To Aru Kagaku no Railgun – 22
Haruue reveals to Mikoto and company that she and Edasaki had been at the same Child Error facility before Edasaki was transferred away. Recently, Haruue has been able to hear Edasaki calling out to her, telling her about the pain and asking for her help. Uiharu vows to find Edasaki, but what bothers Mikoto is the fact that Edasaki was one of the children Kiyama had under her care. She tells Telestina about it afterward, including how the experiment was directed by an old man named Kihara, and Telestina recognizes that man as a mad scientist who’s since gone missing. She further hypothesizes that the children might unconsciously be the cause of the Poltergeist incidents and that they need to find them. When the girls tell Saten and Uiharu about this, Uiharu is willing to help search, but she thinks that the others are wrongfully suspecting Haruue’s friend. The next day, Uiharu visits Haruue again with some warm taiyaki, and she reveals that her ability is to keep things at a constant temperature, something she’s never revealed to Mikoto or the others. Mikoto meanwhile meets with Telestina and learns that Kiyama was released on bail.
Based on Uiharu’s research, the girls are able to figure out that it’s possible for there to be a mass outbreak of RSPK syndrome from the resonance of AIM dispersion fields. The big problem is that if the ten missing Child Errors’ runaway abilities all activated, it would effect 78% of the students in the city, and that would be enough to destroy the city. What’s interesting to Kuroko and Mikoto is that the person who originally wrote about all this is none other than Kihara, and Mikoto in particular recognizes one of the facilities that Kuroko dug up in her search. Because of this, Mikoto sneaks out alone that night to go investigate, and she confirms it this was the place that Kiyama worked at before. By chance, she encounters Kiyama herself there and confronts her about what’s been going on, but Mikoto overreacts and causes the entire facility to power up, activating several alarms. Kiyama thus takes her and brings her to another facility, and Mikoto soon finds out that it’s where the missing Child Errors are being kept. This confirms that Kiyama is behind the Poltergeist incidents, but before Mikoto can get pissed off again, the frog-faced Heaven Canceler appears to explain that there are some complicated reasons for this.
As it turns out, Kihara started all this by proposing to his colleagues that their ultimate goal was to create a Level 6. His own research had produced a crystallized form of the hormone and neurotransmitter secretions made by all people with abilities, and he intended to administer this to those chosen to become Level 6. Heaven Canceler had at the time questioned what Kihara was doing, and he reveals now that these Child Errors were subjects of that experiment. He had been the one who had saved their lives, and he had bailed Kiyama out to find a way to wake them. The problem is that when the children get close to waking up, the series of events occur that cause a Poltergeist incident. Kiyama is developing a program to counter this, but she needs to see the data from the original crystallization sample. Since that data has thus far been impossible to find, Mikoto questions what Kiyama would do if she never found it, and Kiyama vows that she’d wake the children up anyway, even if it causes a huge Poltergeist incident. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Telestina and her men who refuse to let that happen, and Telestina takes custody of the children because she claims that her people can treat them and access the data that Kiyama can’t. Mikoto stops Kiyama from opposing Telestina by pointing out that Kiyama hasn’t been able to save a single child so far and by revealing that her friend has been able to hear Edasaki’s cries for help.
And here I thought episode 20 was full of techno-babble – this episode felt like it had three times as much. Of course I can’t say that this episode was unnecessarily verbose since a lot of stuff we weren’t sure about finally got explained, including what’s truly behind the Poltergeist incidents and what Kiyama is up to, but it still wasn’t the most compelling of episodes and reminded me of the longer exposition parts of Index. What I do like though is the fact that this is all connected to the first story arc because it makes the series feel whole instead of comprised of two separate parts, and they’re addressing here some of the hanging plot threads from the first arc.
As for the actual plot developments, I found it a bit odd that Kiyama got out on just bail, and it made me wonder just how much power Heaven Canceler really has. I can understand and somewhat appreciate how they’re working him into the story, but it’s getting to the point where it feels like he’s becoming a plot device with all that he’s capable of doing. Also, it was nice to see that Uiharu’s ability was finally revealed, unimpressive as it was. It was a bit of an oddly placed revelation though, and the fact that she told Haruue and not Mikoto and company reminds me that the way she’s acting towards them still irks me. Someone, like Saten, needs to slap some sense into her. Anyway, perhaps there’s a purpose behind revealing her power here – maybe she’ll actually put it to good use sometime in the final two episodes? I can’t imagine how given its limited applicability, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.