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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Declaration: Accel World 4

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

Accel World episode 4: Haruyuki suspects that Cyan Pile is challenging Kuroyukihime within Accel World via access through Chiyuri’s neuro-linker.  (Source: Hulu)

So here is the resolution to the “Who Is Cyan Pile?” story line. It took Haruyuki rather longer than it should have to figure it out, to be honest. Most bloggers had figured out Cyan Pile’s true identity pretty soon after the third episode aired, but it took Haruyuki a whole other episode to put two and two together to get four. Still, he got it! And just in time – because shit has gotten officially serious.

The first half of this episode was like something out of a high school romantic comedy, complete with flustered misunderstandings and schoolyard gossip. The second half, however, veers sharply into the desolate and dramatic as a character’s life hangs in the balance. A shift in atmosphere like that could give you head lash but that seems to be Accel World’s prerogative.

As Kuroyukihime and Haruyuki investigate the true identity of Cyan Pile, as well as Chiyuri’s “back door”, their relationship’s true nature comes to the forefront. It becomes more and more obvious that they are attracted to one another.

And then Haruyuki makes a complete ass of himself, making Kuro cry in public and slap him. And he deserved it. I’m sorry; half of the stuff that came out of his mouth was BS. The other half was just plain pathetic. I think Haruyuki is a main protagonist whose personal development is certainly something to watch – but what he said to Kuroyukihime was a serious step back for him, not only regarding his relationships with other people but with himself. It’s gonna take a lot to fix all the issues and self-esteem problems he has.

Naturally, out of nowhere, a car! Comes and hits them! But they accelerate just in time – for Kuroyukihime to sacrifice herself for Haruyuki. Oh, and confess her true feelings. And I can’t say that I didn’t believe her. I just think it was too soon. Episode four, for goodness’ sake!

And Kuro’s confessing her love for Haruyuki! Obviously, it’s to give Haruyuki motivation to rise through the ranks and become level ten – but this feels like a development that should have come in episode 7 or 8, not episode 4. This Haruyuki/Kuroyukihime storyline is moving too fast for my liking. Having said that, I was rooting for them to totally make out. Well, close enough, right? Right.

Having said all of that, I found the hospital scenes surprisingly effective, especially when watching Haruyuki’s sleepless vigil for Kuroyukihime. The pawn has become the protector of the queen; he’s not hiding behind her wings anymore but fighting for the right to be beside her. And that is rather big, even if prompted by unforeseen tragedy.

The Cyan Pile reveal was weak – seriously, how did he not realize it quicker? – but Haruyuki’s frantic, last-ditch effort at saving Kuroyukihime by diverting her enemy’s avatar from fighting her in Brain Burst had me all overcome with feelings. Mainly those that say “DON’T KILL KUROYUKIHIME PLEASE, HARUYUKI NEEDS HIS GIRLFRIEND BACK”.

Personally, I can’t wait to watch Haruyuki kick Taku’s punk ass into pixels. And why Taku, as Cyan Pile, is going after Kuroyukihime to begin with. Is he one of the level niners? Or is he just a contender for beating Brain Burst and reaching the top level? All I know is, Kuro-san better survive, or I’m gonna be royally steamed.

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