Haruyuki Arita is an overweight, bullied middle schooler who finds solace in playing online games. But his life takes a drastic turn one day, when he finds that all his high scores have been topped by Kuroyukihime, the popular vice president of the student council. She then invites him to the student lounge and introduces him to "Brain Burst," a program which allows the users to accelerate their brain waves to the point where time seems to stop. Brain Burst also functions as an augmented reality fighting game, and in order to get more points to accelerate, users must win duels against other players. However, if a user loses all their points, they will also lose access to Brain Burst forever.
Kuroyukihime explains that she chose to show Haruyuki the program because she needs his help. She wants to meet the creator of Brain Burst and uncover the reason of why it was created, but that's easier said than done; to do so, she must defeat the "Six Kings of Pure Color," powerful faction leaders within the game, and reach level 10, the highest level attainable. After the girl helps Haruyuki overcome the bullies that torment him, he vows to help her realize her goal, and so begins the duo's fight to reach the top.
Hey you! Yeah you, the humongous loser. Are you a humongous loser? Are you convinced your lack of physical attractiveness is the sole factor preventing you from attracting members of the opposite sex? Is your only skill in life that you're really good at a computer game? Well now there's an anime just for you!
Our male lead is a chubby little kid who gets bullied by spikey haired shounen protagonists. He spends the vast majority of the episode whining about his condition, wishing he could just disappear into this video game world. We're clearly supposed to feel sorry for him, so forgive me if that comes off as false when he already has two friends, one of whom is a cute girl who makes him lunch. Oh dear nobody loves me, except for my two friends who are trying to care for me, aren't I just the most sympathetic character ever. Also sorry for not feeling particularly sympathetic for fat people when they spend their time running around a virtual sporting environment and then lament the state of the body.
I called Accel World a Shana Clone pre-season, but that isn't strictly true. For my personal definition of the Shana Clone, the main character needs to be a personality-less everylead who has no defining features beyond the fact that they're kind of nice. Being a humongous loser is an improvement on that, albeit only if played correctly. A wimpy character has to develop so nice things can happen to them. The alternative is something like Future Diary or Evangelion, where the main character has something great fall into their lap, but their inability to mature means it actively worsens their lives. There has to be a pull/push to this. Something falling into a characters lap and instantly improving their life at no cost is not good storytelling. It's just wish-fulfillment of the laziest order.
Now with that in mind, let's take a look at what Accel World does. Main character's ability at this obscure computer game results in the prettiest girl in the school dragging him over, caressing the inside of his leg and giving him magical powers. He now has to compete in games where the if he wins, he gains extra points in tests and a whole bunch of other stuff. But ooh, does it come at a cost? Why yes, if he loses, he's no longer part of the game! So, does he get disconnected from the entire network? Err, no. Does he get damaged in the real world, .Hack style? Err, no. Absolutely nothing happens to him whatsoever. The extent of what happens to him is he no longer has bullies after him, he keeps his old friends, and he had a short romantic skirmish with the prettiest girl in school. Oh dear. I feel so sorry for your predicament. Let me play you the worlds smallest violin.
Another thing Accel World appears to struggle with is that it's a story, not a video game. Yes, I'm aware they are playing a video game inside the world. Thanks, the health bars and attack sheets gave that away. You don't need to give me a fucking tutorial for every single part of the fucking match. I'm not playing the game, I don't need to see that sort of stuff. Yet still, for large portions of the episode, our token pretty lady cycled through the rules and regulations on how to attack. Not important stuff that would affect the story. Basic video game rules that we could have figured out for ourselves based on the simplest of visual cues that it gave us anyway. You don't need to adapt a light novel verse by verse. Use the animated medium to show that stuff a book needs to spell out for you to understand.
Character designs are the same generic noseless shiny people you see all over the place, with the exception of chubby-san. The animation, apart from some neat CG effects in the fight scenes, is bland and forgettable. Heck, if you're going to be this shockingly blatant about wish-fulfillment, you might as well drop in some service, but there's not even any of that. It's an imaginary world for loser males in the real world to drop themselves into, wishing they too had a cute girl come caress their leg because they're really good at a video game. Blergh.read more
Accel World certainly has good quality visuals, dynamic battles and an interesting setting, however past that I cannot think of anything that the show does well. You may disagree with this and my scoring, but please, allow me to justify myself because I intend to do so in full.
Let's cover a good point first though, the art and animation. The art is very consistent, and it does a great job of displaying the interactive world in its diverse and grand state. The animation for the battles is well done, I certainly didn't have any complaints, there is plenty of movement and excitement, and the battles enough time to satisfy fans of action. The character designs are on the whole attractive albeit generic, but here we come to our first problem, the protagonist Haruyuki.
I get it, Haru is supposed to be a character with low self esteem, otherwise they wouldn't have brought in Yuki Kaiji to voice him, but the character design they chose to demonstrate this was insulting to the viewers. Looking at him, it shows the designers attempt to force down our throats the fact that this guy is vulnerable and a "loser", but at the same time still not be ugly enough to put us off, which is why he is chibi, rendering him completely different from every other character in the show. Why did they feel the need to do this? I get the feeling they think the audience is stupid, and need constant reminders of why this guys has no confidence, they even made his avatar a small pig, just to reiterate this further, because you are that stupid.
This leads me onto Haru himself and the rest of the characters. His best friend Taku is generic, seems to have no romantic chemistry with his girlfriend Chiyu (indeed Haru has more), doesn't add much to the series, but is at least likable. Although her relationship with Haru was odd (i.e. romantic), Chiyu was alright initially, but later in the series she becomes incredibly obnoxious. Kuroyukihime is the most likable character, partly because of her pleasant disposition and good design, but mostly because she got a pass on the second half of the series on account of being on holiday. The side characters lack depth and are completely non descript, the enemies are infuriating (and not for the reasons they should be), and then there is Haru. I'd be amazed if anyone could manage to actually like this guy, unless he is so similar to them disliking him is an act of self loathing. The amount of hatred I built up watching him was one thing, but then the second half of the series happened.
Now obviously I won't spoil anything, but let me just say, the second half of Accel World has some of the most rage inducing episodes you'll come across. Why? The characters start acting in completely illogical and infuriating ways, I had just forgiven Haru for the first half of the series when he just goes downhill in a spectacular fashion, the show starts introducing plot devices that either make little sense or break the setting Accel World itself, and the plot degrades terribly. Indeed, this half was so poor they had to introduce a few episodes of filler in the middle to give you time to calm down. The antagonist has at his disposal seemingly every plot contrivance possibly, and an ability that would never be allowed in any game of that sort.
In fact, a major factor in why I ended up being so angry is due to the blatantly poor plot devices and elements that were poorly thought out and look like ass pulls. It shows laziness in the writing, or a simple lack of ability. I was shocked often throughout the second half at how stupid these things were, and this did not help the infuriating exchanges at all.
So, in all, the second half was terrible, indeed I'd give it a 1 overall. It did have some nice battles, some fan service and some really spectacular background settings, but when you have to watch this in tandem with the genuinely upsetting nature of the show (where whenever the antagonist is on screen your head will find itself drawn to the oven) the experience is irredeemable. The first half was better, and many will have or will enjoy the first half, but I didn't really like it either. For someone who is the protagonist because they are good at games, Haru really sucks at games, he makes rookie errors and shows a lack of judgement that makes you wonder about his ability. To be fair to him this is simply more usage of plot devices, and I would forgive him for that, but he's an irritating waste of space who only serves to pander to the viewers inadequacies and insecurities. He is not a decent character, he is only there to make people who identify with him feel better for themselves. That is the only reason I can imagine someone liking this show at all to be honest.
Accel World is certainly not all bad, it has some decent episodes which always include exciting fighting, some of the side characters are likable, and the world setting was fantastic in terms of aesthetics, however these happy instances were always in between long durations of anger, misery and frustration. Many may enjoy it, I certainly don't speak for all opinions, but for me watching Accel World was an experience devoid of enjoyment or fun, the way this anime is set up makes it inherently dubious, but it is the execution that really cause such grief that I wanted to cause harm to myself. I hope this never gets a sequel.read more
So... the chubby main character is bullied in school and was soon introduced to a new world(video game) and will aim to become the best! How exciting?
Although we could summarize this anime this way, but its like saying Code Geass is about a high school kid trying to kill his dad after he got superpowers. There's simply more to it.
The first thing about this anime that really appealed to me was the atmospheric building. Eyes were everywhere, no matter where the main character went, somebody is around him. Since Haruyuki is quite a loser himself, he really hated to be around people, although most people weren't really noticing him. This could be the one of the best way to tell us that our main character is a complete loser in the real world but he is great at video games.
My rating for this anime looks REALLY subtle, there are really no huge up and downs and it's mainly because almost every aspect of this anime has something special about it.
The story of this anime is actually quite creative. Although the concept of characters being able to go into different worlds isn't something completely new, the idea of turning this amazing but over-used concept into a basic setting where everyone is capable of doing so due to technology is actually more amusing than I expected.
The main character has something and someone that he wants to protect and will probably want to become the strongest because of that which is really nothing new, but this overly simple motif actually adds a very inviting feeling to this anime.
Animetography(cinematography for anime)10/10
This is one special thing I really want to add to this review! Usually this component simply blends in with the art and sound part of an anime; however, this component of Accel World really appealed to me.
I was really worried about the third episode of this anime. Since I read the manga of Accel World, I knew that there will be really large conversations and almost no fancy special effects involved at all, but the third episode did not disappoint me at all. The first half of the third episode is basically a conversation between Haruyuki-kun and Kuroyukihime sempai. They used "direct link" to talk to each other meaning that they do not need to actually speak. This is something only anime could produce the most effectively because a 10 minute conversation will show tons of expressions and the characters and show their expressions in a better way if they did not need to open their mouths all the time. The quick cuts was also an important component that really made this part interesting. The "camera"(not that anime really have cameras) is constantly moving and only stops when an important expression is needed to be made, which mean tension also keeps building up. The shadow decreases once the two agrees on their commonality and goes on to discuss about another topic. This conversation ended up being very interesting due to the tension building and the sudden but subtle release of tension. Of course, thanks to the original creator of the light novel, the contents of this conversation was the core of keeping this part interesting.
And HAHA! now we know that Accel World is not just another fancy battle + special effect anime that people will skip the boring episodes and just watch the cool fights.
Since the main character of this anime does lots of reasoning throughout the anime, the varieties of positions that the main character is composed in also helped make the story a lot more interesting.
The art in the real world(especially school) seems very bright, even to an uncomfortable extent since school is a very uncomfortable place for Haruyuki. The real world is also drawn with a really subtle feel which contrasts with the world in the Brain Burst program. The Brain Burst program consists of more shadowy places and feels very surreal since all the colors of the real world is altered and everyone in there has a specific color to them. Yet, the Haruyuki finds the accelerated world a more inviting place for him.
( I can BS about this stuff for years but the best thing about the art is still the character arts!)
The character art for this anime is very nice. Every important character in this anime is drawn in a very detailed fashion, but not detailed enough that characters start to look annoying. The illustration for the two main female characters that have appeared so far is astonishingly good. The cute illustrations of Chiyuri fits her character really well, her avatar in the school network is also very appealing. And Kuroyukihime sempai is just AMAZING! Her illustration, especially her hair and her school network avatar fits her prominent position really well. She is definitely my favorite heroine of spring 2012!
Just the illustration itself for the main character, Haruyuki, looks promisingly negative and I really hope they could make a better illustration for the main character. But let us all ask ourselves one question :"Is there a better way to illustrate someone who is only good at video games and is a complete loser in reality who also feels really bad about himself than a short and fat kid with stupid-looking eyes?" My answer is definitely NO"
OP is ok~ it feels quite unique but to me, it does not sound quite great. I loved the ED, it sounds pleasant to the ear and it fits the feeling of the anime really well.
The background noise+music for this anime is great. The background music changes many times throughout the long conversations between Haruyuki and Kurohime. The background music is definitely what makes the long conversations interesting and even, at times, make simply talking feel very cool and exciting.
The voice actors are very professional and dedicated. The voice actor for Haruyuki is Kaji Yuki, who is a great voice actor for those "I dunno what to do next but I need to protect ___" characters. (Example: Ouma, Shu from Guilty crown, Amata Sora from Aquarion Evol and Issei from High school DXD). Chuyuri's voice actress also fits her cheerful and cute tone very well. What amazes me the most is the voice actress of Kuroyukihime. This is the first anime that this voice actress got a major role in, yet, she fits the character really well and her skills are very dedicated and developed.
Character 9.5/10 (lots of this section is already explained in the art and the sound section)
The motif for the actions of the major characters in Accel World is very simple, they simply hang on to one thing and all they do is for completing that task and usually, this becomes a downside of an anime because it's overly simple. However, in this case, I think this feeling is exactly what this anime needs.
So far, the character development speed for most of the characters have been very slow since we are still being introduced to some of the important backgrounds of the characters, but the characteristics of all the major characters is already very clear.
One episode of Accel World goes by extremely fast, leaving me craving for more.
In general dedicated humor + romance with beautiful heroines + Great action is just great! But more importantly, I don't think we really need a reason to enjoy an anime. Accel world is one of the most enjoyable anime I've ever watched and that is all the reason I need to give this section a big 10/10!
I really want to give this anime a 10/10 because I simply love it, but generally speaking, 9/10 is where this anime is at since there are a few things that could be done better.
I would recommend this anime mainly to battle or sci-fi lovers, especially the type that loves mental battles. But I also want to recommend Everyone to watch this amazing anime! Believe me, this anime will be enjoyable. I cannot guarantee that everyone will love this anime, but this Accel World will definitely be a waste of 25 minutes. read more
Accel World: The show where the only ridiculously fat-short boy ever(!) finds himself in a harem filled with your typical cliches, fan service and plot. Clearly, this show can't be worth watching... Yet, despite all these and its other horrendous flaws, it is.
Unlike other shows without redeeming qualities, Accel World does do some things right.
For one, it's hard not to get absorbed in its well imagined and detailed world. From the basic yet intriguing neuro linkers to the augmented reality they can bring forth, there is a ton of cool ideas in Accel World. Whether you enjoy the romantic idea of directly linking to your partner or the concept of speeding up your brains neural activity, the show will leave with lots to think about. It is something Reki Kawahara seems especially good at adding to his stories.
What will absolutely destroy the show for you however, is the second half of the show (which is also a common trend with Reki Kawahara's works). It's not per say that its so brutal, more that it is a huge letdown and mostly irrelevant to the overall plot. It also goes on for way too long and feels very segmented.
Regardless of the poor final half, don't let it turn you off. Accel World is a good show. By no means is it great but it is still imaginatively inspiring. It's also nice to see a digital world portrayed in different way than your typical VR anime and to have real life consequences too. Overall, Accel World is worth watching but be prepared to be disappointed when it fails to maintain the high it does so well to build.read more