Friday, 23 June 2017

MT Series Scan: Raildex Sisters

I am a SLOW binge-watcher (and reader). Two hours is about my limit, after which I need processing time. At the same time, I 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 3) with A Certain Magical Index (Discs 2 & 3). I’m watching this universe chronologically, because I can. Previously, we’ve been heading towards this Mikoto/Accelerator/Toma showdown, the climax of the "Sisters" arc.

I’m resuming here with Railgun first, since I feel that, as it was released later, it is thus the “true” chronology (in revisionist history fashion). Also, the Kuroko scene in the ep is needed to catch us back up to “Index”. Then, we’ll bounce back and forth. All my predictions have tended to be wrong lately, so there’s not much more to say.

*Railgun S Disc 3*

14 The Promise

Stream of Consciousness:
-Kuroko wants to act, also said she’d wait. I guess that’s a good reason for being on Mikoto’s bed. She gets video feed this time? They used similar voices in “Index”. OP. LOTS of Kuroko headspace here to justify the continuity, though it’s not a hard sell for me. She NAMES him this time.
-Hentai talk with flutes and bicycles is the same. Her being conflicted about knowing feels new. Faking Mikoto in the bed IS new! They leave to track down noise, not to dinner. Toma has info here for Clone 10030 and on? Weird. So he COULD still think he’s being played, but now has a time frame (20:30). Yeah, the airship flashback shows weather here, not the companies, good point. NOW we’re caught up to "Index".
-Mikoto on a bridge. He’s found her. Defensiveness. Calls him a detective (very “Index”) while only THINKING how he wouldn’t approve since she volunteered her DNA (very “Railgun”). (So, I presume in “Index” he convinces her what she’s doing is wrong, while in “Railgun” we’ll see he convinces her that he can be trusted?) Yeah, who are you, dude, learning all this in one day, some Gary Stu? ;) She tells all.
-“Can you beat him”? Predicted dead in 185 moves. She agrees. But OH so THAT’S her plan, to die sooner than predicted and cast everything into doubt? (As there’s no “Tree” to recalculate?) Oh golly. Now she’s explaining what I just worked out... oh, Toma knows there’s no “Tree” too huh?? Cat runs off. Intense music. She’s determined. He won’t fight. (I feel like the “tells all” and “185 moves” was eliminated from “Index”, putting us here with them fighting.) She HIT him this time. Wow, surprised he allowed that, but makes sense. One life to spare 10,000 daaaaamn. In theory she could jump over him. Gah, a blast? 
-Meow. Mikoto stayed with him, that’s nice, I thought she’d leave. (She still might, this could be “Railgun only”.) NOW he tells her about his Imagine Breaker. Interesting point, about Accelerator being ranked #1 for the experiment to work. So he’ll stand in for her? Oh, offers to work together over the ED. And he runs off first. New ED, just them. NEXT: The big fight.

Thoughts and Theories:
 Makes a LOT of sense not to have their talk be at a critical episode or climax for the “Railgun S” series, what with Mikoto (our protagonist) doing a hand off. This is actually a really interesting crossroads. I didn’t realize the battle wouldn’t start here. It must last a full episode in “Railgun”, but only a half episode in “Index” (where everything is compressed)? So, do I jump to “Index” to confirm my above thoughts, which would also show the battle in its original form? Or stick with “Railgun”, to see what Mikoto might be doing behind the scenes of the “Index” battle? Eh, let’s have the epic revision second this time; this post will be spastically jumping back and forth later too.

 Regarding how the fight will go... I’m not sure how the nullification will work on Accelerator’s vectors (Toma will have to touch Accel to negate it?). But oh, OHHH, Kuroko’s teleport didn’t work on him. So the “vectors” thing likely won’t work either. Toma simply has to get close enough to Accelerator to pound on him, and the guy will feel pain for possibly the first time in his life. He may give in then, but can he be trusted? Doubt it. I suppose there’s also the off chance Accel retreats to prolong things into the subsequent arc.

*Magical Index Disc 2*

12 Level Six

Stream of Consciousness:
-Oh NO, back to the beef brigade. ESP is about Schrodinger? I like how Aisa’s just eating the beef, like whatever. Puns are good. Believing in something so much it becomes reality? I thought that was the previous arc. (Well, that wasn’t a reality only for Izzard.) Why did we care about that scene?
-Mikoto bridge, thinks back not to her mom, but to “Railgun” Ep 2, with more scientists and d’awww music. They kept “help me”. Toma reads the whole report here (as we don’t have 12 prior eps of info). Same exchange, with no Mikoto head voice. Now asks about laboratories. She shut them down. New illegal cloning mention. Mikoto explains about governing conspiracy.
-She hopes Accelerator will disappear this time? Toma’s logic power (seriously, he IS good at that) points out she would have tried that plan earlier if she could. She evades the friends question. Feels worthless? She brings up the 185 moves this time. So THAT plan is still active. As is the “Tree” issue. (I was wrong again.)
-“You want to die.” “Yeah.” That’s more blunt. Mikoto is calmer this time. Shifting more to angry than desperate. He pockets the papers this time, they’re not burned. His arms are outstretched, not held up. (Y’know, this is going longer than I thought. Maybe we’ll be mid-battle when the ep ends.)
-Warning shot. And he’s down. She realizes about his hand? He doesn’t have his better idea this time. “Happy world” lines again. She blasts him AGAIN in this continuity. Accused of holding back? Zapper zaps a third time. Then holds the cat?? MMmkay. She doesn’t hold Toma in her lap this time, she moves BACK. And that’s it, huh? Oh, no, also a glittery bridge, and him thinking of his other new option. NEXT: Accelerator starts fighting a clone (it’s not even them??).

Thoughts and Theories:
 I have no idea if you’re entertained by my constant fails here. What with thinking the Aisa arc in “Index” would be longer, and yet this one would be two related arcs of equal length. Nope. Six ep arc. OKAY, so the battle with Accelerator will continue for two more complete episodes, with still other things happening in the background in the middle of it. (Because we gotta see some Index and Kuroko, eyeroll.) There’s my new prediction! For what it’s worth.
 I already speculated on the coming battle above. Might as well switch back to Railgun for it. I wonder, how can you make a battle interesting for your protagonist, when they’re not actually the protagonist of the battle?

*Railgun S Disc 3*

15 Kamijo Toma

Stream of Consciousness:
-Toma’s bad luck. Jolted or spooked? His phone’s wrong, natch. Accelerator mentions giving the “spoiler” of his power, heh. Oooh, called him a third-string. OP.
-Damn, nice catch Toma. Clone logic. But there’s only one of YOU. Accelerator’s got the windup doll thing in his head. Yeah, he can affect ground particles; this is a problem if Toma can’t get his hand in there and touch him. Rail beam attack. Mikoto at bridge thinks he can do it, now holds the cat... the SAME cat from first Clone contact?? Can’t tell cats apart, that’s a NICE parallel. She’s worked through her feelings.
-Ahh, Accel was testing him for an esper power. Doesn’t like that Toma’s cocky without one. Flour? Dust explosion? Ohhhh well then. I suppose oxygen deprivation is the only thing that might work, huh? Mikoto tracks the explosion, leaves the cat behind (good, I was like, why bring the cat even that far?). Oooh, his ‘reflection’ doesn’t work as well against non-espers? And now, overconfidence hands.
-Hahahaha, “why am I on the ground”. As I thought, he hasn’t felt pain. He thinks maybe he focussed too much on his palms, error. Right hand man. BAM. Heh, “and he’s on the offensive”. Hand-to-hand. A second hit. Ooop, Accelerator’s figured it out. But Toma can still target, daaamn. Accelerator never saw the clones as human, right. Wants Toma to shut up. Summoning wind. Ohhh, he’s lost it.
-OUCH. Accel thinks he can destroy the world, yeah, he’s a megalomaniac. Wants Toma to stay alive to watch this excuse! And Mikoto jumps in. Toma says don’t. She’ll trade her life for his. Wind compression makes plasma?? His “new power”. She can do something - with her Sisters? Oh, sweet. Something only you can do. The music sells this. The Clone’s awake.
-Accelerator’s plasma is diffusing. He wasn’t close enough to Level 6? No, it’s the wind turbines, because Misakas, ooooh! Mikoto will make an opening. Misaka says she will. Mikoto says it’s the big sister job, awwww. The Misaka Net in action, hahaha. Toma’s still kind of conscious. (He’ll save Mikoto as she saves the clones?) Oh, back to the first ED. (With all the wind turbines, niiiiice foreshadow.) NEXT: Accelerator has one more trick.

Thoughts and Theories:
 I’m actually digging the revisionist history thing. It’s probably the writer/editor in me. So what happened in the “original” history of “Index”? Guessing we won’t get the Mikoto asides (or Accelerator thoughts) as we flip back, that screen time will be filled with Index or something instead. We’ll also get Toma thoughts to plug the gaps, and a more first hand account of the dust explosion, plus him in the tornado. (Oh yeah, and Accel started by fighting a clone, more time gone.) Prediction made! *WOW*, seeing now Episodes 13 for both DVDs are called “Accelerator”. That HAD to be intentional.

*Magical Index Disc 3*

13 Accelerator

Stream of Consciousness:
-This is more than Toma’s usual quickie recap visually (but less narratively). OP. MisakaClone approaches battle. Odd X/Y coordinates. Thinks of Toma, she’s not sure why. (Cuz protagonist?)
-Oh, now Komoe is talking poltergeisting (from “Railgun Season One”) sure. What?! THIS IS THE DUMBEST SCENE. Seriously, backwashing fan service? (I guess it’s good to get this out of the way, not to interrupt the battle, but still.) NO, NO TEACHER. I don’t care if you’re 40 and look 10, that face makes it more wrong. Um, Toma is God sent, being beyond esper powers?! Sure. Oh thank God we’re done with towel girls.
-NOW the bit where he’s in Mikoto’s lap, with the heart stop conversation (this "original" history had extra zaps). Toma’s clever plan, Accelerator is weak. Mikoto admits to facing off with Accel once (so nice continuity throwback caught by “Railgun”). She explains about his ability. (And he didn’t introduce himself until after they fought, so plausible.) Toma doesn’t know where Accelerator IS in this continuity??
-Heh, password check on Accel. Accelerator talks about “throwing her life away” in this continuity. So he DOES consider her life (negating “Railgun”), even as he implies he cares (supporting empathy in a new way). He's still a megalomaniac. Hah, Misaka tosses back the reason Accelerator initially dismissed the project in “Railgun”, cute. He feels he’s not taken seriously? Now he calls her a “factory reject”, that’s more in line. Toma’s running while Mikoto’s on the bridge.
-Ah, he told her not to follow, to not mess up the Level 0 vs 5 thing. Yet she follows him EARLIER this time, interesting. (It’s like how Toma was early into the alley.) Toma’s not dealing with his phone time in this version. Misaka mentions no wind? Oh, she’s turning oxygen into ozone, that’s different! “Never a dull moment” is rather a change for Accelerator though, he’s usually bored. Knockdown. We’re synching up to “Railgun” (start of prior ep only!). Accel REACTS to “third string” in this continuity.
-Flashback on Toma, and Misaka gets to talk here. Kick incoming... or not? Toma gets his speech here, NOT after catching her? Guess so, now Toma’s knocked back, and the rails. This becomes a guy vs guy thing. Reaches out, hand slapped away, HAHAHAHA, I love that reaction. (This didn’t happen in “Railgun” though, Toma hadn’t got a touch in yet when we reached the flour.) Dust explosion. Maniacal laughter. NEXT: Toma can’t get near him, but Mikoto comes in.

Thoughts and Theories:
 We’ve fallen behind “Railgun” by half an episode. Largely due to a larger buildup to the meeting, and oh God, that baths scene. I like to think I can appreciate fan service, but here they’re all lolis, and the timing sucks. Explanations (for me) would work a little better AFTER the climactic battle, rather than interrupting the flow, crowbarring religion into a science arc. The time delay means it’s (AGAIN) tempting for me to stick with Index, except I bet the rest of the battle will only go half an episode now, then we switch back to Komoe And Friends. “Railgun”, which is already ahead, will also do half an episode, but more will actually happen in the aftermath. So we switch.

 I do wonder why they revise history in certain places. Like changing when conversations or events occurred (earlier, seemingly never happens later), or Accelerator kicking Misaka in “Railgun” but not here. I suppose the battle DOES work better when it’s retooled, but Railgun’s “improvements” are at war with my “continuity” self. I’d say “Index” isn’t as polished, but it’s unfair to pick on the original when I haven’t even read the manga. Oh, a stroke of nice continuity I just caught is how they were talking at the same bridge to start this episode as from “Index 1” though. On to the knockout blow.

*Railgun S Disc 3*

16 Sisterhood

Stream of Consciousness:
-Recap on windmills versus Accelerator. OP. Kitty exists. Accel tries to figure out Mikoto’s motivations. “These girls are my sisters.” Toma’s back up. Accelerator goes in for the kill, Mikoto fumbles a coin (yeah, THAT won’t be in Index), Toma’s hand is in the right place. Flashback - tanks and everything were after Accelerator when he was young?? He wants to be normal. Second hit. The windmills stop. (Done, halfway through, called the end for once.)
-Toma’s in the hospital again, room 1028. A Misaka’s there. Mikoto arrives when he’s asleep. (Way to revise hist-- oh he wakes up.) Cookies. Shocking him (literally). Misaka had told Toma about experiment suspension. Be glad clones exist? Imprinted “lab animals” as blank slate, now it's different. Clone chat... on swings. “Pushing the brainwashing so it starts young”, heh! Index in background. Haha, young due to Gekota. Aww, Misaka. “We are unemployed.” Huh. That is awkward. Still with the “On Hold” kitty?
-Saten and Uiharu scene. Why is Mikoto using their oven? Ohh, she took Toma’s remarks to heart. That’s one way of getting the friends back in. Heh, he’s already out on crutches. Index reference. Now we get tsundere here. She tries to say thank you, he sees ants. Toma, you’re an idiot. Learn her name, heh, aw, and he says it. Okay then. Kuroko is back, Mikoto will need an excuse for her nights out. Also, that face? Aw, and Mikoto got the metal pin this time. NEXT: Cooking, or maybe a restaurant.

Thoughts and Theories:
 I thought there would be actual bad news at the end, to launch the next (last?) arc here. That being something with Mikoto’s friends. But not yet. Moreover, since we have both Mugino and Misaki as set up to play a role over only 8 eps... hm, could they be in the same arc? But her friends are dealing with Misaki, while Mikoto takes on Mugino? Also, Shinobu’s fate is unknown too! As is Accelerator’s, in a sense!
 So much out there, and there isn’t enough data for me to predict. So, back to “Index” then, for a new look at all that. Is it possible the entire “plasma & wind” won’t even take place, given how Toma was kinda knocked out by the tornado initially??

*Magical Index Disc 3*

14 Weakest vs Strongest

Stream of Consciousness:
-Dust explosion rerun. Oxygen remarks, “Railgun” connection. Accel goes out with one hand, not both. First knockdown. No pain surprise. OHH, there’s a lot more hits here. Accelerator’s shifted to avoidance. “There’s no way you know how to fight” is a good point by Toma.
-Toma uses the rail to jump off at him; that’s vaguely familiar. Accelerator speaks in tongues now?? (Magic? No, he can’t, he’s esper.) Some sort of wind killshot? Air compression distracts him from firing again, I guess. Mikoto now has her railgun coin out. Toma says don’t do it, this was NOT in “Railgun”, he was flattened and bleeding before she came in. Now the plasma realization.
-Mikoto needs to manipulate the wind. (It’s implied that plasma isn’t a NEW thing for him here...) That CAT?! (That sure got revised, she left it BEHIND! Clone cat?) Mikoto going to Misaka is valid though. “Preserve his dream”, speech isn’t quite the same. Also Misaka isn’t bleeding so much. Cat, really? Mikoto standing to prevent Accelerator is valid. But he walks past her here, humph. (Nice heads image though.) Toma is really not bleeding much here. Now the punch. And Toma falls over. Lots less bandages in the hospital this time.
-His hand is on her... this isn’t funny. Ugh. Why is that cat there?! Experiment’s being cancelled, but Misaka’s body is on rapid growth, and will have a short life? Unless they’re adjusted, okay. Doc’s back, “fond of this room”, heh. Now Mikoto as he awakes. The homemade cookies comments. (So parallels, except she doesn’t totally shock him this time around.)
-Horror music for Index, well, that’s apt. Why is she biting him?! Ah, she was worried (and she’s toooo weird). She wants him to get help too. And a silent scene with Kuroko and Mikoto which must happen before the homemade cookies thing. NEXT: Oh no, a beach ep. With his parents?

Thoughts and Theories:
 Underwhelming. I see why it was massively jazzed up in “Railgun”... in fact, I think the biggest changes in the arc came from during this battle. Toma and Misaka were MUCH more beaten up in the revised “Railgun” - yet it’s not like “Index” had shied away from severing limbs before this. (So why downplay?) Here, Toma takes some hits, is in danger briefly from plasma (even as Accel holds back his shot), then he finishes the job. So the “plasma & wind” took place, it was the initial TORNADO that didn’t, I wouldn’t have called that. Mikoto’s coin drop from “Railgun” was moved to earlier (always earlier) and her attack was negated in favour of the wind power idea. 

 What probably helps “Railgun” to work better is that it does come across as more of a true partnership, whereas for “Index” it’s more the girls supporting their protagonist. (The new flashes of Accelerator backstory are nice too, and I liked “why am I on the ground”.) Also, less pointless loli fan service interjected. In fact, I feel like these few episodes would be a REALLY good way of showing an “early draft” versus “polished version”, towards an author/editor learning experience (I wonder how good they work stand-alone, or with manga context).

 All that said - it's probably better to see it the other way though? By watching “Railgun” first, I got “underwhelming” on this viewing - going the other way you get “amped up”. Still, I’m not upset I did see it this way, and maybe I’m proof of concept, or something. As to where we’re going, uggh, looks like swimsuit filler mixed in with Toma’s parents perhaps confusing Misaka for Index in terms of their son’s dating life. Backstory on his magic cancellation might be too much to hope for. I hope Kanzaki returns before the end.

That’s six eps and basically the To Aru “Sisters Arc”. I’ll be continuing on next post, watching mostly “Railgun S”, as there’s a number of episodes before the two series’ start synching back up towards the end... yeah, there’s GOT to be a bunch of Mikoto’s friends in the next few episodes. Both since they’ve been absent for a bit, and since we won’t get them as much at the end for "Index" (except via revision).

How did you see this arc? “Index” first? (“Index” only? I think you’re missing out.) Feel free to comment. Either way, thanks for reading!

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