|Swords! Fairies! and Spicy Chicken Sandwiches!||2 out of 3 users found this review helpful.|
Alright guys, this anime has caused people a lot of trouble in the past due to it's controversy. I believe though it needs a unique review. I think I have a good plan on how to review it, but let me crunch some numbers. I'm getting a 33.3% repeating of course chance of this review being a success, but that better than...Okay guys let's do this!
Haha, sorry everyone, but I couldn't resist.
Alright now let's really get into the KFC bucket that is Sword Art Online. SAO is a fairly recent anime that has pretty much split the internet right down the middle leaving either die hard fans or those who absolutely hate it. Even those who say it's not bad, but just mediocre have often said such with a slight tone of disgust. When they are right though, they are right. Sword Art Online is not a "great" anime and it has a whole lot of mediocre elements to it, but I personally don't believe that those elements define what Sword Art Online is.
The story of SAO is not a new concept. The VRMMO setting was once explored in another franchise know famously as Dot Hack. Dot Hack was more famously known in the anime world for it's initial series Dot Hack/Sign, which had a pretty dark tone for it's storyline, and took itself extremely seriously. SAO on the other hand I felt is a much more light hearted and fun anime than it's predecessor.
The story of SAO start out with a very solid hook and it totally draws you in. The year is 2022 and a new ultra-hyped virtual reality online game is release and thousands strap on virtual reality helmets and go to playing; however, a few hours into the launch the players suddenly realize that they cannot log out of the game. That's when all the players are gathered and the game's creator tells them that the only way to log out is to ascend all one hundred levels of the game, and defeat the final boss. They also learn if they die in the game, they die in the real world as well. Obviously there's panic, some players gather together and immediately start ascending floors, some commit suicide, and some just say screw this I'm going fishing!
The series main protagonist Kirito, who's real name is Kazuto Kirigaya, is in real life a gamer who spends much of his days shut inside playing video games and surfing the internet. That is until SAO comes along where he manages to get to play the game during it's beta testing. When he logs into SAO and the death game begins he adopts a lone wolf personality, throws on his black coat, and spends every waking second of his time in SAO by being a badass. Many had a problem with this, but I on the other had did not. I really enjoyed Kirito's moments of badassery, and in those actions scenes where he shows off his awesomeness he really stands out as someone who is fun to watch.
The female lead, Asuna, also has her fair share of awesomeness, when she helps out Kirito and lives up to her namesake: The Lightning Flash. It was fun to have Asuna around in the series, because she was more than just his love interest, but also made a really good contrast for Kirito and allowed for him to show qualities of himself that we may have otherwise never had been able to see.
The art work of SAO is beautiful, the setting is amazing, and it really does a great job of pulling you in and making you want to learn more about Aincrad (the castle in which the events of the first half of SAO take place). The music is fantastic, and helps make the awesome moments of SAO even more epic.
On the flip side of all this SAO does have a lot of flaws. The most glaring of which is that the second half of the series. The second half, which takes place in another VRMMO known as Alfhiem, feels very much like a forced continuation of a series that should have otherwise ended. I personally felt that the series would have been much better received had they ended it at episode 14. Another flaw would be that a lot of the characters are easily forgettable, having only one episode of screen time before pretty much disappearing from much of the rest of the series, and only having cameo spots after that. The main antagonist of the second half is so laughably evil it's ridiculous (though the payoff at the end is pretty awesome), and Asuna's role is so dramatically changed that it's a bit insulting to everything she did in the first half (though in a way that's not really her fault). There is also the introduction of another certain character who's attraction to Kirito leaves me feeling slightly disturbed (haha incest :P ).
At the end of the day, I agree with the majority in saying that SAO online is not a masterpiece. That it most certainly is not, but it's still really freaking good. The art work is beautiful, the action is epic, and the music only further amplifies it. The plot, though not the best in the world, really draws you in making you want to sit through just to see what will happen next. The characters, for what they are worth, are very enjoyable when when you don't try to look too deeply into them and take them at face value. SAO is not an anime that should be taken seriously. It tries to sell itself at first by being a take on the look at the psychological repercussions of what it would be like to live in an MMO setting. The point is that ends up not having to really do with anything about what this show is. It's not something that tries to screw with your mind. It's not something you should even take seriously. It's just a fun show with action, fantasy, and adventure with a little bit of romance thrown in there. There's just something rewarding about watching the hero save the day, and not having to really worry too much about what his actions mean to the universe as a whole, and I think that's why I enjoyed the series as much as I did.
My final verdict for Sword Art Online is 4 pieces of fried chicken out of 5.