Chubby, uncool, cowardly Arita Haruyuki is constantly bullied, and retreats to the Neuro-link to get away from reality. He meets Kuroyukihime, an upperclassman with a game called “Brain Buster” that lets them enter the “accelerated world,” which slows a second down to nearly 17 minutes. The cost of such power is for him to fight in duels with other Burst Linkers. Winning nets ten points, losing costs ten, and accelerating costs one. Initially unsure of his duel avatar, Silver Crow, he manages to outwit and defeat his first opponent. Hime is impressed, but his other friend Chiyu is suspicious of her.
Accel World begins with a two-parter that throws us right into the somewhat pitiful life of a very pitiful young man who is at least three feet shorter than everyone else and drawn more crudely. We can only infer that he is a dwarf. But he’s not a confident dwarf, oh no. This kid is about as pathetic as you can get. Even in The Future, bullies make him spend all his virtual lunch money on sweets for them, else his face find their fists. In the global network, this Haru kid is has a little cartoon pig avatar, perhaps reflecting his low opinion of himself.
All this changes when a young lady named Hime frees him of his oppressors and gives him a chance to become something more, if only in the virtual world. We won’t lie; there’s a lot of explaining and exposition, but this double episode manages to cover it all relatively deftly. Like Haru, we’re still wrapping our heads around this new game and all its intricacies, and there are plenty of them. Meanwhile, back in the real world, he may be small and plump and totally lacking in spine, but he has at least two girls looking out for him in Hime and Chiyu. Their rivalry, and his progression through Brain Buster, will likely shape the episodes to come. It’s a very zany, imaginative series with some nice fight animations, so we’ll stick with it for now.
Rating: 6 (Good)