Fall 2009 Anime Impressions – To Aru Kagaku no Railgun

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J.C. Staff has been on a serious successful roll of late which has made me a very happy anime fan because when they’re performing at the top of their abilities – very few animation houses can compete. After the spectacular last season with Aoi Hana, Hayate, and Taishou Yakuu Musume, this season’s sole series from J.C. Staff To Aru Kagaku no Railgun has mighty big shoes to fill. So the question is how did it turn out?

Rating: episode 1 – 6/12 B-
Rating: episode 2 – 5/12 C+
Rating: episode 3 – 8/12 B+
Rating: episode 4 – 9/12 A-
Anticipation Level: 2/5 – Below Average

I’ve learned from blogging that doing first impression posts after the first episode or the second episode will often lead to poor conclusions in hindsight because not every good show starts off strong. One of the best examples of this is Lucky Star, it took 6 episodes (25% of the show) for me to begin to enjoy the show the first time I watched it and in the end it turned out to be one of my favorite shows. I bring this up because if I had written this post up after the second episode, I’d be writing that there’s a very good chance I would drop this show since it seemed to lack any redeeming qualities. However, I waited for a couple more episodes because I’d rather be accurate then quick (even if my blogger senses are screaming at me to hurry up and post something), and let’s hope this is at least accurate. 🙂

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To Aru Kagaku no Railgun is a side-story to the Index manga and focuses on the character Misaka, a middle-school girl who can manipulate electricity which is where her nickname – Railgun – comes from and is one of only seven Level 5 people (which is the top level for powers, at least for right now). She befriends two new characters and along with her overly affectionate roommate, these four form the core of the show. So far the show has focused primarily on introducing the characters and fleshing out their friendship, though by the end of episode 4 hints of a deeper plot are starting to show up.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who looked at this series as a way to salvage what should have been a quality series. Which is why I was so depressed when the first two episodes of Railgun seemed to be more concerned with how much yuri fan service could be stuffed into the show. I have nothing against fan service or even yuri fan service but those types of shows are a dime a dozen and it would once again waste the interesting premise. And that’s also why I was happy to see episode 3 and 4 focus more on the characters, comedy not involving yuri groping, and their abilities because it’s now at least possible that this show turns out well.

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In all fairness, outsourcing policework to middle school kids must save the government a lot of money.

Outside of the question of the subject to the show, there’s much to like here. The animation is great, as can be expected from J.C. Staff, and I really like the voice work done by the main characters. I also like the two new characters and the non-appearance of the majority of the Index cast (they were a gimped bunch). And having the focus be around these four characters is a stronger basis for the story and it’ll avoid how Index felt like the story was just about how Touma built his harem of girls.

I still don’t know if To Aru Kagaku no Railgun will be worth the time but it’s been able to move from the reject pile to the maybe pile and it’s possible that it could move to the decent pile. Therefore, I’ll suggest for now to potential viewers of this series to not judge the show solely on the first couple of episodes.

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Love the subtle cameos from other J.C. Staff shows

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Using flashlights while telling scary stories is so 20th century.

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One thought on “Fall 2009 Anime Impressions – To Aru Kagaku no Railgun”

  1. Wow, great site! Very nicely laid-out. Some sites look like real train wrecks and give me a headache just looking at them. But not yours – very nicely-done. I’ve bookmarked your site and will check back regularly. Thanks again!

    Like

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