「最弱(かみじょうとうま)」 (Sai Jaku (Kamijou Touma))
“The Weakest” (Kamijou Touma)
This week’s epic episode of Railgun S starts off with a bit of “Run Forrest Run!” as Touma races toward Accelerator, and there’s just something pretty amusing (Accelerator finds it especially funny) about a knight in shining armor appearing in tattered clothing and barely able to stand. But that’s how Touma rolls, and what we get is just another indication of the person he is: a guy who just puts everything on his own shoulders, plans be damned. Heck, even your attempts to stop him get the “I don’t give a damn” and “who cares” treatment, and that’s when you know you just gotta accept that he’s going to get involved no matter what. He’s the kind of friend one’d love to have… and as a result, the one enemy Accelerator’d be better off not facing for many reasons (Falcon Punches galore for one).
Indeed, Accelerator ends up on the receiving end of what I’d like to call “the righteous fist of justice” multiple times, even though Touma ends up taking quite a beating to get that far. While the episode itself doesn’t bring the fight to its conclusion—choosing instead to leave us off at quite the climax—the fact remains that this episode (and the previous one) were arguably two of most emotional episodes of not only this season, but perhaps all year. And what makes this all the more amazing especially is how many of us are actually seeing this for the second time (or third, or fourth), yet still find ourselves on the edge of our seats.
With that said, it’s just a testament towards both how much effort they’ve put into Railgun S this time around and how well done the material was in the first place. Because despite the fact that most of these scenes are repeats of ones in Index, there have been some notable additions and redraws of particular scenes (such as how the plasma was depicted this week and the bridge moment in last episode), which combine with Misaka’s added perspective to give a truly complete experience. Arguably, this can be said to be a kind of HD + Director’s Cut w/ added scenes variant of the Sisters’ Arc in Index, and there are just few words to describe how if you’re going to do something like that, this is the way you go about it.
Praises, Touma’s falcon punch heroics, and the epic MISAKA sisters’ involvement aside though, this week brings with it the continuation of some of the more subtle aspects of Railgun S’ story telling too, which mixes itself in via both the cat and the actions of the MISAKA sisters.
In the case of the former, it’s been noted many times before that cats supposedly have an aversion to electromasters as a result of the fields generated, and thus do not typically approach them in any capacity. Yet, we see this same cat approach multiple times through the last few weeks, and it’s something that I feel is quite symbolic of the link between the sisters’ and Misaka herself (the cat bought them together after all) and of the fact that the person Misaka’s been looking for to help her has been theoretically next to her the entire time (just like that cat). Indeed, their acceptance of one another just corresponds quite nicely with Misaka’s (forced) acceptance of Touma’s help, and it’s something that subtly reinforces everything that we see this week.
Looking over at the MISAKA sisters’ actions this week in particular emphasizes this even more, as virtually everything they do this week reeks of a deeper meaning. Ranging from the initial response to Touma’s intervention (“Don’t go!”) to the great moment where she responds to Misaka and the bit with the turbines at the end… everything here really just culminates all the development from the previous weeks to demonstrate that they’re indeed alive, and they’re not puppets to be trodden on like insects. Generally, it’s something we’ve been gradually seeing from time to time many weeks ago already, but this is where we really start to see things roll along, and it’s gotten to the point where the MISAKA sisters are blatantly ignoring the experimental guidelines to help Misaka stop Accelerator right here and now. To say that this scene gave me chills is an understatement, and again, the added detail into Accelerator’s plasma this time around really just adds to the atmosphere (both literally and figuratively).
In the end though, what’s particularly interesting is how Touma’s intervention arguably puts Accelerator closer to Level 6 than he ever was before. It’s ironic to say the least, but something that notably also highlights the contrast between them. After all, they’re not only just different in the context that they’re “weakest vs. strongest,” Touma’s also a completely different person than the other people that have tried to fight Accelerator up until now, and this was a notion that notably led even the vaunted Accelerator to express his dislike of him.
On one hand, it makes a lot of sense that this dislike stems merely from the fact that Touma’s amazingly not aiming to take his title of strongest, but there’s definitely more to it. Looking back, there’s been a few subtle hints that Accelerator doesn’t particularly want to do what he’s doing—his comment this week of “but they told me they were just puppets” was another such example—and I can’t help but wonder whether or not part of his dislike stems more so from the fact that Touma’s intervention forces him to rethink what he’s been doing up until now more than anything. Because if there’s one thing the aforementioned has shown, it’s that Accelerator seems to be deluding himself to some degree by forcing himself to think that the clones are nothing more than puppets, and what Touma’s doing is pushing him away from this “comfort zone” that allows him to carry on with what he’s doing. The fact that he also struggles uncharacteristically and decides to go for hand-to-hand combat with Touma when he should theoretically know he shouldn’t seems to emphasize how he’s rattled in more ways than one, and I’d think it’s not something that only a “strange power” would be able to trigger.
Ultimately, it’s just another great week of Railgun S, and one filled with some of the best elements this series has to offer: sci-fi action, the beauty of friendship, subtle storytelling, and a soundtrack that really matches the atmosphere of the scenes it’s used in. Don’t forget though, the fight’s not yet over, and next week’ll really be something to watch. I’d say strap on those seat belts and prep those diapers… but alas, it’s probably too late to give that advice at this point. Heh.
Full-length images: 28.