Misaka’s Most Interesting Clone

I pick anime like the NFL picks its Hall of Fame.

  1. Very few are immediate selections.
  2. Most need to wait a few seasons to make the cut.
  3. A token pick is set aside for the “classic” era.
  4. It’s nearly impossible to get selected between phases 2 and 3.

But, as always, there are exceptions. This time it came from karaoke. There are only so many times you can hear “Only my Railgun” without wanting to sing it, and there are only so many times you can sing it before wanting to watch it.

Railgun offered a good mix of lesbians and sci-fi. Aside from some slow stretches, it had no major weaknesses. Its problems lay mostly in what it didn’t do rather than what it did.

What surprised me most about Railgun was how likeable I found Misaka. Everything I’d previously heard suggested she’d be cookie-cutter tsundere archetype, but she was unexpectedly cool, understandable, and well-developed.

A Certain Scientific Railgun: +

I was just satisfied enough with Railgun to watch Index. Unlike Railgun, Index has male characters and a plot. Neither made Index better.

The main character is combination of One Punch-Man (good) and Emiya Shirou (bad). Like One Punch-Man, his fights all end with a resounding punch, and like Emiya Shirou, he’s a one-trick amateur who had no business being in those fights in the first place. At least it resulted in a lot of good old-fashioned woman-punching.

The plot should’ve been a major strength, but it had a slew of factors, some admittedly subjective, working against it. I was much less interested in the religious theory than the scientific theory. It seemed rushed from its light novel form. It had to turn every bad guy into a misunderstood victim of society (Railgun did this too, but it got more annoying the second time around).

I constantly got the impression that Index was written by a really smart dude who had to choose between curing cancer and writing about naked chicks. He’s the quintessential product of the Japanese education system: extremely knowledgeable, tirelessly productive, and sexually degenerate.

This brings us to Misaka. The cool, nuanced Misaka from Railgun was replaced with a formulaic tsundere. They’re the same character in name only. At this point I’m pretty sure it was actually one of her clones.

A Certain Magical Index: +

7 Replies to “Misaka’s Most Interesting Clone”

  1. The woman punching was hard to watch. As a guy feminist every time I see guy punch a woman I just feel terrible.

    No mention about the other main characters in Index (or Railgun)? I really like Index and Accelerator too. That loli Mikasa clone could just, well, die. I also like tsunderes so I have no problem that Mikasa is a hardcore tsundere. Kuroko is of course awesome.

    I also should have liked Railgun more because of all the yuri tease. I just enjoy watching Touma punching people more than lesbians I guess. And I’m the guy who watched fucking Chu-Bra because one of the main characters was a lesbian. Fucking Chu-Bra! I will never recommend that anime to anyone and I’m ashamed that I actually enjoyed it.

    • Touma generally solves his problems by punching and yelling at them. There isn’t a way to have serious female villains in Index while not having Touma punching them.

      Well, in any case. Being a feminist and not liking Touma punching women are two separate things.

    • Actually as a guy feminist you should have been happy to see Touma punch women. Feminism is supposed to be about equality and Touma is an equal opportunity puncher. Chauvinists should be the ones who are uncomfortable. It is Chauvinists that believe that women are the weaker sex and thus need to be protected. It is actually chauvinistic to say it is OK for a guy to punch another guy but not a girl under the same circumstances.

    • I’ll spare you the mansplaining since other commenters have beaten me to it.

      What, do you take me for someone who writes long posts? Accelerator was the most satisfying part of watching Index after Railgun. I was really curious what happened to him. Index was annoying in “slice-of-life” scenes but good when she had to use her powers.

      Mikasa’s tsunderism was entertaining, without a doubt. It was just…different from who she was in Railgun. I’m glad they changed her up. Side characters often don’t make good main characters. If they left her as is, I probably wouldn’t have liked Railgun.

  2. Pfff. Your comments about the author seem pretty spot on actually.

    Also, apparently the author writes his story plot and then figured out what characters he needs for the plot to work. This is why his universe has so many characters, he constantly adds new ones when current ones don’t fit properly. So his characters tend to be flashy (so they are memorable) but rather shallow.

    As a recurring character, Misaka gets more depth as she gets more screen time. However, her screen time is pretty low because “her power is too convenient”. A Touma/Misaka tag team can roll over pretty much every problem if you think about it.

    On the other hand, Railgun is choc full of recurring characters. The author isn’t as heavily involved either, meaning he’s less inclined to stuff the story with all the abstract concepts and ideas that he’s just thought of.

    And of course, there is no Touma. Touma presence in the story tends to result in everyone being saved and leading happier lives. In fact, that’s an openly acknowledged fact in the story in New Testament. He’s treated as some sort of weird messiah figure that “saves everyone in front of him”. Though Touma himself says his bullshit, especially when people try to push than on him as a responsibility.

    To Aru Index is has got is a rather odd direction while stilling being a “Touma saves the day while meeting new wacky characters” type of story.

    • I got the distinct sense that Index was about the abstract ideas and concepts more than anything else. The plot and characters were just vehicles for giving them form. He didn’t want to write a story so much as he wanted to express his ideas.

      Accelerator seemed too convenient to me. Maybe the subs were bad, or maybe the anime didn’t explain it properly in the first place, but I never quite understood how that one scientist was able to counter Accelerator.

  3. Railgun is one of my all-time favorites for the reasons you stated. I’d say one of my most favorite anime episodes of all time is Railgun season 2 episode 14. That scene on the bridge? Amazing. It was okay in Index, but amazing in Railgun.

    The lighthearted episodes were always a joy to watch, the side characters surprizingly not annoying, and the overarching plot pretty interesting as well.

    One of my favorite ‘random-side-thing’ about the series is that it actually manages to explain why in a world with ridiculous super powers, there’s no Magneto-type take over the world character. I mean the one guy who’s powerful enough has been co-opted, and the girl who’s powerful enough just wants cute things!

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