A Certain Scientific Accelerator Does Have A Certain Charm

  • Titles: Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator; A Certain Scientific Accelerator
  • Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, WHB, Zombie Mecha
  • Episodes: 12
  • Studio: J.C. Staff; A.C.G.T.

You would think that once you’ve been shot in the head and are stuck in the hospital for long term recovery, people would let you relax for like 5 minutes. But noOOOOOooo. Not only does Accelerator have to deal with New Order taking the role of adorable but overbearing caregiver, but a Necromancer has just crashed into his room. Oh and now this girl tells him that he’s the only one that can save the city from corpse-controlled giant mechas or something… All that Accelerator wants is to finish his manga in peace. You know what they say, no rest for the wicked!

Some of you may remember that I have watched the first season of A Certain Magical Index and I didn’t care for it much. It’s not terrible and I get why so many people love it but it was not my cup of tea at all. I didn’t get attached to any of the characters and I found the show way too exposition-heavy with the exposition being rather clumsy at that.

As a result, I haven’t seen any of the subsequent season nor the railgun spinoff. So why did I pick up Accelerator?

No, I really do have a reason…

Well, for one thing, I did like the production values in Index and Accelerator being made a full 11 years later may be even more impressive. Which it was.

A Certain Scientific Accelerator is a great looking show and I adore the screencaps I got from it. It’s a very safe and conventional production, I doubt you will see anything that you haven’t seen before from a technical standpoint. But it’s also a very efficient production which I just enjoyed watching for the simple pleasure of seeing well-made anime.

Certain scenes seem to have the colour contrast and saturation way up so they are super sharp compared to your average show. This makes all the movement on-screen really pop. I hadn’t even noticed this until I saw the screencaps but it does leave an impression.

so sharp

The only weak spot I would say is the voice acting. More specifically, the boys. This is going to sound weird but I thought the male characters (well the only 2 important ones in any case) were a bit overacted. The rest of the cast is delightful. And I’m not even sure if the theatrical overacting isn’t on purpose. Like Accelerator is giving his lines ironically. It wouldn’t be completely out of line for the character to do so but it also wasn’t obvious enough (like in JoJo for example) for me to be sure. Either way, it didn’t destroy the experience, it just had me smirking and grinning at what was probably not supposed to be jokes but maybe were…

Wow, that was clear.

The main reasons I picked up A Certain Scientific Accelerator is that it’s only 12 episodes, Accelerator being the least developed character from the ones I knew had therefore the most growth potential and I hadn’t seen anyone talking about it so I got curious. Turns out I was both right and wrong.

I do like the tweaks to the character design

First of all 12 episodes was the right amount. One thing I disliked about Index is that sometimes lacked focus. I think that it would have benefited from a tighter runtime that would have forced the narrative into a straight clean line. In fact, I think even Accelerator could have shaved off an episode but on the whole, the pacing was decent.

Second, and most important is Accelerator himself. Now Accelerator as a character is a bit of a caricature. I wouldn’t say that he’s good exactly. He still lacks a lot of depth and can come off one note. But that also doesn’t matter because Accelerator isn’t the protagonist. Not Exactly. He is one of the main characters but he’s not even present in every episode and it’s debatable who gets the most screentime.

One thing I am certain about is that Accelerator is not the point of view character nor the one we are meant to relate to. That would be Esther and to a certain extent Last Order and Misaka 19090. They are the characters with who the narrative and the camera work sympathizes with. They are the one’s whose feelings we know and we can therefore share. And they’re all pretty good at that.

which is why I chose them as my header

I have always loved Last Order and the sisters so I was happy to spend some more time with them. Esther can be a bit bland but she’s likeable enough and surrounded by freaks so it works out.

There is a lot less exposition in this series but I do think you need some prior exposure to the franchise to really understand what’s happening. This said I had no issue following along. The new exposition we do get usually comes from Last Order or the Misaka sister. If you are not familiar with the series, these characters have a very unusual vocal tick where they narrate their own speech. Like this:

I may have edited this image for futur use

I figure it gets annoying for some but I love it! And when you use this device in conjunction with exposition it creates this pseudo fourth wall break where it sounds a lot more self-aware and even a bit comical. I think Mikasa clone narrators would improve a lot of shows.

Finally, the short episode count also cut out any meanderings the story could have taken. There is no romance, no big dramatic side plots. It’s pretty much just sci-fi action all the way through and that worked out great for me.

These are the elements which I think worked well in A Certain Scientific Accelerator, but there were some not so great ones too. For instance, Accelerator was a pretty good villain from what I remember, but Hishigata is so so. He seems to be a recreation of Accelerator in many ways. A smart-mouthed scientist boy with a horrible attitude and no empathy who is obsessed about getting to level 6. There’s nothing wrong with an antagonist that is a recreation of your protagonist. It can create some really interesting conflict. But it’s not easy to pull off, and in this case, Hishigata comes off as a watered-down version of Accelerator who never really had a shot.

his sister though

Although I keep saying that the low episode count and focused story are great, I would have liked to see more of Accelerator and Last Order together. Their relationship is one of my favourite things and at some point, the narrative casts Last Order aside and we don’t get to see them together at all anymore. I sis really enjoy the relationship between Esther and Hitokawa though, that tied me over.

Finally, A Certain Scientific Accelerator is very much a side story. It feels like an aside of a much wider fiction which in turn makes it feel sort of limited. A one-off special of your favourite manga or something like that.

In short, A Certain Scientific Accelerator isn’t a great show. The writing is still a bit questionable and the character arcs are limited. But it’s not a bad show either. I found it enjoyable enough, I didn’t have to ever force myself to watch another episode and I wasn’t disappointed by the story. I enjoyed it considerably more than I enjoyed Index which is not the experience of most people.

Has this experience convinced me to watch more of A Certain Franchise. Maybe…

Favourite character : you can’t really beat Last Order but there were a couple of pretty good ladies

Suggested drink: High Octane Accelerator

  • Every time Accelerator reads a manga – take a sip
  • Every time Last Order is suspicous – take a sip
  • Every time Accelerator goes “tchh” – gasp!
  • Every time Accelerator is being tsundere – awww you
  • Every time Last Order’s ahoge twitches – giggle
  • Every time Accelerator touches his neck brace – take a sip
  • Every time we see dead Misakas  – close your eyes
  • Every time any girl fights in her underwear – raise your glass
  • Every time anyone says “Level 6” – take a sip
  • Every time Esther blushes – adorable
  • Every time any lady has horrible tastes in men – take a sip
  • Every time Hitokawa says “Adonai” – take a sip
  • Every time anyone calls Accelerator “firs-ranked” – take a sip
  • Every time Esther feels guilty  – take a sip
  • Every time Accelerator calls himself a villain – roll your eyes

In case you’re new here, I have a Pinterest with all my screencaps (there are a lot!). If you can’t find a show you are looking for in my main boards, just go to Anime Screenshots. I move the shows I have reviewed there. Of course, I’m still going to add a few images here!

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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11 Responses

  1. dreager1 says:

    Seconding a lot of the comments above recommending Railgun as your next step. The production values especially in S and T are awesome and the show doesn’t have as much exposition as Index. (Personally I love when they overanalyze everything but I understand that it can be a bit much)

    While I thought Accelerator could have been a bit better I did think the 12 episode length was also ideal for it. No need to drag the content out

    • Irina says:

      I might get to it. Mikasa was my least favourite character in index so I avoided railgun for that mostly.

  2. BlackClover says:

    There is definitely a charm of having villain like character. It has a certain new flavor from the good natured protagonist. A Certain Scientific Accelerator
    gives a fresh image on protagonist making it likable and enjoyable. Defeating evil with another evil gets the job done.

  3. Merlin says:

    If you watch more, I would go with Railgun. Especially the first season, though the second has its moments as well.

    • Irina says:

      I haven’t yet but I might. Or I might just read it. How is the exposition in Railgun?

      • Railgun is more action-oriented than Index, so the density of exposition is a lot less.

        There are some really dramatic scenes, too. A couple in Railgun S are probably in my top 10 favorite scenes of all time.

        I love Index, because it plays with a lot of theological ideas. But even I have to admit that some episodes are practically all bizarre and twisted riffs on theological concepts.

  4. Shokamoka says:

    Sometimes all we need is straight up butt kicking and Accelerator delivers exactly that!

  5. I have watched the entire franchise so far. The character I found most interesting was Railgun. (Misaka the original) But it wasn’t until the conclusion of her latest season that she actually fought someone serious.. It was always weak opponents or cutesie opponents or she was getting rescued by Touma. I really wanted to see more competition between the various top tier espers but that never really happened.

    • kanra says:

      I really like that the author hold back from making the Level 5s fight each other because you see a lot of anime that just set up these powerful characters solely for that intent. Each of them are doing their own thing and can’t be bothered to fight fellow top tier espers if it will only exhaust them. And when we do get to see them clash, it’s pretty big like when Accelerator fought Kakine that even the Anti-Skill was standing by compared to the back-alley fights that happen in secret.

    • Irina says:

      I was told the fanservice in Railgun is really awesome

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