To Aru Majutsu no Index – 22
After lunch, Touma, Index, and Hyouka wander around the underground shopping center, and the two girls go off to have some cosplay pictures taken while Touma answers a phone call. Touma can’t figure out who’s on the other end because it’s garbled up, and after hanging up, he accidentally sees Index and Hyouka changing again. The girls still get their picture taken though, and the group is then approached by a member of Judgment who informs them that there is a terrorist around. Everyone is being evacuated, but before Touma and company can reach the exit, they are discovered by one of Sherry Cromwell’s golem eyes. With the mage about to act, the entire area gets locked down, so Touma and the girls are trapped inside. Fortunately they’re found by Kuroko and Mikoto who inform them that a large-scale battle might occur. Index and Mikoto start arguing because they’re suspicious of each other’s relationship with Touma, so Kuroko decides to teleport those two out to safety first, leaving Touma and Hyouka by themselves for a little while.
When Touma then hears an explosion and gunfire in the distance, he decides to go stop the mage and leaves Hyouka by herself to wait for Kuroko. He finds the Anti-Skills force battling Cromwell and her golem, but Yomikawa and her men are in pretty bad shape, so Touma steps forward to face the challenge. Recognizing Touma as the Imagine Breaker, Cromwell introduces herself and surprises him with the fact that she’s from Necessarius. The reason she’s here is because she’s trying to start a war, and she actually wants people to know that she’s from the church. As Touma tries to figure out how to combat her golem, Hyouka arrives on the scene, and although Touma tries to get her to cover, he doesn’t reach her in time: the golem smacks the ground, and a piece of the debris nails Hyouka in the head. When Touma checks to make sure she’s still alive, he’s realizes that the left half of her head is missing. It is not, however, a bloody mess. Instead, he can see clearly into her head and is shocked by the object rotating inside of it.
When Hyouka regains consciousness and sees the hole in her head, she freaks out and runs away from Touma, but she heads right towards Cromwell’s golem, and it knocks her down. Hyouka gets back up though and flees further into the dark tunnel that is this shopping center. Cromwell decides to chase her, and that leaves Touma by himself to figure out what’s going on. By chance, he suddenly gets a phone call from Komoe, and she notes that Himegami had tried to call him earlier. Komoe is calling about Hyouka, and she reveals that Hyouka didn’t show up on their school’s security cameras. She thinks that Hyouka and the AIM dispersion field are related, and she theorizes that Hyouka came from the slight power discharge of the espers in the city all piling up. Hyouka wouldn’t know anything about this if she always thought that she was human, but in truth, she’s a physical phenomenon created from the AIM dispersion fields. Having said that, Komoe also points out that Hyouka isn’t just an illusion without a life or a heart, and Touma is resolved to help her.
Meanwhile, Hyouka regenerates her face and her glasses, but she soon gets found by Cromwell and her golem. Cromwell already knows all about Hyouka and how she’s not really human, and she compares Hyouka to her golem, calling them both monsters. Fortunately, Touma arrives just in time to save Hyouka from being crushed.
Well that was a lot better than last week’s episode, but it bothers me still that there is no natural realization of what’s going on – Komoe had to call up Touma and tell him everything over the phone. That meant that they broke away from all the action for several minutes of mind-numbing technobabble, and it still doesn’t entirely make sense to me how Hyouka came to be. On the other hand, I did enjoy most of the rest of the episode. Seeing Index and Mikoto together was quite amusing, and it hadn’t really occurred to me before this episode that the two didn’t know each other. I wish though that Mikoto had stuck around instead of being teleported away from the action. She could have provided some much needed firepower, plus I just plain like her character more than Index or Hyouka. Speaking of which, I also don’t understand why it takes Kuroko so long to teleport away and back – theoretically she should have been able to come back to pick up Touma and Hyouka almost immediately.
I did laugh though at the very end of the episode with the overly dramatic shot of Touma saving Hyouka. Is he now so overpowered that he can confidently use his arm’s power without even facing his opponent? I’m reminded of a certain scene from Bleach… I doubt though that this confidence or power will carry over into the actual battle between him and Cromwell. Anyway, there are two more episodes left, so I assume next week won’t be the conclusion of all this. Normally I’d hope for the best, but in this case, I just hope they’re not dragged down by more technobabble.