A Certain Scientific Railgun, a spin-off more popular than the original manga

He was clamored for years by a noisy mace and Noeve Grafx made their wish come true. A Certain Scientific Railgun released in France this year. And yet it was not won! ⚡Very soon, find the 3rd most powerful Esper in the Academic City … the famous #Railgun to the […]

He was clamored for years by a noisy mace and Noeve Grafx made their wish come true. A Certain Scientific Railgun released in France this year. And yet it was not won!

To aru Kagaku no Railgun or A Certain Scientific Railgun, is the spin-off of an extremely popular Japanese license, To aru Majutsu no Index. Better known here under the name A Certain Magical Index, the series is originally a light novel that we were lucky to have on our shelves. But the disastrous sales of the latter suggested that the license did not have as many fans as that in France.

Yet Ki-oon had published his manga adaptation in 2012. But what fans know about Index and Railgun, it is especially their adaptations animated by the studio JC Staff. The Index saga, which began in the 2000s, is thus one of the biggest light novel sagas to be adapted at the time alongside Haruhi Suzumiya. The series is also available on Crunchyroll.

In Index, the story follows Tôma, a character whose supernatural bad luck is linked to a power contained in his right hand. He will live adventures between science and magic to fight religious fanatics and face espers of the Academic City, place where the main action of the saga takes place.

In front of its success, the light novel has a spin-off, in manga this time, still written by Kazuma Kamachi: A Certain Scientific Railgun (whose anime is shared between Netflix and Crunchyroll). This series is regularly considered to be better than the main work. Rest assured, you don’t need to have read Index to appreciate and understand Railgun. In Railgun the extremely dense universe is lightened of all the magic aspect and chosen to focus only on the science side.

Without the magic and the omnipresent religion in Index, the narrative becomes fluid and allows a reading of the story much less puzzling. Espers are enough as a backdrop. Because the saga is a fairly rich science fiction series, with a student city welcoming 2 million inhabitants, 80% of whom are espers. The Cité Académie is the beating heart of the scientific community. This also induces its share of experiments with dubious morals: cloning, increase in brain capacity, psychic powers, etc. That’s already a lot, so imagine if on top of that we added plots with the Anglican Church, Shinto sects and killers sent by the holy see. This is Index. You escaped it beautifully!

The espers are classified from 0 to 6 according to their power, the students of the Academic City train to exceed their limit to level up. Tôma is a level 0. Mikoto Misaka is a level 5 (no one has ever reached level 6, it is hypothetical). In the Academic City, there are only 7 and it is the third in the ranking, code name Railgun. This is what interests us today. 14 years old, walks with shorts under her skirt, fan of a weird frog mascot, tsundere around the edges and above all shoots slot machine coins with your fingers at the speed of an electromagnetic cannon.

Mikoto is an esper producing and mastering electricity, an overpowering power that can be used in so many ways. But despite this, she remains a lambda college student. She lives in a dormitory where she shares with Kuroko, a teleporter who, although a student at the renowned Tokiwadai College like her, is also a member of Judgment, a student organization whose role is to investigate and resolve the unrest. linked to espers in the city.

A Certain Scientific Railgun is therefore a mix between the slice of school life and investigations involving the extraordinary events taking place in the city. The series is a true spin-off parallel to the events of Index. We meet famous faces there and some arcs overlap, offering a new perspective. However Railgun manages to be a full story with many new adventures and this is what makes the interest of the title, both fun and serious with its share of action and a heroine who has the answer.

The manga is in its 16th volume in Japan, Noeve Grafx released volumes 1 and 2 together in early July, the third should be released if all goes well in October.


Damien Hilaire is a Freelance Writer at IGN France. His hobby is Godzilla, giant robots and animes. When he is not putting together a model, he floods the networks with his readings and views here: Twitter.

Janelle B. Smith

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