To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 18
「お引越し」 (O Hikkoshi)
Hitting two weeks since the last episode, Railgun S is back, and it’s rocking a duet in terms of its focus this week.
And first up? A renewed focus on the slice of life and friendship elements that this series does so well. With Saten continuing her prodding of Misaka in regards to her cookie baking (and her usual skirt flipping routine with Uiharu), we’re really starting to shift off from the Sisters’ Arc now, and it’s something that culminates in the revelation that Edasaki Banri’s now ready to be discharged. Combine that with the fact that she’s subsequently going to dorm with Harrue (who’s moving out from the dorm she shares with Uihar), and what we get is a foundation of an episode that ended up surprisingly touching in its own way. Because ultimately, it’s an episode that both culminates things that started back in the first season of Railgun and highlights the facets of what makes a true friendship to boot. Indeed, as Uiharu and Harrue demonstrate this week, being friends means both being there for them when they need it, but also knowing when to let them go when there’s something they really need to do.
In many ways, this links back to the Sisters’ Arc in this respect—as we saw how everyone was worried about Misaka but respected her desire for privacy—and it’s something that shows just how well Railgun S is connecting the dots so to speak. If anything though, this whole scenario builds on that set-up further. Whereas Misaka’s return following the Sisters’ Arc highlighted how she has a lot of great friends around her, Harrue’s separation arguably demonstrates a situation that takes this an extra step—as Harrue not only clearly realizes how much Uiharu has done for her at this point, she’s able to thank her for it, and she’s also taking that realization and planning to help Edasaki with it as well. And really, all of this just gives off a great show in regards to what friendship is (and should be), and despite the fact that this episode wasn’t entirely focused on that respect, I found myself quite liking what they did with this entire segment.
Shifting off to the next big thing this week though, we get the revelation of a new “enemy” in terms of “Aritomi” and his group of white coats. Continuing the trend of “scientists” being behind virtually everything this season, it looks like they’re planning some kind of system/method to affect esper powers (and/or the city itself) based on the apparent justification that people within the city are just rampantly using their powers with reckless abandon. In that context, I can kind of understand where they’re coming from, as the possession of any significant power in general has a tendency to eventually lead to abuse (let’s not also forget Accelerator and involvement the city had in it too). At the same time though, I found myself somewhat annoyed at the argument he used against Kongo (not to mention he seems to have set up that whole scenario), as it reeks of an argument that’s extremely biased and filled with “what-if’s” rather than concrete facts. If anything, it feels like an argument bought forth by someone with no real esper powers of his own, and it’s something that may be twisting his views away from whatever potentially “noble” intents it might have had otherwise. Still, it was admittedly a surprise to see someone resembling Shinobu within the group too, and one wonders just exactly how things ended up that way if it is indeed her.
Looking forward, it looks like the start of a new chapter is here, and it looks like the break’s over for our heroines. As the quote goes, there’s always something happening in Academy City, and as long as we get to see more ITEM, I sure as heck ain’t complainin’. There’s just something about a gal sleeping in a flower bed and chewing lollipops’ non-stop that just seems to bode well for future developments. Okay I’m just pulling that one out of thin air, but hey, it’s a unique enough start to be sure.