As Hyouka returns to normal, Touma runs to her, however upon seeing the destruction around her Hyouka curses her own existence and begs him to use his right hand to end her. But he would rather cut it off than destroy any of his friends and tries to convince her that she still saved a lot of people.
Back where Accelerator is, Mikoto having seen the wings he bore tries to ask Index about what happened but instead she runs off to find some help. Leaving him alone to meet a man who stays in the shadows who using telepathic espers, explains part of the situation and asks for his assistance, and while he wants nothing to do with it at first, Accelerator accepts his proposition.
Along the outskirts of the city, Acqua of the Back receives a call from a fellow member of God’s Right Seat, Terra of the Left who inquires about where he is and being the type to take his enemies head-on, Acqua offers to head back and take care of their objective by eliminating their target and capturing Academy City. However seeing some reuse value in it he tells him to bring Vento back instead, an order from Fiamma of the Right. The next morning at a certain hospital, the Frog-faced Doctor contacts Crowely and warns him not to mess around with his patients, something he should also understand being one himself, but instead he intends to continue.
During the lunch break at a certain high school, Touma and Himegami eat their handmade lunches together, each commenting on the others. At one point he offers her a potato from his and while she happily accepts it, she starts to choke, in a panic Touma starts to rub her back but accidentally undoes her bra and receives a punch to the gut for it. He meets Seiri after this who happens to be eating ‘nutritional’ bread and when he also offers her a potato, she tells him that she’s wearing a front hook bra today.
When their classmates return there’s talk of how a war a could start, which could not only affect travel restrictions but also the price of food or petroleum, during all of this Touma remains silent and when Seiri asks about it he quickly says that they should have some hotpots before it’s too late. Both Aogami and Tsuchimikado overhear this and it quickly turns into a class dinner trip, which Seiri takes charge of with her Fukiyose Forehead Deluxe. As they return to their students, Komoe talks with Yomikawa about how she’s taken in Awaki. So later on their entire class goes to a Sukiyaki restaurant, where Kome talks about how parents are trying to pull their children out of Academy City and Touma struggles to get some meat.
After this Touma meets Tsuchimikado who tells him that the impending war isn’t his fault and that from this point on the battles they’ll face are going to get harder, and because of this Touma intends to learn English so that he can preach to people who don’t understand Japanese. In a training facility Accelerator is trying to figure out which weapon would suit him best when he meets another member of GROUP, Unabara Mitsuki who informs him that both his face and name are fake, along with how they’ll be able to double the amount of time his battery will last. He then goes on to explain that Academy City is currently attempting to fortify itself, however due to this Skill-Out has taken advantage of the situation doing things that may be harmless at first, but work together to achieve a much greater objective. So because of Anti-Skill being preoccupied, GROUP‘s job is to help deal with them.
In order to do this as quickly as possible, Accelerator’s first job is to aid in eliminating Skill-Out‘s head, Komaba Ritoku, and as he heads in he receives a call from Tsuchimikado who warns him not to trust anyone in their group, reminding him that they both have people to protect. Deeper inside, Musujime Awaki, also a member of GROUP takes out the members of Skill-Out until she comes face to face with Ritoku.
While I was kind of on the fence about the idea of the first SS volume being partly adapted into the second season instead of giving the arc we’ve just came out of a bit more time, in the end it made for a pretty fun addition. While being accompanied by the epilogue for that arc it managed to convey the current state of Academy City quite well.
Hyouka’s moment during the epilogue was also kind of nice for what it was, as in the previous season she had also broken down in a similar way in how she regarded herself as a monster. So to see Touma come in to convince her otherwise and that despite that she had ended up saving so many people was nice to see. As if anything it looked as if it was worse for her this time around, and she seriously just wanted Touma to ‘end’ her. At the same time it also showed just how much Touma valued his friends, choosing to lose his Imagine Breaker than use it to destroy them.
Almost working together with the content covered from the SS volume, both the epilogue and that seemed to hint that there was something brimming on the horizon for the series, where the tension between the magic and science sides could break out into a full blown war. With the epilogue showing or hinting towards the possible opponents that Touma may have to face, as it this point it isn’t too much to believe that he may end up having to face each one at some point. Terra of the Left being voiced by Houchu Otsuka was also something that I liked about this, he’s simply one of those voice actors who can end up making a character sound pretty awesome. In the SS content however, this feeling was just that, acting as more of an atmosphere due to how the characters reacted to it, for which Touma seemed to feel guilty about. In all though, this feels like it could lead to some big things ahead in the story.
Despite this though most of the content covered from the SS almost felt like something lighthearted on the side, as even with this tense sort of atmosphere it still chose to do things like Touma and Himegami eating lunch together (with his misfortune accidentally unhooking her bra), and having some more time for the fun sort of interactions between him and Seiri. Not to mention how it all eventually led to their whole class going out for hotpot, something generally associated with these sorts of things. After this though, there was also the way in which Touma had decided to learn English, which while the feeling to the scene may have seemed serious at first it was suddenly changed by this declaration. Which in itself is actually kind of logical in a way, because as much as we know how about how Touma likes making speeches or preaching to his opponents, he’s always been lucky that they all actually understood Japanese.
While Touma’s side may have been like this though, Accelerator’s side as he became a member of GROUP was quite the opposite, opting for something a bit more serious to suit the atmosphere surrounding it. Giving an idea as to what was happening to Academy City in the wake of it, how it was forced to rely on other methods to get things done. With the arrival of GROUP though, it also meant that we were able to see some of the old characters, ranging from
Etzali Unabara Mitsuki making a return and acting as the one to show Accelerator around, to Awaki returning as her old self with what appears to be an upgrade of some sort. However the only problem that I had with this though, was how Accelerator and Tsuchimikado appeared to already know each other and even treated him as something of an upperclassman in this sort of stuff. Surprisingly though, these four unlikely allies work rather well together so I’m looking forward to seeing them again at some point after all of this.
For what they were Skill-Out was also something that I found pretty interesting in this episode, as from what we saw of them in the filler episodes of the Railgun anime they appeared to be nothing more than street punks who had access to weapons and ganged up on espers, ultimately being pretty unimpressive. However what we saw in this episode almost seemed to show that they were far more than your standard delinquents, or that they were at least under Komaba Ritoku. As even up against the hi-tech security of Academy City they still had their own ways of evading it, and proved to be a major thorn in Anti-Skill’s side. Something that was actually pretty impressive when you consider that they’re just a bunch of kids using what they have on hand.