Book Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 9


This is somewhat a surprise.

Usually, whenever I preorder books, I receive all of them at the same time, with the only exception being the time I had ordered from my local Barnes & Noble back in 2013. However, this time, I received all but one, which is not supposed to come out until May, according to the Random House website, which Kodansha seems to link to for many of their titles, and each of them were released this month.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 9 by Kazuma Kamachi.

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

After dealing with the guy who had beaten Kongo badly, Misaka’s investigation continues and she is forced to team up with somebody that she is not on friendly terms with.

However, things do not seem to get any easier when two level 5 espers work together.

I kind of liked this volume. Things seem to have gotten really interesting after the events of the previous volume. I was surprised at how closely the past events of A Certain Scientific Railgun were connected to what is going on now. Now, this is not too surprising, since Kiyama seem to suggest that she knew about the Misaka clones in volume 3, where the Level Upper arc ends, but the thing that makes things really interesting is that Gensei, who has not made any official appearances until this volume, though he has appeared in some flashbacks, said that he taught Kiyama brainwave attunement. I thought that Kiyama hated Gensei for writing off what happened to the children during an experiment she participated in. Then again, if that were before the experiment failed, it would make sense, because she would have no idea how evil both the leaders of Academy and Gensei were. It was also surprising that Misaka did not just get herself involved in the current events. Back in the earlier volumes of this arc, Misaka started trying to investigate things, just like she did during the Level Upper arc and Sisters arc, after coming into contact with Nunotaba Shinobu. Here, however, we find out that Misaka herself is the test subject in the next experiment, not just somebody that gets involved things that she was not actively part of. No wonder people were looking for Misaka and her clones. After all, Gensei did gain access to the Misaka network that was first alluded to in the Level Upper arc, though it did not come up until the Sisters arc. Another surprising thing that was revealed was that the girl introduced in volume 7, where this arc began, was not involved in the experiment. With the conversation that she had in that volume, I thought that she was involved in some way, but when she shows up in this volume, she says something that seems to suggest that she is not on Gensei’s side. All this time, I thought that Gensei was the so-called Professor, but it looks like Professor is not Gensei. I know, it seems like the surprises were the only things great about this volume, but fortunately, there were other things that I did like. For example, I liked how Misaki and Misaka briefly put aside their differences and decided to team up. It kind of reminded me of how Akira had Arita help him get Ohmori out of the cave in Cage of Eden Volume 5. On the other hand, unlike the situation being a matter of life and death like it was in Cage of Eden, the alliance between Misaki and Misaka was form because they were the only ones that knew something was happening since the beginning. I am not sure about you guys, but I think it does make a lot of sense to have somebody that knows more or just as much about a situation help you, instead of dragging friends in to help when they do not know as much as you do. The things that I liked the most about volume though were the funny scenes, which were mainly the interactions between Misaka and either Kuroko or Misaki. First, Kuroko, whose memory was wiped by Misaki and help Misaka rescue Uiharu and Misaka’s mother, tells Misaka that she does not need worry about her and then she becomes uncomfortable when Misaka tries to help her, because she knows Kuroko is hurt. What makes this funny to me is that, as most people who follow the Railgun series should know, Kuroko is infatuated with Misaka and would normally make this a bigger deal than it actually is. However, when Misaka tries to help her, she wants Misaka to let her go, saying that she is straight. Obviously, with how interested Kuroko is in Misaka, she cannot be straight, but that does not change the fact that she is claiming that Misaka is the one that is funny. The funniest though is probably the exchange between Misaka and Misaki. After we find out that Misaki knows a bit more about what is going on than Misaka does, they charge in to where they think the mastermind is located and they become separated, which makes Misaka think that she was set up, until we see Misaki completely out of breath and they get in an argument. What makes it even funnier is that later, she calls Misaka an Amazon who exchanged chest size for fighting prowess over the phone. Personally, I do not think that fat has anything to do with moving fast. Besides, Misaka did say that she never saw Misaki do anything in P.E. In fact, from my own experience, when I have not went on a long walk in a while, I get exhausted quite easily because I do not have the stamina that I did before. Likewise, I think that Misaki’s supposed inactivity during P.E. caused her to have low stamina levels, since stamina would help in handling faster paces, and become out of shape. Outside of that, I cannot really think of much else that I liked in particular. The fact that there were many surprising things revealed and there were some things that made me laugh for one reason or another made this volume pretty enjoyable.

Although I did like the book, there were some issues. However, aside from confusion caused by the fact that Seven Seas decided to not release this volume in the same year that its Japanese edition was released, I cannot really think of anything that annoyed me. As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering the fact that there were quite a few surprising things revealed and that I was able to get a few laughs from this volume, this was definitely worth reading. I recommend this to fans of A Certain Scientific Railgun, but the most enjoyment will come from reading this immediately after rereading volume 8, because almost a year has past between the release dates of this and the previous volume. As for everyone else, I recommend reading the earlier volumes first.

What are your thoughts on A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 9? Did you enjoy this as much as I did or were you disappointed? What did you like or dislike?

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