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)

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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 – 22

Haru teams up with Blood Leopard to lure Rust Jigsaw into a duel in Akiba. After they defeat him, Haru spots him in the real world. Taku tells Haru that Chiyu is fighting alongside Nomi in Accel World. Haru visits her, and she tells him she’s pairing with Nomi by conscious choice, not coersion. After poring over information, Haru determines Nomi is staying off the lists by using an obsolete, banned brain implant chip. He confronts Nomi with this info, and Nomi challenges him to an all-or-nothing duel.

Thanks to some sleuthing and an assist by “Pard” (whom he gets to ride!), Haru finally has some leverage against Nomi: knowledge of his illegal implant that could get him expelled, and in any case would be removed as soon as it’s detected. Game Over for Nomi, right? Well, apparently Nomi still considers the changing room video he fabricated to be equal in value. We disagree. Nomi is guilty of something that can be proven, and wanting to keep that secret gives him all the motive to frame Haru. Still, the narrative treats their leverage against each other as equal, so we’ll go along with it. Rather than settle things in the real world, they’re going to have a duel in Accel.

Haru’s implant chip epiphany happened when he realized a gesture Nomi was making was of closing a virtual window, despite his not wearing a neuro-linker at that time. This suggests, in this case, Haru has a keen eye for observation and is able to connect the dots and successfully corner Nomi. Unfortunately, Haru isn’t so observant when Haru takes her friggin’ shirt off and tells him she’s in a place where he can touch her if he wants to. Uhh, she wants you, brah. Gotta at least acknowledge it. Also interesting is that in Aceel World Chiyu has chosen not to tag along with either Haru or Taku; and she’s rapidly becoming a force by Nomi’s side. Also something Haru has to watch out for: overuse of the Incarnate system leads to the Armor of Catastrophe.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Accel World – 20

Lime Bell fully heals Dusk Taker. When Cyan Pile tries to attack him, he tears him to pieces. Silver Crow gains a sinister black and red aura, but Chiyu screams for him to stop, time elapses and the duel ends. In the real world Haru and Taku confront Chiyu, who tells them she’s partnered with Nomi by choice, but Haru is convinced she’s being coerced. After a nightmare in which be becomes evil, Haru calls Hime, who comforts him. He then suggests to Taku that they seek out Niko’s help to get Taku trained in the Incarnate System. At school, the two have been implicated in the girl’s locker room camera plot.

When Chiyu healed Nomi two weeks ago, we are really pissed off. But now that we’re back to the main story, our interest in the series has been reinvigorated, like Nomi’s health. We didn’t mind her doing what she did, or even her cryptic, standoffish behavior throughout the episode, because it means more conflict for this triangle of friends who can’t quite catch a break. This punk Nomi has been dropped into their lives, an he’s determined to fuck with them mercilessly. In fact, he gets Haru so angry, there’s a possibility he’s summoned the Armor of Catastrophe. There are great moments of Haru getting pissed off…and his “Evil Pig” nightmare is pretty disturbing, both to him and us.

His brief visit with Hime is pitch perfect. She probably knows something is wrong, and part of him wants to ask her for help, but he doesn’t; they just relax together and enjoy the scenery. It’s a nice time out that helps Haru for the trials he faces the next morning, when Nomi has framed him and turned the whole school against him. What’s great is that Haru is done being intimidated and messed with. It shows growth and maturity. He’s not going to live another day like he used to, looking down and fearing forhis safety. He’s going to fight back, and he’s going to ask Yuniko for help. Combined with the threat of his “Dark Side” emerging, we like where this is all going.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

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 – 15

While dueling, Nomi uses his avatar Dusk Taker’s special move, Demonic Command, to steal Haru’s wings, then his points, leaving Haru and Chiyu devastated in the real world. With Hime gone and Haru unable to tell Taku anything, he considers erasing the game from his brain. Entering the “Bitter/Rough Valley” to duel someone, who ends up being Ash. When he can’t defeat him, he asks Ash to finish him, but instead Ash takes him to see his guardian Sky Laker, the closest avatar to flying prior to Haru.

Nomi Seiji’s reign of terror commences this week, and his words and actions leave Haru and Chiyu sobbing into each others’ shoulders in the dirt. He’s a trickster who steals other avatars’ abilities, and when he so quickly and easily takes Silver Crow’s wings away, it’s a pretty big shock. Just when you thought Haru was starting to get over his confidence issues, Nomi destroys all the progress he made and got him into a hopeless state of mind, to the point he considers simply ending it all by erasing brain burst from his nuero link.

This reiterates that being a burst linker isn’t something that is forced on anyone; it’s a choice. Linkers like Hime, Niko, and perhaps Nomi, the Accel World has become more important to them than the real world, but that’s not yet the case for Haru. He can walk away and still have a good life. He has friends who care about him. Of course, we wouldn’t have much of a show if he erased it, so instead he bumps into the ever-optimistic, chipper Ash, who helpfully gets Haru access to his guardian, who may be able to get Haru out of his funk and teach him some new tricks. We hope. We also hope Hime gets back soon, before everything is destroyed!


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Accel World – 14

Taku relays to Haru and Chiyu that Nomi is using the “physical burst” command to excel at kendo, like he used to do. Haru follows him and determines he truly is a burst linker somehow masking his signature. However, Nomi knows he’s being followed and uses electron visual masking to trick Haru into entering the girl’s shower room. Chiyu covers for him, but when Nomi later corners Haru, Nomi reports that he planted a hidden camera in the showers. With this leverage over them, he declares them his slaves. He then challenges Silver Link to a duel.

You have to hand it to Accel World, they’ve really outdone themselves creating a character we take an instant hating to. Seriously, this guy’s a Grade A PRICK. For a moment we feel sorry for him when his Kendo partners pick on him, but it’s only a brief moment, as he uses his burst skill to catch a thrown sword and merely gloats. But while he’s a piece of work who is not above cheating, blackmail, and all manner of deceptions and feints, he’s also a pretty sharp adversary; something we can’t quite say about Haru or any of his foes up to this point.

Also hand it to Accel World to make Haru ending up in the girl’s shower (and in the arms of a naked Chiyu) not descend into farce: rather than screaming and kicking Haru, Chiyu hides him: being found in the girls shower means expulsion, and she’s not about to let her modesty and indignation get her dear friend expelled. Her observations about the game being too intense are quite astute; especially in the case of people like Nomi and hell, Kuroyukihime; the game just means way too much for them.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

P.S. We take exception to Chiyu’s judging of Haru’s pizza as “not real food”. That looked like good pizza…with prawns and broccoli and everything! Not everyone has a pro chef for a mom, kiddo.

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 – 10

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.

Accel World – 07

Aqua Current teams up with Haru to help him get back above fifty burst points by entering a tag duel with higher-leveled linkers: Nickel Doll and Sand Duct. After their victory, Aqua threatens to take all of Haru’s points, but he won’t fight her, and she admits she wasn’t serious. She then wipes all memory of her from his mind and disappears. Meanwhile, Kuroyukihime challenges Taku to a duel and calls him out for refusing to face his crimes by simply over-atoning for them. He convinces him not to throw away the possibilities of the Brain Burst game. Back in the real world, he transfers to the same school as Chiyu and Haru.

There were some nice ideas in this episode: how to survive against superior foe in a tag match; how to work together properly in a team, a bodyguard-for-hire who wipes your memory when her business with you is done, and, of course, the idea of Taku quitting everything, throwing away one’s accomplishments, and uninstalling the game from one’s head, all as self-inflicted punishment for betraying Haru and hurting Chiyu. Unlike Haru, we weren’t ready to unquestionably trust Taku, but this week seems to confirm he’s redeemed himself in the eyes of those closest to him, so it’s good enough for us.

As for Haru’s duel, while the ideas are nice, the execution is somewhat uninspired. Every time the action picks up, it grinds to a screeching halt so what’s happening can be explained in detail. We don’t mind the talky scenes of this series, but we wish there wasn’t so much real-time explanation and self-critique during the duels…plus Haru and Aqua’s opponents were kinda dull, as foes-of-the-week are wont to be. But all’s well that ends well, as Taku stays in the game, the rough patch between the trio of friends is behind them, and Kuroyukihime is out of the hospital and ready to continue her crusade.


Rating: 5 (Average)

Accel World – 06

While tag-teaming with Taku, Haru earns enough burst points to move up to Level 2; however, in his excitement, he does so immediately, spending all but eight of his points. Now a sitting duck to an attack, Taku offers to give him some of his points by letting him win, but Haru doesn’t feel right about that, so Taku tells him about Aqua Current, a bodyguard of sorts for linkers with low points. After buying Chiyu ice cream as an apology, Haru seeks Aqua Current out, and is surprised to find she’s a girl. Meanwhile, Kuroyukihime is about to be discharged from the hospital when Taku pays her a visit…

Fool us once, shame on Accel World…fool us twice, shame on us. Sorry, but we’re just not ready to start trusting Taku like nothing ever happened. What he did to Chiyu and Haru was seriously messed up, and there’s one scene this week that suggests he’s not quite done with the treachery. Oh sure, he’s helped Haru train, and even offers to help sacrifice some of his points so Haru isn’t so vulnerable post-leveling-up (in Haru’s stupid mistake of the week). But somehow we doubt his former pals in the Blue Legion are just going to let him off with a slap on the wrist. They “stay his execution”, but likely in exchange for something. Our guess his he’s their mole in Nega Nebulous.

The other question is what he’s doing in Kuroyukihime’s hospital room in the cliffhanger. His body language doesn’t suggrest he’s about to attack her, so it’s odd that she’s the one who yells “Burst Link!” Isn’t she almost out of points too? And what was that Kendo bracket all about? Was Taku forced to withdrawal from the competition? Finally, we’re introduced to a potentially interesting new burst linker in the skinny jeans-donning Aqua Current, who takes numerous steps to protect her identity…only to have Haru trip over them.


Rating: 6 (Good)


Car Cameo:
There’s a Mitsubishi Lancer illegally(?) parked right outside the hospital.

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.