Even with her ability, Awaki finds herself overwhelmed and defeated by Komaba Ritoku and his use of ‘Hard Taping‘, the same sort of material used in power suits and even with careful use it’s something which will damage his own body as well.
Soon after this Accelerator finds himself faced with him as well, where this time he hints that the actions of Skillout really aren’t that bad and when faced with his esper mode, Ritoku deploys Chaff Seeds to cancel out the signal from the Misaka Network. With this Accelerator finds himself powerless, but he manages to dispel them by ventilating the area and is able to use his esper mode again. This time determined to teach the Level 0 a lesson for picking a fight with a Level 5 and taking no chances, and when he belittles him by making it clear that Skillout‘s actions put the noose around his neck, Ritoku answers him by asking what he would do in his situation. And accepting his fate he looks at the picture of a elementary schooler on his phone, and fires his gun at Accelerator.
Following this, Accelerator receives a call about the cleanup arrangements from Unabara and Awaki reveals that she was able to survive, even that she was able to help Accelerator during his fight. As he heads back, Accelerator does some ‘overtime’ with the numbers on Ritoku’s phone, and as he thinks about heading to a convenience store, he ends up being clung onto by a drunk Misaka Misuzu who asks for directions. Shortly after this Touma and Index happen to meet her as well, where she ends up doing the same thing to Touma and exchanges contact details with him.
As Accelerator thinks about who he’s just met, one of his calls is intercepted by GROUP‘s backer who informs him of the order to eliminate Misuzu, since as the mother of Misaka Mikoto she’s something of a figurehead for the parents withdrawing their children from Academy City. Of course, Accelerator turns this down but has his abilities limited in return, so he decides to stop them to piss them off and as he’s about to do this he spots the weakest Level 0 who managed to beat him down but decides to put personal grudges aside. At the university where Misuzu is studying, members of Skillout led by Hamazura Shiage have accepted the mission to eliminate her.
Having picked up a piece of bulletproof glass, Touma makes his way to rescue Misuzu and uses it to shield himself from Skillout‘s bullets, and when things are looking bleak, Accelerator takes out the members of Skillout from above, allowing Touma and Misuzu to escape. However even though they managed to escape, Touma is now faced with Hamazura Shiage, who explains that completing this mission is the only way he could save Skillout from being wiped out after Ritoku was killed, and when he learns that Touma was just someone who wanted to help. He laughs at himself for how he’s going to die without being caught in a trap or used as a pawn in some grand plan, and unable to accept it he rushes forward, facing Touma in a brawl between two Level 0s.
Touma manages to send him flying back and tells him that as a Level 0 himself, his actions are only making the Level 0s who live their lives peacefully look bad, in other words he and Skillout are nothing more than minuses. Going as far as to question why they don’t use their power for good instead of beating up espers and telling him that Ritoku had something that he lacked, despite this though Shiage still insists on fighting him so Touma breaks his illusion. Following this Touma is taken away in an ambulance, where Misuzu tells him that she isn’t worried as long as kids like him are around to protect Mikoto, and has decided to leave her in Academy City. In a dark alleyway, the other members of GROUP meet up with Accelerator and properly decide to work together.
During the epilogue life goes on as normal for the characters, as Mikoto tries sending a message, Kuroko and Uiharu struggle with paperwork, and Kanzaki even tries to figure out how to use the washing machine. Over one of their drinking sessions, Yomikawa also mentions to Komoe about a power suit demonstration, hinting at what will be the next arc to come. Elsewhere Seiri uses the shoulder massager that Aogami had been interested in, and at a certain hospital Last Order opens her eyes and looks forward to seeing that person again. In another room though, Index bites onto Touma’s head when she comes to visit with Hyouka.
As the finale to this season, this episode may have been kind of lackluster compared to some of those before but when you think of it and the episode before this one as more of an epilogue to the season as a whole, it actually functioned quite well. That said though this ended up being a fun episode as once again we saw things intersect between Touma and Accelerator, Misuzu making a return, and even the introduction of someone who will eventually become one of the three protagonists in the series.
The fight with Komaba Ritoku in this episode was really one of the things that I liked, as even though it may have been GROUP‘s mission to eliminate him, from the side we saw of him in this episode he really wasn’t all that bad. As the actions he took were effectively for the sake of all the Level 0s in the city, and just like the Hard Taping he used, he was prepared to accept what was ever thrown at him for them. Serving as one of those antagonists who you know isn’t bad at all, and if anything actually deserved to escape, but at the same time there just isn’t a way out for him. So I actually felt pretty sad to see him go, but at the same time I guess he goes to show just how ambiguous the missions that GROUP performs are.
Seeing Misuzu again in this episode also turned out to be pretty fun, since as if the mother who likes to troll her daughter that we saw during the Daihasesai arc wasn’t enough, we were met with just what happens when she drinks. Which led to some fun situations as she attempted to cling to Touma and Accelerator. However it wasn’t just limited to that, as in a way her reappearance also served to showcase one of the effects that the changing situation in Academy City was starting to have, parents attempting to withdraw their children. Something that had been mentioned in the last episode but was also overlooked, so seeing that her reappearance led to some fun scenes and was able to convey the changing situation a bit as well, it was one of the things that I liked about this episode.
The intersection between Touma’s side of the story and Accelerator’s side were also great this time around, as while I didn’t think that it was as good as it was during the last arc, where they had no idea who the other was. This time around it was kind of the opposite, at least for Accelerator that is, where the glimpse of a certain high schooler running by was enough to get him riled up and he probably would have picked a fight with him again if he had the time. For what it was though this was something that was completely unexpected for me, as I thought that them ‘meeting again’ was just a troll thrown in by J.C.Staff for the preview to the finale.
Without a doubt though, one of the parts that will stood out the most though was the introduction of Hamazura Shiage, who despite appearing as some random punk will surprisingly go on to play a more important role. Of what we saw in this episode though, I kind of liked him, he came across as a sort of goodhearted guy who was doing things that he didn’t really want to do out of desperation, even starting to crack as the episode went on. The fact that he’s voiced by Satoshi Hino was something that turned out to be pretty interesting as well, being voiced by one of J.C.Staff’s regulars and also the same guy who voices Takagi in the Bakuman anime, while Touma and Accelerator’s voice actors voice Mashiro and Eiji respectively. In all though, the brawl he had with Touma also made for a pretty cool fight, as short as it was, and if anything he needed to have his illusion broken, so like Accelerator before him I’m interested to see what sort of impact Touma’s punch had on him.
So we finally reach the end of another season, and in a way I kind of thought it was better than the first as unlike it there was something of an overarching villain that made the individual arcs feel more connected, and there was already a good range of characters for them. Not to mention the ones introduced in this season. Making it better for the stories it had to tell, while I thought that the first season had a better atmosphere to it and was just paced better in general. Since quite a few points/arcs during this season were so rushed you could easily tell that things were being blatantly skipped over.
Having done an end paragraph for my opinions on each arc before, I may as well take the chance to talk about this one and the one that preceded it, so here goes. To start with there was no doubt that it was my favourite arc so far, as while it may have already had that calm before the storm effect that the slice of life antics gave it before the shit hit the fan, it could also be considered the first arc where magic and science truly spiraled into one. Not to mention that it also had Accelerator truly making his debut as a protagonist alongside Touma, giving him his very own villain, Kihara Amata to deal with while Touma was busy with Bento. Both of them also made great villains as well, as Vento was a step up for Touma and Kihara was not only twisted enough to pull it off, but his position as Accelerator’s “teacher” made him perfect for the role. One of the other parts that I liked about it was also the way that our two protagonist’s stories crossed over as well, be it swapping their heroines or unknowingly talking to the other.
The content covered from the SS novel also turned out to be pretty fun as well, and more than anything it worked to show that the events of the previous arc had left a bigger mark than any before it, hinting at growing tensions and even a war on the horizon. It’s because of this that I thought it made for a great epilogue to the season as a whole, as it showed the direction that the series would be heading after this and if anything, the epilogue from the previous arc had been rather lacking. This sort of stuff aside though, the addition of GROUP also turned out to be pretty fun as it took four fairly fun characters who you wouldn’t think would work that well together or even get along, and made them do just that. Seeing Misuzu again also turned out to be pretty fun as well and I was interested to see how Shiage would turn out, so his introduction was also something I was looking forward to.
But at the same time there was also that feeling that this sort of stuff really could have been left out, as given the pacing issues that this season had already been plagued with, throwing in an additional novel to partly adapt really wasn’t something that could be considered a good idea. Especially when these two episodes could have been used to better pace and explain the events of the previous arc, as compared to the 5.66 novels that the first season covered, this one covered around eight, and while it may have worked in some cases it still wasn’t something that I thought was a good idea overall.
I also ended up liking a fair few of the characters that were introduced in this season as well, as even though there were already some good characters introduced in the first season, and they were mostly all used again in this season. There were also quite a few good ones introduced in this season as well, with the likes of Orsola, Oriana, Seiri, Saiji, and Awaki coming to mind as I type this, and most of them even made a return outside of their introductory arcs. Something which may have happened in the previous season, but not to the same extent.
So all up I enjoyed this season quite a lot and if it weren’t for the rushed pacing it would have definitely ended up better than the first, but that said I also ended up enjoying most of the arcs a bit more than those of the first season, which were for the most part kind of hit or miss. And it was just fun watching the old characters return while new ones were also thrown in as it went on.