"Urban Legends" (都市伝説 Toshi Densetsu?) is the fourth episode of the Toaru Kagaku no Railgun series. It was first aired on October 23, 2009.
Under the cover of darkness, Saten Ruiko's shining eyes, and serious expression enhances up the mood, as Mikoto, Kuroko, and Uiharu, listen to her scary story. She once knew this upperclassman, who knew this girl, who had a boyfriend. One humid night when he passed by a deserted park, he came upon a woman who asked him directions. Of course, it would have been rude to not answer a woman in the dark, and so he did. As he was kindly explaining the way to her, she somehow became distraught, raised her arms, and then... took off her shirt. It may have been a "you should've been there" kind of story, as Mikoto instantly proclaims that such a thing isn't scary.
Apparently, not kicked out of the restaurant yet, the scary story mood is broken up. Kuroko comments on how they won't become scared if the story is bad even if the atmosphere is good. While fixing up their mess, Saten says that it should be scary once they met her, the legendary Stripper Lady. Mikoto however reiterates that it isn't scary at all, and would assume that the person as a pervert. Then, Uihara Kazari pulls up a website listing several urban legends:
- When the wind turbine propellers begin turning the other way, something strange happens in the city.
- At 4:44 p.m. one shouldn't cross between the school district boundaries. Otherwise one might wander into the "Imaginary Number District"
- At item that increases your level just by using it: The Level Upper!
Kuroko however, makes a deep sigh, apparently unbelieving of urban legends, telling Uiharu to stop reading pointless sites. Mikoto adds that since this is Academy City, the city of science, they shouldn't deal with urban legends at all. Saten says that Mikoto has no sense of romance. Uiharu adds that the stories are actual stories that have been slightly distorted. Finally, Saten states of a "guy that has an ability that negates other abilities being used on him", an urban legend that could only happen in Academy City. Kuroko giggles, stating that such an unbelievable ability should not exist. However, Mikoto remains silent, her gaze fixed upon the laptop, and everyone wonders what she is on about. Mikoto suddenly realizes she is being looked at, and then begins nervously agreeing with Kuroko. Adding, that if that person exists, she'd definitely try fighting him, and then begins laughing for no adequately explained reason, much to Kuroko's wonderment.
In the Green Mart, Mikoto is busy reading manga depicting herself on the cover, directly from the rack, but something is still definitely bugging her. She looks at another nearby magazine, and begins skimming it. She recalls of the urban legend that Saten once said to her, the person with the ability to nullify all other abilities.
In some earlier time, during the night. Mikoto was somehow minding her own business, loitering in a seedy part of town, probably way past curfew. She is accosted by a bunch of thugs, but seeing she is the strongest Electromaster, she cares not for them. Instead, she reflects on the bystander effect happening before her very eyes, and says that even if they barge in to help, they just get hurt. She concludes that if there was anyone willing to stand up for a stranger, they're either an idiot or... before she could finish contemplating societal mores. A voice called out from the darkness, it was a highschool-aged spiky-haired boy. Apparently, he knows of her and thanks the guys around her for taking good care of her. He scolds Mikoto for wandering off, takes her hand and begins to leave, saying farewell to all of them. However, Mikoto asks who he is, much to his horror. The boy yells at her that she should have played along, and now she has ruined his "get her out of trouble by pretending to be a friend" plan. Mikoto does not get his plan, and asks why she has to do something so bothersome. Suddenly, the thugs surround him, asking him what's the deal. The boy sighs, and then chastises the thugs. He asks why they aren't embarrassed when they surround a girl like her. Mikoto is somewhat impressed, and the thugs actually take time to listen to him. However, the boy then calls Mikoto a brat, calling her crude, disrespectful towards her elders (such as himself), and tells them that even though she is a young lady, she is still in her rebellious period. While Touma tells the thugs off for having no shame. Sparks of electricity arcs out of Mikoto, apparently frustrated with the boy's name calling. Mikoto then suddenly releases indiscriminately around her. Naturally, everyone near her would've fainted from that electric shock, or so she thought, as the boy remains standing amongst the unconscious, holding out his hand, and Mikoto could only look in awe.
The recollection ends, and she exits the store, but still, her thoughts are with that urban legend. She then believes that if she seriously took him on, it would disprove him as the urban legend. She then swears that she will meet him again... but speak of the devil, she hears a familiar voice. It is the boy, talking to a woman. He is apparently helping her somehow. Mikoto calls out to him, and the boy says hi, calling her the Biribiri middle-schooler. Mikoto says to him that her name is Misaka Mikoto, and that she is going to put an end to their shenanigans once and for all. The boy asks if she is free, to which Mikoto says that she has all the time in the world. The boy then says that if she is, then she should help the woman next to her look for a parking lot. Mikoto doesn't get it, but the woman adds that she had forgotten where she parked something. Mikoto asks why, to which the boy then says that he has somewhere to go, and seemingly like good acquaintances, asks Mikoto to do it for him since she has time. Mikoto says it is not okay, and starts complaining. In the meanwhile, the woman apparently feels hot under the sun, and for some inexplicable reason begins undressing her shirt, much to the boy and Mikoto's shock. Mikoto, embarrassed, asks what she is doing, to which the woman answers a matter-of-factly, that she is sweating because of the blazing sun. Mikoto has had enough, and comes over towards them, asking the boy what's all this about. The flushed boy replies that he only just met her as well, and shoves Mikoto out of the way. She takes the woman's shirt and tries to cover her with it. However, seemingly like some sort of misfortunate magnet, people start surrounding them, and assuming that he has attacked her. It was a misunderstanding of course, but the boy can't deal with it. He gives the shirt to Mikoto, and runs away. Mikoto tries to follow him, but is told by the woman that running off with her shirt would be trouble for her. Somehow, a bunch of people have surrounded them, murmuring about the lewdness of it all. Embarrassed, Mikoto demands her to put on her shirt quickly.
Outside of the Seventh Mist, under a shaded area. The woman enjoys the cool atmosphere there, and takes out some of the strange beverages. Mikoto asks herself on why the woman would suddenly strip in public, but then recalls the urban legend Saten told of her earlier, the Stripper Lady, though she is still incredulous of this. She then gets a call from her Gekota phone, and discovers it is Kuroko. She asks where she is, as she is about to have some tea with Uiharu and Saten, and would love for her to join them. Mikoto tells Kuroko that she is with a strange person at the moment, a lady who strips. Saten comes over to Kuroko, saying that it must be the Stripper Lady of legend. Uiharu then comes over, concerned about Mikoto, and starts bothering Kuroko. Saten asks to take pictures, but Mikoto says over the phone that they shouldn't make her the urban legend, because they're into them. She tells them that she may be a weird person but... before she can finish her sentence, the woman with the tired eyes comes over, and asks if she is the weird the person. Mikoto then turns off her phone, and tries to cover her insult. The Gekota phone rings again, but just turns it over to voicemail. On the other line, Kuroko and the others are concerned. But then, Saten leans and talks with a smug voice, telling her that it might be dangerous. Uiharu adds that they should look for her, but Kuroko says that they shouldn't take urban legends seriously.
Back with Mikoto, the woman offers her a beverage as thanks for helping her back there. She takes it but discovers it is hot, and it is actually a curry flavored beverage. Harumi explains that warm beverages are best during the heat, and that there are spices that would heal up fatigue. Mikoto understands this, but really rather drink a cold beverage during the heat. Hearing this, the woman says that girls do indeed base their decisions on "feelings," and stands up to try to buy another drink for Mikoto. However, Mikoto says that it just fine, as it is the thought that counts. The woman sits back down and apologizes to Mikoto, and says that she has been caught in research for so long that she picked up the habit of thinking everything logically. Mikoto asks if she is a scientist, to which the lady says that she is a cerebral physiologist, specifically, a researcher of AIM movements. Mikoto asks to confirm if its the weak power that espers emit unconsciously. The woman says that is correct, and is surprised that they have already covered that in class, to which Mikoto says that they did, back in their first year. With two hands, Mikoto drinks the curry soup, and states that AIM is the power so weak that it is undetectable to the five senses, and requires machines to measure and detect it. Shifting positions, the woman says that her job is to research ways to make use of that power. Impressed, Mikoto asks if she knows of esper abilities in general. Harumi asks if there is anything she wants to know, to which Mikoto asks if the ability to negate other abilities is actually possible. Harumi there are a lot of different kinds when it comes to negating powers, and asks if she could give examples. Nervously, Mikoto says of being completely unharmed after receiving a high voltage electric shock and the like. Harumi assumes that it could be a power that manifests itself as a lightning rod to divert the electricity, though Mikoto cites that it is different from what she is saying. Harumi then bluntly asks if the person who wields this power an acquaintance of hers, to which Mikoto vehemently denies, and says that it is just an urban legend. The woman becomes intrigued by this, to which Mikoto says that it has become popular now, and there are all kinds, like the Stripper Lady. While children with ice cream cones sit run around, Harumi asks Mikoto about the Stripper Lady, but quickly says it is nothing. Suddenly, a boy with an ice cream cone trips and has his ice cream land on the woman's skirt. The boy apologizes, but the woman is unconcerned of it. She stands up and tells the boy not to worry about it as it would be fine if it is washed quickly, while undressing her skirt in full view in front of the boy. Everyone of the observers gets embarrassed, and Mikoto is once again forced to ask her to stop stripping, much to the woman's dull expression.
Meanwhile, Kuroko, Uiharu, and Saten are in a small café, and apparently, Kuroko cannot connect to Mikoto. Out of nowhere, Saten lies on the table, apparently unaware of common table manners, and begins talking about the Stripper Lady urban legend, to which Kuroko says to stop talking about that nonsense. Uiharu however, looking at her laptop, calls Saten's attention as she has apparently found a site with lots of information about the Stripper Lady urban legend. With a quick glance, Saten's face distorts, and Uiharu asks why. Saten says to Kuroko that those who encounter the Stripper Lady leave only a scream before becoming unreachable. Kuroko does not believe this, as she is still firmly skeptical of the tall tales. She says that someone like her Oneesama could not possibly be taken down by a woman who strips. However, Saten says that something more sinister may be happening. Curious, Kuroko asks about it, to which Saten says that the Stripper Lady is contagious. Yes, contagious, and that those who meet the Stripper Lady will become Stripper Ladies themselves. Uiharu grunts out and concludes that Mikoto might be running around town and... you know what. Kuroko is terrified of her beloved and pure Oneesama doing such lewd things, and screams, hitting her head on the table for no explainable reason several times. Uiharu tries to console her, but Kuroko grabs her and demands her to find a way to undo the curse, and begins shaking her. Uiharu pleads not to take it seriously, to which Saten agrees as it is of course, just an urban legend.
It goes back to Mikoto and the woman. While Mikoto is drying up woman's skirt in the female's washroom, the woman apologizes for all the trouble. After taking the skirt from Mikoto, the woman begins dressing herself up again. The woman then says that Mikoto should thank the boy for her as well. Mikoto asks who that person is, to which the woman says that Mikoto should know him, the boy who saw her being lost and called out to help her. Mikoto is amazed by this, to which the woman says that the boy is a good person. Mikoto says that the boy is meddlesome, and simply tries to act cool. She points out the fact that the boy called out to her for help, and then running away. Mikoto concludes that the boy has no sense of responsibility. Mikoto says that the boy maybe good at dealing with people but... The woman interrupts her, saying that it sounded fun, and that Mikoto liked the boy from earlier. Mikoto turns red at that moment, but the woman continues talking, saying that there was a common term that was popular a while back for when a girl acts all cold to a guy he likes. It starts with "tsun", but the woman seems unable to know what the word, a tip of the tongue thing. At the same time as this, Mikoto becomes flustered so much that she screams and releases electricity to the point of blacking out the entire mall. As the alarm sounds, the woman goes out of the stall, wondering what has happened. Realizing what she has done, Mikoto hastily pushes the woman out of the mall.
The sky is bathed in royal purple as the afternoon has set it. In some parking lot, the woman has finally found her really cool sports vehicle, and thanks Mikoto for all the help she gave her and drives off, that woman with the tired eyes. As the car has gone away, Mikoto shows a tired face, and comments on how could anyone forget what parking lot they used. With that all done, Mikoto begins walking, but stops, apparently worn out by all stripping commotion, and blames it all on the boy with spiky hair. Her frustration is shown as a spark of electricity on her head, and promises that when she runs to him again, she'll definitely... once again, her thoughts are interrupted, as by the mere threading of causality, she happens to run into the person again. Apparently, for some reason, the eggs he bought after lining for two hours broke. After much lamentations, the boy finally realizes that Mikoto is there. Mikoto then realizes her chance, and then whines to him about on how he ran away from her with something troublesome and then went shopping. The boy defends himself by saying that whether or not one makes it to the special sale is a matter of life and death for a poor student, something that a rich girl like Mikoto could never hope to understand. Mikoto says that it was a hassle for her too, as she had to wash her dirty skirt for her (the woman), and then began calling her tsun... as if a gag that was terribly milked dry, Mikoto could not finish what she could say, and Touma wonders what it is all about. Mikoto, flushed, says that he should forget about it and that they should just fight. The boy states that she has lost on all of their fights, to which Mikoto says that the boy hasn't even landed a single blow on her, which means that she hasn't lost as well. The boy asks then on how they will end it, to which Mikoto predictably responds that it would be over after she wins. The boy doesn't have a positive reaction to this, and sighs, much to Mikoto's irritation. The boy stands, and tells her that he understands her plight, and that he will duel her if that makes her happy. Mikoto gulps as the boy becomes serious, however, a smile draws upon her face, excited that he finally became serious.
The scene changes to an artificial riverbank, where the boy claims that they won't bother anyone, and that they can now fight. Face to face, the boy says that he is ready whenever she is. Sparks of electricity come out of her body, and she tells him that he doesn't need to remind her, as she was the one waiting for it. Mikoto throws a large bolt of lightning at him, which he blocks easily. Mikoto predicted this, to which she uses her powers to gather up the iron sand from the ground to form a working iron sand sword that she vibrates like a chainsaw. The boy says that weapons are unfair, to which Mikoto says that it is legal as it is formed from her powers. She charges, warning the boy that he may bleed if it touches him. She swings the sword, and the man ducks, avoiding it. She swings again and again, and the boy simply dodges her blows. Seeing that the boy just keeps running around, Mikoto lengthens the sword, turning it into a whip, surprising the boy. As if time slows down, Mikoto is confident that the sword will get him, but as if the boy had the power to see through the future, he dodges the whip and twists his body to use his right hand, turning it back to sand. Mikoto, though surprised by his power, predicted that would happen as well. The boy says that he wins, but Mikoto says that she isn't entirely sure. Suddenly, lightning comes out from her, and the iron sand that was taken by the wind, begins being manipulated by her. The boy sees this, as the iron sand comes towards him. However, with the boy preoccupied with the iron sand, Mikoto grabs his free right hand, believing that he cannot negate her power flowing directly from her instead of electricity being transmitted into the air. However, nothing happens as the current won't flow, and wonders what's with him. The boy however, notices that Mikoto is not doing anything, and raises up his left hand to strike her. Mikoto flinches, actually scared of getting her comeuppance from a worthy opponent that can put her in the proper place despite being a Level 5. The girl shakes in fear, and the boy could only give out a smile in his queer situation. The boy then lets go of her hand, screams and falls to the ground like a balloon doll, declaring that she got him. Silence falls in that artificial riverbank, and Mikoto could only look at the boy, but it doesn't last long. Mikoto shakes, while being red, apparently angry at the boy, and screams not to mess with her at him, all the while releasing electricity at him. The boy manages to get out of his way, as Mikoto demands him to fight seriously. The boy says that he can't because she was scared, but Mikoto denies this. However, the boy says that she is a liar, and says in a condescending manner on how she was about to cry when he raised his fist. Mikoto doesn't take this well, as several lightning bolts are directed towards him and he is forced to flee. The boy says that he would've seriously died if any of those hit him, to which Mikoto says that it wouldn't have affected him in the first place. While running, the boy says that it doesn't matter whether it works or not, and asks what she is thinking when she uses that kind of power on someone. And seemingly like a confession of aggression, Mikoto says that she hasn't gone all out with anyone before he came. The rest of the night is spent chasing him, such misfortune.
Mikoto returns home, tired, after a long day of shenanigans. However, she finds that their room is empty. Mikoto enters the room, and begins undressing, but then hears Kuroko's voice and finds out that she is under the bed. After some sounds of struggle in the dark, Mikoto finds herself under Kuroko, who somehow has her panties on her head. Crying, Kuroko claims Mikoto undressing in her own room is a sign of Mikoto being a Stripping Lady. Mikoto, naturally, has no idea what she is talking about, but is obviously, disconcerted by this. Kuroko says that there is no way to undo the curse of the Stripper Lady unless she wears those particular panties on her head, and suddenly attacks Mikoto. The night is filled with screams, and apparently, no one in the dorm is bothered by this.
Meanwhile, in the poorly lit room, the woman with the tired eyes is at her computer, and says that the person she has met was apparently the legendary Level 5, Misaka Mikoto, and calls her an interesting girl. Back in the Tokiwadai Dormitory, Mikoto sleeps without a peep, apparently happy of what had transpired today, while Kuroko is tied up and gagged below her.
- Mikoto meets Kiyama Harumi.
- Mikoto does battle with Kamijou Touma, and would've soundly been beaten if not for Touma forfeiting.
- The ability to manifest a lightning rod - Discussed
- Iron sand manipulation (Electromaster) - Misaka Mikoto, Level 5
- Though not Harumi's propensity for undressing is still retained, it is not originally an urban legend in the original manga. The episode shows for the first time the use of urban legends as a plot device, something that would form nearly the entirety of Toaru Kagaku no Railgun's plot.
- Touma, in the original manga, has never met Kiyama Harumi.
- Dengeki Daioh, the magazine where the Toaru Kagaku no Railgun manga is featured in this episode, being the magazine where Mikoto picks up. It is the November 2009 issue, released on October. The magazine shows an announcement regarding the Shakugan no Shana S OVA, feautring Shana and Sakai Chigusa, as well as an advertisement of Asura Cryin' and Love Allergen. Most importantly, it also features an advertisement for Toaru Kagaku no Railgun.
- Tsundere is a character archtype that refers to a character that is initially cold and even hostile towards another person before gradually showing his or her warm side over time. Harumi tries to reference this during the episode.
- The car that Harumi drives looks like a Lamborghini Gallardo.
- All urban legends referenced in the episode are based on actual events or phenomenon in the Toaru Majutsu no Index timeline. The wind turbines turning other way urban legend, is a reference to episode 14, where the Sister clones use their powers to help Touma defeat Accelerator. The Imaginary Number District is also referenced, as well as Touma's Imagine Breaker.
- AIM is referenced, being first introduced in episode 21.
- The cover on the urban legends magazine depicts the outside Tokiwadai Dormitory in false color.
- If both the urban legend about the Stripper Lady and the man who can negate all other abilities true, then are the other urban legends true as well?
- What is the true nature of the boy who can negate Mikoto's power, and is Mikoto's power the only one he can negate?
- Why does the woman who likes to strip have eyebags?
- Mikoto: "Hey! That wasn't scary at all!"―To Saten, after hearing the latter's story about the "Stripping Lady."
- Mikoto: "You shouldn't read such pointless sites. Besides, we shouldn't be bothering with urban legends. This is the Academy City, after all."―To Saten, regarding urban legends.
- Touma: "You totally ruined my "get out of trouble by pretending to be a friend" plan!"―To Mikoto after she busted him.
- Touma: "Aren't you guys embarrassed? It's pathetic, surrounding one little girl like this. Besides, take a good look at the person you're dealing with. She's still a brat! You saw that just now, right? That crude, disrespectful attitude towards her elders. Even though she looks like a young lady, she's still in that rebellious period. She's that kind of brat!"―A classic Touma speech towards the thugs, regarding Mikoto's personality.
- Harumi: "I've been walking in this blazing sun for quite a while. I'm soaked in sweat."―After removing her shirt.
- Touma: "It's all a misunderstanding!"―Said after being accused of attacking and disrobing Harumi.
- Harumi: "You know, when a girl behaves all cold towards the guy she likes. It was popular a while back... Tsun... Tsun... Tsundara? No... Tsunjire?"―Harumi trying to say tsundere.
- Touma: "It's a massacre... My vital source of protein... After all this... After lining up for two hours..."―Touma lamenting his loss of cheaply bought eggs.
- Touma: "I got it. If that'll make you happy, I'll take you on."―To Mikoto.
- Touma: ""Liar! You were like this, just about crying, and when I raised my fist, you—―To Mikoto.
- Kuroko: Stripper curse away!"―To Mikoto as Kuroko tries to force a pair of panties on her.
- Harumi: "So she's the legendary Level 5, huh. What an interesting girl."