Book Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 14

A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 14 cover.

I hope everyone is having a good week, even if it is back to
the daily grind.

Things are going pretty well here, as I can still do what I
like.

Recently, one of the titles I had my eye on for a while became
available in my desired format, and it finally arrived, which means it is time
to get down to business.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is call A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 14
by Kazuma Kamachi.

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

Things have settled down a bit Misaka and friends, allowing
them to have some fresh air, and even a small dose of fun in an event to test a
new prison’s security measures.

However, this seemingly ordinary security testing is only
the beginning of things to come, when outsiders decide to take part, with their
own agenda in mind.

While Railgun has rarely let me down, if at all, that does
not mean that things will be able to remain as good as they were in the past,
so I have to remain wary of things.

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

From the moment that I open this volume and started reading
it, I found myself engrossed enough that I did not want to stop reading, though
not nearly to the extent that I did back in the Sisters arc.

As I have said many times before, one of the most important
things in a work of fiction is how things begin, because the beginning is
supposed to transport readers to another world, thereby giving them the
temporary escape that they desire, and possibly putting people in the kind of
mood that would make it easier for them to overlook minor problems.

While this kind of hook can be created in many different
ways, depending on the genre and the medium used to present a work, this series
is usually published in a serialized format, which means that things need to
pick up in a way that makes sense, based off how things ended in the last
installment.

In the previous
volume
, the Dream Ranker arc concluded, with the doppelgänger being
defeated, and giving a sense that the adventure had come to an end.

In this volume, things start off with Uiharu and Saten
talking about Urban legends, likely to cheer up Saten after the events of the 15th
book
of A
Certain Magical Index
, which coincides with episodes 4-6 of the third
Index anime adaptation, according to the show page on
Crunchyroll, and then proceeds into the next adventure.

Even though I am not completely satisfied with the beginning,
as there is no real good transition into the new arc, at least from what I can
see now, even with knowledge of future events in the Railgun side of the
Raildex universe, and the very beginning just seemed to be there to note that
these events were taking place after Accelerator and Dark Matter, the
Accelerator wannabe, fought and Mugino had killed Frenda, it still seemed to do
the job it was supposed, by bringing me back into the world of Railgun at
rather decent pacing, instead of dropping me right into where things start,
creating the expected feeling that a new adventure is about to start.

If Kazuma Kamachi had started off with the big event, which
is what I would have personally preferred, I might have been disappointed,
because it would have felt like it was too quick, when things usually go kind
of slow, to create a sense of mystery or intrigue, not to mention that this
series does not usually try to grab people’s attention by showing a scene and
then showing everything leading up to it, which would have really turned people
away.

Thankfully, Kazuma Kamachi made a decent decision to write
the first chapter of the volume like this, which makes me want to give him some
applause for not messing things up too badly, like he does with Magical Index.

Hopefully, future arcs will be able to start off better,
because I would really like things to become as exciting as they were back with
the Sisters arc, but seeing as how things are not really as connected as they
were before, I kind of doubt that there will ever be anything like the lead in to
the Sisters arc that could be seen in volume
3
.

I also liked how there were that made me chuckle a bit.

While, as per usual, the humor was not really that unique,
regardless of whether one looks at just the series or anime and manga overall,
things were still executed well enough for me to get a good a chuckle.

The thing that really cracked a smile on face though were
some events that happened towards the beginning of the new arc.

After Misaka and her friends got onto the prison compound, logs
came flying towards Misaka’s group, and Kuroko decided to not teleport away, in
the hopes that Misaka would embrace her, while rescuing her, only to receive a
kick, while Mikoto took Uiharu into her arms instead.

A short while later, after Kuroko shows her displeasure of Misaka
covering Uiharu, Misaka asks Uiharu if she is okay, making sure she knows that
she does not over exert herself, which makes Uiharu smile, and Kuroko accuses
her of becoming infatuated with Misaka, to which Uiharu says, “Okay, I am not
comfortable with that comparison…You’re on your own weirdo.”

Even though this exchange was not quite as hilarious as the
stuff found in the first
volume
of the Astral Buddy side story, since things play off in a
manner that is just more of the usual, rather than outright making fun of how
Kuroko pounces on Misaka and meeting somebody that is as infatuated with Hokaze
as she is with Misaka, I still found myself chuckling because it sounded like
the kind of thing Kuroko deserved to here and is one thing that I hope future
anime adaptations of Railgun includes when they get past the Daihasei Festival
arc, seeing as Kuroko’s antics in the anime tend to come off as more annoying
than funny.

If moments like this were not included, I would have
probably been fine, seeing as the Sisters arc did feel like it had more of an
action heavy/serious vibe than comedic moments, but because this is the start
of Misaka’s next adventure, I would not have really been able to enjoy myself
as much without the usual humor.

Fortunately, the humorous aspect was not forgotten, which
makes me want to give Kazuma and everyone who helped him bring the series to
the masses a good round of applause.

Hopefully, there will be more things to laugh about in
future volumes, as humor does help to make reading more entertaining, but I
would not be too surprised if it disappears completely.

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

Other than how things begin, the only thing that is really
important is the ending, because it is supposed to either leave the audience
with a sense of satisfaction, if it is a standalone work or the final
installment in a series, or give them an urge to keep reading, if it is an
installment in a series.

Here, in this volume, Kazuma Kamachi, ASCII, and Motoi
Fuyukawa, did such a good job of getting me interested in seeing what was going
to happen next that I want to read the next volume right now, though it does
not come out until April of next year, according to the product page on Amazon, and the arc has
yet to conclude in the Japanese releases.

If I had to say why, other than the fact that the right
characters get the spotlight at the right time and how and ASCII Media choosing
to end things in the right way, it would have to be how things played out.

Throughout the course of the volume, I am led to believe
that the event going on is just to test security measures, but not long
afterward the event concludes, Uiharu is shown escorting the target of the
trail run outside, stating that the ordeal was wild.

Sometime after this, when it is revealed that the person
Uiharu escorted was an actual inmate, rather than an employee, like they were
led to believe, the scene shift to the four girls introduced in this volume,
having a conversation, with the escaped con showing discontent towards the
latest album from her favorite artist, ending with her wondering what kind of
ride Uiharu would give her, ending the whole thing on a panel with a photo of
Uiharu, Kuroku, and Saten, with attention drawn towards Uiharu.

For an arc that did not really have too much build up, this
is what I was kind of hoping for, as I, like many other Railgun fans, want to
see something that would lead into some great action and fighting sequences,
and Kazuma Kamachi and everyone who helped him really delivered.

If things had not ended like this, I would have been very
disappointed, as I do not really feeling bored out of my mind too often, though
I already expressed my displeasure with the Daihasei arc, especially with how
Touma came on the scene, because the Railgun arcs usually all have great
starts, and that would have really hurt the overall quality of the series more
than anything else.

Thankfully, that did not happen here, which makes me feel
like giving everyone who poured their blood, sweat, and tears in bringing this
series to the masses a good round of applause.

Hopefully, future volumes will be able to end just as well
as this one did, as that would help keep readers coming back, but I would not
be surprised if things get worse.

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

Because my interest was captured rather quickly and held
right up to the end, though maybe not exactly in the capacity that I would have
liked, there were things that made me chuckle, and the ending has me really
wanting to read the next volume, 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, only one thing really bothered me, which was how I felt like I
needed knowledge of the events that occurred in A Certain Magical Index.

Now, some of you guys might be screaming at the screen,
saying that this is to be expected, since Railgun is a spin off of Magical
Index, and is something that I would expect, had I known what I do now when I
first got introduced to the Raildex universe, but one of the things that I
really liked about the Railgun series was that it was so easy to jump into, as
I was not expected to be familiar with Academy City or the characters, like I
was when I read and watched Magical Index, more so the latter.

While this nice thing about the series did kind of get
killed off with the Daihasei Festival arc, since Kuroko was suddenly in a
wheelchair, I was not really left thinking that I needed to read or
watch Magical Index, though I did kind of wonder why she had one.

Not only was the feeling not that strong during the Daihasei
arc, aside from some curiosity, but I never really got that feeling during any
point in the Dream Ranker arc.

Here, however, because Saten talks about somebody she met during
the previous arc, saying that she suddenly disappeared, while showing Frenda’s
figure in a panel, I really felt confused until, I remembered that she was
killed by Mugino.

Even though this does help to keep the realistic feeling of
the Railgun series, seeing as we do not usually know what our friends and
acquaintances, I kind of hated how it felt like I was missing something, since
Frenda only met Saten recently.

Really, guys? Is this really how one would write a series
that has been able to stand on its own for so long?

If so, I do not really see how this is a good sign of
writing, even if Saten does make things clear that she thought of Frenda as a
friend.

Sadly, the only real way that I could see this being fixed,
aside from starting the volume at the next chapter, is not something that would
necessarily work well for the medium, as it relies heavily on actual motion,
rather than motion created in the minds of readers, which is what comics and
manga rely on, as I would have probably cut out the panel showing Frenda’s
figure, which would likely kill the sadness and the feeling of Saten’s words to
Uiharu.

Because of that fact, as well as the fact that it is only
one chapter, as opposed to a whole volume, I am willing to downgrade things
down to an annoyance, since the only people reading the volume at this point
would be fans of Railgun, rather than newcomers.

Thankfully, that was the only thing that really bothered me,
so Kazuma Kamachi and everyone else working on the series can way away knowing
that they did not completely and utterly fail.

While there was only one ting that kind of bothered me, it
was not bad enough to really hurt the quality of the release too much, if at
all.

Considering that there were a few things to like and nothing
to really hate, seeing as the only negative could be seen in only one chapter,
this was definitely worth reading.

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

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but
I would recommend reading through the previous arc first, in order to make some
sense of things.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please
consider supporting me on either Patreon or SubscribeStar, or, if you
would like a copy of the reviewed title, buy
A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 14
from Book Depository, who
offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so I can continue
following this series and maybe find more worthwhile reads for you guys to
check out.

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