「私の, 大切な友達」 (Watashi no, Taisetsu na Tomodachi)
“My Dear Friends”

And that’s a wrap. No serious game changers as Railgun wraps up its third season: Misaka eviscerates Doppelganger (mostly); the Scavengers return to the starting line for further underground shenanigans; Misaki learns to love the present; and some nameless villains get their just desserts. Mind you there was some eyebrow raising in Doppelganger’s soul proving to be a red herring (got to love that misdirection), although in true Indexverse fashion even that was left a little up in the air, because why not? When it comes to a science-magic fusion, only the best will do.

Otherwise it was just more Railgun, with the only disappointment being it’s over for a while more. We may have a better shot at getting a sequel this time around, but I’d still keep those fingers crossed. After all, we’ll probably have to get through another round of Index first! Alright, onto the impressions.

Final Impressions

Given how Index III played out, there was quite a bit of trepidation surround Railgun T. This was the sequel to arguably the more popular, better executed, and better funded part of the Indexverse, and naturally came accompanied with some serious hype and expectations. Personally, in hindsight I’d say the concern was overblown (even Corona-chan induced delays barely affected things!), but it’s not to say there weren’t some kinks interrupting the latest saunter through science-side Index. Railgun did as Railgun does, and made no apologies about it.

As per earlier Railgun, the main strength lay fully with the featured cast. Beyond the key staples like titular Misaka and the trio of Kuroko, Saten, and Uiharu (no matter how much Kuroko wishes it was just her), we also got to see the likes of the Sisters, ITEM, and even some Accelerator and Last Order for spice. Without a doubt, however, the biggest sell here was the fleshing out of other major players. Misaki for example was effectively given two seasons of development, adding some important depth to an antagonist who up until now was largely two dimensional. Lovable moxie moeblob Kongo likewise got some valuable attention and additional personality, and even the Scavengers from Accelerator fame became a solidified piece of the greater Indexverse puzzle. This season was a veritable cornucopia of character chemistry both new and old, and when coupled with the different pairings played up towards the end, ensured one never lacked for something interesting to chew upon.

The downside to this though were when the features weren’t pure Railgun. Touma’s appearance and Misaka’s damsel in distress setup during the Daihasei arc for example effectively dispensed with the series’ strength (Misaka) in favour of playing up an Index staple, largely to feature another Level 6 powerup with a different twist on the concept. While this, to be fair, was faithfully adapted from the light novels (itself a novelty given how adaptations usually go), it certainly didn’t feel very Railgun-esque, particularly for those only familiar with/interested in Railgun given how much focus wound up on individuals outside the “main” cast. Couple this with the slow buildup and filler-ish episodes featuring random pairings, minor events, and secondary characters during the Dream Ranker arc and it’s not difficult seeing why some would find this latest season weaker than its predecessors. After all, the Silent Party arc from Railgun S might be anime original and somewhat disliked because of it, but even it stayed true to what many associate Railgun with.

Nevertheless, however, subjective opinions, personal tastes, and source material quirks aside, Railgun T was more than enough to keep the Railgun train firmly on the tracks and moving along. Between production values and narrative pacing, everything Railgun fans desired was fully on tap, and while there’s plenty to debate surrounding season quality vis a vis Railgun S, I firmly believe Railgun T is enough to put any concerns about the anime future of this Indexverse spinoff to rest. It won’t change opinions of those not already in love with everything biribiri and friends, it won’t be breaking any records, but Railgun T shows Railgun still has it, and that we can definitely look forward with eager hope and happy thoughts to what this story has to offer us next.


    1. I think you should start with the Main series Index first. As Railgun even puts on screen every Season in its first Episode, that it is a Side Story of Index. Most of the Main Cast first apeared in Index (Misaka, Kuroko, Uiharu and even Shokuhou got first mentioned in Index or even Teams like ITEM got their first appearace in Index if we go with the source material).
      Most of the world building depends on Index and a lot of events in Railgun are to a degree influenced by what happened in Index.

      And this series shouldn’t be consumed in chronological order, just watch the release order of the Anime Index -> Railgun -> Index II -> Index Movie – > Railgun S – > Index III -> Accelerator – > Railgun T. I think the story works best that way if you just want to watch the Anime and you will not be disappointed by the changing style due the time difference between the series.

      True source release order would in my opinion be the best, but that would require you to read the source and constant change between LN, Mangas etc. so not that practicable.

    2. Pretty much as 1993espada says, the best method is to watch in order of franchise release to keep things straight, but in a pinch you can get away with watching Railgun alone, provided you watch the seasons in order. A lot of the Indexverse references and meaning behind various character appearances and motivations will be missed, but IMO it’s sensible enough to keep straight, especially if you find the main character cast interesting.

      This unfortunately is one of those series where a lot of the value comes from how invested you are with the source material and how up to date you keep yourself with it.

    3. Just to confuse matters, I’m going to provide an alternate take… go ahead and just watch the three Railguns in their order. Maybe watch their OVA as well. If you’re not so obsessive that you can ask such a question, you can live without the Index side of the story. You’ll miss a few moments, and you won’t get to spend any time with the delightful Orsola nor exult as Laura Stuart combs her long tresses, but I think that Railgun is a reasonably self-contained story. For example, in its second season, they recreated events already shown in Index I. I think that they’ve taken care to make it so people can stick with one or the other, if they so choose.

      Then, if you feel like it, you can watch Index I and II (but don’t watch III). Movie is very optional. Accelerator is fine but can be ignored. Or at that point, you could just watch the episodes that have crossover appeal, like Index S2E17-18.

  1. They cleverly snuck in some references to Astral Buddy right at the end, with Uiharu, Saten, and Junko. Note that although Astral Buddy is specifically spun off from Dream Ranker itself (and indeed it answers some more questions about indian poker) the entire story is wrapped up before the last episode we see here. It’s kind of like how the entire Accelerator series, including the part that hasn’t been animated, is complete before the remnant arc in index II.

    Dream Ranker is about death. Miyama’s uniform was designed to look as if he were attending a funeral, and his power lets his see people dying. The seemingly ordinary schoolgirls, both friend and assailant, who cross path with regular girl Saten, are assassins who kill people. And the doppelganger (whose design incorporated elements of a mayfly, an insect whose final stage of life lasts less than a day) longs for death. Suicide comes up in the franchise more often than people realize. Most might remember Mikoto herself being driven to the brink during the Sisters arc and trying to kill herself as she could think of no other way to stop the experiment. Should they continue to animate Index, avoiding specific spoilers, I’ll say that you’ll see this sort of thing come up again for some prominent characters. But a key difference is that none of these characters truly want to die. Doppelganger is the exception. It wasn’t “the only way to save someone else”. It wasn’t a cry for help. As she said, living was simply agony for her.
    In the end we’re left with some questions about what really happened to Kuriba’s soul when she was split in two. The magic side in Index is aware of the soul, but even they don’t fully understand how it works.
    And for those keeping score “It never gets dull in this city.” : Mikoto says the tagline in ep 1 or railgun and the final ep of railgun. Touma says it in ep 1 of railgun S, and Mikoto tries to say it in the last ep of railgun s, but the gang interrupts her. Accelerator says it in the final ep of his series, and now, to Mikoto’s annoyance, Misaki says it in the final ep of Railgun T.

    1. I honestly think the surprise for me this arc was Doppelganger being the one who wanted to die. It was a twist you would’ve had a very hard time see coming, particularly given how well the writing went towards providing alternative explanations towards the outcome and what potentially could’ve happened.

      It IMO provides a good example for how much Kamichi Kazuma keeps developing as a writer and for how much thought he puts into his various story arcs. This may be “just” light novel material, but there’s clearly some effort given to cause and effect and how the audience may perceive the outcome.

  2. It never gets dull in the city…
    Truest words ever spoken!
    One of my fave series ever.
    Superpowers are being used smart and tactically, and sometimes the most effective fighters are not the highest ranked. Plenty of humor side. Enjoyable characters, and even the extras get their time to shine.
    I <3 Railgun!

  3. Ryoko Kuriba:Honestly, I’m afraid to go to sleep.”
    Guts: “First time?”
    With the Doppelganger saving Ryoko’s life by offering her cyborg parts, (at the cost of seeing Ryoko’s innermost–and most embarrassing–thoughts) one can only hope that doesn’t lead to split-personality problems down the line.

    Random thoughts and tidbits:
    – Was Seike wearing briefs or pantsu in this scene? (It’s just as ambiguous as Seike’s gender! Also, I really love wondering about the weirdest stuff that catches my attention, don’t I?) Naru’s still funny, though.
    – Glad to see Mitori Kouzaku and Dolly again.
    – Loved how this finale acts as a book-end to the events at the start of the season.

    Indeed, watching this season of Railgun was never dull, and I’m honestly amazed at how authors like Kamachi-sensei manage to create and bring life to an interweaving, sprawling world. That being said, seeing this season of Railgun being done pretty well still sadly reminds me of what Index III could have been if it weren’t so rushed and dizzyingly confusing that you need a wiki to make sense of it all. At this point, I wouldn’t mind going to an alternate reality where Index III actually turned out to be good and bring a copy of that alternate-universe Index III back to this reality. (Pfft, as if…) But for now, it’s Railgun and Accelerator giving something to look forward to in a future season.

  4. Can’t complain, Railgun T(hird) met expectations. A fairly well animatod job by the studio.
    Story wise I prefered the 1st arc as both Misaki and Kuroko were heavily involved in that one, while less so in the 2nd one and I didn’t care that much for Ryoko and the doppelganger.
    btw. what happened to the clairvoyance boy? He kinda disappeared or did i just forget?
    I didn’t know that Kamichi Kazuma actually was the official writer of the Railgun manga, but it does make sense of course.
    So what next, an “Astral Buddy” adaptation?
    I doubt that I’ll ever read the Index LNs, so I hope that they’ll continue with more seasons for that one as well, provided the rushed S3 was an outlier.
    Thanks, Pancakes for the coverage, and special thanks to oranges for filling in the blanks.

    1. Yeah, Kamachi writes the story for Railgun too, but Fuyukawa the Artist/Mangaka has a certain degree of freedom to add or change things a bit.
      According to an interview Fuyukawa extends the original plotline of each arc ~1/3 of its original length iirc. But Kamachi also outright rejected a whole chapter from Fuyukawa. So everything Fuyukawa adds still must get the ok from Kamachi.
      For example the idea with Dolly came from Fuyukawa, Kamachis first draft had another person in Dollys shoes (she was already mentioned but didn’t appear yet in the Anime).

      I still think we should first get the second part of Misakis backstory from NT before we touch Astral Buddy, even if Astral Buddy completes the Indian Poker Story line …


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