Some series get all the love, it’s not like all series are created equal but some are just loved more the others. Any manga series, assuming it does well, eventually gets a little more than just a running serial. The extras that come with success include a Light Novel version, Drama CDs, OVA’s, Anime season(s), Movie(s), a Live Action series, Spin-off series, Prequels and Sequels. Funny enough there is no order to how they get those, and having one does not lead to the others. What I find the most odd is the “biggest” series rarely get half of those done, and some series that most people might not have even heard of can get them all.
First I want to bring up the series Sword Art Online, a series that follows Kirito one of many players to try a Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online where players control their avatars with their bodies using a piece of technology called Nerve Gear. One day, players discover they cannot log out, as the game creator is holding them captive unless they reach the 100th floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss. However, if they die in the game, they die in real life. The later parts of the series show other online games where more issues occur or deaths related to the games do. Now this series is pretty well know, it has even started its second season in English on cartoon network. What not everyone knows is that the anime and manga don’t even cover half what the light novels have already written. The series has several drama CDs, and has even recently gotten a THIRD video game! Aside from the main series there is also the side stories Sword Art Online – Aincrad & Sword Art Online – Progressive, the first sequel Sword Art Online – Fairy Dance, the spin-off Sword Art Online – Girls Ops, the second sequel Sword Art Online – Phantom Bullet, several doujinshis & even a Sword Art Online 4-koma. There are even 2 other planned manga series coming out, Sword Art Online: Caliber & Sword Art Online: Mother’s Rosario. This is what it truly means to be loved as a series. Now I’m a fan of the series as a whole but even I think that it’s a bit excessive, especially when there are other series who would benefit so much with even a fraction of the same attention.
SAO isn’t the only series shown such appreciation, another great multi-series is To Aru Majutsu no Index. The story is set in a world where supernatural powers exist through science, and magic exists through religion. In the story, Touma Kamijou is an ordinary high school boy with terrible academic scores and a power called “Imagine Breaker”. Imagine Breaker can null almost any other power, including the main characters own good luck. One day Touma happens to meet a girl in white hanging off his window balcony. The girl says she is being chased by sorcerers, and Touma learns that the girl is a Church of England nun whose memories have been forcibly replaced by the “Index-Librorum-Prohibitorum” — the 103,000 forbidden texts of the Church that contain every spell in existence. Through a mix of bad luck, and good writing, you follow his day to day life mixing in school life and action throughout town. Touma is inadvertently brought in the middle of things far greater than he is ever aware of. Though lacking in getting it’s own game several characters from the series have made guest appearances (not always officially) in a couple of games. The series has enjoyed much success in light novel form which is why it has a manga series, several in fact including a spin-off/prequel/cross-over series To Aru Kagaku no Railgun and also a sequel/spin-off/cross-over in To Aru Kagaku no Accelerator. More recently a movie and short manga spin-off came out in conjunction titled To Aru Majutsu no Index – The Miracle of Endymion and it of course has a 4-koma series in To Aru Nichijou no Index-san.
Now while these series are both great in their own rights, my pick of the week is another series on it’s way to becoming just as loved. My POTW this week is Accel World. a series that has it’s own virtual world but in a different way than SAO. The synopsis reads as; No matter what age it is, the “Bullied Child” will never disappear. The overweight, Middle School student, Haruyuki, was one such kid. The only time he could relax completely, was when he would play a squash game on the local network the school had set up. He loved playing this simple game as he can forget painful times while immersed in it. It was fall. He was passing his time like this until one day, he had an encounter with the school’s most beautiful, refined girl, “Black Snow Princess” (Kuroyukihime), which changed his life abruptly. Introduced to the software she transmitted, Haruyuki learned about “Accel World.” A program that enhances one’s mental capabilities, with certain side-effects.
I figure giving you that would be one way to explain about the series. The “Brain Burst” program that Haruyuki downloads is rather interesting. it uses the human mind as a kind of processor to enter the ‘accelerated world’, since the human mind can process on the level of a supercomputer. They use a linked hive mind system plus the internet wifi (which is citywide with receivers in everyone’s head) in order to play this game. Losing once won’t end you, but if you lose all of your points not only are you never allowed to play the game again, but even your memories related to the game are forcibly erased from your mind.
Now aside from the light novel and a currently ongoing anime series there is also the Accel World – 4koma & the sequel series Accel World / Dural – Magisa Garden, there were even two video games released 2 years ago. the sequel existing kind of surprised me since the current series is still ongoing at the same time, so reading the sequel will spoil the ending. I guess since the light novel version was completed they figure they could just put it all out at the same time? Either way the series itself is addictive and fun to read and watch.
An interesting extra tidbit: The technology that is used to go into the accel world game world was often thought of as an advanced form of the nerve gear from SAO, as a nice little nod to the fans who brought it up the authors created a couple cross-over chapters where Haruyuki from Accel World brain bursts and enters a glitched world where he encounters Kirito who enters the same glitched word while testing a new prototype Nerve gear. A fight of course ensues, as to who wins you have to read it to find out.