A Certain Scientific Railgun T
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 5 of
A Certain Scientific Railgun T (TV 3) ?
While I would never go as far as numbering her among my favorite characters in the franchise, Mitsuko Kongo is a character who has very gradually grown on me ever since her first anime appearance at the beginning of the first episode of A Certain Scientific Railgun. She initially looked like she was being set up as the haughty rival of Mikoto who was fated to always fall short by comparison, but a specific effort has been made over time to gradually soften her character a bit and pull her out of that role, a move that it's my understanding brings her more in line with her characterization in the source manga. It's certainly made her a more appreciable character, and this episode is her highlight moment.
Mitsuko has clearly come to respect and value Mikoto (even if the feeling isn't totally mutual), perhaps because she's seen enough of Mikoto to understand that Mikoto is not the selfish bastard that most other top espers are; she certainly seems to have no love for Misaki at the very least, and Mikoto definitely comes off looking good by comparison to those not enamored with Misaki. Mitsuko also isn't dumb; she picks up on the fact that the Mikoto in the balloon challenge wasn't the real Mikoto. Hence it's no surprise that Mitsuko practically jumps at a chance to help out when Mikoto practically begs for her assistance and she connects that to Misaki probably interfering with the memories of Uiharu, Saten, and Kuroko (whom Mitsuko has seen together with Mikoto before). She's also cleverer at using her abilities than what previous appearances have given her credit for and shows that even a Level 4 is someone not to be idly messed with.
Most importantly, Mitsuko shows here that her character is strong, even if it is still tinged by arrogance. She's adamant that she chose to help Mikoto because she deemed Mikoto as being worthy, rather than being coerced into it because Mikoto is stronger, and she won't allow Baba to bad-mouth her even when she's otherwise down for the count. Despite Mikoto's insistence not to do anything too dangerous, she's taking a beating over her sincere desire to help Mikoto. Wanai and Maaya have been her followers for some time now, but there's always been a suggestion that she values them more than looking down on them, so them jumping to her defense at the end of the episode is fully in characters. These two have only once or twice before been allowed to show off, so that provides a lot to look forward to for next episode.
As for the rest, it's only a matter of time until Mikoto gets fed up enough with Misaki's clique to force the issue (and even her finding somewhat of a kindred Gekota fan spirit in one of Misaki's followers doesn't change that), but for now that moment hasn't been reached. What, exactly, Misaki is trying to accomplish is also still unclear, though she's clearly trying to manipulate 10032 to some end and she's clearly just stalling Mikoto for time rather than trying to be overtly harmful; Baba seems to be acting on his own initiative with Mitsuko. On the whole, the episode is keeping the strong moving along well enough and with consistent enough technical merits.
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