Recap: Mikoto discovers Febri’s life is in danger. She must find the people that created her as soon as possible, this time with a little help from her friends.
Jel’s Thoughts: Between the Frog Faced Doctor giving speeches about DARKNESS, an attempt to recall the magic of the playground scene with 10032, and a plot twist at the end I’m sure no one cares about, this episode had some of the laziest writing we’ve seen in this season of Railgun. Even the whole concept of Mikoto being driven to save another artificial human feels like a cheap ploy to dovetail into the stellar previous arc. By bringing up a lot of the same issues and themes, whatever eventually goes down is just going to feel anti-climactic in comparison. So I can’t say I’m really wild about where the plot is headed.
The one thing that did kind of work was deliberately showing Mikoto has learned her lesson as far as tackling problems by herself. There was a certain sense of triumph as each of her friends chimed in with how they could help out, not only in seeing how Mikoto grew as a person but in reinforcing how strong their friendship is. Kongou’s advice, while again very lazily written, was the latest development of her character in a string of moments that have made her much more likable. I feel like there must have been a more elegant way of showing Mikoto’s progress than recreating a lower stakes version of the exact same problem that she just encountered, but it was a satisfying moment nonetheless.
The big question now is if Shinobu has learned her lesson, as I’m not entirely clear how complicit she is in creating (and killing) Febri. Is she really that morally ambiguous or is she working behind the scenes to save her (again)? Honestly at this point I can’t say I really care, and oddly enough I’m OK with that. The only thing I want to see in the remaining episodes is 1. smashing up green mechs and 2. a four on four showdown with ITEM, subbing in Kongou and her girls for Saten and Uiharu. I think there’s still a pretty good chance one or both of those things will happen, so from that perspective I’m looking forward to seeing how things pan out.
Zigg’s Thoughts: I’m actually a little more up on this episode than Jel, though I’ve still got a problem with some pretty forced exposition. Once again we have “I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING BUT THERE’S THIS RUMOUR ABOUT X” casually thrown into the dialogue and between that and the very forced feeling ‘Febri will die’ it felt very much like the show was churning to create more drama and up the stakes artificially. The Febri/Sisters comparison is not flattering for this newer plot arc and while I think better writing could have made the comparison more subtle and allegorical, Railgun here is very much about shoving it in our face, which makes it less effective.
The lack of subtlety is also apparent in the ‘trust your friends’ moral but here I don’t think it hurt as much. Yes, the dialogue is clumsy and the result screamingly obvious, but it’s nice that the show goes out of its way to show that our heroine has actually changed and progressed from her earlier incarnation. Even if she does take waaaay too much nudging to do it. I actually liked the scene with Misaka Imouto, as transparently an exposition dump as it was. It’s jsut nice to see the Sisters again and receive a reminder that they’re still in Mikoto’s life.
I don’t really see this going anywhere, considering we’re in anime original filler and the villains are some of the most two dimensional this side of a Looney Tunes short, but i was pleasantly surprised by the reappearance of Telestina. Sure, she wasn’t the best villain going but it helps reinforce the sense of continuity between seasons. Always nice to use your original content to help with your world building. Railgun continues to impress in that regard, even if what’s being said and done is less important than it once was.