When it comes to animes about groups of 4-5 girls , these can mostly be passed off as mindless hours of fun and games as the groups of girls go on their various misadventures together. Usually, this isn’t really a problem as a lot of people LOVE those kind of shows, but as with any trope, they can be done to death and rehash the same things over and over again.
That isn’t the case with A Certain Scientific Railgun (or To Aru Kagaku No Railgun, for all you anime purists).
Imagine, if you will, instead of a group of four normal girls, that one of them is a computer genius that works for a crime unit known as Judgment, another is an esper with the ability to teleport herself and any object she touches that also works for said organization, and one of them happens to be the 3rd strongest esper in a whole city of 2.3 million espers. Put them together, along with their powerless and slightly perverted best friend, enigmatic scientists who perform dangerous experiments on the students in this city, GIANT ROBOT FIGHTS, along with a slightly sadistic dorm supervisor obsessed with keeping her students in line, then this is basically what Railgun amounts to (At least the first season; the second season will be very heartbreaking for people following the Index novels, first anime….or really ANYTHING else in the Index franchise, so I won’t spoil that for anyone.)
Instead, I will simply talk about the first season and why you should check it out, to form your own connection into one of the (IMO) most expansive universes in anime. This series, despite being released after Index S1, takes place before it, and does not interfere with the main story whatsoever. Unfortunately, Railgun is based on a manga spin-off, and NOT the Index novel series. As such, there will be noticeable differences between the manga and anime adaption, including changed plot points, introduction of anime-only characters, etc. If you’re really picky about those sort of things, I wouldn’t recommend this show. In fact, the entire second arc is comprised entirely of anime-filler, all with with a predictive villain and the typical hero save everyone shtick.
Putting all that aside, Railgun is a fascinating look into technology and espers at its finest. One of the biggest selling points for this show is the city it’s based in: Academy City. Setting aside the fact that it has the most advanced tech in the world to date, it is also home to 2.3 million espers, a plot point that makes for a whole bunch of interesting stories.
I could go on and on about how railgun is one of the best shows ever, but I’d rather not enforce my opinion on you. I’d rather you check it out for yourself and decide on your own. And if you do read the manga as well, or choose one or the other, try to keep an open mind.
I’m an anime junkie, and I rate this series a 4.0 out of 5.0.