A Certain Scientific Railgun S – 20 (Cute lollipop lolis aren’t all they seem to be.)

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S Episode 20
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:

Anti-Skill investigates the rouge security bots that went after Febri, discovering that these were new and didn’t even have batteries installed. Elsewhere, Mikoto is desperate to get her pink Gekota from Febri, but fails to entice her with other Gekota finger puppets. Mitsuko arrives with Wannai and Awatsuki, so Febri shows her affection for the pleased Mitsuko. Mikoto and Saten thank Mitsuko for helping save Febri, and Saten prompts Febri to do the same. After seeing Mikoto, Saten, and Febri off, Mitsuko notices Aritomi, whom she had noticed earlier in the attack on Febri. Meanwhile, the members of STUDY prepare for their forthcoming experiment against Mikoto.

At a family restaurant, Mikoto is again thwarted from getting her pink Gekota back.  Mii, Kuroko, and Uiharu get off from Judgement work, so Mii has Kuroko contact Mikoto to join them at a public bath house. Kuroko starts losing it at the prospect of bathing with “oneesama”, forcing Mikoto to punish her. Undaunted, Kuroko enters the place last, only to encounter the dorm mother, who drafts Kuroko into giving her a massage. Meanwhile, Mikoto washes Febri’s hair, and when the others remark on how Febri looks like a little sister to Mikoto, Mikoto thinks of the Sisters and decides to let Febri have the pink Gekota, though Febri says it was hers all along.

They part company with Mii and the group walks home, Kuroko all depressed. A sleeping Febri is carried by Saten, but the group soon discovers their paths are closed by construction barricades, leading them to an eventual dead end at a warehouse. Uiharu checks her phone for a map and discovers Mitsuko has been trying to contact her. Mikoto discovers the same, but they can’t return the call as their signals are being blocked. A power suit breaks down the big warehouse door and attacks Mikoto. Mikoto quickly discovers her abilities cannot control this power suit. She’s forced to erect an iron particle barrier, which she then uses to knock the thing back. It knocks down some iron girders, so Kuroko teleports Saten and Febri to safety.

Febri notices her lollipop and Gekota are gone, but seeing the Gekota, she puts herself in harm’s way to get it. The power suit goes to attack, directed by STUDY members in a nearby van, but somehow, Febri appeared to cause a malfunction in the control of the power suit. Mitsuko sends an iron girder into the thing, sending it flying away. The STUDY guys make a get away as Mikoto discovers the power suit does not have a driver in it. Febri has collapsed with a fever and Kuroko notices their cell phones are working, so they call an ambulance to have Febri taken there. Saten and Mikoto accompany Febri to the hospital while Mitsuko, Uiharu, and Kuroko talk with Anti-Skill, where they learn that security cameras didn’t record anything unusual in the area. After Kuroko and company leave, Yomikawa discovers a canister with a hair in the power suit.

At the hospital, Saten and Mikoto are horrified to hear that Febri is getting worse and being sent to another hospital. Mikoto gives her the rescued pink Gekota before she’s carried away. Elsewhere, the members of STUDY meet to discuss their success against Mikoto’s powers, then arrange for a vote on how to dispose of Febri. Meanwhile, at the big hospital where the frog-faced doctor works, Mikoto and Saten are joined by Uiharu, Kuroko, and Mitsuko. Mitsuko informs them about Aritomi and him being after Febri. Mitsuko has to leave, but Mikoto promises to let her know of any developments. The following morning, the girls are allowed to see a recovered Febri, but the frog-faced doctor tells Mikoto privately that he can’t help Febri because Febri is not human, but is artificially made.

Thoughts/Review:

Well, things are certainly getting interesting in this episode.

Again, we have the mystery of Febri. Now that we know she’s not human, I’m assuming she’s a science-created homunculus from STUDY. I’m betting those lollipops of hers are what keep her going rather than foods we’ve seen her eat.

What kind of abilities does Febri have? Was it her hair strand in that glass cylinder found in the power suit? Is that how she was able to stop it and cause the malfunction?

That leads to another question – is Febri some sort of ability canceller? For whatever reason, Mikoto wasn’t able to take control of the power suit, and the impression I got was that she couldn’t fry it either. She could cause physical damage to the suit via kinetic attacks, as could Mitsuko, but she couldn’t affect it directly.

This makes me wonder what the heck STUDY is trying to prove. Even without being able to take over the power suit, Mikoto could have destroyed it with a Railgun attack, which is kinetic in nature. So she is not “powerless” in relying on her powers. Of course, these experiments could be so that eventually, none of Mikoto’s powers would work against a STUDY-controlled robotic device.

I find that Shinobu being part of STUDY is most interesting, not to mention exciting in that when we last saw her, she was being led away, and in the manga, she’s not been heard from since. It could be that STUDY sprang her from wherever she was being held, and since she doesn’t appear to be an esper, she’d fit in. That being said, I can’t see her helping this group harm Mikoto after they worked together to help the Sisters.

It is clear to me that the anime staff are reconciling Mitsuko with her manga version, and frankly, I think this bodes well for the next Railgun anime, where Mitsuko has an important part. As I’ve said before, in the manga, Mitsuko and Mikoto are really good friends. Mikoto trusts Mitsuko with very important things, so this story arc is allowing Mitsuko to gain that trust that had not been there in the first anime series.

For the second episode in a row, we get naked, bath time fan service placed on us. I’m not a fan of this, though I admit that I laughed at the way the production team kept Kuroko from being with Mikoto.

Still, interesting stuff here and I’m looking forward to more.

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