A Certain Scientific Railgun S

A Certain Scientific Railgun S

A Certain Scientific Railgun S anime series cover art
A Certain Scientific Railgun S Cover Art

Introduction

A Certain Scientific Railgun S is the sequel series to A Certain Scientific Railgun, which is a side story of a Certain Magical Index. I also watched A Certain Magical Index II before this series, which is something I’ll get to in just a bit.

For reference, the proper viewing order apparently goes like this:

  • Index
  • Railgun
  • Railgun S
  • Index II

But, the order I viewed this series in is:

  • Railgun
  • Index
  • Index II
  • Railgun S

So, you see, I kind of swapped things around from start to finish. The reason I swapped around Railgun and Index was because I was more interested in Railgun, so I simply wanted to watch that first. However, the real issue comes with my swapping of Index II and Railgun S.

You see, Index II came out three years before Railgun S, but apparently you’re supposed to watch Railgun S first. How does that make any sense? Needless to say I watched these two parts in release order, not the order you’re “supposed” to watch them.

Sisters Arc Overview

The fact that I swapped around Index II and Railgun S had the most impact on the first arc of this series since it was actually covered in both parts. I think watching Index II first kind of spoiled the fun of this arc in Railgun S, but at the same time I think the same would be true in the other direction as well.

It’s almost like how Fate/stay night: UBW and Fate/Zero both spoil the endings of each other, so no matter which order you watch them in you’re ruining something for yourself. And, that’s not the only similarity there is between the RailDex and Fate series.

So, just what is this arc that also appears in Index II? It’s the Sisters Arc in which we learn that Mikoto Misaka has 20,000 clones of herself running around Academy City getting killed by Accelerator. This is by far the best arc to date in the RailDex series, so it was a bit disappointing for it to be redone in this fashion.

Accelerator vs. Touma Kamijou from the anime series A Certain Scientific Railgun S
Accelerator vs. Touma Kamijou

For the most part, Railgun S focuses on how this arc begins and then through the middle, whereas Index II picks it up from the middle and concludes it. Seems fairly straightforward then, right? Just watch Railgun S first and you’ll be good to go.

Well, yes, that does appear to be the easy way to solve the problem except for the fact that, as I mentioned, Railgun S came out three years after Index II, so there’s no logical reason to watch Railgun S first unless you have this information before even starting the series.

The other issue, however, is the middle portion of the arc where the two parts overlap. There are actually entire episodes that are just reused in Railgun S from Index II.

The idea of these two parts is that you can see the same events from both the perspectives of Kamijou and Misaka, but it doesn’t actually work out all that great. You see, there are episodes in which they’re both main characters, and so these episodes have essentially no differences between Index II and Railgun S.

At times like this it really feels like the RailDex series was originally meant to be a visual novel with a bunch of interconnected routes to take.

Febrie Arc Overview

The second and final arc of Railgun S is the Febrie arc, in which Misaka & friends find a mysterious little girl named Febrie. While the previous arc is tied into the events of Index II, this arc is more of a sequel to the events of the first season of Railgun.

In the first season of Railgun Misaka learns that there’s a dark underside to Academy City, and through the Sisters Arc she finds that she was unknowingly connected to it. In the Febrie arc, Misaka begins to directly challenge this dark part of the city.

She learns that Febrie is a fabricated human, or homunculi, who was created to be used to gather information on the various Level 5 espers. And, not only is Febrie seen as just a tool by her creators, but she’s seen as disposable as well once they get what they want.

Mikoto Misaka from the anime series A Certain Scientific Railgun S
Mikoto Misaka

You see, Febrie needs to take a special medicine in the form of lollipops every couple of hours or her body will break down. But, she only has a certain number of these lollipops left. So, Misaka & friends must bring down the Academy City underworld and learn how to produce Febrie’s medicine before time runs out.

Really, while this arc had some good fights, I wasn’t all that interested in it. Maybe it was because it didn’t have best boy Accelerator, but maybe it was also because some of the events just made very little sense.

For example, Misaka learns that the Tree Diagram, the super computer in space that Academy City uses to function, doesn’t actually exist. But, wasn’t she the one who shot it down in the first season of Railgun or something? I seem to remember that being something that happened.

Also, one of the OPs showed us some pretty cool tag-team fight scenes involving Misaka and Kuroko, but we never actually got any of this in the series. The fights against the other Level 5 espers would have been so much more entertaining if we got to see Kuroko fight alongside Misaka.

New Characters

There are a decent amount of new characters introduced in Railgun S, but the ones I’ll be focusing on are essentially an esper hitman squad known as ITEM. This team is made up of Mugino, Frenda, Saiai, and Rikou.

Shizuri Mugino is the leader of ITEM and one of the few Level 5 espers in Academy City. Her ability is known as Meltdowner and is essentially a laser that can burn/melt through anything. However, since her lasers are made of electrons, Misaka is able to deflect them with her own Electromaster ability.

Frenda is the only member of ITEM who doesn’t seem to be an esper. Instead, she specializes in explosives of all kinds, which doesn’t always make sense. To truly be effective, she needs time to set traps all over a potential battlefield, which is fine, but we also see her pull heat-seeking rockets out of her skirt.

Saiai is a Level 4 esper whose ability I don’t quite understand, or at least don’t remember the explanation of it. She’s able to either harden her body or create some sort of hardened force-field around herself. This can then be used either offensively or defensively, but since it has no range, it’s not the best ability around.

The final member, Rikou, is another Level 4 esper, but one without an offensive or defensive ability. Instead, Rikou’s ability is better labeled as a support ability. She’s able to pinpoint the direction and possibly distance of any esper she’s ever encountered by recognizing their AIM fields.

Conclusion

Overall I’d say A Certain Scientific Railgun S was a 6/10, just like the first season. I just don’t really feel like the RailDex series can be rated any higher than that, but maybe the upcoming Accelerator season will be able to change that.

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