If ever there was a word in visual media that the general public immediately distrusted, it's "spinoff". Experience has proven to many that a show, comic or novel that is derivative of a popular series is rarely as good as the original work, and the DVD bargain basement is littered with titles that were designed with one thing in mind - to cash in on the original work's popularity due to the lack of a valid sequel. Shows like Crusade (Babylon 5), Joey (Friends), Highlander: The TV series, Robocop: The TV series, the horrendous Baywatch titles, and a horde of others all attempted to milk
extra profits from a cow that had gone dry.
All is not lost though, as while it is rare that a spinoff can proclaim itself to be as good as, if not better than, the original work, there are some shows that do fit the bill. Frasier (Cheers), CSI: NY and Miami, Torchwood (Dr. Who), Mork & Mindy (Happy Days), and a small number of other titles are widely regarded as at least equal to the original works.
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun can also add its name to that list..
Unlike Toaru Majutsu no Index this series is not actually based on the light novels by Kamachi Kazuma, but is instead based on a spinoff manga by Fuyukawa Motoi. Unlike the Index series the spinoff focuses on Misaka Mikoto, the "Railgun" from the original series. Once more the action takes place in Academy City as Mikoto and her friends are beset by strange earthquakes, conspiracies, friendship issues, and all manner of hijinks.
Like the original series the format of Railgun uses an amalgamation of episodic and multi-chapter arcs however, much like Index, the series is also flawed in terms of its plot because of this. While the series has a reasonably enjoyable story, the tendency to jump from one focus to another like frog on a hot rock is detrimental to the flow of the plot. It's unfortunate as the format is similar to that adopted by GitS: SAC, however the big difference between the two shows is that where GitS: SAC provided food for thought, Railgun neglects this in favour of audience pleasing fillers (if the audience is juvenile that is).
That said, the plot has some interesting aspects to it, however the lack of a timeframe means that viewers may become a tad confused as to the ordering of events, especially if one tries to correlate the occurences in Index with those in Railgun.
The biggest downside to the format of Railgun though, is the fact that the more interesting aspects of the show are never fully explored due to the lack of focus, something which would have given this show the edge that it really needs.
While the plot may have its issues, the art and animation for Railgun is definitely a step up from Index. The characters follow the design of the manga and the original series, and while this may promote a certain sense of continuity, it's also a downside as well, as the character design becomes a little stale over the course of the show (i.e. too much of the same).
Backgrounds and settings are generally bright and colourful, and the scenery is very much in keeping with the style of the original series. The animation is generally smooth, however there are moments when the characters move in a truly ludicrous manner, something which can ruin a good action scene.
The one thing I do question is the fanservice, as it's clearly surplus to requirements. Granted the series is nowhere near the same level as some I could mention, however this is a showthat didn't really need to go that extra mile just to please the fans, and the story would have been more enjoyable without all the pandering.
Railgun is generally well served in the acting department. Satou Rina and Arai Satomi reprise their roles from Index as Mikoto and Kuroko, and they are joined by Itou Kanae and Toyosaki Aki (Saten Ruiko and Uiharu Kazari respectively), to form the main core of characters. However, while the actresses are all experienced, there are occasions when the roles are really "hammed up", particularly when it comes to relationship issues.
As for the music, the show has a decent variety of thematic tracks which are generally well used when required, however there are also occasions where the music is clearly at odds with the on screen action. The generally upbeat style of music is reflected in the two OPs and two of the EDs used in the series. The ED for episode 12 is more melodic and has a slightly bittersweet sentiment to it which serves as a nice counterpoint to the ending of that particular arc.
The biggest surprise of this series is the characters. In a strange irony, they are both the best aspect of Railgun, but also its worst. The lack of plot focus is, in part, made up for by the development of the main cast, especially Ruiko who, in terms of actual character growth, is developed more than the other three girls. Now many fans may argue with that perspective, however I will point out that of the four main girls, it's Ruiko who not only changes the most, but also endures the most.
Now, I did mention that the characters were also the worst part of Railgun didn't I? Well, the reason for this is that while the characters do receive a degree of development, it simply isn't enough to justify their actions. The lack of plot focus only exacerbates the problem, and the show is littered with semi developed characters. In addition to this, the usage of comic relief based fanservice (e.g. Kuroko's behaviour towards Mikoto), washes away what little development had gone before. While the characters are engaging enough in their own way, the show could have done with putting more effort into the plot and characters, and less into making money from the hormone crazed masses.
With all of the problems I've mentioned, many might think that I didin't enjoy Railgun, when in actuality, I did. The show is entertaining as a no brain action romp, and had the potential, along with Index, to be something truly great. While I may regard Railgun as a wasted opportunity, it isn't actually a bad show at all, and many people may find something to keep them insterested.
In all honesty though, Railgun, like Index, had a great deal more potential than it actually delivers. The concept of both series is inventive and imaginative, however the execution, especially in Railgun, falls flat due to the desire to make money.The biggest example of how this impacts the show is the level of fanservice throughout the series (one whole episode, for example, is nothing more than a swimsuit buffet). It rapidly becomes obvious that the one of the main purposes of this series is to pander to hordes who love Mikoto, and while giving the public what they want isn't a bad thing, sometimes a show is better off not doing so.
On the plus side though, at least Toaru Kagaku no Railgun is one of the few spinoffs that's as good as the original story.
Are the burdens of being special greater or lesser than the burdens of being ordinary?
Academy City is a city that thrives on those who are espers -- who are special -- whether they already have powers or are trying to attain them. Everyone is reaching towards their ideal self, but some people don’t care what methods get used. The pursuit of the “next level” is absolute. If our limitations only exist so we can surpass them, should there be a limit to how far we can go to get there?
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, or A Certain Scientific Railgun, follows the events around Misaka Mikoto
and her core group of friends and their exploits within the City. They are students, aiming to better their powers as espers. But in a city with a concentrated amount of people with special abilities, it’s only natural for the criminally-minded to try to carve out their own bit of power at the expense of others. To combat such an element and maintain civil order, the organization Judgment exists. Having a free-willed, ace-in-the-hole player like Misaka who keeps people in line all by herself doesn’t hurt either.
Misaka (affectionately dubbed “Biribiri”) is one of the most powerful espers in Academy City. Her ability to generate and manipulate electricity makes her a force that most overconfident thugs learn too late shouldn’t have been reckoned with. Kuroko is her best friend, a crazy and hyperactive girl whose yuri-obsession with her beloved “Onee-sama” is hilarious despite constant rejection. Teleportation of objects (herself included) is her esper proficiency, making her one of the more menacing opponents to come up against, despite the diminutive and cute appearance. Uiharu is the demure techie: easily embarrassed, but a wizard at hacking or culling information from any network. As a member of Judgment, she is often the “eye-in-the-sky” for Kuroko when they take action.
In a place brimming with espers, Saten is the most fascinating of the four. Her official designation is Level 0. She has no powers at all. Nevertheless, she attends classes and learns all there is to learn about being an esper. The teachers explain to the Level 0s like her that it’s possible to reach Level 1… but Saten always has a wistful look when the topic comes up. It’s clear she doesn’t have that kind of optimism. What does it mean to be that kind of outsider looking in? And how much worse is it to be in the middle of this incredible city, surrounded by so many exceptional people she’d love to be?
Academy City is almost a character in itself. It’s hard not to fall in love with it. Clean, stylish, dotted with wind generators, a near-futuristic center of learning and advanced scientific research, all the while supersaturated with technology. The juxtaposition of seemingly sentient trash-collector robots and soda machines that only work if you kick them appears to point out that we’ll always have some low-tech around.
Railgun fixes most every glaring problem that tripped up Toaru Majutsu no Index. Gone are Index’s occasional -- albeit entirely useless -- scenes where those involved in the higher echelons of running Academy City were up to some sinister, boring machinations. Fortunately, Railgun is much more down-to-earth. It also wisely limits the amount of talking that occurs during fight sequences. The action is left to unfold naturally, instead of cramming in reams of idealistic soliloquies that the Index villains probably weren’t even listening to. Finally, it does away with Index’s tendency to tell one mini-arc, followed by another mini-arc, followed by another mini-arc… ad nauseam that tended to make the show’s overall narrative out of focus and its pace too breakneck.
The structure of this show, however, is a bit of an odd thing and does deserve to be mulled over. It begins largely episodic with only a scattering of episodes focused entirely on the more serious arc that concludes at the halfway point. The second half is much the same. I say ‘odd’ because it’s a unique structure I’ve rarely come across. Most non-episodic anime tend to follow the same format as any other narrative medium: an identifiable conflict or targeted goal at the outset; gradual complications along the way; an ending with the inevitable climax and resolution.
Railgun mostly ignores that age-old wisdom. Twice.
The four or five episodes that precede each climax are strong, focused, and exciting. So if the creators were so capable, why not follow the arcs in every episode? Simply put, it seems to be a stylistic choice -- and one that is as refreshing as it is surprisingly effective. It frees up the story, allows our perspective of Academy City to expand by degrees and the characters a chance to breathe. The importance of the latter cannot be stressed enough. After all, our heroines are living here primarily to learn. It’s a given that attending classes and socializing are going to make up no small portion of their day-to-day lives.
That said, Kuroko and Uiharu’s work at Judgment comprises the larger portion. Most of the fun is watching them work on cases and hunt down perpetrators. Even though Misaka isn’t a part of Judgment, she often forces herself into the role of unofficial member. That she has this proclivity for beating up criminals isn’t so much that she’s a do-gooder, but rather that’s how she finds it easiest to protect her friends. She has an active investment in their well-being and specific meaningful relationships to lose if something goes wrong. This is, of course, all to say that it’s vastly more engaging to watch her and her cohorts, as opposed to a certain bed-headed, misfortunate guy with a chronic Helper Monkey Complex.
I usually don’t mention voice acting, but the consistent excellence is such that I can’t avoid it. Toyosaki Aki easily hits her highest note yet here and in one pivotal moment gives an amazing, touching performance. Even the always-talented Tanaka Atsuko creates a character that is very special. So to avoid a laundry list of names, let me simply say that if some of your favorite seiyuu are involved, it probably wouldn’t be an exaggeration to urge you to check it out for that reason alone.
The OPs are as highly-charged as Misaka’s railgun and the EDs are catchy outros after all the excitement. In fact, the songs that bookend the show’s second half are as good as -- if not better than -- the first half’s. And here I thought it was some sort of sadistic tradition in anime for second-half OPs and EDs to be lacklustre.
The overall soundtrack is just as fantastic. Not only the music itself, but also its skillful use. At one point, a solitary piano begins playing, making us realize that since the episode started there hasn’t been any music. Instead of merely reinforcing the mood, it becomes the subtext that the characters can’t say. Later on when they connect to each other, a similar piano begins. As they are finally able to talk, more and more instruments are woven into the song as they become more and more desperate to express everything they wanted to say earlier.
Sound effects are another design element that truly shine. There is something so perfect in the execution of Biribiri’s electricity and Kuroko’s teleportation. It isn’t that Index’s sound effects for these abilities were bad at all, but rather that in Railgun they have been refined enough to be a little addicting to listen to. Likewise, the action of the fight scenes is as much aural as it is visual. Impact is visceral, whether against concrete or someone’s face.
The art is crisp and beautiful. The visual design is such that your eyes get drawn in, from a particularly huge parfait to some spellbinding fight choreography. Some close-up expressions of the characters are priceless. Unfortunately, certain distance shots of them can dip in quality. It’s a pity given the polished look of everything else around them, but comparatively speaking it’s easy to forgive as it doesn’t occur often.
Railgun is an anime that starts with a cast of memorable characters, tells a very entertaining story, and has the privilege of doing so with laudable production values. The questions it raises are thought-provoking and relevant. Even when the story meanders into a stand-alone episode that has no real bearing on the plot, it is always with a sense of how it fits into the overarching frame. Like its characters, the story breathes. At times it runs; at times it walks. And yes, also like its characters, sometimes it takes that random detour and ends up discovering something wholly unexpected. While science plays a large role in the show, all its elements end up filled with quite a bit of magic.
To Aru Kagaku no Railgun is a show that I was pretty hyped to start watching after ending Majutsu no Index, as I thought it would be cool to get some insight on Misaka's life as a Level 5 and get to know better the world the esper's live in. What I got was nothing like that, at all.
The story is nothing new. At all. There are people who can use powers and this time a whole city is there to develop these. Even though everyone's already full of that premise, doesn't mean you don't have to explain the world build, writers. We only got
a glance at what its like living in Academy City. The world was never explained. Why the magic users don't appear was never explained. The "Level" system was never fully explained. We saw everything but knew nothing.
This show uses a specific formula to get its story arcs going, usually introducing a new character that has nothing to do with the conflict at the start, and then starts slowly revealing why this one character in fact has everything to do with the conflict. The wrong in the execution of the show is its constant failures to try to hide it. The episode itself tries to be too unpredictable and almost becomes too predictable, you see. It’s funny how this show tries to pretend it’s not based on arcs by constantly remembering you of what happened in the past. These ‘flashbacks’ are unneeded and they only serve to take more screentime.
The story contains many trivial episodes (which is also a screentime problem, like the festival, the visit to the girls dorm, the Judgement investigation episodes of things we already know about etc.) and recycles alot of jokes (like Shirai worshipping Misaka). Not only that, but the filler episodes and the jokes are misplaced, which completely ruins the dramatic mood it tries to develop (just like it happened in the end of episode 22).
The story ends up having too many mishaps and too little reconnaissances. There are twists and turns on the story but it is never truly developed since the end of every conflict has little impact on the characters themselves (like it was all 'just another adventure'). There was never a climax. There was never a point where I was worried any of the characters would get hurt. There was never an experience that involved the viewers worrying or even caring for the characters. I just accepted eveything that happened and moved on, knowing that in the end everything would go well. And it did. That's why I didn't enjoy watching this series.
We got more development to the side characters than to the main cast of girls, while Uiharu was the most developed and by far the worst character of the show. We still know nothing about Misaka's past, which is a shame since she has the most screentime of the entire series, and it feels dull to watch her kicking ass without knowing the conflicts she had to pass to obtain such power. The villains are are absolutely horrible. This is another anime that explains the bad guy's actions by the insanity of their minds, like a human can only be mean if they are out of it. It's cringe-worthy, I'm telling ya.
The art is nothing special. I've seen this style many times, and I don't like the side faces. This is not a judging point, though, I'm just pointing it out, alright?
Animation is okay. Nothing much to complain about.
The sound work is bad. While the fights are going the same singing tune keeps on repeating undefinitely until it's over. The episodes always start with the same calm soundtrack. Each part always has its own music. This show is so preditable that you can even predict which soundtrack is going to play for each scene, and It's not like they are good at all. The music should help the show by adding another feel to the scenes, and not help you to know what's coming up next, lmao.
There are shows with no story that can be enjoyable with good characters. There are shows with bad characters that can be enjoyable with a good story.
But there are no shows with bad stories and bad characters that can be enjoyable. See you in the sequel, Kagaku no Railgun. I hope you learn.
You know, I'm always down for an average anime series. Yes, I admit I have high standards, very few anime even reach an 8 out of 10 for me, but I have absolutely no problem sitting down and watching a show I have every inclination will be just "kind of alright". It makes me feel like I get a bigger scope of things in the anime world when I watch these shows, so that includes watching those anime that have made it onto my Plan to Watch list for the sole purpose that for some reason, they have been able to
remain relatively in the public's eye even years after they have aired. And yeah, for shows I have watched this way, anime like Guilty Crown, Mirai Nikki and Shakugan no Shana, I get exactly what I expect, from mediocre, to trying-too-hard-to-be-dark, to crap. However, every once and awhile, an anime is able to transcend the image the consensus of the anime community and myself have painted for it, and it always makes for a nice surprise. Now let me stress this, the anime I will be reviewing today, A Certain Scientific Railgun(which will just be called "Railgun" from now on for convenience's sake) is absolutely not like that. In this review, I'll tell you exactly how this anime fulfilled every average expectation I had for it, but somewhere along the way, planted the roots for something greater than itself.
Hello people of "The Wired", my name is Quan, I've been mentally preparing myself for my return to school tomorrow, and after over a month of waiting, it's time for a new anime review. Sorry about that, but these things take awhile to write, and I've sort of spent all my time recently catching up on a lot of things, both with anime and academically. Anyway, it's time to get started, so let's start already.
Before that though, let's get some potential confusion out of the way first, and talk some technical shenanigan stuff. Now, A Certain Scientific Railgun acts as a spin-off to another anime: A Certain Magical Index and its sequel: A Certain Magical Index II, so for those of you who have seen both shows, keep that in mind that I have yet to see Index or its sequel, so that might be why I don't mention certain things about the franchise or its laws. And if you think that in any way impairs my ability to review Railgun, let me remind you that even if a show is a spin-off, it should still be able to stand up on its own and establish the rules of its universe without any prior knowledge of the sister/father/first series. Additionally, A Certain Scientific Railgun also has a sequel, A Certain Scientific Railgun S, and while I have seen that series(and think it is in every way better), the review today will be exclusively on the first season, though I may reference Railgun S occasionally, probably in the context of saying what it does better than the first season. OK, everyone clear? Good.
A Certain Scientific Railgun was brought to us by those folks over at J.C Staff, the animation studio that has brought us, as well as the entirety of the Index franchise, Toradora, Golden Time, Shakugan no Shana, and Zero no Tsukaima. It was directed by the one and only Tatsuyuki Nagai, who you probably recognize from his directorial work on both Anohana and Ano Natsu de Matteru, though I personally like him best for directing Toradora, which is still probably one of the strongest slice-of-life/romance I have seen yet. Part of the script was handled Michiko Itou, who had done work on No. 6 and a Toradora OVA, but the script was primarily handled by Miya Asakawa... who hasn't really done anything of note besides a couple episodes of Noein, which I'll be shocked if you've even heard of that(though on a side note, go watch Noein, it's pretty cool). And finally, A Certain Scientific Railgun is 24 episodes long, and aired in the season of Fall 2009, a season which also gave us Kimi ni Todoke and Aoi Bungaku, if that means anything to you. Ok, let's get started with the plot.
Academy City is a scientifically advanced hub of technology and the arts, apparently about 20 to 30 years ahead of the rest of the world. 80% of the population are actually students, which sounds like someone screwed up somewhere, but in addition to being pretty much the Metropolis of this world, Academy City serves a second purpose. In this world, part of humanity has awakened to a greater psychic power, which is not nearly as exciting as it sounds because the anime doesn't really go for something like Shinsekai yori in which these powers would kind of destroy the world because everyone simultaneously decided they were God now, but more something like a "what if?" scenario, as life is basically normal in Academy City besides from the fact that certain people could potentially fire kinetic beams from their hands. These psychic powers are different for each person and could range from teleportation, to being able to see through walls, to just having cats slightly more prone to chase you. These powers are ranged from levels 1-5 based on their power, with a level 0 simply being a normal person without any abilities. Academy City seeks to train the thousands of students to properly develop their powers(people with psychic powers have been deemed: "espers") and understand them, thus why Academy City's population is so unbalanced.
Our main heroine is Mikoto Misaka, a student of Tokiwadai Middle School, and one of only seven Level 5 espers in the entire city, her esper power being an "Electromaster", or in simple terms, being able to manipulate or produce vast amounts of electricity. She has earned the nickname "Railgun", probably because of her tendency to flick a coin into the air, and launch it with a controlled beam of electricity that is usually capable of settling whatever problem she may have.
The plot revolves around the daily adventures of Misaka, her roommate Kuroko Shirai, and their friends Ruiko Saten, a level 0, and Kazari Uiharu who attend a different school. As they proceed with their daily lives, they will begin to uncover a conspiracy about the true purpose of Academy City, and at the same time, stop the ever growing numbers of enemies and factors that seemingly never rest from trying to destroy it. That's a plot I can get behind for the most part, as the story divides its time between several arcs that are usually about some trouble starting to brew in the city, from a gang of esper delinquents or mysterious cases of bombing around the city, and filler that mostly exists to get supporting characters slightly more involved in the narrative and get some breathing room in between the arcs. As I said, this is something I can definitely enjoy, especially when I want to see what crazy esper powers enemies have and how the world can be expanded from the premise, but Railgun, bless its heart, as it frequently switches from filler to plot, forgets to put anything really substantial in either.
The main problem is the show's own writing, in the fact that it just isn't very good. So, I watched dub admittedly, but even if maybe some dialouge is switched around, the story will still follow the same basic structure right? Yes, it will, and the stories Railgun provides for the most part aren't great. You can usually predict how most arcs will end, and usually the arcs themselves are very basic in the way they progress and are structured. It doesn't help there's always at least one piece of dialouge that's worthy of a groan every episode, and no really tension exists since Railgun is undoubtedly not trying to be an overly-dark or serious show. Sure, it has its moments, but for the most part, you can practically guarantee that everything will work out in the end, all the characters will get out unscathed, and even in the darkest hour, the power of friendship will prevail. It's a shame too, because considering the promising premise, some good writing really would've shined here, as seen in A Certain Scientific Railgun S. The filler is pretty bad too, there's really not a lot there, mostly cliches without much character development, and considering how much filler there is in the series, about half of the episodes, it begins to become a problem really fast. And I'm not saying that there is an inherit problem with filler per say, but what I do have problems with is filler that doesn't accomplish anything. Look, I know it is called "filler" after all, but I still think that down-time of a story should be dedicated the developing characters or parts of the world that the main plot doesn't have time for. I mean, consider an anime like Bakemonogatari, an anime that practically is 90% filler, but uses nearly all of that time to develop its amazing characters, so when something sort of resembling a plot does kick in, there's all the more reason to care.
It's not all bad however. I usually have a problem with anime with an arc format with filler in between, because as seen in the original Fate/stay night, the tonal identity of the anime suffers, as it switches too far often between light-hearted filler and plot. Railgun, on the other hand, is able to keep a consistent tone throughout, and whether the characters are having a beach episode, or the plot dips into something actually quite dark, it never feels unjustified. Also, the pacing and structure is actually quite exceptional. Yes, I'm still complaining about the basic structure of any given arc, but the structure of the entire shows fits together quite well. And if we were to continue this extended structure metaphor, the parts of the story all fit together to form a complete picture. There's definitely a sense of escalation in the plot, and every arc plays at least a little bit of a part in the bigger picture. This means by the time we reach the finale, and Misaka is fighting mech suits on a highway, it's easy to see how we got here from the beach episode, which is definitely a positive. However, if I were to pick the high point of the entire series, I still think the mid-season finale was kind of awesome, in both execution and the fact that a lot of things were going down and I thought it was cool.
It's still not great, the main plot that is, but I'd say it is passable but nothing special. Whatever plot-points or themes the plot does bring up for the most part have been done better in some other anime, and while that's not necessarily a deal-breaker, it's a problem. I do like the plot, and it's probably the best part of this otherwise average show, but I find it hard to give it too much credit.
We're moving onto characters now, and I will say I really like our main character Mikoto Misaka, because she is pretty awesome. The problem is, I can't tell you why. A Certain Scientific Railgun mostly just establishes her character while Railgun S develops her in all kind of awesome ways, so saying why I like her character might spoil some things I would prefer you weren't spoiled about. So, I'll just give you her surface personality. Misaka, despite being one of the strongest espers in Academy City, isn't arrogant about it, though that isn't too say she doesn't know just how powerful she is in comparison to other espers. She's a little hot-headed, which is good in the way that she will try to end a battle as quickly and effectively as possible by using her superior power to protect her friends. However, it's bad in the way that she's quick to anger, and usually tries to solve every problem by firing a electricity beam at it. It is in this way that her fights between enemies becomes a little more even, so she doesn't seem overpowered in the story compared to others, at least usually. She's also one who tries to accomplish everything herself, and even gets into dangerous situations when there's really no need to, though that might be just an excuse for the anime so it can get an arc initiated. As I said, most of her development is saved for Railgun S, but looking at her character from the first season exclusively, I'd say she stands out fairly on her own, and feels a little different from most main protagonists, which I'm grateful for.
As for Misika's roommate Kuroko(and the rest of the cast actually), she doesn't hold up as well. Besides from her personality trait of constantly perving after Misaka, there's not a whole lot to her. She's a member of Judgement, a sort of student run police force, which allows her to show off her more serious side. It is also through Judgement that allows Misaka and the rest of the cast to get involved in the plot, as they help Kuroko and Judgement stop whatever thing is terrorizing the city. The only thing I'll give Kuroko, besides that she is kind of annoying, is that she is undoubtedly the person who knows Misaka the best, and is usually the first to scold Misaka at her tendency to rush into situations without thinking.
The problem I have with Saten is that she is kind of useless. At first, I thought her role would be to be, despite not having any esper powers, the voice of reason and intelligence. But she's not really that either. She's just kind of... yeah useless. And as for her friend Uiharu, I don't really have much to say about her either. And that is a big flaw when nearly all of your main cast is sort of under-developed, and a big reason why you'll see the number you do at the end of this review.
Luckily, the rather large supporting cast pick up a bit of the slack. From the members of the actual police force Antiskill, to Misaka's classmates, to the various adversaries that our main characters meet along the way, everyone has something to bring to the show. Hell, even the main character from A Certain Magical Index: Touma Kamijou will show up occasionally, and usually have very amusing interactions with Misaka, bringing up her well hidden tsundere trait for all to see. He's mostly just there as fan-service(the other kind) however, not really contributing to the main plot besides from one occasion, but rather distantly mention side-characters from Index and so on. The standout however, is Dr. Kiyama Harumi, who is probably the most well developed character in the show, at least in season 1. I can't tell you her exact role in the plot due to spoilers, but her motivation and personality are really well defined. I also like how she is just a little "out of it", sometimes asking off-topic questions or not reacting to situations in the way a normal person would.
.C Staff have always been consistently good with their animation, but if I had to say, A Certain Scientific Railgun is probably one of their best works. The futuristic aesthetic they've given Academy City looks crisp and clear, and there is plenty of nice backgrounds to go along with it. Speaking of backgrounds, occasionally you'll see these wide sweeping shots of the city sky-line, and you can tell the effort that the production company have put into them; you could take a snapshot and put it as your wallpaper they look so nice. Fight scenes between espers, especially fights with Misaka are always cool to watch, but even ones without her, J.C Staff usually find a way to make it interesting to look at, and all around, everything is awesome, except maybe the character designs, which while original, never really did much for me, but that's a nitpick. And it only gets better, as I think I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Railgun S has the best animation that I've seen J.C Staff produce.
I've been listening to the OST the entire time I've been writing this review, and I hardly even registered it. The music, done by Maiko Iuchi, sounds very bland and uninteresting, filled to the brim with all the slice-of-life jingles you've heard a million times before. And yes, there is music to compliment the more serious parts of the series, but it's nothing worth listening to twice. The only thing I'll give on the music side of things is that the both OP's, and the first ED of the anime are rather nice, and have good animation to boot. There's also two songs: "memory of snow" and "Late in autumn" done by the band "fripside", that are rather serene and calming, and at least beat out the counterparts by Iuchi on the OST that seek to achieve the same feelings. And even if some voices are annoying, I can speak well for the dub.
Despite all the flack I've had to say about this show(and I had a lot), I'm glad I was introduced to this franchise. There's a lot to like, and a lot to dislike, so ultimately it just settles around average, but it is enjoyable, with hints of actual quality spread thin throughout the series. If I had to give only one compliment to A Certain Scientific Railgun, or even the whole Index franchise as a whole, I'd say it is highly approachable. I think at least everyone can find something to like here, with the well balanced genres of comedy, action and scfi-fi. That's not something I can say for just any anime, so well done Railgun on being able to achieve at least that. At the end of the day however, I'd say go watch Railgun even if you can see yourself only moderately liking it. There is not a lot of franchises that get better as they go on, and while it's true that I can speak for both seasons of Index yet, I can for Railgun, and there's nothing much better than a steady rise of quality in a show. So yeah, both seasons, I ultimately recommend it. Go see them guys.
Final Verdict: 6/10
P.S: Never trust anyone with a lab-coat.
For this review and others, feel free to check out my blog! (Link on profile)
Back in January, I watched a just licensed anime called "A Certain Magical Index". Which I thought was a pretty good show that was worth watching, with it's interesting world and likable characters, though at times it got too complicated and hard to follow at times. Though what made it worth watching was the secondary character, Mikoto Misaka. In a sea of basic stock anime characters, she was the most interesting out of them. Plus, watching her made me want to see more of this character, including her friend, Kuroko Shirai. But seeing how she was popular enough to get her own spin-off, I'm not
the only one. So, will this more Scientific "Certain" show live up to my expectations, or will I end up disappointed? Let's find out.
The Story (9/10)
Now let me say that the scientific side of this world is a lot more easier to follow then the Magical side. Academy City is a city in which it's technology is three decades ahead of the rest of the world, where many people come to train to be espers. Some of which were born with such powers, whiles others were originally ordinary folk who had the potential to develop them. The ranks range from Levels 0 to 5. 0 being the lowest (As in, have no powers) while 5 being the highest, in which there are only 7 espers ranked Level 5. One of them being our main heroine, Mikoto Misaka. She is joined by three other friends, including her best friend and roomate Kuroko Shirai, Ruiko Saten, and Uiharu Kazari. All four of them go on action packed adventures exploring the more darker aspects of Academy City, as well as having their friendship for each other help them get by.
This side-story does a very good job explaining the basics and details of being an esper in this scientific city. Not only that, but it also explores the more psychological side of being an esper. If you replace the esper dream these girls have and replace them with your own, you would know how many of the characters would feel. You relate with working hard for your goals, or the fact that while you may try your best, you would still be stuck at square one. But that's were I talk about the themes of this show, and let me tell you, they're REALLY good. The main one being the power of friendship. The lessons of relying on one another, no matter how empowered you are, you will always need help. Or how your true friendships are much more important then things that you think are more important, but they really aren't. Not only that, but it has strong messages of "Working hard for your goals", "Never giving up", "Be true to yourself", "Try again", and "Always stand up for your friends." All of which are very helpful in life.
I even give credit to the fact that the fanservice does take a back seat in this. Okay it's STILL there, but it's actually treated as a small part of the show. The bigger part being the characters, their relationships with one another, and their inner hardships that they fight to overcome. Not to mention the story arcs having unique ideas that rely on sci-fi complexity, and have a subtle connection with one another. Filled with twists, backstories, and some very sentimental moments. And because that this is a slice-of-life show with a lot of sci fi elements, it really has that Haruhi Suzumiya-vibe to it. Achieving on every aspect Magical Index only did "Okay" on, makes this show one of the most surprisingly deep I've seen in any medium.
The Dub (7/10)
Now we get into the more...."Controversial" side of this. At least in it's overseas release. Ever since the dub's trailer, it's gotten a lot of hate towards dub haters. (Which is not surprising) Me? Well, I actually tolerated it, though that's not to say I think it's perfect. Brittney Karbowski I thought was terrific as Mikoto Misaka. Capturing her tom-boyish attitude fairly well. Plus it's funny to hear her as Ayu Tsukymia and then as Mikoto. Kuroko Shirai was actually the first time I heard Alison Viktorin's voice. Now her english voice for Shirai might not be as funny to listen to as her sub voice, it still suites her character just fine. Plus, changing "One-sama" for "Sissy" was because the latter sounded more familiar towards American and European countries. Also, it means the same freaking thing, so calm your tits dub haters! Then there's Cherami Leigh as Uiharu. Now she is a character type that Leigh would usually play, just changing the little girl to a teenager, and she does an okay job as Uiharu. At least to a point where I can tolerate it. Plus, is it me, or does her Uiharu voice kinda sounds like Lisa Simpson at times? Last but not least is Brina Palencia as Saten, which is where I think most of the complaints come from. People complained that she sounded like a tomboy just like Mikoto. While I can somewhat see where they're coming from, I think there might be a reason to this. I think Saten's personality is in the middle of girly-girl and tomboy. She's not to much of one side, but not to much on the other either. Now Brina........only did a good job on it. Not great, but her voice for Saten can be fun to listen too. Funimation isn't always perfect with their dubs, but they STILL work hard on them. And their work here does show. At least to me.
The Characters (10/10)
Now here is where we get into the strongest aspect of the show. Or in some cases, the heart of it. You see, the problem with Index's cast is, (While they are okay) they're for the most part copy/paste anime archetypes. Ones that we're use to seeing all the time at this point. Railgun's characters on the other hand, (While having their tropes) are a lot more 3 dimensional and relatable.
Let's start out with our main character, Mikoto Misaka. Who on the outside, looks like your typical stuck-up girl due to her high ranks as an esper. But on the inside, we learn that she's really nice, flawed, and very identifiable. We learn that she was originally a Level One esper, but thanks to hard work, got to where she is now. Plus, her personalities very unique for anime standards. Sure tomboys are fairly common, but she's given reasons to act like that which can be seen for yourself while watching. Also, just because she's one of the most powerful espers in Academy City, doesn't mean she'll prevail. Which makes the action scenes more intense, and her friends very useful when the times right.
There's Kuroko Shirai, who's Mikoto's best friend and might have a possible love for her. Which could get annoying to some people, (And is mostly there to turn on the male watchers) but there is more to her character then that. We learn that she's very devoted to her role in life, her friends, and everything else that's important to her.
Kazari Uiharu is the Judgment officer along with Kuroko. Which is basically a junior police force in some cases. She does have the look of your typical moe girl (With a bouquet of flowers on her head to boot) but she's still just like the other characters. She's the voice of reason to Saten, and the straight girl to Kuroko's shenanigans. Plus, she's very devoted to every friend she makes, and I'm not just talking about the other main three.
And last but not least is Ruiko Saten, who has to be my second favorite character. Why? Well, I feel that she's the one that's the most relatable of the four. She's known to be a Level 0 esper, which causes her to think that she's insignificant compared to her friends. Not only that, but no matter how hard she would try, she would always get little payoff to her hard work. Which causes her to make some decisions that would go against what's right. You know what? That makes her a very great character. She does make mistakes, and she does get into trouble for them (Mostly for the first story arc), but I can connect with her, understand her, and really care for her that way. I mean, I would do the same thing. But it's her growth as a character that makes you very happy when something good happens to her.
Because the main 4 girls are so colorful and unique (Only relying on one familiar character trait) and their friendship with each other makes the heart of the series, there are many times that I'm looking at a genuine soul. Now there are other characters in the series, but I feel that you just have to see them for yourself due to spoilers, and they aren't as worth mentioning as the main four. But other then that, this is a near-perfect cast of characters.
The Music (8/10)
This has some very catchy opening and ending theme music. "Only my Railgun" and "LEVEL 5 -Judgelight-" really due capture the esper and scientific feel of the show, while "Dear My Friend" captures the shows theme of friendship. "Real Force" has to be my second favorite song from this, the first being "Dear My Friend". Plus, there's also a special ending song for episode 12, but I wouldn't dare spoil it for you. You just have to listen for yourself. Every opening and ending theme has great visuals making you feel pumped up for what you're about to see. Not only that, but it does reflect on some of the aspects and themes of the show.
A Certain Scientific Railgun managed to live up to my expectations, and more. Proving to be much more entertaining than the series it spun off of. With it's more interesting and easier to follow side of the world and ideas they create, inventive ideas filled to the brim with sci-fi complexity, a lovable cast of charming characters, and some of the best themes that could be taught through anime. It's like "Haruhi Suzumiya" meets "Azumanga Daioh", and I do highly recommend this to anyone who's a fan of those two shows, or at least is a fan of slice of life animes. Now, it's kinda required to watch A Certain Magical Index first, just so you can understand the cameos from that series, as well as the fact it makes a good introduction to the character of Mikoto Misaka. Plus, a second season of this just started 2 days ago, and it's suppose to focus more on the Sister Arc from Mikoto's point of view. Which sounds VERY interesting, since she IS the heart and soul of that messed up project.....which you just have to see for yourself that is. Overall, it's one of my new favorites.
This review will cover both seasons of A Certain Scientific Railgun.
“You use other people’s power as an excuse for your own weakness. There’s almost nothing more pathetic than that.” – Kuroko Shirai.
Anime spin-offs to well-known series are a tricky beast to execute. On one hand, anime spin-off can take all the things that the original series established and expand it by bringing in new concepts and ideas to the table aka Digimon Tamers. On the other hand, they could run the high risk of repeating the same mistakes that set original show made or even make worse ones in the progress cough Soul Eater Not. Thankfully A Certain Scientific Railgun least, for
the most part, fixes almost everything that I hated about A Certain Magical Index. Now when I first heard about Raildex series I was pretty intimidated of the timeline of the series because it was pretty confusing. When I asked people on the net about what series should I start in the Raildex timeline. Many of them pointed toward A Certain Magical Index because they said I would have a better understanding of the story. However, after hearing mixed opinions of A Certain Magical Index on the net I decided to freely bench watch both season A Certain Scientific Railgun series and I absolutely loved it. Now as the years went by as I started to see more anime as well buying anime on Blu Ray and DVD and re-watching it a month before Season 3 of A Certain Magical Index my opinions for both Seasons of A Certain Scientific Railgun has changed. Don't me wrong I still think it's a good series and I still it's one of J.C Staff better shows I just don't love it as I use to. Now with that said let's dive in.
In the futuristic Academy City, which is made up of 80% students, many of who are espers possessing unique psychic powers. Mikoto Misaka is an electromaster who is the third strongest of a mere seven espers who have been given the rank of Level 5. The series focuses on the exploits of Mikoto and her friends; Kuroko Shirai, Kazari Uiharu, and Ruiko Saten and the adventures at Academy City.
I have mixed feelings for the story for A Certain Scientific Railgun. Before I talk about the stuff I didn't like let's talk about the stuff that I liked first.
For starters compared to Index the story is a lot more clear and focused meaning there isn't much cryptic stuff that goes is happening especially in the background side of things.
The one thing that I really liked about A Certain Scientific Railgun is the character interactions. They are pretty funny for the most part. Most of the characters have great character chemistry with each and the conversations between the four girls as well the other characters inducing the villains were pretty entertaining.
Another that I liked about the series is how the series was able to explore its themes because Outside the slice of life stuff the show tackles a lot of serious themes of cloning, loneliness, levelling up, Perseverance and the show goes a great job attacking themes in sets arcs of the series.
The Sister's arc of Railgun from Season 2 is easily the best thing to come out from this series because that arc itself was not only well written and directed but it also beautifully characterize Misaka as a character. It's such a shame that the rest of the arcs in Railgun minus the pretty good Level Upper Arc were not that great as they are sadly pretty average at best
Now with that, all said let's talk about the show flaws because there are a lot of them that at times plague the series.
First up the pacing. Compared to the ridiculous fast pacing in A Certain Magical Index, A Certain Scientific Railgun is much slower and while I appreciate the slower pacing of the show and I will admit the show took good advantage with the shows slower pacing as it was able to establish the world as well popularly develop its characters. The problem with the show pacing is how at times the show can ridiculously at times to a point where am just watching inferior K-on clone While this is not a problem in season 2 as that season was for the most part pretty well paced its season is where it kinda becomes a big issue in some areas.
Secondly the worldbuilding. Now I admit A Certain Scientific Railgun actually tries to properly establish its world compare its parent A Certain Magical Index but the problem is that it's not properly explained to the viewer. The function of academy city, how esper powers work none of that is explained or they kinda but it was done in a half-ass faction where the show only explains the first half of the information about the world while the second half of it doesn't get expanded at all. I honestly don't know why this franchise has a difficult time about properly establishing its own world to the viewer. Image if Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 decided to completely cut out the intro in episode 1 explaining of how alchemy works and instead the first scene of Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 has Edward and Al drawing circles in the ground as talking about alchemy thing. You would be completely lost and as a result, the viewer would become very confused about what is going on. Lucky this problem, for the most part, is tamed compared to Index as this problem doesn't happen as often since this show most part, is a character-driven and because of that, I can kinda let this problem side here. I just hope that Railgun Season 3 fully fixes that problem.
Lastly the filler. Now am no manga elitist where I shit on any anime adaptation because it's doesn't follow the source material perfectly, in fact, I open filler in anime as long they are done right as well-being entertaining to watch. The filler in Railgun says otherwise. The filler in the second half of season 1 was okay at best and while the writing and directing was clearly not as good as the first half it was still pretty fun and decent experience. However, I cannot say the same thing for season 2 filler aka Silent Party arc because that was pretty bad. It was so bad that fans of the series stated that Railgun S2 ended at episode 16 and to be honest I didn't watch the Silent Party arc on my first watch as my friends that arc was the second coming of Beach arc of Nadia The Secret of Blue Water which I absolutely despised. I did eventually watch it on my re-watching from start to finish and let me tell you I wanted to remove my Blu Ray disc on my PS4 because that arc was so badly scripted and contrived that it really annoyed me to no end.
Overall while the story has a lot of good moments as it did gave us the amazing sister arc it's was unfortunately hindered quite a bit thanks to its lack of actual explanation of the world as we the crappy Silent Party arc.
While the story suffered quite a bit in terms of wiring and directing the characters for the most part completely make it up.
Misaka is an awesome character that I really liked. Not only she is a pretty well-written character especially in Season 2 where she greatly develops as a character but she is a very relatable both narrative and personality. Now at first, you don't know much as and you know that she is one of the most powerful espers in Academy City however as the series progresses you will start to see that there is more going on into her character outside of her reputation. For example despite being one of the most powerful espers in Academy she has this incredibly childish tastes that she tries to cover up due to her reputation as is obsessed with her frog character named Gekota that look it came straight from kindergarten. This detail alone really makes Misaka a more relatable character as that's how a lot of people react to the guilty pleasures especially of her age where is 14 years old. As for her development in the series well I sadly can't talk about because that would be a massive spoiler for the whole series but what I can say it is emotionally driven and well thought out. Overall Misaka is an amazing character and she is easily the second best thing to come out this anime right behind the amazing Sister Arc of Season 2 aka Railgun S
Kuroko is an interesting character because she is the character that seemed to a lot of hate and while I understand people don't like Kuroko I don't think that Kuroko is as bad that many people say she is. In fact, after my re-watch, I actually started to like her. Yes, she may be annoying at times thanks to lesbian loving gag about Misaka but when she's not doing that act she is actually a likeable character who pretty good development in the first season.
Ruiko is a pretty great character and she's easily my favourite character in the show that is not Misaka. I really how the show devolves into her internal conflict that she is has no espers ability and how she to live/deal within a city that espers are the number 1 quality that people are measured by. It was one of the few things that I actually was interested in this esper world.
Finally, we have my least character out of the main four Uiharu.
She was just a bland character on-screen who did nothing for the show plot expect acts like the four-wheel for the group while she isn't bad or anything as in her character interaction with the other girls was pretty solid but other than that she was, unfortunately, pretty one note.
As for the other characters in Railgun they are actually pretty solid.
Touma who is the character that I grew to hate in the Index series is actually pretty tolerable here as he doesn't show up all that much in the series and even when he does show up he's actually a pretty decent guy. It's such a shame that we don't see this Touma in his own series.
Accelerator is a pretty fun and villain that I enjoyed a lot in the Sister arc of Railgun S. The same thing can apply for Harumi for season 1 in Railgun who is a pretty good villain in her own right.
Overall the characters, for the most part, were excellent and very enjoyable.
Visually A Certain Scientific Railgun is excellent.
J.C Staff did a fantastic job with the art and animation as the show is very smooth and clean not to mention it's very well animated. The character designs while the same from the original series is much sharper this time around especially in Railgun S where certain scenes the characters look absolutely beautiful.
The animation in The show is very good that is filled with smooth movement and wonderfully animated fight scenes.
The soundtrack in A Certain Scientific Railgun is pretty good as they all work well with the show setting and actions scenes.
All the opening and ending themes in the show were great and very enjoyable to listen.
Now for sub vs dub.
The subversion was pretty good for the most part as it filled with solid Seyiuu performances though I was not a fan of Kuroko's Seyiuu as I thought she overdid it to a point where she sounded like an old woman.
The dub, on the other hand, is actually very good. Brittney Karbowski did a fantastic at voicing Misaka as she brought more life and personality to an already awesome character and the rest of the cast did a great job with the roles that they were given
So after re-watching A Certain Scientific Railgun what do, I think about. Well, I liked it. While I still don't the series has held up as other animes that I re-watched in the past like Toradora, Outlaw Star Ouran High School Host Club and Cardcaptor Sakura but still, it holds up more than the likes of Angel Beats, Both Seasons of Clannad, Fairy Tail and Nadia The Secret Of Blue Water. The story has some interesting things, the characters were pretty great and, the visuals were impressive, the music is awesome and the sister arc was wonderful. It does fall short in a couple of areas though. The world building was pretty lacking, the pacing was at times was too slow for its own good and Silent Party arc of Season 2 is not that good. Despite that, I still enjoyed this show for what it worth.
I still like you A Certain Science Railgun but not as much as I use to.
To be honest I don't find this show worth watching at all..
The abilities granted to characters are mostly random, lack any sense of logic, and don't contribute to the story at all, which is already weak.
Every episode, something goes wrong so that the esper team has to deal with. But since the arc of the Strip Lady who tried to save the her Error Children, it's always the protagonist Railgun that has to reap what she sows, handling problems one after another created by fault of her own immaturity, naivety, etc. (I want to say stupidity)
Overall, all characters are weak in all ways, childish,
spontaneous, fanatical, etc. even though they presumably possess great skills and knowledge in a futuristic world, e.g. hacking computers (lolz). Moreover, there is no particular growth in their personalities throughout the show. The character Saten may look like playing a triggering role in one or two arc(s) but her contribution to the story remains next to nothing.
For the espers, if you think about it, if you were in their shoes, you could even use those abilities in much better ways, you bet. Therefore, there's no feel of optimism or logic in both the flow and details, thus this isn't worth any entertainment value.
I thought i'd write a review for the guys out there that have watched the parent story Index.
I was 100% sure i would never watch this, it looked like a little girls show, and I wasn't wrong. I was pretty bummed there was no news for a third season of Index, so I thought I'd give this a go and test the waters.
If you liked Index, you're almost sure to like this. I got caught up in the clean lines and perfect pacing all too quickly. Something about this anime series speaks to me, and just like Index, a show I also
was skeptical about seeing, this Railgun grabbed me and didn't let go.
The Story is so well connected that it rewards you for paying attention. The writing is clever enough to pull it through even the lowest, slowest times. Whle being about the adventures of middle school girls, it's hard to look at it like that. The action was probably more central than the Index series. Surprisingly, there may have been even less drama than Index as well. All of the elements come together so well that you will soon forget about the context and focus squarely upon how much fun the show is.
The only major drawback is that the first railgun series does contain a few filler episodes, and in those, if you're a guy, it's definitely hard to relate. However, the comedy and wit really prevails even through these so that it was next to impossible for me to skip an episode.
The other minor drawback is that it does touch on the cheesy side, but it was so rewarding i didn't really care.
You know the art is top notch, the characters are all interesting, highlighting not just their strengths but their weaknesses. And while the show mainly focuses on Railgun, it's not shy about letting the supporting cast do some heavy lifting.
I'm sure I'll get some heat from my high score, but rarely have i seen an anime that mixes the elements of a good story so well. It's, dare I say, even sophisticated enough to vault over shows that you may already hold in high esteem. Not everyone is going to love it, but I find it hard to imagine that you will hate it.
When it comes to anime in general, more than often is there a tendency to get turned off by the words "spin-off". This is especially true when it involves taking an intense, action packed parent story and drawing from it a spin-off that is mostly about a group of cute girls doing cute things. After completing Index two years ago, I was all pumped and ready to get into Railgun, but I never really did that until now. I for one, was really attached to the characters of the parent story at that point, and it bothered me that we would not get to see
as much of them here. Mikasa Mikoto struck me as a very interesting character from the very start, but not interesting enough to follow for an entire series on her own. I watched the first episode of Railgun and thought to myself "Nope, not today I don't." It seemed interesting enough given the setting, but I was completely turned off by the drastic change in tone when compared to Index. Now that I have come back to the starting line and pulled my way through A Certain Scientific Railgun, my thoughts about the show were completely changed. After completing it, I can say that watching the show was quite an enjoyable experience.
The show centers around four girls (Misaka Mikoto, Shirai Kuroko, Uiharu Kazari and Saten Ruiko) who come together in Academy city and end up becoming the best of friends. For me, the setting here was as interesting as ever. I was never a big fan off the magic side of the world of Index because of the direction that it veered off to, but the science side was always really interesting to find out more about. Inside academy city, we are introduced to a broad variety of characters as they go about in their daily lives in the city. In academy city, it seems that the amount of respect you receive by other people in general is heavily paralleled by the amount of power that you possess. Those that possess amazing power are highly praised (for example: other people's reception of Misaka in many cases) and those that lack it are often driven to lead their lives into more undesirable directions. There is a lot going on at all times in this lively city, and the city would often be plagued by various spontaneous occurrences. Those that keep order are divided into two groups: Judgment (those who aid in keeping daily order) and anti-skill who work more like a combination of the police and the military. We are introduced to quite a few characters throughout the show, and many of them were actually pretty interesting. But more importantly, the development of these minor/major characters has really done an amazing job of bringing the setting to life.
There isn't a whole lot to interpret about the relationship of our four main characters. Because of their bright and enthusiastic personalities, they easily get along with each other ever since their first meeting. However the ridge that really divides our characters is once again, a difference in skill level. Standing at the top is Misaka Mikoto, a level 5 esper who is the 3rd strongest in all of academy city. Her roommate Kuroko is also a strong level 4 teleporter (I just love this ability) and a game-changing member of judgment. As nature would have it, Uiharu and Ruiko (levels 1 and 0 respectively) do feel a certain degree of helplessness when it comes invert desire to become stronger. While they would continue trying their hardest to improve their abilities, this difference in power is what would eventually prompt Ruiko to use the level upper as a shortcut to becoming stronger. As a result, her friends are able to finally understand a bit of what she is going through as someone who completely lacks power.
There is of course, a degree of fanservice in many forms in the series as well. One of the more obvious cases lies in Shirai Kuroko's perverted nature and the obsession that certain characters other have with the type of underwear that other girls wear. Episodes like the one where they become swim models are mostly geared towards fanservice but they do end up being decently enjoyable one way or another. On the other hand, we are occasionally offered a glimpse of our main characters from Index, leading fans of index around with a carrot in hand. It was pretty nice to see Touma and Index again, but they are not really involved in the plot at this point.
The overarching plot that develops throughout the series revolves around Kiyama Harumi as she desperately tries to save the lives of the child-errors she was once forced to teach and later abandon to an experiment she had no prior knowledge of. As someone who is willing to go to the ends of the earth to save these children, she certainly takes many drastic measures. I really felt bad for her when Misaka looked into her past though, because who wouldn't experience agony after going through what she did.
The antagonist in the last arch, Threstina, really made me roll my eyes a bit though, because it honestly would have been better in my opinion to make her "betrayal" come as more of a shock. Instead, they have her with a menacing grin in the background since the very beginning, so there was no surprise there. Though I guess it would be hard to disguise that level of insanity.
The battles play out pretty nicely throughout the story. The esper powers are really interesting to observe given the wide variety of powers that are introduced. My favorite is Kuroko's teleporting power. It seems so useful on a daily basis while also being a lethal weapon in battle. Being a level 5, Misaka's power does stand out quite a bit. Her control over electricity is supreme to an extreme point. I must say, I raised my eyebrow the first time she used her electricity to stick herself to the wall. The final battle came in a series of intense sequences. The power play shown was interesting, and we get a glimpse of Kongo Mitsuko's level 4 ability as well (which is a pretty nice ability as well).
Production value-wise, the animation was really solid throughout, and the art was really nice and pleasant to look at. This is something that I think has really improved since Index. Overall, A Certain Scientific Railgun was an enjoyable anime to watch, and we see lot of development of a world that I have indeed become quite invested in.
My score: 7/10 Good~
I really look forward to anything else that the author has in store for the future.
Even though I just watched this anime until episode 7 at this time, but I really like it. It's a really fun anime. Very funny and sometimes can be touching too. I really enjoy watching it. The main characters are awesome and very lovable, especially Misaka-sama ^^
The OP and ED are awesome too.
A must watch anime for everyone!
The manga storyline was very slightly, and I do mean very, intriguing, and since the anime is rated so highly, I decided to give it a chance and hope the animation would not be the typical fake glossy stuff we get now, the voice acting would not be shrill typical moe quality, and that the promised added details and stories would be interesting. Unfortunately, every one of those hopes was failed.
First of all, the art and animation is mostly terrible. Sure some of the movement is "slick", but the animation is always glossy, the character art is as bad as you would expect from the
manga made worse with coloring, and the awkward zooms and movement during action scenes ruins any hope of excitement. This is definitely not enjoyable to look at any time in the episodes I watched, and was cringe inducing with the bigger mistakes (like during the first episode with the first time she fires lightning, and her face practically melts).
The voice acting is terrible shrill typical bad moe stuff. Not a single character sounded good, and even as someone who hates this type of fake "cute" voice acting I usually find that some will sound good. Furthermore, the sparkly sound effects are again cringe inducing.
The added details in the story so far involve more bad gags (like HRHR LOOK AT ALL MY SEXY PANTIES or THE STRIPPER LADY!!) and not much else. Yeah, some extra "depth" to the characters was added in like episode 6, but the additions were not interesting because the characters were not interesting. For the first couple of episodes, the extra slice of life storylines might be nice for some people, but I spent the first two episodes skipping to the action after a few exasperated minutes.
All I can say is that this seems to be an already extremely typical manga made into a typical anime that was very poorly executed. The action scenes I skipped to hoping for something to salvage matters were really bland...just nothing worthwhile here as far as I can see.
After watching both seasons of Toaru Majutsu no Index, reading all 25 light novels, and catching up to date with Index's manga, I turned to Railgun in the hopes of seeing something with a great plot and great characters - and was disappointed.
As a person who watching Toaru Kagaku no Railgun's parent story Index first, I understand that my review might be biased and compare the two a little too much. I loved Index - the story, the characters, the music - and since Mikoto was one of my favourite characters, I had high hopes of Railgun being an entertaining story full of scientific
abilities - something I loved about Index.
Unfortunately, Railgun didn't live up to my expectations. The story line was good at some points, boring at others, and too ecchi for my liking at times. Kuroko's perverted behaviour towards Mikoto, which wasn't so obvious in Index, was blatent to the point of being disgusting at some instances.
This isn't to say I don't like Railgun. I do. But as someone who adores Kazuma Kamachi's works, I find this spin off no-where near as good as Index.
So, overall, I give Toaru Majutsu no Index a 10, and Railgun a 6.
Please remember this is just my opinion; I am aware that there are a great many people out there who love Railgun.
Let me start off by getting the more controversial stuff out of the way first: This is going to piss a lot of people off, but...I honestly liked Majutsu more than Railgun. The thing I liked about the ToAruVerse was this whole dark mystery surrounding the Magic world. I honestly didn't care much for the Science side. Touma didn't nearly come across as annoying to me as he did with most people, and I just loved the priceless comedy associated with his misfortune. Whilst there was plenty to lol about in Railgun (most of the comedy coming from Kuroko), the comedy wasn't as funny to
me. Not to mention that the entire main cast is female. I don't know about the rest of the guys, here, but I need a male character I can connect with. Emotional involvement with the characters is important to me, when watching an anime, and I just can’t get that much from a bunch of girly-girls. Plus Railgun has a lot more 'easy going' feel of things, and I liked Majutsu's "Dark and intense" feel better. So in the end, Railgun was never really going to be better. Not that it wasn’t much worse. I really love the ToAruVerse but I gave Majutsu a 7, because of it's many flaws and I stand by that. Railgun doesn’t deserve anything less than a 7, though as well. So I guess Railgun is merely just a somewhat weaker 7.
The Level Upper storyline was great and all, but it only consisted of a few episodes and relied on a lot of single episodes at the beginning to set the scene. The episodes that followed afterwards weren’t that great and were average at best, except for the last episode which I think ended strongly, despite some clichés.
There are only two things that prevent me from giving this show a 6: Saten and Kiyama. Saten is quite easily the best character in the series for me and is definitely on my favourite character list. It’s not just her warm bubbly and quirky personality. I sympathised with her easily in her struggles in the Level arc thanks to how unbelievably human she was and it produced one of the most emotional scenes I’ve ever watched: her breakdown over the phone with Uiharu and Uiharu’s following encouragement. And what’s more was that, unlike other anime, it was followed up on, even after the Level Upper arc, showing that psychological problems can’t be solved so easily with Epiphany Therapies and the like. Kiyama didn’t win my heart as much as Saten but she came close. Her closure in the end was wonderful.
This comes as a bit of a problem now, because I suspect that if there is a second season of Railgun that follows on to the Sisters arc, we won’t be seeing much of Saten nor Kiyama anymore. Nonetheless, though the science side of the ToAruVerse isn’t my favourite side, it’s still a side I like a lot and it’ll be interesting to see how Misaka become so broken as she did in Majutsu. Kind of irritating how they didn’t announce a second series for either Majutsu or Railgun, but Railgun has proved quite popular so I’m sure it’s bound to happen. Here’s hoping.
A day at school, and an evening and afternoon after. Plus esper powers. Restaurants, shops, festivals. And esper powers. Social meetings with fellow students, window shopping at malls and boutiques, and leisurely walks through recreational and urban fare. Esper powers. All of it possible in Academy City, the technological capital, marvel, and envy of the world, where there is hardly a dull moment. All of it possible for Mikoto Misaka and her friends. All of it, and some extra baggage.
A Certain Scientific Railgun is a J.C. Staff (of Shakugan no Shana, Shigofumi, and Toradora! fame) anime adaptation of a manga of the same name conceived
by manga artist Motoi Fuyukama and light novel author Kazuma Kamachi. With direction by Tatsuyuki Nagai, script by Miya Asakawa and Michiko Ito, and character designs, original and anime, by Kiyotaka Haimura and Yuichi Tanaka, respectively, we follow the adventures of Misaka, an important supporting character in the series' parent, Kamachi's A Certain Magical Index (which later became its own anime and manga), the most powerful electromaster as well as one of the strongest espers in Academy City, and her friends, Kuroko Shirai, Kazari Uiharu, and Ruiko Saten. Emphasis on her companions, being that while the show is named after Misaka's nicknames, it covers them quite a bit as well, who they are, what they're feeling, and the bonds of friendship they strike. Nevertheless, the show doesn't forget its roots, making numerous references and cameos to people and events from Index itself. Touma Kamijou, Index's main protagonist, takes the similar role as Misaka did in his series by makes his recurring rounds as support. And to be perfectly honest, I like how he's shown here rather than there, where his goofiness doesn't seem so exclusive from his solid moral stances.
The story is divided into one portion directly from the source, the Level Upper Arc, and anime original stuff, the Big Spider Arc, the Poltergeist Arc, and all the character specific episodes in between, to provide some breathing room for the next big arc in the manga, presumably to prevent an exhaustion of future adaptive material while leaving enough time to give the existing unadapted print some justice on screen, among other things. Particularly notable of this series is its constant use of foreshadow to create a sense of escalating tension and commitment to every character introduced. Minor, yet deliberate details, seemingly out-of-place snapshots, suspicious after-thought abnormalities, throwaway characters that don't seem all that throw away, develop to become something major in the future. Speaking of throwaways, aside for child errors, this show has few, if any. Many a side character is given a considerable degree of spotlight despite their status and are either retired properly, rather than abruptly, or go on to become relevant in future events, laying the groundwork for an overwhelming amount of potential and immersion. The backgrounds are beautiful to look at and contribute a necessary sense of scale to the world building that's evidently being sought for, but also adding a personal note, localized enough to be able to share, in sincerity and intimacy, the experiences of our main heroines. The animation is solid, funny in that exaggerated sort of way when a joke or gag is being played, and thrilling when the story calls for it.
The likelihood of whether or not you'll like this show will probably weigh heavily on whether or not you are able to enjoy slice of life and its slow paced nature. Railgun is both important parts this and action, the latter more saturated in Index. If you don't find slice of life in general boring, if you're dispositionally inclined in taste or open-minded enough to enjoy it, the next issue that needs to be addressed with this show before taking the next step forward to actually watching it is whether or not the everyday feel of these segments have a purpose. The more famous and infamous instances of slice of life in this medium fall under the category of “cute girls doing cute things,” and while it may be alright for those shows to feature such, it isn't for Railgun. It presents itself as something more. The purpose is to show characterization taking place, not tell, from how it is to how it evolves, something that sees the main cast, plus much of the supporting cast, as persons, instead of one word to one sentence stereotypes, something that Index, the anime and the character, has trouble illustrating properly. In spite of their abilities, espers are people too, with all their flaws.
Same goes with this show's namesake Misaka, who, in addition to being the Railgun, the 3rd ranked Level 5, and yes, tsundere, is also very much a person of many facets: independent, proud, sometimes to the point of headstrong and hot-tempered, child-like in her tastes, yet fussily contrarian when she's called on it, and fiercely loyal. She has a heart of gold and lightening, but foremost, she's a girl who wants nothing more than a relatively normal life (as normal as it can get for someone with esper powers) with the people she treasures. These traits of hers slowly, but surely, are put inside a crucible and put to the flame as much as they are gradually built up as the city's darkness becomes more and more manifest. A similarly impressive level of characterization occurs with Saten, who happens to be Level 0.
Then there's the city itself, the show's setting, which is a character in and of itself, its breathtakingly advanced central core and its seedier outliers and underbellies that mirror the metropolis' own host of social successes and failures as well as science's accolades and excesses. Evident, for example, is Academy City's own brand of class discrimination and human experimentation. It's a utopia and dystopia, all in one... never a dull moment in this city, to say the least.
Aside for a slice of life, which is more or less you have to take or leave, the issue I have with Railgun is the disparity in the quality of the script. While it may be said that Kamachi had a hand in creating every story angle, it's evident that the writing that is “direct from source” is stronger and more confident than the writing that is “anime original” or, using a more connotationally derogatory term, “filler,” often relying on the aforementioned numerous Index cameos to carry it through at times. It's always welcome, but its never a substitute for decent storytelling, though it doesn't go overboard. However, the main problem lies in the anime original plot threads rather than the episodic pieces. A lot of interesting ideas are juggled, to be sure, using the universe and previous happenings to its advantage, but the content, probably a mixture of time restraints and less talented authors, are unquestionably more straightforward and convenient in its execution and conclusions compared to the manga material, to the point not capitalizing on the potential of certain aspects of the story and overlooking others in spite of the show's diligence in keeping everything tight and focused, examples being the identity and backstory of Poltergeist arc's major antagonist and the functionality of a railgun. A railgun isn't a particle beam cannon. A particle accelerator, on the other hand, can... no, I'm getting ahead of myself.
The OPs “only my railgun” and “Level 5 -judgelight-” follows Index's lead of techno inspired music, electronic embellishments and synthetics to complement the melody which, this time around, is fist-pumping awesome... I mean, upbeat, and band, this time around by J-Pop group fripSide, who made their debut and fame with this anime. The audible transitions synchronize perfectly with the animation sequences, which always seem to be bustling with activity and energy as scene after scene, flipping character, setting, and plot device, saying so much about everyone and everything shown without a need for a single word. Noteworthy in some positive ways is the musical introduction to OP1 and the scene with Misaka firing her Railgun. For the former when the noise drops for suspense and black turns to a vibrant, electric color before the music kicks into full throttle. For the latter, when it mirrors her mixture of concentration and confidence at performing her signature move. Noteworthy in a negative way is the spoiler for the villain of the final arc.
The EDs “Dear My Friend -Mada Minu Mirai He-” or “Dear My Friend -Towards an Unseen Future-” and “Real Force,” the latter more upbeat than the other, by one of my favorite Japanese singers, ELISA, in my opinion, an amazing singer who with an equally amazing sense of range. My only contention about her at times is that she likes a lot of Engrish in her songs, which shake me up whenever she puts it as a point for emphasis. The exception is a special insert ending song also performed by ELISA, “SMILE -You & Me-” re-purposes ED1's melody while replacing the original lyrics entirely with English while discarding all the extra background music for a soul crushing classic guitar, soul suspending cello, and soul sublimating keyboard accompaniment with an equally impressive vocal. Never mind the heavy Japanese accent (the words are still pretty comprehensible by ear regardless), this level of elegant, yet evocative expression is exactly why I'm such a fan.
Overall, if you don't mind watching girls living their lives while being badass to the side, then by all means, watch it. There's that aspect, the wonderfully thorough characterization, Academy City, and whole lot more to conceivably enjoy. And while it helps, as it does its best to come off as its own tale (the cameos, save Kamijou, are mostly just cameos, a superficial bit of appreciation for people in the know) you don't need to watch Index to understand the substantial bits of it. It just adds some extra world building, scale, immersion... what have you.
I give A Certain Scientific Railgun an 8 out of 10.
This will be my first review here, so beforehand I’m sorry for my bad English, incompetence and stuff.
Once upon a time I was looking for some Shana-like sci-fi action and this is how I got my hands on Toaru Majutsu no Index. It has cool setting so I like that show. Then Toaru Kagaku no Railgun came which I was looking forward to. Indeed, the same setting, more Misaka and no Index, who I think was annoying sometimes; so yeah, that’d be great series, it seemed.
Now I can tell you what, Railgun’s not great. Well, it’s not bad either, it’s pretty much average show about
magi… I mean, esper girls. So does it deserve watching? If you have free time, then yes, because Railgun is one of the best average shows I ever saw.
The good art, catchy opening themes and the whole conception of the series are the strongest points here. Characters… well, they’re a bit stereotypical with moe elements and a bit of yuri fanservice but basically that is not bad (there’s Misaka, guys) plus we have nice character development throughout the series.
So why is it not great? The first point is that the plot progresses really slow. It’s viscous like nougat. In one episode you can see a lot of action with some epic battles, which drives you excited, but then you get three episodes of some random back stories, centred on a side characters and stuff. It’s pretty rough and enjoyment level shakes like sinusoid, so I think this anime would be better if it was in 12 series format.
The second point is a subjective thing, so it can mean nothing to you. Well, y’know, I’m one of those people, who think that Railgun lacks Kamijō for tsundere Misaka. Yeah. I’m not too fond of harem anime but for me it seems that Railgun needs some kind of male lead or something. That’s why I like Toaru Majutsu no Index more and that’s why the moments when Kamijō appears on screen were one of the most awesome parts here.
Personally I really enjoyed this anime but I think that it’d be better if JC Staff released more Shakugan no Shana or Majutsu no Index instead of Railgun. Am I right or not, it’s for you, guys, to judge, so you can always watch the series and decide yourselves.
I rate this four points for visual and sound parts, plus two points for setting and plot, and plus one more for Pika-chan… I mean, Misaka. So seven points out of ten in total. That’s it.
Railgun is one of those rare shows that I'm willing to rate on just enjoyment alone. That's not to say things like story and characters aren't important, but Railgun doesn't particularly win you over with any of those. This is popcorn fare through and through, but the characters are so likable and the effort is showing at every turn, that even I can't turn my nose up to Misaka and her merry friends.
This is saying a lot because for the most part, I can turn my nose up to Index if I want to. It certainly wasn't a bad show, but as I said in
my review of it, it was disposable eye candy. Nothing particularly memorable. For the most part, Railgun would have been the same if it hadn't made up where Index failed.
The character interactions alone make this series worth the watch. I love a good "four girls doing nothing" anime when the four girls all have their own different ways of interacting with each other and when none of the girls are stereotypical archetypes. Even though Kuroko is batshit lesbo for Misaka, that's only one side of her personality and we see many different forms of interaction with the other girls. With Uiharu, she plays a capable mentor to her lack of confidence, and so long as she's not around Misaka, she's as normal as any of the other girls. Likewise, Misaka goes totally tsundere when Touma makes a cameo, but she is not ruled by her tsundere qualities. She has a strong sense of justice that makes her narrow-minded in certain situations, and she keeps a lot of her personal preferences guarded from the others. As a "four girls doing nothing" series, it works, but it doesn't stop there.
Once in a while, Railgun decides it wants to have a plot, and when it does, it goes into it heart and soul. This is even more fascinating because the final stretch is 100% filler and yet it brings all the character growth and final revelations to the table that one expects from a solid conclusion. If no one had told me I was watching filler, I would have believed this was canon material. It is just that good, so good that in fact I'd say it makes up for the consecutive standalone fanservice filler that preceded it.
The technical qualities are still as good as Index, with the voice acting being even better. The voices were unique and done well enough that they felt like genuine performances and not just throwaway roles, especially Uiharu's from Aki Toyosaki, a seiyuu who I am genuinely starting to warm up to despite a rocky introduction to her work. But I digress.
Railgun isn't the best anime. It doesn't have the best anything for that matter, but it does have a lot of heart. It cares about seeing the relationships of the four girls grow. It cares about having a plot that's always there, though not always the focus, and tying up all the loose ends rather than saying "LOL WAIT FOR SEASON 2" at the end. But above all, it asks for nothing more than to be enjoyed and it does so without excessive pandering. Given how much anime is tailor-made these days to certain fetishes and archetypes, that is nothing short of wonderful.
Overall, I give To Aru Kagaku no Railgun an 8 out of 10.
To be honest, I only watched this because I lost a bet with my friend. She was really obsessed with this anime, so I gave it a go.
I almost puked. Okay, well maybe I'm exaggerating, but it did make me feel nauseous.
There isn't one.
Every episode, some small crime happens, and Misaka & company take down thugs who are wimps. EVERY EPISODE.
They try to make the action scenes look cool, but it just looks lame. There isn't much of a challenge-- An OP girl vs. A weak thug who just stole some money.
Just your typical anime art-- big
eyes, and to be honest, they all pretty much look the same. The males were ugly as hell-- definitely not bishounen.
I didn't like the OP or the ED. The soundtrack wasn't amazing because I barely noticed it.
Even though this isn't tagged as a yuri/shoujo ai, it might as well be. One of the girls is practically throwing herself at Misaka. The characters are very plain and boring; it's the same old anime tropes. The OP one, the quiet one, the weak one who is jealous of everyone else, and the annoying guy who turns out to be strong.
This anime's name is tremendously long, therefore I'm gonna refer to it as 'railgun' from now on.
Having watched To aru majutsu no index and enjoyed it, I went into this with relatively high expectations, especially considering how likeable Mikoto is in Index.
Unfortunately, like that neighbour who you always thought was a nice person but who'd actually been poisoning your plants these last few years and leaving dog shit on your doorstep, Mikoto is not all she seems, or perhaps she was in index and they just wanted to create a character who could out-self righteous the main character from index (to the point that
it would make the characters from freezing seem open minded) in the spin off.
Whatever you want to believe one thing is for sure. Mikoto is not a likeable character in railgun. But we'll get to that in the character segment.
The plot of this show is arc based, like Index, with an overarching plot that revolves around a teacher/scientist with a chronic condition that causes her to get the impulse to strip suddenly without warning and usually in public (whom I will henceforth refer to as stripper teach) and her quest to save the kids she unwittingly sold to a doctor death type scientist who enjoys human experiments that go bad simply because it gets him up in the morning... OK maybe that last one was a bit exaggerated but it is essentially the gist of the problem.
Like in index, those rascally scientists are still trying to create the elusive lvl 6 super esper and like in index they've taken a less than moral approach to it and it's up to Mikoto and her chums to save the day and stop the bad guys.
now don't get me wrong, I'm quite fond of science tbh and I'm also in favour of a little morality in science and thus I enjoy a show which prizes itself on highlighting the dangers of abusing science for your own gain. And while this show is just such a thing, it does it incredibly badly.
The level of immorality in the science in this show is just damn awful and unbelievable, and considering how strict and highly regulated this city is they sure get away with a tremendous amount of mass murder. But perhaps we should address the regulators in this city.
the police force are divided into two groups, the SWAT like group and the main investigation and minor arrest group called judgement, the latter of which is almost entirely run by....kids. Whose great idea was that. And it just so happens that Mikoto's sexually frustrated lesbian friend Kuroko (whose suicidally unrestrained lust for Mikoto is only marginally shown in index) just happens to be a member. With kids running intelligence no wonder the cities full of lunatic eugenicists.
All in all, whil;e index had a ridiculous plot of it's own this show outdoes itself to the point where it becomes an "are you kidding me" kind of series. but never the less it'll get your emotions boiling which is to its credit, however most of your anger and outrage will be directed at how poorly this city is run.
The art and animation in the show much like in index is superb and very modern without adding the obvious 3D effects in. It's highly polished and fluidic so it is a sight to behold, the battles between Mikoto and her enemies are quite breathtaking but I feel that the animators didn't experiment enough with her ability and end up making it seem somewhat underwhelming at times.
The sound effects where pretty good and the crackling sound of Mikoto's lightening is visceral and realistic. The music is modern and has that electronic rock sort of feel however while the main theme is good and works as a finisher song for when Mikoto finally decides to do what she could have done at the beginning of the fight to finish them off, the rest of the music is barely noticeable and relatively uninteresting.
Now to get back to my panning of Mikoto as a character. She was likeable in index because she had that Yankee quality to her mixed in with a cute personality that sort of came through beneath the surface which coupled with her insecurity about her tastes (many of which indicated her childish character) made her seem genuine and cute, but once you drag her character into the main heroine chair she quickly cuts the appeal away. As a side character whose childish attitude conflicts nicely with Touma's realist and defeatist attitude but as a main character her childishness just makes her irritating.
Especially when she's spouting her self righteous, "quite complaining about being weak and try to become strong" speech...sheesh, she sounds just like another group of people I've heard about, hmm, who where they?, oh yeah it's the republican party in America who always like to say "why don't quit complaining about being poor and just work harder", I digress, but you can see the similarities and I'm not entirely convinced that her character wasn't created to draw attention to this problem with governments around the world, since she's just as hypocritical.
During the anime we get a glimpse of how Mikoto's path toward god-like power began with a scientist helping her raise her power to the max when she was a kid because her power could save lives....uh huh...right. So basically she talks about working hard, but like the republicans she was given the advantage over everyone else, in this case, help from an expert to get where she needed to be. Never the less she tries to tell people off for saying they can't do things cause their lvl 0 that with her power she finds easy (usually fighting more powerful opponents).
Basically Mikoto is naive to a stupendous degree, since she believes that people without power shouldn't complain and work harder despite living in a city where having esper powers is everything and if you have none to speak of you're basically cast aside as useless cannon fodder for the various people who abuse that power. (only about half way through the show do they actually start helping these people develop their abilities, or develop abilities period) and Mikoto tends to come save these people by using her electric power to kick the bully's ass then turns around and basically says see how easy it was for me you should be able to do the same....see how unlike-able she is?
That's basically like a tiger going up to a dog that's half dead because he picked a fight with a lion and saying "I could have taken that lion on easy, you're pathetic" despite the fact that the dog is small and at a greater disadvantage. Again I digress, needless to say during the anime Mikoto's fantasy world where everyone can become powerful if they work hard is usually shown to be complete nonsense regularly and she tends to constantly make naive and stupid decisions despite the clear and obvious answer (refer to the last arc, where she has to choose between stripper teach and crazy ponytail chick with a chip on her shoulder.
Mikoto has power but no responsibility, and do you think she learns from her mistake? sorta, but not really. She makes the same damn mistakes over and over again like a rat that still hasn't figured out that the left button gives a shock but not the cheese, and every time she makes a mistake that puts other people in jeopardy she never pays for her mistakes and in fact the very fact she was the one who put them in that position because of her stupidity is never addressed by any of the other characters and they act like it never happened, no one goes up to her at the end and tells her that it's her fault and she should live with the consequences of what happened or could have happened, therefore she doesn't have to feel the weight or guilt of her mistakes and so she doesn't really learn form them. In reality, she would have been slapped and told that she's too stupid to be trusted with big decisions and she tends to always make the big decisions because she's powerful and hat gives her opinions precedence and she does use that power to force her opinions on others. Yet she's fighting the guys abusing their power, how ironic.
Regarding the other characters Kuroko's depravity and obsession with Mikoto was so understated in index, in this show she's essentially a rapist exhibitionist who gladly drops the soap if you catch my drift, she is so disturbingly debauched in this anime that I couldn't believe my eyes, and her character is so all over the place, one minute she's serious and strict the next minute she's salivating at the mouth and man handling Mikoto despite the fact she gets shocked almost every time (seems Mikoto isn't the only rat looking for the illusive cheese that never seems to come from pressing the left button) her level of debauchery and tantamount rape make her equally unlikeable and ultimately disturbing. as for the other two Saten and Uiharu their characters are so weak and overshadowed by the insane and over the top behaviour of Kuroko and your anger at Mikoto that they just seem pretty negligible and only seem to be there to balance the power tables of the group since they have practically no power what so ever.
Whether you can enjoy this anime or not is dependant on how much you like the fight scenes really since their pretty awesome, but the characters just tend to irritate you or in the case of Kuroko disturb you, so it's a matter of preference, and honestly there are only two likeable characters in this show, stripper teach since she seems to be the only character with a decent attitude to the world she lives in, no fairy tale outlooks, no preaching about how she's better than you, and she seems to be the only character that's really had any development in this series, and accelerator since he doesn't take crap from anyone and seems to be somewhat responsible with his power by comparison, (using it to keep everyone from disturbing him rather than using it to get an edge in life).
overall I've ranted quite a bit, but meh, this show isn't as good as index by a mile but there's certainly some enjoyment you can get out of it.
Emmmmmmmmmmmm, friendship and camaraderie are good and all, but are you sure you are not using the wrong series to do it Nagai?
So Railgun S1, what to say about it, the fact Nagai butchered Kamachi's script?
The fact Nagai portrayed the series wrong?
The fact the anime can be considered non-canon because how much it conflicts with Kamachi?
Or the fact that the theme Nagai is advertising is horribly incompatible?
When you are doing an adaptation, you can change insignificant details but the core should remain the same. But with Nagai, the core is completely changed.
Nagai failed to understand how academy city is, especially shown with his villain, Therestina.
What a disgrace of Kihara.
The fact is that academy city espers are all disposable, why are you, as a kihara, repeatedly stating the obvious and truth?
Yes, Toaru series setting is not one that tolerates the power of friendship. Friendship is nice and all, but its not going to cause a miracle and allow them to punch outside of their weight class. There is a reason that railgun is labelled as the kid zone of the toaru series.
Also having Misaka denying the claim is a joke, especially later on, which shows YES, she is a lab rat, living in her little comfort zone, while the big boys solve the real issues. And even LV5 are just slightly more valuable lab rat, but just as replaceable, and she is not even a piece on the board.
Now that is just sad, and it isn't something simple friendship can fix.
Really, just read the manga and ignore the anime, since it is non-canon anyway, if you want to just watch Railgun S 1-16 and ignore the rest.
Good art, music, and easily likable characters make up for a weak story in this lighthearted comedy.
"Railgun" starts out as an easygong anime with little semblance of a plot. However, this was not a bad thing as each story is interesting on its own. Well drawn visuals and characters make it quite a good watch. Also, both ending and opening songs are worth listening to.
The problem starts when some story development starts, which could have been executed better. In fact it may have been better if it was left out and the anime had kept to its comedic style.
Despite its one major weakness, Railgun
is enjoyable enough and I recommend this to anyone looking for some casual viewing.