In the near future, a Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online has been released where players control their avatars with their bodies using a piece of technology called Nerve Gear. One day, players discover they cannot log out, as the game creator is holding them captive unless they reach the 100th floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss. However, if they die in the game, they die in real life. Their struggle for survival starts now… (Synopsis from Crunchyroll)
Looks promising from the synopsis isn’t it? Well, I guess this turns out to be one of the most anticipating anime of 2012, but what will be the overall verdict of this series. Is it really good or is it bad? Well here it goes.
I should in this place for a long time
This series is divided into two arcs, namely SAO (Sword Art Online, of course) and the other one would be ALO (Alfheim Online).
For the SAO arc, this story focuses on how will they get out of this Virtual trap which will leave you in a life or death situation that you cannot Log-out in the game until you literally finished it. You are yourself the character in this game, but once the character is killed, you are literally dead. As the story goes, Kirigaya Kazuto (Kirito) and Yuuki Asuna found their way on how to beat the game, this arc had happened within two years. However, there are a lot of events have happened during the SAO arc. 14 episodes in that arc weren’t good enough to show those details on what happened to those years.
Now for the ALO arc, in which Kirito tries to save Asuna after she got virtually trapped from another MMORPG , this arc is much more safer than you can imagine, the game at least where you can log out and have a break from saving the damsel in distress. This time around, Kirito’s cousin, Suguha helps him to save Asuna from the clutches of Sugou. Seriously, we all know what will he do in this arc, its way too predictable, and they really have to prolong it for the sake of Asuna and Kirito fanatics. ALO, on the other hand, is indeed rushed, how can a storyline be in detail for only 11 episodes?
It has a huge concept or an idea regarding MMORPG, because the gameplay in that series is good, like every viewer in this series feels like that they’re also playing or spectating on what will happen to the gamers. Furthermore, when you are in a life and death situation, somehow you might figure it out what to do when you are stuck in the VRMMORPG; you might as well get hooked into it, based on its gameplay. SAO arc is the most amusing and enjoyable, because there are always twists and turns occur in every episode. ALO arc on the other hand, could be the least amusing, since this only focuses on his journey to save Asuna.
Some of the characters either can be supporting or main, protagonist or even the antagonist gave the viewers a huge impact why do they have to watch this series. Let’s say for example, to those couple (Asuna and Kirito), both of them have their guts on what they wanted to do what’s right for them. Aside from that, for Kirito he has good judgement when handling situations, the same thing as Asuna. For Asuna, you could say that she is definitely moe for some of the viewers, since she had that “waifu” material on her, because she can do household chores. For Kirito on the other hand, there are a lot of fangirls are into him, because he has good looking features, but not to extend of a bishounen type of character. In other words, they were in good chemistry with each other.
The other one would be Sugou, although he’s the huge antagonist in the ALO arc, for me he’s amusing, not much of a complete rage to the viewers of what he had done to ASuna and Kirito, this could be one of the most characters that they really wanted to kill. Since, He really had good characteristics of an antagonist, because he was forcing his way to win Asuna without her will either in real or virtual life. Furthermore, his delusion of grandeur of becoming a god in a VMMORPG, adds to his antagonistic character.
Over all the graphics and the art in the series is great, it merely consists of cool and calm colors. The background such as the city, fields, dungeons are in full details. When you are into an VMMORPG, the items, armor, locations, monsters, skills or even the Graphical User Interface is a must, surely the graphics of this series can imagine that you are inside the game. In such cases, whenever someone passed away or got killed in the game, you would somehow feel that you get shattered by your emotions, like on what happened to some of the characters.
The art of every character is fairly good. For example, Asuna’s armor/attire in SAO, her outfit really suits her well as a knight, fighting for justice. Another thing would be the MMORPG concept, it doesn’t show any pixelated graphics when it comes to the items, the monsters there are not so fearsome, except when you are fighting the MVP (Boss), however the execution of skills in the game is fairly just right, nothing extravagant on those skills, such as when Kirito does his Dual Wielding Skills, Suguha casting spells.
Let’s start up with the BG music, such as fighting Bosses, the fairy dance, of its symphonic melody, you will realized that you might actually wanted the soundtrack of the series. You may consider it as a collectible, plus the melody of the soundtrack is only just right.
Well it seems that Asuna’s voice portrayed by Haruna Tomatsu, she isn’t really my favourite voice actress but her voice really had gave them a huge impact to the viewers to watch her, the same way as Kazuto’s voice as portrayed by Matsuoka, Yoshitsugu.
Aside from a popular series, it should have a popular OP and ED, such as the 1st OP sung by LiSA entitled “crossing field” and the ED entitled “Yume Sekai” by none other than Haruna Tomatsu. Another one would be for the ALO arc, its OP theme was “INNOCENCE” performed by Eir Aoi and its ED “Overfly” performed by Haruna Luna.
There are lots of speculations that Sword Art Online had to face, let’s start one with the rumoured “chapter 16.5” in the light novel, there are a lots of rumors, based on what happened at the end of chapter 16. Some people say that this is fan-based; some say that this was made from the same author as the LN by using his pseudonym.
Another one would be the posting the spoilers in the next episode in a certain Social Networking Site. Somehow, it really is annoying to post on what will happen on the next episode. Some of them might go on rage and telling them “kill that certain character” then suddenly, the anime characters from another series also wanted to kill that person. I just don’t get what is the hype of the people in regarding to this popular series.
As comparison to the Light Novel, the anime didn’t show the full detail when it comes to Kirito’s character development, the same as with Asuna, how can she be a newbie player like her have changed for those past two years. Aside from that there are lots of volumes involving SAO arc, although it wasn’t in chronological order to begin with, but still every mystery and twist have been resolved during those events.
The cons in this series were the story in every arc doesn’t have the full details especially in the SAO arc. For those past two years in SAO, a lots of things have happened, the whereabouts of the supporting characters in either both SAO arc, and especially the ALO arc. Somehow the ALO only focuses Kirito’s obsession on saving Asuna. Another one would the unnecessary fanservice, especially to Suguha and Asuna. Lastly for the supporting characters in the series, it didn’t show their whereabouts during the ALO arc, after one of his friends told him about ALO until they appear in the finale.
Graphics: 9 / 10
Story: 7 / 10
Characters: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 7.5 / 10
Lifespan: 7 / 10
Overall: 7.6 / 10
This series is clearly OVERRATED. Everyone has their reasons why they have to watch this series, such as watching it for that certain character, some for the comparison in the light novel, some of them watching this for story and for others they’re watching it for the fanservice. Furthermore, the storyline isn’t enough for 25 episodes in both arcs. Generally this series summarizes the character development of Asuna and Kirito.
This isn’t really a highly recommended series. But if you are into online gaming, this could be the perfect series for you to watch. But as an anime fan, it is recommended for you to read the light novel; it will give much information and details regarding those two arcs, and it broadens your imagination as you read it.
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