This article describes the details of the setting in which Toaru Majutsu no Index and other stories in the Toaru series take place, that of an alternate Earth in the early 21st century.
One of the most distinctive aspects of the Toaru universe is the existence of supernatural powers and abilities. These include both Esper abilities, derived from Personal Reality and associated with the Science Side, and Magic, derived from refined life-force as mana or other energies channeled into forms often based on religions, mythologies and folklore. There are also certain other powers which fall between or outside these two categories. Two examples of these are Imagine Breaker and World Rejecter, both powers which were crystallized from the collective wishes and desires of the world's magicians.
The division between Magic and Science Sides is actually one which was drawn by Aleister Crowley using the Archetype Controller for his own purposes, and the supernatural powers and phenomena associated with the two separate sides all fall under a single unified system.
- Main article: Phase
Various religions and the actions of powerful beings have resulted in various layers, known as phases, being laid down upon the world. The phases act like filters, distorting the world, and often house energies and entities which can have a major impact if brought out into the main world. Beyond the phases lies a Pure World of science, untouched by magic or religion.
The collisions between the overlapping phases, as a result of their changing proximity and the use of magic, produce 'sparks', which have a thin but widespread influence on the world and its people, affecting fortune and misfortune.
TimeEditWith regards to temporal mechanics, there are no parallel worlds (world in this case referring to the universe or reality itself). Instead the world is a straight line, compared by Kamisato Kakeru[Notes 1] to a rubber string nailed onto a pachinko machine. Like a rubber string and like time or space, the world can stretch or contract. Partially due to this nature, there are a fair number of portions in the world that are unused, compared by Kamisato during his explanation of World Rejecter to being like the use of only ten frames when using sixty fps film, with no one noticing if subliminal footage was slipped into two or three of the leftover frames. The 'new world' which World Rejecter exiles its targets to is a region made up of unused space within the timeline.
There are very few supernatural powers which can travel through or manipulate the flow of time; aside from the application of a Magic God's power, only the Red Player and the White Player are known to possess the ability to do so. There are however a number of abilities which are capable of foreseeing the future. Due to the nature of some of these abilities, producing predictions based on calculations within a set of dimensions, while the predictions made by the ability might not be overturned normally, some abilities which use other dimensions in calculations, such as the 11 dimensional calculation Teleport, are capable of defying the predictions. The power and existence of the Magic Gods can influence the rails of destiny, intentionally or not.
In terms of geography, countries are largely the same, though due to certain events, different countries have formed, such as the independent city state of Academy City in Tokyo, Japan and the Elizalina Alliance which split off from Russia. There are also a few minor differences regarding landmasses, such as with Uphill Island.
There are a few differences with regards to politics. The G14 has been established, though its exact nature is currently unknown. There are also a few past enmities which have remained instead of fading, such as that between the United Kingdom and France, and a few different ties between countries.
Aside from regular governments, there are also the factions which make up the Magic and Science Sides. The main factions in the Science Side are Academy City and its cooperative institutions, while the Magic Side's main factions are the magical organizations within the major churchs, such as the Anglican Church's Necessarius, and various magic cabals. Many of these larger factions in the Magic and Science Sides exert an influence on the governments of the 'Normal Side' from behind the scenes.
One of the most important aspects of this hidden side to the world is the treaty between Magic and Science, an agreement which prevents the two sides from using the other's techniques and interfering with the others' affairs.
Aside from traditional rocket-based launches, other ways of getting into space have been developed and implemented. Due to the advent of air launching, which needs less land than multi-stage rockets, many new space programs have emerged, with smaller countries becoming able to start their own and many eager to prove themselves to sponsors. There is also a different distribution of launches between launch providers due to various circumstances, such as the agreement between India and the United Kingdom. As well as the shuttles and rockets used by other spacefaring factions, Academy City and its cooperative institutions also have access to mass drivers and space planes, and have constructed a working space elevator, Endymion. Academy City has also maintained at least three major satellites in orbit, including the Hikoboshi II and the now-destroyed Orihime 1.
There has been no colonization of other worlds, though plans have been made and technologies developed for a mission to Mars, and technology with terraforming applications has been researched. There have also been no definitely confirmed extra-terrestrials.
The field of space is one which has been a source of conflict between the Magic and Science Sides, being not well defined in the treaty between them. There are various spells which rely on the positions of the stars and other celestial bodies in order to function, and a few very powerful beings are capable of manipulating them.
This section requires expansion
Population (7.5 billion (R-SS3/NT22R), previous mentions)
- Main article: Unified Story Timeline
Though largely similar, the history of the Toaru universe has a number of differences, some due to the presence of supernatural powers, the scientific leaps brought about by Academy City and the various circumstances brought about by them, and some due to other circumstances. The current year in which the series takes place isn't known exactly, though it is at some time in the early 21st century.
- ↑ In Toaru Majutsu no Virtual-On, it is stated that this view is also shared by the Academy City Board of Directors, who calls it the rubber string theory (禁書世界の時間論 Kinsho sekai no jikan-ron?, lit. Prohibited world time theory). However, due to the nature of the story as a crossover, it is unknown how canonical this is.