「お姉さまの力になりたいですの」 (Onee Sama No Chikara Ni Nari Tai Desu No )
“I’d Want to Help My Sister”
It’s another week and yet another solid episode of Railgun, as Misaka shows everyone exactly why you don’t mess with the Railgun. Interestingly enough though, this episode ends up being not so much about Misaka’s “revenge” as it is a commentary on friendship and life. And that’s just fine for me—because as much as I loved seeing Misaka hacking her way (both literally and figuratively) through the labs, this episode (and the series itself) was made much stronger due to the presence of the other stuff we get this week. And what stuff am I talking about exactly? Quite a few things actually. Be prepared though, because this’ll end up being a tad long.
First and foremost, there’s the bit at the beginning, where I found myself noting how Misaka refuses to involve—and in ways, rely—on her friends for help, despite their willingness to do so. It makes sense of course, considering how personal this issue is to her, how despicable the experiments are in the first place, and her likely desire to keep her friends safe by not getting them involved—but it brings up a question of: “at what point is it foolhardy to keep doing something yourself?” Because as we see throughout this episode, Misaka’s clearly on the brink. It’s not surprising considering how each second wasted is literally equivalent to a life (or lives), but there definitely comes a point where one’s attempt to take something on by oneself may end up doing more harm than good—both literally in the physical standpoint and figuratively in respect to the strain you put on your friendships.
Indeed, the other big thing this week that’s really emphasized is both how hard it is to be friends of someone as significant as Misaka Mikoto, how great the friends she has are, and how close they all are in general. Sadly though, it’s this closeness that really causes a lot of friction this episode as well, as Kuroko finds herself endlessly worrying about Misaka, and torn between respecting her privacy (and personal boundaries) and putting herself into the center of it. Interestingly enough though, it’s also exactly this closeness that lets her accept that in the end, the best she can do right now is show that she’s there for her if Misaka needs it—and it’s something that’s not only powerful as a commentary on true friendship, but goes to show the many ways one can still help someone even if it’s not quite in the literal sense. Still, it is quite something to see just how much Misaka’s been able to do in the span of such a short time by herself, which also really heralds a kind of testament to the potential of humans in general—especially under extreme duress.
Moving on though, all of the above just highlights the notion of how virtually everything is relevant this episode in one shape or form. A few weeks ago it was the very pertinent discussion about what the case would do if they had clones. This week, it was about what you’d do if you got a lucky card that could grant you a wish. Undoubtedly, a wish is something both Misaka and Kuroko want more than almost anything at this point—and it signifies just how significant even this is, despite its presence in a kind of side development. Chalk this up with the timing of the eyecatch—with the episode title signifying Kuroko’s wish of “wanting to help” Misaka—and it’s really amazing how it doesn’t seem like anything’s wasted at all in terms of relevant content.
While we’re on the topic, the whole search for a four-leaf clover was also exceptionally ripe with extra commentary as well. In this respect though, Saten’s comment really just summaries everything: “happiness might be harder to find than we think.” And it’s significant not only because of how true it is—especially considering how both Misaka and Kuroko are anything but happy at the situation they’re in despite them “having it good” in terms of their friendship—but also because of its connection to the next event, where Kuroko and the kid find a load of four-leaf clovers. In that context, it’s just begging to be construed as basically saying “there’s happiness for everyone, you just have to find it” and it’s quite touching—adding quite a bit to Saten and Uiharu’s expression of appreciation for Kuroko’s friendship. Oh, and did I mention the pair of butterflies? Because there’s a lot that can be related in that context too.
Ultimately though, the four-leaf clovers do notably also signify good luck—something that indicates that Kuroko might just get her chance soon enough. On the flip side though, Misaka definitely looks like she’ll need it (and the luck), because it looks like there ain’t any shortage of
Level 5’s people in her way…