It’s more love than the art of the sword.
(Pictures will be added later on)
A year ago, I was looking for some manga I could read so I checked up on MAL some high scored series. This series called Sword Art Online was ranked #6 so I was pretty impressed to read that this series was based on MMO’s. You could imagine how excited I was to hear about the series getting an anime and when it did come out, the first two episodes were enjoyable to watch. Then, it went downhill from there.
Rage Below, if you love this series then I wouldn’t recommend reading this.
So just a short recap: Sword Art Online revolves around the titular virtual MMORPG that unexpectedly enslaved all those who signed in. By enslaved I mean that nobody can log out of the game unless the game is cleared, and death in game causes death in the real world. The story focuses on Kirito (who’s real name is revealed at the end), a pro beta tester who tries to beat the game by himself. Why does he distance himself? Well his earlier exploits ended up with a lot of people dying and he’s pretty depressed because of that. The entire series changes gear as a girl named Asuna shows up.
The last episode of the first season ended as Heathcliff was revealed to be Kayaba Akihiko after Kirito attacked him after they defeated the boss. Kayaba congratulates Kirito for deducing his plan and then give him the chance to duel him once more to free everyone from the game. Kayaba promptly paralyzes everyone except Kirito and himself and the two duke it out. Of course, Kirito attempts to overcome the genius military device known as the common shield and eventually leaves himself an opening as he’s all offense. Asuna summoning her inner protagonists somehow breaks free of paralysis and recieves the deathblow for Kirito. Kirito seeing his one and only die, simply loses the will to live and dies himself. Breaking game rules once more, Kirito’s ghost shows up and stabs Kayaba before he fades away. The lovers meet in virtual heaven looking above the gameworld and sees it crumble to dust, Kayaba tells them, the game is over and they have won. Kirito and Asuna reveal their names to each other. Kirito being Kirigaya Kazuto and Asuna just being Yuuki Asuna (OF COURSE SHE WOULD USE HER REAL NAME). Then Kirito finally awakens in a hospital bed, and season 1 ends off there.
Lemme just say a few quick things so I can get back to writing up my big post. Like I said, I percieved SAO as a very action orientated series with a title like Sword Art Online, I expected a few more fights. Now the fight in episode 2 was probably the one of the handful of fights that didn’t require one frame action sequences. The first boss fight and Kirito’s dual wield showcase were probably the only ones that came as satisfying my expectations to call this an action series. Kirito’s fight with Heathcliff doesn’t count because it’s mostly Kirito’s attacks being effortlessly blocked by the shield.
Animation was smooth but inconsistent at times of heavy action sequences. I do remember the animation being completely skewed in one of the scenes when the couple runs away from one of the bosses. The music is admittedly top grade, it’s awesome.
It was my expectations for this to be an action series which made me see this a big bust to me. At least 2-4 episodes were focused on Asuna and Kirito just being lovers. In the end, I shouldn’t be this mad because this series did exactly what it should have done, express Kirito’s love for Asuna and vice versa. I’m all for good love stories but from my personal expectations, this series started out with a bang and fell face first onto the bottom…of Asuna’s chest. Remember Guilty Crown? I liked it because I saw what I wanted to see, see that pussy Shu act badass for 1-2 episodes while the rest of the crap fell even further. This series didn’t meet my expectations at all. The only thing it did was keep my attention for the first 2 episodes, go off on side stories, and then turn into a love story and throw the action sequences out the window. Fully animated cuddling overpowers still-frame fighting sequences.
Wasn’t this supposed to be 2012’s trump card in action? The reknowned light novel ends up like this? Did words actually portray better than visuals? I guess it did. Allow me to share a fight scene from an original anime made back in 2004, it’s a minute long (hell not even a minute) and it impressed me with his animation and context more so than any fight SAO portrayed
I apologize to myself for associating this series with the musical masterpiece that is Champloo, and I will not tarnish the names of Kenshin and Berserk by mentioning them further. Hell, the stuff I watched in the late 90’s had better action than this.
Sounds great, looks nice, story portrayal was crap, it didn’t stay with me so well….essentially worse than Guilty Crown for me. I’m guessing the light novel does portray the characters better (because they rushed the entire thing) but come on…this series ha a higher score than GTO?
I’m a hater, deal with it.