A Certain Scientific Railgun, Vol. 7

By Kazuma Kamachi and Motoi Fuyukawa. Released in Japan as “Toaru Kagaku no Railgun” by ASCII Media Works, serialization ongoing in the magazine Dengeki Daioh. Released in North America by Seven Seas.

First off, in case I forget to actually review the book, this was a fun volume of Railgun. The Sisters arc was wrapped up, we started a new one about the city-wide athletic festival, and there’s lots of awesome, heartwarming, and funny.

Now, let’s talk continuity, aka “Wait, when the hell did Kuroko get put in a wheelchair?!?!”


First, a brief timeline:
1) A Certain Magical Index Light Novels: April 2004-present. The “Sisters” book came out in September 2004, and the “athletic festival” books (which didn’t focus on Misaka entirely) in April-May 2006.
2) A Certain Scientific Railgun (manga): April 2007-present. It runs in a monthly magazine.
3) A Certain Magical Index (manga): May 2007-present. Also in a monthly magazine.
4) A Certain Magical Index (anime): October 2008-March 2009. This includes the “Sisters” arc, from Touma’s perspective.
5) A Certain Scientific Railgun (anime): October 2009-March 2010. Note that the manga had only just barely started the Sisters arc (from Misaka’s perspective) when the anime began. Which is why you didn’t see it.
6) A Certain Magical Index II (anime): October 2010-April 2011. This has the athletic festival from Touma’s POV, but likely won’t crossover with the Railgun storyline much.
7) A Certain Magical Index (film): February 2013.
8) A Certain Scientific Railgun S (anime): April 2013-present. Judging by the OP credits, this *will* have the Sisters arc, including the battle with ITEM.

For the most part, the Railgun manga has been pretty good about letting casual readers follow along, and explaining things as they go. The only time the storyline ever really connects with index is during the Sisters arc, and other than that, Railgun has its own plots and its own problems. There are, of course, little bonuses for those who follow the books. ITEM are given a major role in the Sisters arc as the child soldiers Misaka battles, right around the time they were becoming very important in the Index books proper. (This is why Rikou, who really wasn’t all that active in the battles, gets a larger picture on the cover than Frenda, who was. She’s more important later.)

Around Vol. 7 is where the continuity starts to snarl, though. First of all, the anime, needing to fill up episodes since they couldn’t animate the Sisters arc (as the manga hadn’t finished it yet) introduces Mitsuko Kongo much earlier, and gives her different plotlines to play around with. Not that the manga is ready to introduce her, it doesn’t really have the time to. So Mitsuko’s introduction takes about 2 chapters, where she sets herself up as the rich rival character and is very quickly humbled. (This actually has the added benefit of making her more likeable, and I thought she was pretty cute.)

And sometimes the manga simply has to abandon even explanations, and just trust the reader will go “OK, something happened.” The athletic festival takes place about a month after the Sisters arc ends, and somehow Kuroko is now in a wheelchair (and Uiharu is blaming herself for the injuries.) What happened? Well, the 8th Index novel, in which Kuroko, as a member of Judgement, goes after a fellow teleportation expert who is trying to steal valuable plot macguffins. In the midst of this, she nearly gets killed, and thus is now in said wheelchair for the duration of the festival. Unfortunately, the series is not called “A Certain Perverse Teleporter”, so Kuroko’s story is just elided away.

There’s also lots of other little things: Accelerator appears again, and seems to be crippled (from Touma’s beating? Actually, no.) and also not, apparently, in any trouble for the experiments. Actually, the manga does a nice little flashback showing how Accelerator was manipulated by scientists just as much as Misaka was, and makes you ponder if “I was only following orders” might be a valid excuse for someone so young. It gets to the point where when we see characters who actually ARE appearing for the first time (such as the “Queen”, or the Aztec girl at the end of the volume), we wonder if they’ve been in the main source and we missed it.

More accurately, I wonder this. Most casual readers likely are fine with reading this typically exciting and fun Railgun volume. But Kuroko’s injury and its out-of-nowhere appearance has been mentioned as confusing, so I thought I’d talk about it a bit.

Oh yes, and Saten is still awesome. But you knew that.

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