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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fragmentation: Accel World 17

Accel World Episode 17: Haruyuki receives a call from Kuroyukihime, who is away on a school trip. Touched by her kind words, Haruyuki vows to settle the score with Dusk Taker on his own. (Source: Hulu)
Spoiler alert: Spoilers for Accel World's seventeenth episode beyond this point. Read on with caution!
Damn it, Accel World! We were doing so well! And then you ended your 17th episode on that note. To be fair, I can see why it happened. I just wish it had never happened to begin with! However, despite my frustration at the twist of an ending, Fragmentation turned out to be a worthwhile episode. I just wish it had been the episode to properly cap off the Nomi/Dust Taker arc.

After several episodes of being on vacation, our beautiful black lotus goddess Kuroyukihime shows up via video call, just in time to give words of encouragement to Haruyuki. Yay for Kuro in a bikini! Yes, I'm that shallow. Kuro's presence is felt even beyond this scene, as Haru constantly draws upon her words as means of support during battle. Although Haru still can't bring himself to inform Kuroyukihime of what is going on, or the fact that his wings are gone. Honesty is essential in any good relationship, Haruyuki!
I thought it was rather sweet how Haru promised Kuroyukihime that he would get stronger for her; one wonders if he realizes how strong he's already become during her absence? After all, not any Burst Linker can master the Incarnate System like he did. I think sometimes he underestimates his own strength and speed. Perhaps now he'll stop relying on Kuro's assistance as much as he's done before.
Of course, I also have a theory that Kuroyukihime and Haruyuki are going to be dueling each other before the series is over. Perhaps this is the start of an arc in which Silver Crow's abilities actually surpass Black Lotus? It could be Kuro's support that brings him down in the end.
So Haru's abilities and Incarnate skills are put to the test during a surprise Brain Burst duel in the middle of physical education class, in which he starts off on the sideline watching Taku take on Nomi, then ends up dueling Nomi himself, Dust Taker versus Silver Crow. It's this duel that dominates the episode, although it's nice to see through Cyan Pile's own duel that Taku and Haru have made up. 
(Also: note that Haruyuki's classmates are still bullying him, and they still bother him. It's good that Accel World hasn't forgotten Haru's real life dilemmas, that his problems don't just exist in Brain Burst.)
I don't think this series could last long if one of the essential friendships crumbled after one misguided argument. Taku is one of the main reasons Haru fights so hard in Brain Burst. Also, nice to see Cyan Pile in action; I had completely forgotten he even had a spike technique. Maybe we should have more duels featuring Cyan Pile?
During the Dust Taker/Silver Crow duel is when Haruyuki really steps up to the role as the fastest Brain Burst user, the fighting avatar that Kuroyukihime has put so much trust and hope into. Plus he uses Gale Thruster, his gift from Sky Raker, which is a pretty sweet technique. 
Once Haru taps into his Incarnate System, he creams that asshole Nomi properly, and it is awesome to watch. It's a pretty righteous beat down and shows that even without his wings, Haru is able to fly again. If he never gets his wings back, his Incarnate System more than adequately compensates for the loss. Haruyuki's will is that strong, it might as well be his killer technique.
I know the ending probably pissed off a lot of people. After all, Nomi looked as good as gone; Haru was ready to strike the killing blow. The fact that Chiyu's avatar showed up and healed Nomi certainly was surprising and infuriating, but makes sense. After all, Nomi has declared Chiyu to be his toy. He could certainly pressure her into being his personal white mage to be used when he needs her, as long as he holds Haru's wings over her head.
Having said that, Accel World could very well turn my presumptions against me and show Chiyu to be actively assisting Nomi because god knows why. I guess I'll find out in episode eighteen!
You can watch streaming subbed episodes of Accel World on both Viz Anime and Hulu.