The main male protagonist, made from chrome.
A few months ago, the horror thriller anime Another wins the audition for this blog ‘Anime of the Year 2012’ title, and today its first challenge comes from a surprisingly good anime series, titled Accel World. Nevertheless, this anime failed to unseat Another from its title because of some very obvious problems with the storyline and at least one unanticipated issue that will really surprise you.
4 years before the events in Little Battlers Experience, people in Japan has already stopped using their iPhones and Samsung Galaxies in favor of an augmented reality device called neuro linkers. This device allows their users to dive into Second Life-like virtual worlds, using custom avatars, doing things that the Residents has done many decades previously. The pudgy main male protagonist, a neuro linker user that used it primarily for MMORPGs, was introduced to a dodgy neuro linker app called ‘Brain Burst’ by a mysterious beautiful girl at his middle school. The ‘Brain Burst’ app then allows him to accelerate his biological brain functions, paving the way into the ‘Accelerated World’, a C-like alternate dimension where he has to fight for points, levels and of course, the woman. Unfortunately (for me), there are no signs of 12TB thumb drives in this anime.
If there is anything I can say about this anime’s plot, that would be that it (the story) has a vast amount of potential still left unexplored within it after the last episode, scratching only the surface of a potentially expansive storyline. You know, kinda like Legend of Legendary Heroes, Giant Killing and even Infinite Stratos. And definitely so unlike C, which potential has already been largely exhausted in its final episode. But from what I have watched so far in this anime, the quality of the plot is somewhat inferior to the first two anime titles I mentioned in the sentence preceding the one before this one. But personally I think the inferior plot quality is by design and intentional, mainly because of a reason I will explain below.
The reason why this anime’s plot is inferior to Legend of Legendary Heroes (shortened to ‘LOL Heroes’ from now on) and Giant Killing is because the writer for this anime focused much more on character developments and relationships while keeping the rate of the development of the storyline very low. In LOL Heroes, its writer managed to balance character and story developments better, while in Accel World, its writer focused more on the character developments aspects while somewhat neglecting the plot. And this is where my first complaint comes in: the execution of the writer’s strategy in this anime really can do with more polish.
Accel World: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.
While Accel World and LOL Heroes has different rate of plot developments, both of them has similar episode count. With the former focusing more on character developments than the latter, does that mean the former performs better when it comes to character developments strategies? The answer to this question is ‘only barely, if at all’. LOL Heroes already has good character developments, with higher regular character counts, and without sacrificing the story advancement too much. This anime, which has lower regular character counts (which automatically gives this anime an advantage) somewhat still cannot outperform LOL Heroes in this aspect, with a margin that matched the effort. Only the main male protagonist has the rate of character developments that commensurates the efforts put by the writer in this anime.
I think the main reason why the character developments in this anime isn’t really as good as it can be to match the efforts put in is because there are not much story to go around within the whole series. The amount of plot in this anime would have been common in a 12-episode series than in one double the length. A subtle time jump inserted somewhere in the middle of the series doesn’t help either, and frankly speaking, this anime needs more of the ‘bouncer episode’ that happens before the time jump. If this anime has a second season, more emphasis should be put on advancing the storyline, so that the balance seen in LOL Heroes is used in Accel World’s future iterations.
Moving to character developments, as mentioned above, this anime has done really well in this aspect as expected from how the story is written. In fact, just like the storyline, there are plenty of developments left in the tank for almost all of the recurring characters. The best character in this anime, for the time being is definitely the main male protagonist, followed by his two childhood friends. The main female protagonist was written out from the story for the whole second half of the series, has a vastly slower character developments than the others in the first half but still is a quite decent character with hidden potential character-wise and story-wise in the future. But I have a MAJOR technical complaint about her that will definitely affect this anime’s rating negatively, and I will elaborate about this later below.
This deus ex machina plot device is one of this anime's problems.
As I have written in the paragraphs above, as of now this anime has inferior storyline compared to what you can see in LOL Heroes and Giant Killing. For now, that can be forgiven as long as this anime has a second season (which as of writing, isn’t confirmed yet), but unfortunately this anime’s plots was plagued by three problems. The first ones would be plot holes (as opposed to loose ends). For example, I was very surprised when I found out that Scarlet Rain is a level 9 Burst Linker, a level she must have attained after the main female protagonist went into exile. But then again, the non-aggression treaty should have been in force, so how on earth did she get level 9? Did she spam the Unlimited Field?
The second problem this anime has is the numerous amount of forced melodramatic moments has, especially the ones that has to do with the main male protagonist and his relationships with his two childhood friends. The Kaiji-like amount of crying by the former doesn’t help things either. The third problem would be the usage of deus ex machina plot devices and moments like the incarnate system shown in the screenshot above. Would have been nice if the main male protagonist become stronger by just pure effort the way it is in Giant Killing.
The pacing of the storyline that is being told in this anime is quite decent and the flow is flawless. Would have been nice if this anime has a longer storyline that matched Giant Killing and LOL Heroes. As expected, the ending of this anime feels like a typical ending of a story arc, which mean there are still loose ends left in the storyline at the final episode. Therefore a second season will be needed (essential even), but will this anime follows LOL Heroes and Giant Killing in not having one? I sure hope not.
I think it was supposed to be the other way around right?
Apart from the main male protagonist, the character designs for all the other characters are just typical for the shounen genre. I’ll even say I have the ‘hey I have seen this character design before in other titles’ feelings. Black hairs are not frequent, but actually prominent. Accel World avatars’ design suspiciously looks so much like the suits of the two main protagonists of Tiger and Bunny, but worse in quality and I don’t really like the monotonous designs at all. Virtual reality avatars designs are much better, especially for the main female protagonist’s.
As mentioned above, the main female protagonist of this anime is a decent character even when she play a very minor role in the second half of this anime. But my biggest problem with her is her voice actress, which has done one of the most awful voice acting gigs for a major character in all the anime titles I have ever watched. She (the voice actress) is decent when her character is in kuu mode, but become extremely bad when her character is in dere mode. The awfulness is also evident in some scenes where main female protagonist is in her Accelerated World form, like when she pronounce the end of her self-imposed exile period after the main male protagonist acquire his wings.
Voice acting-wise, she is way worse than Kaidou Jin from Little Battlers Experience (he is the major character that has wooden voice acting I’m talking about in that anime’s review) and also the minor character in Giniro no Olynssis, amongst others. This anime lost one point because of this alone. If this anime gets a second season, her voice actress has to improve greatly by that time or else the director should just replace her with someone that can handle kuudere characters better.
Voice acting by the rest of the characters is patchy at best. The voice actor for the main male protagonist’s best male friend is also below average, but nowhere as bad as the main female protagonist’s. The main male protagonist and his female childhood friend has decent voice actors, but some other characters like Ash Roller and Dusk Taker has very good voice acting gigs.
That awesome life-like fire animation last seen in Yumekui Merry makes its return in this anime.
This anime has very good and elaborate electronic OST, especially during battles. The first OP and ED themes are good too, but it is just unfortunate that the second set of the OP and ED themes are not as good as the first one.
This anime used the blurry animation technique in its battle scenes, therefore one point will be docked from this anime’s final rating. This is a shame because this anime has good choreography efforts that would look better without all the blurring going on. General animation quality is good and flawless, especially that fire animation seen in the screenshot above. The director has done nothing wrong in this anime, a feat considering how this anime was structured.
7 out of 10. Yet another series that really need a second season. Whether we will get one or not is still up in the air though.
Even the second worst character when it comes to voice acting has a much better gig when compared to the main female protagonist.