To Aru Kagaku no Railgun – 24 (END)
Having figured out what’s going on, Mikoto and friends first go save Kiyama because she’s been following a decoy. The children were actually taken to a different location, so Saten, Uiharu, and Mikoto go with Kiyama while Kuroko and Kongou Mitsuko hold off the MAR forces. Mikoto and Kiyama’s car, however, come under attack by Telestina in a giant mechanized armor, and Telestina is prepared for all of Mikoto’s attacks. Motivated by Kiyama’s determination to save her former students, Mikoto uses her powers to stop and break one of the mechanized armor’s arms, and with Kuroko’s help, she fires one of the pieces of debris as her railgun. This destroys the armor, and the girls are free to proceed to the facility where the children had been moved.
They eventually find Haruue and the children in an underground level, but before they can do anything, a Capacity Down system activates, and Telestina reappears, this time in just her power suit. Kuroko, Uiharu, and Mikoto are powerless against her, however Telestina doesn’t see Saten, and Uiharu smartly directs Saten to the control room to shut down the Capacity Down system. Mikoto buys time by bringing up how Telestina was a victim of her grandfather’s experiments, and that gets Telestina talking about how she feels she has the right to create a Level 6. Her plan is to use the children and the First Sample to make Haruue into a Level 6, and she doesn’t care if a Poltergeist incident destroys the city in the process. She sees everyone in Academy City as a guinea pig and gets ready to finish Mikoto off, but she’s interrupted by Saten over the announcement system telling her not to touch her friends.
Saten then destroys the Capacity Down system controls, and Kuroko makes quick use of their powers to make Telestina drop the First Sample. Telestina has one more weapon which rivals Mikoto’s railgun, but Mikoto’s determination and her own railgun win out in the end. Using the First Sample now, Kiyama is finally able to finish her program to wake the children safely, and it works. Edasaki and the others soon open their eyes and recognize their teacher, and this success leads to Kiyama thanking Mikoto. In the aftermath, both Kiyama and the children recover in the hospital, and since it’s Kiyama’s birthday, Mikoto comes up with the idea of broadcasting a birthday message from the children to her on the city’s information blimp.
This finale turned out to be much better than I was expected. There were tons of great action scenes throughout the first half, and the biggest surprise there was Kongou Mitsuko’s Aero Hand. I didn’t realize it was such a fun power to see in action, and she got such a great entrance that I instantly grew more fond of her character (previously she was more annoying to me than anything else). The later fight between Mikoto and Telestina’s mecha – which looked like a Knightmare crossed with a construction vehicle – was pretty good as well, though Mikoto is lucky that Kuroko showed up when she did. They did a good job making things extra exciting in that scene and then later on in the final showdown by using the opening songs LEVEL5 -judgelight- and only my railgun.
Aside from all the action and audio/visual stimulation, the other thing I liked about the episode is that it wrapped things up pretty well. The theme of friends did play a part in the episode as expected – it was nice to see Saten able to perform an important role precisely because she’s a Level 0 – but it wasn’t as heavy-handed as I had feared it might be. More importantly, having the children wake up finally and allowing Kiyama to have a happy ending made the me feel like the series had reached it’s rightful conclusion and that this was all part of one story, not several disparate story arcs. In that regard, I suspect that, having read the manga, I have some extra appreciation for how all this turned out.
If you had asked me my thoughts about the series two months ago, I would have probably said that it had a great first half and was going through a not-so-stellar second half. But there’s a reason I often say that you can’t really judge a show until it’s over, and this was the perfect example of that. I really enjoyed watching Railgun, and in the end I didn’t mind too much that they spent episodes on Tsuzuri Tessou and on the dorm manager because the staff did a good job weaving things so that the story come together. Series like this spoil me on the kinds of action, story, and characters that I feel quality titles should have, and I’m going to miss watching it every week. On that note, I should mention that there wasn’t any commercial or eye-catch aired with this episode to advertise a new Index or Railgun series like there was last year at this time. If I had to guess I’d say more Index will be coming before more Railgun, but J.C.Staff will probably choose to use this production team to make Shana III first.