A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 13 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. 13 (manga review) 

–> Purchase A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 13 from Amazon.com

It is hard to believe that I purchased my copy of A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 13 in June of 2018. And while I have read the volume ages ago, it is shocking that I still haven’t reviewed it. 😅 Well, considering how things are for me, maybe it isn’t so shocking.

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, in Brief  

A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 13Scavenger member Seike decides to pick a fight with Mikoto, not realizing she’s actually Railgun. He loses. The other three Scavenger members get defeated by a now free and growing Doppelganger. Mikoto heads to them, unhappy at one of their members attacking her. However Scavenger leader Rita manages to talk her way into an alliance with Mikoto. Rita gets Mikoto to agree to herd Doppelganger to an abandoned warehouse. Mikoto doesn’t know that this is where Scavenger’s client expects delivery.

After Scavenger clears the area of people at Mikoto’s request, Mikoto squares off against Doppelganger. The two go so far as to build giant, kaiju-like things to fight. However, Doppelganger has an ulterior motive. She uses Mikoto’s metallic dust and other residue from their fight to cause a cloaked airship to reveal itself. This airship contains backups of all the Doppelganger research data.

After further consultations with Misaki, Mikoto decides to face Doppelganger on top of the airship. Ryoko, Doppelganger’s creator, gets there first. She attempts suicide, but Scavenger rescue her. Based on all the info she’s been give, Mikoto realizes Doppelganger is trying to be killed in spite of the android’s self-preservation programming. Mikoto destroys the airship and fatally damages Doppelganger.

On the ground, the Chief refuses to accept failure with Doppelganger and accidentally shoots Ryoko. He flees, but is caught by Misaki and “reset”. An undamaged part of Doppelganger is used to save Ryoko, who’s now a cyborg. Doppelganger visits Ryoko in her dreams. Mikoto visits Ryoko in the hospital and has a message for Doppelganger.

Fast-paced Story

One of the things about A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 13 is that it is a face-paced story. It isn’t just in the action that things move apace. Indeed, even when we get some exposition from Misaki, it felt vital and important to me. I wanted to know more about Doppelganger and the research. Did she indeed have a soul?

Mikoto’s battle with Doppelganger showcases Mikoto at her best. She’s not a Mary Sue character in this. The past twelve volumes of material, plus whatever she’s done on the Index side of things, have made her a battle veteran. Thus she has greater confidence in herself, which keeps her calm. As such, she can then make quick battlefield analysis and adjust her tactics accordingly. I loved it.

Further, thanks to the feed of intel from Misaki, Mikoto was able to come to understand Doppelganger’s desire to end it all. That’s where Mikoto had to make a hard, mature decision on what to do. And in the end, she did it. And by the time it was all over and the volume ended, I thought, “Wow! That smoked by fast!” But that’s what a good story will do.

Scavenger

I’ve never read any of the Accelerator manga, but I understand that Scavenger was introduced there. As a group, they are a typical dark side group with a weird collection of characters. I get the feeling these were outcasts who came together to try to survive rather than be cast out or turned into some horrible experiment. In that regard, they are a tragic group of messed up folks.

Still, I do respect the fact that despite the fact that Rita used Mikoto for her own purposes, in the end, she did the honorable thing and helped Mikoto in the battle. And Scavenger even saved Ryoko from death. So while dark side, the group does have a sense of honor. And sadly, they do what they must in order to survive. I wonder if we’ll see them again.

Seven Seas

As normal, Japanese honorifics are retained in A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 13. When compared to the anime adaptation, one can tell that while the English text isn’t one-for-one, the adaptation is seems pretty accurate. There isn’t a lot of attempts to be clever, hip, or rewrite things to the point where a character’s personality changes from the source material. I appreciate that.

As to extras, this volume is pretty full, so there’s no real room. The inside covers have extra art for each of the kaiju used. We also get a textless, color image of the cover art. And there’s a color “thanks” art as well as one black-and-white one.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

In the end, A Certain Scientific Railgun Vol. 13 reminded me of why I enjoy the Railgun series, even if I tend to shy away from dark, depressing manga and anime of late. Despite the dark, depressing undertones, this volume does end with elements of hope. And considering how awesome Mikoto is as a character, that and a ripping good yarn was enough.

 

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