A Certain Scientific Railgun T
Episode 8

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 8 of
A Certain Scientific Railgun T (TV 3) ?

For the first time in three weeks (and only the second time in the last five), A Certain Scientific Railgun T is back with a new episode. The question now is how the series is going to work from this point out. Will it cut out content to make up for the three missed weeks, or just run over into the summer season to finish? Or perhaps double-up the broadcast towards the end? And this is assuming, of course, that there are no more Covid-19-related delays, which I wouldn't bet on at this point.

What matters more immediately is that episode 8 proves to be worth the wait, as the revelations here make for a stunning game-changer. Nearly everything that has been shown so far about Misaki this season, and all of the actions she has taken both this season and last, have pointed to her being Mikoto's main antagonist, if not the outright primary villain of this part of the storyline. The first slight cracks in that perception started showing up last episode, with the indications that some of the people who seemed to be working with Misaki may have actually been competing against her instead. Rather than performing a gradual reversal, this episode spends most of its run time detailing how almost nothing so far has been what is seems.

While Misaki was, indeed, responsible for the current sequestering of 10032 and altering the memories of Mikoto's friends, the reasons for it were – quite surprisingly – nothing dastardly at all. Misaki and her male ally did find 10032 collapsed and arrange for her to be transported to a secure location, but that was to keep her from becoming captured by the other faction after the Sisters. The ultimate goal of the other faction? Getting access to the Misaka Network, which in the absence of Tree Diagram (which was accidentally destroyed early in A Certain Magical Index) is one of the most vast sources of computing power in all of Academy City, and suspiciously similar in scope to what was being attempted with the Level Upper incident back in A Certain Scientific Railgun. The intent behind what the faction wants to use the Misaki Network for is not clear yet, but the mastermind now is: Kihara Gensei, a key figure behind both the Level 6 project and the Child Error project which was at the core of the Level Upper incident. This is actually not the first time that he has appeared; he was seen in Harumi Kihara's memories back in episode 11 of Railgun, as the old, amoral scientist giving Harumi her orders. (I don't think he was ever explicitly revealed in the anime content to be involved in Level 6, but based on what was seen of him in that episode 11, it wouldn't be a stretch.) He was also heard over the last episode or two of this series giving instructions. Basically, he's one of the entire franchise's main antagonists and puppet masters.

The revelations don't stop with that. Misaki is apparently going all-out after Gensei for some reason; I've read enough spoilers to have a sense of why, but on the off chance that the anime delves into the reasons in the next episode or two as part of some kind of flashbacks, I won't get into them here. (Hopefully it will?) What is clear is that she has been plotting this very meticulously, to the point of using her ability to tweak 10032 so that anyone gaining one of the clones will not be able to access the whole network. The memory alterations she did on Uiharu in particular – and by extension Kuroko and Saten – were all to keep them out of both her way and harm's way. The conspiracy theory website was sabotaged to keep people from tracking her, and she didn't approach Mikoto about any of this because a) she doesn't trust anyone whose mind (and thus motives) she can't read and b) two Level 5s working together would have attracted way too much attention. Though this point isn't explicitly explained here, that she used her posse to keep Mikoto occupied was probably her way of keeping Mikoto out of this for that same reason.

All of this makes a certain amount of sense, though it also seems needlessly elaborate in the style that this franchise loves to do things. What this doesn't explain is why Misaki has been such an antagonistic ass to Mikoto in the past and yet is suddenly being so considerate of her now; has she been plotting this for a long time and just wanted to make sure Mikoto stayed at a distance? Also, is this the real her or just another smoke screen? At least the two aren't above still sniping at each other, with their amusingly inappropriately-timed squabble over how petitely-built Mikoto is vs. how unathletic Misaki is; that Mikoto didn't stop to think that normal people can't keep up with her even when she's just running is also rather funny. And good for Mikoto for someone finally making a crack about Misaki's eyes!

Mikoto's friends aren't forgotten about, either. They continue to work out themselves the truth behind whether or not their memories were tampered with, and I liked how Mikoto basically left it to them to decide the truth of that matter; that was probably a far more effective way to convince them than if she had just said “yes.” I also agree with Kuroko that Uihar's toughness shouldn't be underestimated; she showed it during the Child Error/AIM burst incident, for instance. (Hmmm, everything seems to be pointing back to that, doesn't it?) Overall, this feels like the necessary set-up for more intense content to come.

Rating:

A Certain Scientific Railgun T is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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