With the last episode finally drawing us properly into the "Level Upper" story arc which has been slowly building in To Aru Kagaku no Railgun's background almost from the start, this ninth instalment of the series sees Kuroko continuing her investigations into exactly what's going on.
This investigation starts with a discussion with the "stripping lady" from earlier in the series, who in fact happens to be a specialist caring for those potential Level Upper users who have suddenly become comatose. Of course, on a hot day with the power out due to the electrical fault caused by Mikoto last time out, that leaves plenty of room for comedy based around the inappropriate removal of clothes in a public setting, but other than that little more is learned about Level Upper's powers or possibilities.
Indeed, while Judgement are still scrambling around trying to get a handle on things, it's actually Ruiko Saten who holds all of the cards, having found Level Upper herself. This means that much of this instalment is focused around Saten herself, as she finds herself torn between telling her friends what she's found and actually using Level Upper to leave the world of life as a level zero behind. While her initial thoughts are to tell Uihara about her findings, this shifts as the episode goes on, particularly when she finds herself unable to help either another wannabe Level Upper user being beaten up or Kuroko when she comes to the rescue.
It's Kuroko's scrap with a trio of Level Upper users, and one rather powerful user, in particular that makes up the action-oriented climax to the episode, in a scene that actually works very well within a series that hasn't always focused that much time or effort on any fighting and skill usage thus far. Away from that, things are certainly getting interesting with regard to Saten's dilemma - I was assuming it would get resolved one way or another this episode, but it appears that the series is quite happy to leave us on tenterhooks for another weekwithout really knowing whether she's going to take the Level Upper plunge or not. As has been the case from week one of this series onwards, I can't really proclaim this to be a fantastic series of highbrow intellectualism or anything, but who cares? It's fun to watch, it's certainly highly entertaining, and the animation quality remains largely sumptuous week in, week out - Enough to put it up there amongst my favourite series for the current season.