To Aru Kagaku no Railgun – 09
Since Kiyama Harumi is an expert on matters of the brain, Kuroko and Mikoto try to question her on the Level Upper. Saten and Uiharu join them, and Saten decides not to reveal the Level Upper she discovered after Kuroko mentions what’s been happening to the other users. It continues to bother her though, and she leaves the other girls behind to think about what to do. Mikoto follows her, so Saten tries to play it off as nothing, and in the process she drops a charm that her mother gave her. This leads to her reminiscing about her family and reminds her of the weight of the expectations on her since she’s a Level 0. The next day, Saten is still debating what to do with the Level Upper when she overhears some thugs roughing up a guy who is trying to buy a copy of the Level Upper from them. Against her better judgment, Saten steps in to try to stop them, but she’s powerless against the thugs. Fortunately for her, Kuroko happens to come across them and is able to take out two of the guys with relative ease.
The third thug, however, proves to be a much bigger challenge, and Kuroko finds it surprisingly hard to hit him with any of her teleport attacks. She gets injured in the process and has to flee up an abandoned building while trying to figure out a plan. Kuroko eventually realizes that the guy’s power is to distort the light around him, thereby throwing her off. To counter this, she decides to teleport the nearby window panes into the building’s support columns, cutting them in half. This causes the building to crumble, voiding the thug’s advantage and making him fear for his life. Kuroko saves him though and teleports both of them out at the last second. She then gets him to tell her about the Level Upper, so he reveals that it’s just a piece of music. Saten meanwhile has left the scene, and she’s even more conflicted about what to do with the Level Upper now that Kuroko has shown her what someone with an ability is capable of. By chance, she runs into a group of friends, and when they start talking about the rumor of the Level Upper, Saten reveals that she has a copy.
Despite the lack of Touma for a second week in a row, I actually really liked this episode. It had a nice balance of humor, action, and character development, and there was some great production quality backing it up (the animation, the piano pieces during the Saten scenes). Actually the Touma scene that should have been here wasn’t as important a scene as the one that wasn’t in last week’s episode, so it’s even less of a big deal, though I do worry about his role moving forward in the series.
But my point is that what was in this episode was quite good. Aside from the fairly intense Kuroko battle (my only complaint about the episode was that the thug surrendered a lot more readily than I thought he would), they’ve also really dialed up the emotional conflict inside of Saten, making her into more than just another side/support character. It makes me start to wonder about the possibilities for her character, and since this is around the point I stopped reading the manga, I’m very curious to see if she actually uses the Level Upper and what her ability turns out to be if she does.