|Not perfect by a long stretch, but much better over Index.|
It's not perfect, but this spinoff to A Certain Magical Index is at least a major improvement over Index. Unlike Index, Railgun maintains a consistent narrative focus on its look into the everyday life of Mikoto and her friends within Academy City, making it a more character-driven work as a result. To a good extent, this series dabbles into slice-of-life comedy-drama in its focus on Mikoto and pals focusing on the comical quirks and developments that the girls go through such as Mikoto learning to be more dependent on her friends to aid in overcoming a problem and Saten overcoming her insecurities of lacking esper power. The Level Upper arc offers the best developments for this season of the series with the girls dealing with differing issues affecting those close to them and parts of the city populace, hinting that the upper levels of Academy City's society may not be as good as the public perceive.
The series does, however, suffer from some pretty major flaws though, the biggest being that it dabbles fairly heavily in filler. Episodes not focusing on a major issue serve either to provide more depth on certain characters or are comical fodder focused on the quirks of the characters. While the former has meaning, the latter is a complete waste of time.
Other issues that hurt the quality of the series include Kuroko's character and the title's final arc. Kuroko plays the role of obsessive lesbian who lusts for Mikoto and makes failed efforts to have her way with the title's main heroine. This makes her character rather obnoxious at many points whenever this aspect of her character is exploited for failed attempts at comedy. The final arc of the series is the weakest of the series due to having a major foe depicted as your archetypal crazy loon when they reveal their true nature and having some rather sloppy narrative moments with how said baddie failed to defeat the girls at several points in the arc. Plus despite whatever hints the anime drops regarding Academy City's corrupt underbelly, this series lacks a resolution as the series continues on with Railgun S.
In terms of presentation, Railgun maintains the high quality presentation of Index with vivid colors, nicely detailed scenery and character designs, and fluid movements from characters during action scenes and mundane moments. The soundtrack consists of upbeat, energetic tracks with some J-pop implemented for the OP and ED sequences. Some of the songs were pleasant on the ears like Dear my Friend, but not much stuck out for me.
While carrying some major issues, Railgun's more character-driven focus does make it somewhat better to see than Index's jumbled up plot arcs and questionable character focus. It's a rare case for me of the spinoff being better in quality than the main continuity of the franchise.