YMMV: A Certain Scientific Railgun

  • Arc Fatigue: In season 2 of the anime, Mikoto's side of the Sister's arc takes 15 episodes (Episode 2 to Episode 16). While it is widely agreed to be better than the Index version of the same arc in nearly every way, the fact remains that the majority of the audience already knew exactly what was coming, so it was a bit frustrating it was dragged out so long.
  • Broken Base: The anime original arc that ended season 2 has caused a lot of division among fans. Many finding the camp and Power of Friendship levels over the top, being angered at how Misaka was given the Idiot Ball a couple times, and expressing frustration at the many plot holes in the arc. Others absolutely loved the arc since it addressed the primary problems of the Sister's arc (notably Misaka not going in alone) and everyone getting a chance to shine against STUDY.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Kihara Gensei is the patriarch of the Kihara family and a Mad Scientist responsible for nasty experiments on children, which resulted in many of them suffering permanent trauma, so he could create a powerful Level 6 Esper. Gensei has no compunction murdering people in his path in his mad obsession. The first 'sample' of his experiments was his own granddaughter: Gensei overloaded her mind to collect samples from her, and repeated this process on other children as well. Gensei was fond of manipulating his own family members into becoming his test subjects, even though he knew that a massive surge would possibly destroy all of Academy City.
    • His granddaughter Therestina Lifeline is just as cruel and twisted. Wanting to follow Gensei's example, Therestina abducted children and put them in comas so she could harvest the samples from their minds. Gensei manipulated the young heroines into providing cover for her, all the while intending to overload the minds of the children she kept under sedation, fully aware this would destroy all of Academy City and not caring as long as she achieved the 'perfection' she hungered for.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Misaki Shokuhou. This is probably the only reason why she appears right from the start in Railgun S.
  • Ear Worm / Crowning Music of Awesome:
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Thanks to the Railgun anime, Saten Ruiko has become very popular with fans as she's a refreshing character among the Four Girl Ensemble, even more popular than Mikoto on some sites like the Nico Nico Douga community. In fact, Ruiko was popular enough to make it to the Top 8 during Saimoe 2010.
    • Don't forget Harumi too. She's pretty well-liked in the community.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The second story arcs of both Railgun seasons usually get this reaction from fans for being anime-original arcs. The Febri arc from Railgun S even more so (as described above in Broken Base).
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Misaka Mikoto vs. Misaki Shokuhou, which leads to the cute portmanteau MisaMisa.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The MISAKA Network Adorkableness, especially considering that they are gonna get brutally killed off.
  • Les Yay:
    • A one sided crush between Miho to Saten and a not so appropriate obsessive appreciation from Kuroko to Mikoto. Also, Saten's trademark inspection of Uiharu's panties.
    • In the second half of the second season, Saten and Uiharu essentially adopt a child together.
    • Due to the way Kinuho and Maayanote  fight, it's hard to not see them as a Battle Couple. They even have intimate eye contact throughout their battle.
    • Mikoto had a dream where she was Misaki's maid and had to do things like give her a massage. It is implied Misaki had the same dream, but in reverse.
  • I Knew It: We all knew it when Telestina was revealed as the villain. But what caught everyone off guard was the revelation that she is Gensei Kihara's granddaughter. Fan reaction about this between the first time viewers and novel readers were varied. With the former going "What the? She's his granddaughter?" while the later going "Wait, She's a Kihara!? As in the Kihara's? Oh Shit!?"
  • Moe: Kazari, for certain. Ruiko can also count as this; as mentioned above, she made it to the Top 8 during Saimoe 2010.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • For Gensei Kihara, having 10 kids forcefully overloaded with esper powers definitely crosses the line. And before that, using his own granddaughters as the subject of his experiments. One was involved with the Level 6 overload experiments, the other became a cyborg!
    • And then there's what he did in Chapter 61.
    • Accelerator's brutal murder of 10031 has made a lot of fans doubt his Heel-Face Turn and still wish for him to pay for that action.
    • Therestina Lifeline Kihara planning to overload the child Errors that her grandfather created so she can become god and destroy the entirety of Academy City to boot. On top of maliciously manipulating the cast, practically turning Uiharu and Kuroko against each other, and her brutal beatdown of Misaka after she used her Kryptonite Factor on her.
  • More Popular Spin-off:
    • While Index was a hit, Railgun was more popular, sold more DVDs and got a better reception with fans thanks to a lot of Character Development for the cast. Note that this is only true of the Index anime. The Index novels sell hundreds of thousands of copies and are the most popular medium of the entire verse by a healthy margin.
    • Probably because it's also partially a Schoolgirl Series. Furthermore, in a world where crazy people wields crazy superpowers that get thrown around with reckless abandon, the main characters of Railgun seem like relatable humans (see the case with Saten, above).
  • The Scrappy:
    • Because of her actions at the time, Uiharu was absolutely loathed by the fanbase throughout most of the final episodes of the first Railgun anime season, it was only when Kuroko gave her a much needed slap-in-the-face that people started warming up to her again. It also helps that this took place in anime-original content; giving Uiharu a free pass despite her actions.
    • Haru'ue is not the most popular character. While she's not quite hated, she has a bigger role in the second half of the first season than most people would prefer, largely because she was basically created just as a device to connect Kiyama's children back to the plot.
    • Touma from the main Index anime is viewed as a Scrappy by some fans loyal to the Railgun series, being a Spotlight-Stealing Squad in the first half of Season 2 who hijacks Mikoto's plot in the Sister's arc. The fact that he fights and defeats Accelerator, with Mikoto acting like the Damsel in Distress who can't do anything without him, really doesn't help. Of course, the Sisters arc was originally Touma's story in Index, giving more details on Mikoto and the Dark Side of Academy City. The Railgun version was written as a Perspective Flip; we knew from the start she wasn't the one who solved the plot.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: The ED of the first season, Dear My Friend -Mada Minu Mirai e-.

Alternative Title(s):

To Aru Kagaku No Railgun