Book Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 12

A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 12 cover

I hope that everyone had a good weekend, and are getting ready to get back to the monotony.

Aside from ending up being busier than I thought I would be, things are still going fairly well, as I can still do what I like.

While I was busy trying to finish up a series, so I can could free myself up a bit, the last title that I was expecting this month finally arrived.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 12 by Kazuma Kamachi.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

The investigation into the Indian poker cards has begun, as people who normally lead peaceful lives start being pulled in for various reasons, and the people in Judgment are looking into the matter.

However, when people find out who created the special cards and start to track them down, a cyborg bearing a striking resemblance to the person escapes a facility and starts to cause trouble for both the original and a group belonging to Academy City's underworld.

I must say, I really liked this volume.

From the moment that I opened up this book and started reading, I did not want to put it down for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as everyone else.

While it has been a long time since I read the previous volume, no thanks to the fact that Seven Seas released it later than usual, I was able to get sucked right into what was going on in the volume.

For a reader to be able to really enjoy a work, they need to be able to be sucked right into it, which varies depending on whether the work has a fast or slow pacing and if it is prose, like Spice & Wolf, or it is manga, like this or The Ancient Magus Bride.

With prose fiction, the feeling is created by giving the reader enough details to be able to draw images in their mind and writing to not be as off putting as the narrator in The Book Thief, since the reader must suffer through long bouts of text, and roughly more than the amount text found in my reviews.

However, with manga, the thing that needs to draw in the reader is not just the words, but also the artwork, as both have to work together to entice the reader, not to mention not be as bothersome as it was as off putting as ef — A Tale of Memories, since the style of artwork there was not something that I really thought worked for anything but works of horror, though it was not as unbearable in ef — A Tale of Melodies since fit the tone of both stories there.

In the case of this volume, both the artwork and the words seemed to flow quite well together and made the action sequences, and even the moments of peace fairly enjoyable to read.

If things suffered in both of these departments, I would have given up on this series just as quickly as I did A Certain Scientific Accelerator, which was one of the few manga that I could not get past one or two volumes for a number of reasons, and I would have also know about it before know, because, just like Detective Conan, I am aware of what happens in the future, though, thankfully, Seven Seas is not as far behind in the Railgun series as Viz Media is with Detective Conan, so I do not need to necessarily keep people in the dark, except for those times, like in Case Closed Volume 60, where it was pretty obvious that Okiya is not Bourbon.

Fortunately, Kazuma remember what made this series so much more enjoyable than A Certain Magical Index, which makes me want to give him a good round of applause.

Hopefully, this will remain in tact when the next volume comes out, as this arc is already near the end, and a new arc should begin in the volume 13, though I cannot confirm that since Seven Seas has not been including a Table of Contents since volume 4, which makes volume 3 the last one to feature a TOC, and there is not a consistent enough pattern establish to predict what volume will hold what hold chapters.

Then agin, both A Certain Magical Index and the Daihasei Festival arc in this series were fairly disappointing, so there is always a chance that there would be yet another dull moment in the series, even though I, and other Railgun fans, would not want to see that happen when Kazuma Kamachi has finally created something that was decent right from volume 1, as opposed to taking more than 11 books to get some consistent momentum going.

Still, that does not mean that Kazuma does not deserve praise for doing something right, instead of giving me a reason to do what I hate to do, which is only talking about what I hated.

I also liked some of the fighting that took place in this volume.

Even though things are just heating up, and most likely ending soon if the next volume does indeed contain the end of this arc, things have been feeling rather dull recently, enough so that I would have been willing to call this arc one of the weakest in the series, because nothing really seemed to be happening and this series is one of the more fast paced ones that I follow on a regular basis.

Here, however, there is finally some action going on as Frenda gets involved in something to do with Saten, which the official summary for this volume, located on the back, mentions, and I was wondering how she would deal with her new threat.

Now, the whole thing that played out might not have been as interesting as the fights Misaka had with ITEM back in volume 5 or Kuroko's big fight in volume 2, but it was still good enough to keep me glued to the book.

Just like how fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction want interesting cases and fans of romance want to see how the bonds between characters grow into a serious relationship, fans of battle or action manga what to have action that makes them want to keep reading, and if they do not get that, they might give up on a series, much like a fan of romance would give up on a series if it runs into one of those cliched story element, such as the infamous 镌will they or won't they” setup that plagues a lot of American television.

Thankfully, Kazuma was able to keep that intact, with the help of Motoi Fuyukawa, of course, and it makes me much more impressed with this series than I already was when I watched the first season of the anime.

If he were not able to do this much, Kazuma would end looking like as much of a joke as he did when he wrote the second book in the Magical Index series, and I would have actually ended up dropping this series.

Fortunately, because he did not produce something that terrible, I can at least give him a nice round of applause.

Another thing that I liked was how there were a few moments that made me laugh.

While the humor present was not anything unique, when compared to the rest of the series or anime and manga in general, the humor was still executed well enough that I could actually find myself laughing hysterically.

The funniest thing that stood out to me though was the interaction between Saten and Frenda.

Towards the beginning of the volume, Saten is seen buying canned mackerel and Frenda walks into the store for the same thing, only to find out that Saten bought the last batch, which causes her to try and get some from Saten, who eventually gets annoyed with her, and then Saten invites Frenda to dinner, which she ends up liking, after berating Saten for putting mackerel in curry.

This was funny because it reminded me of all the humorous moments that occurred between Kuroko and Misaka, minus the infatuation part that everyone is annoyed with because it had been overdone in the anime, and actually did a much better job a establishing a bond between the two girls than I see in most other fast paced works, or even American television general.

Besides the fighting, the other thing that I can count on this series having is moments like these, where the comedy is somewhere around the lower class of comedy, yet is still actually funny, instead of dull or more of the usual.

If Kazuma had forgotten these kinds of moments, I do not think that I would have been able to enjoy this as much as I have, since things would have ended up being too serious.

However, because this aspect of the series still feel rather refreshing, I feel like giving Kazuma another good round of applause.

The thing that I liked the most though was how this volume ended.

Each installment of a series must give the reader a reason to continue on with it, especially in the case of manga, because writers and publishers would not be able to make money off it.

Of course, regardless of whether the work is manga or prose, that is accomplished by ending each installment at the correct place, and the people who compiled these chapters into volumes over in Japan did a great job.

Even though I was not exactly happy to see Scavenger again, because it made one of the worst series out there somewhat canon to the Raildex universe, the way things ended with their skirmish between the cyborg and a seemingly fatal blow to said cyborg made me wonder what happened and makes me want to go out to get the next volume right now, even though I already know how the arc will end.

Unfortunately, just like everyone else, I have to wait for quite a while, because I cannot find any information concerning volume 13 and Seven Seas had long ago caught up with the Japanese releases, since only one volume is released here every year.

Still, this was a great way to the end the volume and is something that I wish people would look at, because this is one of the best cliffhangers I have seen, and some people do not know what a good cliffhanger is, as there are books out there that, like Secret Volume 1, end after what would have been a great cliffhanger, which makes me want to give whoever ASCII Media Works had put the volume together a nice round of applause.

Hopefully, this stays consistent in future volumes, because I do not think I remember ever seeing a bad cliffhanger in this series, but, as everyone involved in bringing this series to fans like me is only humans, just like everyone else in our society, I have to be prepared to dock them a few points for when this series starts to take a turn for the worse.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could not be added to what I already talked about.

Because this volume captured and held my attention from beginning to end, the fighting was interesting, things very pretty hilarious, and the volume had one of the best cliffhangers, this was one of the best entries in the series.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from finding out one my least favorite series may have become canon and things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, nothing really seemed to bother me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like and not much to hate, other than the possibility that a series I did not like too much being canon, this was definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of A Certain Scientific Railgun, as they will be able to enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but since it is in the middle of an arc, it might be better to read the earlier volumes first.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or buying the reviewed title from Amazon, so that I can continue following a series that many of enjoy and even find other worthwhile reads, and do whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.