Surprisingly, Accel World actually delivers on an interesting premise and a very unusual style of protagonist character designs. The result to me feels like this show is going to be another Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon: wacky (for different reasons), but quite serious when it has to be. I was afraid that the ghost of Guilty Crown would haunt this series, given the circumstances (Haruyuki = Shu, Same screenwriter for both series), but my faith in Sunrise has steadily increased over the years.
Accel World starts off by introducing Haruyuki (Yuki Kaji…*shudder*), a loser kid who easily gets bullied often. His escape from such a nightmare is a virtual reality where his life is much better, despite his avatar being a pig. The most popular girl in school, Kuroyukihime (Sachika Misawa), is intrigued by Haruyuki to the point where she invites him to the Accelerated World, a special type of world that is home to the Burst-Linkers. But in the real world, it’s a living nightmare for him having to deal with bullies and question his own friendship with Chiyu (Aki Toyosaki) and Taku (Shintarou Asanuma). I gotta hand it, this is a good way to show how bullying is actually depicted because I really felt for Haruyuki, despite being the first episode I can definitely see him losing his cowardice.
The whole alternate/Accelerate world stuff will probably take a little while to understand (apparently the second episode is full of exposition on this), but it’s definitely quite interesting as of now. I also enjoyed Kuroyukihime, she definitely hit the right notes by being a bit mysterious, but not too much where it becomes quite cheesy and by showing actual intrigue with Haruyuki as opposed to pity, which I assume Haruyuki fears Taku and Chiyu are doing behind his back. I’m pleasantly relieved to hear this show is going for 24 episodes, because anything shorter would be extremely rushed and would lack critical details for this show.
Haruyuki is a deer (or pig) in headlights when it comes to this show, because he clearly sticks out in many ways than the aesthetics. Perhaps this was done on purpose by the author, Reki Kawahara, and I’m realizing now that this was a pretty good decision. In a show dominated by females, the male protagonist is always left in the shadows with no one even bothering to take note of their presence. Here, you pretty much get your eyes glued to Haruyuki whether you like it or not. This isn’t the best way to bring attention to the male MC, but anything is better than what 99% of most anime series do with them. I have to say, Accel World has really surprised me in the best of ways.
OP: Chase the World by May’n (overall it’s pretty nice)
Status: Definitely watching; I’m intrigued by the premise and especially Kuroyukihime.