A Certain Scientific Railgun Review In Few Words (Mini Review).
In a futuristic city made for the sake of scientific development, and specially the study of psychic powers, known as esper powers. 4 girls lead their normal lives and along the way, they find themselves involved with big criminals & conspiracies that revolves around the city.
A Certain Scientific Railgun is set in the same environment as A Certain Magical Index, but with the focus on the scientific part of Academy city. And a good thing about this anime is that the sci-fi part of the anime is so appealing even for those who are not much into that genre, and it manages to be a fun watch without being much dark.
In short, A Certain Scientific Railgun is a spin-off A Scientific Magical Index that’s done well. One that is any Index fan must watch.
Good things about A Certain Scientific Railgun
- The sci-fi of the anime is not in the distant future, and it is not too apocalyptic to drive those who dislike the genre away. And it is done well to attract those who like it.
- The story is done so you can still watch Railgun and understand the story even if you haven’t watched Index.
- Misaka Mikoto (No need to say more).
- Even some of the least impressive characters in the anime has something to provide.
Possibly bad things about A Certain Scientific Railgun
- You may not appreciate some of the fillers in this anime.
The story occurs in the same place A Certain Magical Index, which is Academy City, assuming you did not watch Index. Which mean you have to know a little about Academy city, the place where the events of Railgun occur. So I will give you a little introduction about it first.
Academy city is a futuristic city that built for scientific research. About 80% of its population are students, and it is said that the city is 20 to 30 years more advanced than other normal cities. One of the main things they study in the city is the development of psychic powers, which is also called esper power. Many of the students that live in the city managed to successfully awaken their esper powers.
Students with these power are called espers, and espers powers ranges from level 1, which is the weakest, to level 5, which is the highest level reached by an esper in the city so far. Being a level 0 means that you have no esper abilities at all.
If you are aware of A Certain Magical Index (Reviewed here), you are already familiar with academy city and many of the franchise characters. But unlike Index, which is centred around the clash between magic & science, Railgun is more included toward the scientific part of the equation, something which may appeal to some of Index fans.
The main characters of Railgun are Misaka Mikoto, is one of the few level 5 in the city, she has the power of unleashing & controlling electricity from her body, and Shiari Kuroko, a level 4 with the ability of teleportation. Who is also a member of judgement, which is the police forces made mainly by student, which aims to maintain peace in the city. Along with Uiharu & Saten, who are level 1 & 0 respectively. Uiharu works in Judgement along with Shirai. And eaten is her classmate.
The first episode start with Kuroko chasing a gang as a member of judgement with the help of Uiharu, which gives you a good introduction of what her daily life is like. Only to find out that Misaka ended up knocking all the criminals out.
During the anime, the fours girls and face many of the conspiracies and threats that happen in Academy City. The anime spans over multiple arcs way similar to what in Index, though the arcs are longer in Railgun compared to Index, and all the arcs are scientific in nature.
The art of A Certain Scientific Railgun is fairly good for the time it was aired in. It is good enough to enjoy the anime, specially with the special effects in it. You can get a pretty good idea about the art from looking at the screenshots posted in this review. ^^
One of the good things about having characters with esper powers means more variety of characters, as you can relate to the character with the ability you like, and not just their personality. It is also one of the old but nice ways to make any show enjoyable if done right.
I will only talk about the main 4 girls here, so that I won’t take from the enjoyment of watching the anime from you.
Misaka Mikoto (Biribiri)
Misaka is one of the most powerful espers in Academy city, and one of only 6 students who reached level 5. She is known as “Railgun”, which explains the “Railgun” in the anime title.
Misaka says that she became level 5 by working from level 1 upward, as if she is suggesting that anyone can gain her level. Something I wonder if it is true honesty, but I hope that’s the case. Her esper power is electric, which makes her an human equivalent of Pikachu :3
She is also known as Biri-Biri among her fans, a name Kamiju Touma made for her, which is the sound of electricity in Japanese.
Despite her powers, she has the looks of a normal girl, which causes some thugs to harass her at times, causing them to get electrified with her esper power (Serve them right).
Kuroko is Misaka’s roommate. She is a level 4 esper. Her esper ability is teleport, which is very interesting, as she can teleport herself as much as she pleases, as well as any object she wants. She is part of judgement, the police force made mostly of students.
Kuroko is obsessed with Misaka, calling her Onee-sama (my sister), and tries to do “yuri” things to her from time to time, but Misaka always stops her on her tracks.
The first thing you will notice about Uiharu is her looks, with the strange flowers on the top of her head. Because that’s what I noticed the first time I saw it. ^^
Uiharu is a level 1 esper, who is also a member of Judgement, along with Kuroko. Despite being level 1, she is very useful giving heir technical skills, which makes her very handy in helping in getting information and tracking criminals.
Uiharu attends Sakugawa Junior high, along with Saten.
Saten is a class mate of Uiharu in Sakugawa Junior high. She is Level 0, which means she has no esper powers at all. Which makes stands stands out among the main 4 girls in the series. That also makes her look like a loser in the bunch (If I am to go out of my way to say that). But it is said that people of level 0 can become level 1 if they studied hard. So it is not that Saten has no chance at getting an esper power.
Saten has the habit of flipping Uiharu’s skirt in public, something that Uiharu totally dislikes.
There are tons of characters besides the 4 main girls, many of these characters are interesting, either with their personality or their esper powers. But I thought it would be better to let you now them by yourself instead of me spoiling so much on you.
Pacing & Enjoyment
The pacing of A Certain Scientific Railgun is considered good, but it is not the best you will see in anime, as sometimes the anime takes a little detour every now and then, which is to show you the daily lives of the characters, so I can’t say the pacing is good for that. The enjoyment of the anime makes up for the pacing, giving how things turn out at the climax of each arc. and the good amount of characters interaction.
Extra Few Things
A second season of A Certain Scientific Railgun is already there, which is called A Certain Scientific Railgun S. It features the sisters arc in details, which you will recognise if you watched Index. It has a better character development than the original Railgun, especially when it comes to Misaka, and it features some of the best characters in the Railgun/Index universe in my opinion. So it is a must watch if you liked the original Railgun.
The opening songs
There are two openings in A Certain Scientific Railgun. Both are very good. But the first one is my favourite among the two. As it is catchy, fast paced. And shows you scene from around academy city, which the characters in their daily lived, and each scene connect with the next one. I always like the opening that shows you the characters like that, especially giving how it matches the pace of the opening song.
The second opening follows a similar formula to the the first opening, but it is a bit calmer. It shows you the characters which you already know a bit about, and reflect on their development in the episodes you have seen in the first half.
Anime to watch if you liked A Certain Scientific Railgun
The original anime that A Certain Scientific Railgun spun off, which also occurs in academy city, which features Kamiku Touma, a level 0 student. but one that who has special ability, which is to cancel any special ability using his right hand, be it an ester of magical power. As I said earlier in this review, Index revolves around the clash between science & magic. (Unlike Railgun, which focuses on the science side of academy city more).
As I already mentioned it, if you liked the first season of A Certain Scientific Railgun, then you are definitely going to like season 2, which is a continuation of the first one. And it also features some of the most interesting characters in Index/ Railgun realm, and a better characters development. I have reviewed the second season by the way. The review is kind of a continuation of this one.
Pretty much one of the things I quite like about Railgun/Index is how they all happen in the same universe, even if they are focusing on different aspects of the city. I would even mind if they made a third series that also happen in Academy City, as long it is done well. Maybe they can call it “A Certain Kawaii Idol Mimi-Chan” (Okay, I am joking ^^).
A Certain Scientific Railgun is an anime you pretty much must watch, either if you are an Index fan, or Misaka Mikoto fan, or into chi-fi in general. I also recommend anyone who watch anime for enjoyment or characters to watch it, as there is more to it in Railgun.
I hope you liked my A Certain Scientific Railgun review, and I hope to see you soon with other anime reviews.
Quotes from A Certain Scientific Railgun
- “Why not just try hard again? Quit mopping around. Stop lying to yourself and try once more” – Mikoto Misaka.
- “If you have the will to follow through with your beliefs, the results will follow naturally.” – Kuroko Shirai.
Review Credits & Sources
I am very proud to say that A Certain Scientific Railgun is the first anime review I write without much help from external sources, which is an indication of how much I like Railgun. ^^
- A Certain Scientific Railgun Manga. Which covers the events of the first arc of Railgun Anime, as well as the sisters’ arc.
- If you liked this review, don’t forget to check out my other anime reviews here.