Haru has reached level 4 as Kuro-sempai’s Nega Nebalous makes small gains in territory in the Accel World. But more importantly than Haru’s stall in power advancement is the newest head hunter, Yuniko Kouzuki, the Burst Linker and 2nd Red King, “Scarlet Rain”. Posing as his cousin and forging a note from Haru’s mother, she hacks into his apartment, catches him off guard in the bath, and eventually challenges him to a duel. Much to Haru’ surprise, this cute little, cookie-baking 5th grader is the wielder of a fortress mode mobile suit capable of leveling cities. It’s no surprise she’s the king and leader of the Red Legion.
In traditional male lead character fashion, Haru fails to lay a hand on Scarlet Rain or her armored beauty, despite initial confidence and advanced level. Even though he showed some new moves and improved fighting, it was no match for the raw power of this elementary schooler and her super-boosted, leveled-up machine of mighty destruction. Kuro-sempai makes a good point when she asks Haru about her movements: it’s not that she can’t move, it’s that she doesn’t have to. With all that power loaded into long range wide AoE attacks, I’d love to see Scarlet Rain face off with Black Lotus, it’d be a good show of Kuro-sempai’s true abilities that gained her title of Black King.
As per usual, Kuro-sempai raises more questions than she answers. After telling her of his encounter with Red King loli, Kuro-sempai drops that she’s the one who killed the first red king, decapitating him in her first act against the other kings. Haru speculates that the first Red King might’ve been someone close to her, but doesn’t go any further as Kuro-sempai drops the subject and prepares to meet Yuniko in person. Really looking for a fight next week, but that’ll probably too much to ask for, as Black Lotus doesn’t seem to be in a place worth fighting one-on-one with other kings. Most likely Haru and Kuro will take precautions to avoid a fight with Yuniko and her fortress, like removing their neural interfaces or disconnecting from the network.
Haru makes a small step toward the romantic hero Kuroyukihime deserves, but I still feel as if she’s putting out 10x more romantic interest in him than he is in her. Sure, he’s willing to do what it takes to help her reach level 10, but he’s not really moving into his role as the lucky male counterpart to the brilliant Black Lotus. He’s probably still dwelling on the notion that she’s too good for him. Which means if this isn’t addressed sooner, Kuro-sempai will attain level 10, reach out for Haru, and he’ll refuse based on his assumption that he doesn’t belong with her. While heartwarming as Kuroyukihime reaches out and takes Haru’s hand, it’ll still mean episodes and episodes of facepalming as he continues to seem partly oblivious to Kuro-sempai’s affections. Maybe if a few guys came and beat the s*** out of him for having the cutest, smartest girl in school, he’ll realize how much of a lucky ba****d he is…