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Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Story So Far: Accel World

Through no fault of my own, I swear it (beyond a touch of laziness), I've fallen behind on Accel World blogging; this post is an attempt at getting a leg up on it. Which means the next blog about the adventures of Haru and Kuro will cover episode 13, probably sometime tomorrow. Sorry for the delay!

Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for episodes 10 through 12 of Accel World lay beyond this point. If you haven't seen these episodes, you should probably not read on just yet!

Accel World episode 10: The unexpected drama of letting Kuroyukihime and Niko spend the night at his place has left Haruyuki feeling very tired.
 
Accel World episode 11: During their hunt for Chrome Disaster, the Nega Nebulous is ambushed by the Yellow Legion led by Yellow Radio, a.k.a. the Yellow King. Yellow Radio takes advantage of the non-aggression pact shared between the other kings.
 
Accel World episode 12: The battle between Black Lotus and Yellow Radio is halted by the sudden appearance of Chrome Disaster. Silver Crow is wracked with fear as he witnesses the monstrous power of his target. (Source: Hulu)

After so long, I get to review Accel World yet again! In which a villain approaches, a tsundere king gets the spotlight, and Kuro's past is further revealed - as is her terrible jealous streak.



With these three episodes, Accel World brings a dramatic and somewhat melancholy close to the Chrome Disaster story arc. In the end, it is probably the best handled story arc in the anime so far. It has brought a load of world-building and political intrigue to the realm of Brain Burst, surprising amounts of character development for folks like Niko and Taku and even Haruyukihime, and the big battle between Team Kuro and Yellow Radio's squad turned out to be one of the most spectacular. 

Plus, Chrome Disaster has turned out to be a villain who is actually effectively frightful. Considering how earlier antagonists have either changed sides or been morally grey at best, it's about time Accel World introduced a figure who is undeniably bad. As a corrupter of users and a berserker on the battlefield, Chrome Disaster is certainly a bit of armor to be feared by any Brain Burst user. Plus, his gaping maw and corrupted sounding voice reminds me of some dark avatar out of the .hack series.
 
In the ensuing chaos to take down Chrome Disaster, the series did a top rate job of highlighting our tsundere Red King, Niko. She has certainly got a thing for Haruyuki, although I don't see her making any serious moves on him so long as he's in love with Kuroyukihime - and as long as Kuro keeps on the offense about who gets close to her beloved pig knight. 

Still, we've seen a remarkable amount of growth out of her, both as a person and as a Brain Burst user. She clearly has a lot of responsibilities on her shoulders as a level nine user, even more so when a member of her faction who is also her own guardian is threatened and it becomes her job to take care of it. I was ridiculously happy that Niko will be able to reconnect with her guardian through other channels; the scene of her delivering the Judgement Blow to his avatar was just too much to bear. 

It was simple and sad and well done; it also illustrated how hard it is to be in Nico's position, to be someone who has to kill a team member's avatar, thus locking that person out of the 'accel world' forever, in order to save the whole of the Brain Burst verse. She must have to make such difficult decisions on a regular basis as Red King. I imagine this one was the hardest of her career, since it meant never playing BB with her own guardian again.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Taku step it up and actually do something worthwhile. He has truly made amends for his betrayal earlier under the guise of the once-bad Cyan Pile. His sacrifice to protect a vulnerable Haruyuki and Kuroyukihime was pretty stirring. Also, his classic anime odd man out reaction to the two girls fighting over poor Haru was hilarious. 

There's something about Taku's armored avatar hulking sadly in a far corner, forlornly scratching his girlfriend's name out in the pavement with his clawed hand that is undeniably amusing. Taku, I may grow to like you yet, even if your glasses still annoy me.
 
The most recent awesome feature to be revealed in the show has to be the Unlimited Accel World, where users can avoid the non-aggression treaty and level up. It has different rules than a normal arena in Accel World, and even manipulates time and space to its own advantage. What is this, a precursor to Gallifreyan technology? The Accel World version of a hyperbolic time chamber, minus all the blank space and senzu beans? Never mind that. Whatever is going on, it's awesome and I hope this UAW shows up in further episodes.

So far Accel World has really stepped up its own game in plot development and character growth, as well as showing more and more of how the inner machinations of Brain Burst look like. Plus, with that wicked cliffhanger that suggests the Armor of Destruction isn't gone for good, it's clear that this series is just gearing up for bigger and more explosive things in the near future. 

And I can only imagine how Kuro will respond to learning Niko has once again taken up living at Haru's place - hey, when the heck are Haruyuki's parents ever gonna come home? Are they convenient plot devices to allow Haru a bevy of strange housemates or is there something going on beyond the surface? Curiouser and curiouser, methinks.

You can watched subbed streaming episodes of Accel World at the Viz Anime website and on Hulu!