Greetings! Railgunfan75 here. It is finally that time. After an incredibly long wait, we got a return to the adventures of Misaka and friends with Railgun T. As you all know by now, A Certain Scientific Railgun is one of my all time favorite series. The series’ main character Mikoto is also in my top 5 in terms of favorite anime characters. Of course I was excited with the return of one of my favorite franchises and eagerly awaited to see what would happen to Mikoto and friends this time around. The Daihasei Festival Arc was really hyped up by the manga readers which really made me excited to check it out. The first arc of the latest season has now aired and of course I have to take some to talk about it. There will be spoilers in this discussion and photos.
I will not keep you in suspense any longer- I absolutely loved this story arc from start to finish. It contained all the elements that I love about Railgun and ramped them up further than they did before. Season 2 of Railgun and the Sisters Arc is one of the best stories in anime in my opinion and it is a tough act to follow. The Daihassei festival meets that challenge and presents yet another awesome story in the Railgun franchise.
In my opinion the strength of a narrative largely depends on it’s portrayal of it’s characters. Those stories that give the characters room to breath and express who they are usually are among your strongest and most enjoyable to watch. Railgun takes the time to remind you that it’s characters are in fact people. The encounters and events that the characters experience change the characters of the series usually for the better. One of the best parts of the experience of watching Railgun has been seeing the characters grow and tackle situations differently than they did before. Mikoto is actively looking for help with her problem in this arc while in the past she would avoid asking for help out of pride. The fact that victory is only achieved due to the efforts of many characters is a huge step forward for Mikoto’s character and the overall narrative. In addition the fact that you see Mikoto have some vulnerable moments was also nice. I of course don’t want to see her character suffer but the fact that she let’s down her self assured tough gal persona and let loose was refreshing to see. We have seen this side to her at times before but when it occurred during this arc it just felt different, it felt like it was happening to someone who realized how important the people around her are and how much they have her back. Her rage at what happened to Kongou on her behalf and her breakdown after getting rescued at the end of the arc are both great examples of this.
Speaking of the contributions of the many, Railgun T has some of the best moments from it’s side characters of any point in the series. Konguo’s determination to fulfill her promise to Mikoto, Konguo, Wannai and Awatsuki’s furious battle against Baba all show the true nature of the characters and what they are capable of. Sure in previous arcs you got glimpses of what these characters could do but it wasn’t until this point where you really got to root for them and appreciate their characters. Kongou is certainly a star of this arc. She was first willing to go out on a limb to help Mikoto, a task which she did even though there was a lot of risk and no real reward for doing so and she did this without hesitation. She was willing to take a beating in order to ensure that the only lead in the disappearance of the Misaka sister was kept safe. And to top it off, she was a complete badass while doing this. That was followed up with Wannai and Awatsuki’s furious fight with Baba. These are two characters who earlier in the arc had admitted that dislike fighting but when given a great reason to, they showed just what they were capable of. Those are some of the best moments of Railgun T thus far. The action sequences and battles are fantastic for sure but it was moments such as those that resonated with me the most. The series has always had a ton of heart to it, and T so far has been no exception.
We were also treated to some new characters to the franchise especially Misaki Shokuhou (I know she appeared before but it was basically a cameo) and Gunha Sogita. Both proved to be awesome additions to the franchise. Gunha was just a fun character period. I honestly wish we saw more of him as his power was just awesome. Of course the main spotlight character for this arc was Misaki and her story. As a “rival” character in anime, Misaki is certainly one of the best that I have come across. She really comes into play in the second half of the arc and it amazed me how quickly and effectively they establish her character. On the surface she is the opposite of our protagonist but as the story progresses we find that they are more similar than either one wants to admit at least in terms of their motivations. The main difference really lies in how far the 2 characters are willing to go to solve their problems. Misaki is not afraid to twist and manipulate people to get what she wants which is a line we don’t see Mikoto cross. As we see during the story, she is not a bad person, just one who really isn’t bothered about doing morally questionable things.
Certainly the biggest wrinkle in this season was Uiharu, Saten, and Kuroko losing all memories of Mikoto. This was heartbreaking and yet interesting to watch. It was fun to see to see how the characters would be with this major change. It was great to see the characters not sidelined despite of this. They still had the moral sense to help out regardless of not having the familiarity that they once did. It was great to establish that they would do the right thing even with those circumstances. Sure there wasn’t much doubt on that front but it was still nice to see. It was also nice to see the characters still being themselves- Saten getting into unnecessary trouble, Kuroko still excited to hear praise from Mikoto despite not knowing why, and Uiharu still being the diligent and self conscious individual that she had always been.
While awesome character moments would make any story great, the Daihasei arc doubles down with a story filled with twists and turns, awesome action scenes and fights, provides more chilling details concerning previous events, and provides plenty of emotional moments. One of the Railgun’s strengths is it’s constant ability to expand on previous events and the world of Academy City. I loved how various elements from the previous arcs had a role to play in the most recent one. The Level Upper from season 1 combing back as a means for Gensei to gain strength, a glimpse into the early cloning experiments, the Misaka Network being used as a component for Mikoto’s transformation, Shokuhuo’s story being tied to the cloning experiments, and the fact that the disruption of the Level 6 Shift project put the target on Mikoto’s back were all things that I found were awesome elements to the story. And as usual there are additional questions added to the narrative. We have even more questions concerning Imagine Breaker, Gunha’s exact power, and other character interactions which occured throughout the arc.
While Railgun has excelled with it’s storytelling, another strength has been it’s action sequences. One could spend an entire post just discussing Railgun’s action sequences. We are treated to some awesome fights during this arc. As has become the standard for the series, the action sequences were done with great care and with purpose. I have always enjoyed how the fights are never without a purpose and usually will serve some characters story arc. The climax of Kongou’s portion of the arc which was the fight with with Baba really showed us a lot about her character. And it was an awesome looking scene to boot. The climatic fight with Gunha and Touma against Mikoto while lasting multiple episodes did not get bogged down with filling time like fights from some other series and again had some awesome looking sequences. In fact we had three fights going on at once, all equally as important to the overarching story while none hogging the spotlight. The action sequences are presented concisely, serve an important narrative purpose and look awesome as well. That pretty much checks off the list of what I look for in a good fight.
Besides the great action sequences and awesome character moments, Railgun was always good about letting the characters have a little fun. Despite the action and the drama there were plenty of moments where it was to laugh and just enjoy the ride. Just like the previous seasons of Railgun, the writers always found a way to balance in humor but not force it. This last arc was no exception to this. There were so many light hearted moments throughout this arc. Kongou vision of taking down Misaki, Misaki nearly passing out chasing after Mikoto, Saten’s scheming to get Touma and Mikoto to dance together and Kuroko’s reaction to those events are just some of the scenes that sit in my mind. It is these moments in previous seasons that endeared many of it’s character to me and it was great to see more of them. Railgun’s appeal to me has always been the fact that it will take the gas off of the throttle at times while not having it feel out of place for the characters or the narrative.
The Daihasei festival is a superb continuation of the story of Railgun. It expands on it’s awesome roster of characters, showcases the awesome nature of it’s cast of characters, and builds on the backstory of it’s predecessor while providing a thrilling and emotional follow up to it. The arc had a little bit of everything. It made me laugh, cry, scream at it’s well timed cliffhangers, and left me in a sense of excitement as I waited for each new episode. From start to finish, the Daihasei festival arc exceeded my expectations and I feel privileged as a fan to of Railgun and of anime to get to experience that journey.
And that’s a wrap on this discussion on Railgun T’s Daihasei festival arc. Did you watch it? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below. I will be discussing the other 2 series, Index III and Accelerator soon so look forward to that. I also have started reading the Railgun manga and will likely discuss that down the road as well. So until next time, this is Railgunfan75 signing off. Remember to stay safe, stay respectful, and stay geeky my friends! See you soon!