Friday night (or we can call it early Saturday morning if you like) I finally finished watching Sword Art Online. I hadn’t picked it back up after Christmas having chosen to watch a few Western series instead but I dived back in and watched those last 5 episodes.
The final verdict: 7/10.
Spoiler warning: Whilst I won’t reveal the final plot points, I may talk about some major spoilers within the series. I’ll do my best to keep it safe for new folk to the series but be warned that this is a series overview.
The SAO arc was amazing. I’m a big MMORPG gamer myself so the idea of these people getting into this amazing virtual reality fantasy MMO (VRMMORPG) and then becoming trapped in the world had me utterly gripped. My initial thoughts were how evil-slash-insane the creator of this game must be to trap so many people inside this game, and what’s worse, make it possible for them to die in the real world if they die ingame or if their Nervegear (the virtual reality headset they use for the game) is removed. It’s not perfect and Kirito our protagonist is most definitely a Gary Stu with all the girls falling for him and all the guys hating him for being a “beta-cheater”, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the opening theme, the will they/won’t they between Kirito and Asuna, the different stories within the main story and most of all the epic fight scenes. the first 10 episodes were 10/10 for me.
However, the romance becomes a bit sickly sweet and when Kirito and Asuna take a break to get married and end up basically adopting Yui as their own child I had to balk at the ridiculousness of it all and how very ‘fan-fiction’ it was starting to feel. These are characters that are teenagers! I certainly didn’t want to get married, settle down and have a kid at 16-17, and can’t imagine many teenagers who would. It just didn’t make sense. These particular couple of episodes were definitely a 5/10.
Then we have the ALO arc, in which a man named Sugou has claimed Asuna for himself and trapped her within his own game world, another VRMMORPG, in a birdcage at the top of the world tree which is next to impossible to reach the top of. The kick-ass heroine from the first arc becomes the weak, trapped girl, not to mention how terrifyingly rapey Sugou is. Then there is Kirito’s little sister Sugu. Who is apparently.. I think she’s actually his cousin? But they grew up as brother and sister. However.. considering he isn’t technically her brother any more, of course she falls in love with him. And still calls him brother. And oh man dem tears. Seriously. But the Alfheim Online world is a gorgeous one and I loved this game almost as much as Sword Art Online, I just wasn’t a big fan of Kirito’s character design in this game but that is at least my personal preference. While there was much to cringe over and roll my eyes at in this arc, it still held a good story and the epic fight scenes were still there. This arc was a 6/10 for me, with this and those last couple of episodes of the SAO arc bringing the overall score down to a 7/10. And by this point, I’d changed my mind on the ‘evilness’ of Kayaba Akihiko (the creator of SAO). I still think he’s insane but to a point I believe he thought he was doing something good.. unlike Sugou who literally is just a psychopath.
Would I recommend it? It really depends. If you can overlook plot holes, Gary Stu characters and some cringeworthy activity then definitely give it a watch. I found it a generally enjoyable series with a satisfying ending and will most likely get hold of the DvD when it comes to the UK. 🙂