Sword Art Online: Absolutely Addictive
There has been a lot of talk about this anime on our site- especially within the Uzerfriendly Podcasts and Character Evaluation Articles. “Sword Art Online” is the anime I believe to be considered the anime of 2012. If you have not already added this to your list of favorites, I implore you to do so.
“Sword Art Online” takes place in futuristic Japan. The year is 2022 and a new virtual reality game has just been released called- take a guess- Sword Art Online! It is just like any other MMO except in this game everything seems real. For example, when in the game you can touch, smell, and taste the food just like in real life. The main (and might I say extremely attractive) character “Kirito” finds himself ahead of everyone else in the game. He is able to gain this advantage as he is one of just a thousand players chosen to be beta testers. However, something is not right within the game and within hours of the game being released all those who have logged into the game find that the “log out” button on their main menu no longer exists. The creator of the game Akihiko Kayaba appears above the main playing area where all the players have been teleported. He goes on to explain to the frightened SAO gamer community that they are now stuck there, and the only way of escaping is to complete and beat all 100 floors of SAO.
“Well, why can’t they just turn the game off?”
The game is run by “Nervegear”- a type of technology that once the player puts the gaming helmet on runs off of their brain waves and shuts down any voluntary body functions- so basically, they’re paralyzed.
“Okay, well, can’t someone else take the Nervegear off the player?”
You’d think that would be a good idea as well, except Akihiko programed the helmets to fry the player’s brain if the helmet is removed.
“But what if the player dies in the game? Can’t they escape that way”?
No, the writers of this anime covered all the loop holes. They die in the game, they die in real life.
No. Seriously the only way to escape this game is to defeat all 100 levels of Sword Art Online. It is not as easy as it looks because now players need to survive until the game’s end while all the monsters, and crazy rogue players are out to kill.
This anime does many MMO’s justice. There are Guilds that players can join, opportunities to work on quests, and even dungeon grind. There are special items player’s can earn when completing special events. Players can even get married in the game in order to share items. There are chat rooms, and certain classes have the ability to do things other classes cannot do. Players can level up and add others to their friend’s list or party.
My favorite character in the anime is Yui- a mysterious girl that calls Kirito “Papa” and Asuna “Mama.” Little is known about the girl when the two characters decide to take her under their protection. As a viewer you start to fall more in love with the adorable Yui as the story goes on. In the end she becomes one of the most powerful beings in the game! No complete spoilers though!
This anime is sadly a Harem. Yes, it is an annoying Harem with 12-year-old girls, and older senpai characters whom are pining for Kirito’s love. However! It is an annoying Harem done correctly- meaning, it is not overly dramatized. Kirito has his mind made up about the girl he is going to choose way in advance, which saves viewers quite a few filler episodes. Each episode is action pact with loads of combat. There are many characters in this anime that do not appear as often as they should throughout the plot. Many of the characters will slip in and out, and only play a small part- making contact with Kirito limited. The anime also moves through time rather quickly with the second episode taking place a month after everyone learns they are trapped.
There are very few problems I have with this anime. Apart from a scene at the end of the series I thought was totally unnecessary and disgusting. There comes a point in the series where Kirito must rescue his “love” Asuna from a creepy perverted programmer who has kidnapped her and kept her imprisoned within the game. During this scene Kirito finds himself pinned down by the Programmer’s sword and is forced to watch him rape her. I was absolutely mortified and disgusted because in all reality that scene was not necessary at all. It seemed too out there and too forced to even be considered important to the plot. It was more of a horrible fan service scene for all those Asuna lovers. As a female viewer, watching the Programmer strip her down, start groping, and licking her naked body was awkward and creepy. When watching you do not see any anatomy, just shapes but it is still horrifying and stomach wrenching. That one scene almost destroyed my view of how well written the series was. I do see however, that the Programmer abusing Asuna in that way was an excuse for Kirito to reach a point where he would attack him with full power. The tension this scene creates is extremely powerful and definitely hits you hard when watching. However, I cannot help but to think that there could have been many other ways that the writers could have approached this.
The second thing that really bothered me was the relationship Kirito has with his “little sister” Suguha. (Warning! Random plot twists that make no sense will appear. The writing during the second part of the first season was sloppy.) Suguha has a deeper love for Kirito than a normal sister should- meaning that this anime character would fall under the “Love Me Onii-chan” and “Notice me Senpai” categories. No worries however because luckily Kirito does not feel about his sister in this way at all sparing viewers a few awkward episodes.
Despite that one scene I must confess that I loved this anime, and have already purchased it for my personal collection. I am not a fan of the dub, but do highly recommend watching the subtitles (as usual).
Happy watching minna!