On the Fourth Day of Anime: Positive feedback (To aru Kagaku no Railgun S)

Imagine my disappointment when Railgun S was going to initiate another filler arc. Granted, the manga isn’t quite finished with its most recent arc, but that did not stop me from feeling as if I was being cheated out of some quality material. I mean, the Sisters arc was great, perhaps the greatest thing to happen to the Raildex franchise. And now we’re going to be fed this drivel? Well, no matter how I look at it or how the arc turns out, I’m not going to have a great opinion of this show anyway.

Wait, what?

Let’s try this again.

[Commie] Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S - 11 [6E36766A].mkv_snapshot_23.29_[2013.12.17_08.30.12]

The one thing I didn’t like about the Sisters arc was that it inevitably had to connect back to the same arc covered in Index, which means more Touma. I didn’t like Touma when I watched Index. Nevermind that I also didn’t like a lot of other things when I watched Index, Touma is the one thing that stands out as kind of a drag on the series. This wasn’t all that bad, though, as his appearance in the show was kept to a minimum and then dropped as he should be. He does work better as a side character than a main one, I will admit. Whatever. This show sucks anyways.

Aw, shit.

Okay, one more time.

[Commie] Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S - 15 [18A87B81].mkv_snapshot_23.21_[2013.12.17_08.27.33]

If you’re looking for an anime with a solid track of character development, you don’t have to look further than the Railgun herself: Misaka Mikoto. She exemplifies what I like to call a shounen heroine, except that she starts out as one of the strongest people in Academy City. This gives rise to a lot of exploration of traits when it comes to heroes in general. About the hesitance of involving your weaker peers in your own problems, or how your own immense power alienates other people at times. Or the societal implications of valuing talent over hard work. Or being the shining beacon of an otherwise disappointing anime.

FUCK.

[Commie] Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S - 21 [868B6382].mkv_snapshot_23.17_[2013.12.17_08.25.31]

The trouble with explaining my positive impression of this anime is that it houses elements which I’d bash other anime for. Railgun is immensely vapid in its thematic structure and execution, offering nothing outside of the values of friendship and accepting the gift of life itself. When it’s not doing that, characters spend time fretting over hangouts and shopping and what to eat for dinner and other uninteresting things. It’s obviously not perfect. In my opinion, it’s also not good. It’s okay. And you know what? I’m fine with it being okay. This is in contrast to what I think of, say, Gargantia, an anime which I set a lot of hopes on beforehand. That, too, turned out to be okay, but I’m not fine with that. What is the cause of this discrepency?

[Commie] Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S - 15 [18A87B81].mkv_snapshot_23.24_[2013.12.17_08.27.49]

I think it’s because of a difference in expectations. I was certainly more prepared for Railgun’s inherent flaws than I was for Gargantia’s. I’ve read Railgun before. I know that it’s not an amazing manga, and that the anime wasn’t going to blow my mind. Yet, despite my negative standings with the franchise, I enjoyed Railgun. It did everything I expected it to, and at times more. The Sisters arc was adapted well. The filler arc, surprisingly, wasn’t bad. It incorporated a lot of elements from previous storylines to make it feel less intrusive, such as Nunotaba Shinobu, Therestina, and Mikoto’s struggle to rely on her friends once again. Yes, the pseudoscience flooded over to fantasyland at times. Yes, the s’life elements are still present and are as grating as you’d think they are. But did I care about that? Not really. I knew to expect it.

[Commie] Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S - 14 [0E09B52F].mkv_snapshot_23.29_[2013.12.17_08.28.43]

Knowing what to expect allowed me to congratulate the anime for any shining moments the adaptation could pull off. Mikoto’s slow discovery of the Level 6 Shift project was one of them. Her demonstrating character development, by choosing to rely on her friends in the filler arc as opposed to the Sisters arc, was exceptional. They’re painfully simple concepts to grasp, and are not quite as demanding to pull off, but Railgun never struck me as a series that aimed to be different with its themes and characters. I stopped expecting a lot out of Railgun and, by congratulating its successes and its avoidance of any damning shortcomings, I was rewarded immensely for it.

What does this mean for my future viewings of shows that may objectively have the same standings as Railgun? Should I learn not to expect too much in order to enjoy them? Mayabe, but I think that’s also wrong. Sure, having a negative standing towards anime allows a ton of wiggle room to be genuinely surprised that an anime turns out good, but that’s not the ideal position to be in for all anime. Nor is it healthy for anime viewing, as you may become so negative that you stop watching anime, period.

[Commie] Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S - 23 [DFDBFA37].mkv_snapshot_23.10_[2013.12.16_23.47.00]

Addendum

  1. railgun s3 pls
  2. i need something to completely destroy my elitist tendencies and railgun is the only thing on my repertoire that does this
  3. pls
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3 comments

  1. I know that feel about Gargantia. Rather than the half-hearted Urobuchi first and last episodes framing the series, perhaps it may have been better if he stepped out of the picture and just let the series be Ledo’s slice-of-life lessons. That’s certainly my hope for the second season.

    I was going to force myself to finish the second season of Index before starting on Railgun. Not exactly my highest priority.

    1. You don’t need to watch Index II. If you’ve already watched the first season of Index, you can go into Railgun and Railgun S without a problem.

      1. Yeah, I figured, but still not a high priority… plenty of shows from this year that I started but have not had the time to finish. Wanna tie up those loose ends first.

        Also, I’d rather have more post-Sisters Accelerator as protag than either Touma or Biribiri.

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