The Sisters arc in Toaru kagaku no Railgun S continues to be undercut by the fact that we know the story already. Episode 5’s intentions are obvious: spend the first half having Misaka meet and bond humorously with one of her clones in a manner befitting the series, and spend the second half seeing that Sister slowly and brutally murdered by Accelerator. It’s supposed to punch our emotional buttons but it doesn’t work. Try as the show might, it can’t hide the fact that there are thousands more of these monotone girls walking around waiting their turn. It gets hard to care when there are so many of them, like death statistics you might hear about but cannot comprehend. Also, we saw a few of these deaths before, not only the room of corpses last week but a few years ago in Index. Though there was a moment at the very end, when the Sister drags herself to the badge Misaka gave her, that cuts through the indifference. And let’s not forget Misaka. Even if we can’t feel much emotion for the Sisters, she certainly can. They’re clones of her, after all, and she met one, and it ate her ice cream! Now we have a fully-motivated and outraged Misaka, setting up an interesting battle next week; even though we know the end of the arc, we don’t know all the details.
Chihayafuru 2 doesn’t finish the championship match this week. Did you really expect it to? There’s too much for the show to fit in. We not only have to go into the heads of each of our guys to see how they’re coping with their individual issues, but we visit the minds of the ones not playing, the opponents Rion and that other guy, the reader, Chinobu, Arata (who isn’t even in the damn room), the coaches, the third place match, AND one or two watchers who talk about how intense it all is and how no one’s giving up. Of course, this show does this all the time, but now they’ve amassed such an pile of stories and emotions that it takes a while for the episode to get to them all. Chihaya’s battling her injured finger, and since she’s the main character she gets the most screen time, but her little story is put on hold for the week with plenty of time left. Hence a lot of the episode’s energy is diffused and it doesn’t feel quite as intense as other battle episodes, especially when it becomes clear that they won’t finish this week. Not to say the episode isn’t intense. I’m betting on a heavy Porky episode next week. He’s the one character we didn’t see much of this week, and he’s due for his big moment.