A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 12 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. 12 (manga review) 

–> Purchase A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 12 from Amazon.com

I was getting ready to watch episode 19 of the Railgun T anime series. And I always compare the anime to the source manga material. However, I was stunned to see that A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 12 wasn’t on my bedroom bookcase. So I went to my office where I have PILES of unread manga volumes collecting dust. And sure enough, volume 12 was sitting there with 13 and 14. And volume 15 was nearby. 😅 As such, it was way past time for me to read volume 12!

NOTICE!!! In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I am the adapter for the official English translation of the True Tenchi Muyo! novels, which are also published by Seven Seas.

S P O I L E R S !

The Story Synopsis

A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 12Frenda is on a desperate mission to find canned mackerel. Saten has two cans, and eventually takes pity on Frenda. However, Frenda accidentally blows up the can, so Saten reluctantly invites her over for dinner. Sometime later, Frenda is in town and sees Saten being kidnapped. Frenda decides to save her as payback for the meal. However, this makes Frenda a target of another organization.

A shy girl named Yumiya is invited to go with some classmates. She’s very happy, but she gets a call from SCHOOL, her organization and the one’s after Frenda. Yumiya is a sniper, and unlike her school persona, she’s very serious. She tags Frenda’s shoulder with a bullet while Frenda is hanging out with Saten. Frenda gets shot a second time and  has to pull every trick out of her bag, to no success.

Now losing a lot of blood, Frenda uses Saten as bait. She manages to get the drop on Yumina and shove a small bomb into her mouth while shoving her off a ledge. Yumina survives, but now has to wear a contraption on her face. Further, her usefulness to SCHOOL is diminished. Meanwhile, Frenda and Saten make arrangements to have dinner again, but Frenda never shows and never returns Saten’s texts.

Sometime later, Misaki contacts Mikoto through Kana-chan, the little girl Mikoto befriended. Meanwhile, Judgement meets to discuss how Indian Poker cards are being used to steal secrets and private information. Elsewhere, Keitz has lunch with a girl possessed by Misaki. He reveals that the creator of Indian Poker is a girl named KURIBA Ryouko.

Misaki briefs Mikoto on Ryouko and the cybernetic soul experiment that had her separated into two bodies for a time before being recombined. Misaki wants Mikoto’s help and as payment, Misaki will protect the Sisters. A mini-Mitori in metal form reports to Misaki. Meanwhile, Mikoto learns that a robot Ryouko exists, believing itself to be the real Ryouko. Mikoto tracks Ryouko down to discuss the situation along with Misaki, who’s possessed someone.

After Ryouko leaves, Misaki shows up in person to discuss things with Mikoto. Meanwhile, another organization is after the doppelganger. Elsewhere, the doppelganger finds Ryouko. They skirmish, but the girls from the other organization arrive. One deals with Ryouko, but is seen by Mikoto, who cannot abide bullying the weak.

Return to Darkness!

My goodness, A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 12 saw a serious return to darkness and a reminder of how jacked up Academy City truly is. Take the character of Yumiya. On one hand, she’s a shy high school girl who wants to make friends. On the other, she’s a coldhearted assassin who enjoys hunting other humans with abilities. That dichotomy depressed me because I believe both personas are real for Yumiya.

Then there’s Ryouko. She participates in an experiment to slice up her own body, merge said slices with cybernetics, then effectively have two copies of herself. Then after a year, her body is put back together. The whole thing is so jacked up to me. And even though this was her experiment, she still had adults who went along with this whacked idea.

With the increased level of darkness in this volume, I wonder if that played a subconscious role in my literally forgetting I hadn’t read four volumes of the manga. 😅 With the more lighthearted titles like D-Frag or My Monster Secret, I was well aware of what I hadn’t read. And lately (the last two years or so), I find myself avoiding dark titles because the world is stupidly depressing enough without adding to it. 😅

Frenda and Saten

I had noted in my episode 18 review of Railgun T that I liked seeing the ITEM crew in a cameo. I couldn’t remember if they’d show up again, and that’s because I hadn’t read the manga. But Frenda does return and has an interesting pairing with Saten. I actually like the chemistry between the two. Saten does work well with lots of other people, thanks to her personality.

Frenda comes off pretty well in A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 12. When she fought Mikoto, she was the villain. Now, she’s a hero of sorts. For a start, she helps save Saten from being kidnapped. And then she protects Saten from SCHOOL. Naturally, after their deadly adventure together, the two become friends.

However, even though Frenda was supposed to come over to have dinner with Saten, she vanished. For some reason, this made me think that Frenda is dead. There’s no logical reason behind it, and I suspect that if Frenda is dead, I had spoiler info given to me at some point in the past. That would be a bummer if Frenda is dead ’cause I would have enjoyed seeing her freak out upon learning Saten is friends with Mikoto.

Misaki  and Mikoto

I really enjoyed seeing Misaki and Mikoto working together again in A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 12. They worked really well together in the previous arc, so it makes sense that they’d continue to do so. Of course, Misaki mostly possessed others to collaborate with Mikoto. But the pair did meet and interact directly at time.

Indeed, the hilarious part of Misaka and Mikoto is that they are both tsundere to each other. As Mitori pointed out, Misaki’s offer to Mikoto to protect the Sisters for Mikoto’s help is something Misaki would have done regardless. And Mikoto would help someone in need regardless.

Speaking of Mitori, I’m glad she still has a role in this adventure. I have a weakness for redeemed characters.

Seven Seas

A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 12 is a pretty hefty volume. As such, Seven Seas maximizes things by having two of the omake, 4-panel comic strips on the inside back cover. That’s not an issue, but it does go to show that a lot of stuff is in this volume. And Seven Seas couldn’t even advertise their other titles.

As usual, Japanese honorifics are retained in the adaptation. It is SO nice seeing Kuroko address Mikoto as “Oneesama” instead of the idiotic “Sissy” like the anime has. And that’s just a start. 😉

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

In the end, A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 12 is a good volume in terms of story. While there are some light moments, namely with Mikoto and Misaki, the volume returns to the darkness that is Academy City.

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2 Responses to “A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 12 Manga Review”

  1. arimareiji says:

    However, even though Frenda was supposed to come over to have dinner with Saten, she vanished.

    Iirc: When I read the chapter online, someone noted in the comments that she didn’t show because of events elsewhere in the Raildexator universe. If anything ever resolved it within the Railgun manga, I don’t remember it.

    I’m not sure, which is a more annoying way to handle crossovers? Having plot points left hanging forever unless you just happen to have read another series, or having it rubbed in your face the way Marvel did (maybe still does) with panel notes a la “See Uncanny X-Men 234A-11C, Special Collectors Expensive Tangent Limited Edition”?

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I’m not sure, which is a more annoying way to handle crossovers?

      Yeah, that’s been my one issue with the Railgun franchise. I get that they don’t want to retread old ground. And that in Japan, the expectation is that if one is a true fan, they will buy all of the other stuff to get the full story. But when Kuroko suddenly was injured in one volume, I had to look up why that was the case. And here, Frenda suddenly going MIA is another such moment.

      But, maybe the “see ‘Series X, chapter XX’ footnote solution would at least let readers know something had happened.

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