To Aru Kagaku no Railgun – 14
Even though it’s summer vacation, Saten has to take supplementary lessons at Touma’s school. Fortunately, she’s able to do it with some of her friends, and there are also a lot of students from other schools. Their teacher is none other than Komoe, and her lesson is on the importance of having a Personal Reality for ability development. When it’s finally time for lunch, Saten realizes that she forgot to bring something to eat. To her surprise, Juufuku Miho is in the class as well and offers to share. Miho is happy to see her there and is grateful that Saten has been responding to her letters, but she also confides that she feels an oppressive air in the classroom. She points out that all the students are the same in that they tried the Level Upper, but Saten feels that it can’t be helped.
The class after lunch is physical training led by Yomikawa Aiho, and she has all the students start to run laps. This exhausts everyone eventually, but Saten keeps running, and Yomikawa keeps pushing her until one of the other girls – the same one Mikoto once fought – stands up to Yomikawa. She feels that this entire course is punishment, but Yomikawa denies it and claims that it’s for the purpose of surpassing their limits. Yomikawa explains that if they feel that something is impossible and give up, then it’s over even if there’s power inside of them that they didn’t know they had. Ability development works in the same way, so they have to push themselves. It then starts raining, so the students return inside, but the girl from before is still convinced that this is punishment and continues to complain about it. Saten eventually tells her that it’s only natural that they get punished for cheating, so the girl backs off. Saten’s friends realize that she’s right as well.
Back in the classroom, Komoe directly addresses the issue by giving a speech on how the course isn’t to punish the users of the Level Upper. She points out that they should have all experienced powers greater than what they originally had, and she connects this to what Yomikawa said about surpassing their own limits. Komoe has the students reflect on how they felt when they used their power, and Saten remembers everything Uiharu and Mikoto said to her during the Level Upper incident. The students are then tested on their abilities before the course ends, and afterward Saten finds a letter from Miho saying that she plans to follow Saten’s example and live more confidently. Saten also looks at her own scorecard which says she’s still a Level 0, but she resolves to keep doing her best, and she finds Uiharu, Mikoto, and Kuroko waiting for her outside.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this episode. It made good use of previously introduced one-shot characters, plus Komoe and Yomikawa, and it felt like the perfect epilogue to the Level Upper story. I thought Komoe made a very nice speech, and the episode in general was good for Saten character development. The ending gave more closure too in terms of her perspective, and it further emphasized the importance of the friendship between her, Uiharu, Mikoto, and Kuroko. My only issue with the episode was that it aired this week instead of two weeks ago. This would have been a much better fit before the cheerful and funny swimsuit episode were you can’t really detect any conflict or trouble in Saten. I guess it’s not that big a deal though since it wasn’t too far apart from the Level Upper finale. In any case, it looks like next week starts something completely different, and it the preview makes it seem like there’ll be plenty of action.