Balloon Hunter (バルーンハンタ Barūn Hanta?) is the 3rd episode of Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T. It was broadcast on January 24th 2020. The episode was directed by Onoda Yuusuke, the screenplay written by Yasukawa Shogo, and storyboarded by Yuki Shingo.
Mistaken for Mikoto, Misaka's clone joins the Balloon Hunter event as a participant. Tokiwadai Middle School, which triumphs when it comes to the quality of their abilities, thought that the conservative strategy employed by the opposing school at the start of the match meant an easy victory for them. But, for some reason, they became eliminated one by one. This was the clever scheme of Baba, the brains of the opposing school. This boy, who actually belongs to the Dark Side organization MEMBER, gathered data from the players of Tokiwadai Middle School and developed countermeasures against them for the sake of a particular mission.
Amidst all this, the Misaka clone makes a steady advance, putting her experience from "a certain" experiment to good use. On the other hand, Baba makes a move, reaching his original target so that he can follow through his plan to incapacitate "Misaka Mikoto".
The Daihaseisai proceeds with its Balloon Hunter event, which involves teams of two competing schools, 30 representatives each, in a competition where the team with the most balloons left intact wins. Tokiwadai Middle School faces an opposing school that employed a stalling strategy to force a draw. Kongou Mitsuko leads the pursuit against the opposing team, but Misaka Mikoto's clone suggests going in groups of three, only to be left unheeded. As the clone follows the students of Tokiwadai, the Original voices out her support for her clone who ended up playing in her behalf.
Saten accompanied Uiharu as the latter prepares for her Judgment duties fending up cyberattacks during the Daihaseisai. As footage of the Balloon Hunter event was shown on the nearby LCD screen, the two girls talk about Mikoto catching up to the event, as well as the capabilities of the espers of Tokiwadai.
Meanwhile, as the chase continues at the playing field, the representatives of Tokiwadai are slowly led into traps set up by the opposing school, causing Kirifu Megumi, Kobayashi Satori and many others to be eliminated from the match. Baba Yoshio's data regarding every single representative of Tokiwadai amazed his classmates, which he claims he obtained from "connections within the School Garden". He then joins his schoolmates in pursuing more targets, although they are wary of the presence of the Level 5 Misaka Mikoto and are willing to avoid certain areas like a certain bridge to keep themselves from harm's way.
"Misaka Mikoto" eventually makes her move, pursuing a student from the opposing team into an area that was used in an experiment and foiling an ambush by another. Elsewhere, Kongou is finally defeated after single-handedly eliminating seven opponents, with the opposing school baffled due to the lack of information related to her. The group's defeat in Kongou's hand eventually reaches Baba, who suggests a bold tactic of attacking "Misaka Mikoto" directly to lower Tokiwadai's morale.
As Kuroko deals with the petty crimes going on during the sporting events, Misaka Mikoto's clone pursued another opponent into an open field. Aware of the possibility of a trap in the pursuit, the clone watches as many of the opposing school's representatives emerged from the nearby bushes, using a melee interpretation of the rule involving the use of designated balls to attack "Misaka Mikoto" and hoping to force a disqualification through the use of an ability. Despite this, this particular Misaka Mikoto has enough combat experience to dodge most of the attacks and eliminate those who attack her even without using her ability. Ultimately, Baba launched a remote attack from a distance: a device in the form of a mosquito that bit the clone in the ensuing chaos. This attack was enough to stun the clone momentarily, enabling her balloon to be popped by a random opponent, sealing the outcome of the match.
Watanabe and the Tokiwadai Dorm Supervisor discuss about the outcome of the Balloon Hunter match and the lessons learned from the behavior of the participants. Disappointed that there are those who prioritized staying clean over achieving an objective, the Dorm Supervisor prepares toilet-cleaning duties for the losers. Meanwhile, Misaka Mikoto's clone apologizes for her shortcomings. The Original, however, is more interested to know if her clone enjoyed the experience. Before leaving for lunch with her mother, Mikoto hands over her Gekota mask and food coupons given out to students to her clone.
Mikoto's lunch with her mother screeches to a halt as their cheese fondue is taking too much time to melt. As she heads out to buy drinks for both of them, she encounters Kamijou Touma who suddenly decides to help her with buying beverages, an errand he also needs to do for his mother's sake. There, Misaki shows up after a short call with Keitz Nokleben, revealing that she had used her ability to free herself of any afternoon events, much to Mikoto's chagrin. Touma returns in time to see the two, and Misaki promptly introduces herself to him. Misaki's constant teasing eventually causes Mikoto to throw electricity at Touma, which he ends up dispelling with the use of his right hand.
At Judgment 177 Branch Office, Uiharu is accompanied by Saten, with the former already dealt with three large-scale cyberattacks. Saten, on the other hand, is still talking about the Shadow Metal urban legend, and is eager to have an experience akin to becoming a Level 5 by getting something normally unobtainable from an ordinary life. Uiharu decides to go along with Saten's antics by searching for information about Shadow Metal.
Misaka Mikoto's clone cheerfully thinks about the food she can try out at the Daihaseisai. Then, Misaki and Keitz watch as her consciousness wavers until she collapses.
- Toaru Kagaku no Railgun Manga Chapter 045
- Toaru Kagaku no Railgun Manga Chapter 046
- Toaru Kagaku no Railgun Manga Chapter 047
- The Balloon Hunter event between Tokiwadai Middle School and an unnamed school where Baba Yoshio stands as a participant. Due to the extensive data about the personality and weaknesses of the participants of Tokiwadai, the prestigious school loses in the event. This loss was later set up by key members of the Tokiwadai faculty to teach a lesson to its students.
- Baba Yoshio carries out the plan to incapacitate Misaka Mikoto. Unaware that the Original was "replaced" by a clone, Baba targets the "Mikoto" and renders her unconscious using a mosquito-like device he operates remotely.
- Kamijou Touma meets Shokuhou Misaki for the first time since his memory loss.
By order of appearance:
- Hazamaya Kana
- Misaka 10032
- Kongou Mitsuko
- Misaka Mikoto
- Kirifu Megumi
- Kobayashi Satori
- Baba Yoshio
- Shokuhou Misaki
- Misaka 10032's cat
- Accelerator (referenced-only)
- Wannai Kinuho
- Awatsuki Maaya
- Ekaterina (referenced-only)
- Shirai Kuroko
- Tokiwadai Dorm Supervisor
- Misaka Misuzu
- Kamijou Touma
- Kamijou Shiina (referenced-only)
- Keitz Nokleben
- Kirifu Megumi, Level 4
- Unnamed esper from Baba Yoshio's school, Level 2
- Telepathy - Kobayashi Satori, Level 3
- Teleport - Shirai Kuroko, Level 4
- Mental Out - Shokuhou Misaki, Level 5 (referenced)
- Electromaster (Railgun-variant) - Misaka Mikoto, Level 5
- Imagine Breaker - Kamijou Touma
- Three unnamed students of Tokiwadai Middle School are voiced by Kubota Yukari, Kuroki Juri, and Sasaki Hitomi.
- Eight unnamed students of opponent school are voiced by Ishi Takayuki, Satou Gen, Kobayashi Chiaki, Ishikari Yuuki, Nemoto Miyari, Motomiya Kana, Fukuhara Katsumi, and Matsuoka Youhei.
- Because of this episode, the 11th Shinyaku Toaru Majutsu no Index light novel, featuring Shokuhou Misaki and Kamijou Touma's past, was out of stock as of writing (January 26, 2020) in Kadokawa's website.
- With a cut on the right side of his cheek, the events of this episode has already passed the events of episode 10 of Toaru Majutsu no Index II and most of the first half of episode 11.
Differences in Adaptation
- Kongou Mitsuko is referred to as a transfer student, despite the chapter where she debuts in the manga not being adapted due to her being introduced in the anime in episode 1 instead (she was even referred as a transfer student by Kuroko in the aforementioned episode).
- The restaurant Mikoto and her mother is in features the same tileset as the one they and Touma's family were in Index II but features different furniture.
- Index and Oriana Thomson's cameos are removed in this adaptation.
- Both Baba's Type: Mosquito and the Homing Cameras are all rendered in CGI.
- A new sound effect was used for the activation of Imagine Breaker in this episode.
- How will Misaki and Keitz deal with the unconcious Misaka 10032?
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