A Certain Scientific Railgun T
Episode 4

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 4 of
A Certain Scientific Railgun T (TV 3) ?

Other Level 5s are more intimidating in direct confrontations, and have vastly more directly destructive potential at their disposal, but ever since her introduction back at the beginning of A Certain Scientific Railgun S I have regarded Misaki Shokuhou as the most potentially dangerous of all of the known Level 5s. That's because her abilities are so much more insidious in execution that you can't see them coming unless she wants you to see them and she's shown absolutely no compunction about using them for very petty reasons.

Okay, so maybe that last point isn't unique to her (Mikoto has zapped people in tsundere fits after all), but it still comes off as scarier when manipulating people around her in a way they can't resist is involved. That's why I have never been able to regard her actions as being as flippant as she seems to be trying to make them out to be. She's always more had the feel of a chief villain than a sympathetic character, which is why I was surprised to hear that there is significant canon backstory literature out there about her previous encounter with Touma which doesn't cast her that way.

Of course, we also don't know what, exactly, she's scheming at right now. I had speculated last episode that she may have nabbed 10032 on accident, but this episode's actions suggest that either she did know it was one of the clones or else she quickly realized that it was (she was aware of their existence anyway) and pivoted her plans on that. However, her actions don't make a lot of sense except in a “be cruel to Mikoto” mindset. All of her actions point towards an effort to isolate Mikoto: blocking/wiping the memories of Saten, Uiharu, and Kuroko, controlling the teacher, getting her followers to watch Mikoto. But why? What's the point to all of this? Misaki and Mikoto don't get along at all, and Misaki at least acts like she's vexed that she can't use her ability on Mikoto, but there has to be more to it than that. This is Academy City, after all, where high-ranked individuals can't go to a bath house without it becoming some kind of power play.

Kind of a side point to this is a seeming inconsistency in the effect of Misaki's power. When she has previously seized control of people before, they have been unaware of it afterwards, but Saten, Uiharu, and Kuroko were all aware that they were unable to move or use their powers. Does that mean that Misaki wiping the memory of the incident from those she controls is part of her normal routine, or is this a special case?

Ultimately this episode raises a lot of questions without any answers, but at least it's an indications that the preliminaries are over and the meat of the plot is finally underway. And all of this is without considering Saten's angle on the Shadow Metal. Saten has shown a talent in the past for being able to bumble her way into major plotlines while pursuing her fascination with urban legends, and that whole affair absolutely seems to be another such example. I suspect that angle may be on hold while the matter with Mikoto, Mikasa, and 10032 gets sorted out, but we'll see. Whatever the case may be on both matters, Misaki has definitely crossed a line. Mikoto has shown in the past that she's no one to be messed with even against fellow Level 5s, so this is about to get ugly. For the first time this season, the next episode is now going to be an eagerly-anticipated view for me.


A Certain Scientific Railgun T is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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