Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator Review: The reluctant hero

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Last Order wants a holiday

Step back, everyone, and make way for edgy science. In case you need something to tide you over until the third season of Railgun comes out, here’s a story about Accelerator. I may have mentioned it before, but I’ve always had trouble getting into the story of Index. I guess I tend to prefer the slightly more grounded stories of Academy City. That being said, I will begin this review with a slight warning. This series really isn’t a standalone and arguably relies on background from Index and Railgun.

Accelerator recovers from his injury

As evidenced by the title, this series follows Accelerator, the strongest esper in Academy City, as he recovers from being shot and attempts to protect the Misaka clone known as Last Order. Haunted by his role in the Misaka project, he takes on a somewhat anti-hero role, using his callous personality and his vector powers to do some good. From what I’ve heard, the series is based on a manga, but I haven’t heard the greatest things about the source material. I think that the adaptation is fine, though.

Accelerator has good taste in light novels

My overall impression of the series is that it has a somewhat split personality. It’s somehow lost between two overarching stories, and I only ended up liking one of them. That’s largely because the story seems to go down a familiar road closer to the end, with the main villain attempting to yet again create a Level 6 esper.

These fools can't comprehend

On the flip side, the lurking story throughout much of the first half of the series centers around a rogue division of Anti-Skill calling themselves DA. Unlike the organization as a whole, DA is composed of disgraced officers who will resort to extreme action to discipline espers. To me, this was always the more intriguing story, about a group of regular people trying to impose their sense of justice on people with abilities.

Predicting the villain's movements

As a whole, I think that the series might be trying to do too much. I think it tries to make Accelerator seem more “cool”, but giving him less screen time. He often ends up swooping in to save the day, but I would have liked to see more from him. The necromancy part also seems to detract from the setting. Still, I thought the series was enjoyable overall, and I didn’t have trouble watching it to the end. Also, the opening song is great.

Overall Score: 7/10

Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator First Impressions (1-2): An unlikely hero

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An escaped esper

I honestly wasn’t sure about a series revolving around Accelerator of all people, but this series has been promising so far. Taking place in the Academy City of Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, this series follows the aforementioned Accelerator, the strongest esper in the city, rather than Mikoto Misaka. It takes place after the events of Railgun, during which Accelerator was injured protecting Last Order, a clone of Mikoto.

Esther tries to ask for Accelerator's help

It’s been a while since I watched Railgun, so it’s hard for me to remember what information I should already have about the setting. At the very least, I think that the prequel gives insight on Accelerator’s traumatic reaction to dead bodies and his protective relationship with Last Order. However, I personally feel that the series is watchable without having seen the precursor. In contrast to Mikoto, Accelerator seems have more of a flippant anti-hero style as a protagonist.

Accelerator confronts the fake Antiskill

I don’t know if I was supposed to get this from Railgun, but I think these first two episodes would have benefit from some explanation of Accelerator’s current condition. I’ve been able to piece together that his powers have been weakened as he recovers from some kind of brain damage. He wears an electric device which seems to allow him to use his powers in limited intervals. More relevant to this particular episode, it seems to dampen his senses when he turns it off, which is likely the reason he doesn’t notice Esther when she enters his hospital room.

Accelerator analyzes his enemy

The first episode seemed to cover a more random attack to introduce the series, so I guess this week’s episode was meant to set up the overarching antagonists for this series. Currently only named as DA, these guys seem to be some rogue branch of Antiskill bent on using dead espers to further their cause. In many ways, it reminds me a bit of Skill Upper from Railgun, since these “coffins” seem to amplify the powers of the corpses they use.

Accelerator figures out how the coffins work

I guess the story seems interesting so far. It has a darker tone than its predecessor, having quickly approached the ideas of manipulating the dead and suicide in this episode. I’ll be curious to see how they build on this tone without getting too deep into territory that the prequel already covered.

Accelerator confronts Esther

Standing against DA is Esther, an esper who gave them the ability to manipulate dead bodies and whom Accelerator inadvertently saved. So far, she seems determined to put Accelerator on the path of the hero, which makes things interesting. I’m also curious how Last Order factors into this story, since she seems to be Esther’s main interest.