Book Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 17
I hope everyone has been doing well, even if you are caught up in the
madness of the holidays right now.
Things are going
fairly well here, aside from some inconveniences that people think
are necessary, and I am glad that I can still do what I like.
For much of the
year, I have been trying to secure the latest installments of the
series I follow, with one of them being released later than usual,
but I managed to secure it and it recently arrived, which means it is
time to get my butt in gear.
Today, I will be
reviewing that title, which is called A
Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 17 by Kazuma Kamachi.
As I have given a
series synopsis in an earlier
post, I will not go over it again.
With fight against
Kimi over, Misaka and the gang can get back to their peaceful lives,
or so they believe, but after finding out that her friends are all
okay, Misaka is reminded of something from her past, leading her to
start walking down memory lane.
While the previous
volume was pretty good, that does not mean that I can give this
volume an easy pass, so I need to stay on my guard.
And after reading
this, I have to say that I really liked this book.
From the moment I
opened up this volume and started reading the first few pages, I
found myself engrossed enough that I did not want to stop reading for
As I have said many
times before, 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 world, thereby giving them the temporary escape that they
While this can be
accomplished in a variety of ways, depending on genre and the medium
used to present a work, this series, like many other manga, is
published in a serial publication, which means that things need to
start up in a way that makes sense, based upon how the last
In the last volume,
Misaka took on Kimi, while Uiharu provided support, which helped her
land an attack that would typically leave people wondering what
happened and if Misaka had won the fight.
Even though things
could have gone the stereotypical route that series in Shounen Jump
seem to like implementing these days, in which the fight just keeps
going on forever because both sides have an ace up their sleeve or
some newly discovered power, the first chapter in this volume starts
off with the aftermath, where Kimi is on the ground and Misaka has
clearly won and begins the epilogue of the current arc.
While I am not
completely impressed with how things started, seeing as I would have
prefered to have things conclude completely in the previous volume,
especially when looking the rest of the beginning portion, I am still
glad that the first chapter of the volume brought things to a close,
rather than just drag things on, as that would have really damaged
the reputation of the series way more than it had after the Sister’s
arc, and likely would have lost some fans due to the same reason that
DBZ and many other popular shonen manga get mocked for, which makes
me want to give the people that worked on this manga a passing grade.
arcs, especially the one that starts up in this volume and has yet
conclude over in Japan at the time I am writing this review, continue
this trend, because I think I am not the only one that enjoys seeing
short but great fights in a manga and that will help to draw in more
I also liked how the
new arc begins in this volume.
One of the things
that I have really disliked about how A Certain Scientific Railgun
has been recently is how things do not seem to be quite as connected
and/or as before, such as how the series led into the Sister’s arc
from the end of the Level Upper arc, thereby leading me to feel a
little lost without getting context from A
Certain Magical Index.
some of you guys who are aware that Index may be the parent series of
all the Raildex universe might be saying that Index knowledge being
required should be expected, but this series started off as a great
place to dive into the franchise because we get to see every day life
in Academy City, explained some things that never made sense, such as
why Misaka attacked Touma on the bridge at the beginning or even why
Misaka was so distraught during the Sister’s arc, which made a
little more sense in the third
Index novel, and never really demanded knowledge of events from
Index until we got to the Railgun version of the Daihasei Festival
this way, the anime adaptation of the Railgun series had a bit of an
edge, in spite of Kuroko being way more annoying in the anime than
however, even though I cannot say Index knowledge has become
unnecessary again, the transition to the new arc felt much more
smooth than everything else has been so far, even if it was not
exactly what I would have expected.
we find out what happened to the villains of the Jailbreak arc, we
see Misaka and the others reunited a hospital, enjoying their moment
of peace until something happens that, unlike the beginning of the
Sister’s arc, reminds Misaka of a happy moment in the past, with
two characters that have not appeared in the series, which piques
after the last of the epilogue chapters end, we see Misaka standing
in front of the infamous vending machine making the same mistake
Touma did, and one of the characters from Misaka’s memory appears.
the name of this starting chapter, which is First-Year, this
all makes things feel a bit unique, in that the is the first arc to
actually take place in the past, since the last time a memory of
Misaka’s was used to start an arc was when that moment in the past
was going to come back and torment her.
this arc had started off with having the two girls seen in Misaka’s
memory showing up or become a precursor to things to come, I would
have been a little disappointed, due to it feeling like yet another
rehash of the Sister’s arc, but not enough to be completely enraged
this arc starts off in a bit of a unique way for the series, which
allows it to a little more fresh and engaging.
future arcs can start off as well as this one did, as I do not really
want to start things off with questions that only get answered if I
bother with Index, and will likely help bring this series back to
what made it great in the first place, but I would not be surprised
if this turns out to be the exception and things after Index’s
World War 3 become important to know.
thing that I liked in this volume was the humor to be found within.
from the being able to just jump into this series with knowledge of
the Index portion of the Raildex universe, another thing that I liked
about the Railgun series when I first got into it was how genuinely
funny everything was, except for Kuroko’s shenanigans, which only
made me laugh in the manga, due to the anime including too many
scenes with her interacting with Misaka.
while much of the humor to be found are things that are the norm for
the series, though still enjoyable because they poke fun of how
people, like me, get embarrassed by our interests and hobbies that
should not really matter to others if they do not hurt others, it
helps to keep the series itself enjoyable.
this volume, however, the thing that really made me laugh were things
that kind of makes me laugh about things that happen in both Railgun
example, when Misaka meets up with one of the girls from the memory
we saw earlier in the volume, we see this girl kick the infamous
vending machine in the same fashion that we see Misaka kick it and
Misaka is left shocked.
found this hilarious because not only does Misaka adopt this habit
later on in her life, and we know she practices it not long after
seeing it, but it also reminded me of Touma’s shock when he saw
Misaka kick the vending machine after it ate his money.
is kind of humor I would like to see more of, because it helps to
liven things up and keeps things from going as stale as the humor in
Magical Index, but I guess that would only help if each of the four
main characters get some sort of flashback.
thing that had me laughing hysterically was Shokuhou and Misaka’s
early interactions and how things had changed.
though I keep bringing up how the hostility between Touma and Misaka
did not really make that much sense in the beginning of Magical Index
and how much that annoyed me, the hostility between Shokuhou and
Misaka never bothered me too much because it was a lot more
understandable and made sense.
while we find out when their hostility began, which was all
Shokuhou’s fault, though it was understandable due to Dolly likely
being fresh in her memories, it was amusing to see that Shokuhou was
jealous of Misaka’s height, whereas Misaka is now jealous of
moment being funny because of the reaction being so similar to having
the same moment with other characters that has likely become the norm
may be funny, but having jealousy and superiority being flipped in a
moment of tension that has come to be expected just had me going
these moments were not present, I would have likely been a little
disappointed, due to this new arc being in the past and answering
some questions, such as why Misaka kicks the vending machine all the
time, but I would have been alright with it, since nothing felt like
it was necessary to know.
moments like these were included, and it really made the humor stand
the humor in future volumes will not fizzle out, especiallywhen this
new arc finally concludes, as that is what helped me become engaged
with this series, but I will not be surprised if things become stale
before too long.
thing that I like the most though was how the cliques at Tokiwadai
were explored towards the end of the volume.
long after we see Misaka meet the person who has obviously had a big
influence on her, seeing as Ruri has many of the same habits that
Misaka exhibits in the present timeline, we learn about clique
culture, with only one of the three cliques being the stereotypical
clique, including its own leader, in that they are determined to be
king of the hill, while second only seems to have that present within
I would not consider Tokiwadai cliques to be all that important to
know about, seeing as the only character actively involved in cliques
in the series is Shokuhou, so such things only matter to the Mental
Out series, it was nice to see how cliques were shown to be as
different from each other as individual people, like how the biggest
clique in Misaka’s first year was renowned for charity work and the
leader of the second biggest clique only created her clique to
prevent herself from being exploited for her power, even though she
offered the use of her abilities as an incentive for joining her
clique, which we find out when things start to heat up.
now, the only cliques we have been exposed to was Shokuhou’s
clique, though she does have rivals in the Mental Out series, and
they get shown to mostly stuck up, with the only exceptions being
shown in the Astral Buddy spin off and the Mental Out series,
where they get fleshed out better, so it is nice to see how the other
the cliques did not get explored now, I would have been as
disappointed as I was with Touma’s involvement in Railgun’s
Daihasei Festival arc, because I would have had no reason to feel any
sympathy towards the plight the experience in this volume and why it
was decided to have an arc where clique fight against each other.
we did learn enough about them to see that many of the people
involved in this arc are actual people, rather than stuck up jerks,
which makes me want to see how things play out, in addition to why
the two characters introduced in this volume were important enough
for Misaka to remember them.
of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly
liked, at least that could not be shoe horned in to what I already
talked about or stood out as much.
the volume started off well, the transition to a new arc was much
more smooth than things have typically been, the comedic moments that
stood out were funny because of things that usually happen were
flipped on their head, allowing some fun to be poked at about the
series, and that Tokiwadai cliques got fleshed out a bit, this was a
very good read.
I liked this volume quite a bit, there are some issues.
aside from things too minor to talk about, such as typos, though I
may have noticed one typo while reading, nothing really seemed to
bother me too much.
a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.
that there was quite a bit to like, especially a different take on
the usual humor, and nothing to really hate, unless you want to be
real nut picky, this was definitely worth reading.
mainly recommend this to fans of A Certain Scientific Railgun,
as they will like this the most.
for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, but because it
takes a while to reach the start of a new arc, it might be best to
read the previous volumes first.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider
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or if you would like a copy of the reviewed title for yourself, buy
a copy of A Certain Scientific Railgun Volume 17 from Book
Depository, who offers free shipping to many countries around the
world, so that I can continue following this series and possibly find
other worthwhile reads for you guys to check out.