A Certain Scientific Railgun S Episode 15

Don't you want to punch him?

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?

Satisfaction

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.

railgun_15_03

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.

rg1

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.

rg2

 

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.

About these ads

5 thoughts on “A Certain Scientific Railgun S Episode 15

  1. Guys. You have already written the same passage for the umpteenth time since the start of this arc on the point that this is a retelling of the Index story.

    A book I once read reviewing various pieces of classical music through the centuries had a rather long but insightful editor’s note that stated he hoped he had given a fair review of all the pieces on their own merits such that none were able to tell which pieces he disliked and which he liked. And that to him, was the mark of a fair reviewer.

    Perhaps you could at least attempt to do a review without mentioning the Index series, and introducing biases inherited from it?

    • Would avoiding it really remove bias? Honestly, these recaps are meant to be more bullet impressions than serious review. Which is not to say that we don’t take it seriously, but a large part of this season of Railgun has been information we already know. If we ignore that comparison then we aren’t truly being honest with our thoughts about any given episode.

      I know that for my own part when I do write a review I try to come at it from a focus of expressing what can be expected from the thing I am reviewing first and then expressing my opinion on it. I can really only say that for myself with any authority, but I think that goes for most of us here. Personally I think it’s a bit pretentious to try and avoid sharing your personal opinion on something you review.(my VN reviews probably speak more highly of my own review philosophy than anything I can say here without a massive rant.)

      I do agree with your review philosophy to a degree, that is why we avoid number scores after all. The problem is that the bar by which we base our standard of review is our own personal standard. Basically our standard for review is different for each of us. That is why we instead focus on giving as many impressions as we can.

      Railgun happens to be one of the rare shows where we are mostly of one accord. I’ve been sitting these out myself because my opinions are more or less the same as Jel’s opinions. We generally write about the things that cross our mind when we watch an episode and leave the more formal review stuff for final impressions. If you think there is something we should focus on please jump right in and join the conversation. Fresh perspective is always appreciated.

    • Just to second what Life said, our goal with weekly posts has always been making things more opinion focused and conversational to open up discussion. It’s part of why we try to get multiple contributors when possible, me and Zigg just happen to agree in this case (see our Chuunibyou coverage if you wanna see us fight it out). I totally agree with the principles you mentioned for more formal reviews, and I try to follow those when I cover a disc release or a game.

      So I guess the discussion here is can you totally divorce Railgun from Index? I personally think they are meant to be experienced together and I’d venture a guess that most people that made it as far as watching a sequel are familiar with both series. So I’ve tried to give the show the credit it deserves, but I also feel its necessary to mention the context.

      • Perhaps like the 4th movement of the 9th symphony, a loyal fan is suppose to watch all two seasons on Index and the previous season of Railgun. Not to mention reading the light novels and manga.

        Or perhaps some just want to take the 4th movement on its own, and in truth while the overall quality of a movement can be judged as a sum of its parts, judging a part of an overture on its own is also a valid opinion.

        The only reason I am raising this is because I don’t think I have read any other consecutive reviews of a series with so many references to a loosely associated series which just happen to have Misaka Mikoto as one of the damsels in distress in its story arc.

        Apart from that, I really enjoy the conversational and sometimes intriguing confrontational formatting of per episode reviews on this blog. That’s why this is my top choice for reading on anime, and probably also why I often think how a review of Railgun S would look if someone who had only watched Railgun did the reviews.

  2. Rewarp, I completely understand where you’re coming from, and were this being presented as an objective review I think I’d agree with you. But these weekly coverage pieces are meant to be collections of personal thoughts on the episode in question and as such independent criticism isn’t really the aim here.

    I’ve tried to emphasise that because *I’ve* seen Index before *I* am finding these bits sort of boring, but that’s not meant to be a reflection on the show as a whole. Indeed, both Jel and I have repeatedly noted that the execution is much better here than the original version

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s