It finally comes to an end.
Of course they would have a highschool scene…and of course they will make another season of this…
Anyways, I couldn’t wait for this thing to end so I could finally talk about it in detail.
So let’s quickly cover what this series is about
Sword Art Online first takes place in the Aincrad Arc. The newly released VRMMORPG Sword Art Online is released and everyone dons their virtual headpiece to play. With the entire day passed away, everyone is rather suspicious about a strange glitch that leaves them unable to log out. The entire glitch is not actually a glitch however, the game’s maker Akihiko Kayaba shows up as the regular omniscient voice to tell everyone in the first town square that they cannot log out unless they beat the game. He also reverts everyone’s avatar to match their “in real life” looks. So with the fakers out of the way, he gleefully trusts the players to beat his game. Everyone goes….COMPLETELY crazy. We are told the story of Kirito, who after befriending another player named Klein decides to play through the game, even if it means beating it himself. When he is recruited by a large player group to go against the first dungeon boss, he befriends another player named Asuna. When the boss ends up raping a bunch of noobs, Kirito decides to take the burden of defeating it himself singlehandedly. When the people find out he’s been a Beta-tester (knowing and manipulating people/noobs [although Kirito didn't do any of this]) they turn on him and shun him away. Kirito accepts this and just leaves. Thus begins Kirito’s adventure to free everyone from the game
- Kirito: Kirito or Kirigaya Kazuto was a breath of fresh air after watching a few anime with kids with swords not being able to stand up for themselves. Kirito was pretty badass during the 3-4 episode he went mucking about helping damsels in distress. He finally gets around doing something with Asuna for around 6 episodes and then they get married. Kirito then seems completely fine with letting people fight his battles while he goes off fishing and shit. Kirito then fathers a child without really trying and when the said child dies a few episodes later, he somehow shows us he’s quite the competent tech-geek as well. When Kirito manages to finish SAO, he mucks about even more in ALO before going to Asuna’s rescue.
- Asuna: Asuna is basically every nerd’s dream’s come true. She looks pretty, fights adequately, and can cook (of course she would max out her cooking skills). Asuna reminds me a lot of Himiko from Btooom, only that Asuna is completely friendly from the start and that Asuna was somewhat able to protect herself. She becomes fanservice material in the second half (as if Suguha wasn’t enough) and just becomes useless. She was also stupid enough to use her real name in a game.
- Suguha: Suguha is the “Asuna” or female lead of the second half of the series. She’s Kirito’s cousin who was basically raised as if they were actual siblings. This of course feeds Japan’s love for “imouto” characters, but since Kirito had Asuna before, not too many people were keen with this development. It takes a while for Kirito and Suguha to realize that they know eachother in real life.
- Klein: Klein was such a bro that I kinda watched the series just to see if he would make it out alive. He was a helpless noob who got helped out and went out to help everyone in their final raid. He turned out to be a bit older but hey, he’s still a bro and one of the reasons I stuck with this series after episode 9.
- Lis/Silica/Agil/Yui: Lemme remember how most of the girls in the first half fell in love with Kirito. Let’s see Asuna solved a crime mystery, had a meal with her, fought for her, and got almost killed for her. Lis and Kirito had one hell of an adventure with a white dragon while Kirito restored Silica’s hopes by helping her revive her dragon. Either way, they only get one episode which is kinda sad because they sound a lot more interesting than Asuna. Agil is just there to act as the shop keeper (I’ll admit, must be an interesting job) and is a barkeeper in real life. Yui is the system anolmaly that was adopted by Kirito and Asuna in their online honeymoon. She’s not really real in a physical sense but exists within the game only. Bragging about your online children will never be the same.
- Kayaba and Oberon: Kayaba is the main bad guy in the first half and apparently after someone does the exact same thing he did (Oberon), he suddenly becomes a good guy. The 2nd guy who I didn’t even bother to remember his real name is even more boring than Kayaba. Actually, no, Kayaba actually fought Kirito while Oberon just got his ass kicked because Kirito apparently hacked the game himself. Kayaba’s fight was enjoyable because we got to see Asuna die and Kirito cry over it. Yeah, you can already tell my thoughts on this series if you didn’t get my drift from before.
So why do I dislike this series? Well, it was mostly due to my expectations. What I wanted to see was a legit, MMORPG based game. Plenty of action and what not. The first two episodes did that job perfectly. It established the main character is badass and gave us a feel for the “many” raids to come. Kirito however doesn’t really participate in raids after one accident where his ingame friends died and goes about helping girls and solving mysteries. Raids only happened two more times, once where Kirito unveils Dual Wielding and the final raid before Kayaba’s identity is deduced. It just didn’t entertain me as much as I thought it would. Once Asuna shows up, it just turns into a romance, which I kinda expected but not to the point where they dedicate 2-3 episodes with Kirito and Asuna on their honeymoon and them raising a child.
The action was nice to see but there are only a few notable fights. Kirito’s beginning fight, Kayaba’s first and final fights, Kirito’s dual wield, and the reaper fight. The 2nd one’s only fight was with the Salamander guy. So out of 25 episodes, only 6 fights entertained me. So it failed me as an action series, as I have elaborated above. It’s romance first, action second.
I honestly expected better…I’m a big gamer myself and I thought this series would be somewhat relatable too. I honestly would rather watch something like Guilty Crown over this. At least in GC, there’s some character development (no matter how dry) and some action at least. Sword Art Online had high hopes to fill and for many it just gave us a mediocre action series with a higher romance ratio. Even then, it’s not much of a compelling love story, it’s just the usual act of I saved her, you saved me act. Athough, there is the infamous Chapter 16.5 Extra where Kirito gives 2 years worth of……go read that on your own if you haven’t. It tried to be an action series but other shows had that (just look at Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure). It tried to be a romance series but that only lasted around 6 episodes and then more than half of the second part was focused on rescuing her ingame and subsequently from the real world as well. The finale almost makes Kirito a murderer because he could have easily killed the real life bad mook in the 2nd half only to try to be a better person. Then we move on the most overused thing in anime, highschools. Kirito, Sugu, Asuna, Silica, and Liz apparently go to the same damn highschool (well basically for those stuck in SAO)
As for entertainment value, the nerd in me can’t really say it wasn’t entertaining. Killing monsters with swords, raiding, and going through towns was the only reason next to Bro-Klein that I stuck around. The 2nd half was completely moot, the 1st half was at least entertaining but the ALO arc was just so damn boring. Honestly, entertainment value is half-assed, quite literally. The 1st half is just more interesting than the 2nd one. You could tell how I disliked the 2nd arc because I’m barely talking about it. The story is….decentish but like I said, it wasn’t what I expected and it was just another love story disguised itself as an action series.
I would have accepted it, but the love just feels so….predictable. Just because this was as big series, I’ll give it a numbered score: SAO gets a flimsy, 6 out of 10