Synonyms: S.A.O, SAO
Published: Apr 10, 2009 to ?
Score: 8.631 (scored by 6001 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisEscape was impossible until it was cleared; a game over would mean an actual "death"―.
Without knowing the "truth" of the mysterious next generation MMO, 'Sword Art Online(SAO)', approximately ten thousand users logged in together, opening the curtains to this cruel death battle.
Participating alone in SAO, protagonist Kirito had promptly accepted the "truth" of this MMO.
And in the game world, a gigantic floating castle named 'Aincrad', he distinguished himself as a solo player.
Aiming to clear the game by reaching the highest floor, Kirito riskily continued alone.
Because of a pushy invitation from a female warrior and rapier expert, Asuna, he teamed up with her.
That encounter brought about an opportunity to call out to the fated Kirito―
Related MangaAlternative version: Sword Art Online: Aincrad, Sword Art Online: Fairy Dance
Side story: Sword Art Online - Side Stories, Sword Art Online: Progressive, Sword Art Online: Girls Ops, Sword Art Online: Celeste no Yousei, Sword Art Online SS: Caliber SS (Failure Side), Sword Art Online dj - Material Edition, Sword Art Online dj - Lisbeth Edition, Sword Art Online dj - Silica Edition, Sword Art Online dj - Pina Edition
Adaptation: Sword Art Online, Sword Art Online II
Note: The hate towards the anime adaptation has begun converting directly to the novel. However, the general consensus is that the novel is superior to the anime, and I would like to just say that the novel isn't necessarily going to be as 'bad' as the anime. I won't tell you to give the novel a go if you hated the anime however, as it is likely that you will start reading the novel with a biased and negative opinion, which never ends well. Or this could just not be for you. Either way, onto the review:
Sword Art Online. Also known as SAO, this series currently (at the time of this review) stands as the second top ranking Light Novel on MAL, and 11th when including Manga. First published in April 2009, it has continually gained popularity, currently having 10 volumes and multiple side stories which will only keep increasing with time. So why is this series so popular? There is a reason behind everything, and this is no exception.
The story gives the rest of the series a good setting to work with, making it possible to create all sorts of little stories from them. And you know what? A lot of the content in SAO is actually in fact, side stories that happen during the game. This is to be expected, as MMOs allow you to meet with a variety of people and experience new things as the heroes of the story move up and up the great castle called Aincrad. All of them are entertaining, and slowly allows the reader to understand the main character's personality and feelings with each one that is told. I found myself learning new things about the protagonist all the time! The attention to detail that the author provides is also amazing. A lot of the common plot holes that one would expect are well explained and covered, leaving you satisfied and not confused in any way.
(+) Setting allows for a variety of interesting and unique experiences
(+) Lots of battles with monsters to hunt and train, which are described well
(±) Romance that develops pretty fast
(−) Sometimes predictable
Not much to say really, except for the fact that the artwork is very well drawn.
(+) Nice character designs
For me, characters usually make or break the show/book/whatever. And in this case, they make it. The protagonist Kirito is NOT one of those losers who only occasionally turn GAR only when they absolutely have to, but one of those people who are consistently strong and reliable all the way through. His thoughts are also well portrayed in the form of monologues, adding to his character. The heroine of the series, Asuna, is very well-known and popular in the game for both her skill and her looks, but that isn't the end of her character. She also has her own will and thoughts, and can actually keep up with the protagonist in a fight. The MMO aspect allows for a variety of other interesting characters, each with their own different views and pasts. A solid 9.
(+) Main character [Kirito] is actually likable and cool, without the usual 'self-pitying phases' that we all hate
(+) Main heroine can actually do something herself and doesn't always have to be saved
(+) A wide variety are present
(±) Kirito is pretty much a Gary Stu at times
(−) A lot of the villains aren't that well developed
I REALLY enjoyed this series as a whole, and finished 7 volumes in around 3 days (currently up to volume 10). It kept me wanting more the whole time, and really showed me just how much a light novel can have an impact on you. Although this is not my first, it is most definitely the first light novel to force me to write a positive review about it.
(+) Once you start reading, it's hard to stop
(±) REALLY makes you thirst to play a VRMMORPG which, as of yet, remains a dream
In the end, I never really had anything bad to say about the series. Of course it has its flaws, but I felt that they didn't stand out much- you would probably do a much better job than me at finding them while reading the series. Highly recommended for people who play/used to play MMORPGs (although you don't have to), and those who like action and sci-fi with a hint of romance.
If this has still not convinced you to read this series, then... I am well and truly sorry for your loss. read more
Sword Art Online is about a virtual reality MMORPG. It is set on 2022, where humanity has finally for the first time able to completely go inside the game world using virtual reality technology.
At first I didn't really put high expectation to it, since it's genre is quite mainstream, like .hack G.U. or Yureka, but with a tint taste of darkness; Death is real here.
But the more I read it, the more I find myself enjoying the proggress of the story. The writer, Kawahara Reki gives a really realistic system and surrounding of said VR game, and it makes us able to completely drowned ourselves to the story.
-Story is 8/10. Volume 1 is an extremely solid story, and the best foundation for a series. One would feel really attached to the series 'SAO' just by reading volume 1, even those who initially did not like reading (I have my friends as living proof). Plus, dat damn cliffhanger ending would hook everyone to keep reading this series. The story also pull you in it deep, making you feel really experiencing the MMO Sword Art Online. There are plotholes, but those are covered and well-explained as the story progress.
Oh, and don't forget the vanilla taste, one of my favorite genre in this novel.
However, after volume 4, one MIGHT feel the story is being dragged on and on and making you feel the story has no purpose, by getting further from SAO itself. Several of my friends dropped SAO after volume 4, saying "it's pointless to read further, the story is as good as ended" to me. But the hell with it, I enjoyed reading SAO.
Alicization Arc is where most people dropped this series, as several of my fellow reader did. Nearly all old chara's was thrown away, so to speak, and new charas popping up here and there. Only our protagonist and heroine has major plot. I can see why most people would hate this.
My argument is: each arc can be said as different series. I would hold my opinion considering Alicization until it is finished, but each of SAO arc is like a different series for me. There's no need to forcefully include one arc's chara in other arc. Each arc has its own solid ground and story, so the whole SAO novel is like several different series. Not all people would agree to me on this, and it's fine since everyone has their own cup of tea.
-Art is 8/10. Art rarely shows up on novel, unlike manga, but the art for this novel is drawn really nicely, hats off for abec-san the illustrator. Both the design and the drawing are really nice, mainly the character design, they really fit the characters.
-Character is 8/10. Chara amazing as well. Kirito, the unsocial but headstrong protagonist is depicted as nearly perfect guy, but in the inside he is not. He actually felt a bit like Gary Stu, but at the same time also not. He's not the character who suddenly went badass together with a turning point in the story, he's a reliable guy through and through. But the perfect sides of him is only on net. His other face, the reality side is practically a social nerd, one who don't get over his problem and haunted by it. Kawahara Reki managed to succesfully give the main character Kirito almighty-but-not-overpowered. Some flaw is also given to this MC , but they blend nicely with the positive sides and creates an anti-hero-but-still-hero of a character (at least for me).
The mainly 'main' heroine, Asuna, is 'Mary Sue' at first impression. Yes, the perfect girl and the perfect waifu, one may say she is a boring character. She's not. She had her flaws. She is a social reject, pretty much, with family rejection issues and such. Yet those blend with all her aspect too.
The qualities are told together with the story, not just with narration power, making them and the chara felt real.The readers are slowly given and made understand about the chara, making them realistic. And that's what I like from SAO's chara.
Even the supporter side charas is designed greatly, each with redeeming qualities and flaws fitting for their roles for each arc.
Then again, there are several people who will argue me on this and said 'no chara development' 'old chara is one use only' and such. I had my arguments for this. Kirito is the sole source and focus in whole novel, yes. Everyone else is purely secondary. Every arc was focused only to him. And I say he got a lot of character development in each arc. For other chara, their development is only on their own arc, but those development exist as well. So what I meant to say is whole SAO development is about the main protagonist Kirito. Other side-charas is truly side charas.
-Enjoyment 10/10. This. THIS. THIS is the most important thing for a novel. Many people dislike reading novel because seeing only writings and letter can be boring. This is the biggest hurdle for a novel. A novel must be able to give enjoyment to the readers and pull them into the story itself, so not only the reader read the story, but also imagining them or even live them. Even the simplest of stories can be a great story if told with great enjoyment. And SAO has really gives me enjoyment to maximum when reading it. Kawahara Reki has succesfully narrate SAO with no Deus ex Machina and amazing detailed writings, yet it only draws the reader more. It is my most important aspect for reading and grading a novel.
Overall, I gave 10 out of 10 for SAO. I appreciated enjoyment the most out of all novel qualities. SAO has really make me enjoy the story and pull me into it. Not to mention other aspects is also enjoyable. It has flaws, but it doesn't make SAO less enjoyable, some even give a unique quality to SAO. Ten it is.
Up to now, Sword Art Online has reached vol 11, which according to the creator a 'restart' arc of SAO. Kirito is back to, as to say, level 1, and once again rides the journey to the top of 'dungeon'. Many has differing and somewhat disappointed concerning volume 11, including me, since this volume is the turning arc. But the ending gives off a realistic depiction and a gnawing cliffhanger. I myself would hold my opinion concerning Alicization Arc, but I do think the ending won't be disappointing.
P.S.: I effing hate the anime adaptation. Made a revies (ranting) of it too.
(END) read more
-they have the same author
-both have virtual reality games
-both have a system where they can dive into the online network
-they have different kinds of characters, kirito and haruyuki are two sides of the same coin, complete opposites but have similar roles, kirito is the cool black hero, while haruyuki is the shining silver knight but the one thing they have in common is that they both of them are good with VR games and are both are the ones who save the day
-SAO is more of fighting to stay alive and for freedom while accel world is more of fighting to keep on fighting, to become the strongest
-they have the same author
-Both deal with Virtual Reality
-Light Novel even Involves A Crossover in which both of the main characters meet.
Main Differences are in the main character design both in virtual reality and outside of it. Kirito is portrayed more of the dark swordsman, while Haruyuki is more of a shining knight. While outside of the Virtual Reality, Haruyuki is overweight and shy, while Kirito is semi-underweight (from spending 2 years in virtual reality) and outgoing. Also Sword Arts Online is more like a team deathmatch, where dying in game equals dying in real life while Accel World is more of fighting to keep your Accel abilty.
Both main characters are highschool students that get trapped in a fantasy land and end up becoming one of the most power full people in that world (A.K.A badass), both have a large focus on romance that actually develops, both are great books.
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