January 23, 2015

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S -- engineer's disease

There are two major screwups in Railgun S which have always bothered me. They're both spoilers, so below the fold they go.

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MISAKA 10032: The so-called "Level 6 Shift Project" was a secret project in Academy City to make Accelerator into the first known level 6. To get there, the researchers hoped that fighting and killing enough powerful opponents would do it. Originally they calculated that if he fought and killed 300 (IIRC) level 5's, that would be enough. So they cloned Misaka Mikoto using DNA samples taken from her when she was about 5 years old.

Unforunately, the clones are not level 5. Most of them come in at level 3, and the researchers figured that it would take 20,000 of them to get the same effect.

I don't think it's explicitly stated, but it's strongly implied that Accelerator has been fighting and killing about one clone a day, up until Misaka 10032, which was the one that survived when Mikoto and Touma interfered with the battle and defeated Accelerator.

So let's do some math. 20,000 days of battle is nearly 55 years. 10,031 days of battle is 27 and a half years. Accelerator is still a teenager...

AEROHAND: In the Silent Party story arc at the end, Aritomi (leader of the bad guys) triggers a doomsday device when it's clear they've been defeated. A missile is launched from a satellite 35,000 kilometers above the earth, travelling 7 km/sec. When it reaches Academy City then mumble-hand-wave will happen and the city will be obliterated.

They've got 5,000 seconds before it hits, an hour and 23 minutes. There ultimately are two plans to stop the disaster. First, is to unplug Janie without killing her. Second is to send the mech up to the high atmosphere with Mikoto inside, to let her use it as a projectile to hit the missile.

To achieve the latter, the Sisters have calculated all the places where Kongou Mitsuko has to place active Aerohand zones on it to get the launch to work correctly: 8092 of them.

By the time Uiharu has received the plan from the Sisters and gotten Kongou on the job, they've probably already chewed up 10 minutes. And it takes several minutes at the end to launch to a height where Mikoto can shoot. So it means Kongou would have to place two sites per second, about, in order to get the job done on time. How fast can Uiharu talk, to tell her where they all go?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Engineer's Disease at 11:05 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 426 words, total size 3 kb.

1 I think I just heard a couple catgirls crying in pain outside my window...

Posted by: Siergen at January 23, 2015 03:32 PM (r3+4f)

2 Wait, why are the catgirls outside your window? Let them in!

-j

Posted by: J Greely at January 23, 2015 06:05 PM (1CisS)

3 Pixy Misa has had an attack of engineer's disease.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 23, 2015 11:12 PM (+rSRq)

4 Regarding the first point, on several occassions Accelerator is shown to be standing in a room full of dead sisters, so I think your assumption that he kills one a day is way off.

The second point could be explained by saying that maybe they aren't 8092 unique locations. Maybe some areas need something like 500 on the same spot (to provide lift). It's a stretch, but it is plausible.

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at January 24, 2015 01:46 AM (RGjwf)

5
Wait, why are the catgirls outside your window? Let them in!
Perhaps he's allergic.  What a terrible fate... 

And I think "lots and lots of kills in a controlled environment" has to be part of the answer.  If it's not, how did he get away with spending even 2 or 3 years killing 1d6 people a day in a city like that one?  Someone would have seen it happening (or some precongnitive/clairvoyant/empathic power user would have noticed it), or someone would have seen the cleanup crews or some piece of evidence long before that...

The part I don't get is... how is he learning that much fighting 20,000 identical weaklings?  I can see a young Mike Tyson becoming a great boxer by deafeating hundreds of Mike Tyson equivalents.  He's not going to learn anything by defeating tens of thousands of Mikeski equivalents, even if we were a hivemind.

Posted by: Mikeski at January 24, 2015 11:22 AM (lO+tS)

6 That, and the hivemind doesn't seem to help much.  Ten thousand fights in, and they're still carrying guns.  Hello...  

Posted by: Mikeski at January 24, 2015 08:00 PM (lO+tS)

7
That, and the hivemind doesn't seem to help much. Ten thousand fights in, and they're still carrying guns. Hello...
They've become the ultimate example of "group think".  Using guns and night-vision goggles made sense to them when they first thought of it, and there is no one in the hive to offer a different viewpoint.  They make my bureaucracy at work seem agile and quick to respond...

Posted by: Siergen at January 24, 2015 09:38 PM (r3+4f)

8

You all misunderstand. They're not supposed to win, and they know they aren't. Their job is to go out there and get killed. And they accept that as their fate because it's what they were created for.

The sisters aren't normal humans, which shouldn't be necessary to point out. Their minds are programmed by the "testament" system and there isn't any part of that program which includes anything like a normal morality system or any significant will to survive. It took encounters with Mikoto and Touma for those concepts to be introduced into the group mind, and a lot longer for them to be assimilated.

As to how this helps him, I think the answer is that it drives him insane. Think about it: it's like the worst nightmare imaginable. He kills a girl, often horribly, and the next day that same girl comes back after him. No matter how many he kills, no matter how he does it, there's always another, and they all look exactly alike, and talk alike and behave in the same way.

By the time Mikoto and Touma took him on, it's hardly any wonder he was nearly delirious.

Being insane will release any normal limits on his power and how he uses it. That's my guess.

One reason the experiment was terminated was that being defeated by Touma brought him to his senses. But he was already trending that direction. Last Order made the comment that part of why he was using such bizarre ways of killing the sisters was that he was trying to drive them away to make them stop attacking him. It was a rather feeble cry for help. Which is why the group mind doesn't hold it against him that the killings got increasingly brutal as time went on.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 24, 2015 11:53 PM (+rSRq)

9 But if slaughter and insanity were all that were necessary to break the five-level limit, why the two-orders-of-magnitude change in target quantity with the change in target level?  I think that implies he was supposed to be honing his skills as well, and repeatedly re-memorizing your multiplication tables won't teach you calculus.

Also, it was mentioned (not sure if in the anime or the manga) that Kuroko's teleportation requires her to do higher-dimension geometry problems in her head.  She's not teleporting things; she's moving them from here to there through higher-level space [/handwave].  She's unable to use her powers when she's in enough fear/pain (that does show up in the anime).

Insanity certainly didn't help Accelerator beat Touma, who he could have neutralized in seconds once he realized he had no defense against Accelerated projectiles, only against being Accelerated personally.  (Even if he was still sane enough at that point to not want to kill a non-Sister, he could have broken both his legs with a piece of rail from that trainyard.  Or just wrapped him up in one.)

That was my take on why his "loss" ended the experiment; not Touma's conjecture that "losing to a Level Zero would prove he's not good enough to be Level Six", but "losing to a Level Zero proves that being Level Six is meaningless if you're not smart/sane enough to use your powers correctly."

Posted by: Mikeski at January 25, 2015 10:46 AM (lO+tS)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 25, 2015 12:28 PM (+rSRq)

11 I agree: he's certainly not actually 'level zero'.  Just canonically so. 

Posted by: Mikeski at January 25, 2015 01:20 PM (lO+tS)

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