A Certain Shitty Anime

I’ve already made myself clear on how much To Aru Majutsu no Index‘s spinoff, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun sucks, and I stand by my initial impression. However at the time I suggested that the show was somehow not a worthy successor to Index, and I’d now like to recant that statement, because after careful review I’ve determined that they’re both really, really terrible.

I suppose if I had to decide which is the lesser of two evils I would pick Index, but that’s not to say that it isn’t gut-wrenchingly awful. After the first few episodes I would involuntarily flinch every time Touma opened his mouth. Half of the series’ running time must be him flapping his lips about friendship, which he defines as the relationship between a man and whatever half-baked moeblob he bumped into 5 minutes earlier. Touma is as impressionable as a newly-hatched chick; over the course of the show he risks near-certain death to save a young girl he met earlier in the day (several of these actually), a man who claims to be his father but is a complete stranger to him, a tsundere who he has every reason to believe hates him, a living puppet that he is explicitly told is only an extension of a higher consciousness and has no mind of its own, and an undying simulacrum of a human being who is some kind of manifestation of another dimension. All but the first on that list tell him outright not to interfere, but as a main character in a shounen story he gives no fuck and imposes his childish will on everyone around him.

Possibly the most embarrassing part of Index is the creepy way Touma has of accidentally stalking Misaka and completely dominating her with his presence. He just happens to have the ‘bad luck’ to run into her everywhere, and every time they meet she ends up completely losing her cool and being humiliated. I plan to talk about tsundere at length in the future and when I do Index will be exhibit A; it really showcases the coercive nature of tsundere relationships. More to the point, it just looks ridiculous. We’re constantly told that Misaka is insanely powerful, she even gets her own spin-off series, but she never actually gets anything accomplished because Touma always shows up and causes her to melt into a puddle of moe.

It might seem hard to actually go downhill from a start like that, but To Aru Kagaku no Railgun manages with ease. As the image at the top of this article suggests, Railgun is the retarded love child of Index and K-on!, a plotless mess of a show about four highschool girls who giggle and chatter and are as moe as they are incompetent (the title of the picture reads “A Certain Club’s Teatime” if you were wondering). By the end of the first episode of Index Touma had learned of a secret society of magicians and had picked a fight with a fire golem; by contrast we’re almost ten episodes into Railgun and all the main characters have done is arrest some petty criminals. Index was not without its filler, but in Railgun the plot, such as it is, rarely takes up more than a few minutes of the episode. When things do get “serious” they’re still a pale imitation of the events of the first season. The current ‘level-upper’ arc deals with the same theme as the Accelerator arc from the first series but instead of a dangerous lunatic the opponents are a bunch of hopped-up punks. The most dangerous challenge they’ve faced was protecting a child from an exploding teddy bear, and guess what: Misaka fumbled and had to be rescued by Touma.

In fact Railgun spends at least as much time tearing down Misaka’s character as Index did building up Touma’s. Scratch the surface of the first series’ main character and you find nothing; he’s as boring a lead as shounen has ever seen. Hell his special ability is to suck the fun out of everyone elses’ magical powers. He acts like a hero but he’s a shallow and one-dimensional character. Meanwhile in the second season Misaka is revealed to be all too human; I’ve lost count of how many times her underwear has come up in conversation. She’s riddled with insecurity and is repeatedly portrayed as having an immature streak, favoring childish pajamas and cartoon frog characters. I’ve already mentioned her pathetic little collapses around Touma, but seriously watch episode 4 of Railgun and see how she just keels over and blubbers when she can’t hurt the guy. Saten wonders when she meets Misaka if she’s really the titular Railgun, and I sympathize. For all the hype, Misaka is a pushover.

The To Aru series take a promising little scifi premise and shit all over it. For every neat little physics trick the shows offer there are 3 speeches about camaraderie, 2 pantyshots, and a pratfall with Index that ends in her biting Touma. Despite its technical quality (as I’ve said before, JC Staff can animate the shit out of a cartoon), the franchise is soulless and cheap; frankly if you’re tuning into Railgun every week in hopes of more wacky underwear antics you are what’s wrong with anime.

41 thoughts on “A Certain Shitty Anime

  1. wah

    railgun specifically has no pantyshots at all. they just talk about them a lot. or hold them in their hands. never once do you see panties firmly hugging a butt.

    1. The Fin Post author

      How can there possibly not be enough underwear in Railgun to satisfy you, we’ve seen or had described to us more lingerie than we have girls to wear it.

  2. shancerainbowsphere

    Actually, Railgun is still fine. It just went bad when the manga started on the next arc, which lead to people losing interest in watching because it’s nothing new compared to the Sisters arc that’s being done right now.

    1. The Fin Post author

      Railgun looks pretty and there are less monologues about friendship than there were in Index, but it’s still really really terrible and bringing back in the clone Misaka won’t save it (especially if Last Order shows up again, nothing brings out the lolicons like girls who are ‘older than they look’).

      1. Sasway

        Firslty, Railgun’s plot is only developing now because J.C staff messed up some things – episode 2 for example. Secondly, Ahaha, you don’t even know what happens in that arc to say that it won’t save it. third, Last Order has nothing to do with railgun – She won’t appear.

        Lastly, your definition of pantyshot is off.

        1. The Fin Post author

          I really don’t understand why the difference between what you call pantyshots and explicit references to underwear, images of fishnets and garters, etc. is so important to you people, but fine. There are no pantyshots in Railgun, just constant references to panties, pictures of other types of lingerie, and Misaka showing her shorts.

          Also it’s not like I care about spoilers, go ahead and explain how this arc will save the show’s listless plot if you think it will. Of course you say the adaptation has already gone off course, so who’s to say the events in the original will be mirrored in the anime? Either way there’s no need to be snarky about me not knowing plot developments that haven’t aired yet.

          1. a

            Because it’s utterly incorrect?
            Calling references to panties a panty shot, is like saying there was a sex scene because somebody said he would like to have sex with someone.
            To use words like this makes communication imprecise since you can’t know if the other person means what he/she/it said or used words in a “slightly” different sense.
            At least that is the reason it annoys me, I can’t say anything about others.

            1. The Fin Post author

              I’m pretty sure that failing to distinguish between panties held in an anime character’s hands and panties actually worn by the character is not going to lead to the fall of Babel and the death of language. It is telling that the only cogent defense I’ve heard of the show so far has to do with whether or not it counts as a pantyshot if the underwear in question isn’t being worn when shown. Tell you what, go buy the latest OED of slang and look up ‘panty shot’ and if I used it incorrectly I’ll edit the entry. Railgun will still fucking suck though.

              1. NinjaYali

                Wait…so TAKR is a panty shot anime?

                I started it because I thought it was anything but that after reading a review by Erica Friedman.

                1. The Fin Post author

                  The distinction between what Railgun does and what “purists” define as panty shots is really fine. You have to be a world-class pedant to claim that Kuroko’s underwear festival and Misaka’s shorts aren’t essentially panty shots.

                  1. LinGaiVa now world class pedant

                    I guess I am.

                    Panty shot=Flashing panties by accidental tripping, bending over or what not.

                    Kuroko’s underwear festival=Fetish for collecting panties

                    As such, I guess that settles it for me. TAKR is not a panty flash show. Although one could argue that Kuroko has a panty fetish since they are essentially both part of the whole underwear. But I’m more convince it just another way to play on Kuroko’s borderline insane obsession for Mikoto.

                    But really it’s so over the top that’s it’s hilarious yet likeable for me and other fans. Although really, Kuroko’s insanity is also a sad thing as she doesn’t realise it’s a completely wrong way to approach a relationship.

                    1. LinGaiVa now world class pedant

                      Ah crap, well better fess up. Yeah I use these two names when commenting.

  3. lelangir


    I’d say the marketing strategy railgun uses could be potentially good. Make an initial srs bsns show, then a MOEEEEEEE spinoff as a self-referencing ‘gateway’ into Higher Anime. When I was watching railgun I was like, “dude this is so awesome, maybe I should also watch Index?” – ie., JC won there.

    1. The Fin Post author

      Get this man a corner office over in marketing. Really, why not just moe-fy other popular franchises? Sakura and her ninjette friends wander around the village hidden in cake and go shopping for throwing stars with hearts on them, Major Kusanagi and her kinky android pals giggle and gossip over digital cybertea and cookies. There’s plenty of room for intertextual self-reference too (a la Lucky Star), some sharp eyed nerds already found some characters from Toradora lurking in the background of Railgun. Eventually all of anime will just be one moe circlejerk where characters are entirely fluid across series and “plot” developments are just lead-ins for someone tripping, exposing their underwear, and saying ‘uguu~’.

      1. alsozara

        I know that this is ridiculously late etc etc, but I just recently discovered this blog, and I have to say that this is one of the funniest damn posts I have read in a long time. You and E Minor have an extremely refreshing take on this crap.

        Meta-reference seems to have become one of the things on every producers checklist, along with at least one egregiously proportioned female character, and a bland, inexplicably popular male protagonist. Even the most shameless shows seem to have to pretend they’re being ironic, or bizarrely lampshading a character archetype that they themselves are using (usually tsundere), perhaps in the hope that if they point it out, people will mistake their retarded flailing for cleverness.

  4. sdshamshel

    The appeal of Railgun and why it’s perceived as a better anime than Index in the eyes of a lot of fans (including myself) is that the direction itself lends to more of a nice and snappy feel for the show. Even if the plot doesn’t “move forward” per se, the pacing still seems quite fast because of the way the characters interact with each other.

    In fact, if you were to ask if I would recommend the anime or the manga of the first arc to people, I would choose the anime specifically because of everything it adds to the beginning of the series and all of the “every day” activities that the characters engage in before starting up on the “real” story.

    1. The Fin Post author

      A show about everyday activities in a futuristic city might be interesting, but so far Railgun’s ‘slice of life’ side has focused mainly on molesting roommates, flipping up skirts, rummaging through underwear collections, shopping for even more underwear, etc. These are not especially interesting from a scifi perspective nor do they really seem like everyday occurrences for most teenage girls (maybe the last one, but you must admit there is a pattern there). I’m sure there are summer vacation/beach and onsen episodes upcoming in the grand tradition of ‘everyday’ events made into spectacles for mostly-naked cartoon fourteen year olds.

  5. Tyrenol

    You know… If Touma had learned martial arts (like Bleach’s Ichigou) and managed to kick everyone’s rear ends regardless of gender… Then it would’ve been a lot more watchable…

    Oh wait! It’s made in Japan for the spineless Japanese audience. What was I thinking?

  6. Leander

    I am reading more bad comments about “To Aru Majutsu NO INDEX” and found nothing that convinced me to hate this Anime…there is nothing good left in my mind to speak but allow me to give my last words… “It’s Anime!nothing is impossible…anything can happen if you just give a Damn on it!” maybe you don’t have these words in mind before scattering those Dirty comments of yours…I sensed that your acting like Mr\Ms. Perfect…correct me if I’m wrong but I never meant myself being rude…before all of you haters throw your stones at me…think first…”you should be aware of your naivete…Dunce…

  7. Rintagea

    Hey Dumbasses I like this show and just because you all are perverted and stupid (exept for anyone like leander) and perfer anime that shows endless panty shots or men beating up anything they come into contact with doesnt make this a shitty show. You know i think i know an anime you guys should watch. Its called kanokon go watch it and jerk off to it since you guys cant even get laid.

    Rintagea Liovanardi Soivinii

  8. Zedrich

    Sometimes i wonder why OP even bothered wasting his/her time watching and reviewing Index and Railgun if all it gets is apparently hateful negative criticism due to the simple fact that it did not cater to his/her desired setting / character personality / plot / fanservice / whatever else… And anime fans liking this and that title because of certain things, characters and themes makes ‘them’ wrong? But then again, that is your opinion, which, after reading it all, IMHO i don’t give a damn how much it ‘sucks’ in ‘your’ opinion.

    I, for one, enjoyed Railgun more than Index. Perhaps it was the focus on the easier-to-connect-to Science side of things, in contrast to the Religion side. Maybe it was the rather slightly annoying but still amusing and entertaining antics (not to mention the many faces and voice overs – gotta love Satomi Arai for her VA work) of A Certain Lesbian Teleporter. Maybe it was The Rank # 3 Level 5 Thundere Misaka ‘Railgun’ Mikoto – a well-balanced mix of badass, tsundere, childishness and cuteness. Or, maybe, just maybe, it was the entire USS Touma x Biribiri aircraft carrier SHIP sailing around (go sink that decrepit wooden Index ship…or better yet, haul it aboard and make it a threesome, just FFS!)

    I may not have much anime and manga under my belt, but i dare say that this might be on par and maybe even better than the likes of Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, DBZ, etc. Even if it’s just because of Accelerator. Yes, haters gonna hate, but it is then that we know who’s got the butthurt.

    protip: just enjoy it for what it is without expecting anything out of it so you can stop your sessions from getting marred with disappointment.

  9. Brandon

    I know i’m like a year late cause I just now finished watching Index, but i’ve got to agree it was horrible. I enjoyed Railgun because of the over the top hilarity, but Index was just lame. The fight scenes were disappointing. The main character, Kamijou, had so much potential for character development when they had him lose his memory, but then they didn’t do anything with it. Overall I think the Main character Kamijou and Index just dragged the series down. Accelerator and Mikoto have more character development and personality than all of the other characters combined.

  10. kaoknight

    I know this blog is dead and this post is super late but I just watched all of index then dropped railgun after my patience ran out on the first few episodes.

    After comparing them Index is way better. Protagonist Touma is boring, always talking to himself, narrative the show and makes dumb self-righteous speeches about friendship in the middle of fights but I don’t understand why most people here defend railgun and say it’s better which is just about the mundane school girl adventures of misaka and her generic moe archtype friends.

    I actually enjoyed watching index and I can admittedly see the many faults in the show. Despite most of those faults Index is more of a guilty pleasure for me. On the other hand I hate moe and I hated the railgun spin-off like cancer

    1. Dani83

      Totally agree. Just finshed index then started railgun before I w we nt to index 2. I literally stopped on episode 2 to google and see if there was any sort of plot other than panties! So disappointed

  11. Cason san

    The Fin, I am surprised you got that far. I had friends of mine swear up and down that Index and Railgun were great shows. I finally caved in and watch up to the street fight scene with Touma and girl from the Protestant Church and gave up on it. I could not stand almost anything about. Oh man, I did not enjoy what time I put into watching it.

  12. Belart Wright

    I 100% agree with everything in this post. The whole anime just feels cheap, forced, immature, and bland. I watch it because my friends were into it back in the day, but I assumed it was this smart, hip, science based shounen. This was really non of that. It’s low brow and pandering in just about every way, but to its credit, it’s concepts are intriguing enough that I managed to finish it with a massive amount of eye rolling mainly regarding everything about the two leads. Don’t think I’ll be continuing though. Will try the Fate/Stay series next.

  13. Gmjgmg

    Screw this shit. How can you hate TouMAN’s series? He’s one of few MC’s who’s not a frigging wuss like 80% anime MC. If you just get rid of the comedics bits, then the anime becomes a whole lot better.

    1. Lily Nadesico

      We have Touma because we hate him, and we have the right to hate whatever we want. Screw you.

  14. Croire

    I hate Touma for more than just being a male savior who takes over the spinoff stories when author feels like it and also being bland. specifically, I think alot of people in the west hate this guy also because he’s basically always dragged around by the plot rather than ever going on the personal initiative to check out the mysteries or conflicts behind incidents. In this manner, Misaka succeeds by having initiative-savvy personality, but fails in letting Touma fix stuff for her. spend 11 episodes with a person you think is the protag, only to see her built up moment of glory stolen from her by the main series protagonist.the author has too much dependence on prior characters and too little confidence in his spinoff cast of characters to actually deliver us any satisfying character development to like them as separate series characters enough. There’s no excuse for a spinoff like railgun to not be able to stand on its own and build off past lore without significant other series character interference. It’s been done before in tv series and animation after all. same applies for season 2. we GET it, he’s the original main character. Ill watch the damn Index if I ever feel I want to get bored enough, so stop stuffing my face with his cameos damnit.
    as a personal pet peeve, i hate how there’s a pattern for every girl to fall for the guy and create a harem atmosphere, where some of them even behave unrealistically seductively (i know its fiction, but there’s a limit to how stupidly attracted anyone can be to someone if we’re meant to actually enjoy the story. i dont watch the franchise for ROMANCE after all). Anyways that’s my thoughts. hasnt changed since 7 years ago either.

    1. Õyeah

      That is a stupid reason to hate him. And if you’re under the impression that a lot of people hate him then you’re dead wrong, buddy.

      Girls falling for him isn’t even his fault. Blame the write.

    1. kamisucks touma

      this is one of the great storyline franchise destroyed by one shitty-lucky (yet he said fukouda)-ape-dumbass-boy called kamijou touma.
      this whole franchise would be fine (and for me better) without that shitty boys wandering around with his shitty harem and blabbing fukouda everywhere.


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