A Certain Scientific Railgun (Toaru Kagaku no Railgun/ Railgun S)

"Toaru Kagaku no Railgun"

Studio: J.C Staff

Current Length: 3 seasons(Railgun/Railgun S/Railgun T(covered seperately))


Academy City, a place where science and technology is 30 years ahead of the rest of the world, is a city for aspiring students. It also serves as a giant dish for where scientists can study the abilities of group of students and individuals found within known as Espers and having them ranked from Level 0 to 5, where 5 is ones they look at with the most interest…The anime primarily follows Mikoto Misaka, the electromaster 3rd ranked out of the 7 Level 5s in Academy City, as well Kuroko Shirai, Kazari Uiharu and Ruiko Saten her group of friends who mainly work for the law enforcement of the city known as Judgement…where they uncover the most inhuman and heinous acts done by the higher ups of this city of wonders and effectively foiling their plans or bringing them into a grinding halt


The golden rule of anime world building is that “Within an anime, a fully detailed world resides”…the Toaru series is one that turns that rule on it’s head…where it’s depiction of Academy City and the forces that lie outside it, is said through multiple anime series… Out of the 3 adapted animes so far that each show a distinct side of this setting, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun is the best depiction of them yet…not only does it present the hidden secrets and the dark side of the city of science and technology with impact, it also follows through with a cast of characters that is equally great and some of great action and animation to boot…

It’s said that, if ever all of Studio J.C Staff’s works were about to be burned out of existence and they could only save one, they would go for Railgun without any hesitation…and that is a given, since although they are one of the most well known and a rather inconsistent studio, their work on this title has been nothing but their best efforts

Eventhough this series might be J.C Staff’s potted plant that they give the utmost care for, it certainly doesn’t feel that way at first glance…and this is one of the first season’s biggest issues…out of it’s first 24 eps,a majority of it is basically filler and this works for it at the same time against it…The first few eps are filler yes, but it’s actually appreciated…It helps to really settle your feet into this setting that you know nothing about, and to witness it the eyes of a group of students, whether if it’s as the center of attention Mikoto Misaka as one of the strongest ability-based espers in the city, or someone as much as a bystander as Ruiko Saten, who has neither attends a prestigous school, nor has any abilities…As far as initial immersion goes, Railgun really nails it…it always stays true to the rules it’s world has set and never once goes the route of unrealism…
The problem however, is that the initial wave of filler, is way too much…I had already grown into it’s world and characters by around 4 episodes of filler initially, and I was starting to wonder if it ever had a storyline to go with the world it builds…and only after 8 episodes, it truly starts to reveal the twisted side that exists

And the stories it tells ranges from great to one of a kind…Railgun’s narrative is consistently well written, whether if it’s one that shreds light on the reality of this growing world, or the ones that push characters to their limit’s forcing them to either change or to show who they truly are…
Within every story arc, the city keeps evolving, and what it evolves into the further it goes, is more twisted that the former…this is one of those rare series where it’s not one central villain that steal the show, but the very foundations of it’s established setting…like on how the scientists and the higher ups of the city is willing even be able to commit murder of children if it just gets them a few lines of research data, or how manipulation and deceit, leads to very human individuals begin to question their ways of life and end up breaking…

Character progression is also a big highlight here, and unlike many other similar series where the characters follow scripted personalities and always win out of sheer plot armor, Railgun follows a much more different philosophy…how each battle is a show of both power and strategy and how each character has their limits, both in ability and humanity…
The true highlight of that was seen in Railgun S’ first story, The Sisters arc… which is an extremely inventive story and one that turns it’s main character Mikoto from an average tier character, to one of the best in modern anime…this is most in part to her VA, Rina Satou’s potent voice acting, the terrific writing and to how the arc deconstructs on how one unknowing mistake in the life of one student’s life, can turn their life into a moral hell where they are powerless to do anything but accept it…The point here is…just like the Sisters Arc, every non-filler story in this series is similar impactful…While the rest haven’t reached Mikoto’s level of character depth as of yet, there are certainly some close calls and their unique charm and inter-group humour makes their presence very appreciated…

(maybe except Kuruko for like…75% of the time)

J.C Staff isn’t one known for their visual flair…but Railgun might be one of the few exceptions in that book…It’s as if every iteration of it manages not only surpass the visuals and animation of it’s predecessor, but also manages to set a new gold standard for the studio…from fantastic action choreography to it’s great visual style kept consistent for 24 ep runs…It’s even acceptable to suspect that if J.C Staff just doesn’t even try with their other titles.

If one has heard about “The Certain” or the “Toaru” series and don’t know what’s so good about it…Toaru Kagaku no Railgun is the answer to that question…while it’s first season is more filler and lesser thriller…the rest of it is anything but…from it’s mastercrafted and surprisingly grounded narrative, great visuals and animation to some of the best character development I’ve seen in anime…Toaru Kagaku no Railgun is a series that consistently delivers on it’s ambitious setting and is a must for all action fantasy fans (with a bit of patience :slight_smile: )

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And we can’t talk about Railgun without talking about the awesome Openings. I thing the 1st OP of Railgun & Railgun S are the best ones of the series!

Railgun OP 1:

via: openings.moe: Toaru Kagaku no Railgun - Opening 1

Railgun S OP 1:

via: openings.moe: Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S - Opening 1 (link has subtitles)

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Fripside is one of my favorite artists of all time! Even the railgun s3 OP was amazing!