To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 23
「革命未明 (Silent Party)」 (Kakumei Mimei (Sairento Paati))
“Dawn of a Revolution (Silent Party)”
“The idealist says, everyone is born equal.
We are all of equal worth.
The sportsman screams, no effort goes unrewarded.
Work hard for your dreams.
It’s about how you play the game.”
And so the question remains: Is this true or not? Can hard work beat talent? Arguably one of the more touchy topics for many, it’s also a topic that doesn’t exactly have much in terms of right answers. Because ultimately, it’s been proven that in some cases, hard work can indeed eclipse talent. At the same time though, one can’t deny the fact that there are also natural born geniuses (savants are one such category) whose capabilities just can’t be matched by some even with hard work. Then there’s the notion that one possible to combine hard work and talent, the fact that one can also choose not to believe in such a thing as natural talent in the first place, the view that “above a certain point, extra IQ points don’t necessarily translate to any real world advantage” (Malcolm Gladwell)… and well, it’s no wonder that this has been a concept we’ve been grappling with for a while now.
Either way though, this week shows just exactly what view Aritomi holds, and we get what ends up being a somewhat reasonable explanation in regards to why he hates the “Esper Level System.” Nostalgia of Guilty Crown’s Void Ranking System aside, it’s actually quite interesting to note that esper levels are essentially determined mostly at birth. How the powers develop and the control one has of it aren’t though, but in the context of the “power hierarchy,” it’s pretty much a fact that the level you’re born into will determine a lot of what you end up doing and the places you go in Academy City. With that said however, that’s pretty much all he has going for him, as virtually everything else he ends up spouting just reeks of self-justification and a mind that’s gone off the deep end. Because when you justify what’s essentially terrorism by saying “new ideas are always taken as heretical to begin with, so we need to provide a live example,” there’s just no other association to label you with. And as much as I can see where he’s coming from in terms of his base motivations, those motivations have been twisted into something completely unrecognizable, and he’s officially turned into one of the most annoying villains I’ve seen in a while.
Still, despite this notion, I have to say that I quite enjoyed this episode (and am coming to like this arc) regardless. Because although this arc has been lacking somewhat in terms of the execution and overall strength compared to the Sister’s Arc, it’s clear the amount of effort they’re trying to put in to this one, as there’s a boatload of references to and continuations of things we got in the previous arc. Sure, some of them are a hit and miss, but generally it’s been nice to see how Misaka’s learning from her mistakes by deciding to ask her friends for help (TEE-HEE) and how she’s now teaching Shinobu those same lessons. Furthermore, it’s great to see how there’s a unifying theme linking both arcs in terms of the past coming back to haunt both Misaka and Shinobu, and how they’re clearly trying to distinguish the line between nobility and stupidity when it comes to taking responsibility for something from one’s past.
Ultimately, what we get is a set up for an ending that’s likely to send off the series with an impressive bang. Everyone’s getting into the party as the final confrontation arrives, and really, there are fewer fitting ways to send off a series like this than with a great show of friendship and solidarity in the face of 20,000
(IT’S OVER 9000!) powered suits. After all, as Misaka and Touma like to say:
It can’t be a happy end unless everyone is smiling when it’s all over.
It’s my dream to back home smiling without having lost anything.
ED6: 「Infinia」by 三澤 紗千香 (Misawa Sachika)