Sword Art Online (2013)


Sword Art Online (2013)

Director: Tomohiko Ito
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Starring: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Haruka Tomatsu, Kouichi Yamadera
Episodes: 25

During the highly anticipated launch of a deep-immersion VRMMORPG, the players find themselves trapped inside by the game's designer and forced to clear the game or die trying.

I'll admit that I went into this series prejudiced against it. I hadn't heard particularly good things about it. When I learned that SAO and Accel World were written by the same person, I couldn't figure how one appealed to me so much and the other could be such a miss. However, actually giving the series a chance, I ended up liking it quite a bit. I didn't connect as quickly as I did with Accel World, but it's not nearly as bad as what I'd heard. That or I just have really low standards. ^_^;

While main character Kirito is a bit of a Marty Stu, his character does have enough roundness that my opposition to him wore down as the series progressed. Plotwise I considered it a little too convenient, at least in the first arc, taking an episodic approach to the story, resolving issues in one or two episodes apiece. There were also a lot of time skips, so it seemed like more of a snapshot view of the story. The second arc takes place in a much shorter timeframe and the conflict flows a little more evenly. I will say that the villain of the second arc is scumbag of rare caliber. Also, while Asuna is a pretty good character, she loses a lot of agency in the second arc, which may annoy some viewers. When I saw Kirito+Asuna top a poll of best anime couples, I was skeptical, but they work pretty well together.

There are a lot of series that deal with virtual game worlds, but even if you're getting tired of the idea, I think this series is still worth giving a shot. I certainly think it was worth watching.

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