Ongoing Investigations: Case #127

Taking another item from our Seven Seas review pile I am so glad to be able to recommend one of their books without the qualifier “as long as you into this rather bizarre fetish.”  A Certain Scientific Railgun is a fun spin-off from the main A Certain Magical Index universe. Unsurprisingly Mikoto Misaka turned out to be one of the most popular characters from A Certain Magical Index but what was a little shocking is she got spun off into her own series. The Railgun series revolves around her involvement with the student run police organization called Judgement in the city-wide psychic school known as Academy City. Although she is not officially a member of Judgement Mikoto often gets involved with cases due to her roommate Shirai Kuroko. The first major story arc involves a mad bomber who is targeting members of Judgement but that soon leads to a much bigger mystery of a strange item called the Level Upper. Supposedly the Level Upper can exponentially increase your psychic power but it may have sinister side effects as well.  For better or for worse the Railgun series focuses entirely on the science side of the Index universe. Considering how certain people tend to dislike parts of the magical side this might be a strong selling point for the series. The stories are light and fun with Mikoto infusing any story she is in with her energetic and strong-willed self that made her popular enough to get a spin-off in the first place. Saten Ruiko and Kazari Uiharu are good supporting cast who are colorful enough to be distinct without being too loud even if they occasionally come off as the most interesting refuges from all girls slice of life manga. Shirai Kuroko’s over the top crush on Mikoto Misaka is silly enough to either make you chuckle or groan whenever she is on the page depending on if you enjoy her shtick or not. The series wears is yuri undertones on its sleeve. They are strong enough that they are mistakable but not enough to turn anyone away from the story. If you have watched the anime the stories are pretty similar but the manga is all killer and no filler. We there are some breathers most of the time we jump from plot point to plot point pretty quickly. You can tell that the anime threw in quite a good deal of filler material or extra complications to the story. You still get to know the girls of Railgun but they remove most of the slice of life manga feeling that the anime added. So if you liked the anime but wish they just got on with it then this is the version for you. The art is pleasant and captures the characters and action well. Overall it is a welcome addition to Index universe. It just makes me wish that someone would license the light novels but considering the light novel market in the US I realize that is tantamount to asking a company to go out of business. Such misfortune.

Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society was the obvious next title to watch once I finished 2nd Gig. I didn’t realize it would take place two years after the ending of the second season with the Major (mostly) MIA from Section 9. A conspiracy involving missing children, dying elderly, refugee suicides, and a hacker called The Puppeteer combine with the Major right in the thick of things to once again take us on an intense ride to an unexpected end. Both Battou and Togusa are stepped up a little in this movie, which is only a good thing. The scenes in the hospital with Togusa’s daughter are great. And I gave a big thumbs up to the last moments of the film with Battou and the Major looking out the window together. After finishing this I more than ever want a Stand Alone Complex 3rd Gig.

Continue reading