Accel World Episode 15: Haruyuki rebuffs Nomi’s threat and challenges him to a duel, only to lose in an unexpected way. (Source: Hulu)
Spoiler alert: Spoilers for Accel World's fifteenth episode beyond this point. Read on with caution!
Jesus, I hate Nomi. I really truly hate Nomi. He is a cretin and a terror of the worst kind. Having said that, you know who else I'm beginning to despise? Haruyuki. Sorry, Haru, your personality is wearing thin after ten plus episodes with nothing to show for it. Having said that, it was a solid episode that shows promise for a story arc that so far has been nothing but underhanded bullying tactics.
Read the rest of my review after the jump!
In this episode, we see how terrifying Nomi's abilities are and how he's been able to bully so many people: he can steal people's techniques and special attacks and make them his own, leaving the other Brain Burst user lacking. Naturally, he takes Haruyuki's most special ability, the one that gives him wings, leaving him unable to fly.
Nomi knows exactly what Haru's weakness is and he exploits it so perfectly that he is able to make Haru his personal servant, someone to feed him BB points until the day he graduates - which isn't any day soon.
Of all the things to do to Haru at this point in the series, taking away his wings is the worst thing a person can do. They define him as a Brain Burst user and they give him a strong advantage over other players, but they were also a gift from his precious Kuroyukihime - a gift that has been torn away from him, viciously, leaving him grounded and alone.
They've literally become a part of him and now that's something Nomi has, not Haru. And it's clearly killing him to be without it.
Having said that, being a dick to Taku was too much. Taku was clearly concerned about the well-being of both Chiyu and Haru, and Haru pulls out that "you must be interested in Kuroyukihime" bullshit? Ugh, so frustrating. This was the part of the episode where I started despising Haruyuki's woe-is-me nonsense; it's like Kuroyukihime and his friends taught him nothing about getting back up and dusting yourself off after a major fall.
And I may have internally cheered a bit seeing Taku punch Haru right in the face like a boss. Forgive me for doubting you, Taku; you clearly can be dedicated and righteous when the time is appropriate. Keep it up, please? Maybe I'll actually start liking you! Okay, let's not ask for miracles.
Let's not even talk about Haruyuki's sad sack walk around town, contemplating a permanent retirement from Brain Burst just because Nomi kicked sand in his face and stole his lunch money. What happened to all of his previous character development? What happened to defending Chiyu and becoming a strong person Kuroyukihime could be proud of? Jesus, show, get it together!
And this is where I say: thank god for Ash Roller. You know, the loud-mouthed biker Brain Burst user from the earliest episodes? It's looking like he's gonna become Haruyuki's new bro in burst linking, which will hopefully end for the better. Something about his loud brash behavior is so refreshing with every other character is crying and moping, y'know?
Plus his dorky English phrases and giddy excitement over his new additions to his avatar are adorable. Suddenly, the clip of them riding together on Ash's bike in the opening sequence makes sense! Linker bros forever!
Ash Roller isn't in this episode for laughs, however. After Haruyuki humiliates himself after failing to beat Ash without wings, Ash realizes what has happened to Haru has severely damaged his abilities as a Brain Burster. Ergo, he takes Silver Crow on a inspirational ride through the Unlimited Field to try and bring back some of his spark. After all, if anyone knows what Haru is going through, it's the guy whose had his greatest weapon - his tricked-out bike - disabled during a battle, leaving him unable to use it at all, just as Haru has lost use of his precious wings.
At the very end of the episode, we meet Icarus aka Sky Raker, Ash Roller's guardian, who is a beautiful avatar with a wheelchair and a sweet fancy hat. She looks like a cyber Victorian robot. Her role seems to be to motivate Haruyuki to fight back against Dust Taker's killer technique, although how is up in the air at the point.
Considering her avatar is disabled and that Accel World has the delicate sensibilities of an episode of Glee (i.e. none), that will probably factor in, although I can only hope they won't exploit her condition as some kind of ill-intentioned motivating force for Haru's lack of wings. Which, um, no wings is not the same as lack of mobility but okay, Accel World.
You would think the best route would be to lessen Haru's reliance on his precious silver wings like Kuro wanted, but that doesn't look like it's gonna happen. Honestly, if you have one great ability, there's no use over-using it to the point that your opponents can exploit it and turn it against you – like Nomi has clearly done. Yes, being able to fly makes Silver Crow a special snowflake, but that shouldn't be the only thing he's good at! I still have high hopes for the next episode, despite everything else. Don't let me down, show.