Accel World – 19

Black Lotus, Crikin, Dolphin and Merrow face off against Sulfur Pot and his pet legendary monster, Nidhogg, which he acquired through cheating. The young girls collect metal while Lotus and Crikin take the brunt of the fire-based punishment. In the real world, Megumi finds Hime, Ruka and Mana passed out in the dark, and decides to join the fray. Her special power forces a world transition to the ocean stage, neutralizing Nidhogg’s fire. Dolphin and Merrow pin Sulfur down and Lotus cuts the reins. Nidhogg eats Sulfur and he loses. Back in the real world, Megumi doesn’t remember her participation in the battle, dismissing it as a dream she’s going to write a story about.

This second part of the two-episode Hime mini-arc tried its darndest to be interesting, but with a boring, idiotic, one-dimensional foe whose demise was never in doubt for a second, it had its work cut out for it. The battle is dull and repetitive, and Black Lotus doesn’t seem all that useful. It takes intervention from Megumi to turn the tables, but how are her actions not cheating too? Do two wrongs make a right? And what was with the ghost of her childhood visiting her and telling her to plug in? Just seemed random.

With the series returning to the main clash between Haru and Nomi, we got the feeling the characters Hime met wouldn’t be getting any more screen time anytime soon…which is fine with us. With five episodes left, Nomi has to be dealt with, and it’s better for the series to focus on its core characters than simply coming up with new, half-baked ones for the sake of variety.


Rating: 4 (Fair)

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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 – 11

Haru, Hime, Taku and Niko are ambushed by the Yellow King, Yellow Radio, and a large force of his followers. He neutralizes Black Lotus by playing back video of her beheading Red Rider in a sneak attack. Taku believes retreat the best option, and he all but sacrifices Cyan Pile to cover the others. Silver Crow and Scarlet Rain struggle with Radio’s superior numbers, until Haru snaps Hime out of it and Black Lotus squares off with Radio himself, the first battle between Level 9 Kings. Before they can unleash their special attacks, Radio is stabbed by Chrome Disaster.

The end of last week looked like a tough spot for our heroes, as their foes had the high ground and far more numbers. Thankfully, Yellow Radio is more insterested in talking and letting the small fry fight for him; he only lifts a finger when Black Lotus comes at him directly. There’s also no nice way of saying this: his henchmen can’t aim. They do manage to dismantle much of Niko’s red fort, as Haru is busy squirming on the ground getting shocked. At this time, you can bet Niko is regretting not bringing Red Legion backup.

As for Kuroyukihime, seeing herself betray the old Red King, someone she respected and would probably be friends with in real life, is a sudden shock that drains her will to fight (“Zero Fill” ~ there’s a term for everything!), and without that, her avatar won’t move. Fortunately the shock is only temporary, as sufficient yelling from Haru wakes her up (so she can correct him about her having loved Red Rider; she didn’t). Then the silly-looking Yellow King with his silly illusory powers literally gets stabbed in the back by the very Chrome Disaster he created. But we agree with Kuroyukihime…we never liked him anyway.


Rating: 5 (Average)

Accel World – 05

Haru’s duel with Cyan Pile starts badly, as Silver Crow quickly loses an arm and a foot, negating his speed advantage. Taku knows about Haru linking with Chiyu, and is tired of competing with him for her affections, and wants to defeat Haru to prove his usefulness to the Blue Legion. He Spiral Gravity Drives Haru deep underground, where Haru finds Kuroyukihime. Silver Crow is repaired and spreads wings, and flies Taku high into the sky, but doesn’t defeat him, as he wants him as his ally. Kuroyukihime arrives and reveals her true Black Lotus form to everyone. In the real world, Haru visits her in the hospital, where she prepares to tell him her real name.

This episode paints Taku as an underhanded, calculating, coward, who has used his accelerating abilities to get ahead at school and in life. He was glad when Chiyu chose him, the “practical” choice, but he’d admit that he knows Chiyu also likes Haru, and not just as a friend. Haru may have snooped around Chiyu’s files too, but that’s because it was possible she was Cyan Pile. So Haru is always in the right this week, and even though there’s a point when his avatar is literally bowing before Taku, in the end, he’s the one in control. In true Haru fashion, he chooses to forgive his friend, despite the fact he’s been a colossal jerk.

We see Haru and Taku’s relationship as similar to Shuu and Yahiro’s in Guilty Crown; they’d always had their differences, but they’re friends and they always work them out. Only here, there’s a girl between them, even though Haru seems to be in good standing with Kuroyukihime, who is magically unscathed despite getting punted by a car last week. With her identity revealed to the other linkers, and her legion Nego Nebulus (silly name) mobilized, it seems she’ll be commanding both Haru and Taku in future virtual campaigns.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Accel World – 04

When Haru describes how he direct linked with Chiyu and learned she wasn’t Cyan Pile, but only a conduit, Kuroyukihime gets upset and storms off. Haru refutes claims he’s going out with her, and cannot fathom someone like her actually liking him. After school they walk home, and he confronts her about it, further upsetting her. A car nearly hits them when they burst link, and Kuroyukhime uses her level 9 power to use her real body to push him out of the car’s path, hitting her. In the hospital in critical condition, and with 99% of her points lost, Haru vows to protect her from Pile, who arrives and is revealed as Taku. Haru initiates a duel with him.

This week Haruyuki Arita is a particularly insufferable little pipsqueak, and while we can’t blame him, considering his point-of-view, for questioning the sincerity of Kuroyukihime’s feelings, we can surely blame him for making things worse by insisting she must hate herself for pretending to like him, and that she simply use him like the disposable pawn he is. This is how this kid has always thought about himself; worthless. Which doesn’t make much sense considering he has such a loving, supportive friend in Chiyu up to this point, though perhaps even she has always been unable to convince him he’s worth more than dirt.

In any case, Kuroyukihime lets her guard down, and they end up in a situation where she’s the only one who can save them from a runaway car, so she does, confessing most doubt-allayingly her new-found love for him before sacrificing herself (though she isn’t killed, this is the future, after all.) Is it indeed pretty far-fetched for her to fall so hard in love with him so soon? Perhaps, but love is a many-splendored thing, and logic rarely figures into the equation. It’s also more than a little convenient that she happens to be in love with someone who’s friends with the girlfriend of one of her mortal enemies in Taku. But then again…six degrees of separation.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Car Cameos: There were a couple tight close-ups of cars, but they were of the fictional futuristic variety.

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.

Accel World – 01 & 02

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)