me of those funny product name videos that do the rounds at times. Someone in <foreign country> thinks that Jizz! would be a great name for their creamy cleaning product because it means Clean! in their language. And we laugh, and laugh. Translating things from one language to another is an absolute minefield. If big corporations can mess it up entirely, I guess I can at least feel less of an idiot when I have problems. (So, why is it I always feel like such an idiot?)

PS. KonoSuba is awesome. I did go find it on Crunchyroll, and I think I’ve watched both series three times in the last week. It has my kind of sense of humour. Mostly anyway. It also has to be one of the few isekai where the writer realised that you could have a relatable protagonist without surgically removing all vestiges of a personality. And Megumin is awesome. Explosion is the only way to go.

Isekai

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If you’re into anime (or light novels, or manga) you know what isekai is. Basic concept: someone gets transported to another world, discovers they are hugely overpowered but that they need to defeat a very powerful demon lord, and hilarity ensues. It’s what was once known as portal fantasy and the archetypal instance of it is Sword Art Online, which has spawned multiple TV series, movies, games, and enough merchandise fill a hobby store. Isekai is also the name of the book I’m writing at the moment; more on that later.

I was initially disinclined to get into isekai anime because, well, there’s so much of it. Sword Art Online has been on Netflix in the UK for a while, and I didn’t watch it for various reasons. I still only know SAO from the numerous videos on YouTube dismantling it and, to be honest, while SAO started the trend for everything to be isekai, I still have no desire to go there. Then I went and watched…

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. In many ways, the slime isekai hooks into my liking for slice of life. It’s like watching Sid Meier’s Civilisation combined with an action comedy. Basic concept: a 37-year-old virgin salaryman valiantly steps in the way of a knife meant for someone else, dies, and is reincarnated as the most overpowered slime monster in history. But that’s just the concept. The actualisation of it is funny, genre-aware, self-aware, and very bittersweet in places. The slime, Rimaru Tempest, starts to build a city where monsters can live in peace, and the state of his new nation progresses from a goblin village to a town filled with ogres, dwarfs, lizardmen, and orcs as challenges are met and overcome. Slime gave me a taste for the current generation of isekai. It doesn’t take itself hugely seriously and it subverts many of the tropes associated with the genre.

Overlord is closer to the more standard isekai staples, marginally. The majority of isekai have the hero (always seems to be a hero, because reasons) is trapped in a computer game somehow. Overlord follows that convention but its USP is that the ‘hero’ is a bad guy. The protagonist, Ains, isn’t a bad guy, but he finds himself having to play the part of an incredibly evil undead necromancer type with a veritable army of overpowered minions, all intent on taking over the world. Initially, this was the really amazing part of Overlord and it remains one of the most amusing parts: the minions (NPCs in the original game world) are vastly more competent at being evil than Ains and he’s constantly playing catchup, aided by his minions assuming that he’s already had the brilliant idea they just came up with and that he just didn’t explain it. Lately, Ains is getting the hang of things and I’m finding the series less enjoyable. It has a particular habit (especially in the later stages) of making us empathise with the people Ains & Co are going to destroy with a twitch of their fingers, and then making us watch them being destroyed. It’s kind of cheap. I prefer the earlier episodes.

This season’s rising star, The Rising of the Shield Hero, has some similar issues. The series skips over the initial stage in many isekai shows where the hero doesn’t want to face the big bad and doesn’t understand what’s going on. The four heroes summoned to save <generic fantasy setting> know exactly what’s going on and get straight into it. Instead, Shield Hero makes things tough by shitting on the protagonist from a great height in the very first episode and keeping it up through its entire run. Obviously, his moments of triumph are all the more sweet since everyone seems to hate him, and the journey is quite entertaining most of the time. However, there’s only so much pain I can watch someone go through before I come to suspect the show was designed for sadists (or, since you’re supposed to identify with the protagonists, really major masochists). Also, I found the characterisation of the Shield Hero to be… random. I think they’re going for someone trying to be a bastard because it’s what everyone thinks he is, but not quite being able to pull it off. But to me it just comes over as inconsistent.

Some others… I kind of got stuck with How Not to Summon a Demon Lord because they’re going to do the “brainwashed girl who appears to want to go with the villain and has to be rescued” plot. I might go back to it; I really hope they’ve got a unique way of making that plot worth watching, I just doubt it. Demon Lord, Retry has similarities to that one and Overlord, but it’s unique enough so far that I’m enjoying it. Equally, it’s a currently-running series, so it could go either way. Oh, and I’m currently reading the manga of Konosuba, which is another classic of the genre.

And then (and finally), there’s Do You Love Your Mom… and Her Two-Hit, Multi-Target Attacks? Sounds like an incest hentai, right? It’s part of a current trend for ‘clickbait’ show titles. It’s another currently-running series, so it could go either way, but so far the ‘incestuous’ aspects are played purely for laughs and it’s rather entertaining. Basic idea: a young man, Masato, is zapped into a video game… only to discover that his mother, Mamako, is there too. What’s more, while the protagonist is usually the overpowered one, in this case it’s Mamako who can wipe out armies with one strike of her swords. It gets over the incest thing pretty early on as the team fight a slime monster which starts dissolving Mamako’s clothes and she comes out with one of my favourite lines of 2019: ‘Don’t look, Ma-kun, momma’s wearing a thong today.’ Masato is mortified. One reviewer on YouTube suggested that this might be the most innovative isekai of this season, and that might just be the case.

So, I felt like doing my own take on the genre and I have a Japanese girl finding herself summoned to a fantasy world which is actually called Isekai. She’s pretty convinced it’s not real, and anyway, she’s been told she’s the wrong person to fight the demon lord. Still, she’s stuck, so she might as well get on with whatever adventures she can find, right? Progress has been swift so far and I’m only planning to do sequels if I can come up with something interesting to do in them (or it gets a film deal).

Meanwhile, (if you’ve read all the way down here, good for you) the next Ultrahumans book, Royal Flush, will be coming out tomorrow. The cover has just finished rendering, so I’ll be ready to do the publishing checklist in the morning. It’ll be coming out at $3.99, which is going to be standard from here on out. I can’t hold back the inevitable forever. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it.

Slices of Life

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My history of writing slice of life stories goes back to City of Heroes. In-game, everything was about action, being a superhero. While our roleplaying group was largely based around heroes being ordinary people for a while, just hanging out, the ‘ordinary life’ stuff was generally handled in forum fiction. We would write stories about our characters’ daily lives when they weren’t wearing spandex and beating up goons.

I don’t really write that kind of thing now. It’s really short story material. Yes, there are slice of life scenes in all my books, but that’s not the primary focus. As with the short stories, the insert scenes are primarily there to illustrate the characters. There’s a lot you can learn about a character by how they react in stressful situations, but how they handle a normal life can be just as important. (This kind of thing even has a venerable history in comics. There’s a Batman comic based entirely around Bruce Wayne trying to get a good night’s sleep for once.)

This may be why I have a soft spot for Slice of Life anime. The archetypal SoL anime involves high school students getting through their daily life, and romantic aspirations, in a fairly normal setting. Possibly, that setting has some odd supernatural element which may be a heavy focus, but that’s not really what the story is about. The two classic trend setters for this are The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and K-On! neither of which I can really comment on because I’ve never seen them.

I got into SoL anime through NichijouMiss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and Interviews with Monster Girls (pictured above), with a side-helping of The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. The last of those is hilarious, but only the first season has been dubbed thus far and this is one case where dubbed is better than subbed: the dialogue is so rapid-fire that it’s next to impossible to keep up with subtitles. Nichijou is similar, but a little easier to keep track of and now comes in a dubbed form. But if I really had to pick, I’d have trouble deciding between Dragon Maid and Monster Girls.

Dragon Maid is the story of a bored, isolated salarywoman (Kobayashi; she’s a programmer, so I can relate) who, out on a drunken meander, comes across a wounded dragon in a forest and invites her to come live at her place as her live-in maid. Okay, weird setup. Tohru, the dragon, is able to turn into a busty blonde with horns and (sometimes) a dragon’s tail sticking out from under her maid uniform. She created the maid uniform after seeing some girls advertising for a maid café, so it’s not exactly authentic, but it does have a full skirt (so that was a sedate maid café). Over time, another dragon, Kanna, comes to live with them because she’s essentially a child who’s been exiled for playing one too many pranks, and Kobayashi, confirmed bachelorette and primarily a loner, has a family all of a sudden. Other dragons start to intrude as they too decide they like living in the human world. The dragons are all (even little, adorable Kanna) are quite capable of bringing down incredible amounts of destruction, which is occasionally demonstrated as they play lethal dodgeball or their ‘roughhousing’ results in wide-area devastation, but they all do their best to fit into a society they don’t entirely understand. (Funny one liner: Tohru advises Kanna to watch out for cars on her way to school because ‘if one hits you, you’ll destroy it.’) Dragon Maid is absolutely filed with ‘D’aww’ moments and it’s just nice. It’s wonderful to watch when you want to be cheered up.

Interviews with Monster Girls is similar, but it lacks even the comedic action scenes of Dragon Maid (or Nichijou, which has its tsundere character pull everything from pistols to 9-pack rocket launchers out of hammerspace to fire at the object of her frustrations). It falls into a category of anime appearing recently which have largely misleading (read: ‘click bait’) titles such as Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (not really about bunny girls), and Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? (do I have to spell it out?). The ‘monster girls’ in Monster Girls aren’t really monsters, but they are ‘demi-humans’, specifically a vampire (who doesn’t suck blood), a snow woman, a dullahan, and a succubus (one of the teachers, but she counts). The story revolves around a biology teacher who wanted to study demi-humans in university, but has never actually met one until he finds himself dealing with four of them at once. Initially, he just wants to find out more about them, but this rapidly changes as he discovers that they all have unique problems they have to deal with and that he wants to help them with. The conflict in the story is based purely around the specific problems of the girls and the more general issues of high school life such as gossip and exam results. I can only assume that I like this anime so much because it’s well-written and funny, because it is not the kind of thing I’d generally watch. I got drawn in by the concept and it’s just another feel-good series I watch when I need cheering up.

So, that’s my history with slices of life laid out in story form. This stuff is fascinating to write and I really wish I could get away with more of it. I’ll stick to insert scenes, however, unless I write another anthology. Now there’s an idea…

Disclaimer: Not really a disclaimer, but I forgot to mention this stuff in my last post. Fanservice. Dragon Maid actually has an episode subtitled ‘The Fanservice Episode, Frankly’ which is a beach episode with at least two over-endowed dragons in bikinis (Tohru says her cup size is D, for dragon; Kobayashi doesn’t believe her). Aside from that, there are a couple of questionable relationships involving Lucoa and Shota, and Kanna (sweet, adorable Kanna) and her classmate, Riko (that’s a girl). Some of the scenes between them might leave you feeling a little uncomfortable, primarily due to the ages of the characters. Monster Girls has what is technically a fanservice episode (it’s at a pool), but you’d really have to be perverted to think of it that way. The principle fanservice element of the show is Sakie Sato, the succubus, who is one of the teachers, so you can lust after her if you’re so inclined, and she’s normally seen wearing multiple layers of clothing to disguise her figure (she’s very insecure about people only being attracted to her due to her succubus powers and does everything she can to avoid inadvertently using them). When she does break out her assets, it’s generally played for laughs and when she finally gets to wear a bikini, she spends a lot of her time up to her neck in the pool because she’s not used to wearing skimpy outfits in public. If anyone can find any fanservice in Nichijou, could they tell me where it is, because I can’t see it.

Ultrahumans the Anime! (Not Really.)

RailgunMy current love affair with anime (the last one was probably Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex) started with an AMV on YouTube. Happens a lot to me. In this case it was AMV Railgun|Lucky Strike by AMV-X. It features a lot of clips from the first season of A Certain Scientific Railgun. A cute girl capable of launching hypersonic projectiles from her hands… So, I bought the first season on DVD. Well, that was a mistake. Obviously. Four sets of series DVDs and a film later, I’m hooked.

Railgun is a spinoff series from A Certain Magical Index (Toaru Majutsu no Indekkusu), which started out as a light novel by Kazuma Kamachi, illustrated by Kiyotaka Haimura. There are manga adaptations (by Chuya Kogino) and J.C.Staff have produced the anime (with English adaptation by Funimation). I have to admit that I prefer Railgun to IndexRailgun is a more self-contained storyline, but if you want to understand the entire package, you really need to keep up with all of it. And understanding the world is what makes this universe watching.

Basically, it’s all set in a city (part of Tokyo which has been redeveloped) named Academy City. There are 2.3 million people in Academy City and eighty percent of them are students undergoing what’s known as power development. Read the original light novel and you’ll wonder why anyone would willing go there: power development involves rigorous mental training combined with drugs and the application of electrodes in the brain! However, the payoff is that successful student become ‘espers’ which basically means they’re superheroes. The titular character of Railgun, Mikoto ‘Railgun’ Misaka, is an ‘electromaster’ and the third most powerful esper in the city. She can control electricity (and magnetism since the two are connected) to the extent that she can wallcrawl by magnetically attracting the metal reinforcements in the concrete, throw huge electrical attacks, and create swords and whips from sand which cut like buzzsaws. Her signature move is to magnetically accelerate an arcade token to three times the speed of sound: she can make herself into a piece of battleship artillery. Awesomely kickass. Her friend is a teleporter able to teleport object into people. She takes out a particularly hard opponent in one episode by demolishing the building they are in by cutting the support beams with panes of window glass. And don’t get me started on Accelerator.

Now, espers can do all this weird stuff because, when you break it down, they believe they can. An esper constructs a divergent world view in their head in which, for example, they can manipulate electricity with their thoughts. Then they have the imagination and power to enforce their reality on the rest of the world. I was stoked when I finally figured this out because, essentially, that’s what the Ultrahumans in my books do. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Ultrahumans differ from normal humans in the way their brains and minds work. On their own, superpowered muscles wouldn’t let you do half of what a super does in fiction (in fact it would probably be a curse rather than a gift), but if you add in a will which is making the universe work the way the super wants it to, then you may have something. And here’s a Japanese author using essentially the same idea. I don’t suppose it’s a new concept (didn’t think it was when I was writing it, especially because I’d had similar concepts in my head when I was a teenager), but it’s awesome to be able to watch supers based on that concept kicking ass, taking names, and going to the beach for the obligatory fanservice episode. The esper mechanics are a little more deliberate than the way my Ultrahumans work; Ultrahumans usually have no idea how their powers work. (Now. More is learned about Ultrahuman physics every day!)

If you fancy giving the Index universe a try, I recommend Funimation’s streaming service which has all of the series and the Index movie to watch and will start airing A Certain Scientific Accelerator this week. If you aren’t subscribed, you could probably get through all the episodes in the trial period (don’t tell them I said that). I’d suggest starting with Railgun‘s first season rather than Index. The stories are more or less standalone and you don’t need to understand the more convoluted plot of Index to get into it. Be wary of the second season of Railgun: it will make you tear up, along with laughing out loud. (The Sisters are great – all I’m saying to avoid spoilers.) And I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and continue to do.

PS. I’m not getting paid for recommending this. Sadly.

PPS. While I was in Japan, the first episode of a new spinoff, A Certain Scientific Accelerator, was due to air and it happened that the TV in the hotel had the channel it was showing on. So, I figured I’d watch it. Okay, so I wasn’t going to be able to understand any of it, but what the Hell, right? It’s weird how much I did understand, even if it wasn’t the words. Looks like a good start and I can’t wait for the English dub to turn up on FunimationNow this Friday.