Impression – Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S, Episode 23

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Episode 23 – “Dawn of a Revolution: Silent Party”

It’s interesting how this arc is pretty much a reversal of the style found in the first of the season. During the Sisters Arc, we followed Misaka as she faced the city’s darkness by herself, and that was pretty exhilarating. Now, she has a proverbial army fighting with her, which kind of isn’t as exciting in the same way, but it’s still pretty cool. The only problem I feel is that the series hasn’t really built up STUDY to be a huge threat and yet a huge counteroffensive has been created to stop them. If there was a greater sense of urgency or danger, I think the campy teamwork message would have more meaning.

What I do like is that they’ve referenced Misaka’s struggle during the previous arc, and she’s using that experience to make different decisions this time around. Perhaps that’s why things seem to be going along so smoothly, too. However, Nunotaba is the one who needs support this time around, as she’s been placed into a difficult position. After being apprehended by ITEM, she was forced to work for STUDY.

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As if feeling responsible for the Sisters experiment wasn’t bad enough, she now has to deal with more artificial beings. That’s why she set Febri free, in hopes of making up for her past sins. She even supplies Febri with the cute dress she wears! Nunotaba has some great fashion sense, as evidenced by those brief flashbacks. So in addition to the reversal of prevailing emotions (despair to hope) between each arc, we have a swapping of roles between Misaka and Nunotaba. Now Nunotaba has to ask Misaka for help in her time of need.

Despite making Batman jokes in the previous impression, I’m starting think that Gotham City is a pretty good analogue for Academy City. Though, which one is more corrupt and plagued by darkness can be argued for days, I’m sure. Huge differences in philosophies and ideals about what’s righteous give rise to power struggles between different groups. However, I think people are more discrete about their intentions in Academy City (from inside-out through conspiracy), compared to Gotham City (from the outside-in through anarchy).

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This arc returns to the major issues that were addressed in the first season, which is the disparity between espers and non-espers. While it was touched upon, it’s still hard to see how the indifference can ever really be resolved. STUDY does have a valid point that birthright has a lot to do with one’s esper abilities (or lack thereof) and therefore their success. However, you could make the same argument in real life. Some people get dealt a perfect hand, while others end up with something unplayable (I say, at the risk of trivializing people’s lives). Like in real life, it’s hard to justify an argument of what’s “fair” for either group.

B.W.

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