Accel World is an anime based on the Light Novels by Kawahara Reki, the author of Sword Art Online, in fact, I’ve decided to watch this show after watching Sword Art Online and loving it as much as I did. Unlike Sword Art Online, I hadn’t read the books, and as such this review would be based only on the anime, and perhaps a couple of points would be drawn from SAO and other media, as usual. I also want to note that the seed of the idea I’ll use in this post, of the show’s protagonists as villains had been planted by this post on Kotaku, reviewing the show.
Let’s begin with the show’s premise, or the world it’s taking place at, and how it develops it: In 2046, people can access a virtual network known as the Neurolinker via their cellphone terminals. A perpetual victim of bullying, middle school student Haruyuki spends his time absorbed in games in a corner of his local network. One day he is approached by the most famous girl in his school, Kuroyukihime (Black Snow Princess). She gives him a strange program called Brain Burst that has the power to “accelerate the world.” (Source: ANN).
I usually post this later, but since the first half of this post will be dedicated to the show’s premise, including the very next paragraph, then this is going to come earlier than usual today: This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be a large amount of spoilers in this post.
Now let’s expand that a bit, with what the show actually shows you during its early episodes – Brain Burst allows you to enter a digital world where your mind is accelerated a thousand times the normal rate, every second of real-world time is a full 16 minutes of in-game time. A real world-minute is experienced subjectively as over 16 hours in the accelerated world, which is relevant later on in the show. You can use the accelerated world in order to pause and think about what is going on, have more time to study, dodge incoming blows and many other cool things. The catch? You begin with 100 points, each time you accelerate takes up a point, so sooner or later you’re going to run out. How do you earn more points? You fight with people in duels – you challenge someone whom has no option to turn the duel down, and 10 points transfer from the loser to the victor. Earn enough points, and you can turn in points for a “level up”, which can increase your stats and give you cool powers (Note, it seems one can also choose to voluntarily transfer points to another).