This past week, I decided to fill the void in my anime time with Accel World. Most of my anime updates over the weekend, plus three series finished last month, so I'm left scrambling for good anime in this proper summer season, so I'm left with something from last year.
Accel World is your typical shounen action series: underdog boy discovered latent potential within him to rise through the ranks and becomes the best there ever was, to train them is his cause dun, dun, DUNNA.
It seems very typical of most shounen series. But what about is there that I seem so glued to? Accel World takes place in a future where technology and Internet has become a luxurious convenience. People wear neurolinkers, collar shaped mini-computers, which basically let them use computers augmented reality right in front of them. They connect to networks at home, at school, and also the world wide web. Haruyuki Arita, the short and portly main character, has an understandable inferiority complex. But the student body vice president, Kuroyukihime, suddenly invites him to lunch and offers him a strange program called Brain Burst: a tool which accelerates human brain waves by a factor of 1000. Their net avatars are ejected from their body in a digital representation of the real world as it almost seems to be at a stand still.
The secondary mode to Brain Burst is a VRMMO fighting game. So we have our usual fighting match escapades with special skills and styles, but every Burst Linker who plays the game has a unique duel avatar that's actually based on their mental scars and personality flaws. While Haru's avatar can only fight in close combat, his body is thin and armor his contrarily brittle and weak. On the upside, there's always something good about your duel avatar based on your unique traits, and Haru's is the only avatar in Accel World that can fly. With that, Haru strives to help Kuroyukihime achieve level 10, which promises the winner the chance to meet the program's creator and ask him what the purpose of Brain Burst is.
You get the finer points? Video gaming is the focal point as it bleeds into real life. No, it's not the gaming itself I'm talking about. These are elements it has in common with one of my favorite animes of yesteryear, Sword Art Online. A game that takes precedence over real life. In Accel World, the time you spend in Brain Burst can feel normal but only seconds pass by in real life, causing Burst Linkers to become more and more absorbed in a life style of accelerating in Brain Burst. Meanwhile, in SAO, at least in the first arc, it was a Matrix situation: you die in the game, you die in real life. Except you couldn't log out until you beat the game (a game which is an MMO).
It's all well and good. If you're not a fan of anime, I don't think it'll sway your opinion. What I think might sway you is Blood Lad.
If I start off the surface details, Blood Lad might sound like any other paranormal style action series. Demon world, vampires, ghosts, werewolves, the whole she-bang. The demon world is just that; a world. There are cities and towns, though there's also territory to be fought over by particularly strong demons.
The difference here is that the main character Staz, a pureblooded vampire, is an otaku.
He loves human culture and particularly, Japanese human culture. Yes, he's basically a vampire weeaboo. Which is a hilarious contrast to his latent strength as a pureblooded vampire. He's just lazy and never really likes to do troublesome stuff. But when his gang really needs him, he's certainly as strong as you'd imagine a pureblooded vampire can be. But a human girl stumbles into the demon world and Staz's crew calls him up, asking what to do.
He reacts how you'd imagine any weeaboo would. The first episode is peppered with a bunch of gaming and outside anime references. When Fuyumi the human tells Staz that they've made several more Final Fantasies, he reacts like anyone in the 90s would ("There's nothing final about that at all!").
The thing I love about Blood Lad is the style they've taken in animation. Text and words fly out, float around, hypnotic backgrounds flow outward, and general reaction gags really pop with visual effects. For being based on a black and white manga that involves demons and paranormal subject matter, it's surprisingly bright and poppy.
Things are also going well in the town of Harbor. AlphaDeus continues to be an Animal Crossing philanthropist and I continue to expand Harbor's urban development. It's been nice playing with my girlfriend whenever we get the chance and having her realize just how much she likes the game. I saw a video on PBS Idea Channel about how Animal Crossing promotes otaku citizenship. She said she didn't understand how people are otaku for playing the game but after she had been in my town for a while (while Skyping of course) she came to realize that her otaku obsession for AC was fruit. She wants all the fruit she can get, plant them just how she likes, make their layout perfect, and enjoy harvest as her tons and tons of fruit finally fall with monetary value.
My obsession on the other hand, is designing really nice room and basically having all the items to increase my palette for design. Also, the K.K. Slider items.
Of course, in said session, we saw Mr. Resetti greet us as our connection failed.
It's the worst feeling ever, a disconnect. What progress have I lost, what have I retained in time from my last save? What do I need to do again? Goddammit, I need to do a lot of things again.