The TV-only material has finally started up again, and I’m far from unhappy about that. Season 1’s “filler” managed to not only be very fun and well written and directed – it added to the canon, fleshed out material, and even gave a conclusion to the main story arc of the show instead of leaving it just kind of hanging like the manga did. That’s also why I always call it tv-only instead of ‘filler’, as it was new material that, as far as I’m concerned, are additional canon events. One great thing about JC Staff is that they can adapt manga perfectly – without removing anything or ‘messing up’ any scenes – and then add on top of it to really use the material to it’s fullest. Rather than butchering the original scenes we get them frame for frame almost, and then we get extra that adds to it or adds to the universe and core cast. This was definitely the case with season 1 of Railgun, and I feel like it’ll be the same way here with S and it has been so far.
One thing I did notice was that, while the overall quality was still incredibly high, some of the animation and art in scenes was taken down just a little bit – not throughout, but there were clearly some parts that had a little bit less spent on them, though it seems most of Biribiri’s scenes were the regular for this season. They blew a lot of money on the Sisters arc – but also they probably want to save some for this second arc with this new blonde loli coming up. This episode was pure slice of life, so it was one that skimping just a tiny bit didn’t have any bad effect on it or make it look bad whatsoever. Given how incredibly profitable Railgun is, there’s no doubt they have plenty of budget left – but yeah, they still have a whole nother arc they are clearly getting to in this last chunk of the show based on the OP. It was still beautiful and a massive step up from (the already very nice looking) season 1, so it’s no complaint, but it was noticeable after how high quality the rest of the show has been.
New opening and ending are great; song wise, I like the OP, video wise I like the ED. Compared to the first OP/ED I’d say these aren’t better or worse and I’d say the same for all of them from season 1 as well. This series is one that always has had great ops and eds and these new two are very easily up to snuff. The new actual video parts are designed a bit like the first ones of S as well, but they (like the new episodes, probably until the show is over again) carry a much lighter and brighter feeling to them. You can easily tell the show is going to be, maybe still heavy and dark (nobody knows, given this is heading into tv-only land now), but not nearly as much as it was – basically, it’ll be like how season 1 was where it was still serious and had a lot of action and drama, but never was as dramatic as the first half. If I had to pick, I’d still say Only My Railgun is still my favorite, then again I love the title all on it’s own.
On another note, they show Shinobu in the OP – in the manga she just disappears (implied to be killed) and is never mentioned a single time again after her last scene in the Sister’s arc, so it’ll be nice if they save her here. JC Staff has a very long standing tradition with their adaptations – especially Railgun – to go all out with the source material, and then fill in the details of the story strings that just end up loose in the original material, so I have a feeling she’ll be relevant. I’m writing this pre-episode 18 (just up to this part of my post – so if she’s there, then I was right!)
As for the episodes specifically: Same high quality awesomeness. While 16 was clearly the post-Sister’s arc cooldown and closure, 17 feels like the first ‘next step’ in Biribiri’s life – her first step back into the world she was in prior to all the fucked up shit that was going on, back to her friends and her daily life. Of course, her daily life since season 1 has included a lot of crazy shit, conspiracies, and people trying to kill her or her friends – so it’s not that drastic of a change for her. They went all out showing off Biribiri’s cuteness and shyness, especially with Saten teasing her about the cookies (doubly bad with Kuroko around). I’m not a big fan of Saten, she’s fine and I don’t dislike her but she’s probably fourth place of the four leads for me – but she was a great foil this episode for Mikoto.
We once again get to see Biribiri flaunting her money without realizing she’s doing it (she does that a lot in S – getting a hotel room just to change, buying all new and pricy clothes just to fight in, buying expensive cookies for Touma, and now buying super high grade beef cuts), which is always cute. Rich girls who aren’t bitches about it and who don’t show it off or understand it are great. She doesn’t feel any better than anybody else or think higher of herself (she’s pretty much an anti-ojou), she just happens to have a lot of money.
The ending was great and, you knew I’d say it eventually, it was a touching little scene between Kuroko and Biribiri – especially after how much Kuroko has felt neglected as of late. It was a great way to start off the new episodes and to end the episode.
Episode 18 was also another great one. Can’t say I care for ITEM still being involved in the show aside from pointless cameos like in the restaurant in 17 though. They are a bunch of poorly thought out characters made up of bland cliches and no personality whatsoever, but eh. Based on the new OP and this episode, it looks like the new arc will feel really familiar to season 1’s latter half: candy, robots, and evil scientists. Apparently, meltdowner is being secretely used in some experiments, unaware to her or her group, so I’m sure they’ll be around more.
The animation and art quality is back to the high standards again in 18 as well, so it’s all looking incredible throughout again.
Banri shows up again, which is nice, ritsu-clones are always cute, plus she’s got that freckle-nose, so it’s nice seeing her sometimes. I wonder if her, the earthquake girl, and this loli will all be relevant to this arc again as well. Otherwise, it looks like they are moving her out of Uiharu’s place early on to get them out of the story entirely and to keep the 5-character rule of Railgun with this new loli replacing her. We’ve never had more than 5 total girls, even in this episode when everyone gets together (so a total of 6 of them) – guess what, Uiharu and Kuroko teleport out. It’s like THEY KNOW.
Saten shows how stupid (in a moe way) she is yet again, which isn’t surprising. This season alone she’s misunderstood or been confused about things about every single time she’s on screen, but at least she’s been talking about how cute Mikoto is a lot.
The episode was a mixed bag of focus, but a lot of it was about Uiharu – who hasn’t really been relevant for awhile now, so it was nice seeing her in the spotlight again. As much as I never cared about the poltergeist girl, the episode was pretty touching. Her and Uiharu were always the ‘softest’ and sweetest of the girls in the show, especially Uiharu. It was handled really well, especially given we’ve barely seen these two together even though they’ve been living in the same room for awhile now, and definitely made you sad for them both – especially Uiharu who is going right back to rooming alone now. On the other side of things, the funniest thing in awhile has to be the massage scene, it was short and quick but the way they had Kuroko’s version of Biribiri saying she’ll give her a massage start sounding more and more lewd was hilarious.
They are also clearly working this like they did season 1, with clear hints of the arc’s story popping in in strange ways (like the power going out on those street lights), but the focus not yet on them. I always liked that about how they handled the entirety of the first Railgun season, so it’s nice to see that happening again. One of the best things about the Railgun universe is that there’s so much other stuff going on – not just Index, but everything going on in Academy City – be it stuff that ends up causing a story arc or just stuff that’s happening. The city really feels alive and when they handle the story piecemeal before really getting into it, it makes the world have much more depth. Not only that, but the subtle way they work in foreshadowing was always cool to me in season 1. You’d have seemingly unconnected, irrelevant little events happen, then way later on you realize they were actually big clues towards where the story was heading.
A new moe actual-loli is introduced; Febli, who likes lollipops and sleeping in flower beds. For some reason, little Febli knowing Mikoto out of nowhere right at the very last second of the episode (and somehow having a connection to the evil scientists in the op no doubt), makes me excited to see what’s up with this loli and who she is. I WANNA KNOW MORE! She clearly isn’t a badguy because of how close she is with Biribiri in a lot of the OP scenes, but I bet there’s some sad and heavy story here. Railgun S isn’t going to let up even during the tv-only material is my guess (well, a little, but not completely). Oh, and it looks like Kongou and her friends will play a role in this arc – she was around in both of these episodes and even was the first person to interact with some character who is clearly going to be part of the antagonist’s group in some way. Not to mention her being around in the latter portion of season 1 a lot as well. JC Staff likes to use all the cast they can without messing up the canon, which I think is great, I’d love to see more of this great ojou-sama.
And make sure you watched through to after the ED, as usual with Railgun they randomly throw in (and randomly don’t) extra afterwards that’s pretty relevant. This time, not only was it showing us who the new enemies are – we got something else I was wandering about earlier right in this post;
Anyway, sorry for taking so long.
See you next time, and as always – be power smart and conserve electricity ~biribiri!
“They are a bunch of poorly thought out characters made up of bland cliches and no personality whatsoever”
Yeah, sure, right now they are. But in Index: Mugino kills Frenda, Kinuhata becomes a huge tease, Takitsubou gets involved in a conspiracy, and that blond guy from the end of Index II(I swear, I watch it for Mikoto and Accelerator) ends up beating Mugino in a fight and tons of crazy shit happens with them. I haven’t actually read the novels, I just read about on the wiki.
I don’t see how you can say Gin no Saji and Servant x Service have recycled humor, but A Certain Railgun…