Accel World is a Japanese Light Novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by HiMA, first published in Japan in 2009, Accel World's popularity brought attention to the webnovel that Reki Kawahara had written seven years prior Sword Art Online, and both were eventually animated, by Studio Sunrise and A1 Pictures respectively.
The Term "Accel World" is short for "Accelerated World" as the series is about the use of a special Video Game called Brain Burst which can accelerate human brain function to a high level of power on verbal command, and the various fights of interest in regards to how such an ability should be used when many abuse it for personal and malevolent aims.
In 2012, the same year as SAO's smash hit, Accel World was launched as an animated TV anime that currently spans one season of 24 episodes and 2 OVAs, one that aired on the same day as Episode 22 aired, and one that aired three days after the final episode aired. The Anime adapts the events of the first four novels and two short stories that were apart of volume 10. The following year VIZ media picked up the rights to Accel World and began to stream the series on their virtual distribution service Neon Alley., however Neon Alley closed down in 2016 and as such Accel World and other VIZ titles are now streamed on other services such as VIZ's website or other streaming services such as Netflix and Tubi-TV, however licensing problems mean that Accel World can only be streamed within the United States on these services.
Accel World, like many 2010s Sunrise anime, has received mixed success with the show praised for its visuals, high quality animation and interesting setting, but also criticized for the lack of realism in regards to actual mental-powered video games, abridging the light novels for TV broadcast and ever growing Harem around the main character for no other purpose than fan-service. That said Accel World is still subject of less criticism than SAO, and some fans even point to their connection as being the main reason for this criticism and many of the detractor's points being coloured by SAO's shadow and are thus invalid.
Other criticisms for the series include people liking the first half but disliking the second half, while other fans defend the second-half of the series passionately. Regardless of its slew of criticism Accel World Proved popular in various regions with many pointing to the relatable main character as one of the biggest contributors to its appeal, however no second season was greenlit, leaving the series off on a cliffhanger and the fans to continue the story from volume 5 of the light novels.
After his first attempt to enter the Dengeki Novel Prize was rejected for exceeding the page count Reki Kawahara began to publish his works on the internet and hone the craft of writing with two web-novel series, SAO and Isolation, the latter being later remade in the Light Novel series the Isolator in the 2010s. After seven years of getting the hang of things he once again conceived and wrote a new novel for the same contest, Accel World, this time fulfilling the page count and winning the grand prize.
Accel World was than made into a Light novel series proper with an average of four books released a year as of 2009. The popularity of Accel World also caused people to begin to pay attention to his older web-pubished works, one of which was also re-written into a Light Novel series, SAO.
Sunrise eventually picked up the books to be adapted to tv anime, and hired the freelance director Masakazu Obara to direct the work, having previously worked on the successful My-Hime and My-Otome anime series, Obara was excited to work on a Light Novel as he had never done an anime based off of one before, and became a fan of the books himself after reading them for the project.