Kuroyukihime-sama and Haruyuki.
This is a first impression post of Accel World, based upon the first two episodes. Just as I stated in my season preview, this show turned out to be glorious eye candy. I love the colors and the character designs, and the whole show has a great sense of clean graphic composition. There was also some good use of odd (and active) camera angles to help create emotional effect.
For those who don’t know this is a love story between a pig who wants to “go faster” and a butterfly. Well, it’s more complicated than that. But seriously, this show is worth checking out just to see how good it looks. It also has a Science Fiction story about virtual death matches and stuff.
Our hero, Haruyuki Arita, is one bad ass pig, with a squash racquet.
Our heroine, Kuroyukihime-sama, is a butterfly.
This show is built upon the classic implausible relationship: the most popular girl in school takes an interest in the short, fat kid who is always getting bullied. Needless to say, the short, fat kid (Haruyuki) turns out to have some incredible skill that makes him the genius of the virtual world.
The heroine has a very cool name: Kuroyukihime, which means “Black Snow Princess”.
The virtual world is based, in part, upon the Neuro-link. A collar that connects humans to a cyber-reality.
Like everything else in this show, the technology that supports this story is very elegantly designed. Instead of augmenting reality by projecting the virtual layer on a device in the personal environment, such as the Dennou glasses, in Dennou Coil, Accel World presents a future in which the virtual world is incorporated into human sensations by direct neural interface.
Windows and dialog boxes are super-imposed in the sensations as experienced by the brain. Here a dialog box is manipulated, and several other windows are seen floating nearby, with the "real" world visible in the distance.
Here, in a scene that has nothing to do with the virtual world, virtual elements are still visible in the periphery of Haruyuki's vision.
Not only is the design of the virtual interface interesting, it was a pretty interesting idea to include it in the corners of scenes throughout the show. It gives one a good idea of what the experience of the characters is supposed to be like, and really gives you the idea that you are seeing some scenes from Haruyuki’s perspective.
Kuroyukihime-sama gives Haruyuki Brain Burst by direct link. Notice Kuroyukihime's double ahoge (hairlicks) look like butterfly antennae.
Kuroyukihime gives Haruyuki an application called Brain Burst, that gives him access to a special level of virtual reality. This is probably the most fantastical element of the show. The application enables it’s users to “accelerate their thought processes”. They also can project themselves out of their physical bodies, by use of the Neuro-link, mentioned earlier, and the “social cameras” that have been embedded all around them. Kuroyukihime describes this as “crushing reality”. Haruyuki is eager to crush the reality in which he is a short, fat kid, so he jumps at the chance.
The interface controls within Brain Burst are much flashier.
Of course Kuroyukihime-sama’s application comes with a down-side. Haruyuki must now fight other “accelerated” people, as the Silver Crow.
I guess here is where I haven’t been completely sold on the show. It will have battles, and our shounen hero will get stronger, and Kuroyukihime-sama obviously has a dark secret of some sort. Story-wise I still don’t see this as being particularly original.
We even have something that looks like a love triangle.
But, honestly I enjoyed the first two episodes. In particular, I thought it LOOKED GREAT. I am looking forward to seeing more, but I fear it will stick pretty close to the standard story devices we all know already. If it manages to tell a somewhat clichéd story competently, and LOOKS THIS GOOD doing it, I would say it would be worth watching. If Accel World surprises me, by delivering a better story than I anticipate, it could be a very good series. If the show looks good, but we have a predictable story that is poorly told, I’ll end up dropping it.
Bonus Service (Pigs and Butterflies)
Go ahead, make my day.
Kuroyukihime-sama. This is an excellent example of the design sense that Accel World displays. The composition includes large patches of flat colors very effectively.
Kuroyukihime-sama X Haruyuki. The pig and the butterfly.