Previously, Frenda disclosed ITEM’s location to Kakine. He immediately waltzes into their HQ, causing Mugino to flee, before he incapacitates the remaining members. His target? Rikou Takitsubo. He realised that she’s the only threat to his plan, thanks to her ability of tracking down AIM dispersion fields. So he did the logical thing and tried to eliminate her. As for why he gave up on killing her, who knows. I can see why he’d realise that she didn’t have longer to live anyway due to the ability crystals, yet I remain unconvinced. Why would he care about eliminating one girl who could still represent a small statistical threat to him in less than a second, when he’s shown to not care for innocent lives? But at least it gave a platform for an unexpected hero to rise, when it seemed like all hope might have been lost for ITEM.
Another Level Zero Hero
Hamazura demonstrates that it isn’t all about levels, when he defiantly opposes both Kakine and Mugino in the space of a single day. Having previously held a pessimistic attitude with regards to level differences, he puts that aside for the sake of protecting the girl he cares for. To be fair, Takitsubou has been the only person out of ITEM’s posse who didn’t treat him like a lackey. Plus, she seems like the most down to earth member, perhaps becoming a singular source of normalcy within Hamazura’s day to day operations. To that end, he stands up to Kakine. Although I don’t think it was the defining factor that changed his mind in terms of killing Takitsubou, it definitely bought enough time. By that, I reckon Kakine presumably left in a hurry to complete the next stage of his plan.
Having become aware of the fact that Takitsubou’s body couldn’t handle any more crystals, Hamazura realises that he needs to protect her from Mugino. Knowing Mugino’s perfectionist personality, one unable to accept total defeat and humiliation at Kakine’s hand, he realises that she will force Takitsubou to overdose on the ability crystals just so that she can get back at Kakine. And so he tries to run away. But left with no choice, he eventually decides to confront her.
Obviously, a Level 0 would stand no chance if a Level 5 ever got serious. She completely obliterates Hamazura’s hiding place in an instant, reducing everything to rubble with her particle beams. But Mugino severely underestimated him, electing to play with her food, heavily paying the price for it. A whole eye and a couple of bullets fired into her? Yeah, not a good trade off for sticking a screwdriver into his ear. And that was a pretty clean victory for Hamazura I’d say. But from what I’ve heard being mentioned by those familiar with the source material, it sounds like JC Staff cut out the fiery attitude and high intelligence that Hamazura demonstrated in this encounter, reducing him to a scurrying rat who was utterly afraid of Mugino. I have to admit, even though I enjoyed the way the encounter played out, I’m disappointed that they downplayed Hamazura very hard. However, in terms of the episode as a whole, this was merely an entree for the main course.
Accelerator vs Dark Matter
Kakine goes straight for Accelerator’s only weakness – Last Order. Fortunately, Uiharu refuses to give away Last Order’s location, even though she was having her shoulder dislocated. This buys enough time for Accelerator to show up, and while his face doesn’t show it, he’s definitely pissed beyond belief. The two exchange veiled pleasantries before they begin to duke it out. They trade blow for blow, pitting dark energy vortexes against white angelic powers. But for all his angelic aura, Kakine is definitely not any kind of saint. He’s an evil person who doesn’t care about the lives of passing bystanders. Regardless, as Accelerator put it himself, this is where he can truly sets himself apart from Kakine. While it looked like a fairly even fight, if not in favour of Kakine, Accelerator had been consciously protecting innocent bystanders from getting caught up in the deadly range of clashing abilities. And this was all before he figured out what he was dealing with. Once he learned how to compute Dark Matter into his vector calculations, he wipes the floor with Kakine. And he’s even about to nonchalantly kill him off, before Yomikawa intervenes. You’d think it was over, without much fanfare.
But then, Kakine makes the biggest mistake I’ve ever seen a Raildex character make. He stabs Yomikawa through the back, and seeing his family member harmed causes Accelerator to ascend like an apocalyptic catastrophe. He quite literally explodes with utter hatred, sprouting two dark wings while screaming out in rage. The moment gave me some really heavy chills and you could really feel Accelerator’s pain and anger, as his rationality burst apart at the seams. The subsequent pummelling was one heck of an awesome beatdown, because it isn’t everyday we see a calamity tier individual be at the mercy of a higher power, and there’s no denying that Kakine deserved every bit of it based on what we’ve seen so far. But it was pretty terrifying because he has no control over this new form. However, Last Order steps in to stop Accelerator. She steps in to prevent him from falling further into the darkness, and to bring him back into the light. It made for such a symbolic moment. Accelerator had no control over any aspect of his power, other than preventing himself from harming Last Order, showing just how deeply he cares for her and how much hope she brings to him. For such an individual steeped in rivers of blood, resulting in copious amounts of self-loathing and regret, Last Order certainly serves as Accelerator’s beacon for salvation. So it was really heartwarming when she hugged him and reassured him that everything would be okay. And you have to admit, he’s come along quite far since eating a knuckle sandwich comprising of the Imagine Breaker. What a life-changer that turned out to be.
Let’s face it, there were definitely areas where this episode failed to live up to expectations. That’s a whole Level 5 esper fight they cut out between Mugino and Kakine. Think of how epic it could have been! They also reduced much of Hamazura’s heroism. And while not as important, they also didn’t show us Frenda’s grisly demise. Perhaps a bit too grisly for regular TV, but it would have done a fine job of hammering home how deranged Mugino had become. Nevertheless, this episode was still full of awesome moments that made it worthwhile. Accelerator vs Kakine was truly epic, especially once Accelerator sprouted black wings and went crazy with anger, before Last Order calmed him down. That little bundle of cuteness truly believed in Accelerator’s inherent goodness, and she was confident that he’d never hurt her, even though he could barely restrain those black wings of destruction from obliterating her.
So, I’m beginning to see a trend here. Both Hamazura and Accelerator used to be real scumbags. However, that all changed after Touma punched them, shattering their illusions so to speak, forcing them to reconsider their previous perspectives. My proposition? Forget about criminal correction facilities. Since it seems so effective, Academy City should hire Touma to punch people day in day out, to help them turn over a new leaf. Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading my post. Sorry about the delays – something something Competition Law formative essay deadline. And yeah, look forwards to seeing the story return to Touma & Friends!