A Certain Scientific Railgun S Episode 15
Recap: Touma confronts Accelerator while Mikoto looks for a way to use the Sisters to help end the fight.
Jel’s Thoughts: I have to imagine this is much closer to what this scene was meant to be when it was originally conceived. The pivotal fight with Accelerator in Index came off as a raucous, old fashioned, action anime beat down complete with grandstanding speeches, motion blur lined backgrounds, and spirit bombs. That’s all good fun to a certain extent, but this was something different. The cinematic presentation has finally won me over, giving the entire affair a much more intense, dramatic feel. Accelerator’s plasma attack is the perfect example of how much better this episode was. Sure it’s still just as ridiculous and nonsensical, but it definitely felt more desperate and ominous. Rather than just another energy ball to throw, we get a wounded foe so determined not to lose that he starts bending the laws of the science. Doesn’t that just sound so much cooler?
Speaking of cooler, Touma also seems much more awesome in his extended Railgun cameo. They did a great job emphasizing that he was still hurting after taking a shock from Mikoto while still leaving him enough strength to fight. I really loved the bit too where he questions if he is shaking because of the injury or fear. It was a really well done humanizing moment, highlighting Touma’s bravery really is based on his principles and not the kind of baseless Shonen Hero Courage that usually just amounts to stupidity. Select inner monologue really worked well with all three principle characters, particularly Accelerator as he recovered from his first punch to the face. What a great way to revisit that moment without just showing him getting pounded again. Those kinds of choices have really made this retelling enjoyable to watch.
If I were to mention any negatives, I would again point out the annoying habit of trying to make Accelerator less monstrous. I mean he literally said “THEY’RE PUPPETS, THAT’S WHAT THEY TOLD ME” almost word for word. Doesn’t the fact that he is willing to murder Mikoto to get stronger kind of cancel that out? Fortunately though, that was all just in passing and there were no irksome flashbacks to contend with. I’d also note again that I’ve been ready for this arc to end three episodes ago, but when they keep making them this good it’s hard to complain. I can’t possibly see this going past one more episode, so we’ll see how they wrap things up next week.
Zigg’s Thoughts: I agree with everything Jel has to say on the quality of the execution in this episode. It looks lovely, there’s some really nice battle choreography going on and it presents itself very well. It’s gratifying that a big shonen franchise like this is shoehorning so much decent character work in between the punches being thrown. Speaking of punches, I’ll never get tired of Touma decking dudes in the face, and the animation team really sells it every time. Make no mistake, I enjoyed this episode a lot.
My issue with it is one that’s more idealistic than anything to do with what’s actually on screen, and it’s the one I keep coming back to – we’ve seen all this already. This week is especially egregious because while the fight choreography and some of the dialogue changes, the actual sequence of events is pretty much verbatim from Index. I understand that there’s a certain amount of basic communication of what’s going which has to be done, but the promise of this arc was that we’d see these events from a fresh perspective. That largely has happened for the past few episodes. Instead it’s been beat for beat re-imaginings of Index episodes which isn’t bad but is very disappointing. This is a great storyline, easily Index’s best but we’ve seen all of this already and it seems remarkably cheeky to have the climax of what’s been a strong story for Mikoto essentially be a remake of a bunch of episodes about another character. Not just cheeky, but disappointing too.
If that sounds churlish, I can only apologise, and I’m aware there’ll be plenty of readers who are experiencing this for the first time and are getting swept up in it. Me though, I’m a little disillusioned. We’ve gone on too long with this and fallen too far into known territory, and I’m looking forward to a wrapup that will hopefully offer some decent emotional closure, and then moving on to the next big thing.