Impression – Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S, Episode 12

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Episode 12 – “Tree Diagram”

Watching Railgun S along side Index & Index II, is one of the more confusing things I’ve ever done in my life. But, I think I’ve figured out where all the events lie temporally now, and this episode helped to confirm that. When Misaka said that she had planned to destroy Tree Diagram last episode, I got confused. From watching Index, we know that the satellite supercomputer should have already been destroyed (accidentally) because a certain nun blew the living hell out of it. At the end of this week’s episode, our previous knowledge is reaffirmed as Misaka discovers that Tree Diagram has indeed been obliterated, leaving only Remnant behind.

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What bothers me is that why didn’t anyone know that Tree Diagram had been destroyed? If Academy City is able to cover up the Level 6 Shift Project so easily, then pretending that Tree Diagram still exists is probably no big deal even if it means meteorological dishonesty. The fact that the computer is capable of accurately simulating weather patterns on a timescale as big as a month and in such a short processing time should be an indication of its strength. With our own technology, doing a climate simulation for a year’s worth of weather would take over a million years. I did that calculation for a Climate Dynamics course, and I hope I’m not misremembering the numbers…

I love that we get to see more of Misaka Imouto too. The scenes with her and Inu/Schrödinger/Deferred are some of the cutest and funniest from Index, and I’m glad we get to see them again in higher animation quality. Railgun S also makes it more clear that the clone that Touma talks to is 10032 and not the 10031 that goes with Accelerator for the experiment.

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This distinction itself raises all sorts of philosophical and moral questions, like should it matter that we must know that she’s not the one going to do the experiment? Should we even feel relieved that she survives when another one is about to die? Since 10032 had these interactions with Touma, does that mean her life should be valued higher than her sisters? Their experiences are shared via the Misaka Network, too. If one defines a soul by what’s in the mind and not the body, then one could argue that they are in fact the same person and it doesn’t matter how many get destroyed.

These are all really tough questions, and I kind of don’t feel like I’m not right person to try to answer them, mostly because I don’t believe they have concrete answers. People endlessly debate over what “mind” and “soul” mean. On both spiritual and scientific levels, there’s no clear answer and it’s often left to the individual to decide. But that’s kind of the whole point behind the Raildex series, isn’t it?

B.W.

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