From J.C.Staff comes the spin-off title to Kazuma Kamachi’s A Certain Magical Index, A Certain Scientific Railgun is brought to the UK in a complete season one collection from Animatsu Entertainment. This spin-off title, also based on a light novel series by Kazuma Kamachi, follows the Level 5 esper of Academy City nicknamed Railgun – Misaka Mikoto.
“Misaka Mikoto, a middle-school girl with an amazing and highly-destructive ability to control electricity, is one of the top level espers in Academy City, a highly developed town populated by students with supernatural abilities. Joined by her three very different girlfriends – her flirty roommate and skilled teleporting esper Kuroko, Kuroko’s innocent rookie partner at the local student-run law enforcing agency, Uiharu, and Uiharu’s best friend, Saten, who has no esper powers – Mikoto encounters various strange phenomena and eccentric people through her action-packed adventures in this exciting scientific town.” – Animatsu Entertainment
It’s clear from the outset that A Certain Scientific Railgun has a much better sense of pacing compared to its parent story A Certain Magical Index. We’re given more time to get to know Misaka and company before being thrust into the main story rather than being forced into what felt like an already on-going story in Index. While there’s no awesome over the top action in the first few episodes, it feels a lot more natural, we’re introduced to what espers are and the levels that exist within Academy City. This approach makes the series, as a whole, a lot less confusing, you’re given the information at a comfortable pace allowing you to get a feel for Misaka’s capabilities.
As a spin-off to parent story A Certain Magical Index, there’s a good deal of crossover, usually involving Toumi getting on the wrong side of Misaka and generally for comedic effect. Unlike in Index, where Misaka actually plays a large role in some of the story arcs, Toumi’s appearances are sporadic and don’t contribute much more than comedic relief.
A Certain Scientific Railgun is a rather refreshing series, in that it doesn’t have a male main character and it focuses on a largely female cast without resorting to many ecchi or yuri tropes and clichés. Our main protagonist Misaka is portrayed as a legendary and strong character, albeit slightly innocent when it comes to certain childlike clothes and mascots, which you don’t see all that often in anime and its clear to see how she has become the most recognisable character from the series.
This release features English audio in 5.1 surround and Japanese in stereo with English subtitles. The two opening songs for Railgun by fripSide, “Only My Railgun” and “Level 5”, are awesome and equal the quality of the first opening song for Index“PSI-missing” by Kawada Mami. The two closing songs “Dear My Friend” and “Real Force” both performed by ELISA.
This release features a selection of extras that span across all discs in the set, consisting of four episode commentaries, textless opening and closing songs as well as a US trailer of the series. If you purchased Index or saw our review of Index you can see that the extras included are a mirror of what was included on that set.
Episode 3 English Commentary
Episode 6 English Commentary
Episode 17 English Commentary
Episode 24 English Commentary
Textless Opening Song – Only My Railgun / Level 5
Textless Ending Song – Dear My Friend / Real Force
A Certain Scientific Railgun clearly has a much better sense of pacing throughout the series, allowing the story to start slow and naturally evolve into something that I would say is an even better adaptation than that of Index. Character development is handled a lot better and the series is better for it, Railgun, is a more enjoyable experience and I can’t wait to see more!