「樹形図の設計者(ツリーダイアグラム)」 (Ki Gata Zu No Sekkei Sha (Tsurīdaiaguramu))
“Tree Diagram (Tree Diagram)”

As we get into Railgun S’ twelveth episode, the gradual tightening of the figurative noose finally completes Misaka’s transformation from someone fairly innocent to someone whose views regarding the world have changed forever. Indeed, in a manner akin in ways to those entering society for the first time or say, getting taken advantage of for the first time in their lives, one of the big things that have been happening is the subtle change in Misaka’s personality. The world’s just not all fun and games anymore, and as she says so herself:

“Reality’s a harsh mistress.
It’s not like a miracle will happen, even if I begged for it.
There aren’t any heroes around to save me.”

Still, despite how this sentiment readily applies to the typical real-life situation, there are still cases where reality’s other side shows itself. Sometimes, there’s someone that just comes along at the right time and place. Sometimes, it may even turn out that the person who could help you has been right next to you the whole time. Heroes do exist, after all. They just might not come in the form or manner that you expected them to be. And in the case of Misaka, this proves especially true, because her hero’s arguably been right next to her this entire time: in the form of a certain… “misfortunate” character.

On that note though, this episode just continues the string of good episodes we’ve had with Railgun S lately (and through most of the season), as it’s quite notable how much of the story elements and events in this episode tie into the mindset of Misaka (who’s just adorable as a kid by the way) and the reality of her situation. For instance, the blimp flying above her ends up being a kind of literal symbol of the problem she faces: both in how it towers above her reach and how as Misaka puts it “represents humans acting in line with a machine’s calculations.”

To add to that, there’s also the twisted irony of the weather being sunny the whole day—which stands in stark contrast with the dark nature of the twisted experiments happening in the shadows. Furthermore, there’s the fact that Touma just suddenly ends up appearing once again in front of Misaka… as well as a particular MISAKA sister as well. In the case of the latter, it’s really kind of brilliant how it seemingly serves as both a sign to Touma that there’s something not right here, as well as a sign to us that he’ll likely play a large part in the future.

Generally, everything here is just geared toward supporting and developing the plot line. I noted it before in previous episodes as well (as the discussions between Kuroko and Co. regarding the “what ifs of cloning” was used similarly before), but this continues hammering that aspect in and shows just how well they’re doing things here in terms of both literally and figuratively setting things up in the background.

Interestingly enough, the added screen time of the MISAKA sister also seems to indicate some kind of emotional development in recent episodes, and it shows that Shinobu’s efforts might not have been for naught after all. MISAKA’s bit with the chest pains, and her question to the scientists (“What would happen if you saw a clone of yourself?”) adds further ammunition to this notion… and her latter question notably brings to the forefront the potential contrasting views regarding this question and just how emotionless the people working on this project are. To that end, the whole bit with Touma, MISAKA, and the cat plays a big deal in this respect too… but for me, the big thing wasn’t the fact they they were having such a nice, normal discussion, but the fact that MISAKA’s attempt at naming the cat Schrodinger was not only ironic to the cat, but to herself as well. Because in many ways, the whole poison in a contained environment experiment reeks of the Level 6 Shift, and it’s arguable that up until this point, MISAKA and the rest of her sisters were neither dead or alive—merely tools that are born to be killed, rather than living actual lives and possessing emotion.

On that note, one wonders though… Shinobu herself and the rest of ITEM have been conspiciously missing for a few episodes now, and it’s an interesting question whether or not they’ll even return in any real significant role… because it looks like there’s a lot of one way traffic from here on out with Touma’s impending involvement—especially so when considering that Misaka finds out that there isn’t even a Tree Diagram to trash. Sometimes, miracles do happen.

Either way, as we bring things to a close here, it’s also noted again how for those of us that have watched Index before, our prior knowledge of what’s going to happen here seems to play a large part in actually heightening our enjoyment of the series (although some of what happens here this week notably doesn’t happen in Index). As some of you noted in our podcast comments (where we discussed the concepts of spoilers and them potentially ruining the experience), Railgun S seems to be one of those situations where the knowing of what happens can actually result in the opposite case, and it’s both a testament to the way that they do things with the series, how well they have been doing it, and how memorable the characters and events are to fans of Index/Railgun. Then again, it is pretty hard to forget someone who slings along walls like this (Shingeki no Railgun anyone?)… and the obvious cat abuse.

Full-length images: 15.


ED1.12 Sequence



    1. You can’t call a cat “dog”. That’s just insulting. You can’t call it Biri-biri. That would be confusing. You can’t call it Kuroneko. That’s copyright infringement. So I guess the clear choice is…

      The Moondoggie
  1. Whatever the name, the cat is moe overdose.
    And poor bastards who crossed the Accelerator… “Mugging the Monster” (T), turned to eleven (T)…
    Anyway it seems Touma might get involved soon. Prepare for “Hannibal lecture” (T)!

  2. Mikasa Misaka. Sounds too cool to imagine. But there the anime go abusing her magnetic ability to levels higher than the LN or manga would.

    And, boy. Have I missed Misuzu!

    The Moondoggie
  3. I agree how knowing Index heightens the enjoyment level of railgun. When 10031 walk that alley I was loaded with so many emotions. The way this is going Falcon punch should be around episode 14. Sorry Acel fans he deserves it oh so much. The way the life path of all the index universe characters intermingle is superbly well done Kudos!!!!
    Cat abuse? lol Touma knows that the “nun” and the “priest” will get “Inu” in trouble.

  4. One of the things i really liked about this ep (besides the awesome web-slinging by mikoto…I will forever remember that)is how it cleared up the confusion regarding which misaka clone met up with accelerator in the alleyway…there were a good amount of people who believed that the clone that toma had been interacting with was misaka 10031 when it had always been 10032.

  5. I can’t remember for certain, but I think something they cut out from the manga which had some meaning was that Mikoto’s mother had a number of bandages on her fingers from repairing the frog, and Mikoto noticed them, which would be part of why she knew it was her and not Santa who did it.

    It’s a small thing, but I wish they still included it.

    1. I dont think they have cut it out quite yet; it’s most likely a change in the order of events or something like that: Show Spoiler ▼

  6. I want that cat. So cute♪

    And if people thought the disparity between Index and Railgun was bad last episode, this episode is worse (I loved it though). It seems we’re going back to the Touma show now though (Not like that’s a bad thing).

    It seems next week we’ll have Touma finding out about the experiments, 14 will be the confrontation on the bridge and 15, possibly even 16 with this pacing, will be the big fight. I look forward to it.

  7. I’m beginning to think Railgun and Index take place in alternate universes. I watched the corresponding Index episode for this part an a lot of the dialogue, scenery, events and even context has been changed. Like when Touma is talking to Misaka about the Tree Diagram. In Index, Misaka already knew the Tree Diagram had been destroyed, but here, she talks to him and then spends the whole episode finding that out. Same with the Touma/MISAKA dialogue. I’m not saying they have to recreate the scenes entirely, but when you’re doing a story with overlapping scenes, a little consistency wouldn’t hurt.

    1. Are you sure about that…? I’m peeking back here and the dialogue is virtually identical.

      Some of the bits have been cut out, but at the exact moment where Misaka meets Touma in front of the blimp, the words she says hint that she doesn’t yet know the Tree Diagram has been destroyed. In Index (Ep 10, 17 minutes in), she also mentions the blimp being “represents humans acting in line with a machine’s calculations” (slightly different wording, but same meaning). The only difference here is she questions whether such a thing exists in the first place, which is not the same as knowing that the Tree Diagram has already been destroyed. There is also that bit on Ep 06 in Index (18 mins in) where Misaka passes by a bulletin that says communications were lost, but it never indicated that it was destroyed.

      The corresponding scene with him meeting the MISAKA sister is also virtually identical aside from a few wording changes (and the flea part cut out) too. There’s another small change when Accelerator sees the MISAKA sister outside Book-On… but yeah that’s all it is.

      I can’t say I remember the rest of Index so well that I can say this is the case with the whole Sisters’ Arc so far, but the general thing I’ve noticed (at least in regards to this episode) is that while there are changes, they are very, very small and generally the overall context/meaning/scenes are the same. There have been added scenes, but none of them are scenes we would’ve seen in Index from Touma’s view in the first place, so most (if not all) seem to still fit in chronologically… though I do remember some things being slightly shifted around, according to comments from previous episodes. At most, there’s a bit of ret-conning going around, but nothing anywhere near that significant.

      1. Just checked the episode again, and you’re right that it didn’t directly state that she knew whether or not it was destroyed. I guess I just took it as her wondering if it existed meaning that she figured it didn’t anymore. My bad.

      2. Mmm, it was admittedly a tad bit confusing the way it’s worded in Index, so no biggie.

        I was wondering for a moment there though, haha. Cause Index ain’t particularly fresh in my head, so I was like wait… am I totally mis-remembering here or something? Phew*

    2. The scenes aren’t so much changed as expanded. Such as the whole Misaka-imouto scene where Touma’s questioning her about the goggles and she refuses to answer why she put them back on. In the novel she just casually brushes of his question with “not really” and other vague answers whereas in this anime she outright refuses to answer due to an anime original concept introduced (namely, Misaka-imouto’s feelings regarding Mikoto’s rejecting her).

      And the mood of the Touma and Mikoto scene was obviously more somber as opposed to the Index side since we actually know what’s going on already unlike Index. She never once hinted that she knew tree diagram was destroyed (whether that be in the novels, Index or Railgun).

  8. To the post Sisters Arc. The director has said there will be a filler arc at the beach for summer vacation and that the tone will be more in line with Railgun Season One then Railgun S and in an Evangelionesq way promised “more fanservice”. So I’m wondering if they’re going to do what they did with Railgun season one and do one cour Manga material and one cour anime original or will that be a mini arc and then go to the Daihasei Festival Arc.

      1. The director’s actually confirmed that after the sisters arc is over it’ll be an original story about their summer vacation (so basically taking place the same time as Touma’s back in Index, but obviously not in the exact same place). It’ll go back back to the tone of the first season. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! This is so much better.

      2. Kuntzy are you just repeating my post? Honestly it’s more likely they will do several mini arcs as 12 episodes or so is not enough to do Daihasei. With any luck they will do side stories as well as anime original. If I remember correctly Misaka vs the 7th Level 5 in Academy City would be a fun one.

      3. Nope, my bad. Totally didn’t see it. Kind of arrogant though to be thinking I’m copying your post when it’s plastered all over anime news sites. I just got lazy and while scrolling, saw his post.

        And they’ll actually have more like 7-8 episodes to work with as the sisters arc is going to at least episode 16 of 24. The article explicitly states they’ll be covering their summer vacation and that a “certain person” that’s appeared in only one panel of the manga will appear.

  9. If there’s anything about the To Aru franchise that bugged me especially, it’s how they abused and traduced Schroedinger’s thought experiment. Surely a quick search on Wikipedia or whatever would give you enough information for a semblance of accuracy, but apparently research is not fashionable for the modern writer.

    …Yeah, I’m done.

      1. I’m confused, if they got the basic idea of a cat in a box where poison could be released, where was the anime wrong? (That’s not the point of the experiment, but it most definitely is the setup. Either way, it’s bad for the cat.)

      2. @rasen

        I think what passerby is trying to get at is that by the way toma talked about schrodinger’s cat, he made it seem as if schrodinger actually locked a cat up in a box with poison; but i never saw it as toma believing that was actually the case. I think toma was just appalled about misaka imoto calling a cat by a man who would propose a thought experiment regarding locking a cat in a box with poison. Besides, in the first season of index, komoe properly explains the schrodinger’s box thought experiment so I dont agree that index/railgun didnt do their research…….this time anyway (i dont always think the index light novel series or anime are particularly well-written but they get things right; they over exaggerate the science but again…that’s the point)

      1. I dunno, I think Toma’s interpretation is spot-on. Not about the purpose of the experiment, but of Schrodinger himself.

        Typical lab animals for experiments are guinea pigs, rats, monkeys, etc. Cats aren’t even on the table.

        In other words, for Schrodinger to have proposed a thought experiment using the atypical cat in a box with no holes and a poison capsule(lethal conditions, no matter how you look at it), at some point he probably considered killing a cat.

        As an analogy, I paraphrase the comedian Jim Gaffigan (because I can’t remember the exact wording): “There’s a type of gallows humor in parenting. The phrase ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater’ had to come from someone who considered throwing the baby out with the bathwater.”

  10. “Shinobu herself and the rest of ITEM have been conspiciously missing for a few episodes now, and it’s an interesting question whether or not they’ll even return in any real significant role”

    Regarding ITEM, as it allows the audience to get familiar/attached to them I am actually glad they did this season of Railgun before they did another season of Index where they start appearing in the ‘main’ storyline.

    I can see the directors trollface already, if you know what I am talking about.

  11. Well now, the pacing all over the place this episode and the ending really killed the mood on Mikoto’s despair. This leads me to question if the studio forgot that they were the one who paced the brilliant 5th episode.

    Now seeing this, it seems now that they’d like to push Accelerator as not just some mere antagonist of the story but being part of the story and its upcoming resolution, following that they’re peppering his flashbacks in different episodes instead of near the end of the arc, which makes Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S not just the story of Mikoto and the Sister’s struggle but of Accelerator’s as well, as with the next episode will confirm to us.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Gaze of Providence
    1. I think something you might be overlooking is that the anime is currently being a very faithful adaptation of the Railgun manga. Everything from pacing to the way a scene is framed to the “camera” angle.

      This was the same for the first season, at least until they started the anime-original episodes.

      1. Well, that’s pretty much an unfortunate consequence when “seasons” are so far apart. While it caters to the people who have watched Index and Railgun season 1, they have to explain things for people who are new to the series too.

  12. To be honest, I prefer the ‘divergence’ in these episodes from Index season 1. If JC Staff were to animate the same scenes again people will just complain that they took it out from season 1. At least for some parts it really clears up the confusion that Index season 1 had, like this episode.


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