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Toaru Kagaku No Railgun/ Railgun S: Does This Anime Achieve a Level 5 Ranking?

Hello again! Railgunfan75 here. I thought it would be fitting given the namesake of the blog that my first anime review should be Toaru Kagaku no Railgun/S or A Certain Scientific Railgun/S. I will be reviewing both Railgun and Railgun S at once because the two seasons are interconnected. I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum. So without further adieu, here is my review for Railgun and Railgun S! 

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun

The four main protagonists of Railgun (from left to right): Mikoto, Kuroko, Uiharu, and Saten

Toaru Majutsu no Index

The cast from A Certain Magical Index. Both anime are in the same universe- Index was the original series while Railgun is a side story.

Premise

The overall premise of Railgun is best described by the following from animelist.net:

Academy City is a highly developed place in terms of technology. It is said to be 20 to 30 years ahead of the rest of the world, and 80% of its 2.3 million residents are students. The focus of studies here is directed towards esper powers. Misaka Mikoto, one of the top level espers in town, shares a room with Kuroko Shirai, another high level esper who is a member of Judgement, a law enforcing agency composed of students. Both attend Tokiwadai, a private school reserved for the high-leveled and the rich. Kuroko’s partner at Judgement, Kazari Uiharu, is a low level esper who studies at Sakugawa middle school. Her best friend and classmate there is Ruiko Saten, a level zero, one who has no esper powers. Together, the four encounter several adventures in the exciting scientific town.

My thoughts 

After completing both Railgun and Railgun S, I was pleasantly surprised by this anime and it exceeded my expectations. This series does quite a lot of things well. The first thing it does well is to provide you with an enjoyable and entertaining cast of characters.

While all of the characters are great, my favorite has to be Mikoto Misaka. She is the main focus of the series. The third ranked esper in the city and one of seven who is ranked Level 5. She has the nickname “Railgun” because of her signature move which allows here to launch a projectile faster than the speed of sound.

The main protagonist, Mikoto Misaka showing some of her power

Her ability to generate and harness electricity is cool in itself, but she is able to use her powers in ways you would not expect. One would think that a person with that high of a standing and power would look down on everything and everyone. That is not the case with her. She strives to use her power to help people whenever possible while not craving the spotlight. She is also one tough individual who refuses to back down to anyone. She can back up her toughness because of her power. However in some cases she can be a little headstrong and refuse the help of those around her. This becomes a point of growth in the series for her.

The other main characters are excellent as well. Mikoto’s roommate Kuroko steals many scenes she is in. She carries her friendship with Kuroko to extremes with her constant advances and desire to have a deeper relationship than just friends. Some of the best moments involve the wild fantasies Kuroko dreams up concerning the two of them. This leads to some hilarious conflicts between her and Mikoto.

Kuroko in battle-someone you wouldn’t want to mess with.

Kuroko is no slouch with her powers either. Possessing the power of teleportation, she can not only teleport herself but other people and objects as well. There are some really cool action sequences involving her as well throughout the series. Her standing as a judgment officer allows for plenty of opportunities to show off her skills. She also possessions a strong set of morals and takes here job seriously. With both aspects of her personality, Kuroko is a blast to watch as well.

The other two protagonists Saten and Uiharu are also great characters. Both don’t have the power that Kuroko and Mikoto have, however they add more depth to the show. Saten provides us with a viewpoint of someone without powers living in a world where many people do have them. She also has a couple of quirky habits which contribute to the comedy in the series. Uiharu is the level headed character which helps to keep the other girls in check; also she is a computer genius which helps them with some of the problems they are facing. There are many other characters which also contribute to the series, but discussing them leads to plot spoilers which I am trying to avoid.

Uiharu (left) and Saten (right) strolling through Academy City

Another area where the series shines are the story lines which they present. On the surface it seems that this might be a girly cutesy anime. However there is more to the series than that. The series while having its quieter more slice of life moments mixes in with that action, drama, science fiction, and some social commentary. From dealing with those upset at their lack of power to the dark side of a city built entirely on researching science, this series covers a lot of topics and does them well. There are even some episodes which explore what daily life would be like in such a setting. And surprisingly there is very little fan service in this series.

This series actually has what I would consider my favorite story arc of any anime I’ve seen. It involves Mikoto discovering that DNA she gave as a child was not used for intentions she couldn’t have imagined. She then takes it upon herself to stop the research project. It is a both an emotional and action packed arc concluding with a confrontation with the top ranked esper Accelerator. He is one of the best villains I have seen in an anime in terms of attitude and sheer power. It is the highlight of a series which has great arcs.

Accelarator, one of the series antagonists

On the audio side of things, the soundtrack is certainly a pleasure to listen to.The music is catchy and really captures the mood of the scene. The theme music to the series also is quite catchy with the first theme “only my railgun” by fripSide being an awesome track to listen to. Also the voice acting is superb. I have watched episodes in both English and Japanese and both voice casts are a pleasure to listen to. You can’t wrong with either.

One final thing I will discuss is the animation. The animation itself is not groundbreaking, it just looks nice. If you are looking for an abstract or groundbreaking style, look elsewhere. However the action scenes and backgrounds do look awesome and are well done. They are nice and fluid and handle the different esper powers quite well. It was aesthetically pleasing to look at.

So to conclude, Railgun/Railgun S is a great series to check out. The series presents strong and likable characters, has awesome story arcs, is divers and the music is so darn catchy. Is it a series which dabbles into many genres and does it very well. It also minimizes the fan service and focuses on character and plot development which is a plus.  I recommend that if you haven’t watched this yet to please check it out you won’t regret it. It is one of my favorites and hopefully you will enjoy it too.

Well that is all for my review. I would like to hear what you think. Do you like or hate the series? Do you have questions about it? Did you like or dislike the way I handled the review? Please post a comment below. For my next review, I will review a series I just finished, The Legend of the Legendary Heroes. Until then this is railgunfan75 signing off and saying: Stay geeky my friends!

A Certain Scientific Railgun and Railgun S are avaible for viewing on Hulu Plus and on the Funimation website and app. Each season is 24 episodes a piece. The first season is also available on DVD through Funimation.

UPDATE: The second season or Railgun S has been released by Funimation in two 12 episode volumes. 

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