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July 30, 2012

Anime Review: Toaru Kagaku no Railgun + OVA

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun takes a different direction from Torau Matjutsu no Index and features Misaka Mikoto as the main character of the series investigating many science-related incidents of Academy City.

Toaru Kagaku no RailgunSynopsis:

Academy City is a highly developed place in terms of technology. It is said to be 20 to 30 years ahead of the rest of the world. 80% of its 2.3 million residents are students. The focus of studies here is directed towards esper powers. Misaka Mikoto, one of the top level espers in town, shares a room with Kuroko Shirai, another high level esper who is a member of Judgement, a law enforcing agency composed of students. Both attend to Tokiwadai, a private school reserved for the high-leveled and the rich. Kuroko's partner at Judgement, Kazari Uiharu, is a low level esper who studies at Sakugawa middle school. Her best friend and classmate there is Ruiko Saten, a level zero (no esper powers). Together, the four encounter several adventures in the exciting scientific town.

Review:

I watched the anime expecting plenty of references and crossover arcs from Toaru Majutsu no Index, but there was none and I was left slightly disappointed. The anime closely follows the life and adventures of Misaka Mikoto as she deals with pressures and challenges of being a Level 5 esper as well as investigating various crimes that happen throughout Academy City. If you are wondering what happened to Touma, Index, and the "magic" side of things from Index, let me tell you that Railgun completely leaves them out and only focuses on the "science" side of things. Of course though, Touma, Index and a couple of other characters from Index do make a couple of quick cameo appearances, but nothing worth noting here. Another expect which I found the story lacking depth is the explanation of ability powers, ranking of esper users, the actual purpose of Academy City, and the development of such powers. The character's power seems to not change or improve over time, which seems kind of disappointing due to the lack of variety and originality of such powers. Towards the end of the series, there were a few fillers that acted more like a slice of life anime than a action one. In the end, the story was a hit and miss.

The art was very well done as expected from the same companies that brought you Toaru Majutsu no Index. The battle animations and ability effects was highly detailed and vividly illustrated. Characters were full of life and had plenty of facial expressions. Detail on sceneries and backgrounds were expressive and looked so detailed, it was pleasant to the eyes.

The theme songs were catchy and suited the theme really well. Voice acting was somewhat of a mixed bag. I still can't really stand some character's voices in the end. Other than that, everything else was perfectly fine. There were plenty of sound effects and humorous dialogue to keep you entertained.

I felt that the characters in Railgun had a slight different personality and attitude compared to Index. Perhaps the story, situation, and setting was different hence the normal reactions and personalities shown by these characters would resultedly be slightly different. Misaka Mikoto felt more expressive and nice compared to her other self which showed more a "tsundere" character. Here, she displayed more of a headstrong character that cared for her friends. Kuroko Shirai definteily went overboard in this anime; becoming even more ecchi than she is in Index. Of course, this anime isn't really intended to be taken seriously, so there are plenty of awkward, strange, hilarious, and embarrassing moments to be found.

Overall, I would say I enjoyed the anime only for its fan service; and there's plenty of it. The story was a hit and miss, and the characters lacked depth. In the end, it ultimately resides down to how much fan service are you willing to take. Here, there is just plenty of action and hilarious moments to keep you occupied.

STORY: 6
The story doesn't go in any direction at all, it can be simply classified as a action slice of life anime with plenty of fan service and fillers.

ART: 9
Simple wonderfully illustrated and animated from start to finish. Characters all looked cute and cool.

SOUND: 8
Theme songs were catchy and voice acting was good for some characters.

CHARACTER: 7
The characters lacked depth; meaning the anime did not fully or properly introduce or look into the personal details of them.

ENJOYMENT: 7
I thought it was the same as Index but from Misaka's point of view, but it was not. Disappointing.

OVERALL: 7
Apart from the fan service seamlessly spread throughout the anime, the story lacked direction. You may find random characters pop up randomly but actually does not contribute to the story. In the end, it really depends if you feel like being engulfed in the anime or not.