Book Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 13

I hope everyone is having a good weekend, regardless of how it is being spent.

Things have been going well, as my funds are now kind of back to a level to where I can be a bit more active than I have been, though I could certainly still use some help to make sure things do not get stressful in that area, and I still can do what I enjoy doing.

Recently, I received the last of the titles I was expecting for June, and it is time to get down to business, before things start piling up even.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 13 by Kazuma Kamachi.

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

While A Certain Scientific Railgun may be one of my favorite series, as listed on a page talking about my favorite series, people would expect me to go easy on, but I have torn into things I considered as part of my favorite franchises more than on more than occasion or even just marked them as okay at best, so that does not affect me too much, though I cannot deny that the bias is still there.

And after reading this, I can say that I kind of liked it.

From the moment that I opened up this volume and started reading it, I did not feel like putting down for any reason, though not without a few hiccups.

As I have stated more than once, it is very important for the beginning of a book to capture the audience’s attention within the first few page, because that will help the reader to get lost in the world of the book or, in this case, series, and help them to be able to overlook the most minor of flaws, and the people over at ASCII Media Works, or whoever they hired out to put this volume together, seemed to have chosen a somewhat decent start.

Even though I was scratching my head a bit, even now, because things did not really seem to line up completely with what happened in the previous volume, where the cyborg doppelganger of Kuriba got her arm blown off while holding on to Scavenger’s unnamed leader and gives off a smirk, and the first chapter of this shows Kuriba behind Seike, at least until after I looked back through the pages of the last installment, things still made some sense and piqued my interest enough to see what exactly was going on, making it so that these first few pages accomplished what they should have.

If they had started this volume off anywhere else or, like Yen Press did in the final volume of Judge, Seven Seas Entertainment completely forgot a chapter, which is a bit harder to detect in this series, due to the lack of a Table of Contents that became the norm starting with volume 4, thereby leave a hole in the series, I would not have been able to enjoy this volume as much as I have because that necessary pull would have been missing.

Thankfully, this volume started off at a good point and Seven Seas did not muck things up, which makes me want to give both Seven Seas and ASCII Media Works, or whoever put this volume together for them, a good round of applause.

Hopefully, things will be able to start off just as well in the next volume, though people are saying that the next arc has not really been that exciting, maybe worse than what I believe Railgun’s Daihasei Festival Arc to have been, so I have to be ready for when I have to go to town on this series.

I also liked how the fighting and the action in this volume seemed to be interesting.

While the fighting and action have not always been the best in this series, such as when Touma made his grand entrance back in volume 10 and tried to deal with Misaka, with help from Gunha, one of the things that I liked the most about the Railgun portion of the Raildex universe, as well as many of Accelerator’s arcs in A Certain Magical Index, is that the things that need to be exciting are actually exciting, such as the fighting and the other other action going on, and helps me become a bit more invested in the series or the story.

However, with A Certain Magical Index, when I read through many of the events that are full of action or, as was the case with 15th book in the series, which Yen Press released towards the end of May, things that I know full well are supposed to grab my attention, I just do not feel the excitement, with some exceptions.

In this installment of A Certain Scientific Railgun, the action had me on the edge of my seat, especially when Misaka faced off against the Kuriba’s cyborg doppelganger, and it had me wanting to read this to the very end.

This is the Railgun I wanted to and both Kazuma Kamachi and Motoi Fuyukawa delivered.

If the action and fighting were about the same as Touma and Gunha’s scuffle with Misaka at the end of Railgun’s Daihasei Festival Arc or, even worse, the Battle Royale Arc of A Certain Magical Index, which people are dying to see in the third season, which premieres in October, according to an article by Antonio Pineda on Anime News Network, the moments that were supposed to be exciting felt flat, I would have been much more disappointed than I am to see how things in this series are not as really well connected as they were when the latest arc of this manga series was the Sisters Arc.

Fortunately, that did not happen, and helped to make this series continue to look as great as ever, even if it is going in the direction of deserving the name The Adventures of Mikoto Misaka and Friends.

Hopefully, things will not take a turn for the worse in the future volumes, especially now that there are signs that things are beginning to happen in the latest arc over in Japan, but I am aware of the possibility that things could start to become dull at some point in the future.

Another thing that I liked was how the things found in this arc connected.

One of things that I did not really like too much when this arc started up was how random things felt.

In the beginning of the arc, we are introduced to these cards that are said to allow people to learn things in their sleep, whether that is new abilities, or knowledge, and could even manipulate the user’s body, which leads into the investigation of these cards, while, at the same time, Misaka and Saiai, from ITEM, go in search of something that will enlarge their chests.

Then in the next volume, Frenda, yet another member of ITEM, meet Saten and they become friends, eventually leading them to trouble, before finally tackling the dream that Misaka had in volume 11, and even had some other random occurrences before Misaka’s dream that seem to go unresolved, instead of suggesting that there was some other purpose for them, like the placement of the money cards back in the Sisters Arc, which ultimately made things hard to figure out and follow, especially with what the cards had to do with things when Kuriba said she was using them to try and solve the doppelganger problem.

In this volume, during the confrontation with the doppelganger, that is made much more clear when Kuriba asks the doppelganger for two months, in order find out how she can erase a soul, intending to erase herself and give the doppelganger her body, much like how Misaka decided during the Sisters arc to let Accelerator kill her, because she thought the lives of the clones would be saved by her sacrifice, and helps to bring some perspective to things and helps to establish what this arc is truly dealing with.

If things continued to feel as random as they were before Kuriba initially revealed that the Indian Poker cards were supposed to help her, I would have been sorely disappointed because that would have made this arc feel like a mess, which is not something that really happens in A Certain Science Railgun.

Thankfully, that mess of randomness that seemed to be present at the beginning did not remain and there was a bit more solid connection to what has been occurring, so this arc can least walk away with some dignity.

Hopefully, the future arcs do not get stuffed with as much going on as what happened in this arc, but seeing as this series is not as widely as acclaimed as Spice & Wolf, due to the series found in the Raildex universe being viewed as lower tier material, I would not be surprised if things become worse.

The thing that I liked the most though was how the end of the volume.

In a series, the most important thing about a book, or any other installment, is that the ending gives the audience an incentive to continue on, as well as feel like they have reached a temporary end.

While manga does not usually have an issue in giving the audience a reason to continue reading, I have recently encountered a volume of a series I follow in which the final chapter did not really signify any kind of ending, other than to just that chapter.

In that particular volume, the moment I reached the final page, I was expecting to turn the page and get the next chapter right then and there, even though the Table of Contents did clearly state that it was the final chapter, but it just stopped, leaving me with little desire to get the next volume, though I will not be dropping that series just yet, as I like to give series some time to show improvement, unless they end up being bad enough that I would not have the patience to wait for it to become good.

Readers want to know that the time that they spent with a book was well worth it, and that means that when they reach the end, it must feel like an end, if not the end.

If they do not feel like a conclusion has not been reached, that could ultimately lead them knocking down their ratings on sites like Amazon and Goodreads because it felt incomplete, even though the creator poured their blood, sweat, and tears into the work they wrote.

Here, however, when the final pages roll around, I feel I really had reached the end of this adventure, and I feel so excited to see what the next arc will be, even though I am currently reading through it when I can.

This is the kind of ending that I expect, and ASCII Media Works, or whoever they had put this volume together, made a good decision on how to end this volume.

If it had ended any earlier or later than this, I would have been very disappointed, because I want to see this series succeed, just like the other Railgun fans out there, and poor endings, like the one found in The Promised Neverland‘s 4th volume or, even worse, the one found in the first volume of Secret, would have ultimately turned people away.

Fortunately, that did not happen, and I instead feel like giving them a good round of applause, even to Kazuma Kamachi and Motoi Fuyukawa for delivering a great ending.

Hopefully, future volumes can continue ending just as well as this one did, but I am definitely ready to pounce when the day comes that I encounter a volume that does disappoint me.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could stand out as much as what I already talked about.

Because the volume had a great start, even if if did kind of make me scratch my head a bit, the things that were supposed to be exciting, like the action and fighting, actually were exciting, the connection between the Indian Pokers cards and the currents events were made a bit more clear, leading to things not feeling as messy as they did back in the beginning, and the final pages actually felt like an ending, this was a fairly decent read.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, which only occurred once in the entire volume, as far as I could tell, and things that Seven Seas has little to no control over, since they have been caught up with the Japanese volume releases for a while and A Certain Scientific Railgun is published in a monthly publication over in Japan, I cannot really think of anything that really bothered me too much.

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

Considering how there was quite a bit to like and nothing to really hate, unless one wanted to really be nitpicky or does not want to give Seven Seas Entertainment any leniency for only releasing one volume every year, 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, though those want to see some great action might get some enjoyment too.

As for everyone, this might be worth giving a try, as I was only really confused due to the amount of time it had been since I read the previous volume, and nothing too important would seem to be lost, but I would still recommend reading the previous volumes first, so that one can have fully enjoy this book.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider donating as little as a $1/month to me on Patreon, or buy a copy of the reviewed title from Book Depository, who offers free shipping around the world, so that I can continue following this series and find more worthwhile reads for you guys.

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