A Certain Scientific Railgun

A Certain Scientific Railgun

A Certain Scientific Railgun anime cover art featuring Mikoto Misaka and Kuroko Shirai
A Certain Scientific Railgun Cover Art

Overview

I finally finished the first season (2 cours) of A Certain Scientific Railgun after going through it at a pace of around one episode per day. Season two, A Certain Scientific Railgun S, will be coming much later since I’m going to focus on watching other anime before starting that one.

These series are also side stories of a series called A Certain Magical Index, which I have also not seen. Eventually I’ll probably watch those as well, but not any time soon.

This series takes place in a city known simply as Academy City. Here, as you might expect, there are a variety of schools which give the area its name. However, the schools in Academy City are special in that they’re for people who have psychic abilities.

The overarching plot of the season is that there are some bad people in Academy City who are trying to make what’s known as a “level 6” esper (level 5 is currently the maximum). However, most of the series is episodic and doesn’t have anything to do with that plot.

This is my main issue with the series. Instead of making a 24 episode series where most of the episodes are essentially filler, why not just make a 12 episode series where most of the episodes are plot relevant?

While I feel that’s the major drawback of the anime, there are other things I felt the anime did really well which I’ll mention later.


Characters

The protagonist of this series is Mikoto “Railgun” Mikasa, a level 5 esper with an electromagnetic ability. While she’s nicknamed “Railgun” after her signature move, firing a coin by using her body as a railgun, she can also use electricity and magnetism in a variety of other ways.

Kuroko Shirai is Mikasa’s roommate and friend. She’s a level 4 esper with a teleportation ability and serves as a Judgement officer (basically teenage police).

The other two main girls are less interesting. First we have Kazari Uiharu, a level 1 esper (I think) who has an extremely specific and not very useful ability which I won’t mention here. Uiharu is also a Judgement Officer along with Shirai even though she’s only a level 1.

The final girl is Ruiko Saten, a level 0 with no manifested psychic ability. She only becomes useful in the final episode of the season and her main purpose seems to be to show how regular humans feel about being surrounded by all the espers.

Mikoto "Railgun" Misaka from the anime series A Certain Scientific Railgun
Mikoto “Railgun” Misaka

Conclusion

I think I had this series rated at a 6/10 all the way from episode one. It’s a pretty good series, but it’s just barely a pretty good series as far as I’m concerned. If it had been fully episodic it would have been a completely average anime rated at a 5.

I mentioned earlier that there were some things I liked about this series though. Specifically, I like how the psychic abilities were handled.

Let’s use Misaka as an example first. Her ability is electromagnetism, and although she frequently uses her railgun move, she does use her ability in a variety of other ways.

At no point does obtain some new ability or powerful attack. Rather, she uses her defined ability in creative ways to get the upper hand, such as using magnetism to walk up walls that have steel rebar inside them.

We see Shirai use her teleportation in similar ways without breaking from how her ability was originally explained.

The other thing I liked about the series was that while the abilities of characters such as Misaka and Shirai were explained and seen a lot, the abilities of other characters weren’t even mentioned for most of the series, but I didn’t even notice.

For example, Uiharu is one of the four main characters and we, the viewers, know she’s an esper. However, we don’t find out what her ability is until the final arc of the series and yet at no point before that did I wonder what her ability was.

You could probably argue that it’s just bad writing since her ability is useless anyway and so doesn’t affect the story, but I found it to be an example of good writing.

Her character was so well-defined, with the exception of her ability, that I didn’t even notice I was missing that piece of information until it was explicitly given to me later on in the series. When she reveals her ability she also mentions that none of the other characters knew what her ability was either.

In contrast, we learn what Saten’s ability would be, if she could manifest it, pretty early in the series even though it’s useless because it doesn’t technically exist.

As for the second season, A Certain Scientific Railgun S, I’m hoping Saten will be able to manifest her ability because I want to see the different ways she comes up with to use it like Misaka and Shirai have with their own. On the other hand, I’m expecting Uiharu’s ability to stay useless.

The first OP for A Certain Scientific Railgun can be found here.

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One Reply to “A Certain Scientific Railgun”

  1. The railgun is a really long series does not give so many episodes because the real plot only lasts a few chapters, however it manages to be more cohesion, development and self-contained because it does not ambition much, prefer opt a smaller group of characters, but that they are worth for their quality especially Kuroko.

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