Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm with Judgment!

Or in Japanese: "Judgment desu no," as announced by Shirai Kuroko while flashing her armband. Another anime-related merchandise that I'm tempted to get is this armband from To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (or A Certain Scientific Railgun in English). It looks much more stylish than the Haruhi Suzumiya Dancho/Brigade Leader armband, in my opinion. Not to mention it also has a ring to put the safety pin through. Of course this armband is worn on the left arm, so if you feel like it, you can have both armbands on you XD

Armband pictures from Hobby Search.

I'll also take this opportunity to talk on the Railgun anime in general since I've been watching the last few episodes in a row. I was conversing about Railgun with several people a couple of nights ago on Twitter and a lot of us seem to be in agreement that this anime is more accessible than the To Aru Majutsu no Index (A Certain Magical Index in English) anime incarnation that also had Mikoto Misaka as one of the characters. For people who know about this anime, feel free to skip the next paragraph.

Now Misaka, the Ace of Tokiwadai school, has her own anime, along with her roommate and self-proclaimed yuri girlfriend, Shirai Kuroko. In addition to these two are Uiharu Kazaru, Kuroko's Judgment partner and Saten Ruiko, Uiharu's best friend. Uiharu and Saten goes to a different school than Misaka and Kuroko. Judgment is a police-like organization that keeps law and order in Academy City where the story takes place. Originally Uiharu appeared just as a fan of the famous Railgun, Misaka. The meeting between the famed and the fan sets up the friendship that's lasted throughout the series. Most of the people in Academy City have some kind of ability or "powers". For example, Misaka, the Railgun, has an electrical power that she uses to accelerate an item which results in a very destructive force, while Kuroko has the ability to teleport objects, including herself and other human beings. Some people's abilities are more subtle and not so obvious, while others have no abilities at all...

I don't intend to summarize or review the episodes, but instead I want to bring up some topics and theme in this anime that interest me. There may be some spoilers right after this paragraph, just in case some people haven't seen this anime yet.

Fast forward to episodes 7-9... The series finally get on the serious side with a serial bomber who's targeting Judgment members and a rumored item that powers up people's abilities.

Personal Reality
One of the subjects these students with abilities must learn is "Personal Reality". It's quite hard to explain basing on the teachings in the anime, because it involves quantum mechanic, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle of quantum theory and Schrödinger's Cat... I'm pretty much lost reading about these, but the teacher in the anime puts it as "a reality that only you possess". Saten thinks that it's similar to delusions but to Uiharu personal reality is more like beliefs and believing in yourself. Saten herself do not have a visible ability while Uiharu has a very low level ability, so by understanding personal reality could increase their levels.

We do not have abilities like Misaka's electric power or Kuroko's teleportation or any of the abilities showcased in the Railgun anime, so personal reality is a different concept in our world. But that's not to say we cannot apply this personal reality theory in our lives. My understanding of personal reality is how we perceive ourselves. So if we believe that we can do certain things then we would be able to do it. By not believing that we cannot do it then our reality is limited to that we have placed on ourselves. Obviously in real life we cannot fly or shoot electric from our body or use any of these "super powers" so there are some realities that is not possible no matter how hard we believe. However there are certain skills that if we believe in it and we work hard to improve on it then we will have that ability. For example, I still believe that I can learn new software in the future for work... It's just that I don't have the motivation for them, so my personal reality is stuck in my job that I'm struggling to get away from. At least that is what I think about personal reality in terms of abilities.

As for perceiving myself then my personal reality shows that of an otaku. It is only quite recently that I use the label "otaku". Before I didn't even like that word and I didn't want to call myself that. Especially since I didn't like the sound of it nor how people were pronouncing it in English. It had a negative connotation as well... However, I noticed myself that my personal reality has become filled with anime, games, eroge, dakimakura, merchandise, manga, figures, etc. Because of them I began to perceive myself as otaku. I still did not want to admit it, but a discussion with a friend seems to have confirmed it and somewhat eased me into that term... Thus, it is now my personal reality.

In the anime Saten is a Level 0, someone without an ability. She's surrounded by others who have abilities that save people, capture criminals or offer support to catch criminals in the background. So you can't blame her for feeling inadequate and useless. She feels so limited that she would try to do anything to level up her ability even by cheating. But of course cheating does come with a price... This "cheat" has negative effects that have been the source of Kuroko, Misaka and Judgment's headaches in this series.

I feel inadequate a lot. I know I'm not as skilled to be able to draw or take better photographs or able to design better. I try to be ambitious in all of these projects I do for this blog, but in the end I always feel that I wish I could have done them better. I also would like to have a better job, but all my abilities are outdated so I'm practically back to level 1 now. If only I have a cheat to get out of this slump...

What Saten has in her hand in the above picture is a lucky charm from her mother. Even though it's superstitious and has no scientific merit, she still keeps it. I also has many things that I think keeps me safe, but I lose those beliefs easily since I become lazy in bringing those items with me all the time. I still keep them though and only now I'm starting to wear Azure again, the necklace in the picture below. Of course a charm only works if you have it with you, right? On the other hand, one of my Rei shirts has been giving me nothing but bad luck... I guess it's good to believe in some things, even if it is just a meaningless item.

Imagine Breaker
Kamijou Touma is a character from the Index anime. His ability cancels out other people's abilities and magic. It is called Imagine Breaker. This ability only works on his right hand though, so he needs to block any attacks with his right hand. Even though Touma has this seemingly powerful ability, he is a level 0. The glove with the words, "IMAGINE BREAKER" in the above picture is meant to be worn on the right hand. The pair of gloves is quite silly since it's just a normal pair except for the emblazoned writing on the right side. I do wear it when I drive since the steering wheel can be quite cold in winter... like right now.

In the Railgun anime, Touma saves Misaka and others from a bomb created through an ability. Although he was not credited, he did not care as long as everyone was safe. So even though he was level 0, he was able to save others. I think the point is that no matter what label that's given to you, you're not limited to that expectation. You can always do better.

Ability Does Not Equal Power
This has been something Misaka and Kuroko have been preaching to others in Academy City. Even if you have abilities it doesn't mean that you have power to abuse it on others. Even though I have the ability, I usually try to do things in secret. I don't really need to have all the credit. In fact, getting credited just inflates my ego a bit too much. It just makes me expect to get more, and I hate myself when I get to that point. Which is why I try to be as meek as possible.

I'm just saying that just because I have abilities it doesn't mean I should flaunt it around, especially if it abuses others. I tend to become mean to some people when it's something they're able to but asks me to do it because I'm able to do them easily... and I hate myself for it. Ah, I wish I could just become helpful without being mean.

So I think I've covered everything what I've wanted to say when I was watching Railgun. I think I sounded too preachy though. I apologize if anything didn't sound right to you. I guess I'm just saying that this anime is not just eye candy with "problem of the week" style of storytelling as I have thought in the beginning. There is definitely more to this anime than just super powers, yuri, fan service and comedy.

But of course there is always yuri fan service comedy to fall back on if you don't care about the rest. ^^;


  1. I'm very behind on Railgun...
    "But of course there is always yuri fan service comedy to fall back on if you don't care about the rest. ^^;"

    Kind of wished the yuri would go beyond mere fanservice comedy...

  2. @Yi: Yeah, unfortunately Misaka isn't yuri, so I can't really see it going further than just the yuri fanservice comedy =/

  3. OMG!! Just in time! Might just be getting one of them!! ;)

    @PaperShot is dead this time! ^^;

    Working on a smaller scaled one for Figmas too...

  4. mmm, Schrodinger's cat... simultaneous realities, very anal stuff. I had a conversation with my psychology teacher the other day about whether or not time was only humankind's conceptualization of passage, a product of perception and conditioning, when he reminded me that Einstein DID prove his fourth dimension in which everything existed. That was a really nineball moment for me -_-
    suffice is to say that Stephen Hawking was damn right when he said if you ever see that cat, you should put that basterd down.

    anyhow, inspiring post. I'd do well to remember that even a level 0 can save others.

  5. that's a pretty deep post. I feel the same way, like I'm a level 0 who wishes they could cheat to be worthwhile sometimes. I started out watching Railgun thinking I wouldn't really care for it, but after a couple episodes I already liked it better than Index. It's one of the best shows out this season and I look forward to every episode. The last few episodes have been especially impressive and I can see why Saten is doing her thing. Anyways I think you should hail this post as a triumph, you really put a lot of thought into it and it came out great. I'm glad Railgun isn't just yuri fanservice. and it's nice to see someone talking about the deeper subjects that lie under it's skin.

  6. A post that inspired me to make post that will inspire other to make a BETTER post about Darker than black.

  7. @zh3us: I'm still considering getting it. Just thinking of occasions to wear it XD A Figma scale one would be cool :D

    @Papershot: LoL go get it!

    @Ningyo: Oh great, a fourth dimenson too? That just makes this more complicated! I read a little about Schrodinger's cat. It's very mind boggling. I understand the theory, but why? XD And I think I learned something just reading your comment from your psychology teacher. It really does touch my heart when someone labeled as a nothing, a level 0, can do something great :`)

    @Persocom: I really appreciate your comment. I wrote this post in two nights time because it didn't sound very good when I was about to sleep the first night. I reread and rewrote to make it makes as much sense as possible. I'm still not confident about it though, so I thank you for compliment ^_^ I've always looked only on the surface in most anime, but Railgun somewhat inspired me to do more than just look on the surface and relate it to my own life.

    @GunStray: Haha glad you're inspired by it. I think there are a lot of anime that needs more attention than just what's there.

  8. I really want to get one of those Judgement armbands!
    They look so nicely made - but I think they're sold out D= Maybe a Brigade armband will suffice.

  9. @thetsundere: If you follow the Hobby Search link, you can pre-order from them :)

  10. If u gives u the ability to warp in between places then count me. :P
    Still, it will look cool at a convention or just anyway. lol

    Loving Railgun at the moment. It's not as fast paced as the original series but focusing on the Misaka sisters where having their side-story is a nice change.

  11. @Optic: Well the Index anime was quite fast paced since they're trying to fit a light novel into 4-5 episodes ^^; So I guess they have more time to develop the characters here, which is a good idea. I'm learning a lot more about Misaka and Kuroko's relationship. Perhaps I didn't like Index as much as Railgun is because the character development was just sped up too much.

    And let's hope we can get those powers soon :P

  12. This is really a nice anime post. I love this anime and just ordered this Certain Scientific Railgun anime series at PIJ. Hope this will get in 7 days. I am happy, Its really amazing :D