Chihayafuru2 19, Railgun S 6

Chihayafuru 2 19 takes the tension it’s famous for creating and stretches it farther than I could have imagined, and it didn’t break.

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To do this, it cuts back. Last week they showed us every single thing that was going on in that room, with every player and every viewer. No time for that this week. The three games still going on are too important. The episode limits itself to Chihaya, Taichi, and Nishida, and their opponents, with only minor reaction shots from others. And the episode made some interesting choices. Chihaya wins almost as an aside. Oh, we go in her mind, but all she’s doing is trying to focus. Her injured finger isn’t mentioned, like it never happened. It builds to a nice final moment, lightning fast shots of faces in the room and from her past, and then it’s over (wait, did Rion double-fault? I didn’t quite get that), and after that, well, it’s Chihaya: Zzzzzzzzzz …

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The focus switches to Taichi and Nishida. The former is playing through bad luck, the latter has something to prove. I was surprised that we got less of Nishida. He seemed to be due for a big moment, or some revelation or insight that gives him an advantage, but instead he catches up through experience and guile. As he says, he’s been playing longer than anyone else still in the tournament. Not very dramatic, comparatively (I mean, if this show WANTED to it could make Nishida scratching his ear the most dramatic thing you’ve ever seen), but it gets him even with his opponent. Instead, we get a lot of Taichi and his bad luck and weak self-esteem, and finally his decision, as Desk-kun says, to change. Also, and I wondered when the show would come back to it, the two boys work together to synchronize their remaining card, making it a 50/50 chance at the end (Retro-kun can’t believe it). Later, Chihaya tells Arata that he’s wrong about team Karuta, but this moment alone demonstrates how wrong he is. When the match is over it’s as if the show was too exhausted to make anything more out of it. It’s almost perfunctory. Or maybe the creators used up their allotted tension or are saving it up for the individual tournament next week. You don’t think we’re actually going to get a breather, do you?

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S 6 worked out as I thought it would. A scene full of menace followed by reiterations of the series’ main themes.

This doesn't look good.
This doesn’t look good.

There was no chance that Misaka would be able to put a dent in Accelerator, even if you hadn’t seen the arc in Index it wouldn’t have been hard to figure out. The question was whether Misaka was going to take a beating or not. There was no mention of it before, but we don’t know exactly how it played out. And it wasn’t until that Army of Sisters showed up to interrupt the battle that we had an answer. In the end we got what we expected. Misaka throws everything she has at Accelerator and he laughs it off. She’s no match for him. What comes afterwards, though there is no violence whatsoever, is just as interesting.

This was a hell of a moment.
Hell of a moment.

Misaka herself seems to have trouble treating the Sisters as actual people; they consider themselves guinea pigs (Shinobou also uses this image, though she says she’s changed her mind and now actively opposes the experiment) and seem to have no free will, making the theft of Misaka’s ice cream a contradiction, but it looks like she’s momentarily forgotten the details. I always thought it strange that she never befriended any. Well, this is more or less an aside. Misaka is a decent human being; besides, it’s her fault, she thinks, as she looks at a hundred of her selves. … Er, Misaka, couldn’t you just have followed them home? It would have saved you some snooping.

Normalcy, for the moment.
Normalcy, for the moment.

But Railgun is grounded in other things than clones and monstrous experiments. Her friends are worrying about her, and this means lots of phone calls from Kuroko to and from Uiharu and Saten, and a meet-up where she lies about where she was and no one believes her for a second. They make the point made often in season one: they’re her friends and they’re there for her. And at the end Misaka brings up another old theme: the senselessness of going off to fight battles alone. Looks like she hasn’t learned anything from season one.

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6 thoughts on “Chihayafuru2 19, Railgun S 6

  1. You may have missed it because it’s subtle, but Mikoto MOST CERTAINLY considers her clones humans, and even harbors strong feelings of affection (even love) towards them. Shinobu called her out for being dishonest in saying she didn’t feel anything toward them and she’s known Mikoto for all of a single day.

    Mikoto’s guilt throughout this arc is an extremely important point. Ostensibly she says that she feels guilty because she had her DNA Map used for something twisted, but the core of the matter is that she feels guilty because her clones (sisters) are dying and despite all of her power she can do nothing to save them from that horrible fate.

    That doesn’t mean she won’t try. And watching her try is going to be one HELL of a ride.

    • Sorry, your mail got stuck in my spam filter so I didn’t see it until now.

      I can’t say that she doesn’t consider her clones to be humans, since I can’t get in her head. This is a complex thing to have happen to you. Thousands of lookalikes with monotone voices and dead eyes, and an overwhelming need to do their part in an experiment knowing that it will kill them … I think it’s too much for anyone to handle right off the bat.

  2. Yes, Rion did double-fault. She touched a card that was in Chihaya’s territory, and since there was no mention of Chihaya committing a fault there, Chihaya must’ve taken a card from the correct side of the field (the read card was in Rion’s territory).

    • I figured as much. Maybe the show assumes we understand these things by now. I got that Chihaya gave Rion her last card, but those two cards flying away mixed me up. By that point, the show seemed to be as exhausted as we viewers (and the players) were, too tired to even give us details.

  3. The Sisters have free will. However, they are severely underdeveloped on the emotional side, and see themselves no more valuable than a guinea pig which is why they can conduct brutal combat scenarios without question.

    • That makes sense, thanks, and it throws Misaka’s inability to consider the Sisters as actual human beings in a new light. Misaka always fights for victims, but it’s assumed that the victims weren’t willing. Maybe there’s something in her, disgust, perhaps, that can’t handle people who won’t even try to take care of themselves. At this point in the story Shinobou thinks the Sisters are more human than Misaka does.

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