A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 05 Manga Review

とある科学の超電磁砲(レールガン)/Toaru Kagaku no Railgun

A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 05 (manga review) 

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***SPOILERS***  

Highlights from this volume start with Mikoto having to be rescued from her fight with Accelerator by the Sisters. Shinobu meets the depressed Mikoto and explains why she had a change of heart when it came to viewing the Sisters as people, not things. Mikoto continues her war against the facilities involved in the Sister’s project, so a group of four esper girls named ITEM are hired to handle the situation. So, when Mikoto arrives to destroy one of the two remaining facilities, one of the girls named Frenda is waiting for her, having rigged the place with powerful explosives in dolls in anticipation of Mikoto’s fighting style.

Though Frenda does much better than one would expect for someone with limited psychic abilities against the third best psychic in Acedemy City, she’s eventually driven back and forced to be rescued by ITEM’s leader and number four psychic named Mugino, who’s also known as Meltdowner. Aided by fellow member Rikou, who’s able to track a psychic once she’s locked onto them. Rikou enhances her ability with a powder, but Mikoto is still able to elude them, having been weakened by days of using her powers and her fight with Frenda.  With Rikou getting weaker with the passage of time, Mugino sends her out with Frenda.

Elsewhere, Shinobu penetrates the final facility to upload emotions into the Sister’s network. However, she’s caught by the final member of ITEM, Saiai, who’s ability provides her with skin that’s like armor. Shinobu still gets the upload, only to have it rejected by Superior Unit 20001. Shinobu is taken into custody while Mugino faces a Mikoto who’s only weapons are manipulating the dolls Frenda left behind as well as using some of Frenda’s traps to her advantage, which eventually cause Mugino to fall from a ledge. Mikoto does her damage and flees the facility, so Mugino decides to find out why Mikoto is on a rampage. Learning the truth of the Sisters project, Mugino is amused, understanding why ITEM was chosen for this job. She decides to let Mikoto go. Meanwhile, Mikoto goes to the final facility, only to discover it has been abandoned, leading her to think that her mission is finally over.

REVIEW

I have to say that this was a really enjoyable volume, partly because everything was new and hadn’t been covered by the A Certain Magical Index storyline.

The volume is filled with action, but fortunately, the story laid out by Kamachi-sensei is such that Mikoto’s massive power advantage has been removed in a way that makes total sense. Mikoto having been using her powers to a great extent for days, not eating much, and not sleeping much, has drained her reserves so that she can’t do a lot if she’s challenged. I found I rather enjoyed watching Mikoto having just enough power to do something, allowing her to show off her quick wits and ability to adjust to the situation as needed.

Frenda was an interesting opponent because she doesn’t seem to have any special abilities. She might have an ability that makes her a good fighter, or she might have an ability that makes her good with creating explosives.  The manga didn’t give me that vibe though, at least in how things came across to me. For all I know, her ability may be one where she’s able to learn skills quickly, but if that were the case, I’d think that the longer she fought Mikoto, the better she’d become.  Regardless, if she has an ability, it isn’t one that I’d put up against Mikoto, but Frenda was quite skillful. After all, she did help put down that group of large guys when ITEM was introduced.

Rikou clearly has an ability, but I’m guessing that was a drug she took to make it happen.  I thought I remembered in the Level Upper arc that artificially boosting one’s abilities wasn’t really possible, but obviously, that was wrong.  Rikou’s ability of tracking makes her the most dangerous member of ITEM in my opinion, since her real time info on ITEM’s quarry is quite useful when fighting other espers like Mikoto.

Although the term wasn’t used in the English adaptation, one of the manga’s splash pages revealed that Mugino is an ojousama character.  That certainly explained her leadership style.  That aside, her battle with the weakened Mikoto was pretty good. Mikoto may not have a chance against Accelerator, but she held up well against Mugino, who’s clearly no slouch. I wonder why ITEM was chosen for the job to take out Mikoto, but since Mugino has taken an interest in seeing what Mikoto does against the Level 6 project, I wonder if we’ll ever know.

Shinobu getting busted was unexpected, but an interesting turn. She’s such a freaky character, but I liked her, especially when she kept reminding Mikoto to address her properly, seeing as how Mikoto is in middle school and Shinobu is in high school. However, since she has been incarcerated, who knows when we’ll see her again.

On the Seven Seas side, the manga is a lot thicker than normal. The usual Japanese honorifics are present (yay). There are no translator notes. There is a fair amount of omake content, including artwork and a note from KIO Shimoku-sensei, creator of Genshiken. There’s an ad for the A Certain Magical Index novels (in Japan) that made me wish we had those here.  Oh well.

Bottom line: We get a rather interesting expansion of the Sisters arc from Index, which is full of action, but also makes Mikoto an even better character in my opinion.

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15 Responses to “A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 05 Manga Review”

  1. evgenidb says:

    Of-topic:
    Haha, just found this beatbox trick (copy/paste it in Google Translate and set the languages – From: Czech, To: German; and click Play):

    pv zk bschk pv zk pv bschk zk pv zk bschk pv zk pv bschk zk bschk pv bschk bschk pv kkkkkkkkkk bschkpv zk bschk pv zk pv bschk zk pv zk bschk pv zk pv bschk zk bschk pv bschk bschk pv kkkkkkkkkk bschkpv zk bschk pv zk pv bschk zk pv zk bschk pv zk pv bschk zk bschk pv bschk bschk pv kkkkkkkkkk bschkpv bschk zk bschk pv bschk bschk pv kkkkkkkkkk bschk

    ————————

    And a question to you, ANB. Do you plan to blog the new Yamato series? I remember you blogged the first 2 episodes and then stopped after that. There are already 10 eps released and anothe 4 new episodes would be released a month later (22nd February).

    P.S. Any free time to watch Level-E, hmm?

  2. Anonymous says:

    OK, this is the third and final time I’m going to ask what’s up with my GXP novel news about Seto-sama getting flushed down the drain.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      OK, this is news to me. Not sure about Seto-sama getting flushed down the drain and I’m not at present sure what the status of the GXP novels are, though they should be continuing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Loved the literalist humor, but seriously my point was that I posted news for you from the novel and it never got approved. After a while I asked about it, both here and then at your other blog in case it was a local problem, still nothing. If you don’t have those comments, I can repost the news if you’re interested if things are working now.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can see some other comments have been approved after I posted mine so I can only assume it got swallowed up again. Blogger is beginning to piss me off… -_-

      Again: loved the literalist humor, but seriously I meant that I posted some Seto-sama news for you from the latest GXP novel, but it never got approved. I inquired about it both here and then at your other blog in case the problem was local, no joy until the third try above. If you’re interested, I can post the news again if you can’t dig it out from the dark bowels of Blogger.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can see some other comments have been approved after I posted mine so I can only assume it got swallowed up again. Blogger is beginning to piss me off… -_-

      Again: loved the literalist humor, but seriously I meant that I posted some Seto-sama news for you from the latest GXP novel, but it never got approved. I inquired about it both here and then at your other blog in case the problem was local, no joy until the third try above. If you’re interested, I can post the news again if you can’t dig it out from the dark bowels of Blogger.

      Posting this once more just in case.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Yeah, Blogger/Google gets too smart by half. Basically, most of your posts were sent to the fjords and since we no longer get alerted when this happens (unlike the previous version of Blogger, which was so much superior to what we have now), it is easy to forget to check the fjords for legit messages.

  3. Random Passerby #612 says:

    Mikoto is overall a much better character in Railgun than in Index, to the point of the two works outright contradicting each other, albeit possibly unintentionally, not to mention internal inconsistency in Index itself. In Index, Mikoto is impulsive, brash, and righteous, just like in Railgun. But she’s also undecicive, weak-willed (in comparison to her Railgun self, that is), far too susceptible to persuation (once more, in comparison to Railgun, where she is more strong-headed), reactive rather than proactive, shows far less insight (maybe it’s there but why the brash and impulsive Mikoto would keep her guesses to herself is a question). She also shows a tendency to stall and avoid confronting issues. All of the above gets sharper with her proximity to Touma, by the way, which serves to make her appear damsel-ish, to my great chargin. Bad planning on the author’s part is largely at fault, though I suspect there’s another reason for this, too. It’s pretty obvious that Kazuma Kamachi has no intention of ever getting Touma romantically involved with anyone. Yet he continues to throw in teasing encounters regularly (and, most frustratingly, randomly, with no bearing on the story, characterization, or consequences), which at some point has crossed the line for me. The way certain issues are handled (Mikoto meets Accelerator: “I haven’t forgiven you for the Sisters” -> “Well, THEY have, and screw you, you weren’t even there during their last crisis, while I was saving them all and preventing a new batch from being made.” – “…” -> issue resolved, Accel is right, Mikoto is the bad guy for abandoning her older sister duties and a jerk for picking on Accel – Mikoto’s [apparent] lack of further involvement with the Sisters in the novels is probably the point that I’m most indignant about; Mikoto is deep in depression about seeing Touma seemingly plunge to his death from within her hand’s reach -> sees drunken Touma in town, tries to question him without success (a hilarious scene by itself, if it weren’t for the follow-up) -> is persuaded not to bug him with little to no explanation on what’s going on and where her love interest had been gone for over half a year by a STRANGER whom she sees for the first time in her life and who is at his apartment for an unknown reason -> never gets back to the topic). Some twelve volumes ago (namely, before volumes 16), I was a loyal Touma x Mikoto shipper. Ever since a certain scene in the arc said volume belongs to, that pairing has been gradually losing its appeal. The ending of volume 22 has sunk that ship for me, and volume 3 of NT has made me wanting to punch the author. At this point, I wish Mikoto would get over the moron already and get into a relationship that has a future of some kind, for Touma DOESN’T CARE ABOUT HER. If he does, he is very good at not showing it.

    …Phew, sorry for the rant, had to get that off my chest. Again. NT does a lot of stupid things, or, rather, the stupid things finally have accumulated enough weight and density that it’s started causing me headaches.

    So, to sum up the above, I am not at all pleased with the handling of Mikoto’s character in later novels of the franchise. I am very fond of protagonist Mikoto from the Railgun manga, however.

    As for ITEM, their subplot in Index… well, their side of things, is my favorite at the moment. It mostly has to do with the fact that Shiage is my favorite of the three protagonists, though the fact that this side of things has not accumulated enough stupidity yet due to being introduced later than the other two factors in as well.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Don’t know why you think we don’t have the Light Novels of Index here in the US. Baka-tsuki has the full Translations up and Downloadable in PDF. Oh well.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Sorry. I meant to say official translations. ^_^;

      Just out of curiosity, how are these fan novel translations? Some years ago, I tried to read a fan translated light novel (don’t recall exactly which series), but it was pretty bad English and thus unreadable.

    • Anonymous says:

      The translations are actually pretty good. They are a bit rough and have some grammar errors in the volumes they first translated (1st half of 19 and some of 22 as well as volumes 12 and 13 which the last arcs adapted by season 2) but the grammar gets better over time to the point where it is literally impossible for me to find any grammatical errors in the most recently translated volumes.

      The writing style is a bit hard to work with at first, but you get used to it and it grows on you.

  5. […] those keeping score, this episode covered the latter half of chapter 25 from volume 5 of the […]

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