A certain reflection on Railgun – Part I

Since To Aru Kagaku no Railgun was a show that aired for two coups (two seasons at once) in Japan, the story had two big arcs and with my Volume 4 review, we have finished the first coup/arc: Level Upper. In place of screencaptures this will have pictures of the completed coup interspersed throughout.

So the Level Upper arc helped introduce us to the main story characters and show their motivations. Misaka Mikoto is a complicated young woman. She’s always wanting to prove herself moreso than anything. She’s headstrong and stubborn, but she knows when she’s wrong and works to help solve most of the problems she causes (the electrical outage in the end of episode 8 wasn’t one of those instances). A tomboy to an extent, but she still has a heart like a child. A good choice for a main character.

Kuroko Shirai conversely is like an open book. Her desire is to be loved, specifically by the one she cares about: Misaka-san. She’s an attention-seeker, which makes sense since she can disappear at any time and may be the cause of her ability. She’s a tough fighter and is willing to think outside the box to solve a problem. A studious individual when she puts her mind to a task, she’s also very difficult to approach and get close to. She serves well as the comedic foil and assistant to Misaka.

Uiharu Kazari and Saten Ruiko both were afterthoughts in the original To Aru Magical no Index anime, only appearing briefly in the OP, but they begin to shine here. Uiharu serves well as the computer expert and official brain of the group. She’s compassionate and caring, as seen with the bag girl, but she knows when to be tough like when she’s not giving up on Kuroko. I’d almost say that she’s the true “mother” of the group.

I’ve already said how Saten-san has become my favorite character, but here goes again. Saten stars in this coup because she tastes the forbidden fruit and suffers for it. She’s constantly around three individuals who outshine her on an episodic basis and already was attacked twice in the first three episodes! She’s bound to feel like she’s the weak link of the group due to her Level 0 ability. I wonder how this story would’ve turned out if she had met Touma (from Index) instead…

We also met the leader for Judgement Branch 177 and the “villian” for this arc during these four volumes. Konori Mii is a great leader in Judgement, but doesn’t have the best judgement for herself when she mistakes Misaka for a new recruit. It suits her ability to be “clarvoyant” very well. There’s more about her in later volumes, so I’ll reserve comment until then.

The anti-hero this coup is Kiyama Harumi. She was tricked by her supervisor to raise 10 children as their teacher until they underwent an experiment that tortured them. Her efforts to use the supercomputers to locate and bring them back to consciousness were consistently denied, so it’d logical that she’d try anything to bring them back, including creating a neural network between espers as a replacement computer. She’s taken off to jail, but since we’ve got 12 episodes more, I’m sure we’ll see her again.

Overall, the sets for these episodes aren’t too bad. I’m spoiled by my love of Haruhi and the extras included on those volumes, but these aren’t too bad. The box has amazing art and makes me want to read the manga while each episode’s booklet provides pretty good background information. The extra CD is a nice touch and a great departure from the 2006 Haruhi sets where only a tiny portion of the audio was kept for the fans.

The bonus DVD with the first volume is well worth the extra cost to have it. I really liked the special “MAD” video and the seijuu segment. If there had been more like it on the regular set, I’d say it’d be an easy recommendation. As they are, I’d say if you really like the show, get them. If you would forget about the show in two months without prodding, then it’s not worth it for you.

The latest volume comes out on the last Wednesday of this month (I have no more in reserve, yes!) and it’ll have a special box and DVD again, so expect a review then. In the meanwhile, I’ve got a few more things planned. Next on my to-do list will be a post talking about another series that I like, the Kamen Rider franchise. Following that this week will be a review of the North American premiere of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya immediately following the show. It won’t be a review of the movie, rather a detailing about the premiere itself. I should have a review up about a week from today on the movie (with a great bunch of screen captures I’ve been saving from 2ch and the postcards I bought). Stay tooned!

This entry originally appeared on Cartoon Leap and has been copied faithfully (minus image locations) from the original content.

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