Mikoto’s plan is to hack the terminal speaking to Tree Diagram in orbit, in order to shut down the Level 6 Shift program, or at least create confusion while she destroys the remainder of the project. Meanwhile, MISAKA 10032 makes Touma adopt a stray kitten. Mikoto infiltrates the Tree Diagram facility all too easily, finds it dusty and long abandoned, and finds reports of the Tree Diagram’s destruction. While waiting for Touma outside a bookstore, Accelerator and MISAKA 10031 arrive, and 10032 goes with them to commence the next experiment.
Mikoto hates it when humans live their lives according to the data and plans laid out for them by machines. It’s a point Gargantia made throughout its run: humans need to be able to think for themselves and make their own choices, even if those choices aren’t always perfect. As we hit the halfway point, Mikoto seemingly finds herself back at square one, with no Tree Diagram to hack and a new plan needed to end the Shift Project. Meanwhile Touma has an encounter with a MISAKA clone similar to Mikoto’s first encounter with the clone who would eventually be viciously murdered before her eyes by the despicable Accelerator (though we love that soulful theme that plays whenever he’s tangling with the sisters, which we also heard in episode five).
From Touma’s perspective MISAKA is neither a clone nor cannon fodder living on borrowed time. She gets sad and mad and annoyed; feels sympathy for a helpless kitten, knows how to guilt-trip him into taking it in. She’s a person; no less worthy of life than the original. We have no doubt that if Touma follows her to her meeting with Accelerator, he too will know the horrors and awfulness that Academy City condones. Only unlike Mikoto, Touma can negate Accelerator’s esper powers with Imagine Breaker. Biribiri has tried doing things on her own, but she’s never been able to last long against the ‘rator. Touma could even the odds, were he inclined to involve himself. And as we all know, he’s never been lucky enough to avoid such situations.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
Mikoto crosses paths with Kamijou Touma while he’s wrestling with a money-stealing vending machine. Kuroko rushes to the two of them in horror, but leaves when she realizes they’re not a couple and Mikoto is happy. A MISAKA clone then shows up, ruining Mikoto’s mood when she tells her the Level 6 Shift project is proceeding on schedule. She does some digging and learns 183 facilities have been contracted for the project, and realizes all of Academy City may be in on it, so she decides to take the whole city on, even if she has to oppose Kuroko and Judgment.
No rest for the weary…well, hardly any, as Mikoto doesn’t have much time with Kamijou Touma putting her at ease. This episode started with an ordinary guy (who can negate any esper power) and an ordinary girl (who can summon lightning on a whim) having a few precious normal moments. But by the end, Mikoto is almost certain she’ll have to shed any hope of living a normal life if she wants to deliver justice to those who wronged her and her clones, the dead of which now number 10,021.
But while Mikoto is going to take on this massive burden, she can’t abide the clones getting all up in her face; that just makes things worse. Sure enough, by episode’s end Accelerator is chewing on the ear (we think) of the clone who meets with Mikoto. We learn how he became involved with the Level 6 Project, and well, it doesn’t really do much to humanize him; he basically joined up because he liked how fucked up the human experiments were. So yeah, still a heel. And while Mikoto is determined to keep Kuroko out of the impending action, she’s also conscious of the fact they may not be on the same side when the shit hits the fan.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
During a lull in the fighting, Mikoto notices that Frenda didn’t clean up all of her bombs before leaving, so when she confronts Mugino, she has an army of dolls she can control with magnetism. Mugino destroys most of them by her refracting beam with silicon chips, and reveals that she’s the Meltdowner, fourth-strongest esper. One doll smacks her in the head, and while she’s out, Mikoto heads to the command center and destroys the remaining equipment, completing her mission. Mugino wakes up and their fight continues, until Mikoto lures her onto a catwalk above a large pit and uses Frenda’s explosive tape to send her falling. Mikoto escapes and spends the night in a hotel. The news says the company she was attacking has declared bankruptcy. Then she bumps into Kamijou Touma.
Once we learn that Mugino is the fourth-strongest esper in Academy City, we knew Mikoto was going to have a hard time staying alive, let alone defeating her far less-winded opponent. If what Mugino says is true, the rankings are somewhat arbitrary anyway, so for all Mikoto knows, she’s actually less powerful or evenly-matched. That means a direct attack won’t work; she has to think outside the box. Her saving grace is Frenda’s carelessness in leaving behind so much material Mikoto can use against Mugino. This diminishes (if not outright cancels out) all of the cunning and ingenuity she demonstrated whilst softening Mikoto up for her boss. But while it was a case of Villains Acting Stupidly, in her defense she didn’t expect to be so quickly dismissed by said boss.
As we predicted last week, going it alone against even a wounded Mikoto was a bad choice on Mugino’s part. She allowed her pride and desire to be seen as someone who defeated the Railgun in a fair fight drive her judgment, and while up to this point ITEM was is complete control of the situation, her selfish decision combined with Frenda’s goof-up led to Railgun escaping their clutches and living to fight another day (we like how Mikoto extended a lifeline to Mugino at the last minute, only to have it swiped away.) The next morning after visiting the last facility, which is abandoned and inoperative, she reads that headline and thinks for a second that it might be over. But nothing’s over. There’s still darkness in the city that must be rooted out. The odds may never be in Mikoto’s favor, but she won’t stop moving forward.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- Wow, Frenda left a shitload of bombs at that facility! And Mikoto was able to modify them to be manipulated in no time at all…
- Mugino clearly resents the fact that a uppity, puny little girl is ranked higher than her. Mikoto uses her vanity against her by calling her an old hag in turn.
- While Frenda told Mikoto she couldn’t care less about the morals of her client, Mugino decides to learn more about the project they’re working on, and learns something even we might not know.
- Hi Touma! Seeing as how he’s in the OP, it was only a matter of time before he showed up. With his help Mikoto probably could have easily defeated Mugino, but he was probably asleep in bed during that battle, so…