If A Certain Magical Index is a wild, unfocused exposition of superpowered fantasy, then its spin-off A Certain Scientific Railgun is a slightly more grounded work that mixes in character development and an actual plot. I’ve always preferred Railgun to Index for that reason – superpowers are more fun when you care about who’s wielding them. The continuation, A Certain Scientific Railgun S, takes the same approach as the first season but moves away from the mostly lighthearted feel of the original.
Hopefully most people who are interested have now had some time to digest Evangelion 3.33. But for the sake of anyone who hasn’t, or who doesn’t want their interpretation of events to be colored by other people’s opinions, I’ll keep this quasi-review spoiler free.
The thing about Railgun is that I can’t not enjoy it. It manipulates me like Margaery Tyrell, pulling dirty tricks like opening with a shot of loli BiriBiri. What am I supposed to do against such power?
Anime has changed. It’s no longer about creativity, storytelling, or artistic expression. It’s an endless series of adaptations made by Koreans on computers. Anime – and its consumption of time – has become a well-oiled machine. Anime has changed. Adapted characters speak adapted dialogue, in adapted settings. Laziness in the writers dilute and simplify their material. Video game adapations. Light novel adaptations. Manga adaptations. Visual novel adaptations. Everything is adapted and copied from another source. Anime has changed. The age of moeblob has become the age of adaptation… All in the name of flooding the scene with highly marketable properties. And he who cranks out adaptations the fastest… prints money. Anime has changed. When the market is totally filled with adaptations… anime becomes routine.
I suppose there’s a certain inevitability when you release a movie tie-in to an anime series that ended almost 12 years prior. Trigun: Badlands Rumble was probably doomed to mediocrity from the outset – I should have just expected that. There was no reason to make this movie. There weren’t so many loose ends from the series that there had to be a follow-up to tie them all together. After 12 years being off-air (and four years being out of print for the manga) you’d think the story has gone as far as it can go.
As a spinoff of A Certain Magical Index, A Certain Scientific Railgun follows the daily life of Mikoto Misaka in Academy City. Being a self contained environment for the study and advancement of espers, life in Academy City is rarely mundane. The excitement picks up as a string of crimes breaks out, all involving espers abusing their powers for whatever reason. Being the roommate of a Judgment member, Mikoto gets drawn into their investigations and peacekeeping activities.
December 16: the S.O.S. Brigade is being dragged around as usual by a spirited Haruhi, who decides to hold a Christmas party. Kyon dreads the inevitable trouble that will arise. December 18: Kyon awakes to what he thinks will be another day full of Haruhi’s mischief. To his shock, he finds that things have changed. Everyone’s memory of the last few weeks has been altered. More importantly, no one in his class has heard of Haruhi Suzumiya. Kyon goes to seek answers from the S.O.S. Brigade members, only to find that they don’t know who he is. At wit’s end, Kyon siezes upon a clue that could unravel the universe itself.
The story begins with Yuki, a high school student, inadvertently discovering that a schoolmate, Tetsu, keeps a shape shifting monster with him as a pet. Fascinated by this creature (named Cenco), Yuki starts to follow it and Tetsu around. When the three are suddenly attacked by another boy (Shu) who controls a similar creature, Tetsu reluctantly protects Yuki. This sparks off a rivalry that culminates in a gigantic clash between Cenco and Shu’s monsters.