Index, not Railgun

Like some others, I was disappointed that the new series will be a sequel to the Index series, not Railgun. The reason seems to be, that aside from the Sisters Arc (which we’ve already seen from one side) the source materials largely follow Touma and Index — though Mikoto and Kuroko appear a lot too. The Railgun manga scanlation has now reached the point where Touma and Mikoto have met on the bridge just before she plans to fight Accelerator and die. I’d considered her plan a failure of imagination and poor writing when we saw it in the series, but my criticism was misplaced; the manga has done an excellent job of explaining that. What happens here is too long for spoiler tags, so I’m putting it below the fold; if you’re on RSS, Spoilers Ahead! Stop Reading NOW!

Mikoto spent the better part of two weeks tracking down and destroying every lab that had anything to do with the Accelerator project, nearly losing her own life when she was attacked by a mercenary team having two of the other level 5’s. Despite that, she managed (she thought) to shut the project down completely. During the anime series, there’s a scene where Mikoto runs into Touma, and acts a bit friendly towards him, and pulls a bunch of drinks out of a vending machine that tends to rob them both (it’s even featured in both series’s OP). It turns out that at this point, she’s feeling a bit high, thinking she’s won the war. One of the Sisters shows up, and Mikoto takes off with her, all “oi, oi, oi, what are you doing here — go have a life!” In the series, we follow Touma; off camera, per the manga, Mikoto discovers that the experiments are still underway, and another Mikasa has just been killed. The experiment data has been farmed out to almost two hundred labs now, and she realizes there’s no way to find and destroy them all without getting caught or killed.

That they could spread the project so widely and still keep it “secret” doesn’t seem possible, until she remembers that all the combats are taking place outdoors — meaning Tree Diagram, the satellite/supercomputer, would see everything — in fact it was used to calculate the results of the experiment, and even project a battle between herself and Accelerator. Mikoto finally realizes that the project has to have the sanction of Academy City itself. This also explains to her how news of all her attacks was suppressed. Increasingly desperate, she launches an infiltration of the Tree Diagram control facility, planning to alter the data in the report. In doing so, she discovers a terrible secret: Tree Diagram has been destroyed, and the facility abandoned for over a month. (Which, as viewers of the first series know, Index accidentally destroyed it when her protection program went off in the first story arc.)

Having exhausted all her other plans, and realizing that the scientists can’t re-run the original study, she finally concocts the suicide plan in the hopes that her losing on the first move (instead of the predicted 168th) will force the scientists to abandon the project. Meanwhile, Kuroko has figured out that Mikoto is having serious problems, and when Touma shows up at their dorm, she lets him in despite the rules, thinking maybe even he’d be useful — only to have to hide him under the bed when that fearsome dorm mother shows up. Touma finds Mikoto’s notes, and goes to meet her on the bridge…

And from there, my next post will skip forward to Volume 9 of the light novels, which I read out of order the other day.

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