To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 24 (Fin)

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The four small groups holding back Study’s AIMs are supplemented by the entirety of Judgment, stepping in after Anti-Skill’s hands were tied. With Febri’s help, Mikoto reaches Janie’s general position, but Aritomi sends hundreds of AIMs to surround her in an arena. When the first waves of AIMs are taken out, his colleagues sortie in heavier-duty robots armed with a facsimile of the Meltdowner’s beam weapon. On the front lines, they’re taken care of by a robot built by Kongou Airlines and piloted by Saten and Uiharu. In the arena, a furious Mugino and the rest of ITEM mop up the robots.

Fearing defeat is eminent, Aritomi enables Janie’s “Final Stage”, which will launch a missile from orbit that will turn Academy City to Ash. He tries to commit suicide, but Mikoto stops him, vehemently voices her commitment to protecting Febri and the city. As Shinobu and Saten coax Febri into forming a connection with Janie, Mikoto and Kuroko pilot the Kongou-bot up into orbit – with the Sister network assisting with calculations. Mikoto launches the robot at the missile before it fractures into warheads, averting disaster. Later, after Mikoto & Co. bid farewell to Shinobu, Febri, and Janie boarding an overseas flight, they agree to grab lunch before heading to their classes.

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We’re not going to sit here and tell you this episode didn’t have its share of plausibility issues. If you watched, you saw what we saw: a bunch of frail high schoolers holding back giant sophisticated robots with glorified shields and spears and low-level esper powers. We saw live ammunition being fired into large crowds of unprotected people and no one was shot. We saw Study Corp’s mission quickly evolving wanting to be recognized to wanting to turn the entire city to ash. And yes, we saw the a hastily-built off-screen mecha being used to even the odds on the ground, then used to launch into orbit, where Mikoto and Kuroko hold their breath while destroying a missile.

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None of this makes any damn sense, but Raildex has never been about plausibility or hard science. It’s been about cute slice-of-life interrupted by elaborate spectacle. And we’ll admit, watching everyone fighting together in one huge climactic battle was fun and exciting enough for us to forgive the many implausible jumps the episode takes as the stakes are raised. Of course, we were also a bit spoiled by watching the Index film, in which pretty much the same thing happens, only even more parties are involved. But as ridiculous as things got, the point is, many people together can do great things, things no one could ever do alone.

This season started with Sisters who thought they were expendable puppets. Mikoto and Touma helped them understand they were more. And those sisters were the first expression of that idea that there’s strength in numbers, a lesson Mikoto finally learned which led to all the great deeds that took place in this finale. Study was a group working together too, but they were megalomaniacal thugs threatening the city and the innocent. Once a larger group was mobilized against them, Aritomi never had a chance. In the last montage, we see that no one is alone and all’s right in the world…until the next baddie comes along.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

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To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 23

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After telling Mikoto he and his colleagues will start a “revolution” tomorrow, Aritomi locks her up with Nunotaba. Mikoto recognizes Nunotaba acting as she once did, and tells her she’ll be able to do more by depending on others and letting them depend on her. Mikoto uses her esper ability to move her body just as Kuroko arrives to rescue them. Nunotaba stays behind to learn the location of Study Corp.’s base and Janie.

Mikoto returns to Judgment, where both Uiharu and Kongou learn Study has deployed 20,000 AIM units around tomorrow’s Assembly, which they’ll control remotely using Janie. Everyone agrees to help Mikoto save Febri and her sister. At sunrise, Study Corp. activates Janie, at which point Febri can detect her location. Mikoto heads that way, while her friends form a perimeter around around the Assembly gates, ready to defend it from the swarming AIMs.

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“By depending on others, and letting them depend on you, people can exced what they can do as individuals.”

Damn straight. If it weren’t for leaning on her eager-to-assist friends, Mikoto would still be at square one, and Study Corp.’s revolution would have taken place by surprise. Instead, Mikoto infiltrates a lab and gets captured by Aritomi, who, annoyingly predictable antagonist as he is, helpfully provides hints as to his plan. And again Mikoto relies on her friends to fill in the blanks, and to know where to be and what to do when Study makes their move.

Now armed with the wisdom of relying on others, Mikoto sees Nunotaba struggle as she did with the feeling she had to go it alone, and getting frustrated and feeling “useless” when going it alone came up short. But she’s not useless; she’s just ineffective when she insists on going it alone, as Mikoto was. So she too asks for help, and agrees to help out in return. Therestina mocked Princess Railgun for having so many friends, believing them to be fake. They aren’t, and those many friends (including the Sisters) will prove crucial in stopping Aritomi’s revolution and saving Febri and Janie.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • It is sad to see Aritomi in the cold open speaking to a mostly empty assembly hall; it makes us understand the frustration that much come from working so hard and getting no recognition for it. 
  • And he has a point: the flashier espers get all the attention in Academy City. But there are better ways of changing that status quo. Swallowing his pride, reaching out to espers like Mikoto, and starting a public dialogue would be one way. Launching a large-scale terrorist attack will only get him and Study recognized as terrorists.
  • The moment Mikoto uses electricity to get up off the bed was pretty damned badass.
  • “Let’s guard the Level 5 esper, the extent of whose powers we don’t fully understand, with weak little security bots we can find!” Study Corp: cutting corners where it counts.
  • Febri changes into the white dress Kongou got her. Turns out it was Nunotaba who got her the black dress, which will almost certainly be worn by Janie if/when they rescue her.
  • Also cool: seeing everyone taking their positions against the coming onslaugh…though we’re a little worried about Saten and Uiharu. Isn’t the former a Level 0 and the latter’s only power maintaining temperatures?

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 22

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After some wrangling, Therestina Kihara Lifeline gives Mikoto a lead: whomever created Febri, a “chemicaloid”, want the world to know they exist, perhaps during the upcoming assembly. Uiharu searches through past participants and Kongou recognizes Aritomi Haruki on a file, and ties him to Study Corporation, which owns a suspicious old factory. Mikoto goes there to find ITEM destroying its security robots. When they leave she breaks in and finds Nunotaba Shinobu, who hands her the recipe for Febri’s candy. Airtomi arrives, saying it’s a fake, and offers the real stuff in exchange for Mikoto accepting a paralyzing shot. She does, but he destroys the vial anyway, calling Febri an expendable spare for their greatest invention: “Janie.”

Tokiwadai’s Level 5 Railgun has gotten a harsh education in the realities of Academy City. She may claim to “love” it , but not all of it loves her. As she lives her happy top-flight esper high school life with her regal title, it’s not surprising that she’d lose sight of the very real unsavory elements in the city, including a group of non-espers toiling in obscurity, seething in envy and resentment as the espers of the city get all the attention, utterly unable to do anything about it. In this episode Therestina and Aritomi both pay her sarcastic deference to her title, as if to pat her on the head and say “oh, you silly!”

Of course Therestina is safely behind bars, and can only gloat about having put Mikoto in a bad mood (which subsides when Kuroko assures her that – Level 5 or not – she loves her onee-sama). Aritomi wants to experiment on Railgun, and by episode’s end, he has her right where he wants her: isolated and defenseless, with the clock on Febri running out. Nunotaba is caught in the middle; her compassion for Febri mirrors her compassion for the MISAKA clones. But Aritomi doesn’t care about any of that. Very soon, that tank labeled “JANIE” will open, and if his plans succeed, the world will know he and STUDY Corporation exist.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Therestina’s cell is pretty…sparse. Where’s the bed? The toilet? Why isn’t that heavy metal chair bolted to the ground? 
  • But hey, at least they let her have M&M’s (or the Japanese equivalent). We liked how she offered one to Mikoto believing she’d assume it was poison, only to eat it without fuss, which led to Therestina giving her info.
  • Mikoto puts her trust in Aritomi as well, holding her arm out to receive that injection…but that didn’t work out so well.
  • If there was any doubt that the show seems unsure what else to do with ITEM, this week they get a brief pool scene and are then used to distract security for Nunotaba. But work is work, right?
  • Loved how Mikoto and Kuroko’s lovely little moment was cut short when Mikoto realized her roommate was trying to cop a feel.
  • While on the train, Mikoto spots that bridge remembers one of our favorite scenes of the franchise. Of course, Imagine Breaker is kinda useless against non-espers…
  • Can’t someone buy normal, modern clothes for Febri? What’s with the wedding cakes?

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 21

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Heaven Canceler tells Mikoto Febri’s body creates a poison that must be neutralized with her lollipops. Finding her creators is the key to helping her, but they’re likely in the underground. Mikoto plans to look for them herself, but after Kongou tells her about her similar situation, she decides to tell Kuroko, Saten, and Uiharu, who immediately begin an investigation. After analyzing the candy, Canceler determines Febri has only 72 hours to live without more lollipops. When Mikoto tells him she’s resolved to save her, he arranges a meeting between her and the incarcerated Therestina.

Early in the episode, things were starting to feel all too familiar: Mikoto learns a dark truth about her charge; Mikoto decides to keep it all to herself and not get her friends involved; Mikoto conducts a sloppy, inefficient investigation, gets caught, and gets her ass kicked. Fortunately, she too realizes she’s on well-trodden ground. Last week Kongou saved her and the others; this week Kongou saves us by unwittingly convincing Mikoto that this time, she should tell her friends, since true friends share joys and dangers. Her encounter with an oblivious Kuroko before setting out is the catalyst that induces her to tell everyone about Febri’s nature, her suspicions, her past dealings with dangerous people.

After saying all this and voicing her uncertainty she’ll be able to protect them from the coming “darkness”, as Canceler puts it, the three girls react exactly how we thought: they don’t give it a second thought and thrust immediately into Investigation Mode. You can see it on Mikoto’s face as she beholds this: she may be good at kicking ass and making powerful enemies, but these girls may well be better than she is at this kind of stuff. It probably also occurs to her that things may have gone more smoothly had she also called upon them to help her in the Sisters arc. But the important thing is, she’s no longer doing things herself, which means those who must answer for their misdeeds will have more than just her to deal with.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Nice assist by MISAKA 10032, whose observations makes Mikoto suspect Nunotaba Shinobu is involved in some fashion (as the audience, we know this to be true, though we don’t know why).
  • We really wouldn’t mind a Railgun spinoff starring Kongou, Awatsuki and Wannai.
  • Febri is actually pretty good at drawing Gekota. Her drawing of Mii is less impressive.
  • We also love how the girls are all discussing the investigation as a restless Febri simply goofs off like a real kid does in such situations. Very accurate depiction there.
  • We’ve always seen Anti-Skill’s Yomikawa Aiho as a stickler for the rules, but when HQ nicks her evidence, she’s pissed enough to hand a crucial component they missed to Mikoto, which is definitely against the rules.
  • We were concerned about the lollipop supply before Canceler instituted the 72-hour ticking clock, but you mean to tell us this medical genius can’t make a serviceable facsimile in the interim? C’mon!
  • Ah yes, Therestina, the villain from the first series, and definitely knowledgeable about the underground scientific world. We see and intriguing if uneasy partnership ahead.

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 20

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The robots that attacked Febli had no batteries, leaving Antiskill scratching their heads. Mikoto, Saten, UIhau and Shirai take Febri out to eat and to a bathhouse. While on their way home, they keep running into detour signs, corralling them into a dead end where they’re attacked by a giant robot deployed by Aritomi and his fellow researchers. Mikoto’s electricity has no effect on it, but Kongou swoops in to save them. Febri develops a fever and is hospitalized. Mikoto & Co. spend the night there, and in the morning Heaven Canceler tells Mikoto Febri is man-made.

“Those who rely on their powers are powerless,” says one of the researchers now targeting Mikoto. They’re bold words, infused with a degree of bitterness and jealousy, spoken by someone who is tired of the espers getting all the attention. But they also ring a bit hollow in light of what’s happened so far. It may be more accurate to say “those who rely on their powers will be bailed out by their friends’ powers.” Kongou is proving to be the X-factor of this arc, foiling the brainiacs’ plans at every turn in her usual arrogant-but-elegant style.

It’s also hard to take these guys seriously though, considering how slowly this episode went. There’s absolutely no hurry to reveal who they are or how they plan to defeat the espers. We hang out with the girls as they entertain Febri, and the battle is almost an afterthought, thanks to Kongou just happening to be in the right place at the right time. Still, Febri being present for both instances of machines working without internal power and the revelation she’s an android got us a little more invested. If she’s the source of the machines’ power, then Kongou’s attack harmed her too.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Motto Marutto Railgun III

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This was a thoroughly weird and surreal eight minutes of Railgun. It had nothing to do with the story, but consisted entirely of the voice actors simply having fun during “outtakes” from some of the more serious past scenes in the show’s run.

It was pretty funny throughout, and we wouldn’t mind more shorts like this. Here’s what went down, in chronological order:

  • Saten’s Super Nose deciding what’s good to eat
  • Nunotaba Shinobu giving Mikoto a “Real Usable English Lesson”
  • Kuroko dry-humping Mikoto’s bear
  • Mikoto reminicing on the joy of race car erasers and canned slime.
  • Kuroko dry-humping Mikoto’s bear
  • Mikoto answering her clone out of reflex
  • Kuroko dry-humping Mikoto’s bear
  • Shinobu showing Mikoto a pixelated next-gen console
  • MISAKA musing on the impracticalities of said console during the pretty rooftop sunset scene, which lead to retrogaming.
  • SHinobu reporting to Mikoto what MISAKA said to her, and Mikoto warning that she’ll get “game brain”.
  • Kuroko dry-humping Mikoto’s bear
  • MISAKA and Accelerator talking about their voice roles thus far, with Accelerator mentioning how the “A Certain” series has been his big break (all while Accelerator’s stirring theme is playing)
  • Kuroko dry-humping Mikoto’s bear while mentioning she’s a free agent and looking for work
  • Mikoto muses on the efficacy of sticking little dolls on one’s bag, and asks Accelerator (at railgunpoint) what he thinks about girls who are into girly things (he’s fine with it, unless it’s her)
  • Kuroko dry-humping Mikoto’s bear
  • Mikoto treats everyone to parfaits as an apology for being away “studying koans”. Uiharu’s flowers are getting repaired, so no one notices she’s sitting right there with them, repeatedly pleading “I’m here!” while Haruue scarfs down an enormous bowl of rice hiding her face.


Rating: 6 (Good)

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 19

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Ruiko and the others befriend Febri, but she’s apprehensive of Mikoto. They can’t find a record of her anywhere, so they list her as a child error and arrange for her to stay at the Cypress Children’s Home. It isn’t ready to take her in yet, so for the next five days Ruiko and the others will have to take care of her. At the grounds of the Academic Assembly, Ruiko leaves Febri with Mikoto, but they get separated. When they find her, Aritomi has sent robots after her, but Mikoto dispatches them, surprising Aritomi, who along with his science team votes to experiment on the third-strongest esper, the Railgun.

This was another one of those “interacting with little kids” episodes that Railgun/Index does sometimes (in fact, probably every episode with Index can count as one of those). It’s not that we don’t like kids (nor is it like Mikoto, where they don’t like her), it’s just that these episodes tend to be quite slow and plodding, in a series that is always best when the pace is, forgive the expression, more electric. As for Febri (or Febli), she’s cute as a button, but otherwise was basically your run-of-the-mill lost kid: shy and weary, but eventually opening up to everyone but Mikoto, whose name she inexplicably knows (Ruiko and Uiharu also make a good ‘mom-and-dad’ pair).

Still, we learn next to nothing about her, except that Aritomi and his colleagues are aware of her existence. We assumed she was an escaped scientific subject on the order of the MISAKAs or Last Order, or possibly even some kind of android built by Aritomi’s team. But the truth of her origin has yet to reveal itself, so for now she seems to be the piece that led Aritomi to Mikoto, starting another story of espers vs. the knowledge- and power-greedy scientists, only on a smaller scale, and with students (not adults) as the antagonists.


Rating: 6 (Good)

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 18

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Mugino and ITEM report to a job, but all they encounter are attack-bots, unaware they’re being observed by the researcher Aritomi. Later, Kongo Mitsuko stops a purse snatcher with her esper powers, but is reprimaned by Aritomi. Edasaki Banri is discharged from the hospital. She’ll be living with Haruue Erii, who will be moving out of Uiharu’s flat. Uiharu arranges a party for Banri, but she and Kuroko must attend to Judgement duties. When they return, Uiharu brings Haruue taiyaki and they share a tearful hug. While Misaka, Kuroko, Saten and Uiharu are headed home, they find a tiny girl lying in the flowers, who tells them her name is Febli, and that she knows Misaka Mikoto.

While last week was a wholly transitory episode focusing on slice-of-life, this week manages to place a couple of new game pieces on the board in preparation for the concluding arc of the season. The Acadmic Assembly is coming, which seems to be a venue where those with high academic aptitude but minimal esper powers (or none) can shine. (Rather amusingly, the Level 0 Saten knows nothing of this). It also seems like a breeding ground for collective resentment by those without esper powers towards those who do. The episode seemed to set Aritomi as the next villain: someone who doesn’t like it when arrogant espers like Kongo flaunt their powers carelessly.

But both Aritomi and lil’ Febli are very much still on the margins of this episode, most of which centers on the triangle of adorableness that is Uiharu, Haruue, and Edasaki. Uiharu is sad about Haruue moving out, but Haruue wants to be for Edasaki what Uiharu was to her, and Uiharu can appreciate both Haruue and Edasaki’s desire to be – to borrow a term from PotteMore Aggressive. Uiharu may think she’s just doing her job as a friend and Judgment officer, but her selflessness and dedication to those she cares about make her an extraordinary person, worthy of praise.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 17

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Mikoto, Shirai, Saten, and Uiharu are all prepping for a study group. Shirai notes how peaceful Academy City is, Mikoto checks in on the sisters, who are on the mend but will require treatment to extend their lifespans. Shirai bumps into Kongo, and later she and Mikoto cross paths with Mugino and Frenda. Mikoto, Shirai and Uiharu arrive at Saten’s place with their diverse yet complimentary ingredients  and they have a hot pot feast, which Haruue eventually joins as well.

With the Sisters vs. Accelerator arc completed, Railgun S exhales with a transitional episode with lots of light, pleasant slice-of-life which takes stock of where everyone is and, more importantly, serves as a vehicle to reunite the four core girls with something non-life-threatening. Mikoto’s duty had definitely distanced her not only from Shirai, but Saten and Uiharu as well, and the “hot pot study group” was a nice way to shorten that distance, at least until the next crisis (which isn’t hinted at this week; something we’re actually thankful for).

This episode was also a means of having various supporting characters make an appearence, including the Frog-Faced Doctor (AKA Heaven Canceler), Kongou Mitsuko (as stuck-up as ever), Shirai’s clover kids, and, perhaps most surprisingly, members of ITEM. Mugino/Frenda jaw with Mikoto/Shirai (and Shirai’s ignorance of who they are help the comedy here), but things don’t get out of hand, underlining this episode’s commitment to being peril- and stress-free, which after so much of both in the last arc, was welcome.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Editors Note: We apologize for being a bit behind on our weekend anime schedule, as we are currently engaged in various non-RABUJOI activities. Please excuse the lateness of the subsequent reviews. 

 

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 07

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Mikoto starts her secret night attacks on all of the Sisters labs in the city, causing significant damage to the experiment. Unable to oppose who he suspects is the culprit, the lab administrator considers a third-party “remedy.” With Onee-sama always out and not telling her what she’s up to, Kuroko grows concerned with the distance between them, and her inability to help her.

Kuroko helps out a young girl, Minori, who is moving away and wants to find a parting gift for her friends. Because Judgment can’t allow her to keep a lost cash card, they help her search for four-leaf clovers instead. When Mikoto is on her way out again, Kuroko tells her to take care; Mikoto thanks her. By the end of the night, only two labs remain operational.

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We’re always a little tentative whenever Shirai Kuroko is the focus of a Railgun episode, because she’s usually used more for comic relief in the form of expressing sexual desire for her “Onee-sama” Mikoto never has any interest in reciprocating. It can get tedious. Kuroko is best when her character is being treated seriously, as it is this week. She’s dealing not only with increased distance from her best friend, but also concern about what she may be up to. Not knowing for sure makes her feel that much more useless; how can she help Onee-sama if she’s kept in the dark?

If we have a complaint with this episode, then, it’s not in Kuroko’s portrayal of an concerned, antsy, loving friend. We weren’t even that miffed that Kuroko didn’t take it upon herself to insert herself into Mikoto’s business (not yet, anyway). She was distracted by Minori, the girl who stands in the middle of a busy street knowing full well that kids in anime who do that always get run over (fortunately for her, this anime has teleportation). Minori, longing to show her love for her fiends, becomes a parallel for Kuroko. For Mikoto, it’s enough that Kuroko is covering for her with the dorm supervisor. For now, at least.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Those clear jelly buns look weird (and “novel”) but we’d still try them. We bet they’re tasty…
  • Don’t stare too long at Uiharu’s flower crown. It doesn’t make sense.
  • We can only imagine Kuroko’s reaction if she ever saw her Onee-sama in her delivery girl disguise, complete with ponytail. Some drool would likely flow.
  • The lab guy, not afraid to let somebody else do his dirty work, will likely recruit another Level 5 to deal with Mikoto. This is why we think Kuroko won’t stay on the sidelines for long.
  • We don’t think he’ll sic Accelerator on her, since that would taint the experiment.
  • That driver needs to have his license taken away. He seemed to have the reaction time of a ninety-year old in a coma.
  • FWIW, we personally believe a four-leaf clover plucked from a verdant riverbank is a more tasteful gift for your friends than a cash card you found in a dirty street. Safer, too!

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.

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…