A Certain Scientific Railgun has sadly come to an end, therefore I need to write my first series summary since starting this site.
I first became aware of Railgun thanks to it's opening, it had great animation and a fantastic upbeat soundtrack (only my railgun). After reading up and finding that it was a side story to A Certain Magical Index, I went and watched that first. Hence, by the time I got round to actually watching Railgun it was already in it's 9th episode. While you don't need to watch Index first in order to watch Railgun, watching it did certainly help with the characters as they had already been introduced previously.
At the start of the series the whole Kuroko-Misaka relationship thing really detracted from my enjoyment of the series, I don't mind the odd bit of yuri but doing it constantly and in a fashion that's extremely over the top just doesn't work. However, as the show went on this was decreased to a more acceptable level.
The first main arc, Level Upper, was interesting and well planned out over the 12 episodes within which it featured (that is, 1-12). The second arc had plenty of sub-arcs and it was only towards the end that you realise all of these sub-arcs are one huge arc masterminded by an insane super-villain! This arc was also interesting, however there was also a lot more filler. The occasional filler episode is fine, it's sometimes good to have a break from the main plotline and do something different, but too many episodes consisted of filler. It would have been better to see more plot and i'm sure they could have fitted some in without problem. Thought the entire series I would have also liked to see a few more fight scenes involving the use of a range of abilities. The animators did a fantastic job at animating the fight scenes, but having a few more would have made the series more enjoyable.
Background music was well used within the series, especially during fight scenes. In major fight scenes (Episodes 12 and 24) the actual fight was timed to one (or both) of the openings. As both openings where fantastic soundtracks and as the lyrics of the openings fitted the themes of the series this worked extremely well. The first ending theme (Dear My Friend -まだ見ぬ未来へ-) seems to be the weak spot here, all of the other openings and endings are fluidly animated and have a very fast, upbeat sound track. Perhaps once they realised just how popular Railgun was they decided that investing extra resources into developing an awesome second ending was feasible.
Overall, I found Railgun extremely enjoyable and rate it 4/5. If a second series is animated I will certainly pick it up. Considering how popular Railgun has been I wouldn't be surprised if a second season was animated.
I would like to thank Ayako for subtitling the series, and Mazui for the few rare cases where Ayako took more than a few days to subtitle an episode!
A fantastic action-packed finale for Railgun and by far my favourite episode, the only one that comes close is Episode 12 (AIM Burst).
This episode really brings together all of the events of previous episodes and makes you realise that Railgun is just one long arc with several sub-arcs. There are some extremely impressive fight scenes featuring all of the main characters in different situations. Like the fight in Episode 12, the fights are timed to the opening music. However, as there are two main fights, the first is timed to the second opening (LEVEL5 -judgelight-) and the second to the first opening (Only my Railgun).
Some of the new fight techniques where quite amusing, when Kuroko pulled a machine-gun style belt of pins out of her bag I couldn't help but burst out laughing. It turned out to be quite a successful technique too allowing her to rapidly teleport the pins into the weapons of her enemies, thus disabling them.
[spoiler]Telestina[/spoiler] is perhaps the most evil and insane villain I've ever seen and simply does not give up. She had to be [spoiler]blasted by Misaka's railgun[/spoiler] twice before she was finally subdued! Perhaps more amazing is that after this, she is [spoiler]still alive[/spoiler]!
I will post up a series summary soon. It's sad that Railgun is now over but i'm pleased that they made the final episode as epic as it was and didn't leave any loose ends (Code Geass R1, i'm looking at you).
Apologies for the high number of screencaps, there was so much awesome that I found it difficult to limit myself. In fact, at first I had 135 separate screencaps and eventually narrowed it down to the ones below.
In a word, wow. This episode certainly rivals my favourite (episode 12). We've got a lot of plot development, revelations and a slightly unusual fight scene.
It tuns out that my suspicions about Telestina where correct, she really isn't one to be trusted, and is actually [spoiler]the granddaughter of Kihara Gensei, the mad scientist who tried to create a Level 6 and ended up putting those child errors into a coma[/spoiler]. Of course, since we handed the kids over to her last episode she now holds all the cards and can continue the experiments. Misaka attempts to stop her, but it turns out Telestina was behind the Skill Out's use of Capacity Down, rendering Misaka's powers useless and creating an interesting fight scene where an unexpected character ([spoiler]Kongo[/spoiler]) has to step in to save the day for once. Telestina really is the most evil character we've seen in Railgun so far.
After Misaka's failed attempts to stop Telestina, the other Judgement members attempt to convince Anti-Skill to act (despite the fact we've yet to see Anti-Skill do anything useful in Railgun!). It looks like Episode 24 (Dear My Friends) is going to be an awesome finale to the series, with all of the Judgement members teaming up with Harumi and Anti-Skill to stop Telestina. I can't wait!
A Certain Scientific Railgun Episode 22 – Level 6 (The one who Arrives at the Meaning of God while in the Body of a Mortal)
Railgun does like to have the odd long title (see also episodes 2, 6 and 13) and this seems to be one of them. I was hoping that the title would mean that this episode revealed an actual Level 6 (as if Level 5's where not complete overkill already!) however instead we have flashbacks about how some scientists went about trying to create a Level 6 using very immoral/illegal processes as is the tradition of Academy City.
Uiharu's ability surprised me, I was expecting that her ability was to control plants as hinted by her rather floral headband, but actually it's just to keep things warm. I felt sad when Harumi had to hand over the kids to MAR, I don't really trust Telestina that much and Harumi was so close to making a breakthrough! On the other hand, the potential collateral damage that Harumi may cause could be far worse. As a compromise, I don't see why Harumi didn't offer to work with MAR considering the amount of work and research she has performed regarding this case.
Following on from last episode's cliffhanger, we find it's actually not much of a cliffhanger at all. I was expecting Haruue to continue speaking, but she just passes out instead.
This however does not stop plot development (yay!). Predicting a connection between Haruue and the Poltergeist incidents, Misaka and Kuroko investigate Haruue - much to the disgust of Uiharu who has become fiercely protective of Haruue. Misaka shows off some impressive hacking skills - apparently giving a laptop an electric shock is enough to make it retreive secure data from a remote server ...
Thankfully, Haruue [spoiler]isn't the instigator of the poltergeist incidents, just a victim[/spoiler]. However, despite the fact I knew whose picture would be in Haruue's locket ([spoiler]we see it breifly when Haruue makes an appearance in Episode 17[/spoiler]) it still sent a chill down my spine due to the awesome combination of background music and memories of what happened to Edasaki Banri, a child error who seemingly died as a result of a nasty experiment (Episode 11). The fact that Haruue can telepathically hear Edasaki must mean that the subjects of that experiment are 'asleep' as implied by Harumi in Episode 11 rather than truly dead. I hope one of the remaining episodes features their revival, which would probably make both Haruue and Harumi very happy.
I'm looking forward to the next episode, entitled Level 6 - super powers please?