Episode 14 of Accel World brought us a new ending theme for show, full of naughty butterflies and jealous girlfriends. Most people describe the ending with one word: cute. My gut reaction was to agree, of course, but is that all there is to the ED? Is the fight presented in the ending a comical fantasy, or is it actually taking place in the show itself?
Kuroyukihime and Haruyuki are one odd couple, to say the least. She is in love with him and quite open about it – enough to confess her love before risking her life to save Haruyuki from harm. Haruyuki himself would not mind getting closer to his sempai, as his occasional fantasies seem to imply. And yet the relationship will not budge, held back by the personal issues of the two. Under normal circumstances, they would have to grasp the nettle and sort those issues out or suffer endless awkward moments. (Un)fortunately, the two have the ideal excuse to postpone resolving the matters at hand – the Accel World.
“I have to reach level 10 and learn the truth behind this world.”
“I have to become strong enough to protect her.”
Their alternate selves not only provide them with an excuse to forget about the real world, but even affect their relationship outside the game. Legion master and her subordinate. Parent and child. Those tags help them dance around the issue of their true relationship.
As her avatar latches onto Haruyuki, the flesh-and-bone Kuroyukihime can only watch the two drifting away. The image of Kuroyukihime bound by chains, which we know from the first opening, returns here, reinforced. “Right now, you can still turn back.” The words of warning she once spoke to Haruyuki also show that she believes it is too late for her – she is prisoner of the Accel World until the realization of her ambition or utter ruin.
Which does Kuroyukihime desire more: the boy by her side, or the truth beyond the darkness? And could she force herself to choose between the two? Could she find the strength to smack her virtual self over the head, grab Haruyuki and walk away without once looking back? The answer remains unknown.