I’m still not sure whether I trust Taku, though he seems sincere enough in his contrition. What’s absolutely clear is that Haru (who can’t seem to resist talking about Taku’s backdoor) desperately wants to believe he’s sincere. You can’t blame Haru, given that Taku seems to be the only male friend he’s ever had – and there’s no denying that Taku was a big help in getting Haru enough points to level up via tag-team matches against star-struck opponents eager to lose to the “Winged Avatar”. Unfortunately Haru is so excited by his time with Taku that he prematurely uses up all but eight of his points to upgrade right away – a rookie mistake if ever there was one, though Haru should certainly have warned him first.
There are a couple of different threads to follow here, the personal and the global, and this episode – while not terribly exciting – was nicely split between the two. The larger question of right and wrong in the Accel World is largely on the back burner, but it’s an interesting one – is Snow Black’s determination to destroy the artificial m”Level 9 Peace” the right way to go? It would help to know the intentions of the game designer, of course, but my sympathies are inclined to be with her. She’s clearly decided that Taku can be some direct use to her, and he’s still got problems within his own clan, apparently, judging by his encounter with what appears to be the Blue King (Takahiro Sakurai).
We also have the matter of the romantic quadrangle, of course – though for now, Taku is apparently still with Chiyuri, freeing Haru to focus on Kuroyukihime. I don’t expect that one to stay that simple. The main concern for now is that Haru – too proud to accept pity points from Taku (or too suspicious to risk a “fixed” duel, knowing that if Haru betrayed him his career as a burst linker would be kaput) has only 8 points and is this under extreme risk of termination at any time. Taku’s notion of hiring a bouncer – inspired by a flavor of ice cream the boys brought Chiyuri as a peace offering – leads Haru to a meeting with the secretive “Aqua Current” – who acts as a bodyguard for endangered avatars despite being a Level One herself. And yes, Current is apparently a she (though I have my suspicions about that), much to Haru’s surprise, after his clumsiness leads to an encounter that was supposed to have been only virtual.
I can’t say there was a whole lot in this ep that compelled me, but it was obviously very much a bridge to more important events to follow. Sakurai-san voicing a character certainly means they’ll be important, and Aqua Current apparently will be too, at least in the short term. There’s also the matter of just what Taku is up to (he quite kendo too, which is also suspicious for me), but the real interest is in the mechanics of the Accel World – they’re more interesting for me than the personal stories at this point.