I have been playing the second Accel World game, Kasoku no Chouten, and subsequently, been watching the second OVA too, EX02. After watching it for like five times or so, I think it’s time to give my impression.
Just like the first OVA, EX01, these Accel World OVAs’ stories are original, ie. they are not part of the novel, although unlike the game, they follow the original timeline. EX02, titled Vacation, is pretty much the onsen episode of Accel World. Yes, apparently it is standard for any anime/manga to have an onsen episode, where most, if not all the characters, are relaxing in an onsen somewhere. The premise of EX02 is that Haruyuki needed to pass his physical examination so he can continue participating in the territorial battles of Brain Burst, so he went into a diet/exercise program, led by Chiyuri and Fuuko. As with any onsen episode, cutesy encounters and fan services ensued.
In the beginning, we actually see Sky Raker in battle for the first time, complete with her wheel chair. Just because she’s on a wheelchair, doesn’t mean she’s incapable of fighting. In fact, she’s pretty deadly, dodging bullets and killed another player in one slice.
After the exhausting territorial battle, Chiyu is criticizing Haru’s appetite, that he immediately prepared a pizza and ate it after the battle.
We also got a glimpse of Kuroyukihime’s inferiority complex, seeing her friend Megumi having a fuller set of breasts. ^_^ And if you go to pixiv, a fan art of the scene is already made showing the full breasts.
Kuroyukihime told Haru that if he didn’t pass the physical exam, he won’t be able to join the territorial battle. Haru, of course, didn’t want that to happen, so Chiyu offered her service to whip Haru into shape. First program is swimming, complete with Niko and Pad joining in to cheer for “oniichan.” Of course, swimming pool means swim suits, and some fan service shots are necessary. Now, I also noticed that Taku had two girls with him. What a playboy. 😀
Haru continued his extensive exercise and diet with Chiyu and Taku, but he didn’t get very far. Fuuko chimed in and suggested a visit to the onsen where burst linkers go.
Interestingly enough, Ash roller was there too.
And of course, a compulsory scene where the main character blushed (yes, they had Silver Crow blushed) seeing his girlfriend’s beautiful body, just like when Haru was in the swimming pool.
But enough of the avatars. Fans don’t want to see the avatars in the onsen.
Rin made a cameo. Of course, they didn’t actually mention her name, and they didn’t even have her talk, but by now, one can put two and two together and guess who she is.
Meanwhile, Namco took the opportunity for some shameless product placement. Haru came by a Tekken Tag Tournament 2 arcade cabinet. He even said it, “Tekken!” Namco did the same product placement in episode 21 of the series too, but they didn’t have anybody saying the name. Haru was reminded of the time his dad showing him the game while he was little. At the same time, Fuuko inquired Chiyu about Haru’s weight problem and what might be the cause.
Meanwhile, Kuroyukihime was dozing off and had a dream about Haruyuki becoming Alibaba, I mean he became tall and slim, and decided to not be involved with Kuroyukihime anymore as he had other girls clamoring over him (yeah, like he is not already). It made Kuroyukihime shed a tear and anxious. Aaawww.
While enjoying a relaxing bath, Haru was trying to remember some events of his parents fighting with each other. This scene, along with the Tekken and Chiyu + Fuuko’s discussion scenes are actually very important for Haru’s character background, something that was completely skipped in the series. In the anime, we only know that Haru lives with his mother. That’s it. No other details were disclosed. In the first novel, it was explained how Haru became overweight and bullied. His parents were divorced, and Haru’s mother is a career woman, thus she was not home most of the time, leaving Haru eating unhealthy food and playing video games.
And finally we reached the climax moment of a typical onsen episode, where the main female and male characters are happened to be together in the bath by “accident.” Kuroyukihime entered the bath, not knowing Haru was already there. Haru turned red and tried to leave, but Kuroyukihime stopped him after she was reminded of her dream. Kuroyukihime then told Haru about her anxiety, how she was afraid that they won’t be able to accelerate once they are adults and about their relationship. Haru reaffirmed her that he is dedicated to Kuroyukihime’s wish, that he will continue to fight. Kuroyukihime confessed to Haru once again, that she loves him regardless of his appearance. Haru turned completely red and passed out. ^_^
Finally, the diet paid off, as Haru managed to pass the exam while looking like a zombie.
The OVA ended with another territorial battle, with Chiyu complaining about Haru’s body turning back to the way it was so quickly. Kuroyukihime then ordered the team to start the battle. I noticed that other than the main characters, the other duel avatars are pretty bland looking. As if they are too lazy to design something unique. Heck, they have two of the same one, just different color and one has a horn. Compare them to Ash Roller. This is also true in the game. Kinda disappointing and a bit jarring, seeing a nicely designed duel avatars like Black Lotus, and then some generic simple opponents.
Well, there you go. Accel World EX02, a cutesy OVA. Even though it doesn’t have any significant battles, I really love it. It explained Haru’s background story, something that was skipped in the series. It also showed the cutesy shyness between Haru and Kuroyukihime. Makes me craving for more! MOAR! I mean really, I have watched this like at least five times. It is okay to hold off my addiction, but it is not a long term solution! Need season 2! I guess I’ll continue playing the game for now. Hopefully something would be mentioned when I see Reki Kawahara. ^_^ Amazingly, he is going to be a guest at Sakura-con. Gotta pay tribute to the creator of my addiction.