Shuumatsu no Izetta – 09

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This episode’s opening act painted a rosy picture: with Germania not attacking, Izetta continues to build her image across the world by assisting the resistance movements of territories Germania has conquered, and the narrating Lotte is hoping the good times keep coming. Fine even tells Izetta a ceasefire could be in the making.

I didn’t buy this rosiness for a second, since it’s already been established that Berkman has Izetta’s number and has merely been biding his time for an assault, both the map and the crystal are in enemy hands, and even Muller AKA Sieg Reich simply isn’t giving off very trustworthy vibes.

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A reckoning, then, was inevitable, and it comes later in the episode after Izetta ends up on the wrong battlefront and must be quickly transported to the right one. There, the one tactical advantage Eylstadt has over Germania—the White Witch—is taken away, by Germania’s own White Witch, a clone of Izetta’s descendant, Sophie.

The path that led to her creation is hastily told, as Berkman learns of Division 9’s research and cloning methods, and Izetta’s blood is gradually used to “awaken” Sophie from the doll-like clone. Eylstadt’s own recklessness with Izetta’s personal security indirectly led to Berkman’s success.

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At first, Sophie tries to appeal to Izetta’s pride and duty as a witch, telling her what her own family told her: using her magical powers to help affect the outcome of war between non-magical countries is wrong.

But when Izetta insists she must fight for her archduchess and refuses to stand down, Sophie ditches the nice guy act right quick, turning on a dime into Izetta’s enemy, and the two duel in the sky as Germania’s superior military runs the Eylstadt forces roughshod.

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Sophie ends up nullifying Izetta’s magic at a crucial moment, causing her to crash, then for good measure, employs magic chain bondage to crush Izetta’s insides. She’s taken prisoner, photographed and filmed for pro-Germanian propaganda, which is likely to kill morale in Eylstadt as well as anywhere where people oppose Germania.

Now that their “nuke” isn’t unique anymore, or even a threat to Germania, they’re free to attack Eylstadt’s capital, even bombing Fine’s palace. But the lack of chivalry in the assault mirror’s Eylstadt’s own desperate but ultimately foul play: when they couldn’t win with conventional warfare they turned to magic.

They put all their eggs in that basket, and now that basket’s been crushed and burned. It’s not looking good at all for Fine, Izetta, or Eylstadt.

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To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 04

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Misaka’s friends find her in unusually high spirits while hanging out with her, unaware that she’s satisfied all of the cloning business is behind her. Alas, three months prior, two scientists extract MISAKA SN# 9982 from her maturation tube and begin to train her for outside life. After occupying an otherwise boring day by hanging out with some kids, Misaka send them on their way and senses her own power. She runs to its source and finds MISAKA 9982 standing before her.

Misaka’s dull summer day is juxtaposed with flashbacks to the lab where her doppelganger is being honed, but there really it’s a pretty tension-free day until nearly nineteen minutes into the episode, when Misaka finally senses her clone is out and about. The only stresses she had to deal with prior to that was not letting on too much to her friends about clones or why she’s suddenly so chipper, or the difficulty in acquiring a frog badge she can’t even proudly wear because she fear’s Kuroko’s pity.

Speaking of pity, perhaps we’re misguided in feeling compassion for compassion-less biological machines that just happen to look like Misaka – we’d probably be less outraged by what we saw if they were robots made of metal and circuitry rather than flesh and blood. But the Sisters are flesh and blood, and we’re sorry, and this shit’s all kinds of fucked up. If the scientists we follow in the flashbacks feel any reservations about the project, they certainly don’t show it, and abdicate any moral ground they might’ve stood on when they order #9982 to clean up a room full of dead, bloody sisters.

If you’re going to play god, the least you can do is clean up your own goddamn messes.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Kuroko thinks her onee-sama has already been replaced, until a remark about her panties gets her fried, and she’s convinced it’s the same old Misaka.
  • Considering all the punks and rapists in Academy City, why are those little kids running around unsupervised?
  • The sudden change in tone leading up to an awesome Big Reveal of Misaka finding MISAKA is quite powerful, and just about makes up for all the prior dawdling.
  • That closing shot of an emotionless 9982 saying “Understood” while her two tending scientists smile calmly at the sight of the carnage before them…a real chilling knife-turner.
  • Where the hell were Misaka’s frigging parents when criminal mad scientists where coercing her into surrendering her DNA map, the equivalent of blueprints for a WMD? Why was there no one around to say “No” on her behalf?*

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S – 03

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Mikoto confronts Nunotaba Shinobu about what’s going on, but Shinobu is tight-lipped, telling her there’s nothing to be done about it. Mikoto hacks Shinobu’s school database and learns of the location where she could find more answers. After changing out of her Tokiwadai uniform, she sneaks into the Higuchi pharmacy and gains access to a secret lab where she finds bio-pods and learns about the Railgun Mass Production, or Sisters Project. Right after she leaves in relief after learning the project’s been frozen, her clone arrives to delete all the data Mikoto just got done reading.

It’s only the third of twenty-four episodes, so we’re not surprised that in her aim to get to the bottom of all those railgun-cloning rumors, Mikoto only ends up scratching the surface of the mystery. When finally learning of what took place after she was swindled out of her DNA map as a youngster by a totally unethical doctor, her reactions are all normal and understandable – up until she learns the project was frozen. She stops digging and just nonchalantly peaces out; apparently convinced there’s nothing to worry about anymore, a notion she may have just invented to comfort herself. It’s denial to wrap herself in like Kuroko wraps herself in Mikoto’s giant teddy.

The fact of the matter is, even if there were no clones (and there are), Mikoto is still the victim of a severe violation. Even if the clones they produced were only Level 2s and 3s, they still produced frikking clones. We know this is the future, but we suspect it’s still not cool to play God in this fashion. Doesn’t Mikoto think for a minute about what became of the clones they did make? We’re of the view that even clones have human rights, and even if Mikoto was too young and stupid to realize what that doctor was asking for, as one of the few people with real knowledge of this Sisters Project, it now falls to her to follow through, learn the truth, and uncover those researchers’ crimes.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Stray Observations:

  • This adds yet another level of intrinsic obligation to Mikoto’s character: as a Level 5 she’s charged with protecting the weak; as the original subject of a dangerous large-scale eugenics project, she’s charged with determining the truth and eliminating any resultant threats.
  • We liked Shinobu (a high school junior)’s insistence that Mikoto respect her elders. Frankly Mikoto’s been so burned by adults thus far in her life, she should be as rude as she likes!
  • Mikoto doesn’t often change out of her uniform, but when she does, it just feels special.
  • Hot strawberry udon? We gotta get us some of that…

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S – 02

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While on her way to some shopping, Shirai shows Misaka a shortcut to the mall that turns out to be busier than she’d expected. They find an unmarked envelope with a cash card and turn it into Judgment, where Uiharu says its one of dozens found so far. After searching for more with Saten, Misaka overhears four Skill-outs who plan to ambush a girl they think is the source of the cards. When they arrive, the girl proceeds to “kill” them all one by one with her “esper ability” (a paper gun with anesthetic and a black light) Misaka arrives, and the girl calls her “the original.”

Now that we’ve been reintroduced, Misaka and the gang get drawn into a fresh mystery that ultimately leads Misaka to someone involved in the scientific experimentation she agreed to as a child, involving cloning her. Having watched Index II we’re already aware of Misaka’s clones, including the little one, but we’re guessing this series takes before that? We’re not entirely sure, so we’ll just treat this as an isolated timeline for now. The important point is that Misaka was a little kid being shown someone with muscular distropy. Would any sweet little kid refuse to help after seeing that?

Likely not, but we maintain she was too young to be given that choice. She wasn’t old enough to fully grasp the consequences, and even if the shifty-ish scientist told her exactly what he was going to do with her DNA mapping, she’d probably only understand a fraction of it. So not only has Misaka grown into someone who insists on going her own way to help and protect others, she made a choice at a very young age to allow herself to be cloned for medical and esper research. Quite a contrast in circumstances to Shirai, Uiharu and Saten.


Rating: 6 (Good)