By The Way, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun Sucks
Landon Edit: The above picture illustrates the most rational way in which one should react to Railgun’s mediocrity: with doe-eyed annoyance. Also, Updatedude’s going to be doing some stuff around here. He also has his own WordPress joint, so check it out.
So, check it the out-ness, but I liked To Aru Majutsu no Index, aka A Certain Magical Index. It had its downs as well as ups, and even some unintentional hilarious moments, like the infamous Kanzaki Monologue scene. But on the whole, it was a pretty good series, and I was stoked when I heard they were going to make a spin-off featuring Misaka Mikoto, aka the Railgun.
Then they said it was going to be based on the manga.
So yeah, I’m going to cut straight to the chase here, but the manga sucks pretty hard. It’s a cute idea with lots of moe and as an alternative take, it’s cute for what it is. Heck, it even eventually goes into some of the back story touched on in Index, but it’s by no means an actually good series in the context of the “To Aru”-verse.
Because it misses the gosh dang point!
And the anime adaptation just makes that painfully obvious. See, the thing with Misaka Mikoto in Index was, she was very much a tsundere. I’m not normally a fan of that character type, but I admit that even I liked the character in the original series, because of how bitchy she originally was. I felt that they went a tad overboard when they made her cute toward the end of the series, but since there was adequate tsuntsun-build up, the deredere-payoff was acceptable.
In the spin-off series, A Certain Scientific Railgun on the other hand, she’s stuck as the most generically bland main character type imaginable, and the whole cute factor is negated by the lack of contrast… Oh god, the spin-off sucks so much that I’m losing my will to continue writing about it… must… continue… rant… for Mecha… Guignol… blargh!
So, to minimize my pain at having to write about Railgun, I’ll keep it short from here on out. The point is, the anime for Railgun sucks because it follows the manga. The manga itself is cute, but it sucks because it completely misses the friggin’ point. It’s pretty much total Character Derailment for the main character (except in ep 4) and Flanderization for Kuroko, her lesbian admirer. And the new supporting cast are utterly pointless. They aren’t even especially cute, because there’s no build up to their cuteness. It’s the equivalent of some chick acting all cutesy in real life. Even if she’s a looker, if you don’t know her, and she tries to act cute, it just comes off as fake and annoying.
It also really doesn’t help that there is very little plot to work with, with the manga. To the animators’ credit, they’ve rearranged the sequence of events a little so that they end things on the Level Upper arc. The problem is, this resulted in the first 8 episodes being complete filler fluff. They’re finally starting the arc with ep 9, but that means that they’ve built their entire season around an arc that’s only worth about 3 eps and a setup ep (ep 9). Oh sure, they’ve made allusions toward it for the entire series, like a line of text on an urban legend blog and they’ve been confronting ESPers who are supposedly more powerful than their profiles say they should be. But without context or consequence, those allusions have been pointless. They don’t make you go “Oh snap! So THAT’S what so-and-so meant when…” Instead, you’re lucky to remember those allusions, presuming you even bothered to notice them in the first place.
This sort of touches on the Ranma Begins post, in that the source material for a series, isn’t necessarily the best source for a series. Sometimes, you have to take artistic liberties rather than slavishly follow the source material. Otherwise, you’re going to end up Dragonball Syndrome, where each chapter, including the throwaway ones where absolutely nothing happens, are crammed into an entire episode.
Of course, the reverse can also be true, but that’s a rant for another time. In conclusion, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun shows us why Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoshitsu will probably be a bad idea to animate, regardless of how popular it might end up being. Blargh!