Accel World Review

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At first glance, Accel World has a sort of odd design to it. Taking a world deep in technology, mixing it with an almost scifi battle royale scenario, and throwing protagonist norms on its head. Originally a light novel written by Reki Kawahara, it was adapted into an anime by Sunrise that aired in 2012.

Diving right into the story, we follow a short chubby guy named Haru. Being what he is, he’s constantly bullied and treated like dirt at his school. This often pushes him to hide within the virtual world. Technology has progressed to the point that people are implanted with neuro links to a digital world, allowing them to be completely submerged in it.

accelworld1While in this digital world, Haru spends his time avoiding people and playing games that he gets really good at. However one day after fleeing into this digital world, he discovers that his high score has been broken by someone else. That someone being Kuroyukihime, the most popular girl in school. Kuroyukihime claims that she wanted to see Haru at school the following day.

When he arrives the next day, the girl asks for a direct link. This direct link allows people to communicate directly from public view. As well as transfer data, which she does. She gives him a program called Brain Burst which allows him to speed up his mind to the point that time seems to stand still. However it’s more than that, as people who use this program compete in duels to see who can keep their Brain Burst. Being as people use Brain Burst to give them competitive edge in sports, tests, and even gambling; it’s a dog eat dog world.

The story is definitely unique and adds for some great elements. While Haru doesn’t seem to fit in the anime style being as he’s VERY short and chubby, it helps the viewer realize just how isolated he feels. Some people have discredited this anime because his character modeling seems something out of a pure-comedy, but in this thinking I believe people miss the purpose. This seems solidified at the 5th episode when a certain plot point hits. I won’t go into detail, but I only say this because I think if anyone has issue with the art choice, wait until this episode before judging it.

That’s not to say the story is without fault. There’s particular plot points between certain characters that, while justified in ways, almost seem forced. If you’re able to overlook these minor issues, there’s still plenty to be had here.

accelworld2Some of the fighting is predictable, but it isn’t about the fights. It’s definitely all about Haru and his friends. What they go through and how their life is changed by this experience definitely gives this anime some credits.

The animation for the most part is well done. At times however the environments feel a bit stale. That said, the character designs are not detailed but have good elements to them. Some cute female characters as well as a stern male cast. Again, some might find Haru’s design to be completely opposed to the rest of the show’s style, but sticking with it proves to be a strong story element.

In the end, Accel World is a good anime. While it gets a bit convoluted later in the series, it’s relatively easy to follow and offers some good experiences. The only big downside to the series itself is often overused plot elements and jokes such as short link cables to get characters up and close. Overall I can give the show a recommendation.

VERDICT: 2.5 / 5

Pros:

  • Surprisingly good character design
  • Interesting world
  • Good humor and plot points

Cons:

  • Predictable fights
  • Plain environments
  • Overused jokes
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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.