A Certain Scientific Railgun T
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 25 of
A Certain Scientific Railgun T (TV 3) ?
With episode 25, A Certain Scientific Railgun T concludes both the Dream Ranker arc and the series as a whole. It does not do so with the kind of visual spectacle that last episode was (beyond the opening scene, anyway), but rather by showing the ultimate results of Doppelganger project from a variety of angles. It also clears up some lingering matters from the series' first arc. While the episode is not as comprehensive in wrapping things up as I might have hoped, it nonetheless puts a feel-good cap on things and provides a generally satisfying conclusion for now.
Last episode suggested that Doppelganger might ultimately be on a nihilistic bent, but the beginning of this episode absolutely confirms it. She is not trying to replace Ryoko; she cannot live with the understanding that she is artificial and thus does not have a soul, so she is seeking not only to get around her suicide-prevention programming but also to make sure that no one has the data necessary to easily redo the experiment. The irony is that forcing Mikoto into a situation where she must destroy Doppelganger may have ultimately saved Ryoko's life, as it meant that the perfect replacement parts to mend Ryoko after she gets shot are right at hand. Hence Ryoko winds up partly back to where she was before and with a lot of mixed feelings over the matter. The dream Ryoko has leaves vague hints as to whether or not Doppelganger really did have a soul, as does a non-soul-based explanation for how Doppelganger was doing what she was doing – an explanation I don't find too plausible (although that's hardly unusual for this franchise). Something was there.
Misaki tying up the loose end of the project director should put an end to that project, and Ryoko is now left with time to recuperate and ponder, but where does that leave the Indian Poker? Does it continue now that its source is gone and its purpose served? The writing does not provide even a hint about that, which leaves it as the episode's biggest loose end.
But the episode does deal with some other loose ends. It finally brings Misaka 10032 back into the picture, now fully recovered. The experience with Doppelganger likely gave Mikoto some food for thought concerning the Sisters (do they have souls?), but Mikoto specifically calling Misaka 10032 a sister is still a big step forward. Bringing the now-fully-recovered Mitsuko back into the scene and having her meet the clone she fought so hard for was a great touch, as was her sheepish reaction to being thanked. Revisiting Dolly with Mitori at the aquarium does not quite close out that piece of the story, but at least allows it to be set aside for now. The Scavengers managing to bargain for a better position was also a welcome move after what they went through; I was not impressed with them in A Certain Scientific Accelerator, but they (especially Leader) have grown on me here. They're going back into deep sleep at the end of the episode (why?), but hopefully this is not the last the franchise will see of them. Saten and Uiharu finally (knowingly) meeting Misaki was also amusing.
The season ends on exactly the note it should: after spending most of the series functioning independently, Mikoto, Kuroko, Uiharu, and Saten are all back together again for some peaceful downtime. It will not last long, as chronologically speaking, the Acqua of the Back arc (episodes 7-9 of A Certain Magical Index III) happens shortly after this one ends, and Mikoto has a stressful part to play in that. There is more content to be animated, but sadly, I suspect we will not see more here until/unless the main series gets additional animation. Though this installment is not quite as strong as Railgun S (as it does not push Mikoto in a character sense like that one does), I still find this branch, in general, to be the best-made and most involving of the franchise's three branches to date.
A Certain Scientific Railgun T is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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