Book Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 15

A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 15 cover.

I hope everyone is doing well, even if things are not
completely back to normal, thanks to recent events.

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

A while back, I was able to place some preorders for the
titles, and, surprisingly, like the last
title I tackled
, another title arrived way earlier than I expected.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 15
by Kazuma Kamachi.

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

After the Jailbreak challenge concluded with Uiharu’s
victory, an actual inmate has escaped and met up with her comrades, who
together plot to capture Uiharu for their own purposes, and when Uiharu goes
missing, Misaka and friends are determined to go rescue her.

However, the escaped convict and her allies will not go down
without a fight.

While the previous
volume
did annoy me a bit, thanks to the fact that it kind of required
knowledge from Magical Index, even though most of the Railgun series thus far
did not require any, things have not been disappointing enough to drop the
series, but I should still be on my guard.

And after reading this, I have to say that I really enjoyed
it.

Upon opening up the book and reading the first few pages, I
found myself engrossed enough that I did not want to stop reading for any
reason.

One of the most important things in a work of fiction is how
things begin, as the beginning is supposed to bring the reader into another
world, thereby giving them the temporary escape they desire.

While this can be accomplished in a variety of ways,
depending on the kind of work and the medium used to present it, this series,
like many other manga, is first published in a serial publication, which means
that things need to pick up at a point that makes sense based upon where the
last installment ended.

In the previous volume, the Jailbreak challenge, which began
at the beginning of the volume, came to a close with Uiharu’s victory and then
transitioned to what characters other than the main cast were up to, ultimately
ending with Misaka’s new enemies talking, with hints that Uiharu was going to
be targeted.

In this volume, things start off with a flashback to before
the Jailbreak challenge, where we see Kimi, the current villian of the arc,
talking with a comrade who has joined the reformatory’s staff, before it goes
to the said staff member meeting with the other comrades, revealing that they
had planned to use the Jailbreak challenge to not only break Kimi out but to
also find somebody truly capable for their purposes.

Even though this was not exactly what I was hoping to see
for a beginning, as I was hoping that things would go back to the Railgun cast,
so that I can get some sense of mystery as to what was going on, this kind of
beginning was still able to immediately grab my attention quite well and managed
to still keep me in dark about what they were planning beyond the fact that
they had two objectives that were accomplished during the Jailbreak challenge.

If the first chapter of the volume, had not started out like
it did, there would have possibly been a chance that there would have been some
other way to start things off just as well, considering that there were a
variety of ways that this volume could have started, but seeing as the Level
Upper arc, Sisters arc, Daihasei Festival arc, and the Dream Ranker arc, which
will be part of the current Railgun anime adaptation, according to a post
on Tokyo Otaku Mode News, all started
off with leaving the audience completely in the dark, things would have started
to feel rather boring, even if the fights in the Railgun series are still
better than those in Magical Index.

Fortunately, Kazuma Kamachi decided to have the beginning of
this arc proceed a little differently from the previous arcs.

Hopefully, more of the arcs to come in Railgun can explore
other ways of trying start getting into the exciting moments like this one did,
as that will help things from becoming dull or predictable, which will help
retain fans, but considering that Railgun has already had a weak arc or two and
is getting closer to what people would expect from the series when they first
learn Railgun is a spin off off Index, I have my doubts that Kazuma Kamachi
will try too many other ways to make things more interesting.

I also liked how the fights were all so exciting.

Aside from having less unanswered questions or things that
do not make sense, such as the bridge scene that people are probably already
tired of hearing me bring up because Misaka’s seemingly unprovoked attack, one
of the things that I really like about Railgun is how the fights tend to always
put me on the edge of my seat, with the only exception being the Gunha vs.
Touma in the Daihasei Festival arc, which had gone downhill anyway because of
Touma’s underwhelming appearance.

In this volume, things were no different, regardless of
whether things were focused on either one of Misaka’s encounters or Kuroko in her own
battle.

Many of the people that read and watch the Railgun series do
so because they are fans of action and fighting and if either one is as boring
as the events in the fifteenth
and seventeenth
books of Index, with the latter having that problem going into the second half
of chapters, there would be no reason for them to even bother reading more of
the series.

Thankfully, Kazuma Kamachi has been able to remain
consistent in this area, unlike what happened in the first of three Index novel
series, which makes me feel like giving him a good round of applause.

If things continue like this, I have no doubt that Railgun
will end way better than the first Index novel series did, seeing as I lost my
patience with that series just before I got to the Dragon and World War 3 arcs,
but considering that Railgun is finally starting to feel like a companion
series, rather than one that can truly stand on its own, I fear that even the
fights here might suffer.

Another thing that I liked was how I was able to get some
laughs.

While the humor found is still par for the course, seeing as
it is not really that unique in the series, things are still executed well
enough to get some good laughs.

Thing that stood out here though was the small exchange that
happened between Kuroko and her opponent.

During the battle, Tsurigane starts talking about how she
would like to meet her end, saying that we should be able to choose how we die,
she asks Kuroko how she would like to meet her end, to which Kuroko says she
would like to be naked in bed with Misaka, going into detail of the exact
scenario.

Afterwards, Kuroko says she will not lose to a hentai
psychopath.

Even though I am not particularly fond of this choice of translation,
as it makes no sense to me, considering that people usually tend to use hentai
to refer to pervert or perverted stuff, though I have my doubts that is what it
really means, seeing as there are terms said to used incorrectly outside Japan,
such as sayonara, according to an article
by Scott Wilson on Japan Today, and
prefer the fan translation found online, it still comes off funny that it
seemed like Kuroko was calling the girl who wanted to have the image of her own
headless body be burned into her eyes a pervert, when the pervert, is Kuroko,
as usual.

I am not sure if this is a goof on Seven Seas’ end or if
this is how the exchange actually went, but either way, it was ridiculous
enough to actually make me laugh a bit, along with Kuroko’s description of what
she wants to final moments of life to be like, which I am sure will be turned
up to 11 when this gets adapted into the anime, becoming just plain annoying.

If this possible translation error had not happened, I would
have been okay with it, since there were other things did give me a chuckle,
but I do not think anything would have made the humor as memorable.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, if you do not feel like
forgiving Seven Seas for a translation that does not make too much, there was a
little slip up that did make things stand out a bit.

Hopefully, things will keep cropping up like this, though I
wish even more that Seven Seas will either doing more proofreading or have beta
readers to give a translation makes sense, because that will help keep things
from getting too dull.

The thing that I liked the most though was how Saten took on
an infiltration mission of her own.

While Saten is not particularly my favorite character,
though I do not hate her guts either, she does sometimes have moments to shine,
like in the Level Upper arc, where she feels down about not having any special
abilities, just like how many people in our society today think they have no
talents, making her one of those most relatable characters in manga and anime.

However, not counting any anime filler, she has not really
done anything to stand out, which makes it hard for me to appreciate her in a
series that is so jammed packed with action and fighting, making her a little
forgettable beyond her flipping up Uiharu’s skirt.

In this volume, Saten not only seems to be part of the
action in her own way, being a level 0 esper, but she also stole the spotlight,
which usually ends up on Misaka, Kuroko, or the bad guys, by her ridiculous
behavior during her interrogation at the reformatory and even trying to sneak
around the reformatory grounds to get to Uiharu, who she and her friends
suspected was being held there, making me wonder just how she would be able to get
out of there without any kind of ability, beyond those of an average middle
school girl, thus making me way more interested in reading the next volume than
the things that usually would, since the volume ends right when Saten gets a
disguise.

If Kazuma had relegated Saten to the background again,
rather than allowing her to actually be among the players on the board, I might
have still been excited enough to check out the next volume, which will not be
out for a while, since this volume is currently the latest in Japan at the time
I wrote this review, according to the series page on Baka-Updates Manga, but I
would have started wondering why exactly Saten is part of the main cast of this
series, even if Saten fans would still not care all that much.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else
that I particularly liked, at least that stood out as much as what I talked
about or could not be shoe horned in.

Because my attention was captured quickly and held right up
to the ends, by doing things a bit differently from other arcs, there were
things to laugh about, and Saten finally started to see some real action
outside of anime only arcs, this was quite an enjoyable read.

Although I liked the volume, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talked
about, such as typos, and something I felt like forgiving because it did give
something to laugh about, not mention would be difficult to really get into for
somebody like me, nothing really seemed to bother me too much.

As a result, I will have to say there is nothing worth
talking about.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like and nothing
to really hate, unless you get annoyed by one particular moment, this was
definitely worth reading.

I mainly recommend this to fans of A Certain Scientific
Railgun
, as they will like this the most, though fans of action might find
something to enjoy here too.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but
seeing as this is the second part of a new arc, it would be better to read the
previous volume first.

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 to check out the review title yourself, buy
a copy of A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 15
from Book Depositary,
who offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so I can continue
following this series for as long as possible and possibly find some other
worthwhile reads for you guys to check out.

Copyright © 2020 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.