In Academy City, the group Judgment is in charge of keeping the peace, but Misaka Mikoto doesn’t need their help and can handle all the hoodlums she encounters on her own. Mikoto is one of the few Level 5 supernatural power users in the city, and she demonstrates her railgun ability at school when all the girls are tested on their various powers. Her friend Shirai Kuroko is a Level 4 teleporter and a member of Judgment, and just as importantly, she’s infatuated with Mikoto. Kuroko often teams up with Level 1 Uiharu Kazari, and Uiharu is classmates with Level 0 Saten Ruiko. The four girls meet each other after Uiharu asks Kuroko to meet Mikoto and then brings Saten along. Mikoto proposes going to hang out at a game center, but along the way, the girls get sidetracked to a crepe stand so that Mikoto can collect a special figure being given away.
The situation, however, suddenly turns bad when a nearby bank gets robbed. In response to this, Kuroko and Uiharu spring into action as members of Judgment, and Kuroko asks Mikoto not to get involved. With her agility and teleport powers, Kuroko is easily able to handle two of the robbers, including the one with fire powers, but a third one gets away and tries to kidnap a little boy. Saten attempts to stop him and manages to grab the boy, however she gets kicked in the process. Seeing this angers Mikoto, and she decides to step in after all by using her railgun ability against the robber’s car, throwing it into the air and wrecking it. After the police group Anti-Skills show up to arrest the men, Saten gets thanked by the boy’s mother, and even Mikoto compliments her.
Even though it came at the end of the episode, this is definitely the OP, and it’s a pretty catchy high-speed song to boot. If I sound a little surprised, it’s because I didn’t think that either of To Aru Majutsu no Index’s opening songs were that great, so this was a pleasant change (of course this is a different artist too). As for the animation that went with it, it mostly showed off the various characters who’ll be in the show, and I was amused to see that Touma made it in.
Despite having come into this having read some of the manga, and thus running the chance that I would find the first episode boring because I already knew basically what was going to happen, I loved this first episode. It was funny, cute, filled with great action, did a good job reintroducing the characters, and had some great quality animation production by J.C. Staff. Most importantly though, it focused on Mikoto and stayed away from the long stretches of exposition that dragged down Index. It helps that I was already familiar with most of the characters and have the Index experience to compare with to see how much better this is. And of course the caveat is that this is only the first episode, and I think I was pretty happy about the first episode of Index too. But my point is that I was very happy with how this first episode turned out.
I think the only downside is that Kuroko’s voice (done by Arai Satomi) still gets on my nerves a little, but that was true back in Index too, and I’ll probably get used to it as the season goes on. I like Kuroko’s character at the very least and how she interacts with Mikoto and gets on her nerves. Uiharu and Saten are welcome additions too, though their roles were still relatively minor here. In any case, if the manga has told me anything based on the few chapters that I’ve read, it’s that Railgun is a lot more fun series than Index ever was. And given this very promising first episode, I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series and will definitely be blogging it.