|More worthwhile watch than the main series.||9 out of 10 users found this review helpful.|
Much of these concepts are evident throughout To Aru Kagaku no Railgun. The fact that the show mainly focuses on these issues makes it a worthwhile watch, even more so than the main series, To Aru Majutsu no Index. In the end, Railgun’s overall presentation wasn’t perfect, but everything it does, it does extremely well.
If you’ve watched To Aru Majutsu no Index, you don’t really need an explanation of Railgun’s general premise. But for those unfamiliar with it, both series are set in Academy City. It is home to about 2.3 million people, in which 80% are espers (like, people with psychic powers, yo). As Index focuses on its main character, Touma Kamijou, Railgun is centered on Mikoto Misaka – a Level 5 esper who has the power to control the element of electricity – and considered one of the strongest psychics in Academy City. She is joined by her obsessive partner, Kuroko Shirai, and two other characters, Ruiko Saten and Kazari Uiharu.
To Aru Kagaku no Railgun’s story started out slow, but gradually got better in the later episodes. I was a little disappointed, though, that the show took a spin-off approach towards the halfway point; similar to To Aru Majutsu no Index’s lackluster outcome. There were some pointless filler episodes strung within the 24-episode period, but I was surprised the show’s second arc was actually fairly enjoyable. They do shed light on the minor characters’ dilemmas and whatnot, so it gives you a chance to connect with them a little better. They also did a pretty good job explaining some of the history behind Academy City, so I at least had a basic understanding on what was going on each episode. Railgun isn’t all serious though, as it also shows a lighter, comical side of things, which all the more makes the show entertaining to watch.
Of course, an anime show wouldn’t be one without its moral values in mind. Unfortunately, the whole pretense of “I’m pretty much useless” or “I’m such a burden to everyone else” is really starting to get old. Honestly, these days it just serves as more of a nuisance than a matter actually worth caring about. Though that is the case, the bigger questions of whether or not Academy City is just a cesspool or the perfect place for espers to live in, and how the endless pursuit of power can bring out the worst out of people - often leading to the brink of losing one’s humanity in favor of the latter - is hard to ignore. These issues presented give the narrative something meaningful to think about and it’s impressive how they portrayed these sentiments through Railgun’s strong female protagonists and persistent minor characters.
For example, Mikoto Misaka (a.k.a. Biribiri) has absolutely no problem expressing and sharing her opinions on various subjects. Her brash and outspoken attitude tends to get her into trouble, often leading to other characters criticizing her moral viewpoints. Though her sense of justice can seem somewhat flawed, it all the more proves that she is just as human as the person next to her, psychic or not. It gives you a thought of - hey; just because they have the power to control lightning doesn’t mean they’re any different from the normal, ‘Average Joe.' And you don't really need to have powers to make a difference; everyone has the ability to do that. The people she encounters and the different opinions she hears from them helps Misaka grow as a character, which makes her enough to stand out amongst the strongest female leads in other anime shows.
Visually, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun doesn’t stick out like Bakemonogatari or anything like that, but the great action set pieces, the brief yuri moments between Kuruko and her ‘onee-sama,’ and the overall presentation is pretty impressive to watch. The costume designs can tend to be fairly generic, but everything else is detailed enough that it’s easy to forget all that.
Overall, the voice acting is excellent. The seiyuus did an outstanding job portraying various emotions through their characters, which made them all the more believable and easier to connect to. A few voice-overs such as Kuruko’s seiyuu seemed weird and out-of-place with her character, but she grew on me as time went on.