If you were badly yearning to see Yomikawa Aiho and her ineffectual SWAT-like Antiskill unit take it on the chin once again at the hands of the latest espers baddies, or were desperate for more of Accelerator’s glowering face and growling voice, as Misaka clones mill around aimlessly and Last Order squeaks about herself in the third person, this new Index side-story is for you.
In this introductory episode, a trio of precocious high schoolers led by a pint-sized redhead (who constantly says “yabee” or “radical”) believe the time is ripe to try to steal some genetic material (i.e. blood) from Accelerator, who is in the hospital recovering from injuries sustained in the previous story arc when he managed to get Last Order healed. But while they’re able to get past Antiskill, they’re no match for even a slightly off-his-game Accelerator.
By the time he’s shooed Last Order out of harm’s way, he’s deduced how the three high schoolers’ powers work and makes quick work of neutralizing them, shattering their epic scheme to…sell his blood on the black market.
These were some small-fry baddies with pitifully low stakes considering how Index III ended, but I can already see where this is headed: more of Accelerator being forced to protect Last Order yet again and prove that he’s now way more of a hero than a villain due to his particular devotion to his minuscule double-speaking charge.
The thing is, I feel like I just finished watching that exact thing in Index III, and in a very full Summer season packed with new stories, I’m just not that enthusiastic about watching that dynamic unfold so soon after it just ended—particularly when the production values are so mediocre.
Misaka meets her clone MISAKA 9982 and helps her rescue a cat from a tree. MISAKA won’t tell her classified info, so Misaka decides to tail her. On the way they have ice cream and fight over the frog badge. MISAKA then tells her she’s “going to the experiment” and bids farewell. Misaka hacks the net and finds out that 20,000 of her clones are being sacrificed in hopes of causing a Level 6 Shift. The Level 5 boy chosen for the shift meets MISAKA in an alley and they fight, ending up in a train yard where he thwarts her trap, rips off her leg, and drops a rail car on her. Misaka arrives too late to save MISAKA, and attacks the boy.
MISAKA 9982’s good deed (saving a baby in a car from heat stroke) has an unintended consequence – a kitten stuck in a tree. Like that kitten, MISAKA’s in new territory and in need of a helping hand, and this incident shows her that her “onee-sama” is a decent, compassionate sort who helps the weak. It’s also a great introduction to MISAKA, who has a totally different personality from the original, but then few sisters are alike, and sometimes they resent each other for it. MISAKA is a lost puppy, not a terminator. She throws Misaka off her rhythm, but also forms a strong bond.
But it turns out Misaka has bumped into her clone on the eve of her mission, the 9,982nd of 20,000 intended to turn one very sadistic kid into the first Level 6. After all the lighthearted comedy and sisterly exploits, Misaka is crushed upon learning these new facts, and takes it upon herself to save the kitten in the tree. Only she’s too late. The episode twists the knife here. Just when we thought MISAKA got the upper hand (when her bomb went off we pumped our fists) she’s viciously maimed and then killed; disposed of like nothing. That vibrant, clever, perceptive girl is gone in one crunch of a rail car. It spurs the original Railgun to rush headlong into danger once more, to avenge her sister.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
- We forgot how much we love how MISAKAs talk. So eccentric, yet so precise and easy to understand.
- The whole ice cream interlude was kinda random, but still sweet.
- Even Misaka’s clone questions her tastes. Ha!
- We know the kid as Accelerator, of course. In this series, he doesn’t seem to need a crutch, though even if he did, he’s hardly a sympathetic character thus far. So far he’s just a snake, doing what comes naturally when a live mouse is dropped in his tank. (Argh, that’s another animal metaphor…sorry about that!)
- After a second viewing, we’ve upped the rating to a 9.
Misaka, Saten, Shirai and Uihari visit the hospital with Haruue Erii to visit a recovering Banri. At the same hospital, Antiskill is holding a “radical wannabe” leader. His friends break him out and they get to the roof with Erii as their hostage, but Misaka rescues her and then deals with them with assists from Saten and Shirai.
So here we are, back in Academy City with the whole gang. Unlike Index, Misaka is the lead character, but there’s so many other characters from the other three series plus specials that the episode couldn’t possibly get to them all (much like Game of Thrones). And Misaka is still her ordinary self, using her awesome electrical powers and pluck to protect those weaker than her from baddies, despite not having any law-enforcing authority and much to Shirai’s chagrin. In any case, we’re nicely eased back into the world; it’s like reconnecting with an old friend.
One newbie is Tokiwadai’s “Queen”, Shoukuhou, who has a rather nasty ability to create an army of followers with a remote control and apparent powers of telepathy and hypnosis. But the balance of the show is the girls ending up in the same place as another baddie, one of the girls getting held hostage, and having to deal with it with lots of over-the-top action. Nothing too deep. This series is probably a guilty pleasure, but like Haruhi, if they keep making series, and keep making them well, we’ll keep coming back to watch them.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)