HAPPY BELATED NEW YEAR 2014! Another fresh start of the year means there will be more and more animes for me to watch! And so just like the previous years before, I hope it will be a good bounty of animes for me to watch. This is the first time a versus blog will be featured as the first blog of the year. What a way to start the year.

Mankind has advanced so much that with technology, we are able to live out our fantasies. And that means you get to live a different and exciting life in another world and alternate universe. Some would even consider the wired world their second home (if not, their first) in addition to reality. However of course in the real world now, that seems to be a pipe dream but it is those dreams that will lead us one step closer in achieving that. But for now, there is no harm in dreaming and thus today’s versus blog will be between animes Accel World and Sword Art Online. Both are light novels written by Reki Kawahara and released as anime adaptation in 2012.

Game genre:
Accel World: VRMMO fighting game.
Sword Art Online: MMO role playing game.

Created by:
Accel World: Anonymously created 7 years ago.
Sword Art Online: Akihiko Kayaba. Released in November 2022.

World type:
Accel World: Futuristic sci-fi.
Sword Art Online: Fantasy adventure.

Battle mechanism:
Accel World: Set of special skills based on the avatar.
Sword Art Online: Swords and shields.

How to log in:
Accel World: A programme called Brain Burst must be installed.
Sword Art Online: A helmet called NerveGear is needed to access the world.

Goal of the game:
Accel World: Obtain Burst Points for real world acceleration abilities.
Sword Art Online: Complete all 100 floors in the game and defeat the final boss.

Life and death matter implications:
Accel World: If a player loses all his/her Burst Points, Brain Burst will automatically uninstall and never to be installed in that person ever again. He/She will also lose all memories pertaining to his/her time and experience playing the game.
Sword Art Online: Ever since the log out button has been discarded, players have no way of escaping the game unless they clear all the floors and defeat the final boss. If their in-game health drops to zero, not only their character will die but their body in real life will also die.

Avatar creation:
Accel World: Players cannot choose their avatar or nickname. They are automatically chosen based on your subconscious of negative emotions. All avatars have some sort of colour in their name.
Sword Art Online: Players can freely choose which class and name they wish for their avatar. However during the shut-out, players lose their avatar appearance and revert to their real life looks.

Other world:
Accel World: Akihabara Battle Grounds is a neutral fighting arena.
Sword Art Online: After SAO has been cleared and destroyed, another company took over and developed another MMORPG called Alfheim Online (ALO) where player assume the appearance of fairies.

The hero:
Accel World: Haruyuki Arita.
Sword Art Online: Kazuto Kirigaya.

His alias/nickname:
Accel World: Silver Crow.
Sword Art Online: Kirito and initially Beater (Beta + Cheater).

Previously he was:
Accel World: A bully victim.
Sword Art Online: A beta tester for SAO before its official release.

His sister:
Accel World: Well, Niko did for a short while pretended to be his lovely sister…
Sword Art Online: Suguha.

The heroine:
Accel World: Black Snow Princess.
Sword Art Online: Asuna Yuuki.

Her alias/nickname:
Accel World: Black Lotus.
Sword Art Online: Asuna. Titania In ALO.

She almost died
Accel World: When Black Snow accelerated and saved Haruyuki from getting into a car accident and she ended up in a coma.
Sword Art Online: Asuna takes a blow from Heathcliff meant for Kirito. I don’t know what happened since the world also ended at the same time, somehow the players logged out and Asuna is somewhat saved.

Allies/Comrades (selected):
Accel World: Takumu Mayuzumi, Chiyuri Kurashima, Yuniko “Niko” Kouzuki AKA Scarlet Rain and Blood Leopard.
Sword Art Online: Klein, Andrew Gilbert Mills AKA Agil, Yui and Suguha Kirigaya AKA Leafa.

Main antagonists:
Accel World: Chrome Disaster and Seiji Noumi AKA Dusk Taker.
Sword Art Online: Kuradeel, Heathcliff and King Oberon.

Moe loli girl:
Accel World: Niko – when she puts on her cute loli act of course.
Sword Art Online: Silica and Yui.

The tsundere:
Accel World: Niko and Black Snow.
Sword Art Online: Asuna and Leafa.

NPC creatures:
Accel World: In the Unlimited Neutral Field, there are randomly spawned beasts called Enemy and defeating them allows Burst Linkers to obtain some Burst Points.
Sword Art Online: There are low level beasts that players can kill to gain experience points and some higher ones that posses some challenge. Other tougher monsters are usually level bosses.

A.I. Tamed:
Accel World: Black Lotus managed to tame the legendary dragon Enemy called Nidhogg.
Sword Art Online: Aincrad’s artificial intelligence, Yui considers Kirito as her father and Asuna her mother.

Skull character:
Accel World: Ash Roller.
Sword Art Online: Skull Reaper.

Megane character:
Accel World: Takumu.
Sword Art Online: Nobuyuki Sugou.
Sighs… No megane female character…?

Groups:
In the game, many players can form groups among themselves.
Accel World: Not necessarily confined by their avatar colours, Burst Linkers can form groups called Legions but ultimately they are led by the 6 Kings of Pure Colour. Our hero and heroine’s Legion is Nega Nebulus also comprising of Takumu, Chiyuri and subsequently Sky Raker.
Sword Art Online: Players are free to join any guilds they create among themselves. The most powerful guild is Knights of the Blood. Our hero and heroine are currently solo players although they form a party together. Asuna was once from Knights of the Blood but left after a near-death incident.

In-game deaths (selected):
Accel World: The previous Red King and Noumi – in the sense he got Brain Burst uninstalled.
Sword Art Online: Sachi, Godfree and Kuradeel.

Training:
Accel World: Haruyuki sees Sky Raker to undergo training on how to use Incarnate System.
Sword Art Online: Kirito secretly trains when nobody is looking so he could perfect his Dual Blades technique, a Unique Skill.

I believe I can fly:
Accel World: Silver Crow develops wings and is the only flying avatar. Though subsequently, Dusk Taker steals this ability before Haruyuki takes it back.
Sword Art Online: In the world of ALO, everyone’s avatar is a fairy but even though they have wings, they only have a limited flight time.

Defection:
Accel World: Chiyuri teams up with Noumi but is just a ploy to increase her special move gauge, which is to rewind time so as to return Haruyuki’s lost wings. The higher the gauge, the longer the length of time she could rewind.
Sword Art Online: In ALO, Sigurd of the Sylphs tries to sell out his own clan to reborn himself as a Salamander. Fortunately it fell through and he was exiled.

Paralysis:
Accel World: Sky Raker is paralyzed from waist downwards.
Sword Art Online: Kuradeel poisons and paralyzes Godfree and Kirito so he could kill them.

Can’t clear the game:
Accel World: When the kings reached level 9 and learnt the harsh rules needed to fulfil to reach the ultimate level 10, they form a non-aggression pact. Instead of fighting among themselves, they divided their territories to rule.
Sword Art Online: In ALO, though the goal of the game is to reach the top of the World Tree and meet the Fairy King and be reborn as a true fairy to have unlimited flight duration, it is discovered the hard way by Kirito when he fought his way through the waves of enemies and reaching the top only to be discovered this game wasn’t meant to be cleared because he can’t open the door to the next level. Total bummer…

Heroine away, out of action:
Accel World: When Black Snow is away at Okinawa for her school field trip, Haruyuki and co try to put a stop to Noumi’s cruelty. Eventually she returns to save the day.
Sword Art Online: In ALO, Asuna lies in coma in a hospital as her mind is being held prisoner. Kirito and Yui join forces with Suguha to save and free her.

Romance between our hero and heroine:
Accel World: Although it is very clear that they like each other very much, they still maintain the master-disciple relationship. Come on, when are you going to say it already… I don’t think they even kissed. Just her black butterfly avatar and his little piggy one…
Sword Art Online: The duo officially become a couple in the game itself and for real after Asuna wakes up from her imprisonment coma. They kissed a few on time of several occasions.

Unrequited love:
Accel World: Chiyuri for Haruyuki.
Sword Art Online: Suguha for Kirito, Lisbeth AKA Liz for Kirito. Silica for Kirito. Man, this guy is popular… Also, Nagata AKA Recon for Suguha.

Number of episodes:
Accel World: 24 TV episodes and 2 extra episodes.
Sword Art Online: 25 TV episodes.

Extra/Specials:
Accel World: 8 short clips called Accel World x (where x is the special episode number).
Sword Art Online: 9 short clips called Sword Art Offline.

Studio:
Accel World: Sunrise.
Sword Art Online: A-1 Pictures.

Music type:
Accel World: Mostly rock and techno.
Sword Art Online: Mainly anime pop.

Conclusion:
Personally, I prefer Sword Art Online to Accel World firstly because of the various beautiful fantasy worlds that were shown. My mind would easily get immersed in those settings and even after finishing watching the episode, I would still linger on and daydream a little if I could explore such realms. Although I love the fighting game genre, somehow there weren’t enough tantalizing fights as I hope there would since the series was more focused on the drama at hand. The fights felt as the last resort to solve everything. Besides, the sci-fi stuffs didn’t really click with me. Besides, Kirito looks more badass compared to wimpy Haruyuki. Heck, the characters in Sword Art Online look much better and prettier compared to their counterparts in Accel World. Both series also had their terms and jargons but I still find those in Accel World to be a little harder to comprehend. And more importantly, Sword Art Online ended with our main battle couple as well, a real couple but it is not clear for the other duo. Since there were many personal online worlds create at the end of Sword Art Online as seen, hopefully they would make one that combines my favourite fighting genre like Accel World. That would probably be my ultimate gaming fantasy. For now, just keep dreaming…

Accel World

October 13, 2013

I love fighting games. It’s my favourite genre. Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter, Tekken, Dead Or Alive, Soul Calibur right down to my favourite Mortal Kombat. Well, the point is, a person who likes such genre of video game, wouldn’t it be cool if we could just experience it first person? And I don’t mean the view is confined to your monitor screen but your entire surrounding. It’s like diving into the game and becoming the player itself. Cool, no? I wonder when we will have such technology. That is what I had in mind for Accel World and even though the genre of the main game here is of the fighting category, it is focused much more on the story, plot and the power of accelerating. What’s that? Let’s say you can slow down time. More precisely, slowing down time to a mere fraction in the real world while time continues to flow at a normal pace for only you yourself. It’s like living in a slo-mo world.

I guess when we have been growing technologically advanced, in the near future, people are able to hook up to the virtual world easily with just Neuro Linkers. Just plug in the wire to your neck and voila! You are connected. You do not need a computer or the ubiquitous iPad as your window screen. Your entire vision is your screen! I’m sure that makes a very different experience. Is this the future of normal life? Even if technology has advanced, human nature sure somewhat hasn’t. Our protagonist is somewhat a loser boy. Chubby, short and a bully victim, first look you might think he is a character that jumped right out from a comic strip. His only comfort from harsh reality is his virtual game world in which he excels. Till a beautiful and popular senior introduces him to a whole new secret world that would take him to the next level. Of course this new Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online (VRMMO) fighting game isn’t just a simple fighting game. There are deeper meanings to everything from the battles you fight and the acceleration abilities you expend. Ultimately, it will lead them to a path that will one day learn the true purpose of this game’s creation and of course themselves.

Episode 1: Acceleration
Haruyuki Arita is a constant bully victim of Araya. How can this short and fat boy go against him? His only escape from harsh reality is through the virtual world. His solace is playing virtual squash in which nobody can even come close to his tremendous high score. When childhood friend Chiyuri Kurashima offers to cheer him up with her lunch, he refuses and accidentally spills her food. He returns to his game only to find an unknown player has best his score. Reality in the virtual world seems harsh too, huh? To his surprise, the popular Black Snow Princess, the one who beat his score offers him to enter the accelerated world and to come look for her at the lounge. Due to her popularity, everyone else is shocked to see Black Snow cabling with an unknown kid. It’s like beauty and the Beast, eh? How close is she to him that they could even cable? She sends him an application to install Brain Burst programme that would take him to the Accelerated World. But Araya is looking for Haruyuki and he’s upset that he hasn’t done his errands for him. Before Araya could punch him, Haruyuki as instructed, yells out “Burst Link”. Time stops and he pops out as his pig avatar. So Black Snow explains this is the Accelerated World whereby this programme allows one to use this power to accelerate in times of danger. In short, a second in the real world is 1000 seconds here. Black Snow tells Haruyuki to get punched since the school is fitted with cameras and witnesses. She also wants him to jump back once the acceleration is over despite this is where she is sitting. When Haruyuki Burst Out, he takes the punch and crashes into Black Snow, causing her to get knocked out and bleed a little. The authorities take Araya away and this will be the last he’ll see of him. End of his bullied days. Before they part, she advises him not to take off his Neuro Linker till he gets to school tomorrow and not connect to the global net. Not even for a second. Later Haruyuki and Chiyuri meet up with their other childhood friend, Takumu Mayuzumi. He is studying at another school and taking up kendo. Haruyuki thought Chiyuri had told Takumu about the bullying (something he didn’t want Takumu to know) and excuses himself to go home. Next morning as he leaves his home, he forgot he connected to global net when suddenly the entire world changes into an apocalyptic one. He finds himself in a silver armour and under the name of Silver Crow. A mad motorcycle dude, Ash Roller is aiming for his ass.

Episode 2: Transformation
Safe to say, Haruyuki lost this match. Talking to Black Snow once more, he learns Brain Burst is just a multiplayer fighting game. But Burst Linkers do not do this for entertainment. She proceeds to explain more of this world. What a better way than to demonstrate hands on.  She activates a fighting mode among them both and her name is Black Lotus. She details that the programme doesn’t read ideals but ambitions and fears, the reason why Haruyuki gets this scrawny silver armour. But this butterfly form isn’t Black Lotus’ original one. She sealed it and designed this one. Every Burst Linker has Burst Points. Each time they accelerate, they use up a point. Burst Linkers fight to obtain more Burst Points and accelerate further. So if you lose all your Burst Points, the programme automatically uninstalls itself and will never be installed ever again. Haruyuki won’t turn back now seeing he wants to return the favour to her for saving him from the hell of reality. Back in the real world, everyone is curious so they ask Black Snow about her relationship with Haruyuki. She puts it that she confessed to him and got rejected. Eh?! Was that what happened? Once Haruyuki steps out of school, he is connected to the Accelerated World once more. This is going to be Silver Crow’s real debut battle. He is going to have a rematch with Ash Roller. Haruyuki uses the useful information he learnt to fight against Ash Roller. Like because of his bike noise, it is easy to determine to locate where he is and that his bike is the one containing combat ability, not the rider. There are lots of Burst Linkers eagerly watching this match. Since Haruyuki has done his surprise attack, now he is left fleeing from Ash Roller in hopes time will run out. He remembers Black Snow’s advice that the colour of each avatar has its own strengths and weaknesses. You can tell what colour a Burst Linker is because his/her name will always has a colour in it. Haruyuki takes a beating and laments his useless attacks. Then he realizes he needs to believe in himself and gets up. He starts thinking about Ash Roller’s bike weakness. He grabs onto the back seat and appears to be skiing despite risking reducing his life points further. Finally he manages to get the strength to lift it up and stop Ash Roller dead in his tracks because his bike is rear wheel drive. This causes Ash Roller to be upset as he leaps at Haruyuki. But it’s game over for him and Haruyuki’s first victory. All the Burst Linkers are impressed with this newbie. Now that Haruyuki as obtained some points, Black Snow wants to go somewhere to celebrate. But standing in their way is Chiyuri. Oh dear. What does this mean when there is a showdown between 2 women?

Episode 3: Investigation
The spat ends with Black Snow telling Chiyuri she is dating Haruyuki and takes him away. Eh? Are they? At the café, she explains the history of Accelerated World. Currently divided into 6 Legions of Blue, Red, Yellow, Purple, Green and White, they are the only Burst Linkers who have reached level 9 and are kings of their legion. Nobody has reached level 10 due to the harsh rules of the need to beat a level 9. Lose once and Brain Burst uninstalls. Two years ago when the Kings learn about this harsh rule, instead of fighting each other, they call for a truce and divided the land for each to rule. Oh, there used to be 7 Kings. One night, the Black King betrayed everyone and hunted them. She is that Black King. She wanted everyone to fight and beheaded the Red King. Everyone else fought her and since she couldn’t win, she escaped and has been on the run since then. Black Snow says reaching level 10 is her goal because those who do get to meet the mysterious developer and learn the true meaning behind this programme. Despite hearing all this, Haruyuki still wants to help her and will not hate her. However one day she was careless in using her other avatar when somebody challenged her. It causes her real life identity to be revealed, something taboo for any Burst Linker. There is a possibility that this Burst Linker would want to sell her identity to others so the only way left is to discover that Burst Linker’s identity. She tried looking around but reached a dead end. The only clue is that the colour is near blue with high purity and goes by the name of Cyan Pile. Black Lotus hints Cyan Pile is Chiyuri because of her hostility towards her. Haruyuki dismisses that because Chiyuri is bad at games but will ascertain this himself. He goes to Chiyuri’s house and wants to cable with her. There’s only a very short one available. How close can they get? So they talk. Chiyuri wants things between the 3 of them to remain. She finds it hard to believe that he seeks Black Snow’s help. They reconcile and Haruyuki finds out she hasn’t told about the bullying to Takumu. She was worried about him ever since they enrolled in this school so when she saw him with Black Snow, she thought he didn’t need her anymore. While Chiyuri emotionally hugs him, Haruyuki is forced to peek around her system. To his relief, she isn’t Cyan Pile but there seems to be a hidden backdoor.

Episode 4: Declaration
Chiyuri doesn’t want Haruyuki to be Black Snow’s lackey and at least be her boyfriend. Haruyuki tells Black Snow what he has found but she seems irritated at how long the cable was! And where they did the cabling! Back to serious business, Haruyuki thinks Cyan Pile sent a virus to Chiyuri to create a backdoor, the reason why her enemy appears on the stage at Chiyuri’s coordinates. Because Haruyuki insists he is her pawn, this causes Black Snow to get upset (real tears) and slap him in public. Suddenly a car comes crashing in their direction. They Burst Link and find that the driver of this car is Araya! No doubt he has been expelled from school but he is still a free man outside school. They wonder if he is Cyan Pile. Black Snow apologizes for getting him into this mess. She confesses she likes him. She also admits she cheated by accelerating to get a high score in the squash game just to get his attention. She believes he will defeat all the Kings and reach the next level to find out the origins of Brain Burst. She kisses him and uses Physical Full Burst to alter her body position so that she could push Haruyuki’s body away from the crashing car. In the end, Haruyuki is saved from the crash but Black Snow is in deep coma. Although she is stable, her organs are badly damaged and could fall into shock anytime. Haruyuki vows to keep full watch on her because now that she is in a vulnerable state, she can be attacked by anyone who seeks to challenge her. He stays up all night thinking that Cyan Pile will show up. Morning comes and as people stream into the hospital, so is Takumu. Haruyuki feels odd because people of his school might have heard of the accident but Takumu? If Chiyuri had told him, why isn’t she with him? Then it hit him… Why didn’t he realize it? His best friend is Cyan Pile! Haruyuki quickly challenges Takumu to a fight.

Episode 5: Aviation
So it starts off with Takumu sounding like he is jealous that Haruyuki was so close in touching distance with Chiyuri (Takumu and Chiyuri are supposedly dating. Supposedly). He is proud of his achievements despite using the acceleration power so he is upset that Haruyuki could become his equal. Haruyuki is confident he can beat Takumu in his own game. Haruyuki employs hit and run tactic. But that’s not good enough and loses an arm and his special attack only serves to increase Takumu’s special attack gauge. Then his foot gives way. Takumu pounds Haruyuki while blaming him as the source of their misery. Haruyuki is low on life and morale when he sees Black Snow sleeping peacefully in a chamber. He desires so much to fly away from this hell with her that he draws enough strength to stand up. Suddenly Silver Crow spouts wings. He takes off to the sky and surprises every Burst Linker watching because this is the first avatar that flies. With Black Snow on his mind, the friends clash once more. This time, Takumu finds himself hovering in the air. Haruyuki has got him. If he falls, he loses all his points. He realizes he has been the guilty party for trying to wipe out Chiyuri’s dream and hope. Also realizing he can never beat Haruyuki, Takumu purposely falls off to lose. But Haruyuki catches him. He makes a proposal. Just as in the real world Haruyuki can’t beat Takumi, Haruyuki will always be better than him in the virtual world. He wants Takumu to become his ally and fight under Black Snow like him. Then they’ll tell Chiyuri everything and all those that they’ve kept secret from her. After Haruyuki lands softly, he is happy to see Black Snow out of her comatose state. She admires his beautiful wings and then apologizes to Cyan Pile for dishonouring his request for challenges. To atone that, she reveals her true form. Everyone realizes she is the Black King and is still alive. She has Haruyuki soar her high into the sky. She then announces to all the Legion Kings that she has returned to end this deceptive peace so get ready to fight. Haruyuki visits Black Snow in hospital. He updates her the backdoor has been disabled and Takumu’s Parents lost all their points because they gave him the programme. Though the programme developer remains unknown, she thinks it might be the Yellow Legion since they specialize in sneak attacks. Black Snow becomes embarrassed when Haruyuki returns her student ID he was holding. He didn’t take a good look so he didn’t see her name. She requests him to call her by her first name. What was it again?

Episode 6: Retribution
Vanquish the Blue Knight gives permission to Takumu to have some time on his own as per requested. Chiyuri is still mad at the guys after they confessed everything. Yeah, in addition to not on talking terms, she threw dictionaries. Remember a certain tough girl in Clannad like that? Black Snow thought she could talk to Chiyuri but Haruyuki thinks this is their problem that they need to straighten out themselves. He thinks Takumu will be a great addition to their team and since they have a tag team match tomorrow, Takumu agreed to help Haruyuki to get to level 2. Haruyuki wins several matches and gets the option to level up. However he decides to do so upon that chance and this eats up most of his Burst Points. It is only single digit now. Takumu wants to give some of his reserve points to him via cabling but Haruyuki declines. When Black Snow saved him, she too was running low on points and yet never asked him for them. He wants to follow her example. The guys continue to become Chiyuri’s lackey to make up to her as they explain about Brain Burst. Not that she really gets it. Then Takumu realizes there is a way for Haruyuki to get back some points. He remembers the bodyguard of Brain Burst known as Bouncer. When Burst Linkers’ points get too low, they usually team up with Bouncer to get their points back to safe level. No one knows of his real identity and there are several conditions for him to help out. One must be level 2 or lower and reveal your real world identity. Haruyuki waits at the café and receives mail from Bouncer after he snaps a picture of himself. He decides to go to the toilet when he trips and falls over a girl at the next table. Helping her pick her stuffs up, he realizes she is Aqua Current the Bouncer. She prepares to cable with him while Takumu goes to see Black Snow in hospital she suddenly challenges him. Chiyuri hears rumours that Takumu has forfeited his participation in the kendo tournament.

Episode 7: Restoration
Haruyuki and Aqua Current enter the Accelerated World. She reveals half her intentions to stay as level 1 because if the total level difference between opponents is at least 3, you won’t be stripped off all your points even if you lose. The duo face off with Sand Duct and Nickel Doll. Black Snow’s fight with Takumu is also to confront about his way to atone for his sins. Will quitting the kendo tournament or losing everything an uninstall Brain Burst be enough as atonement? She thinks he is only trampling over everyone’s feelings especially Chiyuri who is trying hard to forgive him. Because Brain Burst reminds him of the crimes he did, he simply wants to escape the guilt and he is doing that by punishing himself. So what is he to do? Listening to Haruyuki’s wish should be the first thing he should do. Black Snow defeats him and tells him that because he always fights alone, he doesn’t know the joys and wonders fighting as a team. Legions exist because competing and supporting friends open up many possibilities. She wants him to venture into his potential to atone for his sins. Haruyuki may be having trouble with his opponents and learning his element’s strength and weakness the hard way but with Aqua Current backing him up, they attain victory. After that, Aqua Current challenges him to a match and wants to take away all his points. This is the deferred payment she was referring to. Haruyuki tells her about his incident with Takumu. He was so overcome with anger when he fought him. In the end he still believed in him and decided never to change his mind once he believes in someone. Aqua Current reveals taking his points was just a joke. Long ago, she too had friends but circumstances had them all torn apart. The only thing she’ll be taking from him is his memories with her. Haruyuki returns to reality having no clue what he is doing here. Haruyuki and Chiyuri get the biggest surprise of their life. Takumu has transferred in to their school! Takumu considers Black Snow as his master and wants to see things with his own eyes.

Episode 8: Temptation
Black Snow and Haruyuki are in a tag team match to determine a Legion’s territory. Because Silver Crow’s aviation is widely known, he becomes an easy target to be shot down from the sky. He undergoes training to enhance his speed. When he comes back, he is shocked to see a little girl, Tomoko claiming as his little sister greeting him. Did he have one? Actually she’s his second cousin and there’s a message from mom for him to take care of her while she’s away on a business trip. So how does it feel to have a little sister? While bathing, he looks through the family album but doesn’t see any pictures of her. When she comes in to bath with him, he sees tan marks on her neck and now she’s a new Burst Linker. Then he remembers Tomoko. She was never this cute… Yeah. This is an imposter! So she throws away her innocent cutie onii-chan attitude and turns to her rough tough crude and rude behaviour! She introduces herself as Scarlet Rain and is going to make him pay for touching her non-existent boobs (she slipped so he caught her). After she runs away, Haruyuki contacts Black Snow about Scarlet Rain. This causes her to be in shock for a while. Guess what? Scarlet Rain is the second Red King. Scarlet Rain soon returns to challenge Haruyuki to a fight. Her avatar might be a cute little red armour but then she transforms into a gigantic scarlet fortress!!! OH SH*T! She’s really going to kill him! He can’t run far because he knows Red Legion specializes in range attacks. But he can’t get near her too because she’s very well defence up and her cannon packs a wallop! A single blast took out an entire building! Haruyuki thought his ultimate kick will end it since she’s big and won’t miss but Scarlet Rain detaches herself and he misses. He lost. He has to do what she says. She wants to meet his master. So when Haruyuki tells this to Black Snow, she’s trying hard not to punch him. As he details their fight, she tells him Scarlet Rain’s nickname is Immobile Fortress not because she cannot move, she doesn’t need to move. During their battle, she only moved 50cm. Black Snow then realizes the reason why Scarlet Rain wants to meet her. The only other red fighter is Red Rider. He was the Red King whom she beheaded. She starts feeling depressed so Haruyuki assures he will never betray her.

Episode 9: Escalation
Takumu talks to Haruyuki and Black Snow the possibility that Scarlet Rain would have recruited Haruyuki into her legion on pretence that she is being bullied had he not discover her true identity. You think Haruyuki won’t fall for that trap? Yeah, he can’t stand a little girl get bullied… Had he done so, he might have been at the mercy of a killer move granted only to Legion masters. That execution move, Judgment Blow will have Burst Linkers lose all their points and Brain Burst forever. She would’ve blackmailed him to do her bidding. Now that her identity is out, most likely she wants to propose a deal. As they arrive in Haruyuki’s apartment, Scarlet Rain is crazily playing his video games! Seems his mom issued her a duplicate key. She assures she hasn’t touched his M-rated stuffs behind the cupboard. His life is over. Of course tension is running high as both girls start insulting each other. Haruyuki caught in between… Takumu plays a better moderator. Scarlet Rain’s real name is Yuniko “Niko” Kouzuki as she reveals how she found Haruyuki by accelerating and checked the list of every student who left the school gates. It used up 200 over Burst Points. Niko wants to borrow Haruyuki’s aviation ability once to destroy Calamity Armour. Black Snow says she has confirmed its destruction 2 years ago against Chrome Disaster. What armour? What disaster? She is going to show Haruyuki as it will be the faster way. The girls fight over the short cables Haruyuki have. I guess this leaves the long one to Takumu. They are not in the Accelerated World but replaying memories in Black Snow’s head.

During the early days of Accelerated World, Chrome Disaster was a legendary Burst Linker 7 years ago who fought cruelly and brutally. Many Burst Linkers were taken out so the top Burst Linkers teamed up to take him out. Though they defeated him, he cursed the world. He was forever eliminated from this world but his Enhanced Armament, Calamity Armour remained. Unlike other items, this one had a mind of his own as it took over minds of others and turned them into merciless killers, changing their character and appearance. Calamity Armour did not disappear even after defeating the possessed Burst Linker. By the time it possessed its fourth victim, it was fighting against the Green King, Green Grandine and Black Lotus. They teamed up to defeat it and fought it until the armour is destroyed. Later it is confirmed by all the kings that the armour no longer existed. Niko is sure the fifth one has appeared and is a member of her Red Legion. Seems the armour has possessed Cherry Rook, a person whom Niko knows is good and a hard worker. Ever since he got possessed, he went around attacking other Burst Linkers from other Legions. Since Judgment Blow is a close range attack, Niko has a hard time using it on him because he keeps leaping away. That’s why she wants Haruyuki to catch Chrome Disaster for her. For once, Black Snow agrees with her since Haruyuki could use some experience. In exchange for this, Niko will tell her people to leave them alone. They will continue this meeting tomorrow. Same place. However, Niko is going to stay here since it is a pain going back. Black Snow changes her mind and will stay here too. Oh God. I guess this is tougher than catching Chrome Disaster, eh? And so the girls berate and challenge each other during shopping and cooking. Then bathing together… Haruyuki contemplates of even peeking on them just like in those games! He very well knows the consequences but what the heck! Just do it! Too bad he thought too long as the girls are already done. The girls play video game together but they aren’t as hostile as before. They even sleep close together!

Episode 10: Activation
It must be heaven for Haruyuki. Niko acting like his little sister and Black Snow like the bigger one. Ah, such bless. Now comes hell. When they exit the elevator, before them is Chiyuri. Electrical stares… Oh sh*t… Thanks to Takumu’s smooth operator, Haruyuki is spared. This made Chiyuri interested about installing Brain Burst too since they are so addicted to that game. Can she be one? Black Snow thinks it is risky and a gamble. This made Haruyuki wonder who is Black Snow’s Parent (the one who introduces the game). She won’t tell him and is the person whom he wants him not to meet. She’s saying this as a Burst Linker and a woman. Jealousy, I presume. In fact they were very close friends till she found out everything was an illusion and became enemies. She hated her so much that she wanted to torture and cut off her head. But she can’t. One of the ‘flaws’ of being Parent and Child is that both know each other’s real world identity. Grudges and hatred can be complicated in the real world and its implications can’t be ignored. Haruyuki swears he will never fight her if that happens and will uninstall Brain Burst. Later Haruyuki talks to Niko if she hates Black Snow. She doesn’t and in fact she is grateful. If not for her decapitating the previous Red King whom she has never talked to, she wouldn’t have taken over his position. She also admires Black Snow for her motivation. While other Legion Masters pretend to fight in their non-aggression pact, Black Snow openly declared she will achieve Level 10. Who knows how many of them have this ulterior motive as well. Niko doesn’t harbour such interests as some believe once you reach Level 10, Brain Burst uninstalls itself. But that’s a reason why she likes Accelerated World. She blames herself that this is the reason why Cherry Rook became Chrome Disaster because she made him push himself to get to the next level. Haruyuki tells her she did no wrong. He thinks a game should have an ending. His experience in playing online games without ending only made him lonelier because everyone else moved on to another game.

The gang regroup as they detect Cherry Rook heading towards Ikebukuro via train. They enter Accelerated World in the Unlimited Neutral Field where there is no time limit. So the reason why they brought Haruyuki is because of his aviation. The girls fight over him to be carried! This is going to be tougher than obtaining Calamity Armour, eh? So intense that Takumu is told to butt out! You’re on your own. Anyway Haruyuki carries them all. Along the way they see a group of Burst Linkers going on a hunt defeating huge monsters called Enemies. Other than duels, this way they can earn points as well although it is meagre. Suddenly they are being attacked by beams and missiles. Haruyuki crashes into a crater and several Burst Linkers surround them. They are surprised to see Yellow Radio the Yellow King because this is not the Yellow Legion’s jurisdiction. Niko realize that all this must have been Yellow Radio’s doing.

Episode 11: Obligation
Though Yellow Radio mentions he is looking for someone from Red Legion to take responsibility for breaking the non-aggression pact, Haruyuki realizes he was the one who hid away Calamity Armour, gave it to Cherry Rook to lure Niko out so he could hunt for the head of a king needed to reach Level 10. He has assembled his men to hunt Niko down. They can’t log out immediately in an Unlimited Neutral Field and must leave via Leave Point at Ikebukuro or Sunshine City. Yellow Radio replays the event when Black Lotus decapitated Red Rider. She is still traumatized by this event and loses her resolve to fight and turns into a vegetable. Haruyuki and co need to make a run now but Yellow Radio orders his men to attack. Haruyuki can’t fly due to Yellow Radio’s special field attack. Takumu protects them all and takes the pounding (in this field, pain is doubled). Because once Red King is done for, Yellow Radio will target Black Snow. Takumu sacrifices himself to protect his friends. Niko won’t run and will stand and fight. She transforms into her giant fortress and starts firing away. However a jamming signal renders her missiles useless. Haruyuki is tasked to find the jammer but is pinned down by a minion. The other Burst Linkers get close enough to Niko to rip her apart. Haruyuki starts chiding Black Snow for her weak resolve to become a Level 10 Burst Linker. It was enough to revive her. She makes it clear that Red Rider isn’t her first love. It is Haruyuki. Black Snow slices her way through her lesser opponents to face Yellow Radio. He tries to make her feel guilty that decapitating her weighs the same as beheading Red Rider. This time she won’t be cowed because she never liked him the first time they met. Haruyuki frees himself and takes out the jammer to allow Niko to continue blasting the small fries. Black Snow and Yellow Radio descend into a serious super speed fight between Level 9 Burst Linkers. They both are going to decide the outcome of the match by unleashing their special move. However, Yellow Radio is stabbed from the back by Chrome Disaster.

Episode 12: Absolution
Yellow Radio manages to get away from Chrome Disaster’s clutches but the latter starts devouring any Burst Linker he could get his hands on. Yellow Radio orders a retreat. Haruyuki becomes afraid and can’t move. Now it’s Black Snow’s turn to give him some encouragement. He is afraid to fight because he believes it will negatively affect his values. That’s why he doesn’t perform well in territory battles. She promises she won’t abandon him and their bond isn’t that weak. They both cooperate to fight the enemy but Black Snow gets caught in a large blast that takes out Chrome Disaster as well. Is Niko going to betray them? She lectures about trusting no one in this world and goes up to finish Chrome Disaster. However she couldn’t and he grabs her. Black Snow says Niko was just sulking. She wants to trust more than anyone else. Because Cherry Rook is her Parent. She wants Haruyuki to save her because she is their ally. Chrome Disaster escapes trying to get to a Leave Point before Niko could finish him. Haruyuki goes after him and realizes he is using wires, the reason why it looked like he could fly. Now he looks like Spider Man swinging… Haruyuki accelerates and lets his wire hook onto his back. As they crash to the ground, Haruyuki answers his question about strength.

After Niko puts him out of his misery, she reveals they both do not know their real world parents. She goes to an orphanage school and doesn’t get along well with others. That’s why she always played VR video games alone till she met him. He introduced her to this game and taught her everything till she surpassed him. One day he was acting strange but she didn’t bother to ask. He wanted to become her Parent forever and his desperation made him devour the Calamity Armour. Haruyuki says in that case they can be friends in the real world again since they know each other’s face and name. Before the gang leaves via Leave Point, Black Snow has them check their storage to see if there are remnants of the armour. None. Good. It’s gone for good. Or is it? Because Haruyuki kept hearing faint voices wanting him to devour. Oh, that little wire thingy still hooked on his back. Back in reality, Niko informs Haruyuki that they have informed the other kings about Yellow Radio and Chrome Disaster. She wanted to raise his intention of taking the armour but had no proof. Niko further reveals Cherry Rook was moving far away, the reason he acted strange. Because there are not many Burst Linkers outside Tokyo, he feared he couldn’t raise his level. His panic led him to consume the armour. But now that he is forever out of Brain Burst, she views it’s a good sign because he is back to his original self. It made her think that Brain Burst isn’t the only VR game around. If Haruyuki knows of any other good games, be sure to let her know. She gives him her cookies as thanks. So happy that he cried while eating. And she returns to her tsundere mode. Happy ever after…

Episode 13: Violation
Takumu and Haruyuki help Chiyuri install Brain Burst. It is not power she desires but she wants to show them how games are should be enjoyed. Besides, it will be the three of them like always. One rainy night, Haruyuki gets a call from Chiyuri to dive into her home server. Her world is filled with cushions? And she had to use piggy as her pillow… The new term for the school begins. Haruyuki is thrilled he is in the same class with Takumu and Chiyuri. As Black Snow gives her speech at the assembly, for a moment there she starts to react cautiously. Takumu and Haruyuki later discuss that she must have sensed another Burst Linker among the new students. They want to look into this but Chiyuri won’t let them sneak off on their own and wants in. So they let her dive into Accelerated World and explain to her some of the basics. Maybe this will take a while. Her avatar name is Lime Bell as she searches for her special move: Citron Call. She powers up her special gauge destroying objects and fires it at Haruyuki (is he her punching bag?). Nothing happens. Takumu suspects something and wants her to beat up Haruyuki a little (now he’s her punching bag). Then she releases Citron Call and Haruyuki’s life points heal. Takumu deduces she is a healer type. This is bad. Haruyuki tells Black Snow about this and seems Takumu is right. They need to keep Chiyuri’s character a secret since healers are very rare. This place will be swamped with Burst Linkers trying to scout for her. In the game’s history, there is only one other healer but he got so sick of the game he call it quits. Black Snow won’t let Haruyuki know who he is. He was one of the kings. Takumu explains to Chiyuri about Legions and that they are under Nega Nebulous led by Black Snow. Chiyuri is fine joining it since it will be like old times. Black Snow’s grade will be leaving for a field trip to Okinawa so she leaves the territory defence to Haruyuki. Can he do it? She’ll reward him with anything if he is successful. Anything? So he wants beef steak? Sure he doesn’t want anything intimate? To cable with her? How about something more erotic? Black Snow stripping!!! Bad boy! Take your time to think about it… He bumps into a first year, Seiji Noumi. After helping Haruyuki up, he wipes his hand clean. Haruyuki and Chiyuri go cheer on Takumu’s kendo match. Haruyuki notices Noumi on the opposing team. When the match pits Takumu and Noumi, it seems Noumi is too fast for Takumu to do anything. Haruyuki fears the worst. He then thought he saw Noumi’s lips chanting Burst Link so Haruyuki goes into Accelerated World. However he doesn’t find Noumi’s name in the list. He returns to reality and Takumu lost his match. No chance at all.

Episode 14: Arrestation
Haruyuki discusses with Takumu and Chiyuri if Noumi is a Burst Linker. That move certainly was accelerated. Haruyuki realizes it may be Physical Full Burst like how Black Snow used to save him. However it uses up 99% of your points and certainly he can’t be using it for a kendo match. However Takumu thinks it is just Physical Burst and demonstrates how quickly he moves refilling the cup he spilled. The real body doesn’t accelerate but the consciousness becomes 10 times faster. He used it before a year ago that’s why he was at the top. He feels he should not complain for his loss to Noumi but Chiyuri tells him he was trying to win matches for her unlike Noumi was just fighting for himself. Besides, he is different now and has changed. Takumu tries to observe and find out more about Noumi but doesn’t find anything since that guy is moving mysteriously. Though he managed to look through the graduation album and found out he has an older brother 3 years their senior. Haruyuki feels odd because if Black Snow is one of the pioneer Burst Linkers, could there be anyone earlier than her? At least he has never heard of Burst Linkers older than her. Haruyuki tries to tail Noumi to get some evidence. He sees him dodge when a club mate throws his wooden sword at him for his conceited behaviour. Haruyuki then follows him to the shower and check his Neuro Linker for any Brain Burst. Hey, isn’t this Chiyuri’s Neuro Linker? What is he doing in the girl’s shower? How the heck did he screw up? Whether or not he had a nice view of Chiyuri’s naked body, he better hide because other girls are coming in. Chiyuri lets him hide in her cubicle till the coast is clear. Haruyuki realizes he may have walked into Noumi’s trap because he used visual electronic masking to trick his visuals. That’s how he screwed up the wrong toilet. So of course in the aftermath, he has got lots of apologizing to do to the goddess. Chiyuri couldn’t believe people would go this far for a game and feels something is wrong because nobody seems to be having fun. Haruyuki disagrees because it changed him and Takumu. Haruyuki may be acting strange but he can’t tell Takumu about it since the goddess is emitting some deadly aura if he ever lets a word slip.

Haruyuki gets mail from Noumi to meet him alone at the yard. It is clear he is a Burst Linker and knows his Silver Crow identity. Noumi claims his victory and reveals the graduation photo with visual electronic masking too. He set up a programme to tamper with his vision field. Plus, he has video camera proof that Haruyuki sneaked into the girl’s shower. Noumi’s goal is not to expel Haruyuki but to make him his loyal dog for the rest of his school days. He wants Haruyuki earn Burst Points for him to use every day. Chiyuri pops up and defends Haruyuki that she gave him permission to come in since she sprained her ankle. But Noumi isn’t cowed and reveals a hidden camera filming the girls in the shower right now. Imagine the huge ruckus it will cause when they find out and they will go seek the culprit. If he uploads the clip with Haruyuki in it, Chiyuri’s cover will be of no use. The school then announces that the girl’s shower is off limits as Noumi notes the hidden camera has been discovered. All part of his plan. Then he casually holds Chiyuri and threatens never to be rude to him again. He intends to make her his pet. Whenever he fights, she’ll be watching it and waiting upon him. Chiyuri becomes afraid and this pisses off Haruyuki. The guys enter Physical Burst to engage in a fist fight that seems like they’re punching air. Noumi wins when he feigns a punch to trick Haruyuki before landing the real one. Since they still have time before the next class, Noumi agrees to challenge him to a duel just like he wanted.

Episode 15: Destruction
Noumi’s avatar is Dusk Taker but Haruyuki easily beats him up with his superior skills. He realizes his trick of luring other Burst Linkers into traps, understanding their weaknesses and then threaten to take their points. Just when Haruyuki is about to finish him, Noumi uses Demonic Commandeer to steal his aviation ability. It is permanent so Haruyuki won’t be getting it back till he graduates. Noumi then takes his points for today and leaves very much satisfied that he is tops against Haruyuki in both worlds. He doesn’t want them to tell Takumu or Black Snow about this since he needs time to prepare and face them. Chiyuri is sad that things have turned out like this and Haruyuki feels guilty for dragging her into this and there is nothing he could do. Takumu can tell something is wrong with him and goes to talk to him since Chiyuri won’t say a thing. He too won’t say anything so they end up arguing Chiyuri’s importance to them. It ends with Takumu punching him when Haruyuki runs his mouth he has given up on Chiyuri to be his girlfriend again and is aiming for Black Snow. Takumu laments that he isn’t that trustworthy because they promised not to keep secrets from each other anymore. In his weakest moment, Haruyuki thinks of uninstalling Brain Burst so that Noumi’s plan will fail and won’t threaten Chiyuri anymore. But he discards that thought and enters another duel. His opponent is Ash Roller. It’s been a long time, eh? He has powered up with missiles on his bike. Haruyuki thought he could use the same trick to take him out but Ash Roller has another skill that knocks him away. Haruyuki lies there with no motivation. Ash Roller is puzzled why he won’t fly. Haruyuki wants him to defeat him since this was a test to see how useful he was without his wings. Apparently he wasn’t. Oddly, Ash Roller tries to make him come to his senses. When Haruyuki fought him by lifting up his bike which was his main weapon, did he give up? Haruyuki says he still got his bike but he won’t get his wings back again. Ash Roller reprimands him (including double bad fingers) and tells him off the feeling he got along with other Burst Linkers when they learn Haruyuki could fly. He calls this duel a draw and wants Haruyuki to meet up at a later time. Ash Roller wants to bring him to his Parent who stopped duelling a long time ago. She had numerous nicknames like Iron Arm and Icarus and was the closest person to rule the sky before Haruyuki came along. Running his bike up the steep rocky pillar, there is a little house on the meadows. The wheel chair ridden Burst Linker introduces herself as Sky Raker.

Episode 16: Imagination
Can she really give his wings back? As she puts it, maybe impossible. It’s hard to get back something you lose. However she never said that he couldn’t fly. Sky Raker begins talking to him about mental scars, the opposite of hope that made him able to soar. In fact, it wasn’t his wings that made him fly. It is because he has wings that he could fly. In short, his wings are just for show. So what about given abilities by Brain Burst to every Burst Linker? Thinking that Haruyuki views willpower means nothing in this world, she shows him the wheel chair she is sitting without motor on controls and yet she is able to move it freely like her own body. This is willpower. She does this via imaging her power and then use incarnation to control it. She believes Haruyuki subconsciously does the same thing for his wings. Thus, the will of the mind as what they call Incarnate System, if Haruyuki learns this, he will be able to fly again. She shows her legs. No legs! She had someone cut them off because at that time she was obsessed with flying and wanted to maximize her will to fly. Though it significantly increased her jumping height, she never did fly. Despite it will take a long time, Haruyuki will do what it takes to learn this. The rest of the day, she had him rest as she tells him about the only Legion she was ever in. She had a very close friend. Want to bet who she is talking about? Next day, Haruyuki begins his training. A single word is what it takes to invoke incarnation. Because this is Spartan training, she won’t tell him yet and pushes him off! Rock bottom, Haruyuki starts climbing the rocky pillar. However the scenery soon starts to transit into a metallic city so he falls back down. Sky Raker from time to time drops him food and a piece of paper containing hints of his next step. Haruyuki realizes the power of imaging. He must have faith in himself. He starts making holes around the tower to sharpen his imaging power. When he is ready on the seventh day, he starts his ascend.

He remembers the first night Sky Raker’s story. She had an Enhanced Armament that allows her to jump a modest 100 metres high. Soon she became obsessed in jumping higher and when she reached Level 8, she realized jumping isn’t flying and this turned into madness. To lower her weight to fly, she chopped off her legs which were her biggest weapon. She made that best friend of hers who is the master of a certain Legion to cut it off. Yes. That friend is Black Lotus. Despite she tried to stop her, Sky Raker said horrible things to her and insisted. She had no choice but to grant her wish. She continued to jump. By the time she reached the top of Tokyo Tower, she realized seeing the sky for an instant at the top of her jumping trajectory was the absolute limit to her power. Haruyuki’s desire to fly to the end of the world has him fly (or a great leap?) back to the top. Sky Raker is impressed he returned much quicker than she thought. Haruyuki learns that incarnation is not about controlling but rather overriding reality. That is the magic word: Override. Since Haruyuki still needs his wings to fight beside Black Snow, Sky Raker will give her Enhanced Armament, Gale Thruster. In the real world, Haruyuki meets Sky Raker in person at a fast food joint so she could transfer Gale Thruster to him without using a shop. Haruyuki is close to breakdown when he realizes she has fake legs and had real desire to fly and yet gave her wings to him. He feels guilty he just wanted to run away from the harsh reality. She notes him a kind person and that they’re not doing this out of pity. His tears prove that a truth of his own exists in Accelerated World. Some selfish people use Brain Burst to get points and others as hunting grounds to trap others but they know it is a place to find the truth, friendship and love. Her foolishness caused her a bond and doesn’t want him to repeat that mistake. Haruyuki is confident he will fly with these and will return it to her after he learns how to use his own power. He believes her bond with Black Lotus isn’t lost and that she is still waiting for her return.

Episode 17: Fragmentation
Haruyuki gets a direct video call from Black Snow. Oooh. Black Snow in bikini. Was it worth it? She tells him she got an odd request from Takumu asking if she could give him Noumi’s entrance exam scores. She retrieved them from the student council database and replied to him. Haruyuki can’t tell what is going on or she might get upset and storm back. During PE, Haruyuki suddenly accelerates. But he finds himself a spectator in a duel between Takumu and Noumi. Takumu has deduced he has used his powers to score perfect in his exams and has timed moments when he accelerated and thus knew he would be accelerating at this moment. Though he can’t say more because he too did the same thing. Noumi says he loves taking although he doesn’t like others taking from him. He will have Takumu compensate him for taking 1.8 seconds of his real life with his Burst Points. Takumu is confident he can beat him and take back Haruyuki’s wings. He heard this from Ash Roller and apologizes he didn’t notice it earlier. Takumu dominates the match and when he corners Noumi, the latter is forced to use his special move. Haruyuki realizes he is activating incarnation. Noumi beats up Takumu with his greater power. Before he can take what he wants from Takumu, Haruyuki begs to take his instead so he initiates a battle royal mode. Once all party accepts, Haruyuki surprises Noumi by using his own incarnation with speed to beat him up. But that isn’t enough to beat him yet. Noumi uses more weapons and the newly acquired wings to fight Haruyuki. But Haruyuki says he is not invincible yet because he is not the only one who can fly. Activating Gale Thruster, Haruyuki soars into the sky with this jet pack and put more serious damage to him. He won’t tell him how he got this because a Burst Linker like him won’t understand. Noumi says they never consider themselves one and is a term first generations used. They? The power fight continues and when it looks like Haruyuki is going crash them both into the ground, Takumu activates his special attack to wipe out Noumi. Haruyuki had faith in him because he was taking damage to increase his special attack gauge. Before Haruyuki could finish him off, Chiyuri completely heals Noumi.

Episode 18: Invitation
This is what happened with Black Snow at Okinawa when Haruyuki and co was facing Noumi. I guess we need to take a break from metal skin to some real skin! Oh yeah! Black Snow in the flesh! She and her friend, Megumi are basking in the sun and Megumi is going to show our princess another sort of world… The yuri kind of world? Well, Megumi talks to Black Snow about another kind of world: Books. Something that Megumi loved when she was young. As they split up to buy each other souvenirs, Black Snow is called into a fight. Her opponent, Lagoon Dolphin goes all out but it is clear that Black Snow is much higher level. At the end, she has a request and hopes to meet her in person in the real world. Black Snow is surprised to see Ruka Asato (Lagoon Dolphin) and her friend Mana Itosu as Burst Linkers in Okinawa. Very rare there are such outside Tokyo. More surprised that they told her their real names without knowing the precautionary implications. They tell her what their master told them about not using their acceleration for evil. Not very detailed teachings… This causes Black Snow to want to meet their master and have a talk with him. This is exactly what the duo wanted. They were having trouble how to tell it to her and looks like she solved it herself. Their master told them about a monster’s appearance and having trouble defeating it, thus the reason they need her help. Black Snow realizes she is late to meet Megumi and rushes back. She apologizes but Megumi puts up a brave front not to blame her. Eventually she couldn’t hold back her tears so Black Snow consoles her. She admits the other world she has where time flows differently. She spent lots of time there and lost many bonds. She slowly tries to rebuild them but in this world, Megumi is her only friend. Thanks to her, she was saved when she was lost and kept her well and tightly bound to this world. Black Snow meets up with Ruka and Mana at the café so they can dive into the Accelerated World. They find their master getting drunk in a bar. He is so negative about defeating the monster. Very pessimistic. Like he lost all hope. Till he realizes Ruka and Mana brought back Black Snow. Seems they know each other. Black Snow calls him Crikin. Never thought to see the day he actually meet her, eh?

Episode 19: Revolution
Crikin explains he moved to Okinawa after his parents divorced and was depressed there weren’t many Burst Linkers here. Ruka is his relative and introduced her to Brain Burst. The monster then rampages over the place and as Crikin describes, this legendary dragon, Nidhogg AKA Nick was tamed by some opponent whose name didn’t appear in the list. Black Snow questions the rider riding Nick, Sulphur Pot. She deduces he must have used some backdoor cheat programme and is diving remotely from Tokyo. As Black Snow fights Sulphur Pot and Nick, Crikin orders Ruka and Mana to gather all the metal they can find. After Black Snow takes some damage from Nick’s special attack, it is Crikin’s turn to take centre stage. You might be forgiven if you are watching a mecha anime as all the metal parts combine to turn Crikin into a giant robot. Crikin gives Nick a taste of his own medicine but Sulphur Pot unleashes a trick up his sleeve. Scattering gun powder in the air before Nick’s fire breath blows and melts up everything. Meanwhile Megumi is about to unplug Black Snow to return her to this world but Mana’s spirit (she is a shaman for your information) tells her to plug in to an extra cord that will invite her to the other world for one last time. Black Snow is shocked that Megumi dives into the game as she uses her power to force change the stage into an ocean one. Before Megumi leaves, she tells Black Snow to live out her life story facing forward because magic time is over. Black Snow and the girls cooperate to fight Nick. They separate Sulphur Pot from Nick and then cut off the dragon’s reins. Then, Nick devours Sulphur Pot seeing he is no longer its master. Back on land, Crikin is sulking because he was left forgotten at the bottom of the sea. Screws can’t swim? He gives Black Snow the Nick’s Mystical Reins. Black Snow’s class departs for home at the end of the trip. She narrates Megumi did not have any memories when she woke up from the café. As to whether she was once a Burst Linker, she will not press on for it. Crikin reports the café they dived had some remodelled illegal linker that allows you to link up without being worn. If Brain Burst was installed in it along with a backdoor, it is possible to do what Sulphur Pot did. Unfortunately during Black Snow’s interrogation he never mentioned anything about some organization which may turn out to be their future enemy.

Episode 20: Domination
Going back to where we left against the battle with Noumi. The jerk revels in his revival and becomes ever arrogant and cocky. Haruyuki is brimming with anger but Takumu charges first and got cut up to pieces. This is when Haruyuki loses it. A voice in his head tells him to devour Noumi. He succumbs to it and attacks. Noumi is surprised that their power is on the same length. But time is up and Haruyuki Burst Out. He wanted to find Noumi but Takumu tells him to keep it cool. They’ll only be playing into his hands if they do so. The duo talk to Chiyuri if she was tricked by Noumi. However she says she voluntarily teamed up with him to earn Burst Points. How come she doesn’t sound convincing? The guys head back and discuss their next move. They are frustrated but they need to defeat Noumi and it is only then that the truth will be revealed. Challenging him will be hard since he doesn’t appear on the list. However they hold an advantage because Noumi who often uses his Burst Points at an alarming rate would have low reserves. He doesn’t participate in usual duels for them either. Haruyuki tells Takumu about Incarnate System. Takumu feels he will need such power to defeat Noumi but should they go see Sky Raker again? Maybe Ash Roller won’t be so kind this time. Haruyuki wakes up from a nightmare whereby Black Snow leaves him because he lost his wings. In his fury, he turned into a monster pig, chained her up never to leave his side again. This causes Haruyuki to call Black Snow directly. They both miss each other very much and a week has never felt so long. Takumu has done his investigation on Incarnate System and sums up that technique is pretty much top secret. You wouldn’t want your opponents to know such awesome move, right? Though he feels Sky Raker isn’t the only person who knows about it. Therefore a king must know it, right? Haruyuki doesn’t want to ask Black Snow because she’ll come straight back and defeat Noumi and Chiyuri. But there is another king they can ask: Niko. Over the next few scenes, Chiyuri’s evasion to talk to them proves that they are somewhat right about her. Haruyuki is soon called by the teacher. He is interrogated on the day the hidden camera was planted by Noumi. Soon all the students avoid him. Even his classmate beat him up at the rooftop because his girlfriend was caught on that camera that she went into shock. Haruyuki allows to get beaten up but asserts his innocence. He is no stranger to this bully road but this time he has friends on his side. He isn’t going to lose and will claw his way back up.

Episode 21: Insurrection
The rumours have spread far and wide. Takumu learns the truth of what happened and how Chiyuri probably got involved. He feels like a fool not knowing anything and wants to be punched. Haruyuki also feels the same. This bromance scene almost tugged the hearts of all the yaoi fan girls watching… Too bad nothing happened. Haruyuki makes arrangements to meet Niko at the patisserie. Putting up that cute little sister act, isn’t she? When Haruyuki wants her to teach Takumu Incarnate System, Niko suddenly becomes the crude devil. Not happy, isn’t she. Using a private room for their discussion, she tells him off never to say such word in public. Learning about their problem and Noumi, Niko at first couldn’t care less and would gladly see Nega Nebulous get destroyed. She has also predicted they will come to her for help seeing they helped her out the last time. Seeing she indirectly agrees to help, Haruyuki is so happy that he wanted to kiss her feet! Creepy! So the trio dive into the Ice Stage world for the training. Niko tells them the important points of Incarnate System like it doesn’t lower her special move gauge, only incarnate techniques can be used to defend against incarnate attacks and they will always shine. Niko has Haruyuki demonstrate what he has learnt as he slices a snow pile with his hand blade. Niko then demonstrates hers by blasting a hole through a bigger pile. That’s how it’s done. There are 4 basic types of incarnate techniques. Attack range augmentation is what they just saw. Movement ability augmentation allows her to move at lightning speed. However she cannot use attack power augmentation and armour strength augmentation due to her mental scars and weakness despite being a King. Her fear of this world and to get close to it was what gave rise to Scarlet Rain, thus unable to use incarnation to strengthen her avatar’s offensive and defensive powers. Incarnation powers aren’t supposed to be used for defeating your enemies but to overcome one’s weakness.

Before Niko’s training starts, she asks Takumu if his avatar is close or long range. He replies close range but Niko says his Enhanced Armament is actually for long range. That’s when Takumu reveals his past. He was once bullied by kendo seniors and has a scar. Cyan Pile is a close range avatar but built with long range weapon may stem from this fear of his. The pile is a manifestation of his fear and anger of being tormented because he wants to use this to skewer every last guy who bullied him. Before Haruyuki leaves them alone in their training and do go do research on Dusk Taker, Niko advises him to name his Incarnate System move so that it can be used as  a quick trigger in combats. Laser Sword? Lame. When Haruyuki dives out, the patisserie’s maid, Blood Leopard takes him away. She is under Niko’s Legion and has been told to assist him. She has also heard rumours of a troublemaker that doesn’t appear on the list. That person seems to be breaking in from another network: Akihabara, Yellow Legion’s territory. Leopard takes Haruyuki on her motorbike and rides all the way to the otaku Holy Land. Haruyuki is amazed with the old fashioned arcade and wants to have a go at it (though he doesn’t have enough money) but Leopard takes him up to the dive café. Haruyuki is given a cute pink dinosaur avatar as disguised as they go see Matchmaker. Akihabara Battle Ground (BG) is the only neutral place here. Not even the Yellow King can touch it. It is where Burst Linkers fight and bet and matches. Matchmaker isn’t fond that Leopard had heard rumours of the troublemaker who doesn’t appear on the list but nevertheless will tell all he can as it is starting to be a big problem. About a week ago, a rude fellow appeared. Without registering as a fighter, he challenged only suitable opponents. His name doesn’t appear in the matching list despite being connected. If they let him have his way, Akihabara BG’s existence will be threatened. This Burst Linker’s name is Rust Jigsaw.

Episode 22: Determination
Leopard wants to tag with Haruyuki to bait Rust Jigsaw. Because of the rumours that Silver Crow cannot fly anymore has spread far and wide, it is very likely for him to come and attack. Plus, he must be hidden somewhere in this building to connect to this local network. Leopard warns him only to use Incarnate System when the opponent uses his. Because such power is born from the hole of one’s mind and you are pulled a little closer to the hole’s darkness each time you use it. When he was fighting Calamity Armour, the curse almost made his mind go berserk. As expected the duo receive a challenge from Rust Jigsaw. The enemy places thin wire traps around so it is tough to get close to him especially if your avatar specializes in close range. Leopard wants Haruyuki to transfer his special move gauge to her. She transforms and gets up close to Rust Jigsaw. She bites his shoulder till he loses all his life. Then they Burst Out and try to find him in the real world. Leopard repeatedly dealt damage to Rust Jigsaw’s right shoulder. Such pain will linger in the real world for a short while. Haruyuki looks around and thinks he sees somebody fitting that description but lost him when he got distracted by an Akihabara maid handing out tissues. Next day in school, Haruyuki learns from Takumu that Chiyuri teamed up with Noumi in a battle. Their winning rate is 100% since Noumi’s aviation made it impossible for other avatars to fight back. Takumu is worried of the situation. Although he is confident with Black Snow’s return, she will solve this in one fell swoop, he can’t help feel there is a possibility that she will lose. Later Haruyuki visits Chiyuri and she doesn’t seem convincing in her bragging of her many victories and levelling up. Haruyuki is sad he dragged her into this and walked into his trap (that video) which gave him the means to threaten him. Chiyuri thought he still doesn’t understand her. Even though her avatar obeys Noumi, in the real world she is still right here and hasn’t taken him away from her. She is doing this out of her own will. Always have and always will. Haruyuki believes in her and will take back what he has lost.

Haruyuki thinks hard to find anything that could reveal Noumi’s weakness. He remembers Rust Jigsaw running away and while his hand action may seem like pushing someone away, it resembles more of moving a virtual window away. But he wasn’t wearing any Neuro Linker. Doing his research, there is a device that precedes Neuro Linker. NerveGear was the first virtual reality machine but was exclusively used for full dives. There was another device that made augmented reality possible: Brain Implant Chip (BIC). Haruyuki calls Noumi to confront him. He is confident it is game over. Haruyuki explains because of the illegal BIC embedded inside him, his name doesn’t show up on the list. The illegal device was discontinued after 3 years due to the dangers of brain hacking and exam cheating. A single scan will be enough to reveal the chip and send Noumi into expulsion. Noumi’s face contorts like a criminal whose schemes have been exposed. But he notes that exposing each other’s weakness will only destroy themselves. Of course Haruyuki intends to fight with him like how all Burst Linkers settle their matches. Noumi has a few suggestions for their final match and one of them includes whereby the winner takes everything and to be held at the Unlimited Neutral Field. Although they think accepting his proposal is dangerous as it views Noumi is very confident he will walk away victorious, they want to settle this before Black Snow comes back. As for if Noumi had allies or an ambush waiting in that field, that Burst Linker would probably need to have lots of Burst Points just to wait in that field for hours. More importantly, is there anybody who would go so far for Noumi?

Episode 23: Consolidation
Chiyuri admits to Haruyuki and Takumu how Noumi told her to betray him to gain their trust. She knows she won’t be forgiven after all that she has done but begs them to take her with them to the fight. Takumu believes in her because he still remembers his fight with Haruyuki. He believed and gave him a chance. Now it’s his turn to do the same. The trio enter the field and soon Noumi too. Noumi will fight against Haruyuki and Takumu in a sudden death duel whereby there will be no end until someone dies. The match begins but when Haruyuki charges, he is trapped in an ambush laid by Black Vise. They are surprised that someone has been waiting here for a long time but as Noumi explains, he too has BIC and took a very huge risk. Seems his terminal as able to control his brain clock and used his BIC to suspend acceleration at will. While Haruyuki remains trap, Noumi confidently goes to face Takumu who now materializes his pile into a blade. As they clash, Takumu has realized there is a limitation to his Demonic Commandeer. If he could steal anything, why hasn’t he stole Lime Bell’s healing ability? He steals because he has nothing left inside. He can steal anything he wants but those things will never truly belong to him.

That’s when Noumi tells him to blame his big brother instead. He is Noumi’s Parent and forcefully installed Brain Burst into him. Noumi became his dog to earn points for him to use. Slowly he saved points for a special ability. Then he called him to the Unlimited Neutral Field and took his abilities. Each time he revived, he killed him over and over again and relished seeing his face when he was about to lose and Brain Burst uninstalled forever. He is the one who has nothing left now and there is nothing more pitiful than that. Noumi just takes and he will take everything. From those illusionary friendship and bonds they believe in. Noumi plays dirty by taking Chiyuri hostage and hurting her like hell. This forces Takumu to give up and take a good beating and got his arms cut off. Haruyuki can only helplessly watch when he realizes he is in Zero Fill. Moments before his loss and Brain Burst forever uninstalled. He sees a vision of Black Snow reaching out her hands to him so he gets the extra power and boost to free himself from the trap. Still, he is too weak to stop Noumi moments away from killing Takumu for good. Suddenly Noumi got his arm blasted off. Here comes Black Snow riding on a stallion! What a grand entry! Noumi is shocked of her return. She isn’t supposed to be back yet. She might not have returned to Tokyo in the real world yet but she dived in from Okinawa since they are connected in this world. She was taming the legendary Enemy and it took her 15 hours to come here although it is not even a minute in the real world. Turning her attention to Black Vise, he introduces himself as the vice president of the Acceleration Research Society. Note, he is not under a Legion. Sulphur Pot is part of that society. Black Snow will repay the pain three times for the pain they have caused to her members. Only 3 times? Not 100 times? Anyway while she holds off Black Vise, she wants Haruyuki to finish his match with Noumi.

Episode 24: Reincarnation
Noumi is going to relish tearing their ideals apart but Haruyuki thinks he’s got it all wrong from the start. He could’ve gotten friends like he wanted if he challenged them to duels normally. Noumi understands that as he’ll pity him to be his friend. Haruyuki disagrees. They won’t understand each other ever. I guess that settles it. They’re going to settle this once and for all. The aerial battle begins with Haruyuki using incarnation to enhance his Gale Thruster. Just when he is about to deliver the final blow, Chiyuri heals Noumi. All reset to zero, eh? But… Before Noumi can kill Haruyuki, he loses his wings and starts falling. Haruyuki feels his wings are back and gives the ultimate blow to Noumi. I guess she healed both of them. Broken into pieces and barely able to fight, Chiyuri explains her ability isn’t healing. When she first healed him, she noticed something strange because it wasn’t like healing but more like repairing. Thus her ability is to rewind time. She needed to increase her special move gauge to the length of time she could rewind and therefore the reason why she did his bidding. She was never his ally. Noumi is mad. He threatens to expose them all and wants Black Vise to get him out of here. Unfortunately he has his hands full. He knows fighting Black Snow is a pain and doesn’t want to do it again and escapes by himself. He is not cowed by Noumi’s threats either. Noumi becomes scared and pathetically tries to worm his way out. He’ll anybody or even them his points and join their Legion. In such a sad state, Haruyuki has no choice to put him out of his misery and has his Brain Burst uninstall forever. Black Snow praises Haruyuki and Takumu for doing well and thanks Chiyuri who told her everything. She didn’t like how the guys were stubborn with their pride thingy. Haruyuki is grateful for everything and admits they wouldn’t have done this without her intervention. Back in the real world, the guys are surprised Chiyuri thought of this plan well. She couldn’t tell them for fear that Noumi may have planted some device to eavesdrop. Then she emotionally breaks down and gives them a group hug.

Haruyuki picks up Black Snow from the train station and explains his adventures while she was away. She hugs him and admits she wanted to do this when he lost his wings. Then she apologizes for being a bad Parent and not by his side when this happened. Black Snow wants to reward him as promise so all he wants is to stay by his side as his senior, Legion Master and Parent. She promises to stay with him forever. At school, the guys who wrongly accused Haruyuki of that hidden camera incident, apologize and want Haruyuki to punch them! Thanks to Black Snow’s intervention, his name is cleared and that incident was shrugged off as something bogus. Haruyuki bumps into Noumi but he seems very much polite. He doesn’t recognize Haruyuki and even if he did, he had a hard time remembering what online game he played. As discussed with Niko and Leopard, when Brain Burst uninstalls, all memories associate with it gets erased. This is why Accelerated World remains a secret. No use thinking about it because as Burst Linkers, their job is to reach Level 10 and ask directly the developer. When they part, Haruyuki and Black Snow assure that even if they have Brain Burst uninstall in them, they won’t forget about each other in the real world. There is one more promise Haruyuki needs to fulfil before ending this saga. He meets up with Sky Raker to return her Gale Thruster. After that she turns back and walks off, like as though she does not acknowledge Black Snow’s presence. Black Snow then calls out her name. She hopes she can come back because she needs her. Both girls emotionally hug each other. So… Black Snow’s real name goes somewhere along the lines of Sacchan?

Extra 1: Reverberation
A couple of students are staying in the school’s network when they find they cannot log out. A mysterious pumpkin avatar attacks them with his Trick or Trigger ability that turns them naked. Haruyuki is being whisked away by Leopard to school. She has a message by Niko for Black Snow. It is to be wary of a network troublemaker. In school, Black Snow calls the usual trio to discuss the recent incidents occurring on the school network. Haruyuki relays the message so Black Snow notes that this is happening outside their school as well. The incident’s culprit steals items and clothes. As for why Black Snow is requesting their help, firstly the culprit is using a non-system weapon and will be too much for the student council to handle. Secondly, if this becomes serious, authorities will step in and restrict the student council’s power. She would like to avoid this as it may become like Noumi’s case. Third and most important, she trusts them. Later Black Snow contacts Niko to confirm about this case. As compensation, Niko wanted to take Haruyuki. She is surprised when Black Snow agrees. But she was joking. Was she? While Black Snow and co are waiting for the perpetrator to show up, Black Snow asks Chiyuri if she is being oppressive since she feels Haruyuki always shrinks back in her presence. Chiyuri thinks she is and this depresses Black Snow. Before she can mope some more, the culprit turns up. They go into action and chase after the pumpkin. It’s funny to see Haruyuki’s piggy avatar firing the machine guns. Pigs and automatic weapons? When they uncover the pumpkin’s identity, they are shocked to see the person behind it is a girl. She then teleports them all to a futuristic metallic planet where gravity is weak.

Introducing herself as Dushka 30, she welcomes them to Accel Assault. As the last remaining Assault Linker, she confirms she has finally found her opponent. She transforms into her fighting avatar and assaults them in round 2. Black Snow wants her pals to use incarnate power to transform. While the girls look cute and hot, I guess the guys didn’t concentrate enough so Takumu looks like a blaster with a head and Haruyuki a pig with wings for ears. Yeah, the most he could is to eke out little grey wings on his back. Chiyuri goes wild in using Takumu like nobody’s business. She’s really enjoying it. At this rate he is going to tire out. Haruyuki notices Dushka’s turning speed is not good and they could use this chance to attack her. However he has reservations telling Black Snow himself since he feels guilty for today’s several screw-ups and gives excuse he didn’t come up with any counter measure. Chiyuri tells him off to just shut up and tell her. There are times she too wants a guy to confidently lead and order her around. She’s a woman too, you know. Haruyuki makes his way to Black Snow and tells what he needs. But the problem is Dushka still has advantage in mid-air despite the weak gravity. Haruyuki will become her wings. Though he is not very confident about it, Black Snow asks him what he wants and to imagine it. Since he wants to fly with her, Haruyuki merges with her and Black Snow sprouts wings. She zooms around in lightning speed and brings down Dushka. Dushka is glad that everything can now end. Before the world collapses, she opens a gate the let them escape. In the aftermath, Haruyuki felt sad for Dushka. She had been waiting to duel somebody strong on an abandoned sever. It felt like the closure of a game that had lost its popularity. Black Snow says when she defeated her, she felt the fulfilment that comes from properly beating the game and is sure Dushka felt the same way. Black Snow notes Haruyuki wanted to tell her something else then but backed off. He was just testing his courage. One day when he has enough courage, he hopes he could call her by her real name.

Extra 2: Vacation
Nega Nebulous is doing well in their territory battles and chalking up a 75% win ratio. Oh, Sky Raker has become part of their team too. If Haruyuki is doing well in the virtual battle, then his real world battle is just about to begin. Seems he has received a message of his physical re-examination in 2 weeks. He doesn’t take this seriously and continues chowing his pizza till the rest remind him if he doesn’t pass, he’ll be put in some health improvement programme on weekends. The clinic will have no internet connection and he cannot play Brain Burst. So what’s it going to be, kid? Yeah, take the hard way of dieting, eh? He’s got no choice. Chiyuri will become his strict trainer for the next 2 weeks. Oh boy. This is going to be hell. Even Niko and Leopard came down to watch him and cheer him on. So after all that swimming, running and healthy salad meal, he only lost 300 grams after a week! You got to be kidding me! Fuuko Kurasaki (Sky Raker as we know her) calls them and knows of this great hotspring that will improve his physical constitution. Seems they are trying out after their next territory battle. They have this mixed gender hotspring in the virtual world too? What is the point of soaking in their avatars?! It’s odd to see metallic robots soaking in rather than naked skin!!! Don’t you feel ripped off? Ash Roller is here too to laugh his ass off at his suffering. A nice guy he is, eh? Since this place also exists in the real world, Fuuko has already planned out Haruyuki’s schedule for this trip. Fuuko talks to Chiyuri and finds out when Haruyuki was young, he was actually quite slim and handsome. He was secretly popular with the girls too! Are you kidding me? This fat little kid? So what happened? How did he turn into a chubby guy? Chiyuri thinks it was the time his parents got divorced that she noticed he started getting fat.

Black Snow seems to have this weird dream too. She has graduated and talking to a slim and tall Haruyuki. We won’t get to see how handsome he is but we know he is because of his shadow. He is flocked by girls. Haruyuki leaves Black Snow since he doesn’t need her anymore even if she confesses she loves him. Apparently this is disturbing enough so she can’t sleep and decides to go do some late night soaking. Haruyuki is there too. After calming down, Black Snow tells him he would look great if he slimmed down. But she is scared of that happening. Because his avatar is based on his inferiority and mental scars, those give him strength and once he comes to term with it, he may not need to accelerate anymore. Well, it’s not a bad thing but Black Snow doesn’t want to let him go. She admits she is selfish and greedy and she would understand if he hates her. Haruyuki assures that even if he slims down, he won’t change. He will still fight for her. Her wish is his wish. Till she says it is over, his fight won’t end. Black Snow then replies, she will still love him no matter how he looks. Black Snow finding solace in his back seems too much for him to handle as he passes out. And for the next week, the dieting continues and he passes the re-examination without a problem. Though, I thought he looked very close to being a zombie. But when all that is done, Haruyuki is back to being his usual fatty self after eating a little. Just what’s wrong with his body? Glad he’s not a girl. But everyone is somewhat relief because they can’t imagine a slim Haruyuki. No use thinking too much about it. Nega Nebulous prepares for another territory battle.

Specials

Very short, random and nonsensical specials that come with the DVDs that lasts around 3 over minutes each. It has nothing to do with the plot of the TV series and the characters are in their cute chibi form. After all that tension, drama and action, I guess we need a little of this cute comical factor to wind down and relax. Do we? Each special always starts off with Haruyuki running with a loaf of bread in his mouth while carrying Black Snow in a cocoon (looks like a sleeping bag). They make some silly puns or jokes before proceeding with the main segment of random nonsense. A side you never see of Black Snow: She’s a real joker here…

SP 1
Niko is disheartened her cookies are gone. Black Snow decides to play detective. Because the foot prints resemble like nose prints of a certain pig, Haruyuki suddenly becomes the accused and tied up. But if you think about it, was Haruyuki walking with his nose then? Black Snow is amazed he evolved into such! Well, he could fly, right? Anyway he is proven innocent and set free. Black Snow brings them to the hotspring. Chiyuri and Takumu happen to be there too. Because Takumu sees Black Snow riding on Haruyuki, he too wants Chiyuri to sit on him. He likes it… M? They see Ash Roller who wants to show them the true way to ride. Not interested. Then he shows off his new tyres with flower patterns like those pig nose prints. Instantly Niko blows the cookie thief away. No chance for defence.

SP 2
Black Snow crashes into Niko’s home to request her to give her panties (pantsu kure). Till she realizes she messed up her lines and wanted her to bake bread (pan tsukure). Niko tells her she does neither. Seems a few hours ago, Black Snow had her Legion members collect sakura petals for her to make mochi but Takumu told her they don’t put those in them. Since Haruyuki and Chiyuri already collected baskets of them, Black Snow scatters them all away and let their hard work go to waste. Realizing she could have used them for sakura bread instead, that’s when she decided to go see Niko and have her bake some for them. Niko won’t oblige so Black Snow starts dancing stupidly to beg. Since Niko still won’t give in, Black Snow has no choice but to summon and combine the powers of her Legion members to… Do a stupid group dance and beg her to make bread. In the end, Leopard gives her Niko’s panties and Black Snow leaves satisfied. Do whatever you want with it…

SP 3
Niko gives them dough to make cookies but Black Snow is fooling around. Leopard comes back and she is acting strange. Hear a meow sound from her? Can she fool them that it is a bug in her stomach? The cat is out of the bag when Niko tells her to curtsey. Rather, the cat fell out from her skirt. She tries to give excuses about it. Takumu thinks it is a baby leopard. They continue making cookies and since they make it with Haruyuki’s piggy face, Black Snow makes a life size Haruyuki. But since she can’t fit it in the oven, she decides to make a furnace. Leopard helps her out. Since they don’t have enough bricks, she is going to build a brick furnace to build bricks. Where are they going to get bricks for that? And nobody gets to go home till they have enough bricks.

SP 4
Black Snow brings her Legion members on a trip. Either the beach or the lake. The beach has a big monster so they’ll settle for the lake. But the lake has small monsters too! Piranhas! After fishing out all of them, they grill them over fire. Chiyuri becomes a naughty cat girl and steals a fish while Black Snow chases after her and drops her wallet. Huh? As they float on the water, Black Snow notices it is tea time. She invites Chiyuri and Takumu to drink with her. Is that really tea? Well, they’re feeling funny… Isn’t Black Snow a little drunk? At the end of the day when they leave, Black Snow sees Haruyuki’s low cut pants (and his almost peeking butt) and totally loves it! She tries to pull it down!

SP 5
Black Snow brings the gang on a trip to hunt for a new taste since it is autumn. So that’s like picking mushrooms, right? She loses her motivation when Haruyuki wonders if that involves searching for unidentified materials. Yeah. Picking mushrooms suddenly sound easier, no? Let’s go with that then. At the mountains, Black Snow has already sprayed mushroom spores all over the place so they could pick up mushrooms easier. Better than going back empty handed, right? There’s one growing on each of their head. At a dangerous looking suspension bridge, Black Snow tests to see if it’s safe by sticking to it. Leopard swings the bridge to cause centrifugal force. That’s how you stick to it! You just get nausea in the end. At the top of the hill, Black Snow gets poetic ranting about the colours of autumn, blah, blah, blah. The rest cook mushroom. Each time they pluck out from their head, another one grows. Easy, eh? Unlimited supply…

SP 6
Black Snow wants to hibernate in Haruyuki’s room and not go out since it is snowing. No buts about it. I think she’s trying to make a joke about her name and the season. Black Snow. White snow. Get it? Anyway Fuuko will teach Haruyuki a skill to wake her up. First they need to fly up to her house at the top of the pillar. They don’t have to do that since her house comes crashing down. And so, the skill Haruyuki has to learn is blowing recorders with his nose hole while being tied up and dancing wildly. WTF?! Will this vibrato really wake her up? So when Haruyuki performs this, Black Snow emerges from her cocoon and is amazed with his vibrato. See. It worked, right? Did it?

SP 7
Haruyuki wants to buy food for the Christmas party but Black Snow won’t come out of her cocoon due to the cold. Fuuko tries to convince her by wearing some warm woollen panties. Black Snow becomes afraid. Never seen her getting pushed back, eh? At the Christmas party, Black Snow and Leopard tease the kind of panties Niko is wearing. When Ash Roller comments about Black Snow looking like a hermit crab, she replies with a pun because she is staying in Haruyuki’s house as a tenant (both words sound the same: yadokari). Everyone brushes her off. When Haruyuki notes because she looks like twintail (a monster from Ultraman) and is preyed by other giant monsters, she jumps out of her cocoon and smacks him with it. That night, she has a nightmare she is being eaten by Haruyuki. He might be having the same dream too. Tastes like shrimp?

SP 8
While Haruyuki is sleeping, Black Snow crashes into to force him to become her reindeer. Wait a minute. If Haruyuki is going to be a reindeer, then he has to fly, right? Nothing wrong with that. Just that I feel the irony about pigs flying… So yeah. Black Snow’s going to play Santa. She’s breaking all the fundamental rules because she beats Takumu out of his sleep to entertain her instead of leaving the presents quietly. Chiyuri is expecting them to come (because Takumu informed her) but she didn’t expect them to come crashing into the window. Black Snow seems disappointed she is already awake so they leave the present and go home. What’s her present? A giant bell. It proves useful for New Year’s Day because she can use Takumu’s head to knock it! Once again, Black Snow crashes into Haruyuki’s room to wish him New Year’s Day but seems he is sick. Since he wants to rest and needs some medicine, Black Snow didn’t like the idea she had to go so far to buy them. Can’t order online? Anyway she’ll just buy him ice. And so, she travels around the world doing who knows what (why are all of them seem to have Haruyuki being tormented as a slave?) till she returns with a cooling patch. Haruyuki wakes up the next morning and finds lots of those boxes in his room. Black Snow is sleeping by his side. Thanks for the patch anyway.

Speed Up To Slow Down?
Well, not so much of an ending after all. I didn’t think that one season would be enough for the gang to reach the end game and find out about the truth of Brain Burst. Besides, if that really happen so soon, it won’t be fun anymore. I figure that is what keeps the players going and their motivation to fight and get stronger. So once they find out the reason, whether it is a very good one or some crappy excuse, it would just be a different ball game. Picture this. You know a certain famous pirate anime that has been going on for over a decade? The treasure that they’re finding, nobody knows what the heck it actually is. We might get lots of different reactions once the first group who reaches there finds the kind of treasure that has made them journey through the treacherous seas and yet it is still a mystery of what it is. There is some sort of romance in not knowing. There are lots of important things we can learn during our journey and like they say it is the journey that is more important than the destination. Same case with Accel World. Even if another season is not confirmed, ending it with the biggest revelation might cause more harm than good in the bigger picture. Some things are better left unknown for now. Would it be fun if you manage to beat the final last boss without levelling up or putting in all the effort?

I suppose the 2 major arcs for this series (Chrome Disaster arc and Noumi arc) are sufficient for this season although there are a few questions that still linger on in my head. At the end of the first arc, we are ascertained that Chrome Disaster didn’t really die out. It stuck itself to Haruyuki. So what happens from there? He could turn into the next Chrome Disaster if he is not careful. Why is it laying dormant within Silver Crow? I have this feeling that whenever Haruyuki becomes upset or angry, the inner voice to devour as indicated may be a sign that Chrome Disaster will take over him if he gives in to those negative emotions. As long as he doesn’t blow his top, he’ll be safe. For now. Unless that thing starts evolving. For the second arc, the brief mention that another society exists among the Brain Burst is interesting. But too bad not much is not known and it feels like a teaser for their introduction. If there is going to be another season, I predict they will be Nega Nebulous main enemy and the season’s primary antagonist. Many other things that I don’t understand such as Megumi. Was she an ex-Brain Burst player? She feels like it. Considering if she had Brain Burst uninstalled before, then she might have just pulled some miracle move to get back in one last time to help Black Snow. How? Did she use some cheat code? Besides, what happened to Rust Jigsaw anyway? Then there are the Legion Kings. While many haven’t really made their impact yet in this season, I’m sure they aren’t just going to sit around doing nothing with the truce as an excuse. The answer isn’t going to fall from the sky onto their lap. Some may have their ulterior motive and some with noble intentions. Wouldn’t it be great to see all Level 7 Kings engage in battle royal?

Friendship and trust is the main bond that glues the members of Nega Nebulous together. For Haruyuki to be a loser in real life, it shows that he doesn’t necessary stay as one forever. Even as he grows and gets better in the virtual world, he is also improving himself in the real world. His loyalty and faith in his friends is commendable. But we know he is not perfect and has his flaws. Sometimes he has his down moments. But that’s why he has a few good friends. Like how he supported them in their time of need, they too come to his support when he is in his darkest hour. Black Snow is cool and calm. She doesn’t lose her composure easily (except maybe for that one time during Yellow Radio’s attack) and exudes this aura of respect. This gives her good qualities as the leader of Nega Nebulous. Whenever she is around, you can feel safe and confident that she will definitely protect or solve things. The chemistry between Haruyuki and Black Snow can be somewhat frustrating if you are hoping for them to hit off as a couple. While Black Snow has on numerous occasions stated her feelings for him, I don’t recall if Haruyuki has done the same and even if he did, was it just master-student relationship? And in the even if they did become a couple, it would seem pretty odd. Like Beauty and the Beast, don’t you think? Fat short piggy boy with pretty popular butterfly girl. At the ends of opposites… Wow. It shows that even losers can get the girl. It could have gotten complicated if Chiyuri got into the equation but there are more pressing things than to turn this series into a love triangle fight. Which is a good thing it didn’t.

Takumu has turned over a new leaf ever since his defeat to Haruyuki. Chiyuri treasures their friendship so much that she is willing to install Brain Burst and play with them to rekindle the old times. She is willing to go the extra mile to play the villain for the guys’ sake. I guess they would have done the same if they were in her shoes. It’s a good thing that she’s on their side. Even better, they have Black Snow on their side. With these ladies around (including Sky Raker), they are pretty much invincible for now. Niko to me seems like a person with a double face. You can’t tell whether she is friend or foe to Nega Nebulous (though I feel it is more of the former) since she is the leader of her own Legion but at the same time is indebted to them for helping her out. I guess that’s what being a tsundere is all about. It’s funny to see her putting up her cute little sister act. The next minute, she turns into a crude little monster that would shatter the dreams of all lolicon and imouto lovers. Unless you’re an ‘M’. Leopard as her assistant is amusing too since although she is cold and distant, she can be blunt with her words and that is what makes her funny. Oh, not forgetting her knack to use punctuated gaming terms. NP. Ash Roller is also another one of those foes turned friend. Or is he still their foe? After his defeat to Haruyuki, he doesn’t seem to be that antagonistic as before although his mega vulgar tera crude giga cursing insults are still there. Noumi is a very despicable character right till the end. He knows it, doesn’t have any conscience about it and fully takes advantage of it over others. He is one of those guys you would love to hate. Understanding his past of how he turned out to be such a wicked bastard won’t reel in any sympathy votes because he has done so much bad things that the damage is irreparable. Even when he becomes a pathetic worm begging for second chance, I just wanted Haruyuki to finish the job fast. Would Noumi have become a different person if he had gotten a different Parent? Very likely. We saw how different he was after his Brain Burst was uninstalled. So yeah. Humans do change. Sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better.

The settings and backgrounds of the Brain Burst world give that cyberpunk and sometimes dystopian feel. Not everything is rosy. It is quite fitting since the avatars are based on negative emotions. It would seem out of place if you see robots fighting on the sandy beaches and crystal blue waters, right? Ironically the avatars in Brain Burst as said are a reflection and materialization of your negative scars and emotions. But it makes me wonder if having such metallic bodies are considered ‘ugly’ in the first place. Considering the theme and nature of this game, I think it is very suitable for avatars to end up looking like that. You can’t have cutesy animals, can’t you? Or even disfigured animals wouldn’t cut it. So having such metallic frames is quite fitting and I don’t deem them ugly. Well, unless the creator of Brain Burst had a different view of this. The use of such negative emotions is probably to tell us that nobody is perfect. Every Burst Linker has their own trauma to deal with. It shows that they are human after all. Even if this game is a fighting genre, I can’t say I am impressed with the fights. Well, you don’t really get that action feel that you get when you play fighting games. You see the avatars engaging in battle with some pulling off their unique move but that’s about it. There’s lots of drama in between to compensate for the fights.

Even though I am not fond with shows that have lots of jargon and terms to it, Accel World won’t be listed as one of my top 10 most confusing anime terminologies (like a certain mahjong anime that I can never really understand) but I can’t say I really am thrilled to remember the many terms around. Thank goodness somehow I managed to get by without feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. You can be a little lost if you are not familiar with the terms as they are used quiet often. With the technological advancement as seen in this anime, the lines between reality and virtual has been blurred a lot. Even for a game like Brain Burst, although on the surface we can tell it is just a game, there are many things that both reality and virtual overlap with each other. The lie may be the truth all the while and vice versa. So that is why it all boils down to what your beliefs are and your trust in friends. So even if you are connected to the web, you’re still a lonely person if you don’t have somebody to call a friend in the endless virtual world. It’s always good to have one around. When NerveGear was mentioned, I thought for a moment that Accel World existed in the same universe as Sword Art Online, another anime about a massive virtual reality game that ran concurrently with this one. I subsequently found out that both animes were written by the same author, Reiki Kawahara.

For the voice acting department, Yuuki Kaji as Haruyuki must have been comfortable with his other anime roles as heroes with flaws like Shu in Guilty Crown and Issei in High School DxD. Sachika Misawa (Arianna in Campione) as Black Snow gives her character a mysterious but cool feel with the lack of emotions. Aki Toyosaki as Chiyuri is moving away from her stereotype airhead girls’ role like Tomo in Seikon No Qwaser, Kaede in Manyuu Hikenchou and Yui in K-ON! She’s a bit like Iori of Kokoro Connect here. Other casts include Shintarou Asanuma as Takumu (Yoshiyuki in Da Capo II), Rina Hidaka as Niko (Ririchiyo in Inu x Boku SS), Ayako Kawasumi as Leopard (Aoki in Bakuman), Sanae Kobayashi as Noumi (Lucy/Nyuu in Elfen Lied), Aya Endo as Fuuko/Sky Raker (Miyuki in Lucky Star), Akira Ishida as Yellow Radio (Gaara in Naruto), Kenichi Suzumura as Ash Roller (Sougo in Gintama), Tarusuke Shingaki as Crikin (Kariya in Fate/Zero) and Haruka Tomatsu as Megumi (Lala in To Love-Ru).

All of the opening and ending themes have this rock and techno dance beat feel to it. Because of that, I thought all of them were sung by the same singer as they sound the same. Apparently each was sung by different ones. The first opening theme by May’n is Chase The World and I thought it was somewhat similar to the opening of Hidan No Aria that she sang. The first ending theme is Unfinished by Kotoko. Not the kind of anime songs that I was used to listening of her style like the opening songs for Onegai Twins, Motto To Love-Ru and Shakugan No Shana. The second opening, Burst The Gravity by Altima has a little hip hop in it while the second ending theme is Unite by Sachika Misawa and is purely just rock. The very amusing thing about the second ending credits animation is we see Black Snow in competition against her Black Lotus avatar over Haruyuki. While the butterfly avatar is bolder and aggressive in seducing piggy boy, ultimately her jealous real life persona couldn’t stand it all and whacks her with an umbrella and takes Oinky away as her own. Flat butterfly… I guess this shows us her dilemma of her feelings over him.

If you think about this Brain Burst game, one might be inclined to say that despite of everything that has happened, it is only a game. So why so serious? Why all the backstabbing, conspiracy, scheming and power struggle? Games are meant to be enjoyed and to an extent let loose some steam. So if you’re getting worked up just trying to level up and trying to be the best or strongest there is, are you really enjoying your game? Are you really PLAYING a GAME? Besides, I’ve been thinking, if you start accelerating and times slows down for everyone else except you, would this mean that your own body is not affected? I mean, time flows differently now and although it may look like a fraction of a second in the real world, it has been really hours or days for your body. So theoretically if you accelerate too much, you might find your body aging at a different rate. By 20 years old, you may be looking like 40 years old! Wow. You can say time really flew by in a second. Where has all the time gone to? If only I can accelerate to watch more animes, I could have finished all the animes that were ever produced in the world. If I can find them all, that is.