I’ve not seen any of the Accel World series before watching Infinite Burst. I’m not especially keen to watch any of it now that I have.
My main challenge with Accel World: Infinite Burst is that I don’t know when the re-cap finished and the actual movie started! That’s a weird one but at least I can now say I’ve (probably) seen an entire anime series abridged in a movie.
Accel World is a virtual reality MMO set in the near future. In fact, the anime is based on a light novel by Reki Kawahara who is known for Sword Art Online. Our hero character is a porky young gamer who gets invited into the game by a gorgeous school friend who turns out to be one of the game’s best players.
I had no problem with the fact that the hero male-character seemed to be drawn in almost a different anime style to the harem-of-friends girl gamers who he allies with during the film/series. I know some people did, though, and it’s certainly worth calling out as odd.
As the movie starts we have our hero character battling against Ghost Rider. Okay, not that Ghost Rider, just an Accel World gamer who might have been inspired by the character. We then flash back to how he got involved in the game, some of the rules – like some defeats resulting in the loss of memory and being blocked from the game – and some of the battles the hero and allies have fought. Then the movie’s over.
I think the flashback ends the next time we meet the Ghost Rider clone. That would mean the new mythos added to the series is minute; just one new uber-monster in the shape of Goddess Nyx. Expecting a mighty team up of previous villains in order to take down this new threat? Yup. Exactly that.
I’ll criticise Accel World: Infinite Burst for failing to add to the franchise in any meaningful way but I’ll conceded that it does manage to summarise it all very well. You might think such a long recap would feel rushed and that you’d not pick up on all the key details but by the time the final battle does begin you’re fully aware of what’s at stake. I might not have seen any Accel World before but I do now feel as if I could tell people about the series.
I don’t think Accel World tried anything new or daring, except the super-speed retelling, but it was thoroughly successful in achieving everything it set out to do. I understood the characters the film focused on, got the sense of the camaraderie and the tensions within the group. I totally get the draw of a virtual reality game that’s overlayed on our real world – I play Ingress after all.
Overall? Accel World is a switch your brain off and watch the pretty pictures for 90-minutes anime. It’s full of spoilers for the main series (I assume) but won’t offer up much else.