Accel World Ep. 1-2: Mahou Piggy

Folks, I have some righteous anger to direct toward E Minor. I know, I know–he’s a douche, but first, a little context. Accel World, one of the spring season’s latest anime, stars a socially awkward, wimpish protagonist. What’s new, right? Well, Haru is not only three feet tall–like most Asian men–he’s also three feet wide–like most American men. Truly, Accel World is a cosmopolitan anime that caters to fanbases from both sides of the Pacific Ocean. But as always, this isn’t enough for our resident stick-up-his-butt, kimchi-in-his-craw (“Dokdo” Island still belongs to us, you bastards!) E Minor. Last night, he took to Twitter to lambast and mock Haru. Here’s what E Minor had to say:

Oh puh-leeze. We all know humanity began with Adam-kun and Eve-chan, Eve-chan disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit, and the two were cast out of paradise forever into the world of 3DPD. Since then, this corporeal flesh is our original sin. Don’t even get me started on how Goku sacrificed his life for our humanity. But since we’re on the topic anyway, let’s talk a little more about Accel World. For that, we begin with a title: Minority Inceptimon.

Minority Inceptimon would be the title of a truly transcendent blockbuster if either Steven Spielberg or Christopher Nolan knew a thing or two about storytelling. In Minority Report, certain individuals possess the gift of precognition. But what do said individuals do with their wonderful powers? Nothing. They sit in a bath for most of the movie while Tom Cruise runs around debating the ethics of crime or something. I don’t know, it was hard to pay attention; Rie Kugimiya didn’t play a single character so you’ve already lost me right there. All I know is that Tom Cruise doesn’t grunt or power up once. I don’t even know his level or HP. What are his special moves? God, this movie sucks.

In Inception, the Titanic guy has a funky machine that allows him to enter people’s dreams. More importantly, he can enter his own dreams and manipulate it. Raise skyscrapers! Create giant explosions! So what happens next? Does Titanic guy then do battle with the four mystical dream lords in order to gather the dream souls for the dream vessel that would usher in the new Age of 2D? If only. Nah, the side characters do most of the heavy lifting while the main character talks and talks and talks. How can I feel the weight of the drama if there isn’t an ultimate battle? Nolan just has his protagonist opine about his dead wife for more than two hours and not even once does someone stick his or her hand under a woman’s skin and grope her boobs from the inside (kinky).

Where are the battles? Where are the one-on-one duels where an inexperienced, unproven middle school child is 99% beaten but then completely turns the battle around at the last second thanks to dumb luck shounen ingenuity? Most importantly, what is with all these adults? I want my heroes to be dorky grade school students, and the younger, the better. See, my stories are simple: I am a man (one day), I want the pettanko babe, and I’m going to fight you for her. So cut the middle man out; get right to the point and just give me duels where we each take turn shouting out the names of our moves (up up down down left right left right B A).

That is why Accel World is here to show these “Oscar-winning” directors what to do: get straight to the point. Accel World takes place in a future Japan where every single person is linked up to a some world wide web through an internet dongle thingamajig on their necks. And through this newfangled technology, the young people of Japan can enter a sort of virtual reality where all the wannabes praise the cool, beautiful senpai and the pathetic pignerd is forced to play squash all by his lonesome–this is so totally different from reality, I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Not only that, there are cameras everywhere. Oh, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part: a fancy computer program allows Haru and his butterfly ojousama to accelerate their minds a thousand times faster than normal. By simply yelling Burst Link, the real world practically stops for our hero and heroine, allowing them to plan out their actions and react to every single situation as they see fit. The first episode of Accel World gives us just one example of how Haru can use his newfound powers to combat the bane of nerds everywhere: bullies.

Now, we could sit here and belabor the ethical implications of such a power. Or we could just even bypass that and turn Haru into some exciting secret agent who infiltrates enemy bases using the power of Burst Link! We could even address some of the other issues like all those damn surveillance cameras everywhere. How do we feel about Big Brother always keeping a constant eye out on pubescent teenagers undergoing the most awkward years of their lives? Or what about the fact that the boundaries separating the real world and the online world has been shattered so nonchalantly in Accel World to the point that a wire linking Haru’s neck thingie to butterfly girl’s neck thingie is thus fetishized to the level of an indirect kiss(u)?

Hi, it looks like you’re a shounen hero. Would you like a generic Super Sentai costume to make yourself even more bland?

Luckily, Accel World doesn’t dwell on such boring possibilities for the future direction of its plot. We immediately jump right into a video game battle in the second episode! Y’see, Haru’s pigself turns into Silver Crow, who is super special because silver is a rare color or something, crows aren’t even silver, and Haru has neither wings nor a beak in his new incarnation–see? Totally special. And like the amazingly sublime C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, let’s create a not-totally-halfassed world but ignore everything about it for discrete, one-on-one duels where the men fight and the pixie girls sometimes fight but they always make sure to support her man with instructions on what to do.

It’s great that Haru has an HP bar. How else could I tell that the main character had been pushed to the brink if I don’t see a blue CGI bar slowly shrinking? I like that Haru has a special move that can only be accessed through countless JRPG-esque menus. Finally, I was delighted to see how Haru’s opponent was level two when Haru was only at level one. So what do these qualities all add up to? Here’s my reading of the situation. Because he’s only at level one, Haru’s inexperienced. Because his opponent is at level two, Haru’s an underdog. The fact that Haru’s HP drops so quickly further substantiates the claim that Haru shouldn’t have won this fight. Surprisingly, Haru won anyway–an unexpected conclusion that came as I dangled precariously at the edge of my seat.

Tuxedo Mask, is that you?

Accel World‘s drama wouldn’t have been as powerful if we had to infer the fact that the Ghost Rider ripoff had the upperhand on a wimpy and overweight middle school nerd. We would have never known what the creators intended without their cleverly hidden clues. Hollywood action “blockbusters” fail because they lack such critical information necessary to my understanding of the plot. I don’t even know if Titanic guy’s top fell or not! C’mon, is it a dream or not?!

Why are people fighting in Burst Link? Who cares. We may find out later. Maybe. The fate of the world might rest on the tip of Haru’s snout for all I care. I just want my battles discrete, compartmentalized and easily digestible. And before I forget, more power levels please.

22 thoughts on “Accel World Ep. 1-2: Mahou Piggy

      1. Marow

        I haven’t seen it and I won’t! It looks like any another copy-paste action anime, except with pigs and butterflies. :(

        Loved the post though :D

      1. alsozara

        Yes, in my anime-related world, you ard your witty parody posts are my sun.

        Copious praise aside, I enjoyed the way you did this post. I would like to make this required reading for anime fans, since you could pretty much extract an itemised list from it on all the things that are wrong with this generic crap, primary on the list being utter lack of inspiration or ambition.

        1. E Minor

          Anime shoots itself in the foot more often than not, really. Semi-interesting premise? Let’s make a middle/high school show out of it!

  1. wanderer

    Wait, that piggy guy is the actual main character design? Not some super-deformed promotional materials or fan art, and not the mascot character?

    I would need to “accelerate” to even come up with something appropriate to say beyond that. What on Earth?…even E Minor’s blob-kun would be less demeaning an existence than this slop.

    Happy spring season everyone!

      1. wanderer

        Sorry for being unclear: I figured out that the pig itself had the avatar, and by “piggy-looking guy” I meant the cartman-lookalike guy…so the point stands. Of all the places and all the reasons to experiment with fresh art styles, this is it, huh? Sigh.

        1. E Minor

          Well, at least a fat character isn’t just a minor side character (Poppo) or the butt of jokes. It’s too bad, however, that Haru is yet another nerd stereotype.

  2. RenMoraes

    . . .

    . . .

    Hey ! someone here knows Reki Kawahara’s ( accel world writer) email ?

    i’m sure he’ll be delighted to read this article and see how his epic saga is so high praised by his westerners fans !!!!!

  3. appropriant

    Good to see that you guys are writing again.

    Accel World isn’t one of the series I’m following, and if I’m reading this blog post right it’s probably for good reason. I’ve read (and still read) too much shounen manga to bother with anime of the same genre.

  4. Ando

    Sounds like a true masterpiece in the making! Whilst I really enjoyed your post and hope you continue to share your thoughts on it, I think I might have to pass on this anime. Seems too high-brow for me anyway.

    1. Anonymous

      Its just that.. The main character looks like slop,just an aweful chatachter ughh i cant even spell right due to this animes


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