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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6 Responses to Index, not Railgun

  1. If the Railgun OVA does the Sisters arc, how many episodes do you think it would need in order to do it justice? 4?

  2. Ubu Roi says:

    Maybe 3. A lot depends on how much background they’re going to cover in order to do it justice. Railgun’s and Index’s stories are almost completely intertwined by the 11th volume. This occurs much earlier, but the truth is the two series are very tightly plotted, including their timelines. The sheer amount of background is a problem in that Touma and the Tree Diagram have to be explained — unless they just want to take the attitude that “only fans will buy it and they already know who these people are.” Which I wouldn’t like, and think would be a bad mistake.

    I could see one being the discovery by Mikoto of the Sisters and the plan, with a significant portion of the story told from the Sister’s point of view (thereby introducing Accelerator to the audience early). The second OVA could be Mikoto’s war on the labs, culminating in her battle against the esper group sent to defend the last lab. I’d assume Mikoto would discover that she’d failed at the end, in order to set up a cliffhanger. The third and final would recap the last moves as Mikoto becomes increasingly desperate, and Touma becomes actively involved.

    A couple of observations on the novels I’ve read (which are only the middle; so far, the first two seasons of Index and Railgun have covered maybe 1/4 of the whole series!) There are some aspects that I don’t like, and consider worn-out tropes: Mikoto is becoming fully tsundere about Touma, who in turn is collecting a loose harem; loli, miko, magic girl (Railgun), ojou-sama (also tsundere); he ends up in the hospital constantly — with Index biting him. Accelerator continues to be a part of the story, and he’s pretty messed up over killing 10,000 sisters — but he is a decent person at his core, much to his own shock. Mikoto is apparently the only level 5 who is normal; all the rest appear seriously disturbed or simply amoral as hell. On the magic side, it turns out there are three major factions: British Puritan, Roman Catholic, and Russian Orthodox — and they’re barely civil to each other; mostly hostile to the Science faction.

    And Alestir Crowley is well aware of Touma, whom he considers vital in his long-term plan to defeat all three major magic factions… This series is a long way from mining out the source material.

  3. I figured there had to be a lot more story after Touma beat Accelerator, which explained just how it was that Accelerator decided to give up on the project. I mean, getting beaten could have had the opposite effect of making Accelerator eve more committed to becoming level 6.

    I could see that being an episode in its own right, which is why I’m rooting for a 4-ep OVA.

  4. Ubu Roi says:

    There is, apparently a lot more to the redemption of Accelerator, not just his interaction with Last Order. (Who, it just occurred to me, kind of becomes Index to his Touma, that is a young girl attached to him for no particular reason, at least that outsiders can see.) I can’t really see it being part of the OVA; it’s too big. Maybe just a bit of filler, between the end of the battle and when we next saw him, with Last Order, as a sort of “well, this gives him a chance to earn his redemption, or at least not be a villain.”

    Suffice to say that the story that picks up, after he gets out of the hospital from being shot in the head, brings him in tighter with some characters that we’ve wondered why they’re in the story… spoilers: He’s very weak, and unable to even walk properly because his brain can’t send the right impulses, so that frog-face doctor (who is also taking care of a lot of the Mikasas — I’m really starting to wonder about this guy), figures out how to link him into the Sisters’ Network as a stopgap, but the transmitter has limited battery power. The reasoning behind why Accelerator can’t just change batteries is pretty thin, but it “offloads” his vector calculations to the Sisters’; he gets about 48 hours of normal use, or 15 minutes at his full power. Ironically, he is dependent for normal life functions on the very girls he was supposed to kill , let alone being able to reach his prior power.

    Accelerator wants to maintain a low profile and avoid being dragged back into the experiment, so Yomi (the athletic female Anti-skill) puts him and Last Order up at her place. (Not sure how she got involved). Then the #2 L5 shows up, and he’s out to become #1…the hard way. Mikoto increasingly looks to be the only L5 who is remotely sane.

  5. That last comment of yours makes me wonder.

    Mikoto made it to level 5 pretty much all on her own, by hard work and will power. She started as level 1, and she’s unpretentious in any case. I wonder if the reason why all the others are batty is because they either started really strong, or got there through perverse training techniques rivalling the horror of what Accelerator went through, which would drive anyone insane.

    Just in passing, the name is “Misaka”, not “Mikasa”. (Mikasa is a battleship.)

    A different point: I think that ep 20 of Index is the first time Accelerator met Last Order, and he’d already abandoned the experiment by then.

    …actually, the horror that Mikoto discovered would be enough to fracture the psyche of many a person. To learn that ten thousand clones of her had been killed violently in an experiment, well, it’s amazing that even she doesn’t end up completely batty.

  6. Ubu Roi says:

    Based on the preview, we may see part of the showdown between Accelerator and the #2; that’s definitely Accelerator with the cane near the end. And I think Touma’s showdown on the rooftop comes from around Vol. 6 or 7; (SPOILER) Kuroko is badly injured and hospitalized by that incident. Also, the large-breasted blonde and Index in a cheerleader outfit comes from Vol. 10/11, which is about the Science/Religion war.

    Something else about Misaka: Despite what you say about her hard work, she must have reached L5 very early, as the project to clone her starts when she’s obviously quite young. 8-10? And she had to be L5 by then, based on the project design.

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