Accel World 03: It Ain’t All Roses (or Drifting Away from the Faith)

Accel World is totally a fantasy for the losers, the otaku, the overweight, the bullied, and the less-than-attractive.  It practically throws itself at that audience, screaming, “Live vicariously through this series!”  Also, the OP is terribly corny with a great song choice…for 2002.

So of course, I’m absolutely loving it.

Episode three was better than the previous two.  Some backgrounds were revealed and we learned more about Haruyuki’s best friends and Kuroyukihime.  And what we learned most about them is that they, too, have problems.  These beautiful, popular, loved young people have issues they struggle with as well.

Accel World
Art by しんそ

It reminds me of the difficulties Christians encounter in life.  There’s this moment that many of us have where wejust get it.  We come to see the depths of our sin and heights of God’s grace and our lives are changed.

But despite seeming to be put altogether, like Haruyuki’s friends, a Christian’s “top of the world” moment is temporary, until the high wears off and jobs, studies, financial problems, girls (or boys), depression, hurtful people, alcohol, drugs, health issues, entertainment, pornography, or any of a variety of things derail our spiritual progress.  In the short term or in the longer term, many start to lose faith, in practice if not in declaration.  Our lives are no longer so cheery as the weight of the world hits.  For instance, Ray of Anime Diet shared some of the difficulties he faced after once being “filled with positivity” after becoming a Christian.

And I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a young person openly declare his or her love of God, only to eventually leave the church or even their faith.

I’ve struggled, too.  Some days, I know my life is a poor reflection of my faith.  I wonder, what kind of dad am I to my kids?  What kind of husband am I to my wife?  And what kind of son am I to my Heavenly Father?  And the answer to all those questions is sometimes, “I’m a rotten one.”

So maybe it’s a surprise that I admit my immediate, gut reaction to those who drift away is one of judgment.  But in my better moments, I realize I’m being the hypocrite and too much like the stereotypical American Christian, who pushes away with hate rather than embracing in love.  I’m too quick to apply a Pharisaical standard to others, instead of following Jesus’ command to love.

In the end, I’m all too little reminded that we are all people, and sometimes the challenges of life drag us down.  Like Haruyuki’s friends, old and new, we all have issues that pain us and change us, steering us from perhaps becoming who we want to be.  The answer to those struggling spiritually – for months, years, or even decades – is complicated and different for each, but also, in a sense, simple and the same.  It is, and has always been, love.

Here is an invitation – if you are a Christian who has in some sense drifted away from your faith, I invite you to leave a comment or send me an email.  I’m far from perfection, but I’m here to to discuss anything you’d like in regards to your faith, where you’ve been, and where you are now.

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

10 thoughts on “Accel World 03: It Ain’t All Roses (or Drifting Away from the Faith)

  1. I was hoping to hear your thoughts on Kuroyukihime here, with all that was revealed in this episode.

    Her choosing war over peace in a multi-player ‘battle’ game could easily be justified if you think about it – after all, the kings would still be farming weaker players to maintain their burst points, so their make-believe peace is a matter of convenience rather than high ideals. But what’s more important here is that Kuroyukihime had to turn her back against her friends and comrades, something she herself considers evil, but a necessary evil.

    Which brings us to her motivation. Some people around the blogsphere call the goal of reaching level ten silly, if it means risking the convenient abilities of a Burst Linker. But that’s just it. The moment you successfully install Brain Burst, you become a superior human being. And there is a completely unknown someone out there who created those demigods. A programmer god who can create more users, make some of them even more powerful, or stop the program from working. The acceleration and hacking capabilities of Brain Burst could easily facilitate anything from mass bank robberies to the creation of an army of perfect soldiers. What does he really want? What does God really want from us?

    Kuroyukihime is Eve reaching out for the forbidden fruit of knowledge, the architect of Babel challenging the skies. She curses herself for her desire to understand, but moves forward regardless. And I’m eating it up.

    Of course, even from a Christian perspective, it’s by no means easy to say if Kuroyukihime’s challenge is sinful or not. The one behind the program must, after all, be a mortal like any other, with specific goals in mind, evil or benign. Absolute trust in a shady fellow like that is probably not something God would approve of.

    1. Wow – you said that all much better than I. That’s a wonderful analysis and one that I didn’t think about. I’ll let you know now that I might steal some of your ideas and take them in another direction (I’ll of course credit you!).

      Taking the Eve symbolism further, you could certainly also refer to Haruyuki then as an Adam figure, being led by Kuroyukihime into sinning. And certainly, like Adam, it doesn’t take much for him to take that step. Of course, the creator in this game doesn’t seem to have set a specific limitation on the users (it was Kuroyukihime’s fellow users that create a self-policing), unlike God with the tree.

      1. Always glad to be of assistance to you, TWWK. Good points that you made and I’m looking forward to hearing your take on this.

    2. There is one point where that kind of breaks down though. The “fruit” in this case isn’t so much forbidden as offered. That specific instructions were given by the Accel World “god” on how to achieve the next step could be considered an implied invitation. Kuroyukihime’s peers in this case are afraid to take that next step because it more or less guarantees that six of them will loose Accel access permanently not because they are obeying a divine mandate.

      1. Interesting observation. Perhaps we can look at the fruit a bit differently in this analogy. The creator of the system, as God, instructs the players on how to achieve the end goal. However, the “kings” are tempted by the fruit of permanently achieving power – they’ve chosen their own “wisdom,” rather than the creator’s. Their fruit isn’t something hanging there for the grabbing – it’s standing still and relying on their own system.

        Or maybe that’s just stretching it all too far.

        Thanks for the feedback!

  2. Why are you so good at blogging about anime and somehow connect it with God through a really well done analogy? 🙂

    1. That’s too nice, Clark! I’m glad that you liked the post. Honestly, this was a last minute kind of deal and I wasn’t too sure whether I wanted to put it up or not. Thanks!

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