Sep 22, 2012
Infinite (All reviews)
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.