Book Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 16

Railgun Volume 16 cover

I hope everyone is doing well, now that things are kind of
letting up from the recent scare of Covid.

Things have been alright, as I can still do what I like.

Recently, I went looking through titles on Amazon, to keep
up with the series I follow, managing to finally place some pre orders, and one
of those titles has just arrived, meaning that it is time to get off my butt.

Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 16
by Kazuma Kamachi.

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

After finding out that Uiharu has been abducted and taken to
the same reformatory where the jailbreak challenge took place, Saten and the
others begin making their move to rescue her, while Uiharu makes her own moves.

However, when things seem to be going their way, Kimi
decides to handle the matter herself and Misaka and friends have to deal with
her, to finally bring things to a close.

While the previous
volume
was quite enjoyable, that does not mean that things will stay
consistently good, so I have to stay on my toes.

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

From the moment I opened up this book and started reading, I
found myself engrossed enough that I did not want to stop reading for any
reason.

As I have said on a countless number of occasions to the
point where it sickens even me, one of the most important things in a work of
fiction is how things begin, as the beginning is supposed to draw the reader
into a new world, thereby giving them the temporary escape that they desire.

While this kind draw can be accomplished in many different
ways, depending on the genre and the medium used to present the work, Railgun,
like many other manga series, was originally published in a serial publication,
which means that things must pick up in a way that makes sense, based upon when
the last installment concluded.

In the previous volume, Uiharu was abducted by the escaped
convict and her comrades and Misaka and the gang were led on a goose, only to
later realize what they were following were decoys, and things end with Saten
infiltrating the reformatory where they think Uiharu was taken and sneaking
around the grounds, while having been taken into protective custody, even
donning a guard uniform.

In this volume, we see Uiharu talking to her captors, who
want her to utilize her skill set to leak sensitive information to the world
and everything see is up to, before showing glimpses of what Saten is up to.

Seeing as Uiharu is the one in trouble here it makes sense
to start things off with her, as following Saten around would get a little
boring, even if there are a ton of people that love her, due how lucky she tends
to be.

Right now, it feels like Uiharu’s moment to shine in the
series, and if the first chapter had started anywhere else, I think I would
likely have been disappointed, unless Kazuma Kamachi had made the only other
sensible start be as thrilling as the one that was ultimately chosen.

Fortunately, Kazuma Kamachi and ASCII Media Works, or
whoever they had put this volume together, chose a great way to start things
off.

Hopefully, future volumes will be able to start things off
just as well as this one, but knowing that the people working hard to bring
this series to the masses are themselves only human, I would not be surprised
to see a hiccup or two, as was the case with The
Ancient Magus&39; Bride Volume 9
.

I also liked how much of the action and events stayed
focused on Uiharu for much of the volume.

While I do find myself more intrigued when following either
Misaka or Kuroko, as I know I will be given some good fights and we see their
successes and failures, unlike Touma Kamijou, I find myself wondering why
exactly we follow Saten and Uiharu around, seeing as Saten does not really do
too much noteworthy, depending on if you want to really consider the anime only
stuff canon or not, and Uiharu just feels like a background character, despite
being part of the main four.

In my mind, each of the main 4 protagonists should get some of
the real spotlight, rather than just being around to keep the atmosphere lively
by providing those necessary moments of calm while either Misaka or Kuroko, or
even Misaki, handle the situation.

Even though I doubt Saten will ever do anything amazing,
beyond clearing out road blocks that stand in the way Misaka and the other
espers, we see that Uiharu does indeed have what it takes to compete with
Misaka and Kuroko, in spite of being so physically weak, by using her own
strengths and determination to do what needs to be done.

If the series stayed focused on either Misaka or Kuroko,
though Kuroko only had a portion of one arc really dedicated to giving her the
spotlight and the only arc that truly revolved around her was back in A
Certain Magical Index Volume 8
, I would have probably started wishing
that Uiharu would just leave the stage and be a character that is only
mentioned or given the smallest amount of screen time, as it would have shown
that this series is only about Misaka’s and Kuroko’s adventures.

Thankfully, Uiharu was able to get some of the spotlight in
this volume, which helped to show that this series does revolve around as much
as we are led to believe, which helps make this series stand out.

Hopefully, there are more arcs that allows more than just
Misaka and Kuroko stand out in the future, but seeing as a new arc just barely
started in Dengeki Daioh and most of the chapters have taken place in the past,
I am not so sure it will happen any time soon.

The thing that I liked the most though was how Misaka was not
the one that brought things to a close.

One of things that seems to rile a few people in the Raildex
universe is when somebody brings up the fact that Touma Kamijou always wins a
fight with a single punch which negates any magic or esper abilities, going on
about how Touma does as much thinking as Misaka, and that Misaka’s fights
always end with her firing off her railgun, trying to imply that she is not
much different.

While I certainly would disagree that Misaka and Touma are
so similar, seeing as Misaka comes off like a normal person and actually seems
like an interesting protagonist and she has ended fights without using her so
called trump card, things can get boring when Misaka is always the one to bring
the chapter to a close, not to mention ruin the impression that the Railgun
series has given of her.

In this volume, when one of my annoyances while reading this
volume cropped up, I was fully expecting Misaka to beat down Kimi and bring
about a happy ending, like a deus ex machina, as it felt like Kazuma Kamachi
and everyone else behind this series had written themselves into a corner.

However, after things shift back to Uiharu, who was
reprimanded by Saten earlier in the volume, we see Uiharu in a difficult
situation and she manages to create the opening that Misaka needed, by severing
the connection the dragon, and giving the two a more even playing field.

If Misaka had been able to bust through things on her own, I
would have likely been okay with it, though not as much as seeing what had
transpired, as the clichéd last minute moment had already kind of made it so
that kind of ending would have not been as good.

Fortunately, It was decided to have Uiharu resolve the
matter, with something that is less annoying than Misaka’s last minute
appearance, helped to really make this volume stand out.

Hopefully, there will be more moments in which Uiharu, or
even Saten, can show that they truly deserve as much spotlight as Kuroko and
Misaka, but seeing as this series revolves around Misaka’s adventures, I kind
of doubt that there will be too many moments like this.

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

Because the book began in the best possible way, out of two
possible routes, and somebody other than Misaka or Kuroko was able to stand in
the spotlight for once, even contributing to the grand finale, this was a very
enjoyable read.

Although there was quite a bit to like about this book,
there are some issues.

However, aside from things to be expected in a series like
Railgun, such as the sudden appearance of new abilities, and other things too
minor to talk about, only one thing kind of annoyed me, but when looking back
through the previous volume, it was expected to occur, so I will let it slide.

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

Considering that there was quite a bit to like, such as how
one of the other two members of Railgun’s main cast, besides Kuroko and Misaka,
were able to have the spotlight, and nothing to really hate, this was
definitely worth reading.

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

As for everyone else, this might be worth trying, but
considering that it does pretty much finish up an arc, not counting a likely
epilogue, it would be better to read the previous volumes 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 a copy of the reviewed title for yourself, buy
A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 16
from Book Depository, who
offers free shipping to many countries around the world, so I can continue
following this series and possibly find other worth while reads for you guys to
check out.

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