Friday, January 11, 2013

[とある科学の超電磁砲] "A certain Scientific Railgun"; otherwise known as "A certain Hormone Rebalancer"

'To aru Kagaku no Railgun', otherwise known as 'A certain Scientific Railgun' markets itself as a side story to 'To aru Majutsu no Index' (A certain Magical Index)- a show which was first screened in Q4 of 2008, long enough for me to lose (almost) all memory of the main show.

From that alone you should be able to guess my opinion of Index- I would have remembered more if I liked it... or if I hated it. That I could only remember certain characters and some minor details without developng a lusty grin or bursting veins can only mean that Index was only mildly enjoyable.

So why bother with a show that makes itself out as a side dish, like the fries that come with your french? And yes, I am fully aware of how lame and cliche that last sentence is, thank you very much. Back on point: why? Perhaps because you love Index and want to absorb every last bit of related media. Perhaps you're hoping to see some skin. Or you might just be one of those strange customers who ask for the ice cream to be served before the main. Whatever.

As to why I watched Railgun: after a crushing diet of Far Cry 3, Peter Jackson's Hobbit, and other media packed to the brim with cloying levels of testosterone, I was in desperate need of a female touch/taste/scent (the Sherlock in you would probably deduce that I am single).

I'd read about Railgun's having a cast populated with females, so I decided that it would be worth a try to put my hormones back in balance. The main star is the titular Railgun, Misaka Mikoto, followed closely by her roommate Shirai Kuroko, and their friends Uiharu and Saten.

Railgun was described as a 'shounen' series by a friend, but I needn't have feared: it managed to fulfill my urgent need for estrogen beyond all expectations. The main cast are the four aforementioned lasses. They are surrounded by even more female characters- classmates, teachers, members of Judgment and Anti-Skill (somewhat like police), and even major villains.

Of course, Railgun isn't set in an Amazonian world: men do exist. With a few exceptions, their role in Railgun mostly falls under two categories: one, as a criminal/delinquent element, or two, simply to remind us that men aren't legendary rare beasts. There are a few good male characters, but they aren't central to the story. They fill up their bit part and take a bow immediately. Kamijou Touma, the protagonist from Index, gets a few cameo appearances, but doesn't steal the show from the girls (as if he could, pfah).

As for the plot, there actually is one, and it's pretty good, despite the relatively slow pace. Sometimes Railgun even manages to feel like a slice-of-life anime about girls going about their own business, or hanging out with friends. There is however a sinister plot line which shows up now and then, with all the venomous snakes converging on one point in the climax; it also manages to work in links to Index's timeline.

Despite the majority female cast, Railgun did not resort to copious amounts of fan-service: upskirt shorts, revealing cleavage, etc. Sure, Kuroko does get a little crazy in her scheming to make Misaka fall for her, Saten has a really odd way of greeting Uiharu, and there is a 'beach episode'- but for some reason none of it feels put on or erotic.

Pretty much my only complaint about the show: there's not enough Railgun in it. Misaka is, for me at least, the character to watch, so I was somewhat disappointed that not all 24 episodes were devoted to her and her alone, but equally balanced between the four girls, developing their characters and relationships to the point where you actually start to care for them a little despite how you initially feel that they're just getting in the way of the star, and when they do things you as mostly omniscient viewers know are bound to cause them grief...

If the previous paragraph was spoken out loud, I'd be out of breath. In conclusion, my only gripe with the show is forgiven, and at any rate Index already has a sequel, with Misaka set to play a bigger role, and word on the grapevine is that Railgun is set to receive a sequel soon as well... and the more of Misaka I get, the less reason I have to complain.


  1. The title "Railgun"...I am lost as to it's relation as it seems more suited to a blood and guts blood spray gore fest type series...if they have that horrific type of series?

    A rail gun cutting lines of people to shreds...?

    1. Have you been playing Quake? Gotta love that high-precision one hit KO weapon. :D

      Technically the Railgun here (Misaka) is capable of turning the show into a B-grade slasher series, but there's not much gore here, probably to keep with the lighter tone of the show (and the original light novels).

      But hey, if it's girls and gore that you want, there's always crazy films like Tokyo Gore Police:)

  2. This Certain Scientific Railgun anime series really awesome. I love this and have just collected Certain Scientific Railgun anime series at PIJ. Its really Cool.