Accel World: The Red Storm Princess

Author: Reki Kawahara

Illustrator: HIMA

Accel World, vol. 2

Haruyuki has been a part of the accelerated world for several months now, serving under the legendary Black Lotus, Kuroyukihime. Initially, he improved rapidly, besting enemies with his avatar’s flying skills, but now he’s reached a plateau and can’t seem to win. . . . It’s pretty discouraging, especially when you really can’t regard the accelerated world as just a game. It’s kind of affecting Haruyuki’s mindset in the real too, even though otherwise his life is looking up–he’s friends (maybe more?) with Kuroyukihime, and the problems between him and his childhood friends Takumu and Chiyuri are pretty much resolved. Little could he know that his problems are just beginning when an adorable younger girl claiming to be his cousin crashes at his place for the night. . . . Is it possible that her presence is just a bit too suspicious?

As much as I enjoyed the first volume of Accel World, I think I liked The Red Storm Princess even better. I felt that it addressed and resolved some of the issues I had with Kuroyukihime’s Return. Notably, it seems more focused in real life. Sure, there are still huge sections that occur in the accelerated world–some very impressive and enjoyable fights, for instance. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the characters, Haruyuki and Kuroyukihime in particular, seem more content in the real world–not so much like they’re trying to bury themselves away in the video game. The introduction of Niko in this volume was fun; she’s an intriguing character, full of surprises. And of course, as mentioned before, there are some large-scale fights of the mind-blowing sort set in the video game–very intense. I also think the writing style has matured a bit from that of the first volume of this series; it’s always neat to see an author’s growth. I think The Red Storm Princess is an exciting and fun story, and I would definitely recommend it (just read Kuroyukihime’s Return first, or the whole Brain Burst thing won’t make much sense as not much time is spent in explanations in the second volume).

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