Friday, 30 June 2017

MT Series Scan: Raildex S 4 & 3

I am a SLOW binge-watcher (and reader). Two hours is about my limit, after which I need processing time. I also enjoy watching online reviewers, and reactions to things that I’ve previously watched, so why not take the time during a slow binge to chronicle my own reactions and speculations?

Today we’re looking at A Certain Scientific Railgun S (Disc 4) with A Certain Magical Index (Disc 3). I decided to watch this universe chronologically, jumping back and forth - but that was before discovering that their plots run totally SEPARATE here at the end, which would mean jumping plots back and forth. Soooo, not going to do that.

After giving it some thought, I’ve changed my mind again. I’m going to run through 3 more “Index” episodes, to actually play the series straight for once. (Partly since the “Railgun S” Febrie plot is an anime only thing). Then I’ll double back to finish “Railgun S”, closing this post on what's likely to be the stronger note.

So, as we left off, Toma was apparently descended from Angels, on account of his Dad. Who has recently been part of some Ritual to change everybody’s appearances - maybe because he doesn’t want Toma to know who he is? Or that’s my take, anyway. Let’s see if (how?) the series corrects me.


*Magical Index Disc 3*


16 Toya Kamijo


Stream of Consciousness:
-The OP is sort of growing on me. Tsuchimikado says he’d snuck into “enemy territory”. But he can’t use magic now, having taken the esper curriculum? (Interesting.) Idols contain some power? Toma chats with Tsu, who apparently looks like Hitotsui Hajime (an “idol guy”, idol of a different type, cute). While Kanzaki looks like Stiyl, well, that’s funny. (Though wasn’t CoughingGuy Stiyl? Mapping isn’t one-to-one?) Toma’s dad also has Egyptian artifacts. (That’s not suspicious.) Kanzaki has GOOD fortune, versus Toma’s bad? Oooh. Was a priestess and saint with power of God. (Toma’s “not God again” talk works for me.)
-Kanzaki wants a bath, but looks like a guy, that’s a problem (though she has good luck, ne?). Oh, hi fan service! (She is not a loli.) Dad shows up, pulls Toma in. Semi-sigh, at least it’s not being held out for laughs. Gay, well, that’s reasonable. Toma fits the piece in about his Dad’s physical appearance. Now Misha, Dad says go for it. (Why does Dad see Misha as a woman, not a changed person? C’mon, guys, clue in.)
-Toma tries a “tuna” pun. Then offers gum? Toma wonders about why “Angel Fall”. Take the rank of an angel? Incomplete so far. Index’s voice talking about Toya, awkward. All of them sleeping together is MORE awkward!! Well, the Index-Sim got crunched, so that’s nice. Index-Mom is going all the way home?! Misha goes with. She took gum from his right hand, ooooh, hmmm. I missed that.
-Sorcerer dispute. They even checked British Library (heh, ROD). So how does Misha know? (They’re casting doubt on Misha, ehhh, but then why would she try to attack Toma before? To deflect?) Not sure I buy this. (Dad could have been trying to deflect onto Misha.) Now they’re taxi-ing on the wrong(?) track. Toma goes into the house. Aww, an old drawing he made. Tsu sees something, says don’t touch. And Toma now sees the pictures of Actual Dad. *dingdingding* Mom and Misha arrive, Mom sees “idol guy”, oy. (But cleverly set up.)
-Stop Misha from killing Dad. Nearly hit by truck. Himegami? (I don’t remember her anyway.) Craaazy driving. Does he tell Kanzaki? Yaaay, he does. She’ll take over, but Toma says no. Goes to confront Dad. NEXT: A fearsome being, and something about Tsu.

Thoughts and Theories:
 It was a clever attempt to deceive with Misha, but I saw through it. Points for the misdirect though, as I wasn’t 100% certain. Extra points because it makes Misha important to the plot, more so than those Knights from the vampire arc. And the backstory was good. Both Kanzaki’s, and the idea that Tsu once used magic, but now can’t, not without it harming him. I’m being pulled back on board. (Less Index on screen may be helping.)
 They’ve also set up how an idol can “have a piece of something”, meaning Dad likely bought a souvenir and is under the influence of evil that way. (My “descended from angels” theory is out.) So I guess Toma will be able to banish the being into the open (Tsu said not to touch something at home) and then Kanzaki can destroy it? With someone running interference for Misha too. Or maybe Misha will tackle the ritual site instead. (Aside: I looked up ‘Himegami’, and it’s Aisa. I’m so bad with names. Interesting that she was a “grown up” version.)


17 The Power of God


Stream of Consciousness:
-Dad being a sorcerer, it’s a long story. Toma was a jinx, people avoided him, sent to Academy City away from superstition, still no luck. So occult superstition to eliminate people's superstitions. Toma was happy with his path; Dad thinks this is about “good luck” souvenirs. So it’s NOT him? (Oh no, it’s Tsu??) Misha don’t care. Kanzaki says this is not Misha? Sasha’s the one from Russia? Being of no fixed gender portrayed as dual gender, they wouldn’t switch? (I’m with Toma, whaaaat?) Misha’s an angel called “Power of God”?? Okay show, you win for it being her all along. 
-Nice design in the sky. World destruction? This is not a man’s fight. (Niiiice.) They need to stop the spell. Kanzaki in charge, hopes Toma will save her in the end. (Very protagonist.) Weird water effects here. Tsu got away, but is talking sacrifice, uhhh. Kanzaki’s not just any member of the Cross, Japanese fusion of diverse religions. Interesting reasoning, yet she’s losing ground.
-Other people now asleep? Dad needs explanation, Tsu arrives. (Tsu made a deal to get magic back?) Hmm, Tsu says it WAS Dad, but he has no memory of it. (Well, Toma knows about no memory.) The ritual was at his house, and ACCIDENTAL due to feng shui, that’s amazeballs. House left empty, it activated - but if they’d interfered, even more serious spell might have unleashed, oy oy. It must all be destroyed at once. Or they take out Dad. Gah.
-Tsu kung fu. Dad stands up for his son. Toma stands, Tsu says they’re enemies then. “Nothing-up-my-sleeves” magic? Origami? He activates the world of Fushigi Yugi (well, that’s where I know it from). That’s a pistol? Shikagami spirit bullet. This magic takes it’s toll. But he won’t stop. Tsu’s a liar? The bullet was aimed at the house. “Power of God” crumbles away. They’re all down and out. (So Toma FAILED for once, that’s nice to see.)
-Toma’s back in the hospital? “What was it for.” Tsu’s still there though?! That was the lie, he has body regeneration and still some magic power. He’s a counterspy? Pretending to be with the Church?! (I like this guy.) Heh, but that’s a lie, he’s hired by everyone (and is basically Garak-Lite from DS9). His parents can stay in their old house, which was a rental unit. Index. >.< He strangled her, buried her and hit her with a door (he says that last wasn’t him). Okay, that bite was deserved. NEXT: Toma and Mikoto have to pretend to be on a date?

Thoughts and Theories:
 *applause* Well played. Had me tricked, all the way through, and yet there were hints of it I picked up on, so that it made sense in retrospect. Also, Toma isn’t invincible, he had to take the assist on this one, and even then it was Tsuchimikado who picked up the assist. (It’s good that he can’t do everything.) The religious tie-ins feel better connected. When this series stops trying to play itself for laughs (with Index...), it works well. The hospital felt like a bit of a stretch this time though.
 Next ep seems to synch back up with “Railgun” after their Febrie-arc around their Ep 24 (and Mikoto seemed to be with a shorter version of herself in the OP?). So I’ll watch that, then switch back to finish “Railgun S” in it’s entirety. I figure it has to be standalone outside arcs, since “Index II” technically starts right after it. (Oh you, “To Aru” continuity...) Maybe Index will do something magically USEFUL for once?


18 Replica


Stream of Consciousness:
-Heh, Toma lampshades the nosebleed excitement anime issue. Index, biting him and being irrational. Math workbook? He has homework to do in 24 hours, before school resumes. OP. Misaka and a probationary maid, who wants passion manga. Unabara Mitsuki who now? Apparently he’s been hitting on her (in theory while she’s been dealing with Febrie, huh). Guy can’t take a hint. TOMA can’t take a hint either. “Please play along”. Heh, they’re being observed by Kuroko, Mikoto runs.
-Unabara’s the grandson of the school director, so she can’t zap him away. She wants many people to see them so Unabara gets the hint. Euhhhh... ‘k? But he needs to do homework. Mustard face. (They’re gonna trade hotdogs?) Oh brother. Mikoto, you’re funny. So there’s less than 10 “Misaka” clones in city, others are elsewhere. HAhaha, is this what people in love discuss. He’s paying attention to her though, his pencil lead dropped out. Aww, she’s helping him. “How come you can’t solve these”, heheh.
-Unabara, just Toma's luck while she’s away. HAH, now Unabara’s helping Toma. Mikoto’s like, “stick to the plan”. Toma says Unabara’s a nice guy. (Heh, they’re still eating, like Mikoto didn’t want with Unabara. Oh no, not MacRonall’s.) Unabara’s back... but he’s also in the store with a bandaged arm? Espers who alter their appearance? Uhoh. (Magic? Why not esper?) Yay, Magical Powered Kanamin! Describes the guy, the knife is obsidian (Index is USEFUL, WHOA). Mimics by taking some skin. Ooooh. And Toma hangs up, I thought it’d be Sphinx’s fault.
-(It’s WEIRD that Unabara’s still after Toma though. Why, because he played boyfriend? Wouldn’t finding a new disguise be a better plan?) Sand to block light. Hit with right hand to fracture disguise, nice. OH, he went after Mikoto to get to Toma to get to the grimoires? That's... really roundabout. “The Kamijo Forces”?? o.O So it’s not roundabout, he’s just a nut. The “higher ups” gave him this job? He does like Mikoto, that’s why, hmm hmm, just wanted to report back not do this. Why are these beams falling?
-It’ll hit him, but no, Mikoto’s there. Oh, er, they did hit him. UnabaraReplica says protect Mikoto, as the attacks will continue. Toma says something we can’t hear. “The worst possible answer.” Mikoto is red, thinks he spoke without thinking (so he said something like he cares about her). But she accepts that she has trouble dealing too. NEXT: A mysterious girl talking to Accelerator (mini Clone??).

Thoughts and Theories:
 Okay, yup, I can see why the “Railgun” series’ would resynch with that plot. It’s kicking off another Accelerator arc, but can stand alone, while cementing the friendship/relationship between the two protagonists. “Index” seems to enjoy jumping back and forth from Magic arc to Science arc... gradually melding the two, I suppose. Except there’s no way Accelerator can do magic, so I wonder where they’re going? And didn’t Upside-Down guy recruit Toma, so what Church is against him? Another day.

 In light of all this, new predictions for “Railgun S”: I still think Crazy Scientist puts Mikoto in touch with ITEM, and they have to work together. Her friends run things on the Assembly side, to prevent the science group from knowing Mikoto’s breaking in to get the data, which Shinobu somehow left for her. They’ll also keep Febrie alive (someone in hospital with her, Haru’ue?), and Febrie’s DNA can run interference against her own sister, maybe? Not sure about Kongo, and Misaki was a really weird entry to Episode 1 and the OP of this show, since we never see her again. (Guess it was to show level 5s don’t get along?)


*Railgun S Disc 4*


22 STUDY


Stream of Consciousness:
-Therestina again. OP. ITEM crew in a pool, uhh. ^_^ Manipulated by disinformation? (I like how one of them is just water hovering.) Mikoto losing hope, unlikely, but saying Academy City is a test site isn’t far off. Therestina knows about the clones too. Mikoto’s looked at the darkness, and got desperate, but her friends saved her, and she wouldn’t have met them otherwise, true, true. “What if I lie?” Hmmm. Says she’ll believe. Finally, Chemicaloid. Consider people who can’t be lab rats, who aren’t level 5, HUH.
-Judgement, Mikoto catches them up. Suspicion on the doctor? Uiharu database check. Kongo and friends, with cute outfit. Now identified Aritomi Haruki, top prizes every year. But it’s “ordinary genius”. He’s not there this year. Shinobu gets No Data, meaning Lab One.
-Aritomi dropped out of school, Saten says it’s too bad, she likes non-espers doing things. Kuroko says not enough data to act yet. Mikoto worries, if not a level 5, would things be the same for her? Kuroko likes who she is, immature leaning, and no mercy in punishment, heh. STUDY Corp? Aritomi directing? Own a factory they paid a lot for, odd. Mii plays find the Gekota, heh.
-Bridge causes a Toma flashback. HAHAHA, she calls CookieBoy self-indulgent. But still have to believe. Tresspass! It’s a decoy site, Shinobu will go check. It’s NOT Mikoto (yet) it’s ITEM, Ooooooh. They beat up robots. Again nobody there. (Shinobu hired them?) Sneak attack. So remote handling? With hair as a receiver, Level 5 Grade powers. Mikoto investigates what’s left.
-Shinobu face-off. Couldn’t think of anyone else to turn to. Nice coincidence meeting here. NOPE. Aritomi says the data’s a dummy, this was a test. (Never easy.) ED. He thanks Railgun for her data. She name calls him. He says real recipe data would be destroyed with electrics. Stun Mikoto, Mikoto says do it. He destroys the data. (Knew it.) Name drops Janie. NEXT: Heh “long story”, with last chance as Febrie collapses onna roof.

Thoughts and Theories:
 They’re apparently feeling pressed for time, running overtop of the ED twice now. They could have cut back elsewhere (like the jail scene). Anyway, guess it was too much to hope that Mugino and Mikoto would (could) work together; I bet the ITEM plot is totally done now.
 So, STUDY has computers hooked into their chemicaloid, Janie, which allows them to manipulate all the robots. Febrie can do it too (we saw that) but it weakens her. Aritomi and them are not attending the Assembly because they’re going to ATTACK it, showing the non-espers that the espers of the City can’t keep them safe (or something), meaning non-espers should rise up (or something). Makes sense in my head.
 So how will that be defeated? Hmmm. They’ll triangulate based on the traffic outages, maybe using Febrie as a divining rod, to get to where the green robots are being hidden. Mikoto seems to have Febrie, so perhaps rushing her to the others, with the cure, so they can help her while she doubles back to kick ass? The next ep will end off with a big face-off with Aritomi. The last one will wrap things up in the first half (speech by Saten?), then the second half will be that date thing to wrap up the Toma arc.
 How will my expectations be shattered this time?


23 Silent Party


Stream of Consciousness:
-Aritomi recalls his speech to a mostly empty room. Now believes espers are the only ones who aren’t neglected. (But aren’t they? It’s perspective.) Says “ability is an uncertain thing”, it’s chance, so made his own more stable esper. (He’s monologuing.) OP. (I do like the OP.) Shinobu says he’s being petty. He talks about recruiting, overhearing Dr. Gensei speak of “Level 6 Shift” compared to their “arts and crafts”. “So what’s their ability?” He's given enough clues, heh.
-Mikoto wakes, can’t move for another two hours. Nunotaba says after she was caught, she was sold to STUDY (gyuh, creepy). Their work was based on her thesis. Her sins follow her, which is why she wants to fix this. (Nice callback.) “Diffusion Ghost” core. Planned to run away with Janie once she had the formula, now can’t. But will save those girls. Mikoto says her sisters give thanks, there are people who can help. Yipes, she’s using her electricity to control her body?! (Yeah, that’ll hurt.) “You count on someone and someone counts on you.
-Intruders, it’s her friends, heh heh. Saten’s monitoring. Mikoto had a tracking device, oh niiiice. I’m a human stun gun, hee. Shinobu stays, or the underworld would be against her then. (Nice excuse.) Hmm, without her they’d need to use the “whip” on Janie?? Also, “Ghost” power converts AIM Diffusion field into virtual matter that can be controlled. OH! Uiharu calls back to how Dr. Kiyama’s Diffusion Field materialized. But control? Commands are there before the field materializes (e.g. “eliminate anyone who attacks you”). They CAN use Febrie to track her sister, but only once Janie’s ability starts. (Hah!)
-Find powered suits. Call AntiSkill, still not enough for higher-ups. But Yomikawa’s heard of STUDY corp, they’re funding the AntiSkill equipment, ohhoho. And she’s suspended. Teehee, but with Komoe. Uiharu has locations, arrivals match blackout events. Kongo’s in, she has suit data, via her dad. Over 20,000 of these things. But through channels, nothing illegal, stuck until they make their move.
-Mikoto troubled by selfish worries. Saten beats Kongo to the punch. Everyone else jumps in, even Kongo’s friends. And CookieBoy in flashback. Aomi call from Mii? (I don’t remember her.) Kongo’s father. More plans. Makes it look like both girls are in one bed, heh. Ohh, NOW she gives the four leaf clover? Neat callback. The clones called Mikoto too?? Final execution vote. On roof, it’s time. ED. Activation. They’re in position. Heh, Saten in baseball gear. Febrie divining rod, off we go. Another ED still shot. NEXT: The still shot in colour ohhhh, both chemicaloid girls are there.

Thoughts and Theories:
 I forgot “Railgun” takes it’s time (they do sort of have a larger cast). Props for really weaving in this “count on your friends” thread though, from the lone girl Sisters Arc. New plan: They’ll have a bunch of cutting between different fights, recalling that these mechs were built to withstand attacks from Level 5s (but perhaps not less conventional attacks). At the central complex, Mikoto will have the biggest battle. That will bring us to the halfway. Then bid Shinobu adieu as she takes the blonde lolitas away. We’ll just get a still of Mikoto seeing Toma at the end or something, and hopefully the Balloons ED which we haven’t seen in a while.
 I must say, the whole “Assembly” event is a little weird, as they don’t seem to be using it at all. Guess the science guys just decided not to go to it this year out of frustration... but then why did Aritomi visit? Why is that day relevant? Symbolism? Oh, and I guess Aritomi will have to be arrested, and not get away, since he’s anime only. Let’s get to it.


24 Eternal Party


Stream of Consciousness:
-Flashback to Shinobu letting Febrie go, over the OP credits. The Misakas are also in on this? Everyone’s ready, battle music. Judgement shows up?! (Since AntiSkill can’t.) They pull a Shirai armband tug, hehheh. (Didn’t see that coming.) Sister’s Noise song returns. Kuroko’s friends got COMBO skills. “They’re better than I expected.” Hee hee. Where is Railgun? Yup, she found you.
-Yup, extra robots. "Esper weakness is eventual fatigue, I have the numbers" speech. "On my own it’s difficult, but now things are different" speech back. Backpack Febrie. He prepared for it! Scenario B7. Signal interference, can’t communicate. And human powered mechs now. Including pseudo-Meltdowner bots, based on their testing, okay for continuity. Aritomi's a planner.
-Antiskill with Haru’ue in a big vehicle as we get the SECOND OP theme, ahahahah, oh NICE. Banri is coordinating a network of telepaths since communications are down? Saten was reading a manual for how to control that thing?! EEEEEEEE! Saten’s in a mech built by Kongo’s Dad’s company, EEEEEE Saten. Ecaterina II! Pfffffft, cockpit alignment lets Saten see up Uiharu’s skirt. While Mikoto deflects the Meltdowner blast to remove video feed. I’m loving this. ^.^
-“Damn espers” “I’m a level 0 you know!” EEEEEE, Saten. Okay Uiharu, you can have some control to be special. Wait, the REAL Mugino’s there now?! (Did NOT call that.) With the others. She won’t bother with Railgun today. Heh “don’t make eye contact with them”. Commercial!
-Aritomi feels they haven’t been beaten yet. He’s doing Final Phase, but they didn’t vote. Then he’s going to kill himself so they can’t stop it?? Mikoto shifts the gun, oooooh. Callback to Accelerator, who had power but wanted more, while Aritomi did inhuman things for power. But strong or weak isn’t relevant, the promise to help Febrie and the city is important. (So what now?)
-Other scientist says it can’t be stopped: 5,000 filaments over the city, the Ghost ability triggers a decay chain, with equipment in stationary orbit 35,000 km overhead. (Well, I see where this is going.) The missile’s already approaching from there. Can’t stop it - all by myself. (I did not see where this was going.) Communications back, Febrie’s done her candy, so Shinobu will handle that. (What’s this music in the background? An ED?)
-“Misaka appearing with superb timing.” HAhahaHAHAHAHAHa YES. At 30,000 km it splits. Mikoto trades with Saten, who gets extra candy from Aritomi to Febrie while she gets the mech... (WAY too convenient given location, but I’ll allow it) ... and they can free Janie this way too. Saten and looove. Misakas have it all calculated, Kuroko’s with her in the launch.
-CLASSIC RAILGUN THEME. Oh, they’re even getting Gekota into this. Misaka helps here too “seeking retroactive approval” OH MY GOD THIS SHOW. Misaka 19090. Kuroko teleports them out, oh, WTF?? RAILGUNNING A MECH? Falling from the sky, like Ep 1. (Waaaay too much happened there.) Febrie made some rice? Shinobu’s never had a gift before? D’awwwwww. ED as they’re falling like a star. Then they’re napping at the Assembly.
-Cut to final appearances. Janie gets Kuroko’s good luck charm. The record of events was rewritten electronically. But also mentally? WAIT, THEY’RE CALLING BACK TO MISAKI INDIRECTLY HOW DARE YOU, YOU BRILLIANT LUNATICS. Heh, Frog-Doc is with the Misakas. Toma’s in class, huh? Because there’s afternoon lectures? (Okaaay, THAT’S harder to fit into continuity. I guess if we infer this ED stuff takes place days later, that makes sense.) “Never a dull moment.” Indeed.

Thoughts and Theories:
 There was laughter and tears. All the squee. But they kind of threw everything at the screen there (except OP and ED), and did they really EARN doing that? I’ll need to think about it. (Also, to say that “episode 18 of Index takes place during episode 24 of Railgun” basically means it’s sandwiched in between the end of the episode and the start of the ED...)

 Okay, had a day to think it over. They didn’t earn that. But they came close. Chronologically: Judgement showing up. They hand waved that, but I’ll buy it. The signal interference, and telepath workaround, that wasn’t earned, too far out of left field. (Scenario B7 should have only been the new mechs.) The Ecaterina II mech to counter B7 was earned, they set that up via Kongo. (Also, I love Saten piloting it, and her “I’m a Level 0” remark.)
 Mugino and the ITEM crew was a misstep, their arc was done, this added nothing. Aritomi killing himself and Mikoto stopping him, earned. The Decay Chain, I’m sorry, no, putting the whole city in jeopardy was NOT needed here. Killing Janie would have been enough. Maybe set some of the robots to self destruct, needing Kuroko to teleport them into one place for Mikoto to destroy them, while Saten and the Misakas helped get through to Janie (THAT was well done). And the Misakas should have only helped THEN, doing extra calculations took away from Uiharu time, that’s something she should have handled herself. And railgunning the mech really wasn’t earned, nor was the callback to Misaki’s “Mental Out”. Use of that time of learn Aritomi’s fate would be better. But there were nice subtleties through there too, like the callback to Accelerator, or Gekota.

 So they earned about 6 of those, and another 6 were unearned, meaning (with the music giving a bonus) it was good on balance, but someone probably should have suggested toning it down just a tad, because 12 plot points in a single episode is a lot. ^_^ I’d watch it again though, in a “crazy good” kind of way.
 And that’s it for “Railgun S”. It was August 2015 when I saw “Railgun”, so it was nice to reconnect here. It is a fun universe... even if that last part may have occurred in some parallel universe. Next, we’ll be seeing more of the continuity for the rest of “Index”! (Which seems to take us only as far as the resumption of school.)


***
There's another six episodes. After all that toggling back and forth, all that’s left is “Index” Disc 4 now. (In theory. The continuity is still a bit messed up, as Index II comes first, but we’ll finish it all off with my next post.) Do you have thoughts on “Railgun”? Or the universe? Or the way I summarized? Let me know. Thanks for reading.

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