Well, that took a while, but my Right Stuf order arrived late last week. As a result, the latter of the shows that I said I got in my previous review has been completed.
Kazuto Kirigaya is a computer geek with a love for games and he is excited to start playing a new VRMMORPG that just got released, not knowing that the game has some things that nobody expected.
In this game, any player who dies will also die in real life.
Unfortunately, even if the game can be beaten, this is only the start of Kazuto’s adventures in the virtual world.
I am not too sure about this show. Fortunately, there are things that I liked. The pacing was good enough that I could follow everything and get to know the characters and felt sympathy for the situation they were in, though it did not seem too different from .Hack, which also has players in the real world be affected by things that happened in a game. After all, I think that people would experience hardships in a game that can cause people to die for real. Another thing that I liked was the action present in the series. No matter how many times I watch an episode, the fights seem to suck me right in and make me want to not put the video on hold. I also liked how there was not need to be fluent in other languages to understand what is going on. In my review on Durarara!!, I complained about the fact that the show had characters speak in languages other than Japanese and the iTunes version had no English subtitles for moments like those. Here, however, there were no instances where characters spoke a different language, so there was no need for English subtitles to be present in any episodes. True, this show can only be bought on Blu Ray or DVD, but I think that this still applies. There were also some funny parts. The funniest was when Asuna thought that Kazuto wanted to sleep with her and she attacked him because she misunderstood his intentions. The thing that I liked the most though was even though the show uses the now clichéd trapped a game setting, I was still engrossed in it enough that I did not want to stop watching until the end. This is the kind of feeling that I and many others would want when we have a story using a plot line that has been done before. The fact that there is no need to be fluent in more than one languages and that I could feel sympathy for the characters predicament, as well as the fact that I wanted to watch the show all the way through, even though the plot line has some what been done to death, made this show decent.
While I do like some things about this show, there are some issues. First, most of the female cast seemed too useless. Every time Kazuto goes and helps out a female, almost all of them seem to give up on doing anything themselves, including Asuna, who was supposed to be the coolest female in the show, and ask Kazuto to come to the rescue. In other words, they are like Kagome constantly screaming Inuyasha’s name, though she did not begin doing so only a few moments after meeting him, as far as I can remember. In Asuna’s case, she goes from being cool to the stereotypical Princess Peach. In the first 14 episodes, I liked watching her because she did not sit back and let others do everything for her. However, in the final 11 episodes, she pretty much only made escape attempt and then sat waiting for her prince, Kazuto, to rescue her. Really, are women that weak and stupid that they would start relying on a person they just met? If I had to guess, I would say no. They would take time to get know a person, before they hand their lives over to them. However, there probably are women that do make that mistake. Another thing that bugs me is that while I did feel for the situation the characters were in, I seemed to feel it much more in the Japanese version. Yes, it could be because I was first introduced to the series via the Japanese version, but when I watched the special that aired on Daisuki and Crunchyroll, which was mainly a recap of the two arcs in this show, I seemed have a different feeling than what I had watching this dubbed. The things that bugged me the most about the show are two things. The first of the two is the fact that instead of one game, there are two are different games, one call Alfheim Online and one is the titular game itself. These two games are vastly different in that one is a death game and the other is not and the story lines present with the two games are too different. Yes, they are related because of one item, but like ef, I had a hard time thinking up a summary for this show. If I just reviewed the Aincrad arc or the Fairy Dance arc, I could easily think of summaries for each, but because I am reviewing the show as a whole, I cannot do that. The second is the Fairy Dance arc itself. It felt like it was added in just to make the show longer and there was not really as much action or as many good fighting scenes as the Aincrad arc. In fact, the final boss fight was disappointing, compared to the one between Heathcliff and Kazuto. Not only that but I also could not feel for what the characters were going through. Honestly, if the anime stopped after the Aincrad arc ended, this probably would have been one of the best anime series made. However, because the people behind the anime decided to continue on, many of the things that I liked about the show disappeared. While most of the female cast becomes like Kagome and I felt more for the characters in the Japanese version than the English dub, the things that hurt this series the most was the fact that it did not focus on just one game and the last arc seemed take away everything a lot of the things that I liked about the first arc.
Despite the good things about this show, the negative aspects of the final arc make this show only good enough to kill time. If anyone feels like watching this series, I recommend only watching the Aincrad arc and forget the Fairy Dance arc, because the Aincrad arc is the only one worth seeing.
What are your thoughts on Sword Art Online? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.