Accel World – 05

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Kaji Yuuki may just have found the role he was born to play.

As I look ahead to what seems like a somewhat threadbare summer season, Sword Art Online is one of the shows that appears most interesting.  So while Accel World is a fairly interesting show in its own right, a part of my mind is wondering just how similar the two works by author Kawahara Reki are.  I’m struck more and more by just how unsubtle Accel World is, especially the dialogue – for two weeks in a row we’ve been treated (or subjected) to some of the most florid teenage ranting in recent anime.  One can’t help but note that AW is adapted by Yoshino Hiroyuki, whose original works tend to be as subtle as a falcon punch to the temple (and sometimes twice as painful) and wonder how much of this theatricality comes from him, and how much from the original light novels.

In any case, I don’t mean to imply that this over-dramatic verbal style is a bad thing, necessarily – although last week’s speech by Snow Black was painfully inauthentic for me.  No, it makes an interesting change from most anime to hear characters slip into Shakespeare mode and vent their adolescent angst in such an unselfconscious way.  It worked better this week, the primary example being Haru’s soliloquy as he sat on Taku’s chest and ranted about Chiyuri, their childhood and Taku’s many failings as he pounded on him.  And it’s that sort of speech that makes me think Kaji-san has a role where he can be himself and not annoy the hell out of me – because this is a role that demands overacting, and he’s going to overact whether the role demands it or not.  I think it’s fair to say Kaji has a pretty small sweet-spot as an actor for me (as I’ve never actually found it) but this is about as close as I’ve heard.

The sense of theatricality doesn’t just apply to the verbal side of the equation, either – the symbolism in the story itself is equally grandiose.  When Haru is at the end of his rope in the fight with Taku – he’s lost his arm and his leg has literally fallen off – his rebirth comes in the form of a metamorphosis that would do the most ambitious caterpillar proud, as he sprouts beautiful white crystalline wings and soars high above the Accelerated World, the wind rushing through the hair he’d have if he weren’t a metal combat suit.  Taku even screams “Don’t look down on me!” – seriously, you can’t make this stuff up, and the symbolism could hardly be more transparent.  Not one but too massive metaphors packaged together in one moment – that’s some impressive writing right there.

Subtle is clearly not the point here, and as I watch AW I’m inclined to think this truly is as light novel-y as any anime I’ve seen in a while.  This is simple, straightforward entertainment to be consumed riding to school on the Marunouchi Line – and on that level it works more often than not, despite stumbles like last week’s stilted overreach.  Everything is big and dramatic, and the love triangle is no exception – with Taku unmasked, surely Chiyuri is now free to follow her heart and pursue the one she’d loved all along – which sets off an interesting dynamic with Snow Black (and we still have to call her that, as even the cliffhangers are head-slappingly dramatic).  Or perhaps…  Could Chiyuri actually find Taku more attractive, with his veneer of invincibility shattered, newly vulnerable?  I suppose it’s possible – and I’m not 100% buying his deathbed conversion and newfound humility, either.  Whether he remains a foe for Haru romantically or generally remains to be seen, but in the Accelerated World the game is definitely on, and the newly resurgent Kuroyukihime has shed the veil of secrecy and declared her intentions openly.  Let the struggle for power, inside the A.W. and out, begin.

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  1. b

    Enzo is tsundere for Kaji Yuki lol

    Jokes aside, I'd credit the dialogues to Kawahara. This is exactly how he writes. His overall theme is that people have a different persona in the virtual world and how they relate it to the real world. He also deals with the troubles of each characters and how it gets brought to the virtual world(remember that Duel Avatars are made from the inferiority of the Linkers' subconscious).
    It gets a bit forced and unrealistic at times but for me I find it to be great writing.
    Yoshino is doing fine this time but I'd say it's because Kawahara may be supervising this. See that Tin Man with the laptop and glasses? He's voiced by Kawahara himself, albeit doing a poor job at delivering lines lol. So yeah.
    Pretty great episode. And things will start to heat up now with Lotus revealing herself and SC having wings.

  2. I

    I dropped Accel World, along with a few other shows on the bottom of my interest list.

    In a season filled with fantastic shows, there isn't any point in watching a show which I find mildly interesting at best and annoying at worst.

    I hope Sword Art Online does a better job for me.

  3. A

    but i thought issei from high school dxd would be kaji's role to born to play?

    yea still don't know to watch still yea whole turned issei to small little fat ball?

    maybe if get dub?

  4. Since I dropped HS D x D, you didn't hear that from me…

    Did not know that was Kawahara! But I did wonder why they keep showing that avatar.

  5. b

    Most authors/writers have some avatars for themselves, like Kinoko Nasu being a mushroom and Togashi Yoshihiro being a dog. Kawahara's that one.
    I guess he wants to take part in his own anime. What author wouldn't want that XD.
    But someone in MAL posted a pic that Kawahara won't appear anymore after this episode because of some complaints in his voice lol.

  6. H

    Huh, I had heard that the little robot was his avatar but hadn't heard he was actually voicing it, guess it makes for an amusing Easter Egg while it lasted.

  7. a

    This is one of my favorites this season. But I really have a problem with the pacing of this episode. There were two times that I cringed at the awkward layout of the situation.

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