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REVIEW: Sword Art Online (Season 1)

Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,068
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1/13/2015 4:06:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Plot Overview:
In the year 2022, a Japanese genius guy (kind of a redundant statement, lol) develops the world's first Virtual Massively Multiplayer Role-Playing Game (VMMRPG), a game called "Sword Art Online". The game is a VR Game which was designed for the "NerveGear" console. It's a helmet which, when worn, connects directly to your brain and taps into all 5 senses, making the virtual world seem (almost) as real as real life.
Anyway, on the day that the story starts, 10,000 copies of Sword Art Online are being distributed.
Once most of the 10,000 players are "logged in", the players suddenly lose the ability to log out and the game designer announces that they may not leave the game until one of the players clears the game, which consists of 100 "floors" (levels). He who defeats the final boss on floor 100 beats the game.
Among these players is Kazuto Kirigawa, an anti-social Japanese teenager who prefers video games to real life (apparently he took it pretty hard whenever he discovered his little sister was actually his cousin).
Trapped in the game for thousands of other players, Kazuto Kirigawa goes by the username "Kirito". He was a "beta tester" for an earlier version of the game, so he has extra experience in playing the game, meaning that he's one of the game's best players.
He meets another player, "Asuna", and the two of them share numerous adventures together during their time in the game.
They eventually fall in love and get married (only within the game, of course).

The game goes on for over 2 years, and then Kirito defeats the final boss. Then he wakes up in real life for the first time in 2 years, in a hospital room. He discovers that Asuna (which is her real life as well as in the game) hasn't woken up from the game. That's whenever the second story arc begins, but that's all I feel like explaining.

Review:
Though it is not the perfect show, there is much to praise about Sword Art Online. For instance, it seems the producers knew what a modern video was actually like instead of relying upon 1980s video game stereotypes. That is, it felt like an actual game instead of a cliche of what old people think video games are like (no offense to old people, by the way).
The fight scenes are cool, but thankfully they knew not to fill up the episodes with 50% fight scenes. Had they done that, they would've had little time to tell their finely crafted story. Some of those scenes were really something, and it was satisfying watching Kirito finish off the second story arc villain in the particularly painful way that he did.
The characters are interesting, and the producers clearly were not afraid to delve into controversial plotlines, which is both good and bad.
Kirito is in many ways your typical talented Asian gamer teenager guy, but in many ways he isn't. He is single-minded and focused whenever he has a task he feels he needs to complete. However, he is also seemingly oblivious to the mad crushes that female characters have for him (which seems to happen every other episode).
He has a level of maturity that you would not expect from someone his age. He is a believable character overall (in my opinion).
Unfortunately, the producers seemed to know little about how to construct a believable female character, and Asuna is (usually) not a believable character. In regards to the way female characters act they seemed to have forgotten at times that the story takes place in the 2020s and not the 1800s.
There's a bunch of side characters, such as the black bartender guy, "Klein" (a more real lazy gamer guy in his 20s who acts surprisingly American), "Yui" (an AI program of a young girl), and "Recon" (second story arc).
Then there's Suguha, proof that Japanese people are used to plotlines which would be extremely controversial in the United States. Then again, this character's behavior would be understandable in a post-gay society (which has almost been accomplished in the United States and will almost certainly be accomplished by 2022).
Suguha (or something close to that) is that character who hadn't seen her brother Kazuto for 2 years, hadn't seen much of him even before that, has issues from him shutting her out of his life after learning they weren't biological siblings, and ultimately develops a crush on him.
Unlike the X-Files episode "Home" (*shudders at the thought of that episode*), her romantic desires for a close family member are not portrayed in a negative light (they dramatized it in the second story arc credits), and I must admit that it definitely made the story more interesting to watch.

Like I said, the story is not perfect. Some people have criticized the show for overly sexualizing its female characters, and I must agree with this sentiment.
Also, too much "fan service". It was irritating at times. Fortunately, it did very little to ruin SAO.
It was also quite mushy and sappy at times, to the point where I got embarrassed that my mom was also in the Living Room and I skipped some of the mushy sappy romance.
Not to say that the romance didn't compliment the show, because it did. The show would've been less good overall were all the romance between Kirito and Asuna not inserted in the story.
The language wasn't much of an issue, except for 2 instances of them saying g**d**n (in episode 2 and in episode 24).

The show by the very nature of its plot had the potential for some very deep, complex storylines, which I hope they did in Season 2.

4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it!
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

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phantom
Posts: 6,774
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1/13/2015 10:05:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
This show lost its appeal after season 1. Season 2 completely ruined it for me, which angers me since I loved the first season.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,068
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1/13/2015 10:40:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/13/2015 10:05:02 PM, phantom wrote:
This show lost its appeal after season 1. Season 2 completely ruined it for me, which angers me since I loved the first season.

I wouldn't know. What I do know is that it has 1 less episode than Season 1.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

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phantom
Posts: 6,774
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1/13/2015 11:16:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/13/2015 10:40:44 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 1/13/2015 10:05:02 PM, phantom wrote:
This show lost its appeal after season 1. Season 2 completely ruined it for me, which angers me since I loved the first season.

I wouldn't know. What I do know is that it has 1 less episode than Season 1.

I wouldn't even bother with the next season. The first season was already pretty flawed, but it still drew you in. Season 2 has even more flaws and I despise where they went with the story and what they did with the characters. Save yourself the disappointment.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Blade-of-Truth
Posts: 5,020
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1/13/2015 11:19:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/13/2015 10:05:02 PM, phantom wrote:
This show lost its appeal after season 1. Season 2 completely ruined it for me, which angers me since I loved the first season.

Agreed.
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Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,068
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1/18/2015 1:19:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/13/2015 10:05:02 PM, phantom wrote:
This show lost its appeal after season 1. Season 2 completely ruined it for me, which angers me since I loved the first season.

I've watched 2 episodes of Season 2 and it seems okay so far.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

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https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

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Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,068
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1/22/2015 5:54:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/13/2015 11:16:59 PM, phantom wrote:
At 1/13/2015 10:40:44 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 1/13/2015 10:05:02 PM, phantom wrote:
This show lost its appeal after season 1. Season 2 completely ruined it for me, which angers me since I loved the first season.

I wouldn't know. What I do know is that it has 1 less episode than Season 1.

I wouldn't even bother with the next season. The first season was already pretty flawed, but it still drew you in. Season 2 has even more flaws and I despise where they went with the story and what they did with the characters. Save yourself the disappointment.

I've watched 9 episodes and there's no indication whatsoever that Season 2 is of lower quality than Season 1. That might change after the GGO arc, though.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

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RevNge
Posts: 13,835
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1/22/2015 6:02:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/22/2015 5:54:48 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 1/13/2015 11:16:59 PM, phantom wrote:
At 1/13/2015 10:40:44 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 1/13/2015 10:05:02 PM, phantom wrote:
This show lost its appeal after season 1. Season 2 completely ruined it for me, which angers me since I loved the first season.

I wouldn't know. What I do know is that it has 1 less episode than Season 1.

I wouldn't even bother with the next season. The first season was already pretty flawed, but it still drew you in. Season 2 has even more flaws and I despise where they went with the story and what they did with the characters. Save yourself the disappointment.

I've watched 9 episodes and there's no indication whatsoever that Season 2 is of lower quality than Season 1. That might change after the GGO arc, though.

It gets even worse after the GGO arc, but I still like the series (Mother's Rosario wasn't as hyped up as I thought it to be, though). I'm seriously hoping they'll do SAO III and make an anime adaptation of the Alicization Arc.
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,068
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1/22/2015 6:51:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/22/2015 6:02:23 PM, RevNge wrote:
At 1/22/2015 5:54:48 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 1/13/2015 11:16:59 PM, phantom wrote:
At 1/13/2015 10:40:44 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 1/13/2015 10:05:02 PM, phantom wrote:
This show lost its appeal after season 1. Season 2 completely ruined it for me, which angers me since I loved the first season.

I wouldn't know. What I do know is that it has 1 less episode than Season 1.

I wouldn't even bother with the next season. The first season was already pretty flawed, but it still drew you in. Season 2 has even more flaws and I despise where they went with the story and what they did with the characters. Save yourself the disappointment.

I've watched 9 episodes and there's no indication whatsoever that Season 2 is of lower quality than Season 1. That might change after the GGO arc, though.

It gets even worse after the GGO arc, but I still like the series (Mother's Rosario wasn't as hyped up as I thought it to be, though). I'm seriously hoping they'll do SAO III and make an anime adaptation of the Alicization Arc.

It's pretty good right now. Wielding a lightsaber ripoff, "trans" Kirito (though the only different thing about his GGO avatar is its hair length, lol) allies himself with a gun-phobic sniper to take on an angry SAO veteran who was with Laughing Coffin. It can't get much better than that. Good theme song as well.
But like you said, perhaps it gets worse. It seems like it's probably 10 episodes of filler with them returning to Aincrad and such, which doesn't sound too bad.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

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https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

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RevNge
Posts: 13,835
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1/22/2015 6:53:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/22/2015 6:51:35 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 1/22/2015 6:02:23 PM, RevNge wrote:
At 1/22/2015 5:54:48 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 1/13/2015 11:16:59 PM, phantom wrote:
At 1/13/2015 10:40:44 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 1/13/2015 10:05:02 PM, phantom wrote:
This show lost its appeal after season 1. Season 2 completely ruined it for me, which angers me since I loved the first season.

I wouldn't know. What I do know is that it has 1 less episode than Season 1.

I wouldn't even bother with the next season. The first season was already pretty flawed, but it still drew you in. Season 2 has even more flaws and I despise where they went with the story and what they did with the characters. Save yourself the disappointment.

I've watched 9 episodes and there's no indication whatsoever that Season 2 is of lower quality than Season 1. That might change after the GGO arc, though.

It gets even worse after the GGO arc, but I still like the series (Mother's Rosario wasn't as hyped up as I thought it to be, though). I'm seriously hoping they'll do SAO III and make an anime adaptation of the Alicization Arc.

It's pretty good right now. Wielding a lightsaber ripoff, "trans" Kirito (though the only different thing about his GGO avatar is its hair length, lol) allies himself with a gun-phobic sniper to take on an angry SAO veteran who was with Laughing Coffin. It can't get much better than that. Good theme song as well.

Kirito should have duel wielded again, though.
But like you said, perhaps it gets worse. It seems like it's probably 10 episodes of filler with them returning to Aincrad and such, which doesn't sound too bad.

True, he does end up obtaining the Holy Sword Excaliber [sic].
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,068
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1/22/2015 6:54:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/22/2015 6:51:35 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 1/22/2015 6:02:23 PM, RevNge wrote:
At 1/22/2015 5:54:48 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 1/13/2015 11:16:59 PM, phantom wrote:
At 1/13/2015 10:40:44 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 1/13/2015 10:05:02 PM, phantom wrote:
This show lost its appeal after season 1. Season 2 completely ruined it for me, which angers me since I loved the first season.

I wouldn't know. What I do know is that it has 1 less episode than Season 1.

I wouldn't even bother with the next season. The first season was already pretty flawed, but it still drew you in. Season 2 has even more flaws and I despise where they went with the story and what they did with the characters. Save yourself the disappointment.

I've watched 9 episodes and there's no indication whatsoever that Season 2 is of lower quality than Season 1. That might change after the GGO arc, though.

It gets even worse after the GGO arc, but I still like the series (Mother's Rosario wasn't as hyped up as I thought it to be, though). I'm seriously hoping they'll do SAO III and make an anime adaptation of the Alicization Arc.

It's pretty good right now. Wielding a lightsaber ripoff, "trans" Kirito (though the only different thing about his GGO avatar is its hair length, lol) allies himself with a gun-phobic sniper to take on an angry SAO veteran who was with Laughing Coffin. It can't get much better than that. Good theme song as well.
But like you said, perhaps it gets worse. It seems like it's probably 10 episodes of filler with them returning to Aincrad and such, which doesn't sound too bad.

Of course, it's pretty ridiculous that he can react fast enough to deflect bullets. I mean, that scene in the theme song with him deflecting dozens of bullets from various directions isn't even slightly believable.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

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