ANIME & MANGA - Review
11:00 - 31st January 2016, by NEO Staff

A Certain Scientific Railgun

Taking place before and during the events of A Certain Magical Index, Railgun is a side-story that goes above and beyond its parent title. The first time around, it was a franchise unsure of itself, floundering between fantasy and sci-fi. This time, it sticks to sci-fi for an altogether more grounded outing.

Academy City is an experimental techno-mecca, where two thirds of the population are students. Ranked on a five point system, it’s a society populated by ESPers – individuals with innate mental abilities. Middle-schooler Mikoto Misaka, the Railgun of the title, is a veritable celebrity, being a top-ranking level five with her knack for electricity. With her best friend and teleporter Kuroko Shirai – whose adoration comes out as predatory perversion – the duo take down small fry for Judgement, a group somewhere between Girl Guides and the Neighbourhood Watch. A pattern starts to emerge between interludes, and leads to a dark and heady climax, more reminiscent of Akira than Index.

After the first arc, the series loses its focus in a big way with many episodes quickly resolved with little consequence. But it does bring itself back around to a continuation of earlier events, for a conclusion that’s scant, but thoughtful.

Railgun is a devil for cliché, but the goofy misadventures offer some deep exploration of the darker parts of the human psyche. With plenty of Index Easter eggs, it’ll delight fans – and might even win over a few who were put off by the franchise the first time around.

It might fall prey to its own muddled plot and pointless tangents, but A Certain Scientific Railgun strikes an endearing balance between goofiness and drama.
SCORE: 3.5/5
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