A tour bus’s sojourn is disrupted as the traffic lights fail due to electrical interference. Shirai Kuroko arrives at the scene of a reported harassment case only to find that Misaka Mikoto-oneesama has defeated all the guys already. After scoring a free drink and escaping from the security bots, Kuroko has her scan at Tokiwadai Middle School, confirming her ability as a Level 4. Her repartee with Kongo Mitsuko is interrupted by Mikoto’s display of raw Level 5 power at the pool after which yuri hilarity in the showers ensue. Meanwhile Sakugawa Middle School’s Uiharu Kazari drags her skirt-flipping classmate Saten Ruiko along to be introduced to Mikoto by Kuroko, her Judgment colleague.
At the cafe, Mikoto uncovers Kuroko’s plans to seduce her; the four head to the arcade but get diverted to a crepe stall so that Mikoto can get her Gekota mascot present that she was tsundere about. AS they are enjoying their crepes, three robbers emerge from a bank. Kuroko confronts them and disables Fat Man and the fire-using ringleader but the third robber tries to grab a boy from the aforementioned tour bus group as a hostage only to be foiled by Ruiko who gets kicked in the face. An indignant Mikoto charges up and blasts him as he tries to run them down in a car. As the Anti-Skills police take the robbers away, Kuroko comments on the pyrokinesist’s impressive skill but we get a hint that all is not what it seems. Ruiko ends the day as a Mikoto fan too though Kuroko will always be her biggest fan.
I have been an avid Railgun manga reader so I’ve been a tad worried about this anime series (aside from the fear of the pacing and dialogue issues that plagued Index) – if it’s a merely moving pictures rendition of the manga, then I might get bored. If it innovates too wildly, then I’d be enraged. This particular J.C. Staff team has done an excellent job so far. Key scenes, like Mikoto vs. the hoodlums, the body scan and shower scenes and the bank robbery, were taken from the manga but threaded together with original stuff like Kazari and Ruiko’s introduction to Mikoto, the tour bus group, the Gekota hook for the crepe stall and Ruiko saving the boy. While the corresponding manga chapters conveyed the message that Mikoto and Kuroko’s high Levels were the result of Ganbatte Hard Work, the motif of this episode seems very much more that the high Level users are also normal girls and that Level 0s can be heroines too – it’s more a matter of personal character.
Contra RP’s contention that Kuroko’s yuri lust was ‘pretty restrained’, I’m pleased to report that relative to the manga, it has been level uppered. For starters, in the manga’s shower scene, Kuroko didn’t actually manage to make contact much less get her magic hands on Mikoto’s somewhat enhanced assets. Kuroko’s five step plan to Love Hotel was also anime original FTW.
On Mikoto’s side, the signs are clearer that Kuroko is an important friend to her – her acquiescence to meet Kazari because Kuroko requested it and the rather tender look after Kuroko’s admonition to leave the bank robbers to her (though Kuroko’s Evil and Frightened of Oneesama faces were great too). Her Champion of Justice credentials were also bolstered by how she Railgunned the third robber as he was trying to run her down rather than trying to escape (ADD: and for assaulting Ruiko rather than her crepe) – the writers certainly know their Just War Theory!
I do wonder if Ruiko’s (blatant in the manga) attraction to Kazari will be played up too. Plus I don’t remember Mitsuko appearing in Vol.1-3 of the manga but she seems to be a promising foil for Kuroko. Also looking forward to more Oneesama-ing between the nervous meganekko Anti-Skill and her tall cool ponytailed senpai.