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Thoughts On The Anime Sword Art Online?


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If it wasn't obvious enough already, I really like this show. It aspired me to start getting into MMORPG's recently, all the characters are likeable, the stories and the whole scenario behind it are really interesting to me, it just hit every mark for me, and that's not even talking about the production values of the show, like the beautiful art design or the epic music and voice acting (well, the Japanese voice acting anyway, like most anime the english dub is... Less than stellar to say the least). I'm not alone in thinking this either, I've seen high ratings for the show, It's gained immense popularity from anime lovers and gamers alike since It's introduction and overall It's become a massive successful franchise, and that makes me happy. But like every piece of media, it does have It's critics and people who despise it. The main source of negativity I've seen is the "Everything wrong with" parodies on the anime, the guy running the AniSins channel is REALLY not a fan of the show, and the people commenting are on the same wavelength. I can see where the criticism is coming from and still enjoy those videos though and take them with a grain of salt, even if I don't quite agree with some aspects (and hey, on the other side of the spectrum, he's made me realise flaws I never noticed before, and that's OK, nothing is perfect, I either enjoy the show too much to notice or aren't very good at reading into it myself so it helps somewhat I guess) he comments on over the videos. I can't help but feel a little embarrassed and ashamed of loving the show so much now because of that but my opinion Isn't going to change. So what are your thoughts on SAO? Of course be as negative or positive with comments if you want, just don't attack people for liking or disliking the show, OK? That's not cool. Oh, and one more thing, if you could, avoid posting spoilers for the new SAO movie in this thread please? I haven't seen it yet and I don't believe It's been released outside of theatres at this point in time.

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I watched a few epsiodes of it, and I liked it.

It seemed a little out of my tastes though, as I like funny, goofy anime mostly, though I do like some action anime. I don't know why this is.

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I'm not a big MMORPG fan (can't stand WoW...) but the very premise of Sword Art Online is beautiful. Well, the English dub isn't very good, but the subbed version is very watchable. Come to think of it, I still need to watch the second season. :sunbutt:  And I still need to see the movie.

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It's been a while since I've watched it, so I'm probably not remembering all of this right. I also only watched the first arc. It felt kind of like it was going for a harem anime style, but stopped after introducing the characters. I mean, there's what, three male characters (one of which is the protagonist) in the show compared to six girls? I've got mixed feelings with that, though. I'm not a fan of harem anime, but I'm also not a fan of not using set up plots (once again, it's been a while since I've seen the show, so I might not be remembering this right.) I did like the animation, though. From what I remember, the writing was pretty good. That sorta murder mystery episode was easily my favorite part of the series. I didn't like that it kept going on after the 15th-ish episode since that was a great place to end the show.

I'm probably going to rewatch it, honestly. I might give the second half of the show another try. From what I hear, there's a sequel series (with guns as a focus, so that's a plus.)

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There sure is a lot of negative response to it around the internet, that much I know... :D

I haven't watched it yet, so I can't really form a proper opinion. But from what I've seen in some videos and screenshots, the artstyle and animation are gorgeous, and some character designs are really cool as well. I tend not to let other's opinions influence me too much, so I'll most likely check it out for myself some time.

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(edited)

Eh, it's pretty bad if you ask me.  

Every female character has the personality of a piece of cardboard and only exist so that Kirito can help them and seem like a more likeable character than he is (and so he can add them to his nonexistent harem, of course). Kirito himself is an insanely overpowered mary sue. The writing is decent at best during the first arc  (granted, there's two exceptions, namely the first episode and the murder mystery one), and downright terrible after that.   

Edited by Yamet
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4 hours ago, Cloggedone said:

I watched a few epsiodes of it, and I liked it.

It seemed a little out of my tastes though, as I like funny, goofy anime mostly, though I do like some action anime. I don't know why this is.

SAO does have some good comedy moments I like to think, but the main focus is on the action and romance, as well as building the lore of the game itself, so I can see why it may not be as appealing to people who don't care for action.

4 hours ago, cmarston1 said:

I hear that it is pretty awful so I never bothered to check it out.

It's all a matter of opinion really, I get that way of thinking though. Sometimes when you hear something's bad, It's only natural human instinct to stay away from it, and that's fair enough. I don't think an entire franchise should be judged entirely on word of mouth though, whether I love or hate something I'll always at least look at it so I can justify my feelings about it.

2 hours ago, Prospekt said:

I'm not a big MMORPG fan (can't stand WoW...) but the very premise of Sword Art Online is beautiful. Well, the English dub isn't very good, but the subbed version is very watchable. Come to think of it, I still need to watch the second season. :sunbutt:  And I still need to see the movie.

The premise does sort of shift focus from season to season unfortunately, and I prefer the first season over the second but that's not to say season 2 isn't worth looking at.

2 hours ago, WokeSmeed said:

It's been a while since I've watched it, so I'm probably not remembering all of this right. I also only watched the first arc. It felt kind of like it was going for a harem anime style, but stopped after introducing the characters. I mean, there's what, three male characters (one of which is the protagonist) in the show compared to six girls? I've got mixed feelings with that, though. I'm not a fan of harem anime, but I'm also not a fan of not using set up plots (once again, it's been a while since I've seen the show, so I might not be remembering this right.) I did like the animation, though. From what I remember, the writing was pretty good. That sorta murder mystery episode was easily my favorite part of the series. I didn't like that it kept going on after the 15th-ish episode since that was a great place to end the show.

I'm probably going to rewatch it, honestly. I might give the second half of the show another try. From what I hear, there's a sequel series (with guns as a focus, so that's a plus.)

A lot of people compare SAO to a harem, but I never really got that comparison. Just because there are a lot of female characters, doesn't make it a harem in my eyes. And even if it was, I like harems, I don't see where the negativity is in that. There's a lot of mystery solving in SAO but I don't like how the conclusions Kirito and co come to are sort of out of the blue and aren't based on factual evidence.

2 hours ago, driz said:

There sure is a lot of negative response to it around the internet, that much I know... :D

I haven't watched it yet, so I can't really form a proper opinion. But from what I've seen in some videos and screenshots, the artstyle and animation are gorgeous, and some character designs are really cool as well. I tend not to let other's opinions influence me too much, so I'll most likely check it out for myself some time.

Not much to say about this one, I essentially agree on all fronts here.

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It has it's pros. Getting trapped in a video game isn't new (*cough* .hack *couch* ) but the way they did it, having tens of thousands trapped and exploring that in depth was a novel idea. The show has a beautiful art style, high production and well animated scenes at times. And I liked hwo it explored charatcers actually getting used to the world aroudn them, ratehr than playign the game. Episode 3 could've (and should've) set the tone for the whole series and the murder mystery arc was a fun watch.  Oh and I like the opening themes. 

But I do understand the hate as well.

The opening intros are rather unspectacular. Season two's opening contains a uprising amount of spoilers. The first season was fine in most regards, barring one scene in particular which kills the stakes of the whole show, and that ending. That ending was god awful and reeks of lazy writing. Season two felt very off. It felt like a different anime in some regards. Plus it turned Asuna, the strong willed female protagonist, into a damsel in distress. The characters are indeed one dimensional, and Kirito is a bland, overpowered Mary sue. Season 3 I haven't watched but based on reviews, it sounds ridiculously convoluted. 

I kinda get why it is the way it is. As mentioned, it's a self insert power fantasy for the young boys of Japan to project onto and the young girls to fall in love with. Not an excuse though for it's flaws. SAO is an entertaining show. But that doesn't mean it's a good show. I want to like it. But it's frustrating how many shortcuts, bland characters, leaps in logic, the tone shifting from a dramatic tragedy to a romance harem and just plain bad writing creator Reki Kawahara, were  allowed to exist. SAO was just alright, when it should've been great. It frustrates me. 

This guy mostly shares my views. 

Also for an anime on video games, Reiki Kawahara didn't do his research. 

 

I mean, it's not like SAO couldn't have been great. Just a few changes here and their would've made this show golden. Like these guys did. 

 

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9 minutes ago, OmegaBeamOfficial said:

A lot of people compare SAO to a harem, but I never really got that comparison. Just because there are a lot of female characters, doesn't make it a harem in my eyes.

People like to call SAO a harem anime due to the fact that practically every female character Kirito intereacts with ends up falling for him. 

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1 minute ago, Yamet said:

People like to call SAO a harem anime due to the fact that practically every female character Kirito intereacts with ends up falling for him. 

That's a fair point, I wish Kirito would meet a girl who they were just friends with for once.

 

2 hours ago, Yamet said:

Eh, it's pretty bad if you ask me.  

Every female character has the personality of a piece of cardboard and only exist so that Kirito can help them and seem like a more likeable character than he is (and so he can add them to his nonexistent harem, of course). Kirito himself is an insanely overpowered mary sue. The writing is decent at best during the first arc  (granted, there's two exceptions, namely the first episode and the murder mystery one), and downright terrible after that.   

Just to quickly talk about your other points too, here's my view on those. The characters aren't the best admittedly in terms of fleshing them out, but I think they have enough individual traits to distinguish them from each other. Season 2 did a lot better on the characters front, where characters like Asuna, Sinon and Yuuki had WAY more depth to them than before, with Asuna maybe being the only exception, I have a feeling since she's the main heroine she got the most development. Kirito is likeable to me but I can totally see a sort of mary sue side to him, I get that. His prowess doesn't irk me often, I rather like it and I think the fact he's emotionally vulnerable and kind balances out his physical capabilities, however some moments are complete boosh, like him suddenly coming back to life after dying to Heathcliff with no real explanation given.

2 hours ago, They call me Loyalty said:

A formulaic power fantasy, which appeals young viewers to project themselves into sterile stereotypes.

Likely to be incompatible beyond a certain degree of mental maturity.

I dunno how to feel about this one, it doesn't really explain much. Formulaic? I don't think I've heard of another anime with a premise like SAO. Stereotypical? See my replies above. And the mental maturity thing sounds kind of mocking, as in you're saying "if you like this show you aren't mature". This reply puzzled me the most, sorry if I sound harsh but I can't really think of any other way to put it.

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8 minutes ago, OmegaBeamOfficial said:

That's a fair point, I wish Kirito would meet a girl who they were just friends with for once.

 

Just to quickly talk about your other points too, here's my view on those. The characters aren't the best admittedly in terms of fleshing them out, but I think they have enough individual traits to distinguish them from each other. Season 2 did a lot better on the characters front, where characters like Asuna, Sinon and Yuuki had WAY more depth to them than before, with Asuna maybe being the only exception, I have a feeling since she's the main heroine she got the most development. Kirito is likeable to me but I can totally see a sort of mary sue side to him, I get that. His prowess doesn't irk me often, I rather like it and I think the fact he's emotionally vulnerable and kind balances out his physical capabilities, however some moments are complete boosh, like him suddenly coming back to life after dying to Heathcliff with no real explanation given.

They actually were on the path of making Kirito a relatatible human being. The online novel had him and Sachi being much closer than they were in the anime, and her death hit him extremely hard. A lot harder than it did in the anime, where he broods for an episode or two, then moves on. But then again, the anime & manga versions pretty much retconned Kirito x Sachi, and the mature tone of the series gradually faded. 

Edited by Denim&Venom
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13 minutes ago, Denim&Venom said:

It has it's pros. Getting trapped in a video game isn't new (*cough* .hack *couch* ) but the way they did it, having tens of thousands trapped and exploring that in depth was a novel idea. The show has a beautiful art style, high production and well animated scenes at times. And I liked hwo it explored charatcers actually getting used to the world aroudn them, ratehr than playign the game. Episode 3 could've (and should've) set the tone for the whole series and the murder mystery arc was a fun watch.  Oh and I like the opening themes. 

But I do understand the hate as well.

The opening intros are rather unspectacular. Season two's opening contains a uprising amount of spoilers. The first season was fine in most regards, barring one scene in particular which kills the stakes of the whole show, and that ending. That ending was god awful and reeks of lazy writing. Season two felt very off. It felt like a different anime in some regards. Plus it turned Asuna, the strong willed female protagonist, into a damsel in distress. The characters are indeed one dimensional, and Kirito is a bland, overpowered Mary sue. Season 3 I haven't watched but based on reviews, it sounds ridiculously convoluted. 

I kinda get why it is the way it is. As mentioned, it's a self insert power fantasy for the young boys of Japan to project onto and the young girls to fall in love with. Not an excuse though for it's flaws. SAO is an entertaining show. But that doesn't mean it's a good show. I want to like it. But it's frustrating how many shortcuts, bland characters, leaps in logic, the tone shifting from a dramatic tragedy to a romance harem and just plain bad writing creator Reki Kawahara, were  allowed to exist. SAO was just alright, when it should've been great. It frustrates me. 

This guy mostly shares my views. 

Also for an anime on video games, Reiki Kawahara didn't do his research. 

 

I mean, it's not like SAO couldn't have been great. Just a few changes here and their would've made this show golden. Like these guys did. 

 

For the first part, I think we're totally in agreement on that.

I liked the intro, and actually never really noticed any spoilers in it, but hey, maybe I was just being an idiot. I can't pin which "killing stakes" scene you're talking about so It's hard for me to talk about. Personally, I think SAO 1's ending wasn't terrible, but it left a lot of things unanswered and didn't close off the arcs of a lot of characters,albeit in exchange for a nice happy ending. It feels more like just the end of one arc rather than an entire series. SAO 2 did the ending much better I believe. And yeah, i always thought something was up with Asuna in the first arc of season 2, why does she always hang back as a healer now? But I think the Mother's Rosario arc kind of brought her back to snuff. I already touched on why I don't think the characters are one dimensional in other replies and don't wanna repeat myself, but It's interesting to discuss. And like I replied to another user, I don't think Kirito is an all out mary sue, but he has some really big ass pull bullshit moments where he becomes a mary sue for a short time.

Self insert? Actually, yeah, I can see it being that way kinda. Shortcuts? Yeah, I agree with you on those too, the amount of time skips when there's potential for so much more interesting content is criminal. As for the whole tragedy/romantic thing, I actually think it combines and blends those two sides pretty well, and keeps them separate when they need to. What I'm saying is the show knows when it needs to be romantic, and when it needs to be dramatic. I've already said before I don't think It's a harem, but I get that viewpoint a little clearer now. And SAO in itself I don't think is a realism based show, so I can take logic leaps with a grain of salt, but I can agree there are moments that are just TOO out there and nonsensical in both seasons.

Just a quick add about the last few parts, I still need to look at the abridged series, I hear It's good. And yup, there were times when I questioned if these games had shoddy design, but I always thought of that as an intentional thing, like them showing that these VRMMO's aren't fully perfected as a genre and have their qwirks and kinks that should be ironed out, that's the vibe I got anyway.

12 minutes ago, Denim&Venom said:

They actually were on the path of making Kirito a relatatible human being. The online novel had him and Sachi being much closer than they were in the anime, and her death hit him extremely hard. A lot harder than it did in the anime, where he broods for an episode or two, then moves on. But then again, the anime & manga versions pretty much retconned Kirito x Sachi, and the mature tone of the series gradually faded. 

Oh yeah, i forgot about Sachi. I thought her character and view of the situation was interesting and wished they explored it a little more before her death. I would disagree on the matter of the brooding though, I do remember that later on Asuna is told what Kirito did, and he remembers what happened with the members of the guild including Sachi in a morbid fashion, it gives him a reason for his rather solo nature, he doesn't want things like that to happen, or for people to get hurt. While I don't think the anime would be better off with Sachi X Kirito, because I like his connection with Asuna, I may have to look into the novels, the idea of those two being closer intrigues me.

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4 minutes ago, OmegaBeamOfficial said:

The characters aren't the best admittedly in terms of fleshing them out, but I think they have enough individual traits to distinguish them from each other. Season 2 did a lot better on the characters front, where characters like Asuna, Sinon and Yuuki had WAY more depth to them than before, with Asuna maybe being the only exception, I have a feeling since she's the main heroine she got the most development

I'm not saying that the characters are identical, but they are kind of one-dimensional. Maybe that improves in season 2, I don't really know. I only watched the first half of that season. 

9 minutes ago, OmegaBeamOfficial said:

Kirito is likeable to me but I can totally see a sort of mary sue side to him, I get that. His prowess doesn't irk me often, I rather like it and I think the fact he's emotionally vulnerable and kind balances out his physical capabilities

I fail to see how being kind does anything to balance out the fact that he is insanely powerful, but whatever. And while it's true that he's emotionally vulnerable, it still doesn't really justify how powerful he is since he's able to win most fights without a problem. Heck, sometimes it seems like the rules of whatever game he's playing doesn't really apply to him *cough*Gun Gale Online*cough*. 

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3 minutes ago, OmegaBeamOfficial said:

Personally, I think SAO 1's ending wasn't terrible, but it left a lot of things unanswered and didn't close off the arcs of a lot of characters,albeit in exchange for a nice happy ending.

One of those unanswered things being the main villains motivations for doing anything and everything in the story. We don't even know why the events in the story, the central conflict, ever got rolling. 

6 minutes ago, OmegaBeamOfficial said:

t. I can't pin which "killing stakes" scene you're talking about so It's hard for me to talk about.

That would be when Kirito goes from a beta testing game ace to the ultimate teenage computer hacking prodigy in the span of a few seconds, and saves Yui. That one moment, while it was a nice, feel good moment, pretty much undermined the life and death stakes of the game and killed the dramatic tension. 

10 minutes ago, OmegaBeamOfficial said:

I liked the intro, and actually never really noticed any spoilers in it, but hey, maybe I was just being an idiot.

This might elaborate some things. 

 

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17 minutes ago, Yamet said:

I'm not saying that the characters are identical, but they are kind of one-dimensional. Maybe that improves in season 2, I don't really know. I only watched the first half of that season. 

I fail to see how being kind does anything to balance out the fact that he is insanely powerful, but whatever. And while it's true that he's emotionally vulnerable, it still doesn't really justify how powerful he is since he's able to win most fights without a problem. Heck, sometimes it seems like the rules of whatever game he's playing doesn't really apply to him *cough*Gun Gale Online*cough*. 

Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear what I meant. What I was going for is that most people who are that powerful are brutish bragging assholes, but Kirito's not like that, he's more relatable and likeable because of that, he's humble. As for the fight scenes, yeah, GGO had some really stupid moments when it came to Kirito's battles, though the fact he's such a good fighter really proves his dedication to beating the game, it might be because he cares more, or if we were to just go with a simpler reason, he's good at video games.

14 minutes ago, GunPLa_FIniSH_4 said:

At first, it was okay as I started to watch the episodes. But as time goes on, it seems to be getting uninteresting for me, so I stopped watching the show. Therefore, I just watch random clips of Kirito being OP and stuff. :wacko:

Fair enough, I get that. Sometimes only certain aspects of a show appeal to people, I feel the same way about Attack On Titan, never really cared for the olden style theme they had going.

13 minutes ago, Denim&Venom said:

One of those unanswered things being the main villains motivations for doing anything and everything in the story. We don't even know why the events in the story, the central conflict, ever got rolling. 

That would be when Kirito goes from a beta testing game ace to the ultimate teenage computer hacking prodigy in the span of a few seconds, and saves Yui. That one moment, while it was a nice, feel good moment, pretty much undermined the life and death stakes of the game and killed the dramatic tension. 

This might elaborate some things. 

 

In the case of the villain, I definitely agree his motivations should have been revealed then and there, and they would've been better off doing so. I think what they were going for is they were trying to say even the villain himself forgot why he was doing this, which is kind of half ass and cliche, still, It's better than his floor 1 monologue which was basically "I've done this, deal with it". Although interestingly his reasoning and intentions unravelled as it moves forward into SAO 2, I would've much preferred again that they showed this in the season 1 ending but at least they did something, because season 2 shows he actually had good intentions for the VR technology and had a side that wanted to help people. I like villains when they actually have duality like that, as in they have morality, they can do bad things and good things. It's much better than the standard "I'm doing this because It's all I do, I'm crazy and evil, just roll with it" approach.

In Yui's case, she wasn't a player but technically an AI, the same rules don't apply to her, so I don't think that undermines the stakes because she isn't a player. We've seen the effects of the game's rules on the players before this with Sachi and co, that's not what Yui's fake death was trying to do in my opinion, but as good a scene as it is in terms of feels it's only purpose is to give Kirito another mary sue moment which is annoying, essentially Yui had no reason to die.

Edited by OmegaBeamOfficial
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2 minutes ago, OmegaBeamOfficial said:

Um... I dunno how to comment on this one. MAY-MAYS!

Translation for normal people--

Literally nothing can kill Kirito the apathetic.

 

And that's half of what makes the show xD

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6 minutes ago, Nitumby said:

Translation for normal people--

Literally nothing can kill Kirito the apathetic.

 

And that's half of what makes the show xD

True, that does make up a fair amount of the show, Kirito being a badass and occasionally turning into a Mary Sue. Main character immunity folks.

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I personally don't like it for many of the same reasons already mentioned above me. I personally could only get through half of the first season before dropping it for something else. The characters just seem too flat and bland and the main character is way too overpowered for me to relate to them. Also the fact that the game its self is pretty poorly put together, the gamer side of me...which is my largest side...also gets kicked out of the moment whenever something obviously wrong with the game design its self is brought about.

However, to anyone who likes the anime, that's great! We all have our own tastes, and I'm glad you found something that you like. :grin:

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40 minutes ago, Blood Moon said:

I personally don't like it for many of the same reasons already mentioned above me. I personally could only get through half of the first season before dropping it for something else. The characters just seem too flat and bland and the main character is way too overpowered for me to relate to them. Also the fact that the game its self is pretty poorly put together, the gamer side of me...which is my largest side...also gets kicked out of the moment whenever something obviously wrong with the game design its self is brought about.

However, to anyone who likes the anime, that's great! We all have our own tastes, and I'm glad you found something that you like. :grin:

I would say a little more about the characters, game desing and Kirito's OP thing but I'd just be repeating myself, and I'd prefer not to do that too much now.

3 minutes ago, K.Rool Addict said:

Shitty animu with bad characters, bad writing, mediocre animation, and generic music. I rate 2.5/10 D:

Wow... Uh... Sorry, I pretty much I disagree with everything you said here. Except that maybe the writing Isn't exactly amazaaahhh, but It's not terrible. Again, i would elaborate, but I've said it all before at this point, and since this was quite a short reply, I think it needs a short answer. Really sorry that we can't agree on much, I've noticed that as we talked in other threads :(

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