DVD Review: Accel World – Part 1

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How far would you dive down the rabbit hole in order to protect someone you cared about? Well that’s sort-of what transpires within Accel World when virtual reality meets reality in the ultimate fighting game, but what can we expect from this DVD release by MVM Entertainment? Find out in our DVD Review of Accel World – Part 1.

Synopsis:

The year is 2046. Portable devices known as Neurolinkers have enabled mankind to oversee their daily life within virtual reality networks. But the advancements in technology have yet to provide a solution for the growing number of victims of bullying.

Haruyuki Arita is one such student who finds himself on the lowest social rungs of his school. Ashamed of his miserable life, Haruyuki can only cope by indulging in virtual games. That all changes when Kuroyukihime, the most popular girl in school, approaches Haruyuki with a cryptic proposal: to “accelerate” further, and beyond.

Haruyuki is introduced to a mysterious program called Brain Burst and a virtual reality called the Accel World. Learning its secrets, Haruyuki musters the courage to accept Kuroyukihime’s proposal and to fight alongside her as her knight.

Our View:

Burst Link! These are the words you’ll soon become all too familiar with as Accel World exceeds the bounds of time and space to enter a whole new dimension of gaming which brings love, friendship, deceit and plenty of kick-ass fights.

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The story of Accel World begins when our unlikely protagonist Haruyuki Arita, who is a short chubby boy that is often picked on at school by bullies, is approached by the most popular girl in school, Kuroyukihime. It’s explained that Haruyuki (nicknamed Haru) has the potential to become the fastest burst linker, a person eligible to use the Brain Burst program and receive extraordinary abilities – abilities which not only slow time to a standstill but allow users to enter a virtual world, a world known as Accel.

The Accel World is the only place where the Brain Burst program can be activated, a program which pits two players against each other in a brutal fighting game, with players battling each other until their HP bar is empty. The Brain Burst fights have everything you’d expect from a traditional ‘ranked match’ fighting game, whereby each player has a rank and player points (PP), with the winner being awarded points and the loser loosing points. The more points players acquire the higher ranks they can achieve, however unlike traditional fighting games if players lose their points they will also lose the ability to play Brain Burst and enter the Accel World.

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Since entering the Accel World, as well as taking part in Brain Burst, is such as privilege (as strict conditions have to be met before being able to install the game) players are always on guard, and when it comes to our female protagonist Kuroyukihime she has the most to lose. I Won’t spoil the entire storyline for you, but Kuroyukihime’s objective is to recruit Haru into becoming a legion (guild) member so that they can take on the Brain Burst world together and complete the game, however Kuroyukihime has a more immediate problem that needs sorting, a problem which will test the bonds of friendship.

This is only a prelude of things to come, as In my eyes Accel World is one of those series you can not stop watching once it has started, as it features a nice blend of variety. For instance while fist fights and explosive action scenes are depicted via the various Brain Burst fights, a more emotional character development occurs whereby our unlikely hero Haru finds himself in a bit of a love-triangle, much to the annoyance of his best friend.

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It’s not just the type of content either, as while every episode tends to feature a stand-a-lone storyline it somehow all ties into each other, whether it be Haru’s previous bullying, or Kuroyukihime’s checkered past – everything will end up coming full circle and making sense, but that’s not before the series ends a relatively large cliff-hanger.

Extras:

While I found the first instalment of Accel World to be highly entertaining the additional content on offer leaves much more to be desired, as the only additional content are text less songs and a variety of trailers.

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It’s surprising to see this Part 1 set treatment to basic content, especially as Accel World features a wide-amount of additional content on the US Blu-ray and DVD releases ( such as Character Artwork). I’m hoping the Blu-ray edition of this set will feature that ‘missing’ content, as then it would offer a better package, but judging from Hanabee’s website (who authors the disc for MVM Entertainment) this will not be the case.

Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time: 2:17:46 (Disc 1), 2:16:29 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

The first half of Accel World introduces viewers to the insanely technologically advanced world of Japan, whereby every child wears a personalised terminal (Neurolinker), the main cast of characters and the rules of the deadly fighting game Brain Burst. However there is more on offer than just fighting, as not only does love bloom between our characters (especially Haru and Kuroyukihime) but common enemies create all sorts of relationships within both the real world and the world of Brain Burst.

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Introduction is ‘key’ to this series, something which is portrayed quite extenstively thoughout the first few opening episodes before moving swiftly onto various different topics, whether it be friends in danger or an enemy pretending to be an ally it’s all covered – with a few curveballs and plot twists thrown in for good measure – put simply expect nothing and you’ll get everything, including short bursts of fan-service.

In regards to this DVD release by MVM Entertainment the discs have been authored by Hanabee in Australia, as with most recent MVM releases, and as such the content remains the same as those release in Australia, which is why the additional content is different. On the plus side the English Dub has been provided by VIZ Media and features a strong-line-up of English voice actors. As many will know I tend to watch any in English, unless I can’t stand the Dub, however in this case I found it extremely difficult to choose between the English or Japanese audio track, as both felt authentic and were highly entertaining. Interestingly though discs automatically default to Japanese with English Subtitles, and the subtitles are White – which is something you usually only see on Blu-ray releases, but none-the-less they were still easily readable.

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Despite all my positive ranting’s I did have a few ‘niggling’ issues with this release, first of all was the fact that when an episode finishes it will redirect you to the main menu, an issue I have with KAZE releases, and more importantly the visual quality didn’t look as good as I expected it to be. I assume it’s because the series was intended for High Definition formats, which Accel World is being released onto, but with this DVD release it just felt a little grainy and jiggered as opposed to clear and sharp, but this could be me just being a little picky.

Overall MVM Entertainment’s DVD release of Accel World – Part 1 is another top quality product and while it doesn’t contain the exhaustive list of extra features as seen in the American release there is still plenty of entertainment to be found within the anime series. Personally I’d go for the Blu-ray as it offers a much ‘superior’ viewing experience, but in terms of entertaining merits both the Blu-ray and DVD versions will feature the same content.

Score: review-stars-5

Accel World – Part 1 will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from the 9th June 2014.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

One Response to DVD Review: Accel World – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Accel World – Part 1 (UK) Unboxing | AnimeBlurayUK

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