Another great episode that still boggles my mind in just how incredibly different the entire feel is from the first season and just how well they are pulling off this very heavy dark atmosphere. I had read part way into this arc in the manga (I stopped reading when S got announced to avoid spoilers, though I’m still buying the localized volumes as they come out) and I have to say JC Staff has once again overcome the manga.
Season 1 was a billion times better than the manga and made the Level Upper story much deeper and more fleshed out, gave it a proper conclusion, and treated the tv-only episodes as a way to really develop the series and characters more. Season 2 however has been pretty close with the manga. Yet, when I read what I did of this arc (maybe a few more episodes in worth of it) it never felt this dark, it never felt this locked in or heavy – it just felt like the rest. Of course, a LOT of that is thanks to the director and cinematography that I’ve continually mentioned – but, I think there’s something more to it as well…
Those tv-only episodes in season 1. In the manga it all feels the same, but with how much extra that was added in the series the first time around the mood was much more lively and vibrant – and going from that into this season is a massive change in atmosphere and mood. You didn’t get that blatant contrast in the manga, it’s something only the show could pull off – and it did. And it really adds to the series, because this is NOT the same Railgun you used to know and it makes that extremely clear right in the second episode. Without that huge sudden drop down from happy fun times into the ominous heavy atmosphere of Railgun S, the impact wouldn’t be the same – it’d be like a rollercoaster that never actually goes up to get momentum and just rolls down a small hill. Instead we’ve climbed up a mountain and are now diving straight off of it.
Luckily, the next episode looks like it’ll give viewers a breather finally.
I went back and watched some of season 1 (well, I regularly have anime on when I’m trying to fall asleep, it’s in the rotation and happened to come up) after watching the episode and it felt so much like an entirely different series. Even the serious stuff in Railgun season 1 was lighter and the entire series always felt much more bright. Season 2 is almost all dark at night, shadowed in the day, or in windowless facilities. It went from being a very open world to being extremely dark, constricting, and claustrophobic. This really gets across the way Biribiri is probably feeling during this season as well – which is why during those happy moments this season the entire lighting and settings have been so open and colorful and lit up. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it feels like it’s intending to get across Mikoto’s current mental state more than JUST trying to get the viewer to feel the way the show wants you to (which it does very well too).
I think my favorite thing in this episode wasn’t a scene, but one of the new songs on the OST. The one that played when the big group of Sisters showed up to stop Accelerator from fighting Mikoto. Actually, it was a good scene in general too. But really, this seasons OST is outstanding, even as much as I loved the soundtrack of season 1, there are just so many more powerful songs in just these 6 episodes that it’s already even better. Though, Uiharu’s theme will always be my favorite Railgun song.
My favorite actual scene though, even more than seeing all the sisters with their night vision on, would be at the end of the episode when the girls reassure her they are there for her and she’s not alone. Biribiri gets all blushy and shy, it was moe.
One thing I noticed with this episode even more than the past few is just how bad it makes you feel for Mikoto, I mean obviously I already felt that way and worried for her since this started – but they really got across her situation and emotions so well in this episode specifically. Looking back to the very top of this post, that scene, her reactions during her fight with Accel, and when she was just whimpering on the bench was all very powerfully done and it’s just so hard to see her going through all this. Not just because of how I feel about her, but because she’s just a fourteen year old girl, one that hasn’t nearly done anything terrible to deserve this and – all because she wanted to help others – this is what happened. I mean she sees this as having the blood of almost 10,000 people on her hands. That’s not something anyone could handle, let alone a young girl, yet she has to.
You can almost see the actual weight of it all on her every second of this episode and it almost becomes hard to watch at times seeing her suffer like this and feel so completely helpless, not just that but I mean – imagine what must be going on in her head. She’s probably seeing shit like that first pic constantly any time she blinks, and hearing things like she was in that same scene of them all dead and pulling at her this whole time as well. It’s no surprise she avoided sleeping that night, even if only subconsciously. She’s having some horrific PTSD type of shit here, and it’s legitimately painful to see her dealing with that.
I was happy to see her still holding out though with her usual cockiness instead of letting it entirely pull her down, and also knowing she finally goes and lets herself relax on the shoulders of her friends. Whether she takes on the burden of those 20 facilities on her own like in the manga or not, we won’t know until the episodes come out – but it’s really good to see her finally getting a breather herself and letting some of that burden, even if only indirectly, be lifted by the others. If I recall – this is not in the manga – yet again though, this is filler that actually makes the arc better. Biribiri fighting alone is believable, especially in this arc, but her not even remotely needing some emotional help just from being with her friends for a little bit before shit goes down is a little hard to swallow. Anybody, let alone a 14 year old, going through this would need that before heading out to get shit done. The manga has her pushing a little too unbelievably – having a little bit of a break is not only more realistic, but more believable for her character. She’s hotheaded but she’s not a moron, she knows she’ll be fucked if she doesn’t take a day off even in a situation as fucked up as this.
Anyway, thanks for reading again – and until next week; be power smart and conserve electricity ~biribiri!