A Certain Scientific Railgun T
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 3 of
A Certain Scientific Railgun T (TV 3) ?
Whereas the three-legged race was the feature of last episode, this episode features a balloon hunt, where teams from each school attempt to use bean bags to break the small balloons each student is wearing on their heads. This time around the Tokiwadai students are the nominal good guys, but they are shown quite handily that superior power can't always trump superior strategy. The game comes out to a narrow loss thanks in large part to their strategy and use of knowledge about the Tokiwadai students and their weaknesses, though I think “interference” can fairly be called here on how their last member – Misaka 10032 – gets taken out. Beyond this, most of the rest of the episode is just about what the other characters are doing at the time; Mikoto is watching with a Gekota mask for a feeble disguise or having lunch with her mother, Uiharu explains to Saten about countering hacking, and Kuroko is back on duty, making her first appearance in this branch of the franchise in her wheelchair. (Chronologically, her first such appearance is, I believe, in the movie Miracle of Endymion.)
One other encounter of note here (although it is minor in the scope of what's going on in this series) is Touma's first appearance and interaction with Mikoto. Misaki also gets involved, and this is where more extensive knowledge of the franchise is a factor. I have seen indicators from side novels that Touma has not only met Misaki before (prior to the anime content's timeline) but also helped her greatly. Obviously he wouldn't remember that because of his memory loss early in the first season of A Certain Magical Index, and Misaki seems to be picking up on that, hence the reason why she smiles before introducing herself at around the 18:50 arc. Would be nice to see some more direct reference to that come up at some point.
One of the two featured activities is Misaka 10032 unwittingly filling in for Mikoto. The climax scene of the balloon hunt shows that, while the Sisters may only have a fraction of Mikoto's power, they do have other advantages, such as more live combat experience. That makes 10032's evasion and melee maneuvering tactics in that scene a joy to watch, as it's the kind of fighting Mikoto doesn't ever need to resort to. Honestly, I think she might have pulled it off if not for the insect strike. The other is the actions of Baba, the MEMBER member who first appeared in Index 3 episode 5. These events are chronologically a few weeks earlier than those, so maybe he lost some weight in between? Whatever the case there, seeing what consequences unwittingly setting up a snatch of one of the Sisters instead of Mikoto herself might have should be interesting to see.
On the whole, this episode is just a run-of-the-mill installment for the franchise – not that there's anything wrong with that. If I have an overall complaint at this point, it's that this series is showing the opposite problem of Index 3: it is being a little too relaxed in getting around to its plot.
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