The other half of the brother-and-sister series is this one, “A Certain Scientific Railgun”. We are still in Academy City, where people who want to get the best education (and have esper powers) go to. Our missy to the right, Mikoto Misaka, is a Level 5 Esper, of which there are only seven in the entire city, and, of this septet, is the most powerful, or at least, the most feared. She can conduct electricity and what she does is flip a 100-yen coin into the air. When it comes back down and it about to pass the ecliptic, she uses it to shoot her electric bolt out and cause some serious damage.
She attends Tokiwadai High School (an elite among elites) and people have heard of her. Her roommate Kuroki Shirai (the purple one in back) has a SERIOUS fetish for Mikoto and is constantly looking for ways or opportunities to be physically intimate with her (which never works; this is a big running gag) . She also works for Judgment, a public service group that maintains peace and order in the City. She is a Level 4 Telekineticist and uses nails to pin her perpetrators to the wall, as well as teleport in and out of situations.
Kazari Uiharu (flower headband, far left) attends Sakugawa Middle School, a rather ‘normal’ school. She works in Judgment with Shirai, but more as logistics. She is a Level 1 Heater, having the ability to keep things warm at a constant temperature. Our last lady is Ruiko Saten, who attends school with Uiharu. She is a Level 0, but annoys the stuffing out of Uiharu, as she will flip up her skirt to see her underwear and comment about the pattern of the day.
Together, they try and combat the dark and sinister forces that encircle Academy City, and there is quite a lot of experimentation going on. The first season consists of three arcs, which are related, but you do not discover that until the end, plus a tag that is more explored in the second season. One has to do with this series of earthquakes besetting the town. The second has to do with people of low or no esper abilities suddenly having esper abilities and the last is some super-secret awesome crunchy chocolate filled project of such a diabolical nature that no one can believe it.
Two things about this show bothered me (and why is it always two things with me? That bothers me.) The first is the dearth of male characters. There are hardly any men in this town, and the ones we meet are evil, bad, wrong and/or potentially unsanitary. I realize that these are, for the most part, girls (15 at the most?) and so romantic encounters are off the charts, but there are no other males they encounter on a regular basis? Classmates? Barristas? Shopworkers? Anyone?
The second is the Late-Entry Evil. I give a show about two episodes to introduce all the main characters. Any ‘new character enters’ for me is shorthand that this person is evil, bad, wrong and/or potentially unsanitary and is not to be trusted, and you encounter that with this show. I don’t mind it, but why is it done so badly? They might as well have a flashing neon sign on their head saying “Evil”. Or, better still, get one of those informational blimps that cruise the skies over Academy City and point that out to everyone?
This is not a bad series (although you should take a break between this one and “Magical Index” and well as between seasons one and two), but you get the feeling that they are just not growing as people. They fall into ruts rather quickly and it’s hard to break free as they move from arc to arc. But you find yourself drawn in as you learn why they are the way they are and how dedicated they are to life in Academy City, plus how you would never really want to go to Academy City. I mean, I never see them really in class, more wandering around town and buying trinkets and dispatching the bad guys with aplomb.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Standard for what it needs)
Plot 8 (Good ideas keep popping up)
Pacing 8 (Keeps a balance between dull and dangerous)
Effectiveness 7 (Works well, but interpersonal needs help)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, especially with a second season)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (We are just not getting the whole story)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I’m here for you, Sissy.