Manga of the Now: To Aru Kagaku no Choudenjibou (A Certain Scientific Railgun)
This time’s manga of the now is something I picked up a while back completely on a whim. To Aru Kagaku no Choudenjibou (A Certain Scientific Railgun) is a spin off of To Aru Majutsu no Index, which focuses on Mikoto Misaka, one of the supporting characters in the main story. While I initially wasn’t a fan of Index, I really enjoyed Railgun, and it helped me develop an appreciation for its parent story.
Railgun takes place in a futuristic city called Academy City where almost everyone is an ESPer. Similarly to Zettai Karen Children, the definition of ESP is very loose with powers ranging from teleportation to making aluminum explode. The main character, Mikoto, can manipulate electricity, and managed to become the 3rd highest ranked ESPer in the city through the power of Hard Work and Guts. She is joined by her lesbian friend Kuroko as they get into various adventures around the city.
When I first started watching Index last fall, I dropped it due to its horrendously slow pacing. I liked the concept, and most of the characters seemed interesting enough, but I didn’t think I could watch it on a weekly basis. Months later I had completely forgotten about magical little Index, and came across this series while browsing through OneManga.com. Railgun shares a lot of strengths and weaknesses with Index. The characters are likable, it shares the same strong premise, and the stories are captivating. However, it also suffers from slow pacing. The past 17 chapters have really only covered one story arc, and since it is published monthly, I forgot finer plot points between releases.
I enjoy this series because it’s not overly serious. While the situations may be serious, there are enough gags to lighten the situation, making more a relaxing read. This is made possible through a fun, quirky cast of characters. I personally enjoy Kuroko’s lesbian antics, although they can be a bit offensive at times. Although her level of delusion is so over the top that it becomes funny again. She’s exactly like Kanako from Maria Holic. The rest of the supporting cast isn’t as memorable, but they are equally likable. The most interesting character is actually Mikoto because her personality is completely different from that in Index.
Shortly after starting to read Railgun, I decided to start watching the Index anime, since it was already over. While I enjoyed it, I hated Mikoto’s personality. In the anime, Mikoto was much more serious, and almost a bit emo, especially during her story arc. There was a whole scene that reminded me of Good Will Hunting, except not as well written. I liked her in Railgun since she was brash, loud, and a little bit dense. In the anime, she is much more emotional, and has a weaker personality. They make her a tsundere for Touma in Index, whereas their relationship is more like a one sided rivalry in Railgun.
While I enjoy Railgun, I would not give it as strong of a recommendation as either Zettai Karen Children or Kongou Banchou. It was written assuming the reader had read Index, so it doesn’t provide too much background information. However, one can get most of this information from Wikipedia. It is a relatively new series, so only 17 chapters are out, and as I mentioned earlier, the monthly release schedule does not really help its pacing. The anime version is coming out in the fall, and I hope that it keeps Mikoto’s less emotional personality and improves the pacing compared to Index. However, even without knowing very much about To Aru Majutsu no Index, To Aru Kagaku no Choudenjibou is a good quick read if you have some time to kill this summer.
Not much else to report for me as far as anime goes. The second episodes of most of this season’s shows are out, and they only served to reinforce my initial opinions of them. I have also started studying for the GRE, so that has me busy on top of work, so I may not be blogging as much as I want for the next couple weeks. I will try to write at least once a week though. I hope you’re enjoying my Of the Now series.