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Toma has the "imagine breaker" which is regarded by many as a very powerful hability, moreover he was able to defeat the most powerful esper and one of the most powerful magicians, one who was capable of turning into reality what he thought.

Why Toma is considered only a level 0 esper then?

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    if i recall it's because the Imagine Breaker is considered Magic and something not detectable through science while Espers are a product of science. – Memor-X Jul 26 at 14:06
  • In general, it's kinda unclear what the algorithm is for determining someone's level/rank. In some cases, it seems to be purely power-based. In other cases, it also seems to factor in the ability of the user to wield those powers. For example, you can easily argue that Mugino (#4) is stronger than Misaka (#3) from a sheer power standpoint. But Misaka has composure and can "more intelligently" use her powers whereas Mugino is kinda... mentally unstable and just blasts with more emotion than thought. – Mysticial Jul 26 at 16:41
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For whatever reason, Toma Kamijo's Imagine Breaker ability is not considered an esper power, so according to Academy City's ranking system he's a level 0 esper with no known abilities. It's also not seen as a magic ability so he's not considered to be on the other side of the technology/magic divide. The true nature of the power hasn't been revealed. Its origins are unknown and the series hints that even Toma doesn't know what its fully capable of.

Toma's ranking is confirmed through the annual System Scan tests, which corresponds to the mandatory physical exams that Japanese students have to take every year. The real life exams measure things like height and weight, but the System Scan tests measure student's esper abilities and these tests have always shown that Toma is only a level 0 esper.

The series also tries to portray Toma's encounters against powerful level 5 espers as a David versus Goliath situation. A mere level 0 who has the courage to take on the most powerful level 5 espers in Academy City in order to protect his friends. Given how powerful his Imagine Breaker ability is, this lacks some credibility, but it doesn't stop Toma claiming this himself as he punches someone in the face.

  • if Imagine breaker is not an esper ability, why do they consider him an esper then? – Pablo Jul 26 at 18:49
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    @Pablo Anyone who's gone through the Power Curriculum Program, the esper part of the curriculum at Academy City, is considered an esper even if they never demonstrate any esper powers. Most of the Academy students (60%) are level 0s, so having no powers (or an insignificant power) and being considered an esper is actually fairly common. toarumajutsunoindex.fandom.com/wiki/Power_Curriculum_Program – Ross Ridge Jul 26 at 19:30

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