Accel World – 17

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I’m kind of starting to get why AW fans are a bit ragey about this arc – although I wonder if my reasons might be a little different.

[Commie] Accel World - 17 [F1078D77].mkv_snapshot_01.03_[2012.08.03_21.24.29]It’s hard for me to put my finger on why this arc irritates me so much sometimes, apart from the revoltingly weepy episode two weeks ago where Haru, Taku and Chiyu pretty much brought shame on the entire human race with their behavior.  The last couple of eps especially have been fine in most respects, certainly  an order of magnitude better than that one.  Haru and Take even managed to fight back against Noumi this week.  So what’s the problem?

[Commie] Accel World - 17 [F1078D77].mkv_snapshot_03.49_[2012.08.03_21.26.06]First, I think Noumi is part of the issue.  I don’t hate the character – and that’s a problem.  The reason I don’t hate him is that he doesn’t feel remotely real – he feels like an artificial construction, a narrative piñata stuffed full of every loathsome quality the reader/viewer can imagine that we can all unleash our anger on with big sticks.  In other words, he comes off to me like he’s someone I’m supposed to hate – and I don’t like being told who to like and who to hate.  It’s hard to know how much of this comes from Kawahara-sensei’s LNs and how much of it comes from Yoshino Hiroyuki’s adapted script, but I will say this – this kind of broad, obvious, clumsy moralism is right up Yoshino-san’s street.  I wouldn’t call Kawahara’s writing especially subtle or emotionally complex based on what I’ve seen of Accel World and Sword Art Online, but AW does have a sort of appealingly innocent quality to it.  I think this arc points up that this adaptation might have been served better by a writer more different from Kawahara-san in style, rather than one who shares his weak points without bringing much to the table in terms of strengths.

[Commie] Accel World - 17 [F1078D77].mkv_snapshot_04.13_[2012.08.03_21.26.29]Another problem I had with this episode specifically was the behavior of Haru and Taku.  I hate to say it, but I found myself agreeing with Noumi – it was appalling.  At least they weren’t sobbing and hugging themselves – in fact, their false submission and subsequent double-cross was the best part of the episode – but the hackneyed declarations of brotherhood and the power of teamwork were…  Well, Noumi wasn’t the only one gagging – let’s put it that way.  It had the feel of fanfiction written by a 15 year-old boy, and despite my pleasure at seeing them finally stand up to Noumi it was almost enough to make me root for him in the end, just so the two of them would shut the hell up.

[Commie] Accel World - 17 [F1078D77].mkv_snapshot_04.24_[2012.08.03_21.26.41]Well – that ended up being quite a rant, and I really hadn’t intended it to.  The episode was actually pretty solid apart from that – I definitely enjoyed the clever gambit that Haru and Taku pulled (though the level of coordination given their lack of prior consultation stretched credulity a bit) and the pacing was such that things felt brisk and involving.  I also thought it was rather interesting to hear Noumi frame the conflict in generational terms.  15 year-olds like Snow Black and their antiquated way of viewing the Accelerated World are totally the past, Man – for 7th-graders in the new generation, even the term “Burst Linker” is totally square.  More seriously, there does seem to be a difference in terms of community vs. individuality – Noumi arguing that Burst Link (even the incarnate power)  is all about getting ahead and taking what he wants, while the older Linkers focus on preserving the community (ironic, given their past history and how often they still double-cross each other).  It’s worth pointing out that valuing the self over the community is quite antithetical to the Japanese moral and ethical systems, and it’s no coincidence that a character set up to epitomize everything despicable should frame his philosophy in those terms.

[Commie] Accel World - 17 [F1078D77].mkv_snapshot_05.03_[2012.08.03_21.27.20]I guess I buried the lead, because the headline will be Chiyu’s “betrayal” at the end, I suppose, though there’s no way that everything is as it appears.  I’m guessing either she’s been preemptively blackmailed by Noumi, using her healing powers as a kind of insurance policy, or this is part of a bigger plan that Haru (and maybe Taku, too) don’t know about – a triple-cross.  There were plenty of hints dropped that Noumi had a thing for Chiyu and his pubertal hormones might be his downfall, so perhaps this is a part of that. It looks like we’ll have to wait at least a week to find out, as the story is headed down to Okinawa to join Kuroyukihime and her little black two-piece (Middle school?  Really?) for a battle with a new opponent.  As the nominal female lead she’s been missing for quite a long time, so that development shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

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  1. I

    I dropped AW again. After episode 15 and this whole arc, I feel that watching characters who are both inconsistent and more often than not annoying I simply can't enjoy it anymore. One day Kaiji Yuuki I'm gonna pull a sword out of a anime girl figurine and stab you with it.

    In high school a lot of the weaker kids get bullied and it is a horrible mark on society for the hellish life that some non-adults suffer but in Haru's case I think it's a brilliant idea to stuff him in a car tyre and roll him up and down the street because that is what he deserves. I don't care if he's like this because of bullying, suck it.

    I got bullied, or rather annoyed by one such character and one occasion where I had crutches for a while because of a football injury the guy came and stab my buttock with one of those geometric compasses (damn sharp one at that). My leg was nearly healed at the time, but I just used the crutches because then I could get away with a lot of stuff, so I shocked him by chasing after him and swinging the crutch in to his head giving him a concussion. That wasn't the last time that we fought but I always fought back back after that, head/chin butt being one of my favourite weapons since he was taller then.

  2. A

    How much would it hurt to just make so many of these 'middle school' stories in high school, not changing anything else? Is there something about the age 15?

  3. A

    wait, totally messed up. 15 -> 13

  4. S

    Japanese Middle School runs US Grades 7 to 9. Their High Schools run grades 10 to 12.

    So you do have some 3rd year Middle School students that are 15.

  5. b

    This must have been the first time in years, that I actively looked for spoilers to find out what the deal is with Chiyu, since the end of the episode pissed me off so much. 😀

  6. A

    nomi butt raped chiyu in the shower room and she loved his bazooka nuff said

  7. A

    i agree with GE. antagonists who are cartoonishly evil are a mark of saturday morning cartoon level writing. to go off on a tangent, that's the main reason i almost can't stand james cameron movies, especially since they're real life actors.

  8. i

    Unfortunately the LN was as bad in describing Normi as the anime did converting the character (atm)

    At least everyone (less the Japanese-fluent readers) will be in the same boat onwards now…

    …and the battle…pure awesomeness is conveyed here.

  9. A

    Though I feel Ishruns pain, HTH does Kaiji Yukki link to the rant!?? Smug@$$ I can understand but why the VA!???

    Tht said, isn't Smug@$$ been DESIGNED to evoke the hate??? And he working d*mn well.

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