After seven years since the last entry in the fan-favorite Raildex spinoff, we were finally able to experience the much-hyped A Certain Scientific Railgun T last season. Despite some reasonable delays due to the ongoing global pandemic, this series was able to keep its momentum, but did it live up to fan’s high expectations? Join us today as we discuss the highlights, weaknesses, and our overall impression of Railgun T. Let’s go!
Making the Most of the Cast
A big part of the appeal of the Toaru series comes from its characters, of which it has plenty that stand out not only because of their wide array of interesting super powers, cool character designs, and charming personality traits, but also thanks to solid development throughout the story.
Railgun T introduced us to several new characters like Level 5 Sogiita Gunha who's hotblooded personality made for some equally hilarious and awe-inspiring moments, particularly when he and Touma took on Mikoto when she was out of control during the Level 6 Shift arc. Needless to say, that princess carry was amazing and Gunda’s character in general was so much fun to watch, if a bit over-the-top.
While not a new character, Shokuhou Misaki’s prominence throughout T was an amazing addition as she transitioned from outright sociopathic antagonist to an unlikely ally, albeit very much with her own motivations. Seeing her eventually outsmart Kihara Gensei was certainly satisfying as was how she fit into the Clone Dolly story arc. She also shined in lighter moments like her intense personality clashes with Misaka, hilarious dislike of running, and had one of the best redemption arcs in anime that kept her character interesting.
Of course, the main returning cast also had some amazing moments, particularly with our titular electromaster Misaka Mikoto who had to deal with lots of literal mind-bending shenanigans in the Daihasei festival arc with her main line of support having their memories partially erased, not to mention the level 6 shift and first “kill”. Throughout the story we see her continually mature and better understand the importance of the bonds she shares with her friends and responsibility as a protector of Academy City, although some things remain the same despite her best efforts as evidenced by the silly “Bust Upper” mini arc.
Saten and Frenda’s side arc initially revolving around canned mackerel of all things was another highlight that added a lot to both of their characters and there’s so much more we could mention but, in general, Railgun T really balanced its huge cast masterfully.
Some Amazing Battles
J.C.Staff brought their A-game for their flagship series and it showed not only in its character interactions and story but also in many of the series’ battles brought to life with solid direction and quality art, Misaka’s railgun and electrical effects particularly shining. Obviously the final conflicts of the two main arcs were spectacular with Gunha and Touma’s struggling to break through the giant blasts of Level 6 Shifted Mikoto and Mikoto’s own kaiju-esque final fight against the Doppleganger Ryoko where she created her own iron sand giant were hype as heck but other fights were also plenty memorable.
Early on in the series, MEMBER operative Baba has a series of impressive fights with minor characters Wannai Kinuho and Awatsuki Maaya after he incapacidated and beat up Kongou Mitsuko, making his later righteous trouncing by Mikoto all the more impactful. Shirai Kuroko and Kouzaku Mitori’s final fight was also great, however, arguably the best fight of the whole series was Frenda and Rakko’s. This battle featured some incredible choreography and non-stop tension as Frenda and Saten had to focus on retreating from the unknown, nearly invisible assault through a crowded mall and eventually outwit the persistent sniper for an exciting, literally explosive conclusion.
Excellent Openings and Endings
Of course fripSide is back again for a strong duo of tracks in “final phase” and “dual existence” backed with some hype visuals that showcase the cast and reflect the overall story without giving away too much. “final phase” in particular is classic Railgun goodness that feels appropriate for the grand return of the series and is high energy throughout while “dual existence” is a little more experimental and sonically varied, reflecting the dream-focused story of the second arc.
On the ED side, “nameless story” is unusually high-energy for an ending theme but seriously impresses sonically despite the limited animation. It’s a serious jam and while the second ending “Aoarashi no Ato de” is a bit more conventional, it’s a strong song regardless. We also dig the way the characters are rendered here, how the animation lines up with the music, and absolutely love the final ending card.
In short, A Certain Scientific Railgun T is a must-watch for fans of the Raildex universe and another worthwhile incentive for newcomers to get invested in the series, albeit not starting with T itself. It makes smart use of its extensive characters and adaptable setting to weave intricate and interesting plotlines into a cohesive, satisfying whole. With overall excellent production values and a pleasant mix of lighter character moments with intense action and evolving mysteries, Railgun T lives up to the high standards of its predecessors and should delight long-term watchers who have stuck with the series.
What do you think about A Certain Scientific Railgun T? Let us know what you liked or disliked from the side series’ latest installment in the comments section below and be sure to stick around Honey’s for more of all things awesome, anime and otherwise! See ya~