Saturday, 23 January 2010

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun - Episode 16

After the last instalment dropped some more than subtle hints about Mii Konori's past involvement with the "real" Kurozuma Wataru, episode sixteen of To Aru Kagaku no Railgun finally reveals all about the ties that bind this particular pair despite the different walks of life which they now traverse.

Needless to say, this particular aspect of the story is rather predictable in many ways, as we learn about how Mii became something of a delinquent in her youth for a while when she hit the "ability wall" as a young Level 2 esper, falling for the romance of the Skillout gang known as Big Spider (who were in fact more a bunch of friends larking around than anything too serious), and more specifically Kurozuma himself, even hiding her esper powers so that she could be part of this particular in-crowd. It was only what seemed to be the death of Kurozuma that allowed her to move on to her current life, and the sudden reappearance of this old flame sees Konori drifting away from Judgement in a haze of memories.

When the four main girls hear all of this story, Mikoto Misaka in particular seems more than a little perplexed by it all, as she finds herself simply unable to come to terms with why Konori is so concerned by something from her past - A sense of confusion which she only comes to terms with when she finds and confronts Mii and also ends up running into Kurozuma, which in turn allows her to see what needs to be done to resolve this situation to the satisfaction of all parties. In short, this means another action-oriented set piece, as we finally get to see Konori's esper ability in action why the two Kurozuma's face off with a raid by Antiskill just moments away.

I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but there just seemed to be a certain something lacking from this particular story arc - Perhaps it's simply the aforementioned predictability of Konori's situation (which was easy enough to guess from the last episode), but while I enjoyed the animation quality and style which certainly stood out from time to time in this instalment, and indeed the action set piece which rounded things off, emotionally the whole thing felt a little too "dry" for my liking. I suppose at the end of the day it could be that To Aru Kagaku no Railgun simply works better when it focuses primarily on its four major characters, marking this shift away from them as a "failed" (well, failed is a little harsh... inconclusive may be better) experiment. Certainly, if nothing else these past two episodes have been rather miss-able compared to some of the episodes we've seen before from this series.


lelangir said...

Kurozuma (or w/e his name was) was such a badly portrayed character. Well, he was indeed "bad" in a sense, but sooo boring and contrived. Much haet. The whole philosophical underpinning of Big Spider (we had no home) was also trite and poorly developed (it basically had no development). As you said, I had no emotional connection to this mini-arc thing. I liked Kuroko's character in this though, it was different.

Hanners said...

That's a good point, it was nice to see Kuroko taking on a more mature viewpoint while the other girls were struggling to comprehend Mii's train of thought.

I didn't mind Big Spider's origin so much, but Kurozuma is a definite contender for "dullest delinquent" this year. ;)

Sorrow-kun said...

While we're trying to figure out what was wrong with this ep, another thing that I didn't think was executed well was the voice acting. Especially in the dramatic moments. The likes of Ueda and Sato were delivering these dramatic speeches, but still doing so with that "moe" tinge to their voice to stay in character, and couldn't quite pull it off... overall, the voice acting just wasn't convincing.