First Impressions: A Certain Scientific Railgun S

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To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S
Manga adaptation by J.C. Staff
Simulcast by Funimation

Premise: Picking up immediately after the first series, Mikoto, Kuroko, Saten, and Uiharu return for more cute girl slice of life antics and hard hitting, super powered action.

You can take her friend hostage and shoot at the cops, but DO NOT take her bag

Jel’s Verdict: SHE IS COME BACK!

There really can be no other verdict as Railgun jumps immediately back into where we left off. Everything pretty much looks and feels the same, and this episode does a good job of reminding us of everyone’s little quirks and personality traits. I will admit it took me a few minutes to remember the other girls as the episode just assumes you’ll remember the girls they saved when the series aired THREE YEARS AGO, but since one of them is in the hospital it’s not too hard to figure out.

While the episode was a great way to get us back into the series, the little hospital visit and throwaway nameless bad guy were really just a warm up. What has me really excited for more Railgun is the appearance of Sokuhou and the other Level 5 espers that we really haven’t seen on the screen before. The OP is a huge tease, particularly the fight with Mugino at the end. So long as Railgun can keep a good balance between the action and light hearted moments without falling into the filler blackhole of the first season, I think we’re in for a fun ride.

Is Uiharu keeping those drinks warm?

Lifesong’s Verdict: SHE IS COME BACK!

I totally don’t remember any of the girls in the hospital, I am bad Railgun fan I guess. I may not remember these girls, but the cute slice of life mixed with hardcore action is exactly what I loved from the original series and this episode delivers. The most exciting thing here is probably the OP. So many great things are going on. If even half of that stuff gets a good amount of screen time, this anime will be awesome.

Aqua‘s Verdict: SHE IS COME BACK!

I admit, I am shamelessly biased in favour of A Certain Scientific Railgun. It was the first anime I watched as it aired, and marked my first foray into many, many tropes of modern anime. Because of that, I am quite tolerant of (read: blind for) the abundance of tropes that are admittedly present, because in my mind Railgun did them first and best. Even though I have grown very cynical towards these tropes over the three years it has been since Railgun, I found myself being much happier to see Mikoto back than I expected to be back when the second season was announced.

Railgun still has a unique vibe to it, and that wonderful balance of badass action and quirky teenage girl antics that made the original show tower above its nonsensical, cliché-ridden parent Index is back in full force. It’s all there: the vibe, the jokes, the shamelessly hot-blooded electro soundtrack and the stellar production values. In stead of diving headfirst into the action of the miraculous Sisters Arc, this introductory episode does the thing many anime tend to do, namely squeezing out a first episode that serves literally no other purpose than to not catapult people straight into a hurricane of plot. This results in a rather by-the-numbers standalone episode, that wants nothing more than to make sure everything that is needed to get reacquainted with Mikoto, Kuroko, Uiharu, Saten and their little quirks is featured at least once. Nevertheless, this episode manages to dodge the usual pitfalls of this checklist-like approach, seamlessly weaving everything that makes us happy to see these girls again into an organic little story.

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For avid Railgun manga readers like me, it’s always nice to see the little nods to the extended universe and some changes to make the anime a wholly different beast. As usual, the anime makes sure everyone who is not named Mikoto is much more involved in everything going on, and it is especially neat to see resident muggle Saten once again making up for her lack of abilities with sheer awesomeness. Not as awesome though as getting to finally see Misaki Shokuhou, the enigmatic Queen of Tokiwadai show up in all her manipulative glory. Oh, and Haruue and Banri from last season’s anime original arc are back, too! By no means essential, but a nice way to keep that continuity rolling. The Index shows seem to be making a bit of a name for themselves by stuffing everything but the kitchen sink they have to offer into their opening credits, in order to get fans foaming at their mouths, but credit where it is due, it works. I cannot wait to see characters like Mugino and Frenda show up to square off against our titular heroine and my fear only lies in whether these awesome sequences will get the attention they deserve.

Zigg’s Verdict: SHE IS COME BAfuck it

While everybody else in the entire fandom seems to have melted into a warm puddle of goo at the mere mention of the words ‘Railgun’, I’ll be the first to remind people that the original Scientific Railgun was perhaps one-third of a great show and two-thirds rubbish. Also, micro bikini. [Aqua’s note – This coming from a guy who likes Nanoha] Thus it might not be a surprise to learn that I found this opening episode profoundly middling. The mechanical setup is just so transparent and the motions so thoroughly tired it’s difficult to get excited about even the admittedly cool action bits. How many creepy raper guys hanging out in alleyways ready to molest middle schoolers does Academy City have, especially considering it’s meant to be like some sort of super state? How many main character nemesises can we have who are rich, haughty mean girls (they even bring in last season’s rich haughty mean girl just for the sake of it)? How many bad guys have to dramatically announce who’s about to blow them to pieces?

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There’s some good stuff here too, like Saten once again proving she’s secretly the best character in the show, or my continued love for the rich, colourful palette of Academy City. The artwork’s a little off though, as the cast continue their transformation into ultra-noodly CLAMP characters and there’s a predictable massive animation bump once the final sequence starts. I’d also forgotten how having the four main characters talk at once sounds like you’ve taken a trip inside a helium bar. The action is cool as always  and I have faith things will buck up considerably once the actual plot begins but this was a pretty weak start and one which disappointed me greatly.

Also don’t kid yourself people, that OP sounds the same as every other Railgun OP.

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