A Certain Scientific Railgun S – 23 (Need a character explanation? Make it up yourself!)

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S Episode 23
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:

Aritomi explains how Academy City’s focus on espers and ignorance of those with powerful intellects caused him to decide to make the people of the world sit up and recognize intellectual achievement. Since esper births are by luck, he decides to create an artificial person with esper abilities, thus STUDY is formed and Project Chemicaloid is born. However, when he realized that the scientific community of Academy City weren’t interested in the project, but were solely focused on espers (the Shift Level 6 project), STUDY decided to take matters into their own hands. As such, at the forthcoming Academic Assembly, they will showcase Janine and her Diffusion Ghost esper ability. With that, Mikoto passes out.

When Mikoto comes to, she’s on a gurney and unable to move. Shinobu is there and when asked by Mikoto, explain that she’d been captured by ITEM and sold to STUDY, where she learned that their Project Chemicaloid was based in part off her earlier works. When she saw the artificial twins, she decided that once she had the chemical recipe to counter the poisons in their bodies, she’d program Janie with human emotions. Mikoto realizes Shinobu and she are very similar, so she tells Shinobu that she doesn’t have to do this alone. Using her powers, Mikoto is able to overcome her paralysis. In addition, Kuroko has infiltrated this STUDY facility thanks to Uiharu tracking Mikoto’s injected nanodevices and Saten keeping watch from a distance. Kuroko makes it to Mikoto, but gets fried since Mikoto is electrified in order to be able to move.

The members of STUDY arrive and find Shinobu there, whom they take into custody. When asked why she didn’t flee with Mikoto, Shinobu says that since she’d been sold by one underground organization to another, fleeing now would mean running for the rest of her life. In reality, as she told Mikoto, her reasons for staying were to remain close to Janie, since STUDY still need Shinobu’s skills. Mikoto reports everything to her comrades at the Judgment facility, including that Febri would be able to locate Janie once Janie’s powers activated. They contact Yomikawa to get Anti-Skill involved, only to learn she’s been suspended, but that Anti-Skill won’t get involved and that STUDY is now Anti-Skill’s main supplier.

Just as Mitsuko arrives with new information, Uiharu has found the same information, namely that STUDY probably has 20,000 power suits, meaning they can start their revolution. The group, now including Wannai and Awatsuki, discuss things. Mikoto ponders things as well, but after the group tells her that they are all in this to help Febri and Janie, she’s OK with it. Febri wakes up and is told that they are going to save Janie. Mitsuko arranges to have her father immediately send certain equipment to them. At Saten’s home, she, Uiharu, and Febri make onigiri while Saten studies some booklets. At the dorm, Kuroko has made dummies to fool the dorm supervisor in case she does bed checks. Mikoto makes a quick call to the Sisters. The next morning, STUDY starts their plan while the girls have Mitsuko’s equipment to combat the power suits. Mikoto is on a roof with Febri, who’s in a new dress, when Febri senses the direction Janie is in. So, Mikoto takes Febri and jumps off the building after giving Febri the last lollipop.

Thoughts/Review:

OK, so now we know that STUDY did create an artificial person with esper abilities. We know that ability is called Diffusion Ghost. And we know that strands of Janie’s hair are used to either direct control power suits or other robotics, but can also be programed with simple commands, meaning Janie doesn’t have to control them. Some of STUDY’s experiments make more sense now, but what this has to do with Mikoto or Shizuri specifically is still unclear to me.

We also got the explanation for why Shinobu was “free” since when we last saw her, she’d been captured by ITEM. Initially, I thought that ITEM would have handed Shinobu over to their client, since she was caught trying to mess with the Level 6 Shift project. As such, it seemed odd that ITEM would sell Shinobu to STUDY.  I just couldn’t reconcile that, especially since episode 9 clearly had Saiai tell Shinobu that they’d be handing her over to their client.

So, I consulted volume 5 of the manga.  There too, Saiai tells Shinobu that she’ll be handed over to the client. However, the official English version makes an interesting choices of words and fonts. When Saiai is asked about what will happen to Shinobu, her response is, “I guess if she’s valuable, she’ll get to live.”  For whatever reason, Seven Seas decided to make that word bold, meaning put emphasis on it when reading it.

As such, I think that’s the out J.C. Staff is using, with whatever assistance from Kamachi-sensei, to explain why ITEM sold Shinobu to STUDY. I doubt that J.C. Staff will explain any further, leaving it to the audience to figure out. However, since ITEM is a mercenary team, I can envision a scenario where STUDY wants Shinobu, and decides to buy her, so ITEM sells her instead of giving her to the client. After all, money talks and the client doesn’t specifically know about Shinobu’s sabotage. The selling of Shinobu I can now reconcile.

As to STUDY, I was having a hard time reconciling why they’d make her a voting member of their group when she’s basically a slave to them. However, being a clever type, Shinobu probably sold them on the idea that she wants revenge on Academy City for treating her work they way they did, combined with her giving them whatever else they needed to make their project succeed. That would explain Aritomi’s suspicion of her.

It is all pure speculation, which is kind of a frustrating part of Japanese writing sometimes.  They don’t want to figure out how things got from point A to C, so they let fans duke it out on how this might have happened and what point B was.

J.C. Staff still has a hard time of letting go of their stamp on Mitsuko to make her overly haughty only to get cut off by Saten. While she can be disdainful and use her fan with flair, I just didn’t like how Mitsuko came off at times in this episode. Just have Mitsuko be faithful to her manga counterpart.

Finally, I was wrong about Mikoto blasting Aritomi to get away. I was right in my thinking, since Mikoto later used her powers to allow herself to move, but since the writers needed Aritomi to get away cleanly, no blasters were allowed.

One more episode and then it is over.

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