Accel World – 20

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It’s not as though this episode did anything especially wrong, but at this point more than anything else I just want this arc to be over.

[UTW]_Accel_World_-_20_[h264-720p][F273BD8C].mkv_snapshot_03.43_[2012.08.24_20.57.27]I confess I’m a little surprised that Kuroyukihime wasn’t looped back into the main story this week.  It looks as if before this arc is said and done, something close to a third of Accel World will have been spent with the main characters separated.  And nearly all of that stretch will have been with Snow Black virtually absent from the story altogether.  It all seems like a rather odd narrative choice to me, and (while I won’t confess to be unbiased in the matter) this Noumi business has the feel of something that should have been wrapped up in two or three episodes.  About the best argument I can make for drawing it out is that it was necessary for Haru’s development that he be out from under Kuroyuki’s wings for a while, but for me at least, it hasn’t paid off dramatically.

[UTW]_Accel_World_-_20_[h264-720p][F273BD8C].mkv_snapshot_04.18_[2012.08.24_20.58.03]I think a big part of the reason for that is that I never bought Noumi as a villain, and once a couple of episode had passed it was probably unlikely anything was going to happen that could change that.  I’ve rarely seen a character in a mainstream anime that screams out “Device!” as loudly as Noumi.  It’s as if Kawahara spent a night over a case of beers drawing up a list of traits that would make people hate a character, than woke up the next morning, threw back two raw eggs with a half-cup of Tabasco mixed in and proceeded to write an arc around that character.  Noumi’s too cartoonish for me to care enough about him to dislike him, never mind hate him – it’s his existence that annoys me, not the character itself.

[UTW]_Accel_World_-_20_[h264-720p][F273BD8C].mkv_snapshot_04.38_[2012.08.24_20.58.23]But then, here we are – and I suppose the question on the front burner is just WTF is going on with Chiyuri and her seeming betrayal of her weepy childhood friends.  As far as I can see she seems to be telling to truth about going to Noumi and volunteering to help him in exchange for points, but I just don’t buy the idea that’s all there is to it.  My guess is she looked at the situation and decided that the only way Noumi could be stopped is if she did it herself – and she has some kind of scheme in mind to do so, something that required keeping Haru and Taku in the dark.  I suppose it’s possible that she really is that much of a Judas, but that would break so many rules that I’ll remain skeptical until every other possibility has been disproved, stomped to bits and burned beyond any possible hope of recognition.

[UTW]_Accel_World_-_20_[h264-720p][F273BD8C].mkv_snapshot_06.37_[2012.08.24_21.00.22]Meanwhile, we have Haru starting to fall under the influence of the Chrome Disaster that hitched a ride on Silver Crow (I almost forgot about that) and which seems to power up when Haru feels rage (and there’s plenty of that now).  There were some pretty decent scenes here, including an odd one in which Haru and Taku share a microwave pizza at his apartment – a scene that somehow works because it fetishes the mundane details so much that it takes on a distinctly authentic feel.  That scene also features some of the sharpest comedy of the last few episodes.  It’s also interesting to see Noumi follow through on his threat to frame Haru for planting cameras in the girls locker room, which starts a cycle of bullying and social isolation that Haru is all too familiar with.  Watching him urge himself not to cry as the reality of his pariah status struck him in the cafeteria was one of the more emotionally real moments of the arc, and if this can turn into a dignified look at bullying and a demonstration of real and believable growth for Haru as a character – in real-life, not as a Burst Linker – then if not justifying its length,  the Noumi arc will at least have contributed something of value to Accel World.

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  1. A

    I was less angry after this episode than I thought I would be. Maybe it's the promise of some Scarlet Rain next episode…

  2. A

    To me, the key thing that redeems and make this arc is the introduction of Sky Raker – now that, to me was every bit just as emotionally real as the High Point of this episode.

  3. K

    DAT MICROWAVE. What I'd give for one that can completely heat up a frozen pizza to the point where it steams within the span of a single sentence (or 30s).

    Is there something wrong if I start laughing everytime Noumi shows up? I've stopped being concerned by how despicable he is, and once you get over that, everything he says is quite childish, silly, and egomaniacal.

  4. A

    The problem is he is so vile and often in anime the buildup to a villian's punishment does not equal the outcome. This guy is so rotten and nasty and he has ruined so many people, he should go to jail, lose all his points and be deactived as a burst linker, or some other bad retribution. Instead when he finally gets what is coming to him it will be a slap on the wrist and they move on.

  5. A

    *Bane voice* "His punishment must be more severe!"

    Lol but seriously, the way people are going on about Noumi, I've placed this series on hold so I can marathon it once it is finished so that I won't have to endlessly think of more severe punishments for this cartoonishly evil jerk. He's not even necessary evil!

  6. S

    I somewhat disagree on your assessment on Noumi. While I've always stood up and fought against bullies, people like him really do exist in high school.

    There are people that are just twisted and evil, and will do the most dis likable and despicable things. It would definitely help if we had some back story and reasons as to WHY he is the way he is, but I'm guessing that will probably come later.

    That said, I can agree that his existence is more annoying than anything. I think he is indeed a plot device that's meant to divide and test the bond between Haru, Taku and Chiyu. At the same time though, I'm more annoyed with how idiotically Chiyu is behaving and how Taku and Haru are going about this.

    I've encountered this kind of situation in real life, and it was at times like this where we as friends banded together and fought against such crap.

    So I kind of agree and disagree on some aspects. I don't think its Noumi that is unrealistic, or cliche or cartoony, but rather the way he is able to rile up and push around everyone else that makes less sense.

    Of course, those are just my two cents. Great review as always =D

  7. I should add here that I've certainly run up against my share of bullies in my school days (and after). Teenagers can be quite devious and indescribably sadistic and cruel. But somehow, Noumi just doesn't wash with me – his combination of sophistication, eloquence and sheer grand evil doesn't seem realistic for a 13 year-old boy.

  8. F

    The thing is, how old is he REALLY? In Accel world where time is sped up by a thousandfold, one night can equal seven days or more. He could be mentally older than either me or you.

  9. Well… That is a kind of interesting twist, I admit. We really don't know – I guess it depends on how much he's used the unlimited burst.

    His hormones are still 13 though…

  10. C

    I'm just about at my limit right now. The characters don't have any personality at all. Haru and Taku are both made of liquid; they just change to fit whatever container the plot needs, while Noumi is a paper cut-out James Bond villian. It certainly doesn't help that this entire episode felt almost entirely comical in nature, either.

    I hardly ever drop anime, but this is downright frustrating. Kawahara Reki can make interesting MMO worlds, sure, but he can't populate them with genuine characters.

  11. b

    I think I'll simply wait until the episode where Noumi gets his ass kicked and then watch all eps. in one go. It's a shame that it'll be probably dragged until the last episode.
    Last time that I raged at an anime was Haruhi endless 8

  12. A

    Can't wait for Haru to go the "Evil Shoe" route XDD

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