A subject I have touched in anime before and one that I’m possibly still going to be talking about in anime since 2012, most anime have the subject of video games as the fore front although I can’t say most of them have been good or not. Believe me, I’ll get to that part later on. We as people look at video games as a way to escape the harsh reality of everyday life, a way to relax your mind and get lost in the world of your favorite videogame, whether it be a RPG, a fighter game, a sandbox world game and so on and so forth.
But what if…..you can find a way to enjoy that videogame life even further? Up to being the one with the highest level?
In 2046, people can access a virtual network known as the Neurolinker via their cellphone terminals. A perpetual victim of bullying, middle school student Haruyuki spends his time absorbed in games in a corner of his local network. One day he is approached by the most famous girl in his school, Kuroyukihime (Black Snow Princess). She gives him a strange program called Brain Burst that has the power to “accelerate the world.”
Now…….let’s get this part out of the way.
This anime is based off a light novel and there’s one negative point going for that since light novel adaptations have not been that good in anime as of recent. Not only that…..the LN was created by Reki Kawahara. The same guy who wrote Sword Art Online.
At first, I was unaware of this anime and the fact its original entity was written by him and in case you don’t know me or my feelings toward SAO……well, short answer: I didn’t like it. Let’s leave it at that.
Now, with this…….I gave the show a fair chance and it’s actually decent in its story. It’s not what I call Grand Masterpiece Theater on its own but compared to Kawahara’s other work, it’s Oscar-worthy. They have the exploration part of the story right as it does covers the world of Brain Burst and actually focuses on the aesthetic of the games and get enthralled into it and gives you the basic rules from earning points, advancing to more levels and sometimes you might get too addicted to a game that you forget you did this to have fun. The first half of this is getting introduced into Brain Burst along with Haruyuki’s character transition and what it took some time, it has a balanced pace that never seem too slow or fast. The second half does get into an actual over-arching plot of a Burst Linker blackmailing Haruyuki and his friends to give him Burst Points and serve him under his wing. That half isn’t that bad as everyone makes it out to be as for one, something action-worthy is still happening and it felt like it wasn’t going to be an easy task and there was actual tension thrown in there.
That being said, the elements that sometimes falls flat on its face is the comedy and some of the harem aspects of it. There are sometimes I groaned and moaned at some scenes of that but the saving grace about this is that it didn’t overshadow the other elements of the show.
As for the characters……Haruyuki is not the ultimate badass fighting character you wanted and that’s a good thing. People said that all he does is whiny, annoying and fat but…in all honesty, him being a victim of bullying, being called fat and plays games to get away from his shitty life…..yeah, he has a legit reason for that and not every character has to be some robotic Gary Stu bland hero-type. This is practically an upgrade from Kawahara’s other MC known as Kirito as there’s actual character development within Haru and there is actual stakes on the line when it comes to him. Kuroyukihime is basically Haru’s sensei…..that he secretly wants to make out with and vice versa. Yes, I’ve noticed those a lot during the run and it gets less subtle than that although I’m glad they didn’t take it to that route because the last thing it needed was romance to get in the way….although it was more believable. Chiyuri (or Chiyu aka Lime Bell) is my least favorite and practically the most annoying character in there and yet she didn’t even start off as that as it began. She progresses into being a needy, whiny and bossy bitch of a character who really can’t comprehend Haru’s current situation and that jealousy bit with Kuroyukihime is tired as all hell since she has no reason to be. However, I got more favorite character than less like Taku (aka Cyan Pile), Chiyu’s boyfriend, who turned out to be a better character than I thought from the first glance, even better than Haru at some points. Niko is a character who I thought would be a certain kind of character but glad it wasn’t as she often brought some of the better comedic moments of the show. Seiji Nomi (or Dust Taker) is our main antagonist (for the second half) and yeah….he’s a creepy Kawahara villain all right and someone you really want to punch or stab yet fortunately, he’s not that creepy or rapey of a villain.
The animation for the show is done by none other than Sunrise and this really isn’t that hard to describe. It’s colorful, vibrant, has some good designs although they are pretty much the same but with different faces and yet I’m satisfied with Haru’s design…..at least 80% of it. The pig avatar is a bit much.
Music is a different beast as I thought the 1st opening and 2nd ending songs, “Chase the world” by May’n “Unite.” by Sachika Misawa respectively were a bit stale and over popish while I say I favor the 1st ending “→unfinished→” by KOTOKO and the 2nd opening “Burst the Gravity” by Altima more. The score is more fitting with the videogame aesthetic being fighting games instead of the usual RPG mesh that’s heard too much.
The English dub brought to you by Bang Zoom Entertainment has a cast of unknowns as the leads and few veterans and rookies in the supporting or minor roles and they have managed to pull off some performances well. Erik Scott Kimerer as Haru does pull off a younger voice for him and Kira Buckland as Kuroyukihime sound relatively decent. Lucien Dodge as Taku and Ben Diskin as Ash Roller are easily some of the best performances of the show, especially on Diskin’s Ash Roller who was hilarious and wild and another one of note is Amanda C. Miller, who has two roles in the show: one being Megumi, Kuroyukihime’s friend and Seiji Nomi……yes, the voice of Sailor Jupiter is that guy. That sounded weird to me, too.
FINAL VERDICT: Accel World is an average show on its own but it is something that SAO should’ve tried to be. It’s a video game anime that does manages to have a little fun with decent to relatable characters and a lot of visual flare despite it has some of the same flaws that was in aforementioned show but not up to their worth. It’s not a show people should rush out to see but it is worth watching once.
How well does the show ACCELERATE!?
7/10 – OKAY
ACCEL WORLD is available on DVD & Blu-ray from Viz Media. The show is available streaming (both sub and dub) on Hulu via Viz Media’s Neon Alley.
(And no, I don’t know if this show is getting a 2nd season or not.)
This has been MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, and now I’m logging out from the Accelerated World.
ACCEL WORLD – animated by SUNRISE / distributed by VIZ MEDIA