Title: Sword Art Online
Author/producers: Aniplex, A-1 Pictures, Genco, DAX Production, Aniplex of AmericaL, ASCII Media Works
My Rating: ❈❈❈❈❈❈❈❈ [very good]
Date started: August 25th, 2013
Date finished: August 26th, 2013
August 27th, 2013
I dove into this anime partly because I read the synopsis and thought: Wow, this is pretty interesting! but I kind of postponed it because friends of mine, from all the spheres of the anime community, have told me how disappointed they were at the ending.
So, without any further ado, let us start!
[spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned?]
The concept of it all was marvelous. It reminds me of something else I have read/watched, but I cannot pinpoint it. All throughout the first arc (which was my favourite, you’ll find as you read on), all the events that transpired made me wonder… and ask questions along the lines of:
- What would I have done?
- What type of Player would I have been? A red player (a killer of other people), a yellow/orange player (someone who killed once or twice, I think), or a green player (someone who is ‘legal’ so to speak, unless I misread/misunderstood everything).
- What kind of fighter would I be? There are no healers, so would I always be in a guild, or be a solo-player?
- What type of weapons would be in my arsenal?
- Would I really kill monsters? I feel like I don’t even stand a chance out there.
- Would I be one of those Front-Liners? [which begs the question: what kind of life do I have here that I actually want to come back to?]
- Or would I have been those who settled right inside this wondrous world and decide not to come back anymore because this world is better than the one I live in?
The pace of the story went pretty well. I didn’t need to know exactly what kind of monsters that Kirito-kun fought, I already knew that he would do whatever it took to get ahead and survive in the game. Some episodes were a bit ‘filler’ in my opinion, but they made me appreciate the game concept and world more than anything. I knew from the start he was going to be a strong character, based on what I had seen in the first episode. In the second arc, the pace slowed down, there was less of a ‘OMGOMGOMGOMG’ factor coming from me. BECAUSE you could not die in real life when you died in this game, I didn’t find it as appealing. I was on the edge of my seat for other events, but not nearly as much as I was in the first arc.
The characters were a bit… under-developed, if I may say? What I personally found iffy [and it irks me more than I can say] is the relationships between them make me feel uncomfortable. For example, Kirito-kun, in the span of meeting them for what? Less than a day, can make any girl he meets swoon and vouch for him (let’s do a count: Asuna, Lizbeth, his own sister/cousin, I’ve lost count). Come on, girls, have you NEVER seen a cute guy fighting for your sake like that? (well apparently, all the guys in Sword Art Online were jerks).
The main character, Kirito, as I mentioned, was thrown multiple female characters against him. In the first arc, he was so dense he didn’t even notice it, so I gather that’s okay that he didn’t do anything [also, he was what? between 14-16]. In the second arc, you notice that he is a little bit more… I don’t know… like a man [maybe it’s because he’s 16 then, I don’t know!]? He actually reacts when there’s a feminine body that close to him, as Yui mentioned. Isn’t this more realistic? What guy doesn’t react when there’s a girl with a large chest who proposes to him? I’m just sayin’…!
He also [first arc] goes through a lot of cliche’d stuff, and this builds his character and deepens the pit that he digs between him and other people. I semi-like that. I like the tragedy he went through and the promises he was never able to fulfill fueled him. That’s fine. I felt so-so about the relationship he maintains with his sister/cousin. I felt like this was adding on drama for nothing BUT at the same time, what she goes through, many of the other girls probably go through as well [to a lesser degree since they didn’t grow up with him], so I guess in a sense, it’s a refreshing view (though I personally do not commend it).
The other main character, Asuna, was not well treated at all during the second half of the anime. In the first half, she was this extremely strong female character with some flaws, but that was fine. She made her stand and she was uber strong. How dare she only be reduced to the role of damsel in distress in the second arc? I was SUPER happy when she first made her escape, and then, what? What happened? She got caught and never attempted any other form of escape again (then again, it might be because she was never offered any other chance). It irked me to see her reduced to such a level. She was a stronger character and you diminished her to just that? And did she ever even GET the chance to fight in this arc? Nope. Nothing. She wasn’t offered any. I would’ve liked the virtual battle with Sugou to be between her and him. Update: upon thinking about it again and again, I’d like to add that, seeing as she’s a main character, I would have liked to know a little bit more about her. A little bit more about how she has come to be and why she has taken to Sword Art Online [I can guess, but guesses are similar to fanfiction, they’re not always canon]. The same goes with all the other characters you meet. I would have loved to know more about them (I’m just sayin’).
I feel like some of the things, like the experimenting on brains and what truly happened to Kabaya, the creator of Sword Art Online, for example, should have been more expanded upon. It was also what irked me with Ensel Rhe from the Five Elements [to only name one example], and it bothers me in Sword Art Online as well: I don’t like epilogues where the characters just tell us what happened. I wanted to see it happen, not just bouts and clips here and there.
The effects, the landscape, and the art in general were breathtaking. It was beautiful and sometimes, I would pause to look at it more. I love the universe that they created with this story and it was very pretty to look at. The music added to the effect and it gave me goosebumps just at the time that the story reaches a climax. [I wonder if there will be another season… They ended this well, but I’m going to put ‘season 1’, just in case]
Anyways, despite being annoyed by some aspects of the anime, I was still happy with the way it was told, the way we were shown aspects of the Sword Art Online universe and concept, and the subtleties here and there. People who love fantasy, action, sword fights, drama, and good effects, I think, would like this. 🙂
Until next time, guys!
P.S. #1 – Red for update on August 29th 2013