To Aru Kagaku no Railgun – Chapters 9 & 10

9 02 2009

(I’m not regularly gonna do manga reviews, only on occasion when I feel a chapter is worth discussing, and I have enough time and motivation)

For those of you who don’t know, the manga version of To Aru Majutsu no Index has a spin-off called To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (eng. “A Certain Scientific Railgun”).  As the title suggests, the spin-off centers on Misaka, Kuroko, and various cases involving espers in Academy City.  In this version, Touma is a side character, similar to what Misaka is in Index.

Chapters 9 and 10 continues the ongoing investigation into the “level-upper”, a technology that supposedly increases an esper’s level instantaneously (with adverse side-effects).  These chapters highlight Kuroko in a way that Index never did, and well…

I will NEVER look at the teleport ability the same way again...

In Index, Kuroko was nothing but a nosy friend of Misaka.  But after these chapters, I can’t help but appreciate her.   She isn’t a level 4 esper and a member of JUDGEMENT for nothing.

Just something I noticed (and so did probably a lot of other people): there is a lot of parallelism between this story and the steroids scandals today.  Just think about it
– esper-level <=> skills/talent
– level-upper <=> Steroids/drugs 

These chapters cemented, in my mind, that Railgun is a better manga than Index.  It’s something I noticed recently in the anime (and my growing dissatisfaction with it), so I’ll probably mention it again once it finishes.  The first few arcs set up an epic battle between science and religion, with Touma and Index caught in the middle… but it never happens.  Instead, Index falls into a pattern of having some evil mage, or esper getting involved with Touma, Touma monologuing about how this and that is wrong, and then Touma punching the evildoer.  But this isn’t the anime’s or the manga’s fault at all. The fault lies in the source material, the light novel.  The light novel was written in that pattern, and 16 volumes/arcs later, nothing has changed.

While this “case study” approach fails in Index it works remarkably well with Railgun.  Probably because Railgun follows a “police-like” entity, so it ends up being like a police case-files manga. Either way, Railgun centers around my favorite character in Index so all is good. =D

*whistles* well I’m done. That post ended up being quite a bit longer then I anticipated…





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