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Monday, May 7, 2012

Aviation: Accel World 5

Spoiler warning: Spoilers for the fifth episode of Accel World beyond this point. Don't read if you have not watched!

Accel World episode 5: The identity of Cyan Pile is revealed to be one of Haruyuki’s closest peers, who has been consumed by the power to accelerate. (Source: Hulu)

So, Accel World continues its tradition of having half-and-half episodes. Half of this episode was your typical frustrated young men fighting out their problems. The second half was a dramatic reawakening of Haruyuki’s avatar that would turn the tide of the battle permanently. I only wish it did not take a contrived plot device to fuse these two halves together.

Having said that, the second half was pretty tasty. You just had to get through a painfully typical battle scene to see it.

Haruyuki finally gets to fight Cyan Pile – who is, if you’ve been paying attention at all, is Takumu. And they fight. And argue over who understands Chiyuri the most? Sure. God forbid y’all actually ask Chiyuri how she feels. Still, they were able to put their insecurities and issues out into the open – while punching each other in the data bytes.

So blah blah blah and then Haruyuki loses an arm. And a foot. Now Haruyuki’s avatar is disabled. They could have done some awesome shit with a disabled avatar but naturally, Contrived Plot Device happens in the form of wings. Because Haruyuki believes in himself (and Kuroyukihime)! Yawn. 

I didn’t expect Accel World to keep its protagonist differently abled even in cyberspace but it could have been a little more atypical with its personal growth narrative. It would have been genuinely fascinating if Accel World had kept Silver Crow as just one-armed and one-footed, but I guess that in the world of RPGs, that kind of avatar won't get you very far unless you can compensate for the missing limbs.

Anyway, it’s once Silver Crow obtains his wings that stuff gets good. For one thing, the wings are rather pretty! And then Silver Crow goes back to combat Cyan Pile and nearly obliterates him. And he probably would have decimated the poor kid, too, if it were anyone but Haruyuki behind the mask. But because it is Haruyuki - the boy who hopelessly believes that both people are cruel and that people can be incredibly kind - that Cyan Pile lives to fight another day.

This is why Haruyuki is the main character, not Takumu; he is selflessly devoted to those he loves, even when they hurt him. So he fights so hard for Kuroyukihime and Chiyuri but he also fights to keep Takumu as his friend because he still believes they can still be together, even if he’s Cyan Pile. He’s well-meaning but flawed with some serious self-esteem issues and that’s why I love him, even if he occasionally infuriates me.

So Haruyuki ends up saving Kuroyukihime after all as well as his friend, and we see the true form of Black Lotus. And with that, Black Lotus is back officially in the world of Brain Burst, no longer skulking in the shadows as a rumor. I can only imagine how many players are going to be gunning for her points – or are considering joining her side. Can’t say I’m particularly enthused about her group’s name, though.

Also, heh. Kuroyukihime's Brain Burst boy harem grows by one more! I wonder if Chiyuri will join them in Brain Burst soon?

In the end, I still think the relationship between Kuroyukihime and Haruyuki is going a bit fast but it’s incredibly sweet and beneficial for both characters’ development. The fact that Kuro-san is about to tell Haruyuki her first name is pretty big – but I have to wonder how big a deal it actually is, considering that’s the note they choose to end the episode on. Could something as small as a person’s name end up revealing something big about the series or Kuroyukihime? I suppose we’ll all find out – in episode six!

As usual, streaming subbed episodes of Accel World can be watched on the series page at Hulu and also at Viz’s site.