(This review may contain spoilers for the following series. If you have not seen the series before, please exercise caution before viewing this post. You have been warned.)
As a big fan of virtual reality and anime that focus on aspects of virtual reality, I initially wanted to start this series and enjoy the great story behind it. Unfortunately, the main character put me off, and delayed my watching this series until the end. However, I can safely say I’m glad I took the time to watch this series, even if the main character was the worst part of this series.
Accel World begins with a first year student who constantly falls on the lower end of the totem pole with others bullying him. Arita Haruyuki often looks down upon himself as a result of these events, and receives the greatest shock of his life when the prettiest girl in school takes the time to have a nice chat with him over tea. This opens a new world to Haruyuki, as he downloads the application to his virtual computer, Brain Burst. In the year 2046, people use devices to connect their everyday person to networks, which allows them to constantly be connected to others without any difficulty. These devices, aptly named Neuro Linkers, become a household staple and everyone in this time has one around their neck. Younger students, such as Haruyuki, often use them to play virtual reality games, and one such game is the newly downloaded Brain Burst. However, he later learns that this special program contains characteristics unique to this program. For example, this program allows the user to accelerate time and make actions and decisions much faster than a normal individual. In addition, this process requires Burst Points, which are earned through duels with other people who have installed Brain Burst, who are known as Burst Linkers. If a Burst Linker loses all their points through these duels, the program is forcibly uninstalled and the user forgets everything about the game.
With all this information given to him by the “princess” of the school, who goes by the name “Princess Snow Black,” or Kuroyuki Hime, Haruyuki soon learns the horror behind the game, as well as its positives. It begins with the first connection to the global network, which leads to the first battle against another level one Burst Linker. While he loses this battle, using the power of being the main character, he later prevails and learns how to battle correctly against these players.
After learning the basics, our pitiful main character learns that Kuroyuki Hime actually loves Haruyuki, and although he ends up forgetting this often, through reasons I can’t explain because they make no sense, Kuroyuki Hime ends up in the hospital protecting Haruyuki. In the process of her recovery, a good friend of Haruyuki named Takumu reveals himself as a Burst Linker who wants to defeat Kuroyuki Hime and gather more Burst Points. Haruyuki fights to protect her, and as a result, gains his wings and becomes the first ever aerial Burst Linker. This ends the first arc, which leaves Takumu and Haruyuki to follow Kuroyuki Hime to beat the game known as Brain Burst.
The second arc revolves around a new student, and Burst Linker, who defeats Haruyuki and steals his wings. This results in a long story of wits and guts to get them back and defeat this Burst Linker who has manipulated the game via illegal means. To make matters worse, Kuroyuki Hime travels on a school trip to Okinawa, and though this is the best part of the series, as her episodes gives reason to watch this series, this results in a long sequence of events that trouble Haruyuki and Takumu even more.
In a quick summarization, the story can be said to be fun and jam-packed. I really enjoyed the story, and all the characters save for Haruyuki are phenomenal. It can be said that I really dislike the main character, and this would be true as the episodes without him can be considered the best in the series. In addition, I absolutely detested the antagonist of the series, which only proves how good some of the characterization is. There are often characters that join the fray and play a big part in that arc, only to join the shadows and play minor roles in the future. One such character is Chiyu, a friend of the main character and Takumu, who plays a minor role during the beginning of the series. After the first arc, she, too, downloads Brain Burst and becomes a Burst Linker, and is assumed to help guide Haruyuki and Takumu achieve total victory in this game. However, her position soon turns, and this turn of events really caused my head to spin, and I have yet to forgive this character for her actions. Other characters include the Red King, who has split personalities, and Ash Roller, who helps Haruyuki throughout the show.
In terms of music, I really enjoyed both OPs / EDs for this show. The soundtrack during the show also proves to be fantastic and memorable. The OPs often promote excitement and heroism, which rile the viewer up and generate anticipation for the episode that will come. The EDs close the series out well, often closing the episode with either a satisfied feeling or anticipation for the next episode. The in-show soundtrack really adds to the experience, and I often found myself getting excited over the battle scenes with their awesome BGM. If anything, the soundtrack for this series is superb, and excels as the music to this series.
In conclusion, Accel World reveals itself as a story-driven experience that contains decent characterization, and fails in few aspects such as the main character design. The music only adds to the experience, and I can honestly say I am glad to say I picked up this series. Will I watch the next season if there happens to be one? Yes, as I really hope the character development for the main character improves. In addition, this series really deserves a watch if you enjoy story-driven or plot-heavy series, and will definitely satisfy any viewer’s appetite for virtual reality gimmicks.
Accel World OP2