The student-filled Academy City is at the forefront of scientific advancement and home to the esper development program. The seven “Level 5” espers are the most powerful in Academy City, and ranked third among them is middle schooler Mikoto Misaka, an electricity manipulator known as “The Railgun.” When strange incidents begin occurring throughout the city, she finds each crime to be connected to the elusive “Level Upper,” a legendary device that allegedly increases the esper level of its user. As the situation escalates, it becomes apparent that there is more to the Level Upper than meets the eye, and that Academy City may be a far more twisted place than the glamorous utopia it appears to be. Toaru Kagaku no Railgun focuses on Mikoto and her friends—and the dangerous situations they find themselves in—as they get caught up in the matter of the Level Upper. As Mikoto says, “There’s never a dull moment in this city.” – My Anime List
Based on 19 review scores:
Though it’s older, it’s still really good. This anime is a spin off to To Aru Majutsu no Index, AKA A Certain Magical Index, focusing on the side character Misaka. IMO, Railgun is a LOT better than Index. So, even if you didn’t enjoy index, give this one a chance. Both Index and Railgun have 2 seasons, which Crunchyroll hasn’t released yet it seems, so we’ll have to wait for those to come out.
Overall, A Certain Scientific Railgun is definitely worth watching. However, I would highly recommend watching A Certain Magical Index first in order to get the context and background information needed to fully enjoy Railgun, even if you only watch Index’s first season. It fixes pretty much every problem that Index had and avoids suffering any serious issues itself. Railgun works very well, both as an Index spinoff and as a shown in its own right. Sadly, I can’t actually buy the anime, because for some reason the DVDs of both Index and Railgun haven’t been released in the UK, and I can’t import them due to those pesky region locks. However, if I had the opportunity, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy this series (and I very rarely go out of my way to buy anime DVDs).
A fascinating world occupied by strong characters and supplemented by some well-delivered stories – this is a spin-off that surpasses its parent series.
While this is a spinoff of another anime series having seen both of them I don’t feel it is
necessary to have seen “a certain magical index” to be able to understand or enjoy this series. At worst you won’t recognize a few characters from “a certain magical index”
when they make cameos, but since these characters have nothing to do with this series’ story not recognizing them won’t diminish your enjoyment of this series one bit.
The gorgeous animation, compelling characters, intriguing story and excellent English dub make this series a must own for any anime fan!
A Certain Scientific Railgun is more satisfying to watch, and more entertaining than the show it spun-off from. A couple of minor story flaws and one video glitch aside, this is very much a show to have in your collection, and the second series couldn’t come soon enough!
A Certain Scientific Railgun is a fine spinoff series of A Certain Magical Index. With Mikoto and Shirai taking the lead it was able to successful bring major focus to minor characters (barring Mikasa) of the Index series, while introducing some new ones. Touma and Index not having a cameo in season one sucks, bt=ut considering season one’s position in the franchise, it’s understandable.
A Certain Scientific Railgun clearly has a much better sense of pacing throughout the series, allowing the story to start slow and naturally evolve into something that I would say is an even better adaptation than that of Index. Character development is handled a lot better and the series it better for it, Railgun, is a more enjoyable experience and I can’t wait to see more!
Anime News Network
Ultimately A Certain Scientific Railgun is a solid, consistently entertaining series with flashes of stronger content. It does not spectacularly excel in any aspect but also has little for major flaws.
To Aru Kagaku no Railgun is a truly a satisfactory and well-rounded anime that is absolutely worth investing time into. It is assured that you cannot go wrong by watching this anime. You will not be disappointed.
Road Rash Reviews
It is a bit less self important than A Certain Magical Index and I found it much easier to get into. Well worth sticking with this one as it gets better and better as it goes on.
Highly enjoyable and well worth adding to your collection.
My Anime List
In all honesty though, Railgun, like Index, had a great deal more potential than it actually delivers. The concept of both series is inventive and imaginative, however the execution, especially in Railgun, falls flat due to the desire to make money.The biggest example of how this impacts the show is the level of fanservice throughout the series (one whole episode, for example, is nothing more than a swimsuit buffet). It rapidly becomes obvious that the one of the main purposes of this series is to pander to hordes who love Mikoto, and while giving the public what they want isn’t a bad thing, sometimes a show is better off not doing so.
Matt Doyle Media
This was an enjoyable series that was dragged down by negative stereotyping and unnecessary fan service. If you can look past that however, there’s plenty of fun to be had here, and it’s definitely worth a recommendation for that.
A Certain Scientific Railgun had the potential to be another Mai Hime (a personal favorite of mine), an anime that transcended its comparatively lame origins. Instead, while it is quite good, A Certain Scientific Railgun never quite breaks away from its inferior roots. I would have graded it higher, but the offensive portrayal of gay stereotypes pulls the entire show down one letter grade.
The Nihon Review
Maybe this is the bias talking, but the thing that impressed me the most about Railgun was that it was so vastly different to Index. It’s picked and chosen the good stuff from Index, like the music and a few of the characters, jettisoned most of the crap, and combined it with some new stuff in a way that has context within a small handful of meaningful themes. It’s still mostly popcorn action, but I was generally entertained by it, and always engaged.
Kurt’s Gaming And Otaku Blog
So to conclude is this worth a watch or not? Well I can’t say I didn’t enjoy as I did but there were times where it left me frustrated. The constant stop and start narratives are annoying at best and the character design isn’t one of the best you will find out there. On top of this the show also swaps out all its good openings and endings for ones not as good which just adds to the frustration whilst watching it. Despite all these, and the fact I’ve probably sounded quite negative up till now, this show is not a bad show by any means. It’s a competent attempt at producing a friendship driven, plot based action anime with some low-level fan service thrown in there for good measure. It wont be to everyone’s taste and it probably wasn’t designed for someone like me in truth but as a continuation/spin-off to A Certain Magical Index it does an okay job. My real problem is that it doesn’t seem to know exactly what it wants to be. At times it’s a comedy slice of life and then the next episode it goes back to being an action driven show. Swapping genres never works well as what you end up with is just several genres done averagely rather than one genre done well. Despite this a real highlight for it is the brilliant dub in which Funimation, as usual, have done a job to be proud of. There has to be questions asked as to what happened with the native version of the show. I’d say give it a chance and if you aren’t convinced by episode 10/11 just remember it gets much better in the second half of the show.
As shounen fantasy/sci-fi adaptations go, it’s pretty good, but it’s definitely a bit indebted to the conventions of that genre and, thus, not especially deep or self-aware.
Sleepless Ronins Reviews
The good parts were good, and the first arc was excellent. My major misgivings are from what was not even included… something I can’t help but hold against the series even though I shouldn’t.
Overall, Railgun was a fun spin off to Index. It’s really just lighthearted fun and I wouldn’t really have any problems with it if not for the fanservice. Aside from those scenes, the series is just fun to watch and you’ll always walk away feeling lighthearted. It’s one of the reasons why I like to watch such series because it’s basically a slice of life with some action and intrigue. If you liked Index, then maybe you’ll like this show a lot because it certainly helped me become a fan of the franchise again. That being said, just wait for the sequel. Railgun S is much better and it’s one of the best all around shows out there. (For the first arc anyway) If you can get around the fanservice, then a Scientific Railgun is a very enjoyable watch and fans of almost any genre can get into it. (We even have mysteries and horror/ghost stories!)