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.

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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.

Sket Dance – 47

Yuusuke sleeps on a bench near the place where his father was killed. A trio of roughs beat him until another good-size guy breaks it up. His name is Taisuke, and he’s the boy who Kyousuke saved from being hit by a car. Taisuke still remembers what the dying Kyousuke told him, and he gives Yuusuke the bag meant for his deceased mother, containing a watch and letters for both her and his not-yet-born son. We also see the circumstances of his mother’s death, as Akane loses control and hits a doctor, who delivers Yuuske but can’t save Haru.

Like most of Sket Dance’s serious efforts, this episode flat out executes. There’s nothing fancy here, its a nice simple story of a kid coming to terms with the fact that certain information had been withheld from him his entire life. The shock of this info still raw in his mind, all he can do is run. He finds himself at the park where his father died fifteen years ago, and he lets punks whale on him almost as a messed-up therapy session. While he works out these issues in his head, everything else just seems peripheral. He’s not even outraged that the first passersby to witness his beating do nothing about it; they’d help, but they fear death.

Last week wasn’t all that clear about when exactly this took place in the Sket Dance chronology, but we learn that Yuusuke isn’t Bossun yet, and he hasn’t met Himeko or Switch and formed the Sket-dan yet, either. This is a Bossun we haven’t encountered yet; one who spent his time rifling through his mother’s possessions. Once he learns about his father’s selflessness and desire to help others, even at the cost of his life, and also realizes he’s not alone as his mother and sister are still just that, well, let’s just say this whole two-parter journey is what made Yuusuke into the Bossun we know and love listening to as he yells at things.


Rating: 4

Sket Dance – 46

Bossun has started watching old video tapes he found in his mother Akane’s closet of her life when she was a young woman, along with her friend Haru and a guy named Ryousuke who looks just like him. His mother takes the tapes away, but the day before his birthday, he finds albums with pictures of the same trio, except none of Akane alone with Ryousuke. Confronting his mother, she tells him Haru was his biological mother, and both she and Kyousuke were killed in separate accidents, Haru when Akane was driving her to the hospital while she was in labor with Bossun.

Let’s get a couple things out of the way. First of all, in this Sket Dance world, there are way too many people doing 50 mph in narrow alleys with no regard for life. Secondly, if Bossun’s mother really wanted to keep the secret of Bossun’s parentage secret, she would have at least kept the videos and albums under lock and key, if not destroyed them. She certainly wouldn’t have left them sitting around waiting to be found. Kids go through their parents things, that’s a fact of life. Finally, the emotional power of the last moments of the episode were somewhat diminished by the same ol’ horrible ending sequence. This episode did away with a cold open; it could have had a unique, more appropriate ending too All that aside, this was more Serious Sket Dance, and the above hiccups couldn’t derail and otherwise excellent dramatic episode.

It was Bossun’s turn to have his past filled out, and we have to wonder if he wasn’t better not knowing the truth. Obviously the truth must always out, but what a frikkin’ truth – his mother isn’t his mother, and his real parents were both killed?! That’s just ridiculously depressing. Still, there’s one thing Bossun’s mother didn’t lie about – she did end up raising him and later Rumi as a single mother. He can be mad at her for keeping thetruth from him so long, but he shouldn’t be anything but greatful for her raising him as if he were her own, which he now is anyway. He’s not suddenly ‘alone’ just because he now has this information.


Rating: 3.5

Car Cameos: Lots of Toyotas: a Vista/Camry Prominent almost brazenly murders Kyousuke and a little kid, and a Land Cruiser, Crown, Starlet, and Celsior are at the scene of the accident. There’s also a Nissan Cube and Fuga in an establishing shot. All the cars save the Windom and Starlet are later generations that didn’t exist in 1994, when the flashback takes place.