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Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Accel World: Infinite Burst.

Accel World: Infinite Burst.

This film actually came out ages ago, but it's taken considerably longer for it to be subbed, and that rather shows how little interest there is in it: While Accel World certainly has a following, it fails to either draw in passionate fans or even people who truly hate it -- reactions to it tend to be fairly lukewarm across the board, a balance of 'it has nice design elements and a kind of interesting plot' with 'it has most of the problems that plague Sword Art Online, Reki Kawahara's other series.' 

In a way, it's this lukewarm regard for it that this film -- if it can be called that -- seems to be trying to fix, providing a big blowout special to see if it can't drum up some extra interest in the show and maybe get it renewed for another series. It will almost certainly fail.

Set an indeterminate time after the end of the series, Infinite Burst sees a territory battle between the now-combined Nega Nebulous-and-Prominence legion against Great Wall interrupted when a mysterious black fog forcibly disconnects them all from Brain Burst. Faced with the expansion of the fog and the potential end of Brain Burst, Kuroyukihime and Haru gather their allies -- Cyan Pile, Lime Bell, Ardor Maiden, Aqua Current, Sky Raker, Scarlet Rain, and Blood Leopard -- to enter the fog and find the source: A sealed away boss monster called Nyx.

Stuff, I guess.

Infinite Burst was advertised as a feature film of a whole eighty minutes in length, and because of this the creators will go to hell for lying, because thirty-eight of those minutes are an unnecessarily long and in-depth recap of the series, complete with entire scenes dumped unceremoniously into it. Not even the good scenes! Like, the Dusk Taker battle is reduced to a footnote, but every creepy, saccharine scene about Haru perving on a young girl is preserved in its horrific entirety.

Obviously the recap is meant to get the audience up to speed on what's going on, except it fails in that task for one key reason: There are apparently developments between the series and the film that we are never shown, and do not feature in the recap. For starters, Aqua Current, Sky Raker, and Ardor Maiden have all joined Nega Nebulous -- while Aqua Current and Sky Raker had both appeared in the anime, they were a free agent and a reluctant ally respectively, not full-fledged Legion members, and Ardor Maiden had not even shown up yet.

Worse still, the end of the story hinges on a character called Metatron, a character who not only hadn't ever shown up in the anime but also hadn't even shown up in the light novels at the time the anime ended. She appears out of the blue near the end of the story, and every character is totally unsurprised by her doing so, and her presence or what she is or why she's there is never explained. 

Explosions, I guess.

So the recap -- which I will remind you takes up nearly half of the film -- is completely pointless, because the film's plot hinges on developments that have only happened in the light novel. The only conclusion I can draw from that is that the recap is actually there to fill up time, allowing the film to be touted as a feature length production while actually having about as much original material as an episode of Supernatural, and about as much plot coherence, as well.

Heading quickly down the list of technicalities: It has good animation, good music, the voice-acting is all very nice, so on, so forth -- it has more or less exactly the same production values that the series had, so if you saw that, you should know exactly what to expect in that regard.

The plot, meanwhile, is as phoned in as a plot can possibly be, serving little purpose other than facilitate a string of battles that show off everyone's powers. It feels like what it is: An OVA side story that has very little point in the grand scheme of things, and I've never been all that fond of those. The battles are nice, I guess, but they're not really anything to write home about. The film tries to break it up with a few moments of character development, but it's mostly bargain bin Reki Kawahara slop, and thus can safely be fast-forwarded through without missing anything of value.

Oh, hey, you have legs now. Okay.

Should you watch this? Yeah, I guess, if you're a fan and you have forty minutes that you're not doing anything with, and you really can't think of any other way to spend your time. Chances are you can, though, and watching this isn't going to enrich your life or even your day. I doubt very much that this is going to be the magic bullet that revives interest in Accel World, but you never know. I wouldn't turn down a second series, at least.

Ah, well, maybe Ordinal Scale will be better.

What am I saying, it's Sword Art Online, of course it won't be better.

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