To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 13
「一方通行 (アクセラレータ)」 (Ippo Tsūko (Akuserareta))
“One Way (Accelerator)”
Sometimes, when enough things come together, a screw falls loose and shit hits the fan. With the Tree Diagram now destroyed and the last means to thwart the Level 6 Shift gone with it… well, that’s exactly what happens to Misaka this episode. We knew what she was capable of before, but gosh darn, that was just nothing compared to the vibes she gave of this week. And ultimately, seeing her just systematically trash yet another facility with brutal efficiency combined with her apparent decision to sacrifice herself versus Accelerator to save some of her sisters just highlights not only the power she possesses, but the mental toll it’s taken on her this entire time. Slowly but surely, we’ve been essentially watching her fall apart, and it all just comes to a head as we reach Railgun S’ halfway point.
Truly, this is one of those exceptions where knowing what is going to happen makes you feel more than you would’ve otherwise, and I found myself getting chills (at Misaka laughing hysterically while trashing the facility) and torn emotionally throughout this entire episode as a result. Indeed, all of this just goes to show how what we saw in Index was just the tip of the iceberg so to speak, and it really powers both this episode and this series to heights it wouldn’t have reached otherwise. I mean, there’s just nothing like the realization that Misaka herself actually witnessed the death of the MISAKA sister live on camera, and it’s something that’s just many orders of magnitude of messed up.
At least though, the wheels of fate begin to turn as Touma stumbles upon the body of MISAKA sister 10031… and the rest of the MISAKA clones while he’s at it. Needless to say, it’s quite obvious where this is going to be headed from here, and what we’ll likely get next week is arguably the moment that many Index viewers have been waiting for this entire time.
With that said though, this episode notably gives us yet another flashback into Accelerator’s past—going back all the way to the first experiment. There have been a few such flashbacks already, but this one definitely takes the cake, as it’s vital in showing that Accelerator does at least seem to have some qualms about what he’s doing. At this point, all we’ve seen for the most part is him being insane and seemingly enjoying the killing, so this flashback really just balances things out a bit by showing he’s not just some brainless, heartless, cold-blooded killer. In many ways, one could argue it’s because he’s had to do this experiments that’s played a part in how he’s ended up, and his calling of the sisters as “mere puppets” seems more so a coping device to deal with it than anything. There’s just this additional human element added here as a result, and it’s something that readily applies to the MISAKA sister in this first experiment too.
In the end, there’s a kind of pure and innocent feel to how she acted (and how most of them act in general). One can argue they’re more robotic than anything, but I think the more apt metaphor is that they’re essentially babies/children (from a developmental standpoint) that have the knowledge of adults. She knows how to use a gun, but she doesn’t really truly understand what it means to wield it and what it means to live/kill. In this way, they’re unmistakable human in their innocence, and it’s a notion that just adds to the tragic nature of what’s happening here with the Level 6 Shift Experiment. What’s more notable though is how this demeanor has changed somewhat since then, and how this arguably mirrors Misaka’s own change as well—from someone possessing a kind of youthful innocence (and exuberance) to someone whose seen too much to fit under that definition anymore. To this end, it must be said that the MISAKA Network’s sharing of memories likely means that the moments each of them die are also shared with everyone else… and it’s just disgusting to think about.
Ultimately, what this episode brings is essentially a lot of what we’ve come to expect, and it culminates in an experience that leaves one quite emotional when it’s all said and done. With that said, it’s full steam ahead as the arc reaches its key turning point, and I gotta say: there’s nothing quite like starting the summer season with an episode like that.