Accel World vs Sword Art Online: Which Series Is Better?

Virtual world animes were all the rage around the release of sword art online, and creator Reki Kawahara was a big force behind this. Not only laundry sword art online insanely popular, and still is among many, it aired almost simultaneously with another of Kawahara’s work, Accel World† These two animes both have virtual worlds accessible through a neural link, but are surprisingly different overall.

Accel World, written by Reki Kawahara, stars a short, chubby high school student who feels alienated from society and is constantly bullied. He consistently escapes to an online virtual reality every chance he gets. After meeting a girl who introduces him to a fighting game set by accelerating brain waves, he finds a place where he can find more success than in the real world.

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Sword Art Online Visual Comparison

sword art online, also written by Reki Kawahara, stars a talented gamer who leads others through a virtual game where dying is the only way out. These two stories have some great similarities, like finding your “better” self in a virtual reality game. However, there are some major differences that set them apart, and make one feel much better than the other.

One of the immediately visible differences is in the animation quality. It’s easy to see from the first episode of any show sword art online has a much higher production value. The animation is fluid, the fight scenes clear and the characters feel as if they are living beings in motion.

Accel World, on the other hand, does not deliver quite the same quality. There are many scenes of characters standing completely still, and the show can sometimes feel more like a slideshow than an animation. The fight scenes are explosive, but hard to follow. The animation just doesn’t compare.

The Music and Characters of Accel World

The music is another point where these two animes are very different from each other. sword art online presents a beautiful score that perfectly accentuates every moment, from battles to the quieter moments. Accel World‘s soundtrack feels more standard for anime, with many of the songs not as memorable as the ones in sword art online

Another important aspect of these two animes is of course their respective protagonists. These stories vary widely in this department. Kirito is the star of sword art online and a template for many future isekai protagonists. He is extremely confident and capable in almost everything he tries over the course of his show. Any struggle he faces can generally be overcome by giving him enough willpower for it.

Haruyuki is almost the exact opposite of Kirito. He’s timid, doubts his own abilities, lacks any confidence and, admittedly, isn’t even very good at the central online game of his story. Haruyuki seems to work his way through many of his situations or is helped by any number of side characters. His lack of confidence is Haruyuki’s defining trait, just as Kirito’s hubris is his.

Virtual world stories

There are some more minor aspects of the stories that, while they can’t necessarily be considered bad, are somehow different. In sword art onlineThe stakes of the story are the lives of the characters. Dying in the game means death in real life, and killing another means killing another person. This adds a lot of weight to many of the storylines, as any battle could spell the end of any character.

Accel World has similar, but generally very different stakes. The ability to Brain Burst means not only the ability to access the virtual fighting game, but also to cheat on tests, excel in sports, and generally have more success in life. Brain Burst empowers its users to take the time to react, learn and adapt. Dying in this world means losing access to Brain Burst and losing access to your memories of it. These don’t quite have the same stakes as actual death, but they’re still valid for the show’s characters who are afraid of losing their status.


Background characters are another minor point. The background characters in Accel World serve more as a setting for the story of the main characters. It’s pretty obvious when a particular character is rather a main feature of the story. There is also something in this sword art onlinebut almost any character can suddenly become hugely important and each character weighs a little when they are knocked out.

At the end of the day, these two shows largely serve the same purpose as far as anime is concerned. They are power fantasies for those who feel kinship with the main characters of each respective show. Both are set in a virtual world that allows them to be anything they set their minds to, and this virtual world has some stakes to lose in it. Beyond this, however, the similarities end and there are some objective aspects of each that go away sword art online on top of.

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