To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 13

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Learning that Tree Diagram is gone and unsure of her next move, Misaka takes out her aggression on the nearest Sisters facility, which is evacuated as she tears the place apart, vowing to destroy everything. However, when she watches MISAKA 10031 being killed by Accelerator on a monitor, she breaks down. Touma looks for MISAKA and hears gunshots, but by the time he arrives in the alley, only a puddle of blood remains of her. He informs Antiskill, but the mess is cleaned up once they arrive. Touma meets the sisters and learns about the experiment, and heads to Misaka’s dorm to talk about it.

Kamijou Touma has been blissfully unaware of the Level 6 Shift experiment and the existence of more than one MISAKA sister, but that’s all over now, as he meets a whole company of ’em, performing cleanup work after one of the ones he met met a sticky end. Flash back to Accelerator’s very first fight against a clone, when he easily disables her, but is initially weary about killing her off until the gold-toothed scientist assures him they’re merely puppets, and for the clones’ part they won’t stop trying to kill Accelerator until they’re dead or physically unable to. Whatever sliver of remorse he had in that first fight has completely evaporated, and now he has “fun” with the experiments, tossing out riddles and such before going in for the kill. It’s awful.

Also awful? Kamijou Touma finds out about the fight going on too late. Even if the sister wouldn’t have allowed him to intervene in the experiment (i.e. not let him save her life) there’s a chance he could have at least slowed Accelerator down. When he reports the death to normal authorities, he is too late again, as the sisters had cleaned up the mess, but the fact remains, if Touma continues to pry, he’ll be a target too. As Misaka is growing desperate beneath the weight and scope of the task before her (destroy everything and everyone involved, playing every bit the righteous “villain”), now would be a good time for Touma to step in and help in some way, any way, before she goes nuts, destroys herself, or both.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 10

Misaka Mikoto

During a lull in the fighting, Mikoto notices that Frenda didn’t clean up all of her bombs before leaving, so when she confronts Mugino, she has an army of dolls she can control with magnetism. Mugino destroys most of them by her refracting beam with silicon chips, and reveals that she’s the Meltdowner, fourth-strongest esper. One doll smacks her in the head, and while she’s out, Mikoto heads to the command center and destroys the remaining equipment, completing her mission. Mugino wakes up and their fight continues, until Mikoto lures her onto a catwalk above a large pit and uses Frenda’s explosive tape to send her falling. Mikoto escapes and spends the night in a hotel. The news says the company she was attacking has declared bankruptcy. Then she bumps into Kamijou Touma.

Once we learn that Mugino is the fourth-strongest esper in Academy City, we knew Mikoto was going to have a hard time staying alive, let alone defeating her far less-winded opponent. If what Mugino says is true, the rankings are somewhat arbitrary anyway, so for all Mikoto knows, she’s actually less powerful or evenly-matched. That means a direct attack won’t work; she has to think outside the box. Her saving grace is Frenda’s carelessness in leaving behind so much material Mikoto can use against Mugino. This diminishes (if not outright cancels out) all of the cunning and ingenuity she demonstrated whilst softening Mikoto up for her boss. But while it was a case of Villains Acting Stupidly, in her defense she didn’t expect to be so quickly dismissed by said boss.

As we predicted last week, going it alone against even a wounded Mikoto was a bad choice on Mugino’s part. She allowed her pride and desire to be seen as someone who defeated the Railgun in a fair fight drive her judgment, and while up to this point ITEM was is complete control of the situation, her selfish decision combined with Frenda’s goof-up led to Railgun escaping their clutches and living to fight another day (we like how Mikoto extended a lifeline to Mugino at the last minute, only to have it swiped away.) The next morning after visiting the last facility, which is abandoned and inoperative, she reads that headline and thinks for a second that it might be over. But nothing’s over. There’s still darkness in the city that must be rooted out. The odds may never be in Mikoto’s favor, but she won’t stop moving forward.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Wow, Frenda left a shitload of bombs at that facility! And Mikoto was able to modify them to be manipulated in no time at all…
  • Mugino clearly resents the fact that a uppity, puny little girl is ranked higher than her. Mikoto uses her vanity against her by calling her an old hag in turn.
  • While Frenda told Mikoto she couldn’t care less about the morals of her client, Mugino decides to learn more about the project they’re working on, and learns something even we might not know.
  • Hi Touma! Seeing as how he’s in the OP, it was only a matter of time before he showed up. With his help Mikoto probably could have easily defeated Mugino, but he was probably asleep in bed during that battle, so…

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 09

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The Level 5/4 duo of Mugino Shizuri and Takisubo Rikou relieve Frenda. Mikoto flees, but Takisubo uses AIM Stalker to locate her as Mugino sends Meltdowner beam attacks her way. The chase gradually wears Mikoto down. Meanwhile, Nunotaba aims to install emotions into the clones, so they might fight for their lives. She is thwarted by Kinuhata Saiai who was guarding the other lab in case Mikoto was only a diversion. When Mikoto deflects Mugino’s Meltdowner, Mugino realizes that her target could only be Tokiwadai’s Railgun.

This has been a rough couple of weeks for poor Miss “Clean Up My Own Messes Made Inadvertently When I Was A Toddler.” Just when she had Frenda where she wanted her, Frenda’s stronger, more tenacious, esper comrades arrive and make life a living hell for Mikoto. She seriously can’t stop to catch her breath, lest she get blasted into dust by Mugino. And just when we thought all of the Railgun’s suffering wouldn’t be in vain because Shinobu is at the other facility, making her move, Shinobu is also thwarted. Her plans to give all of the Sisters emotions apparently fails…but maybe not all the way.

Aside from that one glimmer of hope, the bad guys run this episode. Which is okay; the entire franchise has always had a problem with idiotic, over-boasting adult villains, and it’s good that this ITEM group is not only extremely confident, but also relatively likable. They’re all so different, they won’t be easily caught off guard at the same time, and what’s more, even if Mikoto is a stronger esper than all of them, it’s still four-against-one…at least until the end, when Mugino perhaps makes her first mistake: deciding to go one-on-one against a winded Mikoto.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Shinobu knows her limitations and is aware of the possibility the Level 6 program will never be totally defeated…but she still decides to do what she can for the clones, as she couldn’t ignore the glimmer of emotion she felt from one.
  • Esper breakdown: Mugino has a lightning-esque Meltdowner ability; Takisubo has the AIM Stalker tracking ability, but only when she takes a drug that sends her into overload; and Kinuhata has super-strong bulletproof esper armor (and tries to say super in every sentence).
  • Mikoto’s goal is to destroy the facility…isn’t that exactly what’s been happening the last two weeks? Place looks pretty destroyed already to us…maybe there’s still some vital part she hasn’t gotten to yet; but as Shinobu points out, even destroying all the facilities won’t end the experiment.

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 08

Misaka Mikoto

A group of cleaners called ITEM is hired to protect the two remaining labs running the Sisters experiments. Three of the four members stake out one lab, while the fourth, Frenda, covers the second lab on her own, hoping for a bonus. Mikoto attacks this lab, and Frenda has placed explosive booby traps everywhere. Mikoto barrels through them all and corners Frenda in a small room, and Frenda tries to stay a step ahead, but ends up on the wrong end of Mikoto’s electricity. Before she can get any info out of her, the rest of ITEM bursts through the wall to bail Frenda out.

Hopefully this goes down without a hitch.

Well, thankfully, it didn’t, or we wouldn’t have had a very eventful episode! Mikoto would have destroyed the last two labs, completed her mission, and, I dunno, gone underwear shopping with Kuroko or something. Instead, she has to deal with one tough customer in Frenda Seivelun, a tiny, blonde ball of energy who may not be an esper, but is a magician with both explosives, traps, hand-to-hand combat, and nearly inexhaustible supply of counterattacks, feints, and bluffs. She and Mikoto fight for most of the episode, and it’s incredibly fun to watch the more direct Mikoto constantly run into a trap, only to overcome because she’s Level 5. You get the idea that if ITEM knew that little nugget of information, they never would have split their forces. But even so, Mikoto takes a beating before getting the upper hand.

ITEM is kind of a parallel to Mikoto’s group of four friends: imagine that instead of solving crime and protecting the weak and innocent from baddies, they start their own cleaning business. Lord knows there are plenty of labs out there doing awful shit that need protection. And Frenda makes it clear to Mikoto she doesn’t care what the client is up to (technically her client is a middleman) or whose cause is just or right. That’s not how things work for ITEM. They were paid to do a job, Mikoto’s the target, they eliminate the target and get paid. That’s it. Their casual, “another day at the office” repartee (the hallmark of Jormungand, for better or worse) in the cold open is proof they’ve been doing this a long time and they’re good at it. Which means Mikoto is in serious trouble, and in need of an ally or two of her own…

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • ITEM breakdown: the leader is Mugino Shizuri, voiced by Koshimizu Ami (AKA Holo/Maou), who is an esper. Her three underlings are Frenda (a very florid Uchida Maaya), Kinuhata Saiai (Akasaki Chinatsu), and Takitsubo Rikou (Suzaki Aya). It’s a nice mix of voices we know well, and they’re all good additions to the cast.
  • Great battle action this week, something Railgun does better than random slice-of-life, IMO (not to say they’re bad at SoL; Mikoto’s day with MISAKA was wonderful).
  • While Maaya’s voice is a bit grating at times, she gets a few deliciously dark and evil things to say to Mikoto as they duel.
  • About that ally: the next-ep preview makes it plain, but Nunotaba Shinobu is tired of sitting on the sidelines. She pays a visit to the other lab, and while Mikoto distracts ITEM and the lab admins, she’ll be doing her part to stop the experiments and help Mikoto.

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…