Recap: Mikoto runs into Touma, which only fuels the other girls’ suspicion that she has a boyfriend. But before she can put her mind at ease about stopping the Level 6 Project, she discovers her work is far from over.
Jel’s Thoughts: This episode was a clever junction point between the events of Index and the story we’ve seen thus far. If you haven’t seen Index it gave you just enough information to figure out how Touma is connected and what he’s capable of, and for those of us who have seen it there were small mentions like his memory loss to keep things in continuity. It was also cool to see a scene that was originally an easy going, light hearted introduction to the Sisters re-told as a much heavier turning point from Mikoto’s perspective.
After so many consecutive episodes of action, it was also a nice change of pace to bring in the other girls for a little levity. Saten’s well intentioned but misguided powers of deduction and Kuroko’s reaction faces were worth a good chuckle. It was a reminder of how different Railgun S has been, relegating Saten, Uiharu and to some extent even Kuroko to comic relief instead of the more ensemble format of last season. Considering that meant a hefty amount of anime original filler, I’m not complaining in the least.
If I had to point one thing out that didn’t work quite so well I’d say Mikoto’s naiveté was a little hard to swallow, but she does acknowledge she shouldn’t have been so stupid as to think simply blowing up a few labs would have stopped them. I guess we should cut her some slack considering she is supposed to be a 14 year old kid. Peeking into how Accelerator got involved in all this seemed a little unnecessary as well, but at least they kept that brief. Overall this episode may not have been thrilling per se, but it managed to keep what could have been really boring filler interesting enough to prepare us for the next round of action.
Zigg’s Thoughts: This was a good example of how to do a breather episode right, mixing some nice little comedy bits, some good character building moments, a little Index fanservice and some slightly heavier drama all into one highly entertaining piece. Anybody who’s seen index will find the opening interaction between Mikoto and Touma delightful, especially since it’s been subtly rewritten and re-animated just enough to make it different. On a personal level, it’s damn great to see Touma again – no matter how much he’s a generic shonen protagonist, I find him incredibly likable and he always provides a down-to-earth anchor in increasingly ludicrous Academy City.
Opposite this, the three girl tea party between Uiharu, Saten and Kuroko was probably my favourite scene in this entire episode. There’s such great chemistry here, from Saten’s matter-of-fact (but totally incorrect) deductions, to Uiharu’s adorable tongue-tied embarrassment (you mean they might be having SEX?) and topped off with Kuroko’s smouldering rage and disbelief. It really makes for a lovely comedy setpiece that doubles up as a good sketch of all the characters involved (note Uiharu and Saten’s contrasting ideas of what a Mr Misaka might be like) and a masterclass in how to animate faces. Kuroko’s subsequent showdown with Touma and Mikoto is good too, and I’ve got to give a shoutout to Satomi Arai’s fantastic voice acting, swinging Kuroko between furious lover, delusional pervert and sincere friend all in the space of 25 minutes. It’s a bravura performance.
The back half of the episode is a little weaker – yes, it’s nice to see the arrival of MISAKA Imouto from a more dramatic perspective, but the subsequent angst fest feels a touch overblown, and as I remarked last week Mikoto’s naivete is a little tough to swallow. The Accelerator segment is pointless filler and I’ve said many times that he works way better as a mindless engine of destruction. But these hiccups are redeemed by the ending, which is a lovely, poignant little scene that reinforces the genuine friendship between the two girls and sets up Mikoto for her last gambit. I even like the new end song! Great episode all round folks.