By Reki Kawahara and Hima. Released in Japan by Dengeki Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jocelyne Allen.
Accel World in general is a classic example of a series that is a lot of fun provided you don’t think too hard about much of it. This new volume was filled with scenes and moments I felt were pretty cool, but when I tried to tie them into the ongoing plot I went “hey, um, wait…”. That said, it’s not like Sword Art Online doesn’t also have that problem. If SAO is the light novel equivalent of Shonen Jump, then Accel World is its Shonen Magazine equivalent, with nice pizzazz and lots of fanservice. (Probably for the best that Haruyuki is in pig form on the cover there.) It does not help, admittedly, that we are still in the middle of this very long arc. The author promises, in the afterword, that it will end in the next book, but admits that he’s said that before and no one believes him. Oh yes, and after raising the dead, sort of, in the last book, we follow it up by… doing it again? Wow, raising the dead is EASY.
Everyone is still discussing the big plan to take out the massive sun-like enemy that’s keeping all the kings trapped, and Haruyuki’s new sword, with its heat resistance forced by the Blacksmith of Eternal Peril, seems to be the answer. He can also get training from the mysterious presence that helped him last time… but wait. If he finds out who she is in the real world, can he do for her what was done for Orchid Oracle? We then get a training montage, which is pretty cool but is, nevertheless, a training montage, so I don’t have much to say about it. And then, finally, the big confrontation, in which Haruyuki is very cool and the day is saved… oh dear, here comes the villain for another cliffhanger.
My favorite scene in the book was the party that all the girls (and Takumu, sorry, Takumu) threw him to celebrate his being the point man on this mission… and the fact that he shows up with another new girl, who just happens to be a rival for those who’ve been in Brain Burst the longest, showing up after being gone for years. You’d think there’s be a lot of jealous stares, but the mood seems to be more “Of course he has another girl to add to his pile, it is Haruyuki after all”. Actually, the biggest danger to Kuroyukihime in this book is not Centaurea Sentry, his new mentor, but Rin Kusakabe, who has apparently been reading Devil Is a Part-Timer in her spare time because she wants him to remember she confessed, and not just let it slip his mind just because he happens to still hate himself. If I weren’t reminded occasionally that everyone in the cast is between 9 and 14 years old, this would be a great romantic harem series. Alas.
I am not expecting the bad guys to win or anything, but the main Kings are certainly in a tight spot with the cliffhanger. Indeed, cliffhanger endings has proven to be one of the stronger parts of Accel World. Might have to wait a little longer for the next volume, though, as we’ve caught up with Japan mostly.