To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 06

Misaka Mikoto, Accelerator

Mikoto attacks the boy who killed MISAKA 9982, but he is able to neutralize all of her esper powers. An army of MISAKA clones arrives and stops the fight, and the boy introduces himself as Accelerator. Mikoto spends the night on a bench, and Shinobu approaches her. She tells her that she’s come to see the MISAKA clones as human, but can’t do anything about stopping the Level 6 Shift project. Mikoto vows that she won’t let the scientists involved get away with it. She takes her friends to a cafe to apologize for worrying them, but doesn’t tell them what she was up to.

When she was a little girl, Mikoto was told her DNA map could help in the fight against muscular distropy. She was lied to, but was too young and too inexperienced with deception to realize it. Even if she shouldn’t blame herself for what followed…she does. And in her typical hard-headed Misaka way, she’s committed to cleaning up the mess she started, and doing so alone. Neither a swift ass-kicking by Accelerator nor the complete willingness of the MISAKA clones to sacrifice themselves for the experiment will deter her.

Nunotaba Shinobu, MISAKA Clone

We liked Shinobu showing up again, telling her the story of when she stopped thinking of the clones as mere guinea pigs. You see, all of the MISAKAs are linked together in a vast network of shared memories and experiences, which would be passed on to all new MISAKA clones. In effect, this makes her immortal, but at the same time, the price is her being murdered over and over, thousands of times. As Shinobu says, “Life is life,” whether its guinea pigs, humans, or the clones of humans who have amassed lifetimes worth of knowledge.

That scene, in which MISAKA seemed to express an emotional response to seeing the sky for the first time, is as sad as it is beautiful, since we can be reasonably certain that individual MISAKA is long dead. But she, and all her sisters are still in the heads of those who survive. The last MISAKA there is will have the personalities of all who proceeded her. But despite these metaphysical considerations, Mikoto won’t accept their slaughter. Shinobu may not have the power to stop the project, but Mikoto just might.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Apparently Shinobu’s a fan of randomly inserting English into her speech.
  • The series so far has focused on Mikoto – a good thing – but also known exactly where and when to use Kuroko, Saten, and Uiharu. They’ve been used sparingly but effectively.
  • We loved Saten’s promise that they’ll be there for her, if she ever needs help with whatever she’s dealing with.
  • This week they finally rolled out the “Misaka surrounded by naked bloody clones of herself” image, via her nightmare.
  • We’ll see how long Mikoto will last going it alone before her friends start to get involved.
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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?*

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun OVA

After watching the latest Railgun-infused episode of Index II, I felt it as suitible a time as any to watch the Railgun OVA released last month. Only 35 minutes long, it plays out as an extended episode of the anime, in which Uiharu, Kuroko, and Ruiko team up to solve the mystery of why Misaka is seemingly going insane with anxiety. It’s good to see the whole gang back in action (Ruiko is apparently sitting out Index II), and everyone plays a crucial role in solving the caper.

The antagonist, a bitter professor who was fired from a rival school, hides behind the Antiskill shield, but once the girls dig up her story, it isn’t long before Kuroko teleports in to call her out. I didn’t buy why she was targeting Misaka, and didn’t see what she hoped to gain from it, as Misaka has saved Academy City from demise more than once; she’s no good if you make her go bonkers, and if she does lose it, there’s no telling what she’d do with her wicked awesome powers.

While the plot is cheap-and-cheerful and the baddie’s a throwaway, the OVA’s production values are above reproach, and the action and downtimes are well-spaced. I particularly like how it begins in the middle of a chase, without any time to waste, then ends with the quartet staring down a table full of rich pastries. For a series whose focus is on the action, Railgun/Index has always delivered on the slice-of-life side of things as well. Rating: 3.5