A Certain Scientific Railgun S – 04

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S Episode 04
とある科学の超電磁砲(レールガン)S
To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Mikoto feels very good after coming to believe that the clone project is no more, so much so that Kuroko decides to press her luck to test is this is in fact her “oneesama” or not. After Mikoto fries her, they are joined by Saten, Uiharu, and Erii for a shopping excursion. Mikoto gets Saten and Erii a good deal on an expensive rice cooker, much to their happiness.  After all of their shopping is down, the group have iced beverages outside of a coffee joint. Saten says that this is were she saw Mikoto’s doppelganger, leading to a discussion on what they’d all do if they had a clone of themselves. Mikoto has to correct Uiharu’s notion that she and the clone would have shared experiences. When asked what she’d do if she had a clone, Mikoto doesn’t have an answer.

Unknown to Mikoto, the Sister’s clone project is going. Meanwhile, Mikoto finds herself alone in the school’s cafeteria eating a large breakfast as Kuroko and Uiharu are away on Judgement business. Mikoto heads to a convenience store to read the latest manga, before heading bored to a part. The young girl she helped during the Level Up incident shows up with her friends, so Mikoto decides to take the role of “oneesan” and play with the kids. Later in the day, she notices a frog flair button on one of the girls. Wanting one badly, Mikoto has the girl lead them to the coin toy dispenser, where Mikoto spends a massive amount of money but gets no frog flair.

Moving to a dispenser in front of a train station, Mikoto finally gets her flair, then wonders what she’s going to do with it. While escorting the kids to the bus stop at the end of the day, Mikoto senses something wrong.  After seeing the kids safely off, Mikoto returns to the spot where she’d had her senses triggered, which she likened to having her own powers directed at her from an external source. Doing a quick search of the area, Mikoto encounters a girl in a Tokiwadai uniform, who turns to face Mikoto, visually revealing that she appears identical to Mikoto.

Thoughts/Review:

For the record, this episode was adapted from chapters 20 and 21 of volume 4, with the shopping trip being the extra material to fill the episode.

Much of the adapted material from the manga is faithful in this episode, but there is one notable (and understandable) change.  In the manga, after Mikoto fries Kuroko for talking about the panties Mikoto wore, the to sit in the shade nearby and enjoy their beverages, where they end up talking about the recent clone rumors and what they’d do if they had a clone of themselves.

Having Saten, Uiharu, and Erii show up for a shopping excursion gives them face time, which if I recall correctly, they had almost none of in the manga. As such, I’m not bothered by this change, especially since the clone conversation was kept, but had more impact than the manga’s conversation.  Also, Kurko’s “tan” was admired while she stayed in her “Ataru just got fried by Lum” pose on the ground, which made me laugh. (That’s a reference to Urusei Yatsura, for those who don’t know.)

The flashback stuff regarding the birth of a Misaka Imouto clone was done in a single telling in the manga, but I understand why it was broken up and spread throughout this episode. I think it works better that way, especially since they end the episode by having a short, final flashback scene where the latest Misaka clone is tasked with cleaning up the butchered bodies of some of her predecessors (which was also in the manga).

The part where Mikoto plays with the kids is a lot more fun in the anime version. The kiddie side of Mikoto makes her so much more of a fun and interesting character, especially since she is too often forced into a role most adults would never venture into.

One final thing I’d like to remark on is how both the manga and the anime have shown Mikoto doing what manga publishers absolutely loathe — reading the weekly manga magazine in a convenience store without purchasing it. I’ve read some of the stuff from Japan, and the publishers consider that to be stealing just as much as downloading the scanned chapter onto your PC.  Sure, kids do this kind of thing (I certainly did it for comic books when I was a young teen), but considering how tetchy Japanese publishers are, I’m just surprised this aspect of Mikoto was allowed to be shown at all.

So, the Sister’s arc continues and I like how things are going thus far. Can’t wait for the next episode.

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