To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 04, 05
「妹達(シスターズ)」 (Imoto Tachi (Shisutazu))
Going into the fourth episode, it’s quite the commentary on human coping mechanisms, as Misaka pretty much tries to drown out the things she realized last week by—you guessed it—spending the day emptying out capsule machines! Wait. What? Gotta say, that was pretty funny to see to say the least—that, along with the various reactions from Kuroko as well. In the end however, I guess it’s like what they say—everyone has their own way of coping with things and this seems to be Misaka’s. Not that I mind though, because it certainly made for some nice slice-of-life-isque developments to start things off…
…elements that end up being in stark contrast with the rest of the episode, which held quite the foreboding atmosphere throughout. Indeed, the build up through the episode was quite well done—in the form of the cloning rumors popping up in our main group’s daily conversation—and it’s something that really hammered in the sense that things weren’t quite right. Still, I was admittedly caught off guard by the additional scenes in the epilogue—despite having watched Index and knowing what to expect—and it just goes to show that if someone really wants to pick a fight with you, there’s only so much you can do to avoid it. Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically in the context that you can only do so much to avoid something if you’re being put on center stage—and it’s just one of those situations where you’re just going to have to face things head on, a notion that Misaka will undoubtedly have to realize in the upcoming episode.
Before going right into the discussion of the next episode though, I gotta say—there were two quotations this week that really caught my eye. The first was the question of what would you do if you had a clone of yourself, which was admittedly an interesting question to ponder—really, what would YOU do if you had a bunch of clones running round?—and the second one was the whole bit where the unnamed scientist says “who knows what the higher ups are planning, we’re just doing what being we’re told to do.” And well, it’s just something that caught my eye because as a scientist, I feel like you’re crossing all kinds of ethical guidelines when you don’t care exactly what it is you’re doing just as long as you’re following orders from above. I suppose I’d think twice if my life was counting on it, but at the same time, it’s a concept that nags at me a little bit—and one that admittedly brings up quite a few questions (again) about the point at which a goal can be considered worth it. Granted, we don’t know exactly what goal they’re aiming for at this point now that there’s clearly no way to reproduce level 5′s from this experiment… but it’s gotta be quite something if they’re just nonchalantly killing off living, breathing “humans” like this.
「絶対能力進化計画(レベル6シフトけいかく)」 (Zettai Noryoku Shinka Keikaku (Reberu 6 Shifuto Kei Kaku))
“Definite Power Advancement Project (Level 6 Shift Project)”
Misaka… meet MISAKA.
With this episode comes the epic first meeting between Misaka and MISAKA… and of course the first word they end up exchanging is “Meow.” Of course. I should’ve known. But yeah, that confusion from Misaka was priceless—and I don’t blame her. I mean, what would you do if you saw a clone of yourself walking down the street, rescuing cats like this? Really, Misaka’s comment about how “this wasn’t the image I had in mind” just hits the nail on the head, and there’s just something very surreal about tailing a clone of yourself down the street, receiving free ice cream for all your troubles, and having even your clone question your tastes.
Suffice to say… the fun times are just a cover up for just how brutal things are, and even though I knew what was coming, actually seeing what happened toward the end of the episode really made me cringe a bit. Combine that with the fact that this was the 9982nd experiment (out of a planned whopping 20000!) and the fact that Misaka happens to witness Accelerator killing off her clone… and well, let’s just say I got some chills. If there’s one thing this demonstrates for sure though, it’s that Railgun S will be much more serious in nature than its first—and Misaka looks like she’ll have some tough times ahead of her as a result.
Gosh darn it though, watching this sequence of events really does just make me wonder how exactly one justifies killing 20000 people (even if they’re “artificial”) just to maybe get one guy to Level 6. I mean sure, the value of one Level 6 is exceptional—especially if one assumes that it’s a base 10 system they use for power levels—and those that have watched Index know that there’s a lot of potential power enemies out there… but seriously, to conduct this kind of experiment (one that violates all kinds of ethics) and also potentially antagonize (or result in the death of) one of the few Level 5′s you have in the process… That’s just an insane thing to do regardless of the potential benefits and despite the fact that it’d mean that humanity will finally have achieved some kind of artificial evolution. Interestingly enough though… we haven’t even seen the arrival of the other Tokiwadai Level 5 either—which makes me wonder if she’ll pull some kind of appearance during this arc or play a part in the next one.
Regardless, it’s just a brutal, brutal episode, and it just highlights just how easily things like the experiments can be hidden in the midst of a large city such as Academy City—as well as the importance of what Shinobu was trying to do with the cash cards earlier in the season. Let’s also not forget the warning she gave to Misaka as well… the one that seems to have gone completely unheeded—though understandable so—and seems likely to result in some grim future outcomes. It’s going to be quite something to see how exactly things work out from here, considering the gap between now and what happens in Index.
Author’s Note: I apologize for the lack of Railgun S coverage last week. A high school classmate recently passed away, which combined with graduation and finals… to well, you get the picture. Suffice to say, I haven’t really had time to watch anime, let alone be in the mood to write posts so… yeah. I will however, resume normal coverage of all my shows starting next week (Asobi and Kairi will continue to cover Shingeki and Suisei this week).