A Certain Scientific Railgun

Review covers the only volume released so far

Up today I have A Certain Scientific Railgun. Here’s the sales pitch from the back of the book:

Welcome to a world where mysticism and science collide, and supernatural powers are derived from either science or religion. At the heart of this world is Academy City, an advanced metropolis whose population is comprised mostly of students. The majority of students are enrolled in the city’s “Power Curriculum Program,” where they must learn to master their latent psychic powers. Out of several million students, only seven are deemed powerful enough to have Level 5 status.

Meet Mikoto Misaka, the third most powerful Level 5 esper in Academy City. Together with her best friend Kuroko Shirai and the other members of Judgment, a student-run law enforcement agency, Mikoto delves deep into the dark heart of the scientific sprawl she calls home, and uncovers secrets she wishes she hadn’t!

Basically, this is Japanese. By that, I don’t mean that it’s from Japan - although obviously it is. I mean it’s... Japanese.

No further explanation than this is required, but if you didn’t get what I mean then suffice to say that this book is full of little girls with short skirts and super powers, said little girls beating up men twice their age with said super powers, oh and gratuitous shower scenes.

Nowadays comics that take this approach run the risk of being too unoriginal to be any good, but A Certain Scientific Railgun laughs at any attempt to pigeonhole it, gives a really good read, then shoves half a billion volts down your arm. Or two of those three, anyway.

This is one of those rare books where the writing is so well done, and where the characters have such a life of their own, it doesn’t really matter that the concept got started with a large swath of cliches. There characters are interesting, they play well against each other resulting in plenty of humour, and while I’m at it, the pacing is all extremely good as well with no dead time, useless information or wasted panels.

Personally, I enjoyed it, and I’m going to be getting the next volume as soon as it comes out.