「学習装置（テスタメント）」 (Gakushuu Souchi (Tesutamento))
“Learning Device (Testament)”
She doesn’t have a single line to her name in this entire sequel, but Hyouka makes a return in the big way due to Aleister’s blasphemous act of turning her into an artificial angel to deal with religious fanatics (i.e. Vento). While Hyouka is mostly an experimental guinea pig and the focus of Touma’s righteousness at the moment, it’s nice to see the pinnacle of science in the world, Academy City, finally dealing with the attacks from the Roman Catholic Church itself. It’s about time Aleister stopped relying on a Level 0 to fend off those crazy oversea factions who want to wipe his city off the face of the Earth. I say let the extremists fight amongst themselves.
Of course, there won’t be any winners from that haphazard attitude when Aleister’s out to use “Fuse Kazakiri” to expand Academy City’s AIM field, a.k.a. Imaginary Number District, to the entire world and use it to cause magicians to go out of control and self-destruct. However, it is refreshing to see the magic/science power struggle tip in favor of science for a change, as Vento continues to cough up blood from using her powers. The messed up nature of it all only really sinks in when I see the twisted Kihara carrying his plan out, kidnapping Last Order so that they can use the Testament device to inject a virus into her and get the Sisters to do their bidding. It may be science, but it’s the shady kind of science that doesn’t see clones as anything more than biological tools — something that doesn’t sit well with Touma or Accelerator.
Interestingly enough, it’s Touma and Index’s concern for Hyouka that serves as a fail-safe of sorts for Aleister. If Touma were to use his Imagine Breaker to erase her, the very manifestation of the AIM field that Aleister’s created in Academy City would be gone and his whole angel project with it. It’s pretty clear that things won’t go down that route though, as our righteous protagonist won’t settle for such a compromising solution and will continue searching for a way to save anyone and everyone. The benefit of that, at least from my standpoint, is how Accelerator is doing what he can to put a stop it on the Last Order side of things. I’m still a bit dumbfounded by how they’re working together (sort of) without realizing who the other person is, but it does make for some interesting conversation between them. Also, with the added support from Mikoto, this probably marks the first time our four main characters are in it together and has Accelerator throwing skyscrapers in a fit of rage just because he can.
In light of Aleister’s actions, it feels like Vento’s been suddenly switched to a victimized role, which is completely absurd when she’s the invader and is taking people down with her Divine Punishment by making them want to kill her. Incidentally, the whole Fuse Kazakiri ordeal does make it easy to forget that she was after Touma at one point, seeing as she’s more concerned about that now. This change-up could probably be considered one of the series’ trademark mid-arc plot twists, except unlike the Daihasei one, they actually showed how the original problem was eclipsed by a bigger one. My only minor complaint is with the way a lot of the storytelling was glossed over, making it a little harder to follow than it should have been. Those familiar with the light novels probably won’t have this problem, whereas anime-only viewers like me had to make a few assumptions from the dialogue to put it all together.