Accel World – 24 (Fin)

Haru summons Gale Thruster and flies into the sky with Nomi, and is about to finish him when Lime Bell “heals” Nomi” with Citron Call. However, Chiyu reveals her power doesn’t heal, but turns back time. She’d been going along with Nomi waiting for her chance to revert Dusk Taker to a time before he had wings. Vice abandons him, and Haru defeats Nomi. Back in the real world, Haru and Taku’s names are cleared, and Nomi has no memories of Accel World. Haru returns Gale Thruster to Fuko, bringing Hime along so the two girls can reconcile.

Why did Nomi lose? Because he didn’t have any friends. If Haru were the friendless one, he’d have lost Accel World a long time ago. Luckily for him, despite his timid, pathetic personality and ridiculous physique, Haru has lots of friends to support him. He doesn’t coerce them with threats or blackmail; he’s just a nice guy. That’s ultimately his power: the power to get along. Nomi, meanwhile, pissed off Chiyu enough that she devised a devious long-term plan to put him in his place right at the moment he thought he was victorious.

Frankly, Haru & Co. did Nomi a favor; he was a horrible human being when he was a Burst Linker, though perhaps some of that was due to mistreatment by his brother’s hand. Again, we’re not shedding any tears for the guy, but his abrupt fate and change of personality was a mild shock, and he was certainly a symbol of what happened if Haru, Hime, or anyone else lost all their points (this also happened to Hime’s friend Megumi.) After beating Nomi, Haru basically gets lots of hugs and apologies, and life basically goes on. He also delivers also a loftily-worded, somewhat corny final speech. All in all not a bad ending.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Accel World – 23

The night of the duel, Chiyu accompanies Taku to Haru’s place. She was told to tell them she’d betray Nomi so they’d take her to the no-limits stage, where she’d then heal Nomi. But she begs them to take her anyway; they agree and jump into the Moonlit stage, where Nomi’s waiting. When Haru rushes him, he’s ambushed by Nomi’s ally Black Vice, while Nomi fights Taku. Haru briefly falls into Zero Fill, but thoughts of Hime pull him out and free him from the vice. Just when Nomi is about to kill Taku, his arm is torn off by a long-range attack by none other than Hime, who has arrived to take on Black Vice while letting Haru finish things with Nomi.

In planning for their sudden death duel with Nomi Seiji, Haru should have known that he was planning to tip the scales in his favor with some form of treachery. The words “fair” and “honest” have no meaning for him, but still, ever the hothead, Haru just rushes in alone with no plan except “Take this!” Oh well…maybe now he’s finally learned. This week we find out what makes Nomi tick with some in-fight exposition. You see, Nomi treats people like tools or disposable garbage because that’s how his big brother treated him. Eventually, everything he gained in Brain Burst was stolen from him, and he devoted himself to taking it all back and banishing his bro from the game. He succeeded, but only by becoming the very person he detested most.

Learning this about Nomi is obviously an attempt to humanize him somewhat, but considering everything he’s done since enduring the pain his brother cost him has revolved around purging himself of all capacity for human mercy or thought for others, it’s a tough sell; we still hate the little bastard. He calls the gang’s friendships “illusions”, while ironically depending on an (admittedly cool-looking) ally to help him contain Haru. Things go badly for the good guys, and it takes Hime literally riding in on her black horse to even the odds, while not doing all the work. Now, barring a few more tricks by Nomi – or perhaps he’s fresh out – Haru is free to take him on mano-a-mano. The final episode should be suitibly replete with sparks, explosions, yelling, and tears. But really…do we have any doubt who’s coming out on top?


Rating: 6 (Good)

Accel World – 18

Kuroyukihime is on a class retreat in Okinawa, sharing her room and much of her time with her friend Megumi, when she’s challenged to a duel by a local burst linker named Lagoon Dolphin AKA Asato Ruka, which Hime quickly wins. Ruka and her friend/protege Itosu Mana want her to meet their master. While talking with the middle schoolers, Hime loses track of time and ends up nearly ditching Megumi, who gets upset. Ruka and Mana’s master is Crikin, a Tokyo linker she knows, and he wasn’t going to settle for anyone less than the Black King.

Anyone pissed off by last week’s Chiyu twist and wanted some kind of resolution likely isn’t going to like this week’s digression to Okinawa, but we suppose all those new characters in the second-half OP had to be introduced at some point. Even Hime can’t help but think about Haru and whether he’s in trouble without her, and Megumi notices her distraction. Watching Megumi, it’s clear she’s very attached to Hime, and this trip isn’t turning out to be the love-in she’d (unrealistically) hoped for. Thanks to Haru, she sees even less of Hime than she previously did.

While we have no idea how this arc is going to go, we did get an odd vibe from the apology Megumi was about to make before her alarm went off: is she in some way, secretly involved in Brain Burst? Less mysterious were the hotheaded, loud-mouth tomboy that is Ruka, and her mousey “seer” pal Asato. They’re n00bs, but they have heart, and their master taught them to respect the Accel World, while not being overly paranoid. As for the master, Crikin, we only get a glimpse of him: he’s red, and theres a “monster” out there he needs Hime’s help defeating. Here’s hoping Chiyu doesn’t pop out of the shadows and heal the monster.


Rating: 5 (Average)

Accel World – 17

Three days after she left, Kuroyukihime calls Haru from Okinawa. Haru does not tell her about his recent problems with Nomi, only that he’ll get strong enough to protect her. But thanks to her help, Taku is able to determine when Nomi is accelerating to cheat on tests, and initiates a duel with him. While he starts out strong, Nomi uses incarnation to nearly defeat Cyan Pile. Haru begs him to take his points instead, and Nomi lets him enter the battle. He uses Gale Thruster to fly, and with incarnation and Taku’s help, brings Dusk Taker down. Before they can finish him, Lime Bell appears and completely heals Nomi.

Haru and Nomi remain at an impasse of understanding. Nomi treats Accel World like his personal buffet, “taking whatever he can get.” It’s how he’s always played the game, it’s how he’s become strong, and it’s how he’s succeeded at school. In both worlds, he breaks the rules to maintain an advantage over his enemies. And his enemies are everyone, because he only cares about himself. He doesn’t have what Haru has: bonds with friends he trust and can count on. While Haru and Nomi are both trying to become stronger, the way they go about it couldn’t be more different. Nomi’s like the old Taku, only much worse.

With the end credits looming, it seemed like friendship and teamwork would win the day, as Nomi recieves his first drubbing. But we couldn’t really enjoy it knowing how many times in the episode Nomi gets one over on them. Haru hesitates to finish him, and that’s a costly mistake. While Nomi has no friends, he does have ‘dogs’ who serve him due to the leverage he has over them, and Chiyu is currently one of them. That’s the only explanation we have for why she jumps in an heals Nomi at the last second – she has no choice. Score another one for Team Evil!


Rating: 6 (Good)

Accel World – 13

Haru and Taku help Chiyu install Brain Burst. Her avatar, Lime Bell, turns out to be a healer, to the surprise of all, as only one other healer exists in the entire game, and they’re a king. Meanwhile, the new first-year class arrives, and with it comes a mysterious boy named Nomi, who beats Taku at Kendo by accelerating his moves, yet doesn’t appear on the Brain Burst roster.

With the big Chrome Disaster arc behind them, Haru and Taku take it easy this week, obliging their friend Chiyu’s desire to join them in their online game, hopeful she can help make it more fun for them. The thing is, she knows nothing about the game, so any plans she has are kind of premature. Still, it is interesting to see the birth of a new burst linker, and she certainly seems to have potential, considering her ridiculously-rare healing powers.

This episode also sets up a possible new dilemma, with Kuroyukihime going on a third-year school trip and leaving Haru and Taku in charge of the defense of Suginami in her absence. This is a tall order, especially with the newcomer Nomi on the prowl. This kid may not show up on the Brain Burst GUI, but considering how he dominates Taku in the real world, he seems to have some knowlege of the Accelerated World, and is likely an imminent threat at a bad time.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Accel World – 12

Yellow Radio and his legion scurry away, leaving Hime, Niko and Haru to deal with Cherry Rook/Chrome Disaster. Haru is too scared to move at first, but Hime encourages him. Hime is struck down by the armor, then shot in the back by a frustrated Niko, who loses an arm. The Armor then bounds away, but Haru goes after it, using its own tethers against it and driving it into the ground in pieces. Niko delivers the judgment blow. Everyone checks their equipment for remnants of the armor, and find none, though Haru still hears its voice, as a part of the armor has infected his avatar.

And so the Cherry Rook/Disaster story is more complex than a simple matter of a subordinate going off the reservation. Turns out, Cherry and Niko were good friends at a facility for abandoned children, and he introduced her to Brain Burst, not the other way round. He was her guardian, and she was his protege – but she caught up to and surpassed him. In the real world, he was about to move away, and wanted desperately to keep in touch with her through the VR game, so he sought out the Armor of Catastrophe to become stronger. Turns out that was a bad move; since the armor doesn’t just make your stronger, but turns you into a mindless, avatar-devouring animal.

For all the build-up, he’s done in pretty easily, but we chalk that up to Haru getting better at dismissing his inherent fear of being worthless and losing – potentially self-fulfilling prophecies – and tapping into his ample potential. We also liked how Niko hesitated when she had the chance to take Rook out; she’s still a kid after all, and was hoping he could be redeemed. The transition from the dark city to the Castle in the Sky-style lush green paradise dotted with ancient ruins was a nice touch, as was the post-battle scene between Haru and Niko, who have indeed beccome friends, regardless of Niko’s tsundere insistences to the contrary. Of course, with the armor not-quite-gone and apparently lurking within Silver Crow, the second half won’t be all fun and games.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Accel World – 03

Chiyu is upset by Haru’s association with Kuroyukihime. Hime sits in a cafe with Haru and explains the hierarchy in the Accelerated World: she was one of seven “Kings of Pure Color” who had attained Level 9, who ruled their own realms. Wanting to reach Level 10, meet the game’s creator and learn its purpose, she opposed a peace treaty and killed the Red King. She’s now a fugitive with a price on her head, both in the Accelerated and real worlds. She now has someone threatening her from the local school network, and wants Haru to help her learn the foe’s identity. Hime suspects Chiyu may be this “Cyan Pyle”, and Haru direct links with her and discovers back doors.

It’s been a while since we watched the first two episodes, but we already see a pattern: first episode, explanation; second, action; third, more explanation. This episode seems to be setting up a more action-oriented fourth episode. Regardless, there was a lot discussed about who Kuroyukihime is, what she wants, and where Haru fits in. She even reveals things to him about Chiyu he didn’t know before – surprising considering how far back they go – namely, that she is a burst linker like them. Hime believes Chiyu wanted to recruit Haru, but she got to him first. Their conversation takes up nearly three-quarters of the episode, and its mostly via direct link, so any bystander would just see a guy and a girl sitting in a cafe staring at each other in silence, which is pretty funny.

Chiyu, for her part, keeps her cards close. When Haru comes to her house to apologize “properly” via a direct link, it quickly becomes a very awkward, intimate, and surprisingly touching scene. As the only available cord is so short, Haru essentially has to lie on top of Chiyu during the link. Chiyu clearly harbors feelings for him and doesn’t understand his self-hatred, but Haru has been uncomfortable around Chiyu and Taku ever since they’ve become a couple. It’s interesting how Chiyu isn’t aware Haru is looking through her files while talking with her, ultimately coming across suspicious back doors. So far the dynamics between characters are well-executed and interesting, and despite this being mostly people blabbing without moving their mouths, the episode was surprisingly entertaining, and backed up by a good soundtrack. Haru was a lot less pathetic  in this episode, and we find ourselves liking him more and more. So he’s a dwarf. So what?


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Car Cameos: Many cars stream past as Haru and Hime stroll down the city streets, including a Mitsubishi Colt Plus, a lilac Toyota Estima, and a partially-obscured but still easily-identifiable Nissan March.