Battles have all the subtlety of throwing a super sentai squad and some fireworks into a washing machine and hitting 'spin'
In Accel World's jargon Zero Fill is when, due to lack of willpower, the signal transmitted to an avatar is reduced to zeros only. A fitting analogy for a series which, despite some promising foundations, an unconventional protagonist and a general high level of visual polish, ends up being brainless and largely unfulfilling.
It's not surprising given how exposition and the script in general is delivered like a kudgel to the forehead. Regardless of ongoing events, be that an all out war or impending attack , meticulous explanations as to what is going on are sure to follow. Combined with the protagonist's ostensibly chivalrous but archaically chauvinistic desire to protect the gaggle of women folk who flock around him, it's not long before genre titans like Bleach and Naruto begin to exert their influence.
Sword Art Online is the five million selling light novel series by Reki Kawahara (who also penned Accel World) which, having been dutifully animated, is the disputed front runner for most popular series this season. One of the final things female protagonist Asuna says in the latest (tenth) episode, before the cringe-inducing hokum from male lead Kirito, is that she dreamt of the real world and worried that her time in the titual Sword Art Online, would be lost.
reach level 100 and be released from the shackles of this poor simulacra of a world
Having been ceremoniously trapped within the tiered virtual world upon launch, replete with blood red skies and the inflated visage of the lead programmer, it has been almost two years and there have been murumurs of some of the 10,000 original players settling down and starting a life rather than continuing to fight. Asuna's words though brought to mind Plato's fictional dialogue with his teacher Socrates, commonly termed the Allegory of the Cave.
Accel World owes a lot to Serial Experiments Lain. The script may not be penned by Chiaki J. Konaka and has yet to deal with digital deities but a great many of this new series' ideas can be traced back to it.
there is a fundamental stumbling block to the kind of time-stoppage seen in Accel World: biology
Lain itself is of course based on volumes of, what was then considered fringe, research on the unstoppable onset of the Internet and digital devices - Project Xanadu and Memex are just a couple of its mentioned inspirations. When Lain was released mobile phones weren't remotely close to the technological marvels they are today and the concept of wireless access to the Internet (ne. The Wired) was still far fetched. The beating heart of the series though was the eponymous Lain's attempts to be subsumed into the digital world by pursuing a "deviceless" way to access the network.