Recap: Mikoto investigates Tree Diagram as she tries to devise a new plan to stop the Level 6 Project. Meanwhile, Touma runs into Misaka 10032 and helps her take care of a kitten.
Jel’s Thoughts: I keep wanting to hate these in-between setup episodes but they keep doing a decent job of holding my interest. Right from the start with Mikoto’s little flashback with her mother, they’re really doing a good job at establishing her growing frustration and desperation as her plans keep hitting dead ends. I could pick on her Electric Spider Man abilities working on concrete and the naive implausibility of her schemes again, but we’ve been down that road enough.
Sadly the other girls are absent this week, but the Torch of Levity is carried on by Touma and Misaka 10032 in another remixed scene from Index. Out of curiosity I rewatched the original scene and it was kind of interesting to see how far the series has come with production values. In short, the old scene looked awful while this one was much better directed and did a superior job of humanizing the Sisters. All that with essentially the same dialogue and events to work with. It’s cool too that they are slowly working Touma into the plot. It’s already going to be kind of awkward to have him sweep in and take out Accelerator, so at least they’re making sure they establish his motivation.
Speaking of Accelerator, his appearance was once again the weakest part of the episode. I guess they were trying to sell him as some kind of vigilante random street criminal hunter, even though he was brutally murdering them? I still don’t understand why they would try and push their Anti-Hero agenda with him at this point in the story, we should be cheering for his downfall not thinking ehhh maybe he’s not such a bad guy. Again, this is all ground we’ve covered already but so long as they keep doing it I have to mention it.
With two setup episodes out of the way, I think we’ve had enough downtime and I’m ready for some action. With Railgun S continuing through the Summer season, I imagine it will be time to wrap up the Sisters arc soon and move on to the inevitable anime original fan service content. So while I sarcastically try to contain my enthusiasm, I suppose we should enjoy the rest of this story while it lasts.
Zigg’s Thoughts: In contrast to Jel, I found this episode unbearably dull and a real comedown after several weeks of good episodes. If there’s any redeeming value here it’s in the cute, underplayed scenes between Touma and MISAKA 10032 but even then these go on too long and essentially start circling themselves. You can argue that they’re there to further humanize the Sisters but we’ve already pretty much established that they’re living, breathing and emotionally capable, so this feels a little like hammering a point home, as charming as it all is.
Otherwise this is pure, timewasting filler. The opening flashback scene is little more than an excuse to show Misaka’s mum again (have we ever found out what happened to her dad?) and it’s just unbearably twee. I suppose the stuff with the Tree Diagram might be interesting to those watching who haven’t seen Index, but really it’s been such a minor factor so far that it’s difficult to build up much anticipation. For those of us who have seen Index it’s a complete non-starter, as we already know the satellite was destroyed way in advance of this story. I will say that Mikoto’s electric Spider-Man routine was dumb but awesome.
I’m not holding this one against Railgun – every story has to pad at some point, and this wasn’t disastrous, just a bit dull. I do hope we can get back in gear next week however, as an arc this good deserves an excellent finale.