A Certain Scientific Railgun T
Episode 21

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 21 of
A Certain Scientific Railgun T (TV 3) ?

With this episode, the timeline has advanced to October 12th, a fact that the episode reinforces by conspicuously showing the date twice. That means that all previous events in this arc and the entirety of the Battle Royale Arc (from A Certain Magical Index III episodes 4-6) have completed, with Uiharu's arm still in a sling being the most visual lingering evidence of the latter. That also means that the Acqua of the Back arc has likely not begun yet (it is vaguely dated as “mid-October”), which is important because that means that Mikoto is not yet distracted by learning about Touma's memory loss. Hence she can focus entirely on the events of her own arc. And as this episode shows, she definitely is going to have some things to focus on here.

Of course, that assumes that she at least temporarily gets over having a complex about her chest size. It doesn't help that Kana, the “bag girl” whom Mikoto has run into a few times before (in the first series' Level Upper Arc, the second series' Sisters arc, and briefly during the Daihasei Festival arc in this series), shows up again and, at Misaki's direction, skewers Mikoto over that issue, or that Mikoto makes the mistake of groping Misaki, as it just drives her to greater despair. But while Misaki is not above teasing Mikoto over her size, she isn't classless enough to approach Mikoto just for that. After all, she needs a “muscle-head” to help her get to the girl behind the Indian Poker phenomenon: Ryoko Kuriba, the zebra-haired girl whom Mikoto saw in a dream provided by one of the cards. And given her action-oriented inclination, Mikoto does kind of qualify as a muscle-head.

Academy City has some sick and twisted things going on in its dark underbelly, but as demented experiments go, this one ranks high up the list. Cutting a girl up, making two different cyborgs out of the parts, and then recombining the girl's pieces into one body and the automated parts into another? Never mind technical impossibility or the utter lack of ethics (both of which are par for the course for Academy City); that's just flagrantly wrong, even if it is nominally for the purpose of testing compatibility of cyborg components. Soul generation as a possible side effect also has some scary possibilities, but I have to wonder if this is a true new soul or just a case of split personality. Either way, I hope the arc's remaining episodes delve into this further.

Among other observations, the end of the episode introduces the Scavengers, the “dark side” team who first appeared in A Certain Scientific Accelerator. One of their members has been shown in the opener, so it was just a matter of time until they popped up, but it seems doubtful that their efforts against a different Level 5 will go any better. Mitori, the liquid metal puppet user, also pops up again from this series' first arc, though since she is just relaying information, she does not seem likely to get involved further. (I could not place the donut-eating girl with her, however.) This episode also ups the fanservice quotient considerably, but why is her skin two different shades just from being on two different bodies?

Some intriguing ideas are afloat here, including how the robot version of Ryoko so imagines herself as human that she interprets her reality in those terms, so this is a promising foundation for the remainder of the arc.

Rating:

A Certain Scientific Railgun T is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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