Academy City Series

Anime Hajime Review: A Certain Scientific Accelerator

More from the Academy City series:

Original Run: July 12, 2019 - September 27
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Supernatural
Based on the Series Created By: Kazuma Kamachi and 
Arata Yamaji

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for A Certain Scientific Accelerator. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

In Academy City, there are people with extraordinary abilities. Known as espers, these super-powered beings are ranked from Level 1 to Level 5. Of the strongest, the legendary Level 5s, there is only a handful. And of these select few, there can only be one at the very top; the most powerful esper in all Academy City goes by the name Accelerator (voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto).

Accelerator has a reputation for violence and villainy. But recently, he has grown to deeply regret his past sins. His new policy is to remove himself from the spotlight, wishing only to be left alone.

However, if anyone dares cross him, he will show them what it means to be ranked number one.

Screenshot (2001)

Series Positives

Before we delve headlong into this review, there are two questions I feel need to be addressed at the start.

The first is, can A Certain Scientific Accelerator be an introductory step into the larger Academy City franchise, which includes the A Certain Magical Index (Index 12, and 3) and A Certain Scientific Railgun (Railgun 1 and 2) series?

No. I would highly suggest watching Index 1 and 2, as well as Railgun 1 and 2 before getting to Accelerator. The Index 2 and Railgun 2 storylines, in particular, are critical to understanding what occurred in this series.

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To visualize it, my recommended watching order would be:

  • Index 1
  • Index 2
  • Railgun 1
  • Railgun 2
  • Accelerator

You can skip Index 3 entirely.

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The second question: Since 2019 saw the release of both Index 3 and Accelerator, which of the two new additions to the Academy City series is worth your time?

Without question, Accelerator blew Index 3 out of the water. Granted, that wasn’t hard since Index 3 was a convoluted mess, but there was more to it than that. Accelerator had and took advantage of the same situations Railgun has, thus far, used to be so much fun (here’s hoping Railgun’s streak continues when its own third installment airs in January 2020).

Accelerator only focused on a single character’s plotline.

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The Index series, the parent story for the entire Academy City franchise, has slowly overburdened itself because it has been trying to give attention to five – that’s right, FIVE – protagonist at the same time. Of the five, one of them is completely forgettable (Shiage Hamazura). Two of them would do fine if their series just centered everything around them (Touma Kamijou and Index). The remaining two characters, though, are absolutely brilliant, and they have proven it by spearheading their own shows that have left the original in their dust.

Mikoto Misaka of Railgun and now Accelerator of Accelerator.

Of the two, I would say Mikoto is stronger in terms of character growth, personal story, temperament, and relatability. She is easily my favorite character of the entire Academy City series. That said, it is Accelerator who is the more entertaining of the pair.

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When Mikoto fights, she often does so as a knee jerk reaction. She does have the power to take on most challenges with little to no problem, rendering the need for a plan almost unnecessary. However, she does have a team to support her, and sometimes a well thought out strategy does help. Plus, there are instances when Mikoto is outmatched, and she has a real struggle on her hands.

Accelerator, not so much.

Yeah, there are a few people who can get passed Accelerator’s abilities, but none of them were in this series. Anyone foolish enough to challenge Accelerator was quickly, and spectacularly, put in their place.

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For her part, Mikoto overcomes her enemies through determination, and she usually leaves them in a state of disbelief or frustration. Accelerator, on the other hand, prefers to put the fear of God into someone. Although he tries not to kill, he is fully capable of doing so. And if nothing else, he ensures that whoever he is fighting is hurting by the end of it.

There was a fight in this series where Accelerator was downright terrifying. I won’t give away the details, but I will use it to say, there is a big difference between a person with an overinflated ego who needs to be knocked down a peg and a person who can prove they are not someone to cross. Accelerator was the latter, and this series was never shy about demonstrating that.

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Additionally, Accelerator’s intimidation factor is only half of his character. Although he does relish a good fight, he never went out of his way to find trouble. If he were to be left alone, that was the ideal. In his noncombative life, Accelerator was cold, rude, and disinterested. He was also someone who has been reeling over the guilt of his past actions. Make no mistake, Accelerator isn’t a misunderstood saint. He is violent, he can be cruel, and he has committed horrific acts. Remember, it was he who single handily slaughtered over 10,000 of the Misaka clones (yet another reason why you can’t watch Accelerator first if you don’t know what I am referring to).

Accelerator isn’t the sort of person who lets people befriend him. That is why it took the unrelenting energetic affection of Last Order (voiced by Rina Hidaka) – who is adorable, I must add – and the general forgiveness of the Misaka clones to curb Accelerator’s more aggressive tendencies. Therefore, when he did go all out on someone, it was because the other party, not Accelerator, were the ones who crossed the line.

It is no exaggeration when I say that Accelerator made this show what it was. There is a reason why he is one of this franchise’s best characters, and if you had any doubts about that before, this series made it crystal clear.

Assuming this installment goes the way of Index and Railgun, I cannot wait to continue with the Accelerator storyline.

Screenshot (1955)

Series Negatives

Whenever Accelerator was on screen, I was fully invested in this series. That was sort of an issue because rarely was their anyone or anything else that could match him. In a lot of ways, Accelerator suffered from the same problem as One Punch Man did.

For Accelerator and Saitama, Accelerator and One Punch Man respectively, they were both absurdly overpowered main characters. Thus, while they were fighting, it was all kinds of awesome. However, both series had fights that involved other characters, and these moments were not nearly as exciting. Why? It’s because whenever there was a particularly powerful villain, it was clear who was going to be the one to defeat them. And unless Accelerator or Saitama were already in the area, the resulting battle was only a time delay until they got there.

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Granted, there is a difference between common thugs, henchmen, and mobs, and an actual threat. There were moments when Accelerator’s allies had their time to shine, and during those instances, they were pretty badass. Nevertheless, they were still nothing compared to the lead.

Now, am I saying there were parts of this series that were boring and failed to hold my interest? Yes, that is precisely what I am saying.

This has been a problem the whole of the Academy City series has had; granted, Railgun has mitigated this to a significant degree. This franchise doesn’t have very many good villains. Across the three shows, I can think of only one antagonist who has left an impact, and that was Accelerator. So, for his own story, the primary bad guy was mostly forgettable, as was his ultimate plan.

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I’m sorry, but it is hard to get into the details of schemes and shady acts when you have a protagonist who cared even less than I did. Why anyone was doing anything didn’t bother Accelerator. The only reason why he got involved was because someone was dumb enough to go after people he cared about, a rather impressive feat since there weren’t many.

The Academy City series has a bad habit of going as big and as apocalyptic as it can in its climax, and often these are the dullest sections of the story. Accelerator was no different.

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Final Thoughts

Although there were a few moments that failed to leave much of a mark, when this series did hit a stride, my god, did it hit it hard.

This was one of my most anticipated series of 2019, and I was not disappointed.

There was excitement, epicness, and I lost count how many times my eyes were glued to the screen. And it was all thanks to a single character, and I certainly hope we will be seeing him again.

A Certain Scientific Accelerator has earned a recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? How would you advise A Certain Scientific Accelerator? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

More From The Academy City Series

A Certain Magical Index

Anime Hajime Review: A Certain Magical Index
Anime Hajime Review: A Certain Magical Index II
Anime Hajime Review: A Certain Magical Index III

A Certain Scientific Railgun

Anime Hajime Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun
Anime Hajime Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun S
Anime Hajime Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun T

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