Sword Art Online Anime Review
Major Spoilers Ahead!
Aired from Jul 8, 2012 to Dec 23, 2012
Ugh. Sword Art Online. Where to even begin with this anime? I’ll just say right from the top, this anime was pretty crappy. Yet, it still got around the same amount of hype that Attack on Titan, Steins;Gate, and Death Note had. How? Well, I don’t really know. Everything about this anime except for its animation was bad. I don’t know how everybody fell in love with it. No clue. I can only tell you why I strongly dislike it. Everybody has different opinions. Well, the only think that kept me sane while watching this show was trying to zone out my brain and only pay attention to the pretty colors, along with all the action. Also, I believe to truly appreciate the good forms of entertainment in life, you need to experience the bad. That’s why I watch things I dislike on occasion. Although, I honestly though it was alright at the beginning when I hadn’t noticed all its crippling flaws. Too bad it all went down hill quickly. Well, here’s my review of Sword Art Online everybody. Since it has been out for a while and is pretty god dam popular, I’m going into spoiler territory. Just wanted to let you know. Well, here goes nothing.
Story of Sword Art Online
The story of Sword Art Online starts off with a bang. Our main character, Kirito straps on this futuristic nerve gear to enter a virtual reality MMORPG. This world is of course called Sword Art Online. They thought of a pretty original title, eh? Anyhow, after creating his character, he enters this magical world full of beasts, items, abilities, etc. He begins to level up his level one character on low-leveled beasts. Slowly, he starts to get the hang of it. He also meets a guy while doing this. They chat and decide to adventure together. After a few hours of beast fighting and exploring the in and outs of the game, they both decide it’s about time to return to the real world. The thing is, there is no log-out button. (°_°) *Sarcastic gasp*
Everybody in the game is then called to a meeting by generic villain 234, who is also the game creator. He laughs evilly and tells everybody that he has removed the log-out button from their options. Now, the only way to escape from the game is to clear all hundred levels and defeat the final boss. K, anything else you want to tell us generic villain 234? He also states that if you die in the game, you die in real life. Crap just got real.
Kirito is determined to win this bloody game! He won’t be defeated by generic villain 234. From that moment on, he uses his overpowered skills he got from his beta testing and the miracles that he creates like he’s Jesus; to defeat bosses, monsters, and anything that dares stand in his way. It really annoyed me how he’s the only one who could dual wield, along with being amazing just because he was a beta tester. Just because you were a beta tester doesn’t mean you get to be Jesus-kun. Besides, in real life, the game developers wouldn’t let you walk off with all these advantages be simply testing out a few things. But, in this anime that’s the way things are. Why? Because Kirito, that’s why.
Another thing that was annoying as hell was the floor skips. There were sudden, without warning, and didn’t help to build this world at all. One episode could be located on floor 34, while the next could be on 61. I understand that they couldn’t possibly fit in all 100 floors in the anime, but still. It would’ve been nice to have a brief synopsis of what happened in between all these floors. The floor and time skips annoyed me, but would’ve been bearable if the rest of the anime was well done. Which, sadly it wasn’t.
As Kirito progresses, he makes allies and foes. He also meets a lady named Asuna. She is bad ass, sexy, a Tsundere, and likable. Kirito falls head over heels for her. They form an alliance and help each other with quests, fighting bosses, etc. Overtime, they grow closer and closer, eventually leading Kirito to get her out of a sticky situation and them deciding on a marriage. An episode or two are focused on their newly-founded relationship. They rent a cabin in the woods and have some fun there. At their stay in this cabin, they find a lost girl in the forest. She doesn’t remember who she is and is desperately confused. Together, Kirito and Asuna decide to sort of raise her like their own child. In my opinion, I found this sort of creepy; there relationship. Something about it felt odd and weird. Maybe that’s just me, so I’m not really using that to judge this anime.
Also, the rule being that if you die in the game you die in real life, Kirito of course witnesses many of his friends perish in front of him. He handles this sort of coldly, but still gets hurt and feels lugubrious. I thought the sorrow of his lost friends was the one of the few things that this anime actually did semi-decently. Of course, the anime has to protect Kirito-Jesus-kun and Asuna at all costs with their plot armor, but otherwise death is portrayed well. Oh, and how the first half ended horribly, I will get to that later.
Okay, I’m just going to summarize what happened in the first half since I don’t have all day. Basically, Kirito and Asuna grow closer together, along with making new friends, which a few of them back stab Kirito and Asuna, but oh well, they tried their best to be friendly. They also help people with their troubles, level up, and progress more and more. All this eventually leads to them defeating these amazingly tough bosses. Yui, there adopted creepy child, pulls a stunt that makes no sense to defeat one of these bosses, but otherwise I enjoyed some of the battles.
Now, together Asuna and Kirito/Jesus-kun face the final boss. There is a big epic showdown between the people who made it and the final boss. The final boss is also the creator of the game they’re in. Many people die facing the final boss. Even Asuna died in battle. Kirito gets pissed and turns into full on Jesus-kun and ends the boss, but at the same time dies. What could possibly happen next. Since he died in the game, he’s dead for real now? (O_O) *Loud sarcastic gasp*
After his and Asuna’s death, they both arrive in some metaphorical/semi-philosophical place in the clouds while they watch the game destruct itself. Also in this heaven like place, they meet the guy who developed the game. Both Asuna and Kirito are dying to know what his reason could be for trapping thousands of people and watching them die was. His answer was simple. He sort of forgot and doesn’t really know why he did so in the first place. Wait … WHAT?! What kind of villain forgets their purpose for trapping everybody in a game and watching them die? Just because he felt like it that day? That seriously pissed me off. Then, along came another thing that made me angrier.
So, now I’m expecting that Kirito and Asuna are going to be dead or something mysterious happens to them. Instead, Kirito wakes up in a hospital. I thought the whole point of the anime was that if you died in the game, you would end up dying in real life. Looks like Kirito somehow found a loophole to that rule. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it was never explained why Kirito was so special and got to come back to life even after dying. That really annoyed the hell out of me. This broke the whole idea of the story, as it wouldn’t even matter if had died earlier; he would have simply come back to life anyhow. Like I said before, he’s Jesus-kun.
Kirito wants to find out what in the world happened to Asuna. He quickly discovers that she is in a coma and trapped in another game, by another generic villain. Apparently, after all these people got trapped in a video game, people decided that it was a genius idea to build another game. Why? Just why? This makes no sense whatsoever. If something like this happened in real life, there would be a big uproar in the media, security, and gaming industry. There certainly wouldn’t be another virtual reality game produced anytime soon. Also, people just willingly go and play the stupid game, knowing what happened last time. What kind of stupid and twisted world is this anime set in? Not any realistic world, that’s for sure. Anyhow, Kirito decides to go into this new virtual reality game to save his girlfriend. More adventures and bull crap ensues.
Kirito, during his adventure to save his maiden in distress, even has to be reminded at times that he still needs to save his girl. He’s too busy falling in love with other girls to even remember his first one. Another thing that was stupid was how anybody that was female and around Kirito automatically fell in love with him. Even his sister for crying out loud! Kirito needs to pick a bloody girl already. You can’t have every female in the world. Real or otherwise.
Asuna was an amazing character that kicked ass in the first half, but just became a simply woman crying for help in the second half. It seemed that she was only there as a plot device and to be sexy. Well, Kirito finally comes to her rescue and defeats the new generic villain with hacking. It didn’t even make sense how he won against this strong and powerful boss. It was the biggest deus-ex machina I have seen in a while. A horrible ending for a horrible story.
Characters of Sword Art Online
This is by far the worst part of the show. All the characters were bland, generic, and the most standard characters you could get. A huge let down for me. Most characters can be summed up in one or two words. I was hoping, desperately praying that the characters would show some improvement by the end of the series. Instead, they only got worse. The characters could also pull ridiculous stunts, which pretty much made them invulnerable to any kind of harm. Most of the side characters were only their to fall in love with Kirito and cuddle with him. The only thing that prevented me from giving these characters a one was a few of the side characters were actually okay. Besides that, it was sucky all around, including the villains. The villains had no substance to them and were only there to ruin everybody’s day. What a huge let down.
Kirito or Kirigaya, Kazuto (Jesus-kun)
The main and worst character of Sword Art Online. He seems to be practically immortal, with nothing ever able to damage his precious skin. That’s why I nicknamed him, “Jesus-kun.” Apparently, he also has the magical ability to have everybody around fall in love with him, along with having duel wielding. He can also hack the game without any prior knowledge. To sum it all up, he’s the king of Gary Stues. Generic and perfect in every sense. There isn’t really any flaws that I noticed he had. I also didn’t notice any character development during the anime. With Sword Art Online, you don’t need good characters or a plot that makes sense! Fans will simply fall in love with the hot guy or girl, while watching some flashy action scenes. I really hated perfect Kirito. Anyhow, there isn’t much else to say about him; being a Gary Stue and all.
Man, this character actually looked alright in the beginning. Although she was a generic tsundere in the first half, she still was strong and independent, but in the second half she was simply there to be a plot device and be the maiden in distress. After Kirito and Asuna started their relationship, her character just plummets. She just becomes a generic tsundere. That’s all she was for the rest of the anime. It was disgusting and stupid how she became weak, helpless, and dependent on Kirito. The only thing she now knows how to be is an annoying tsundere and a sexy character for the male viewers. How disappointing. Such wasted promise. I wish Kirito and Asuna never meet, and never formed their retarded relationship.
Suguha is Kirito’s sister and she obviously wants to date Kirito, since she was around him so much. Kirito’s chick magnet power only seems to increase overtime. She doesn’t go into Sword Art Online, but goes in the second virtual reality game. Of course there, she is disgused to hang out with Kirito the whole time. The whole purpose of her character was to create some kind of a mangled love triangle. She didn’t really show much of a personality other then to be in love with Kirito and to be kid to him. At their home, she practices fencing and helps Kirito learn. That’s all I can really say about generic and boring character #3 of Sword Art Online.
Yui is an overpowered and slightly creepy character. She is supposed to be some NPC of the game, but she still has feelings somehow. Doesn’t ask me how; maybe it’s some sort of philosophical statement. I have no clue. Since she’s an NPC, she can magically hack and defeat bosses with a flick of her finger. Great. Just bloody great. She’s an overly sweet character; sweet to the point of giving me a weird vibe from her. She’s actually the character that had the most personality out of all four, but she is annoying as hell. She is also way too simplistic for my liking. An average and off character. She seemed too willing to go along with people she barely even now, but whatever. At least I could stand her most of the time.
Sound of Sword Art Online
The sound was fine. There was nothing that spectacular nor bad. The opening song was nice to listen to, although slightly annoying. Songs that played in the background were good, but nothing that special because I don’t really remember any of them. The ending song was the best song in the series. I enjoyed listening to it after a crappy episode. It eased my agony a little. Other than that, the music was pleasant, but nothing noteworthy.
Well, now onto the voice actors. The Japanese voice actors for the show was one of the things that wasn’t horrible. They all did their jobs well, even the English dubbed voices were okay. With this anime, being crappy as it is, if you end up not liking it, just switch to the dubs. It will be easier to watch that way.
The background noise was decent for this show. From the clang of the swords clashing together, to the ambient wind sounds; they did a fairly okay job in that department. It didn’t fully immerse you into the world, but it was fine.
Art of Sword Art Online
This is my favorite thing about this anime, The art is actually pretty spectacular. Beautiful colors, shading, and all around great to look at. If I the rest of the anime was as great as the art, I would definitely use some of the scenes as a screensaver. From the first episode, to the last, the art was beautiful. I didn’t notice any dips in the animation quality at all. The battles were to die for. The studio animated the battles amazingly well. Fluid at all times and all around awesome. I did my best to zone out to the action scenes, as I wasn’t enjoying the rest of it. The art and battles was the only thing that prevented me from smashing my head against a brick wall repeatedly.
Now, apply this to an anime with a good story line and characters, and we have gold.
Enjoyment of Sword Art Online
As you can probably tell from my rant/review, I barely managed to choke down the urge to shoot myself during this anime. Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but I really did hate this anime. Like I said before, the pretty animation and the occasional enjoyable song were the only good things about this anime. I especially hated the stupid character; especially Kirito. Just the mere mention of Kirito makes my blood boil a little. So, my enjoyment level was close to zero. After marathoning a few episodes of Sword Art Online, my brain began to ache from all the random overpowerness and stupidity. It was hard to finish this show, but I did it. You need to see the bad to fully love the good. Besides, I’m an anime reviewer and I can’t have all positive reviews, now can I?
Final Notes and Overall Enjoyment of Sword Art Online
Please stay far away from Sword Art Online. It is one of my most hated anime of all time. Unless you like to watch bad anime and torture yourself, then go ahead. Or maybe if you have the same philosophy as I do, and want to watch a bad anime, then go ahead. Otherwise, only approach this thing with a ten foot pole. I’m sorry that I went into full-on rant mood, but this anime gets steam coming out of my ears. I just can’t stand it. Everything is bad; from the storyline to the characters. If you have different tastes than me, that’s fine too. Everybody has different opinions. What I call a disaster, another person may call a masterpeice.
After watching all 24 episodes of Sword Art Online, I came to the conclusion that it’s total crap. It barely deserves the 3 out of 10 I’m giving it. The characters and storyline was so dumb, I almost gave it a 2. The sound and animation bumped up the score a notch. I also actually thought that the first couple episodes were fine, as the flaws weren’t obvious then. I honestly don’t know how this show got so popular, but whatever. Different people, different opinions. Just please don’t watch this show. Save yourself the pain.
Have a good day everybody~ Again, sorry for my large rant. I couldn’t restrain myself.