A Certain Scientific Railgun T
Episode 16

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 16 of
A Certain Scientific Railgun T (TV 3) ?

After a two-month break (which followed two-and-a-half months of erratic release schedule), A Certain Scientific Railgun T is finally back on the weekly schedule to finish its run. Episode 16 begins this installment's second arc, which, unlike A Certain Scientific Railgun S, is fully based on its manga source material: the Dream Ranker arc, which constitutes volumes 11-13 of the manga.

These events take place about a week after episode 15 and start during the second day of The Queen of the Adriatic Sea arc in A Certain Magical Index II (episodes 14-16, to be precise). It involves a “game” called Indian Poker, which has a wholly different context here than the game I grew up with. In its original form, Indian Poker involved holding a card face-out to your forehead so that everyone but you can see what it is, then betting based on what cards you see everyone else has and how everyone else is betting. The only part of that which is retained here is the “card to forehead” part, and even then, participants are not forbidden to look at them; they just place them on their foreheads as they sleep. Will the rest of the concept come into play later on? It does not seem to be immediately relevant.

Basically, this is a dream-sharing scenario, with the eponymous Dream Ranker being an individual who can create high-quality dreams for others. One is introduced in this episode, and while he's only around long enough here to piss off both Mikoto and Misaki by implying that he's made lewd dreams of both, I suspect that he is going to be a major player going forward. (And for the record, I agree with Mikoto on this: Having lewd dreams of someone you like or are interested in is one thing, but farming those out to others crosses a line of bad taste, at the very least.) The whole scenario where Misaki and Mikoto tacitly agree to cooperate on punishing the offender, while Junko comments on how they would be a perfect criminal team, was probably my favorite moment in the episode.

The dream that fellow Gekota fan Junko shares with Mikoto, aside from being quite amusing, shows the creative potential for this version of Indian Poker, but I can also see vast potential for abuse here, which will no doubt be a feature element of the arc. The other side to the episode is the app which allows people to not only see annotations on accident sites when they are viewed through a phone but also see where an accident is going to happen. (And of course Saten is the one who comes across it!) The way the accident that Kuroko was trying to stop did not quite play out as expected was a slick gimmick, and that brings into the picture Shaei, the elementary school boy behind it all, who was intent on bringing Kuroko and Uiharu into the picture anyway.

The big question this episode raises is, of course, how these two seemingly-disparate plot threads are going to wind up overlapping. The somewhat bland new opener indicates that ITEM will get involved at some point, so things will certainly get messy. This episode is just laying the groundwork for the bigger story (and having a few light-hearted moments in the process), so the real action is to come.

Rating:

A Certain Scientific Railgun T is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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