New Season Anime Fall 2009: To Aru Kagaku no Railgun

November 13th, 2009

Every week, I save To Aru Kagaku no Railgun for last. Yes, I am definitely the kind of person who saves the best for last. (Sasamekikoto isn’t on the same queue as Railgun, in case you wondered that doesn’t have the position of honor. It does, on an alternate viewing day.)

I know that Railgun is a side story from To Aru Majutsu no Index, a series about which I know nothing and care not at all. (This does not mean I don’t like it, or I am implying in *any* way that liking it is bad. Please don’t read meaning into this statement in a tiresome way. Thank you in advance.)

As with most anime, I had no expectations for Railgun. In this case it all worked out and I think that it is really good goofball fun.

In Academia City, where the major industry is education, students are ranked from 1-5 according to their “abilities.” These abilities are of the extranormal kind and, in keeping with Arthur C. Clarke’s third law, we’ll just call it magic and get it over with. ^_^

Railgun follows the unlikely friendship of the least powerful and the most powerful in the city. The least powerful is represented by Uiharu Kazari (who is rated at a 1) and her friend Saten Ruiko (rated 0). Uiharu is with Judgement, the city’s self-police force with Shirai Kuroko, (who is rated at a 4) and her in/famous, incredibly powerful roommate and object of desire, Misaka Mikoto, one of the city’s few Level 5s.

When Uiharu and Saten are introduced to Mikoto, they – and we – are surprised to find that she’s a really nice, down-to-earth person. And this simple fact, and the fact that being Level 1 and 0
in abilities does not mean that Uiharu or Saten is in any other way ineffective, makes this series totally watchable.

Uiharu’s special abilities might be low, but her computer skills are aces. Saten is a Level 0, but she has guts and sense. Misaka’s only real flaw is her desire to test her incredibly dangerous electrical power against someone in power-to-power combat. Which brings us to Shirai Kuroko, who is indubitably the real star of this series.

Kuroko is an annoying-voiced ojou-sama with a heart of gold and a sincere, if hyperactive, desire for Mikoto. She’s a scream. Again, what makes it all work is that for all that she’s powerful and rich and all that, she’s a nice person. She’s friends with Uiharu and there’s no “buts” at the end of that sentence. Levels of power, money, status, none of that matters to Kuroko. She’s a nutball, but in a good way.

So far the anime has been fun. There’s a plot developing, with a crazy, amoral, over-stressed, no one understands me-they all have to die bad guy, and I’m content to let it take me wherever it goes. I’m cool with watching Uiharu and her companions keep Academia city safe for students of all levels.


Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – A lopsided 9
Service – 2 One of the bits I love best – the self-satisfied smirk the anime wears when viewers *don’t* get panty shots.

Overall – Sold at 8. Don’t bother wrapping it up, I’ll watch it on the way out.

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7 Responses

  1. Mara says:

    “Don’t bother wrapping it up, I’ll watch it on the way out.”

    I agree. This series does have a solid feel of ‘for fun’ about it that is infectious.

    I would bring up your LBF score though. Plenty of us prefer ‘shorts under skirt’ to underwear shots. Not like that magically makes us less L, B or F.

  2. Pocky-san says:

    I love this series OwO

    I’m with you on the original series, I’ve never seen it, so I can’t give my opinion on it…

    I HAVE read the original Manga to To Aru Kagaku no Railgun

    So far, I’d say the anime has upped the ‘Kuroko factor’, and I love it even more for that

  3. TehFreek says:

    These abilities are of the extranormal kind and, in keeping with Arthur C. Clarke’s third law, we’ll just call it magic and get it over with. :-)

    Not quite. I hate to sound snobby, but had you seen/read Index you’d know why this is wrong. To sum it up quickly, espers that use magic suffer physiological damage. So… a different “type” of magic.

  4. L.B. says:

    It’s nice to hear that you have enjoyed this series as much as I have. I honestly have this one slated as my guilty pleasure anime of the season. I think it’s an extra treat for those who did Index since the characters are such a departure from what they were a year ago. It does contain a lot of the same elements that I blasted other series for; it just happens to deliver it w/ charming characters making it justifiable in my head. ^_^

  5. zookeeper says:

    I love this series!
    Look forward to the new episodes every week.

    And Kuroko makes me wonder… If Miu (from Ichigo Mashimaro) would be a bit like Kuroko when she grows up. Same kind of craziness!

  6. Maggie says:

    Finally got around to watching this series from start to finish. Honestly, there were SO many good and bad things about this series…it was ridiculously up and down for me.

    Probably the best part of this entire show was, without a doubt, Kuroko. Railgun had her moments of sheer bad-assery, Saten had by far the best character development, Uiharu was devastatingly cute, the devotion of Kiyama to her students was touching, that one chick with the fan was hilarious…but seriously, Kuroko was the star. I totally agree with Erica on that.

    Yes, her “onee-sama” obsession got a little old by episode 20 or so but her character was just so…genuine. She was the strongest member of Judgement, she had the most control and functionality over her power, she was devoted to her friends, she was cunning, headstrong and intelligent and always able to read the mind of the girl she loved with her entire being. I desperately wish she got more attention in the course of the series, or dare I say a spin-off of her own. I’d watch it just for her one-liners that had me doubling over in laughter.

    One thing I gotta say…wasn’t anyone else EXTREMELY disturbed by the giant fetus monster? I found myself unable to sleep last night because I was so creeped out…what the hell were they thinking?!

    Lastly, the opening and ending for the first arc was possibly one of my favorite OP/ED combo for an anime ever. It was just so full of win…the bad Engrish and scary fetus didn’t matter. The songs were catchy and I loved the flashes we got of Kuroko. God, she’s so awesome.

    Oh, and before I forget…best moment in the series? Railgun shouting Kuroko’s name, Kuroko teleporting off a fucking motorcycle, into mid-air and simultaneously teleporting a massive chunk of debris for her to shoot like a damn missile that resulted in a giant electric explosion. Railgun might get with some douchey guy in the original series but only Kuroko can bring out her true power.

    Hell yeah.

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