Accel World is a sci-fi / action / superpower / comedy / drama / SOMETHING that hardly tries to offer something new. All its elements have be done in the past by much more entertaining and well directed anime and thus you are offered this dull mediocrity that hardly takes itself seriously, contradicts its own themes in about 5 minutes after it begins, and wastes all its good elements for superficial entertainment.
… Yes, with that sort of description we have a blockbuster. Welcome to modern anime.
The thing that I dislike most about it is its attempt to appeal too much on videogame nerds. If you are not one, you will most likely dislike how it presents itself.
- Animation is done by Sunrise, which means it will have good production values and cool robots. Overall it looks nice but hardly tries to offer something we haven’t seen before. The artwork in terms of background details and character drawings is one of the same old tired stuff we get for over a decade, while the soundtrack is completely forgettable J-pop pieces.
- Directing is done by Ohara Masakazu who also directed nothing but fan catering mediocrities, such as the Mai Hime trilogy and The Girl Who Leapt Through Space. And it also has some of the writing staff from Code Geass and Guilty Crown aiding here too, which means further bad news for the script.
- Based on the light novels of the guy who also wrote Sword Art Online, which was also adapted to anime a few months after Accel World began. It is basically the same thing, with a setting that could expand to include all sorts of metaphysical and psychological concepts regarding the meaning of life, happiness, and the like. In the hands of this ass though it still turned out to be another ecchi comedy with crappy plot and characters who don’t deserve your respect. Shows how you can’t expect anything good out of a light novel idiot who can only think of harems in videogames.
The story is set some decades in the future, where people are given neurolinks soon after they are born. With them they have wireless access to the internet everywhere and every time. The applications of which they use in their daily life, such as sending and receiving messages, keeping notes or looking for information without actually reading or writing anything on paper. Practically they all have a virtual world in their heads, which appears as pop-up windows in front of them and only to them. You thought seeing a guy talking to thin air because he has hands-free cell phone is weird? Wait to see a guy who seems to read and write in air too; for he sees things that aren’t really there for anyone else.
The protagonist is a dork whose life is miserable and he is ridiculed and bullied by the other students for being short and fat. For that reason he finds some comfort in an online game, where he constantly escapes from reality. All that changes when (drum roll for contrived twist) the hottest chick in school gives him entry to a fighting game, where you can accelerate a thousand times faster than normal. At that game he is to prove what he’s worth or he will be thrown out if he loses many times. The reward for the top players is to be in command of the online world, and possibly to find some sort of existentialist meaning behind its creation if you manage to reach the level cap.
All the above may sound very cool on paper but unfortunately they are presented in a most lukewarm way and thus you lose your excitement over the show very fast.
1. The setting of a wireless world, as elaborate as it seems at first, ends up being used only superficially.
- It’s there only for dressing up videogames. You hardly see them doing anything more than sending a few messages ethereally before they switch to options for playing videogames every time and every place we feel like it.
- It’s there for cheap erotic humour. For example there is the option to share private information and applications with others through short wired connections. In the hands of the makers though it became nothing more than a sleazy way for people to assume you have a girlfriend, or an excuse to drop on a girl like you are about to have sex with her.
- No elaboration is given to how they control what they say without talking. How do their inner thoughts don't mix in with what they superficially want to say? If someone has impure thought for a girl (something the hero does) how does he filter it all out when it’s close to telepathy?
- It ends up being an excuse to save money in lip sync. They just stand still without moving their mouths when they talk via linking instead of being in a cool virtual environment.
- There is absolutely no security against hacking in an otherwise hi-tech world where everybody has wireless access to it all the time. Many use the videogame to freeze normal time and cheat in school exams and sports by “checking out” the answers or the moves of the opponent. And nobody ever questions, doubts, or looks into that.
- Basic uses of technology are never used despite the hi-tech setting. Recording discussions for example. It is so easy to do it today so it will be child’s play to do it in a few decades in the future. If you can record a guy that is threatening you and you don’t do it, you are just not living in your era.
2. Information regarding exposition of setting and characters is offered through the most boring way imaginable, which is hardly acceptable with the technology they have in their hands.
- The basic methods all writers use in order to flesh out story and characters is to show them on screen if possible, or if they are being really lazy, just having a few characters sitting on a table and talking about stuff without ever showing us anything. And indeed, in this anime they are mostly talking instead of showing very fundamental and important things. It’s like they are skipping scenes and then just describing what happened in an attempt to save money.
- Not only they mostly talk but they also don’t even move their mouths! They literally sit on a table and stare at each other mute, while words are heard through telepathy or something. It may sound cool but trust me, all you see them do is stare at each other without doing anything. A frozen image with a dialogue in the background, as if this is a picture drama. Can you imagine how dull it feels to have access to technology that can easily show to someone flashbacks in the form of replaying recorded events and all you get is a picture drama? Are we really in the future or in the dark ages?
- Even in the game, they all wear helmets so you have no idea how they feel or speak. That makes them look like lifeless puppets instead of people.
3. Shitty plot twists and asspulls.
Yup; it’s Guilty Crown all over again.
- Imagine being able to reach to an epiphany without any sort of foreshadowing or deduction procedure. The fat guy magically knows the real reason the girl chose him for the game or finds out who the other stalking player is with absolutely no excuse. And that black king chick just has a hunch that by destroying the virtual world she will find the meaning of life.
- Things suddenly happen for the sake of happening like a guy you barely saw the whole show trying to kill you out of nowhere with a car but after the accident nobody cares about him. Or being thrown 6 floors down by an attack and all by accident in a room where an important person is in.
- Sudden power ups exactly when you need them, and miraculously being saved at the last second by someone else? Bring it on. Screw tactics.
Because that is what you resort to when you don’t have enough material to fill a full season. And make sure to add as much fan service as possible in those before you throw in a convenient solution on top of amnesia to make it seem like it never happened.
5. The protagonist takes the dorkness of his stereotype to a whole new level.
Instead of having a Keitaro (from Love Hina) clone for the Nth time, this one is very short and very fat. A typical show would use this body form on comic relief characters but in this case the comic relief “is” the main hero. As original as that feels, he is still a big failure of a protagonist and barely more interesting than all the rest of his brood, which has taken over most modern anime.
- He looks like a ball with eyes and a mouth, and is the only one that looks so cartoony compared to all the other characters. Even his virtual avatar is a goofy little pig. Not that he would be any better if he looked like a fashion model but he sure looks annoying right away. Furthermore he has the same voice actor as the protagonist from the most shitty Guilty Crown thus anyone who recognises his voice will hate him even more.
- He always acts scared, crying, yelling, and running away like a total pussy. He also hates reality and escapes it by playing videogames. He is always passive to everything that happens. He never takes initiative and only runs after people who force upon him their issues. That makes him even lamer. Even the videogame was forced upon him by a hot chick. Thanks for not trying to do something yourself dork. Just wait for an unrealistic harem girl to jump in your life to give you a shot at it. The only people who may like such lame attitude are those who are fat, gamers, and cry-babies. The rest will hate him right away.
- And despite all this dorkness, he has a dozen hot chicks being madly interested with him. And typically, he is crying and yelling and running around panicked. Instead of appreciating their kindness he is acting like a complete jerk or is completely oblivious to the feelings of a girl. What is so attractive in all that to make his so hot to all the girls? The answer is nothing; he is wishful thinking for all the losers out there who want a lame guy who gets all the girls without doing anything to deserve it. This also trashes the whole theme of the show, since it makes reality to feel like a stupid harem videogame when it is otherwise about a guy hating reality for being too harsh. It would be fine if he would get all the girls in a virtual game where he is doing everything right. Instead of that you get a worthless fat jerk who has his own harem for no given reason.
6. The far-fetched presentation goes on by having the person who gave him access to the game being the most beautiful girl in the school. Her motivations make absolutely no sense.
This is expected from the people who offered us porn dolls such as Inori and C.C., whose character was rewritten anyway they felt like it every 2 episodes. So once again they give us this bimbo whore, with an equally slutty uniform and a brain that is virtual. Meaning, it doesn’t really exist. I mean, damn, she can’t do the slightest thing without being an insult to common sense.
… Yes, with that sort of description we have a blockbuster. Welcome to modern anime.
- She has the hots for him because he is very good in videogames. Ok, don’t mind at all how he is crying all the time like a girl and looks like a ball with eyes.
- She wastes who knows how many months trying to be one of the top players of the game and when the rest ask for a truce she just backstabs them all and runs away because she felt like it.
- She has this hunch that if she gets to meet the secret developer of the game, the meaning of life will be revealed to her. Just because of a hunch! It’s just a videogame you dumb broad; there is nothing more to it!
- She has another hunch that another player is going to blackmail her in the game. For that reason she is running away from a guy with half her levels when she can otherwise smash him to bits. She instead uses the protagonist to go spy on who he may be instead of simply confronting the player.
- She constantly risks her well-being to protect the protagonist. Although it can be excused as being in love with him, she never seems to have enough speed or power to save both of them and just deliberately lets herself get the hit intended for the other guy.
- Later in the story she just turns to a walking wet dream by being just a bimbo in a swimsuit who doesn’t even fight anymore.
7. And then we have the other hot chick in the show, who is the typical childhood friend who has the hots for you but you don’t get it. She makes no sense either.
- She must have been born with a cat-looking tumour on her head. She never seems to take out that damn head accessory no matter where she is, what she wears, or how old she becomes.
- She is so in love with the dork hero that she ran to make his best friend her boyfriend.
- She then goes berserk after she sees him with another girl. Nice way to show how much you love someone only when he is taken away from you.
- She then acts like a complete slut to him, as if she wants to make him horny and jealous. But at the same time, she only wants him as a friend. Make up your mind bitch!
- She gets completely insane after she finds out how her love interests exploited her, and trashed her trust and feelings for them. But she forgives them immediately after they buy her some ice cream. Cheap slut!
- Later on she betrays them all for getting too high on being important to the game. She even teams up with their worst enemy for not much of a reason. Cow!
- And then double crosses even him without telling the others beforehand to better prepare them. And they just forgive her. Right…
8. And then we have the token loli of the show; an elementary kid which also makes no sense.
She organizes this really complicating, time-consuming, high-failure-probability, effort-costly plan, where she pretends to be the protagonist’s cousin, fakes his mother’s messages, and is even willing to seduce him, bathe with him, and even take his virginity. Why? Just so she can ask him to help her beat a cosmic threat in the game. DUH! What would have happened if she told all the other players that a cosmic threat is loose on the virtual world? He would agree to help her without all this retarded plan, just for the sake of protecting the virtual world.
- Later on she is revealed to have a superpower she keeps secret from everyone. Technically an asspull, since she never used it while her life was threatened but otherwise had no trouble to teach it to others when the show was in need of a power up.
- It is a complete passable mediocrity for casual viewers with minimum demands and videogame dorks who want a world where the fat idiot gets all the glory for the lulz.
- The virtual world has been presented in a far better way in shows like Ghost in the Shell, Dennou Coil, and .hack//SIGN.
- People trying to escape reality in videogames has been done far better in Welcome to the NHK and SE Lain.
- The comedy and action aspects are quite typical and dull.
Thus it is proven for the third time that the writers are incompetent jerks who never learn and never plan to do a proper show. And why would they if they will sell to thousands of tasteless newblords out there, who will be mesmerized by the completely childishly presented futuristic technology or the totally harem-like premise by sympathizing with a fat ugly useless gay protagonist?
Welcome to modern anime. The era of videogame-type of plots, time resets, amnesias, and obligatory fan service.