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SWORD ART ONLINE II #1 -- Special Review

I really, really don't like MMO's gettin' real.

We’re sampling the summer season’s selection! Check out our other pilot write-up’s –

They say you can generally tell if a movie’s going to be good or bad depending on how the first ten minutes play. It’s actually a fairly accurate litmus. Still, sometimes you can tell even sooner, and when the first line of dialog here is actually about ‘agility stats,’ I’m already checking out.

To be fair, SWORD ART ONLINE I didn’t grab me either. I really didn’t agree with its popularity, but I’m still obliged to talk about it here, because Series II still has plenty of buzz around it, so why not give it another chance?

Nope. It’s still as dis-interesting as the first round. This one just involved guns instead of swords.

I just don’t like shows with the premise of MMO’s Gettin’ Real. There have been some with enough additional things going for them to win me over, in spite of myself, but those are few and far between. My objection centers on a specific conceptual issue. Having watched so much anime here, I’ve found that the best fantasy series are the ones that draw something from real life, and have at least some sense of consequence. It’s not the stats that matter, it’s the people.

When an adventure is set in a video game, it’s an abstraction of abstraction. In the hierarchy of escapism, it’s like chewing on a candy wrapper. You might point to THE MATRIX as a counter-example, but I’d argue there’s a major difference between a VR setting being video game-like and actually being a video game (with those precious XP stats, of course).

So, I may have dismissed this too early, but I just couldn’t get into this whole murder mystery plot, or the users/snipers, or the prospect of our lead re-entering getting reluctantly pulled back in… to an MMO. It simply isn't my thing.

Watch "World of Guns" and decide for yourself.

zaldaron July 11, 2014 at 8:34 a.m.

Um yeah why did you even force yourself to watch this one....it wasn't like there was a chance you would like it....the first season was terrible and everything about mmo's getting real you hate. This one wasn't going to be any different.

Marshal Victoryon July 11, 2014 at 2:37 p.m.

Yeah not sure the point of watching a sub gene of anime you don't like. SAO hook is the multiple worlds because of the SEED from the 1st series. An logically if you consider the deaths an damage the SEED engine made ,what company would try to start again with that?

Pilot was not bad but it kinda had more built into it from the 1st season. So if one did not watch the 1st season this would probably be less for that person. An of course if you have the MMO anime gene well your gona not like this even more.

YotaruVegetaon July 11, 2014 at 4:59 p.m.

From watching the first episode, I expect nothing more than SAO from SAO II. Except now Kirito appears even more OP this time, bringing a light sword to a gunfight. so it's up to you if that's something you can't get enough of, or can't stand.

LordTerminalon July 11, 2014 at 6:19 p.m.

Last time people told me about how horrid SAO was, I ended up watching the whole thing on Toonami and kinda enjoying it. Mind you it has problems but ones that can be easily fixed. My main gripe was that the MMO that the second half of SAO I took place in was so awesome and fleshed out an idea that it angered me to see it wasted on such a dumb plot and any every complaint I hear people have about it, I always justify happened because the villain was a overpowered, overperverted, one-dimensional piece of crap. (Honestly, Nobuyuki Suguo/Oberon has to be the single worst villain I have ever seen in an anime) I can see why some people think Kirito is OP, but I never hear anyone says Oberon is even worse when it comes to that.

Anyways, I think I'm going to go in the same way with this that I did last time but I pray to god that after they're done with this Metal Gear Solid w/ lightsabers thing they have going on, they'll adapt some of the side stories that took place in Alfheim in-between the last two major arcs. I hate to see that setting not get at least one good story in it.

Really, I think the hatedom attacks this thing too much and is too harsh. Yeah it has dumb moments but I was promised something insepid, not something that became a guilty pleasure and could easily be rebooted with a better writing and editing staff to fix some of the plot holes and other flaws it has because it feels like it got these problems just because it was rushed.

I've read some SAO fanfiction (specially Fairy's Dance of Death) that can back up my point that this series can be fixed but if I'll let you people decide that for yourselves, I'm just done trying to figure out why I don't hate this when everyone thinks I should.

MOD EDIT

Toned down comment and removed profanity.

takashichea moderator on July 11, 2014 at 11:23 p.m.

Even though Sword Art Online was overly hyped, had a pseudo harem with an unrealistic proportion of female players being attracted to Kirito, lack of real romance, and the poor villain with their motives, I still enjoy the series. It had good fight scenes and animation. I admit I like the second season despite the incest thing. While it covered characters and made Asuna into a damsel in distress (which was bad), it was slow and lacked action from the first season.

@LordTerminal:

You have to watch your language on front page articles. Thank you. I edited your comment a bit. You are allowed to curse in our forums. I invite you to the Sword Art Online Anime Discussion whenever you have time.

YotaruVegetaon July 12, 2014 at 12:04 p.m.

@takashichea: I preferred the first villain to the second, but both of them turned out to be poor villains in terms of motivation.

Marshal Victoryon July 12, 2014 at 5:28 p.m.

@takashichea: Thinking on this an not sure where the over hype came from. Because from the sites i darken their door rarely was it given more than the preview trailer. Actually heard more about the Live Action Lupin the 3rd movie than SAO 2.

@YotaruVegeta: I would agree about the villains in the 1st series. An in a way it felt they tried to rehab the 1st villain in the second half. That rarely works out side of comics an politics.

@LordTerminal: Ya talk to us in Sword Art Online Anime Discussion thread. Would not disagree about how hype good an bad work sometimes in reverse. On some sites SAO seems to be a magnet for trolls. But then again some SAO fanboyz have took to Log Horizon to troll. So it goes both ways an diagonal it seems.

As a general rule since I have gotten long in the tooth, I try not to go out of my way to harsh some one else's fanboy buzz. What works for me may not work for some one else an vice versa. But oddly enuff have seen more moderation done on SAO on boards than any other anime.

takashichea moderator on July 12, 2014 at 5:48 p.m.

@YotaruVegeta:

They were both poor villains. I agree with you. The first villain forgot why he imprisoned everyone. He thought he was building his own castle. It was pretty stupid. The 2nd villain wanted Asuna and money to himself. He was pathetic, but his voice acting as a nasty villain was pretty good.

@Marshal Victory:

The hype came from the massive marketing, making it popular and accessible to folks. That's why underrated shows like From the New World and Knights of Sidonia and plenty of other shows don't get much exposure.

Off Tangent: SAO's pseudo harem produce games with SIM like elements. I remember one of them had a Klein route.

LordTerminalon July 12, 2014 at 7:55 p.m.

I actually have an interest in seeing Log Horizon. I'm sure it's no doubt better than SAO but I doubt it'll make me go back to SAO and hate it. If anything, it'll probably just strengthen my resolve that the material was rushed and the writing was not edited very well or tweaked to be less of a mess than its source material. Again, I've read SAO fanfiction that's done just that. (Personal recommendation: Fairy's Dance of Death) So I know a reboot that fixes SAO's problems can be done. Which is more than I can say for another anime that came out in 2012 that I won't mention because it makes me angry.

Don't forget broken. People always talk about Kirito being an OP Gary Stu (which I can understand) but has anyone ever pointed out Oberon was even worse?

hitsusatsu11on July 12, 2014 at 8:26 p.m.

Never understood why ppl like this franchise, I agree with Tom here.

Marshal Victoryon July 13, 2014 at 6:43 a.m.

@LordTerminal: Log Horizon is not even same thing other than they share a mmorpg gene in anime. From a long time player of mmorpgs ( over 12 years ) it explains the hows an whys of mmorpg play much much better. An im not sure why people can not like both cause I do. But for far different reasons.

takashichea moderator on July 13, 2014 at 12:38 p.m.

@LordTerminal: @Marshal Victory:

Log Horizon has its strengths and flaws. I do notice a lot of folks compare SAO to Log Horizon or .Hack. For Log Horizon, it's better than SAO in developing characters with their relationships and actually explaining game mechanics and not abandoning them. They are faithful to their game play mechanics unlike SAO. Log Horizon has less action and tends to be exposition heavy due to being a light novel adaptation. You can get bored a lot.

sickVisionz moderator on July 13, 2014 at 12:56 p.m.

I enjoyed the first series and thought it was pretty well done shonen. Will definitely check this one out once there's a bunch of it available. It feels like forever since I've had a series deliver my type of action on a regular basis. SAO did that in almost every episode.

takashichea moderator on July 13, 2014 at 1:05 p.m.

@sickVisionz:

If you want action, there were some shows @Marshal Victory: and I enjoyed last season: Black Bullet and Chaika. Black Bullet suffers from overpacing and rushing content. Chaika seems like a generic show, but it has good fight scenes and likeable characters. It had no issues with pacing. Just the pilot episode had a lot of content for Chaika.

I know you didn't like Knights of Sidonia. This summer's season's most watched shows in Anime Vice right now are SAO II, Sailor Moon Crystal, Akame ga Kill, and Tokyo Ghoul.

Marshal Victoryon July 13, 2014 at 1:44 p.m.

@sickVisionz: @takashichea: Would add Tokyo Esp but minus Sailor Moon Crystal for me. Not for me atm me thinks. SOA2 really so far has made me want to play Warframe more. But it has the 3rd person shooter mmorpg down pat.

sickVisionz moderator on July 13, 2014 at 1:47 p.m.

Are Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo ESP two different things?

takashichea moderator on July 13, 2014 at 1:57 p.m.

@sickVisionz:

They are different. I only watched Tokyo Ghouls which is a horror, gorey, seinen. If you like action and gore with a mix of horror, it will be for you. I only saw the pilot and was impressed, but censorship gets in the way. It's available on HULU and FUNimation right now.

Marshal Victoryon July 13, 2014 at 3:29 p.m.

@sickVisionz: Same people who did Ga-Rei Zero are doing Tokyo ESP an its a shared universe. Some characters from Ga-Rei Zero apeer in the 1st episode of Tokyo ESP. Which has a super hero vibe horror gore thing going for it.

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