「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.
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.