Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

Accel World Ep. 1

Initial impression – the beginning of something really cool

Spring 2012 to summer 2012 (24 episodes) (title synonym – Accelerated World) (more info)

The concept of using a virtual world parallel to reality as a setting concept isn’t new territory.  From .hack//SIGN to Sword Art Online coming this July, this type of series has a long and varied history.  So if Accel World wants to stand apart from the crowd, it needs to find something it can make its own.  And boy does this series look promising.  For starters, if you’re going to go all out and make your main character a pathetic protagonist—the unlikely hero—you can’t be more thorough than Haruyuki.  He’s short, chubby, whiny, nerdy, the target of bullies and above all he’s dishonest with his feelings and with the feelings of others.  His own self-image is so poor that even his online avatar mirrors his lowly existence.  Kuroyukihime is everything Haruyuki is not—beautiful, shrewd, popular, affluent and most importantly mysterious—making her his perfect mirror opposite.  Seemingly on a whim, she guides him to a breaking point and gives him the chance to release all of his emotions in a rage of vengeance.  But he remains composed and opts to play things smart rather than allow his new abilities to go to his head.  The writing continues to prove its purposeful vision when Haruyuki’s new skills are put to a real test.  All too often these kinds of anime devolve into a boring “battle of wills,” in which whoever wants the win more is the one who achieves victory.  But Haruyuki is a thinker and when facing insurmountable odds his cleverness continues to be his greatest asset.  Seeing the underdog finally discover that his strength is knowledge is uplifting and a really smart way to grow his personality.  With a sharp art style and gorgeous character designs I have high hopes that Accel World is going to be one of spring 2012’s best anime.

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