49 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Accel World episode 1

Hey you! Yeah you, the humongous loser. Are you a humongous loser? Are you convinced your lack of physical attractiveness is the sole factor preventing you from attracting members of the opposite sex? Is your only skill in life that you’re really good at a computer game? Well now there’s an anime just for you!

Our male lead is a chubby little kid who gets bullied by spikey haired shounen protagonists. He spends the vast majority of the episode whining about his condition, wishing he could just disappear into this video game world. We’re clearly supposed to feel sorry for him, so forgive me if that comes off as false when he already has two friends, one of whom is a cute girl who makes him lunch. Oh dear nobody loves me, except for my two friends who are trying to care for me, aren’t I just the most sympathetic character ever. Also sorry for not feeling particularly sympathetic for fat people when they spend their time running around a virtual sporting environment and then lament the state of the body.

I called Accel World a Shana Clone pre-season, but that isn’t strictly true. For my personal definition of the Shana Clone, the main character needs to be a personality-less everylead who has no defining features beyond the fact that they’re kind of nice. Being a humongous loser is an improvement on that, albeit only if played correctly. A wimpy character has to develop so nice things can happen to them. The alternative is something like Future Diary or Evangelion, where the main character has something great fall into their lap, but their inability to mature means it actively worsens their lives. There has to be a pull/push to this. Something falling into a characters lap and instantly improving their life at no cost is not good storytelling. It’s just wish-fulfillment of the laziest order.

Now with that in mind, let’s take a look at what Accel World does. Main character’s ability at this obscure computer game results in the prettiest girl in the school dragging him over, caressing the inside of his leg and giving him magical powers. He now has to compete in games where the if he wins, he gains extra points in tests and a whole bunch of other stuff. But ooh, does it come at a cost? Why yes, if he loses, he’s no longer part of the game! So, does he get disconnected from the entire network? Err, no. Does he get damaged in the real world, .Hack style? Err, no. Absolutely nothing happens to him whatsoever. The extent of what happens to him is he no longer has bullies after him, he keeps his old friends, and he had a short romantic skirmish with the prettiest girl in school. Oh dear. I feel so sorry for your predicament. Let me play you the worlds smallest violin.

Another thing Accel World appears to struggle with is that it’s a story, not a video game. Yes, I’m aware they are playing a video game inside the world. Thanks, the health bars and attack sheets gave that away. You don’t need to give me a fucking tutorial for every single part of the fucking match. I’m not playing the game, I don’t need to see that sort of stuff. Yet still, for large portions of the episode, our token pretty lady cycled through the rules and regulations on how to attack. Not important stuff that would affect the story. Basic video game rules that we could have figured out for ourselves based on the simplest of visual cues that it gave us anyway. You don’t need to adapt a light novel verse by verse. Use the animated medium to show that stuff a book needs to spell out for you to understand.

Character designs are the same generic noseless shiny people you see all over the place, with the exception of chubby-san. The animation, apart from some neat CG effects in the fight scenes, is bland and forgettable. Heck, if you’re going to be this shockingly blatant about wish-fulfillment, you might as well drop in some service, but there’s not even any of that. It’s an imaginary world for loser males in the real world to drop themselves into, wishing they too had a cute girl come caress their leg because they’re really good at a video game. Blergh.

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49 Comments

  1. RogerMoore
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I was going to watch this purely because I can’t remember ever seeing a chubby main character before, but it sounds like this is pretty terrible.

    Thanks for putting yourself through these terrible shows so we don’t have to!

  2. Kiseki
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    So a fat Shoe?

    • Scamp
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Sorta, except terrible stuff did happen to Shoe on a frequent basis

  3. mikejacobs
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Actually I thought the anime was pretty good and Scamp, its not shallow as you think it is, if you have read the manga, everything that you have claimed to be shallow is actually much deeper than that. Don’t be fooled by appearances.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      You’re funny.

      Please do tell me what makes this anime deep

      • leokiko
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        I think this anime is good too, and I am not fat. The character actually undergoes character development a bit. But the true focus is the online games and, well, how he helps her kill everyone and forming an team to do so.

        So it’s more of an shounen then a drama with a fat kid. And I like shounen xD. Well, it was still funny to read your post.

      • Hellur
        Posted April 4, 2012 at 1:51 am | Permalink

        Yeah, Idk how the anime will turn out but I’d give the manga a 6-7/10 not terrible but by no means amazing

  4. Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    So, what you are saying is, that it didn’t work for you as well as that other one, that is pandering to losers who didn’t live up to their younger siblings, by having their stereotypical childhood wish falling into their laps?

    • Scamp
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      He had to work to get that. Cubby-chan didn’t. Big difference

      • Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Work what? He didn’t even send his own application.

        Of course, he will have to work to STAY in the race, but so does Chubby. It’s completely risk-fee, worst case he stays at home with his parents.

      • Posted April 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Let’s talk about wish fulfillment regarding The Legend of Black Heaven.

      • Scamp
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        He worked to get the skills that rendered him applicable to the application process. Chubby had a contest designed solely for the purpose of adhering to the skills he gained by playing a game that had no transferable skills otherwise. So no, they’re still different

      • elior1
        Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        look who the stuff that made this anime i was write in my last comment and you will understend why this anime going to be very good

    • zhai2nan2
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      The middle-aged mech engineer worked to ingratiate himself with his parents. He could have just been a lazy slob and complained without going out and getting a crummy job handing out parking tickets.

      As for Black Heaven, I need to watch it again. But, yeah, it’s a relevant point of discussion.

  5. Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I have heard that it is much like Guilty Crown, except for main character being a fat loser, not thin bishounen. I still want to try it because I love fat characters that are not token, stupid perverts (like that one in Green Green, who was raped by a bear, haha, classic), but have more realistic personality, or any personality at all.
    I liked, for example, Tokita from Paprika who was a childish glutton and won the girl. I have a bad feeling that this story won’t be as good despite having much more time to develop characters. Still, Haru is kind of cute, but then again I started GC just because Inori was beautiful.
    Thanks for lowering my expectations, I might find this show enjoyable because of it. Really, thank you.

  6. Chipp12
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Well, I’ll continue to watch this because it’s freaking anime about fighting game! How many of them have you seen? (don’t include anime versions of fighting game, also all of them were bad)

  7. Posted April 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Better than Deadman Wonderland?

    • RogerMoore
      Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      What isn’t?

      • luffyluffy
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Try Zetman. I got 6 minutes in before I just shook my head in disgrace and turned it off.

      • RogerMoore
        Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Awesome. I was actually looking for something absolutely awful to watch this season. Thanks a lot.

  8. Flawfinder
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    While I don’t think that Cartman here is THAT annoying…yeah, he’s still pretty annoying. Nice analysis on the pull/push thing with wimpy characters. I really hate the ones who can’t choose a side.

  9. luffyluffy
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    You’re such a spoil sport Scamp.

    Anyway I really enjoyed the first two episodes. It kind reminded me of TWGOK, and I can really understand his plight with wanting to be virtual and not real, because wow fuck reality.

    So yeah, idk, best show this season so far besides Space Bros.

    Speaking of, are you going to review Ozma or…

    • Scamp
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      You have shite taste. Also TWGOK is shite too

      I sorta forgot about Ozma and then suddenly the new season hit. So no, maybe when it’s over I will

      • Matr
        Posted April 5, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

        No u. You’ve called a character who’s clearly not meant to be sympathetic, sympathetic. The dude is a social pariah for a reason. He’s fat and has socially ill-perceived interests on top of being awkward with others. The scorn this earned him led him to engage in escapist behavior, compounding the social awkwardness (yeah, that is something to be slightly sympathetic for, sure). Cue childhood friends who want to help him because they’ve known him for a while and know he has some good sides. His own lack of self-confidence due to his appearance lead him to question why they even want to be around him, so he distrusts their interests and acts like a dick to them at the slightest hint that they’re with him out of pity. Accel World actually does this pretty well. This isn’t meant to be sympathetic, it’s just the way the guy is, and with well established psychology to back it up. You can decide whether or not to sympathize with him. I’m sure some people do. I personally don’t, and I don’t think I’m meant to. I think we’ve got an incredibly flawed character who will develop over the course of the series.

        I’m not going to put this show on a pedestal, but it’s really not as terrible as you make it out to be. It’s average at worst.

      • diz1776
        Posted April 8, 2012 at 5:39 am | Permalink

        Sure is mad in here.

  10. Posted April 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    What about Kimi to Boku?

    • Scamp
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      What about it/

      • Posted April 4, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        You need to blog it!

      • Scamp
        Posted April 4, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

        no

  11. Posted April 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I feel like your being overly harsh with this since well . . . you had low expectations to begin with. If anything, I like how imaginative the whole setting is, having a new video game world and shit.

    Also even with the slight infodump, at least this show realizes its a show, not a video game (though it is an LN adaptation) unlike some other video game related anime *ehemPersona4ehem*.

    I disagree with the animation being terrible. I blame the video quality.

    No that this first showing is perfect or anything, but I’m pretty sure you never intended to like this in the first place so blerrgh.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Setting is imaginative, I’ll give it that, even if Dennou Coil did it all 5 years ago. But realises it’s a show while Persona 4 doesn’t? Have to dispute that, Persona 4 didn’t try to give us a bunch of tutorials

  12. Moomba
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    While I like Accel World, I feel like the author did a much better job with Sword Art Online. There’s actual motivation not to fail and horrifying consequences if you do there.

    It’s going to take a lot more for me to feel any real sympathy for fat Shu… the choice of writing him as a “reject” character but heaping all these glorious things in his lap is kind of… weird to me.

  13. Overly-animated
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    I have no comment for the anime, but I do have a few words to say.

    Its okay, a not as bad as I thought it was going to be. But thats all I have no further comments about about this anime and nothing more to say. Nope! nothing at all. zero more to make a comment.

  14. SQA
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t “fat Shuu”. Shuu, though badly handled by the writers (he’s now the poster boy for the Chew Toy trope), had very legitimate reasons for his troubles. He was a PTSD patient and was repressing his horrific memories. Most of his strange reactions, in the first 12 episodes, actually fall decently in line with how someone would handle that. He simply wasn’t capable of handling that type of stress. The problems with Guilty Crown failing so badly mostly stem from Shuu suddenly getting better and becoming Hitler. (After that happened, you couldn’t gloss over all of the really stupid stuff they’d done)

    No, our main character here is the most unbelievable character I think I’ve seen in a “real-world like” anime. If he was *that* good at some computer game, he would have confidence there. It’s his own little world, yes, but he’d be supremely confident there. Once he’s in the game world, he’d start acting like a person that could min-max a score in a game. He barely does. He didn’t even seem interested in the combat system when she was explaining it. That just doesn’t fit, at all.

    Still, I can see some potential in the anime. But, there’s another huge problem: it appears the game world wouldn’t work very well. No one is operating like you normally would in that situation. If gaining more Burst Points has massive real world application, then all you would do is find a way to farm them. Maybe it was just the fansub, but it would appear that beating a higher level player creates points? (I.e. you gain more than the 10 the higher level player loses) If that’s true, all people would do is get 1 player to a really high level then manufacture points with that character. That’s MMO exploiting 101 there.

    Oh, and groups of 4-5 players would bring in unwitting victims to farm points from. By the time they figured out what had happened (i.e. you lie to them about the points), they’d be out of the game and you’d move on to the next target. It’s be really, really easy to farm up lots of points then never actually interact in the normal game. Easy and breezy ways to get ahead in life.

    I’ll give eps 3-5 a watch when they come out. They might fix the problems, but I doubt it. I’d rather have Issei than Haruyuki around, haha.

    • Flawfinder
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 5:38 am | Permalink

      Personally, my problem with Shu was that he also got rewarded when he didn’t deserve it, while getting shit on a lot. Basically, the creators wanted him to be Shinji Ikari mixed with a typical wimp turned hero. And the result was awful, because you just can’t do that. You have to pick one or the other, and stick to it. I don’t get why people like the halfway approach, but whatever.

      Also, I didn’t like the PTSD thing because it was not foreshadowed…at all really. Yes, there are symptoms of him having it, but those symptoms could also be applied to a million other things. There was nothing that specifically pointed to PTSD. And the fact that he didn’t really improve after that fact was revealed didn’t help matters.

      • SQA
        Posted April 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        I don’t disagree that the writers didn’t know what they were doing. Though you could argue there was some foreshadowing, especially with the opening sequence & some of Shuu’s inner monologues.

        It was an interesting idea. It also explained why everything kept happening for him. (With a nice inversion of “you’re just the lucky guy”). Yet the writers simply didn’t know how to handle it. Shinji was handled really well, even if the character is now an archetype. His problems had reasons and his failures had logic, even if we might have hated it every step of the way. Shuu didn’t. Haruyuki here is going to run over into Shuu territory.

        Oh, and apparently its the same Series Comp guy from Guilty Crown. Oy oy.

  15. Posted April 4, 2012 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    “caress­ing the inside of his leg and giv­ing him magical powers”

    Isn’t that redundant?

  16. Golos
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    >The altern­at­ive is some­thing like Future Diary or Evan­gelion, where the main char­ac­ter has some­thing great fall into their lap, but their inab­il­ity to mature means it act­ively wor­sens their lives.

    What? I hope that was sarcasm.

  17. elior1
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    oh my i just checked about the stuff that made this anime and i dont belive it.the guy who did mai hime which had a half point that turned all around 180 degrees is the director of this anime and the guy who made The guy made GC and Seikon no Qwaser.and also was Composed series such as Dance in the Vampire Bund, Fractale, Sora no Woto, Macross Frontier and Denpa no Teki Kanojo is the Composed of accel world Not to mention he did some Darker than Black .by those stuff it sound like a dark anime

    • Scamp
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      Um, a bunch of those anime you mentioned aren’t good. Besides, the problem is something inherent to the concept of the story. That’s something that can’t be fixed by a director

      • elior1
        Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        there is a very good reason why the main character a pig in the accel world and the concept of the story like that but i wont spoil to you since you will discover this in few episodes

    • Adrian
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:53 am | Permalink

      Everytime I see Yoshino’s name on the cast list in ANN, I check if he’s in charge of the “series composition”. If he is, then we have a problem, unless he is just an assistant. I didn’t watch every anime he worked in this role, but having watched Seikon no Qwaser and Guilty Crown, there’s no doubt this guy has the ability to screw everything up if he wants.

      • elior1
        Posted April 5, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        actully Yoshino is just the series writer he not the series com­pos­i­tion

      • Adrian
        Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        He is not the original creator, you mean. By any means, he’s in charge of reading the novel and organizing the plot to arcs/episodes, handing the script to the director,and it’s kind of a big responsability. If you claim he’s doing it faithfully, then we just need to blame the original creator if the series doesn’t meet expectations.

        “It gets better, I swear!”

    • elior1
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      @ Permalink also it wont be a eachi and much romance anime there will be less romance and more the virtual world and about the bully kid thing once you will discover what the reason for this consept you will understend it good reason also by what i seen in the novel it start like not so good anime and in the following episodes it getting good since the director make good job in follow the light novel until now in the 2 first epiosdes

  18. iCab
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    ITT

    A bunch of butt-hurt Accel fans

  19. Adrian
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    I think the main problem here is that the bullying/abuse wasn’t done right. I mean, who cares if the main character has to buy meronpan for the bad guys nowadays? It was too shallow, and also he got away too easy (he even had 1 minute to decide wheter he would get punched or not). It would be good if it had a shocking effect, although I think it works much better when the victim is a girl. You know, like the scene with Sara in “Now and then here and there”. They didn’t need to show what happened to her, we all knew. Even worse considering she was escorted by kids who didn’t even seem to care. And that one in Shadow Star that was not so bright, but plain shocking where the girl was bullied by a group of classmates because of her high grades (the second scene, to be specific, got my heart racing).

    Ok, the bullying may not be the main theme, but I couldn’t see any redeeming features in the show. Couldn’t care about any of the characters and I also don’t feel really hyped for the fights. The best direction the show could take right now is showing us what the chubby kid is going to do with his new power. Will he use it for good or for bad ? (although I would prefer if he did the latter)
    Not only him, of course. A larger cast of characters with different motivations would be good (not just random players).

    But that’s being too optimistic. I guess they’ll just make him more manly while trying to develop a forced romance between him and the black-haired-girl, while his childhood friend feels jealous. There will be a beach episode, a festival one, a school festival one, a karaoke one, and all the usual stuff.

    By the way, does anybody know the reason he got depressive after meeting that other friend of his with his childhood friend?

    • elior1
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      no it not going to be eachi anime with beach episode and all this harem thing there will be more the virtual thing then romance in this anime since they follow exactly acording the light novel

  20. Random
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Superb review Scamp, lame light novel crap, SAO is coming out later this year, which is similar in many ways

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