When Chiyu catches Haru and Kuroyukihime leaving his apartment block in the morning, she gets upset, but Taku talks her down, but she wants to become part of the game. Hime tells Haru and Taku about the bond between a guardian and his/her protege. Now at Level 4, Haru is able to access the “real” Accel World, a permanent city that mirrors Tokyo, and where there is no time limit or limit to what can be done there. He, Hime, Taku and Niko go there to confront Chrome Disaster, but instead end up ambushed in a ravine, surrounded by other linkers led by the Yellow King, Radio.
This series has well-defined strengths and weaknesses, and the “Haru Harem” element definitely falls within the latter category, often unnecessarily rearing its tiresome head at random times, indeed to fill time. This week’s cold open, in which Niko and Hime fight over Haru, is the kind of thing we could do with less of. We can tolerate the harem as long as it’s not constantly played for lame comedy, occupying time better spent developing the plot and characters. Something we can get behind: the guardian-protege dynamic, something both Hime and Niko, as powerful players in Accel World, both have experience, not all of it pleasent.
When Haru presses her, Hime doesn’t disclose who her guardian was, only that he was someone she cared for deeply – past tense – and now someone she considers her worst enemy. Haru tells her it won’t turn out like that with them; he’ll uninstall the game before he’ll harm her. Meanwhile, Niko, small and young as she is, not only admires and respects Hime (though she’d never tell her to her face), but also feels a sizable degree of guilt for setting her underling on the path that led to him becoming Chrome Disaster. It’s her mess, and as his guardian, she has to clean it up. The consequences for those who rise and prosper in the Accel World (which is really awesome-looking, btw) is far more compelling than the girls fighting over Haru.
Rating: 6 (Good)
Car Cameo: There are a lot of made-up futuristic cars in this series, but sometimes a real one drives by, like this Toyota Prius.