After leaving out my spiced scavenged toad meat and deus ex machina milk for Santa, I knew that it was inevitably time. Time to unwrap the present that I never wanted to unwrap, the wool socks that awaited under the Christmas tree. Sword Art Online II. So boys and girls, I'm wearing my Grinch costume, and I'm ready to delve into the mess that is SAO season 2.
When I think of the controversial title, "Sword Art Online", the word that often times pops up into my head is "potential". It's like when you write a gift on your gift list for Santa that you
know could be really good because everyone said it would be, or really bad because somebody hated it. But with the Christmas spirit in me, I had hope. After all, Sword Art Online has always captured the interest of many with its bold attempt to tackle the Virtual Game genre, mixed with an artistic flair that was captivating and epic soundtrack. But I must have been naughty, because Santa checked his list and he checked it twice. And what I got in SAO II was nothing more than a big heaping lump of coal. My Christmas was ruined! Almost, at least. I was disappointed, and I was frustrated. The Phantom Bullet arc, the Excaliber arc and the Mother's Rosario arc all stained my mind. So I had to take time to digest some of it along with my eggnog.
The gift wrapping on Sword Art Online II was really pretty. I mean it was beautiful, perfectly in match with Christmas and with a gold ribbon surrounding its corners with a bow on top. On the outside, it looked pretty good so far! Just like the first season, Sword Art Online II went with a more dark theme in the Phantom Bullet arc where once again lives are in danger from a dangerous criminal and it's up to Kirito to save them again. Wait a minute, hold on. Let me look at that wrapping from season I again. I quickly pulled out my phone and looked at the wrapping for Season I, ah yes it was great as well, the whole trapped in a game, traumatising experience wrapping. But then, as I looked back at the second season it struck me. I hadn't seen it since I was a bit far away but, that wrapping had cow poop smeared all over it. Kirito's just a teenage boy, why does he have to investigate these crimes? I thought he was supposed to be traumatised, so why does he accept? Is Kirito insane in the membrane? Santa did me dirty on this one. What I thought would be a great present was just turned into disappointment and Christmas fluff.
But I was still optimistic. Maybe Santa just happened to stop in a barn recently and the stuff got on it by accident. Maybe there was a chance that the insides were still great! So I eagerly opened it up to see what was on the inside. Oh boy, what a surprise I was in for. The insides were half good, but because the other half was so bad, it just made everything else look bad. The fighting and animation of SAO was still top notch, as well as the soundtrack, meaning that the action was still action packed and thrilling. But for the plot, Santa had a sinister plan for me. For what seemed like a serious concept, SAO II's plot was filled with too many random moments that just destroyed anything serious about it. Kirito's interactions with Sinon were flirty and inappropriate. He even wore a female character model. Yes, just like SAO's plot, Kirito was dressed up to be way better than he actually was. What doomed Sword Art Online's first season was it's constant mucking around with female characters even though there was an established couple. It was much of the same in Sword Art Online II. Any compelling aspects of the murder mystery were turned into nonsensical goo as Kirito and Sinon drifted off to lala-land constantly under Asuna's nose. Thanks Santa, you big jerk.
You know when you get something that you didn't want for Christmas, and it's not even something good. It's something horrible. It's like getting a bag of only black liquorice jellybeans, it's dreadful and only takes away from your fantastic Christmas experience. That is what romance in Sword Art Online II was like. SAO tried to put in a few extra aspects to their present that were just not needed and horrendous. The first being the mindless "rom-com" aspects that I mentioned previously and now the actual romance. Santa must have had his thesaurus handy because this romance is... hold on I need a thesaurus myself. I'm running out of words to say bad and horrible. Ah yes, the romance is abhorrent and abominable (more than the snowman). Asuna and Kirito are pretty bad as a couple in the first place (there's nothing remotely interesting about them, especially since Asuna was reduced to a pile of weak generic female goo in season 1). But when Kirito is constantly fiddling around with other girls, it makes the whole thing laughable. SAO II is like a testosterone filled adolescent who can't help but ogle at the new girl on the street. Kirito must interact with every girl, yes. Kirito must show loyalty to Asuna only when the viewer is on the verge of giving up, yes. Maybe Santa wanted me to laugh myself to death on Christmas, because this is just too laughable. It just makes me feel the same as the moral system of Sword Art Online, hollow.
As if there was a cherry on top of my gift, Santa left me one last blasted and godforsaken aspect to my gift. Kirito's character. Ah yes. I think I'm going to have to add some stronger stuff to my eggnog to get through this. Kirito is a strong character I get it. But this is ridiculous. He's invincible. Kirito might as well show up in the Bible as Jesus because I wouldn't be surprised if they were supposed to be the same person. Flashback to Kirito exploding into digitalised pieces and coming back together inexplicably in season 1. That feeling of Deus Ex Machina was not lost in Season 2. You'll know it when you get there but it's just pathetic. You can't develop a character that just wins every fight and dismantles people. It's the problem Mahouka fell to and now that SAO will fall to again. I'm sending a bomb to the North Pole for this one Santa, you're gonna regret giving me this for Christmas.
Looking back, SAO II was a pretty bad present. But I can see why people would enjoy getting something like this. I mean SAO II has so many different aspects to it that it probably has something for everyone. It's a jack of all trades. In those combined 49 episodes and two seasons, there's a lot of different aspects to SAO. It could have chosen to be much less in a thematic stance, which may have made it much more in a content stance. And I'll give the creators credit where credit is due, most of this content is simply adapted from the light novels, so I guess that's where the root of the problem is. They've done a good job of adapting it. But Santa promised me a gift of a good series, and that is not what I got. The Mother's Rosario arc, yes it was alright. It was definitely a step in the right direction. But it was... too little too late from Santa because my Christmas was already long tainted. Sword Art Online II to its credit stays consistent in its overachieving attitude that falls short. But yeah, that's what SAO is at the end of the day. Not serious when it should be, disjointed and a bit sloppy. A jack of all trades, and most certainly a master of none. Merry Christmas to me.
But hey, as Christmas closes out, I'm sure we all have a lot to be thankful for. So whether Christmas is already over for you or you're waiting it out, enjoy the rest of your 2014 and beyond, MAL.
"So Kindle crept around in his lonely room,
Surrounded by the feelings of his holiday gloom,
Sword Art Online II lingered in his mind,
It wasn't very nice, it wasn't very kind
Filled with potential to be a great show,
Where it all went wrong he may never know,
But for Kindle he had plenty of reasons to be happy,
He we wouldn't let SAO make his mood crappy
So he promised to be better
And he mailed a nice letter
Addressed to Santa, the man behind the mess
With a message he so dearly needed to confess.
'Santa I know I can improve next year
So I'll work hard instead of being in fear
I just hope that I'll be deserving of more
More than this Sword Art Online bore'"
SAO has probably brought this community closer together, whether it be to hate it or to love it. For that, I thank it. Happy Holidays guys.
"Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand." - The Grinch
This review does not contain spoiler. It IS a spoiler, since I can't talk about anything without giving examples. And please don't walk away with a "not helpful" after reading only two lines, a little bit of respect and appreciation would be nice. :)
Welcome to my review of Sword Art Online's Sequel, SAO 2.
To be completely honest, Sword Art Online was a very very entertaining show. To a certain extent even better than the first season. I tend to give generous scores to animes, but I'm afraid that even I am powerless this time around. Alright, time to put on my magic thinking cap
on and talk about this show a little bit.
All constructive criticisms are welcomed and appreciated via PM or Comment. Please, I said "criticism", not complements or hates.
GRAPHIC (Art 4/5, Animation 1/5)
As always, the art in SAO is very beautiful. And that's all. Nothing surprising, I can barely find any improvements comparing to the first season. GGO has some really cool graphic and the dark theme with well rendered, mysterious feeling lighting gives the atmosphere a nice touch.
The animation is made of 80% recycled animation from the first season and millions of still images that last for more than 5 seconds each. The "cool" effects are made with the top tier CG engine, and all there is are the fancy light and aimers moving randomly on the screen just be cool. Seriously, it is 2014. I SAID TWENTY FOURTEEN. Just how cheap can the production be? it has all the budget in the universe and this is all the crap it gives? It doesn't even come close to Fate Zero. (Alright I'm a bit harsh on the scoring, it's just their lack of effort pisses me off)
And I didn't get to see Kirito being a badass raid boss. Come on that's like the most exciting part, 1 dude vs. a guild.
SOUND (OP/ED 2/3, OST 2/3, Voice tone/style 3/4)
The theme songs in SAO 2 are quantity over quality. 3 OPs and 4 ED. All of them are fine songs. Created by well known singers with good reputation, all songs lacks any symbolic elements, which means none of them are memorable in anyway whatsoever. I mean, if you add the animations with them, I suppose they are good and fitting. But if I don't tell those SAO fans that the songs are from SAO, they wouldn't think they are exceptional songs.
OST falls in the same category. Very good mixture of the symphony and vocal plus occasional electronic, but all things considered, they are slightly worse than the ones in the first season and it is definitely not going to be the songs I choose to listen when I'm driving.
The voice actors are up to their standard. The main problem is the dialogues are flat and boring. which makes the voice actor's effort go in vain. Dub is not out yet but I wouldn't expect much considering how it did in the first season.
CHARACTERS (Design 2/5, Development 0/5)
Two new characters are introduced, Shino and Konno. Shino is probably the my favorite character in the SAO universe. When she was introduced in the first episode, the first shot was on her face, the second was on her ass. She begins with rather promising personality and some mediocre backstories. But all the development she got was basically "I'm not scared of holding a gun anymore".
Konno is a random character that Asuna randomly encounters and she just happen to randomly decide to join Konno's guild without asking Kirito's permission (INSOLENCE!). Her background is ever more mediocre and boring. Rather than a character, she is more like a tool that carries the little plot progression the author tries to push in.
Oh and I'm gonna briefly mention Kirito. He's got a whole arc to describe how he got more OP and all his girlfriends just happen to be all happy to make him more OP. Yup that's it.
By no mean these characters are not enjoyable. Afterall they all have a little bit of personalities and some redeemable characteristic. I liked those character, but they are very poorly developed. And no I'm not talking about their boobs.
STORY (Concept 2.5/5, Development 0.5/5)
The second season of sword art online has 3 arcs.
The first arc has the most creative and interesting concept among the three. Our mighty Hero Kirito needs to investigate a case in another video game call GGO. In this world, people kill one another with guns for fun. Of course Kirito just has to be the Jedi knight. (The light saber was an amazing idea IMO) But when a mysterious person, death gun, who demonstrate how he is able to kill people IN GAME grabs our protagonist's attention. I thought that was very cool concept. In this world, Kirito meets a good sniper and solves the Death Gun Mystery. Of course Shino joins his harem at the end.
The Second arc Kirito leads his raiding team to obtain the legendary Excalibur. To date I still don't know what was the point of that arc. It has absolutely no purpose.
The Third Arc concerns about a girl with cancer and how Asuna single handedly brings her back to life and invites her to join Kirito's Harem as a god damn camera. Why. Just why.
So, how did the story turn out? Straightforward and generic, boring and pointless. It has numerous flaws. "Sure, SAO has its flaws. But at the end of the day, it was an interesting story with memorable characters". Alright. Let us make this very clear: SAO 2 does not have flaws. I would go as far as say the entire season IS a flaw. Every single second of this show is forced with story for the sole sake of telling a story.The story is full of exaggerated themes that don't make any human sense (Kirito feels guilty for killing people in SAO now? But what has he be doing in the past 3 year when he was fcking with Asuna virtually?)
In the last arc, I tried something interesting: timeskiping the episodes so I "complete" each one in less than 5 mins. I didn't feel like I missed anything at all. Then I went back and watch them thoroughly. That was a bad decision since the 15 mins I skipped were absolutely unnecessary.
I have not read the manga or the light novel. But from what I can see so far, MAYBE, the only part of this season that has a purpose is the foreshadowing of the laughing coffin's left over personals.
SAO is such an ambitious title. But I find that there is absolutely no point of talking about how the stories are executed when the entire plot is pointless to start with.
Overall, the 24-episode long anime has no plot. The development can be summarized with the following: Shino and Konno joins Kirito's harem, Laughing Coffin has leftovers. Kirito is now even more powerful. The creator of SAO made a machine that cures cancer. I can promise you that you won't feel missed out at all if you skip this season and watch the third when it comes out.
This is by no mean sarcastic. I actually enjoyed the series to the fullest extent. Kirito, despite being one of the most horribly designed characters, is extremely entertaining to watch. I mean, just who doesn't like seeing a protagonist being absolutely awesome? He is the essence of perfection, the symbol that will be held in every anime fan's head for eternity. The story, despite being poorly executed and pointless, is also pretty fun. The Thor's hammer was such a great idea and it make me laugh really happily. I would totally recommend it to anyone, since at the end of the day, it is a really nice piece of entertainment, even for stupidity's sake.
Like most of the community, I was watching Sword Art Online whilst it was airing about four or five years ago, and I remember how everyone collectively became more and more disappointed with the show as it was airing. Not only was the show's pacing completely out of control with constant time skips amongst many other glaring issues during the first half, the show practically imploded in on itself during the horrendous second arc, which only left nothing but a bad taste in my mouth. At the time, I hated the show, and still do to a certain extent now, but my main thought was
that, at the very least, Sword Art Online couldn't get any worse... right? Unfortunately, I was proven wrong since the second season of Sword Art Online proved to be even worse, becoming one of the worst anime I have ever had the displeasure of consuming in my entire life. While there are perhaps one or two elements of the show that is worthy of praise, the negatives far outweigh the positives and this review will be tackling all three arcs in order while practically spoiling every event in the show, so take that as a warning if you're planning to watch this anime at some point. With all of that out of the way, let's jump into the Phantom Bullet arc!
PHANTOM BULLET ARC (1/10):
This arc is one of the worst story arcs I have ever seen. What could have been an interesting look into the mental state and psyche of Kirito, just becomes an aimless mess with no sense of direction, followed by glaring pacing issues and awful characters as well as a terrible villain. This arc does so much wrong that's insanely annoying to watch and I constantly wanted to consume cyanide during my viewing to taste the sweet, sweet relief of death. The second season of SAO takes place a year after the events of the first season and opens up with Kirito and Asuna on a date, happily reminiscing about their time in Sword Art Online. Y'know... that place where thousands of people met their horrible demise? Perhaps they view the entire experience as some sort of romantic honeymoon or something. Anyway, whilst on this date, Kirito is asked by some government dude if he could speak to him about some strange incidences involving the massively popular game known as "Gun Gale Online". Government-kun tells Kirito-sama that in this game, a player has been able to successively kill other plays in the game, resulting in their real-life deaths. The viewer learns of this player, called "Death Gun" from the opening scene of the show. Not only is the character design a lesser version of Darth Vader, but the name "Death Gun" just seems silly and stupid. A gun's primary use is that of a weapon; to kill people and bring about death. So, I guess the gun is double the death then...? I guess it does make sense in the context of the show since this "double death gun" does result in the avatar and the real-life death of the person controlling said avatar, but the name does seem a little silly for someone trying to be so intimidating and feels more like a cheap knock off, of the Death Note than anything else.
Anyway, Government-kun asks Kirito-sama if he will work with him by going inside Gun Gale Online to try and put a stop to Death Gun, and, after some reluctance at first, Kirito agrees and the rest of the arc sees Kirito attempting to find out Death Gun's true identity. Now, this sounds fine on paper, but the execution for this arc is terrible. First of all, let's discuss Kirito's character and the HUGE waste in potential this anime throws out the window in regards to his PTSD. At some point in the show, while Kirito is about to enter a tournament in the game (I'll get to the specifics of this in a bit) we learn that Death Gun was a part of a group called "Laughing Coffin" in Sword Art Online; a group that Kirito and Asuna fought and was forced to kill some of their members. This triggers Kirito's PTSD and this is easily one of the most interesting things that have ever happened to his character since he actually exhibits symptoms of actually being a real, genuine person for once; it helps his character feel more grounded and relatable than simply being a generic self-insert. Kirito's psychological stress and hang-ups in regards to actually killing someone and having this link into the main villain was a smart idea and could have allowed for so much development and understanding of his character and just really how much damage SAO had done to his mental well being. This COULD have been the case if the show expanded on it at all. Kirito's physiological hang-ups barely last for even one episode, which means that his character hardly develops as a person and, instead, is completely absolved of his stress and worries after only a five-minute talk with some nurse at a hospital! They throw out the only interesting thing that has ever happened to this character in only one episode! After this, Kirito just devolves back into the boring, self-insert that he is and his character ceases to ever be interesting ever again. The fact that the show throws out its only redeeming quality is just a flick in the nuts to the audience and, again, is such wasted potential. The show should have started with Kirito waking up in bed or something, after having a dream about the time in which he killed someone in SAO, which would imply that Kirito has been suffering from his PTSD for a while now, as the rest of the show sees him come to terms with what he has done in the past and slowly learn to accept it and move on with his life. It could have made for a fantastic character study, but is just thrown to the side like a child with a toy.
Speaking of wasted potential, this also brings me to the other main character of this arc, Shion. Shion does have a bit more in the way of investment and drive in this narrative but is just as poorly handled like every other element in the show. As a child, Shion was caught up in a post office robbery, in which she manages to get the gun of the robber and shoot him, effectively killing him and saving the lives of everyone in the post office. This, however, has given her a severe phobia of guns, to the point where she throws up at the very sight of them. In order to overcome her phobia, she plays Gun Gale Online, a game all about battling it out with guns in an attempt to overcome her fear of them and she believes that, by winning the Bullet of Bullets tournament (the same one as Kirito enters) , she will be finally strong enough to overcome her fear and move on with her life. Her motivation in this narrative is not so bad but it lacks intrigue. Shion, herself, is a boring character since her characterisation is minimal and I always found it hard to connect to her or care for her struggles or goal. She consistently repeats some of the corniest and irritating lines in the entire show, most prominently during a fight in the second episode where she proclaims that another player is "strong enough to smile on the battlefield". The entire show is filled with these corny lines, and I understand that, to this character, the game is a huge deal in overcoming her ordeal but it feels like the show is trying to force drama and narrative stakes with cheesy, hyperbolic lines; it feels superficial and clunky. Shion's character is effectively ruined once she meets big strong Kirito who saves her at every hurdle and sorts out every problem for her. Like every other girl in this series, Shion does begin to feel feelings towards Kirito and she simply becomes just another boring, uninteresting love interest. Her character feels lazily thrown together, with all of the typical Tsundere traits you'd expect. She slaps Kirito after seeing her in minimal clothing (despite it being a video game), she has an apprehensive personality and her character is as inconsistent as a corrupt politician's views. The main problem I have with her character is how quickly the show is willing to let her become the damsel in distress who needs Kirito to save her when it should be the other way around. Shion should have been a side character Kirito meets inside the game, who helps Kirito work out his own mental hang-ups, but instead, she is used for pandering to the Otakus and all the teenagers who see Mr Kirito Mclovin as a self-insert for themselves.
The Villain, Death Gun, is just as bad as these two characters, if not worse in many regards. Myself and many others were able to figure out the identity of who Death Gun really was only after the first episode. Once I saw the opening, I pretty much figured it out since A-1 Pictures doesn't understand subtleties in the slightest. Whilst watching the opening, we see a shot of Shion's friend, Shinkawa, reach out his hand to her while she is on a swing. As he does so, the screen explodes into flames with Death Gun riding on a horse. This visual queue was more than enough for me to understand and suspect that he was Death Gun, which later proved to be correct, but even without this blunder, it is painfully easy to get since Shinkawa seems too nice to be true to Shion and the hints they drop are not exactly subtle. Not only that, but the way the author wrote the way around how Death Gun kills people is needlessly convoluted and stupid. It turns out that Death Gun was working as part of a three-man team, and one person out of this team would go the player's house in the real world, with a lethal injection, ready to inject the person with this stuff, once Death Gun's bullet connects with said person in the game. This would mean that the person at the house would have to be watching a live stream of the tournament, waiting until the bullet connects in order to inject the person. There is so much goddamn wrong with this. For starters, there was no need for such an overly complicated scenario since we already know that this is a fantasy world in which anything is possible. Why couldn't Death Gun kill someone in the game without resorting to this overly complicated and frankly, messy, idea? Not only that, but what happens when the person ready to inject the medicine believes that the bullet connected but it didn't really? What happens if the player is hit but he doesn't see it? This is so stupid it hurts...
Another huge problem is the lack of tension in this arc. Kirito, as usual, is a damn God who can do anything the plot demands from him, just because he is Kirito. One of the things I was most looking forward to in this arc was the fact that Kirito was playing a gun game, a weapon he was not accustomed to and he would have had to learn how to properly yield one and adapt to this world. Much like how the audience wouldn't know anything about this game, Kirito wouldn't either and we could grow attached to this character, seeing him learn the rules and get better the more he played. It would have created, y'know... NARRATIVE TENSION AND STAKES! But, no, Kirito finds a light saber, and thus is now unstoppable since we already know he can use a sword with no trouble whatsoever. Not only that, but despite this game being for hardcore players, Kirito pretty much destroys every single one of them instantly, learns how to use the very hard to control buggies straight away and pretty much deduces the entire plot for the audience through very long and drawn out monologues and exposition scenes. And holy hell is the exposition for this arc terrible! There are so many cafe exposition scenes in this show that it is insane and all of them just essentially tell the audience directly about the plot or how the characters are feeling. Setting exposition scenes in cafes is one of the laziest and boring ways to push a story forward and there are so many scenes like this that I almost fell asleep on many occasions. It's visually boring and only serves to pad out time, and the pacing for this arc is also pretty bad. Stretching out the source material into such a length was a bad idea since it leads to many scenes feeling as if they're dragging on for far too long. Take for example the episodes where Kirito and Shion are taking refuge inside a cave during the Bullet of Bullets tournament. We spend nearly two whole episodes in this god damn cave as we see both characters explain their predicaments and back stories to one another in slow and dull ways. We don't learn anything about the characters nor do we see them grow either, only in that Shion wants Kirito's dick a little more as a result. It's incredibly boring to watch since they just explain their backstories once again to the audience, which, at this point, only serves to pad out the arc and episodes.
The game of Gun Gale Online itself feels so badly done and I imagine that, if this game were real, nobody would be playing this damn game! I have a lot more respect for a show that goes the extra mile to make their world believable but here, the game mechanics that the author thought of to put in the game feel so stupid. For starters, we are told that Gun Gale Online is the only game that has professional, hardcore players which is just a ridiculous notion since I can think of plenty of games off the top of my head that already have pro players, but the customisation option presented in the game is stupid too. We learn that in this game the player has no control over their avatar and it is randomly selected for you! Why on Earth is this a thing? In games, developers are constantly trying to expand on customisation, and the fact that Gun Gale Online locks you into only one playable class only adds to the fact that this game is broken! Moreover, if the avatars are randomly selected for you, then why the hell does Shion look like herself just with blue hair as well as Kirito, only now with longer hair and his character model is that of a female, while other avatars look nothing like their real-life owners? You may call these pedantic things to complain about, and perhaps they are, but when the show is this boring and dull, my mind wonders over to such things since I am not immersed in anything that is happening.
Even the animation wasn't that stellar with frequent use of recap footage and many of the scenes set inside cafes with two characters simply taking. Even the final fight between Kirito and Death Gun is incredibly dull and anti-climatic to boot. This arc is just SO bad on every level from the insanely bad writing, to the stupid as hell plot, to the wasted potential and characters. Everything about the Phantom Bullet arc is awful and I still have even more things to complain and talk about, but I'm getting way ahead of myself. I still have two more arcs to go!
CALIBUR ARC (4/10):
I actually don't have too much to say with this arc since it is rather simple. After Gun Gale Online had finished airing its episodes, many people were tired out from the experience, and for many fans of the series, this was the arc that brought them back to enjoying SAO once again. This arc is a lot more simple in its complexity and is essentially about Kirito and his harem, dicking around in Alfheim Online. Essentially, Kirito and friends hear news of the legendary item, Calibur, has been found and set off on a mission to get this item, along with newcomer to the harem, Shion, who is now put on pause forever and is now part of Kirito's harem bitches. It's an arc that fans of the series will enjoy since it is mostly just comedic hi-jinks and while I did find some of the jokes funny, mostly regarding Klien, I found the arc to be pretty boring since I don't have a modicum of interest for any of these characters at all. It's not a bad arc, but an incredibly boring one for those who, like me, do not like these characters.
MOTHER'S ROSARIO ARC (6/10):
Now, I believe it is time to give some credit where I believe credit is due. This arc is actually not terrible and manages to do quite a lot that actually managed to impress me while handing a character death in a mature and even quite sad way too. This arc focuses more so on Asuna as the main character which I was happy for considering that Asuna is the only character that has anything going for her and luckily her character is not completely ruined and gets some small development. This arc focuses mainly on a girl called Yuki, who is a fantastic player in the game of Alfheim Online, who actually manages to beat Kirito in a fight! Can you believe it?! Anyway, we learn that this character actually has aids and is close to her death, but what is great is that this death and character is actually handled with a lot of care and heart. Yuki's character is simply not there just so that she can be used as a cheap plot device to evoke tears and drama into the story, but actually develops nicely over the course of this story arc into a respectable character, and, while I didn't cry at her death, the show was successful enough to evoke sadness in such a cynical cunt such as myself.
It's easy to feel emphatic towards Yuki's character since she is very lovable and easy to care about. She feels like a real kid going through such a horrible ordeal and her final moments were surprisingly well done. The arc isn't great, however, since the pacing, again, is pretty bad and the newly introduced characters, other than Yuki, don't get much attention and are pushed to the sides, but overall, this arc was a massive improvement. Not only that, but the animation quality and fight choreography are a bit better than that of Gun Gale Online and the arc has a killer opening too. There is much to like about this arc but it ultimately doesn't absolve all of the crap that Gun Gale Online put me through either.
In conclusion, SAO II is a mess. It has frequent tonal shifts, the narrative is terrible with glaring plot holes and other glaring writing issues and even the few things that are worthy of praise, are not enough to raise the bar or change my stance on this show. I know that recently, it has become very trendy and hip to hate on SAO, and while I don't think this show is the worst anime ever made, it certainly is far from good, and every aspect of the show is so lazily produced and boring.
First of all, I question the point of making this season itself. This is just a shameful try to sell their lame story and make easy money, disgraceful at end because I felt offended by this show. I disliked it before, but now it just went shameless.
Why do they even call this anime Sword Art Online? Even 2nd part of first season was questionable why even existed. And now this? It's no way related to SAO main plot. What is this anime, some kind of "slice of life"? It's not even that. It's just some bunch of people
playing. I feel like show was over long ago when they finally logged out, and everything after that is just a filler to make money on something popular. The thing SAO is lacking is objective, story isn't driven by anything. And the reason is that they want this to be kept as "franchise." They could make anime about GGO and Sinon, but they had to get Kirito in it. They just used SAO's popularity to sell this awful writing. I've been outraged a lot by the poor writing and lack of intelligence from the author, but never so much with what happened at the end of anime.
Konno Yuuki dies from AIDS. Are they kidding us? Could they have not given better explanation why?! HOW?! Because it doesn't kill. AIDS doesn't kill people who are kept from danger like Konno Yuuki was. I really checked stuff a lot to be sure they said AIDS in anime. And believe me this is stupid. They could have said anything. Like, anything else to make it real.... You just... can't insult people like this...
When I heard Sleeping Knight's backstory, I thought it was pretty touching and sad, and I wasn't going to say anything bad about that part but killing somebody with AIDS pissed me off -.-' And after that I didn't also get what was the point of this "filler" part of story. How is this connected to SAO. If you're making a drama, ok, do it but don't label it with popular name and use half-assed story about terminally ill people. Why? To make it seem more "dramatic" and "deep." Well, it would have been really much better if they made it into another anime. Like they should have also done with GGO part. But no, we have to get Kirito rubbed in our faces every time.... which brings second greatest flow of this anime - Characters.
I said this before and I will say it again, Kirito is a cheater and has no quality as a character. He's just there so that story can revolve around him so that he seems really really cool and awesome. Other characters who should have gotten much more screen time, didn't get any... Klein is already just a joke not a character.
The only not horrible part this anime has it's production value. It's not really high but sound is good given Kajiura is making osts, and animation isn't half bad. And that's about it. Everything else with most animes is writing. Which is done really really poorly. I can't enjoy this anime even when I try too.
It had some good moment like when Sinon almost got raped/killed. It was pretty... intense. That scene got me really. It was really well done. But than they blew it with cheap luck and how Kirito survived that. That was just plain stupid. It really ruined the whole suspense. And SAO does that often. It's like a formula already for this anime where you build up good foundation and story and ruin it near the end with something stupid.
Overall I give this 5/10 rating. It just makes me pissed off how they are making money with this. And knowing that there are gonna be some people crying about how good this anime was 'cause OMG YUUKI DIED SO SAD, VERY TOUCHING, MUCH PLOT... god... this anime's so cheap....
There's no way to review Sword Art Online that won't piss someone off, so I might as well come out and say it and piss of both the fandom AND the hatedom:
This wasn't as bad as the first one.
Both of the two main arcs of Sword Art Online II (disregarding the mini-arc inbetween the two) actually manage to fix a major problem with their predecessors, creating an overall better experience in the process. Unfortunately, they make new and different mistakes instead.
The series begins with Gun Gale Online. Surprisingly, this was neither as aggressively boring nor as aggressively bad as either previous arc,
and was downright enjoyable in places - in particular, Episode 2, an episode shown to introduce the new game and a new major character, butt done with no prior context and holding over nothing from the rest of the series. It focuses on the tactics of the game and is rather interesting to watch, especially as it sets up new character Sinon as quite the bad-ass.
The actual concept of Gun Gale Online is pretty good too - the setup of a game in which people who die also die in real life, butt AREN'T supposed to was great, and gives the show a sense of much-needed tension that was absent from ALO in particular. Bringing back a member of Laughing Coffin was also a good idea, and so are the parallels drawn between Sinon's PTSD and Kirito's regrets over killing LC members in SAO.
Butt the problem this time around is not the ideas, butt the execution.
Kirito's absolute despair over having killed people in SAO comes completely out of left field and breaks the suspension of disbelief heavily. Him going from no mention of it whatsoever to a full-blown nervous breakdown is ridiculous. They try to play it off with the excuse that he had been "trying to forget it", butt trying to forget something is not the same as just conveniently not remembering it.
Then there's the idea that somehow, Sinon is fine with handling guns in GGO even though she can't handle them in real life.
That doesn't make sense.
I know most of you are going to say "well, that's the point!", butt that doesn't fly with me. Just because something was intentional doesn't mean it was a good idea. If you pissed on a meal you were cooking, and people complained that the meal tasted like piss, you couldn't exactly get away with saying it's supposed to taste like that, could you? Anyway, the point is, I could accept a funny little twist on things like that if the show ever actually gave us a reason for it, butt it doesn't. We're just supposed to accept the usual answer: "Because it does". The irony is that this same show then tries to make a point of virtual reality being the same as actual reality, at least on a sensory level.
Hell, Sinon in general is kind of a bad character - she's basically the same deal as most SAO girls. Supposedly strong, butt for some reason reduced to a mere damsel in distress for Kirito to add to his harem, at one point literally begging Kirito to save her whilst whining like a spoilt child. The only thing she is genuinely good for in the plot is as exposition (well, that and one other thing).
And even having her as a harem character is a pointless thing to do in of itself, because KIRITO IS FUCKING MARRIED. There is no point in adding other characters that he might potentially do the frick with if he is in a committed relationship already and is clearly not going to do the frick with anyone else. Harem anime are one of the worst things in the whole damn medium of anime, and SAO can't even get that right!
You know the real point of having Sinon in this show? Yeah, of course you fucking know it. Everyone knows it. I jokingly referred to the first season as "Sore Arse Online", but this time around it's more like "Sweet Ass Online".
The show isn't even trying to be subtle about it. It's just saying "yeah, like I give a fuck. Don't even act like you're not enjoying this." The camera sometimes pans to that glorious ass and back again for no discernable reason other than fanservice. Dramatic moments are even shown from the cleft of those glorious, firm cheeks.
There is, of course, one other reason for Sinon to exist, and that is because of her link to the extremely obvious big bad's true identity. Man, what are the odds that the first person Kirito would meet in GGO happens to be friends with the very person he is here to hunt? What a crazy random happenstance.
It's obvious in every way. Because seriously. There is no point in Deathgun being mysterious if it isn't someone we already know. There is no reason he would caress that photo of Sinon if it wasn't someone who knew Sinon. And there is no reason for his character to even exist if he ISN'T Deathgun. Fuck, he's even in the same room as Kirito right before Deathgun appears, and is mysteriously absent from the moment Deathgun starts talking to Kirito. He also keeps shooting meaningful glances at Kirito. Oh, and you want the best part? Look at the OP sequence. It literally fades from him into Deathgun. As if it were almost trying to be clever about it. Which it might actually have been if it wasn't obvious!
And here's the kicker - there is also no way that Kyouji would be allowed to exist in this show unless he were later forcibly be removed... because he is an obstacle to Sinon being a member of Kirito's incredibly pointless harem. No male in this show is allowed to be any remote kind of threat to Kirito's ultimate sexual dominance, being that this show is the ultimate wish fulfilment tool for lonely teenage boys. It kind of raises awkward questions about the writer, butt then again this is the same guy who wrote Kirito's sister as a love interest, and then there's the whole "glopping" thing, so this isn't exactly a new low. Butt then, just to demonstrate how NO MALE OTHER THAN KIRITO CAN BE ALLOWED TO BE SEXY, it does the same bullshit as ALO and makes the villain super rapey and incredibly uncomfortable, also driving in the point that OH MY GOD THIS VILLAIN IS BAD. You don't have to force the idea that he is bad down my throat - You had me at "murderer".
Butt anyway, regarding Kirito's unthreatenable harem, this brings me back to the ultimate problem with SAO that has returned from the first season - Kirito is monumentally godmodded. He enters the game, knows nothing, and immediately kicks more ass than every other player combined, no matter how illogical his plans, like running headlong into a hail of fucking bullets like the vengeful ghost of Leeroy fucking Jenkins himself. Kirito cannot fail, because the writers like him too much. There is no tension whatsoever, because there is no doubt that Kirito will succeed. The worst point is when he gets stuck with a deadly neurotoxin needle, only to discover that he had a fucking electrode in the EXACT SPOT THE NEEDLE HIT AND NOWHERE ELSE WHATSOEVER. As if the concept that Kirito was at any risk was not already nonexistent, this seemingly happened just to prove that very point beyond a doubt.
Disregarding the mini-arc inbetween the two main ones, because nobody particularly cared about that arc and it could have been left out entirely without any fuss, the other main arc is the Sleeping Knights arc - probably the better of the two.
The core plot of the Sleeping Knights arc is actually, dare I say it, good. It's a clever piece of worldbuilding focusing on the other sci-fi implications of the series' FullDive technollogy - in this case, the medical implications. It also does itsself a service by building this story arc around an emotional character arc with a surprisingly likeable character who doesn't fall victim to any of this series' typical character writing tropes. The whole arc leads to a surprisingly satisfying finale.
The problem is the path it takes to get there. For a start, the lack of any real-world ramifications to the gameplay was exactly what the problem was with the first ALO-centric arc, and they've repeated it here with even lower stakes. And while cutting Kirito out of the series for the vast majority of the arc and making someone else the protagonist was certainly an improvement, Asuna is by no means a more compelling character, and creating a pointless subplot about Asuna and her oppresive mother, full of teenage angst, was a questionable choice to say the least.
Overall, Sword Art Online II improves on the first series in some places but makes it worse in others. Overall a slight improvement, butt that's not much consolation for the second season of a show that should have ended halfway through its first.
Hello, my review will be based on the 2nd half of the anime.
Story - I liked the 1st half of the season in GGO but when that finished it just went downhill. I didn't like the 2nd half of the season, basically everyone with exception of Asuna was put on the sidelines just like that, out of nowhere another group of kids come alone, and to be honest it just felt like you were forced to accept them, forced to accept that some girl came out of nowhere and is suddenly stronger than Kirito or Asuna. The biggest problem is because thier introduction felt
so forced, there is little emotion when this new group that Asuna has deccided to play with wins a fight or are having a happy moment, or when there is a sad reveal. Yes, yes call me heartless, evil, nasty or whatever.
Art and Sound - Gave it a 5, nothing really to talk about.
Character - I believe I have already stated my opinions regarding this new group Asuna has started playing with.
Enjoyment - I only enjoyed the GGO part of the season, as I have said, it went downhill after that.
There isn't much to be said about SAO 2 that hasn't already been said by most reviews here. However, the reason i found the motivation to write this review is because i found some enjoyment in the final arc that deserves some recognition.
First of all, Kirito is still a god that can do absolutely everything for no reason at all. This includes ignoring game mechanics and whipping out a sword in a shooter to cut bullets.
I don't even know what to say about this, its like if you are good at playing Devil May Cry, you can whip out a knife and start killing
dudes in Counter Strike. Complete utter nonsense. All the ladies want to sleep with him including his sister, seriously i want to vomit every time i hear his voice or see his face, its that bad.
Not just that, he seems like the only male in the show that isn't awkward, clumsy, perverted or a rapist murderer. The other guys in the show that has any sort of screen time all fall into these categories. So not only is he a god, every other guy is a complete unappealing scumbag.
Anyway i'll talk briefly about the first two arcs.
GGO: Supposed to be about a murder mystery, a guy called Deathgun (roflmao, get it, cause he kills people) is killing people in game and they actually die in real life. The premise itself is ok i guess but Kirito has to ruin everything by being an OP piece of ****.
Whats funny is they actually tried to give him some sort of character by making it seem that he has PTSD from killing dudes in SAO. Oh but guess what he gets over it in 5 minutes, solves the murder mystery with absolutely no evidence, beats the bad guy and gets the girl. Whoopiee ****ing doo.
The girl mentioned, is Sinon and her character is actually appealing, with actual trauma and reasons for playing GGO. Oh too bad Kirito is around so shes really just a damsel in distress., who eventually wants to sleep with Kirito.
Calibre: This arc is a complete waste of time. Its Kirito and his Harem completing a quest. Seriously thats all it is. At least in GGO theres a murderer running loose, here theres absolutely no reason to care about anything.
Whats funny is they actually tried to force to the audience some idea of consequence if they fail the quest. Get this, the AI boss will run rampant and destroy ALO world Deathwing style. What are the developers or mods doing? Oh who gives a ****, screw this arc.
Mother's Rosario: The final arc of the show. This is why i actually wanted to write this review.
Unlike the other arcs, i actually found this to be truly enjoyable. Why? Well, the main character isn't Kirito for once, thanks the gods. It chronicles the adventures of Asuna and her friend Yuuki. Kirito appears a bit as a side character, which is fine but would be better if he never appears at all. Seriously pls go away.
Unlike calibre and GGO, the consequences and weight of the virtual world is neither over the top or irrelevant. I will go a bit into spoilers here. Skip to the end paragraph for a summary if you want to avoid it.
Anyway, Yuuki is a character in the game known as Absolute Sword, the strongest player. At first, she seems like a perky upbeat person playing a video game. You follow them clearing a quest at first which seems to have no consequence. However, fact is that Yuuki is terminally ill and bed ridden and it was her way of leaving a memory in the only world she can be active and happy in.
What follows is a pretty fascinating tale and ideas on how virtual reality can provide the ill with a world they can move freely in. I find it sad and intriguing when watching Yuuki's character, who had been living in virtual worlds for years. The transition from seeing her as the strongest swordsman in her world to a sick bed ridden girl in the real wold is truly heart breaking.
Yet unlike the other arcs, all of these feels natural, and believable that virtual reality would in fact have applications of medicine should it truly exist. This is where the sci fi appeal of virtual aspect of SSO shines, where ideas of future technology creating thoughtful scenarios and characters. Such as a girl living in virtual world for years.
The only complain i have in this arc is its too short. In part due to the other crap arcs i guess, so it does have certain pacing issues. I would have liked more time with these characters, especially Yuuki.
Overall, there is too little SAO2 has overall to justify a complete watch. A lot of times there were cringe worthy moments that makes me want to shut off the show. However the last arc does kinda redeem the show a little, to show what could have been if the author would just stop sucking Kirito's wang for 2 minutes. Most if not all of the score goes towards this arc, which sadly, is the smaller proportion of the show.
I would recommend watching the last arc of the show, which starts around episode 19. Dont worry about the other arcs, they have absolutely no consequences, character development, and the main heroine of GGO simply becomes one of Kirito's harem in the end.
Sword Art Online is a series that always seems to stir up some controversy among the anime community. After rewatching the first season last month I honestly contemplated not delving into the second whatsoever. I was THAT disappointed. Sometimes you get wrapped up in the hype of an anime but you tend to look past the aggregious amount of plot holes and bland characters. SAO II was good at times, and at others I almost forced myself to watch it. Ducking for cover from fanboys, I'll make my attempt at a review while it's still fresh in my mind.
I thought it couldn't get any more disappointing than the first season, SAO II came in hobbling toward the finish line. Gun Gale Online was such an interesting concept: Badass looking characters, havoc-wreaking weapons and a tournament to determine who really was the best gunblazing battle fiend of them all. Throw in a sexy, pixie-haired protagonist and you've got blueprints for success right? Not..... exactly. Well, not at all actually. Shit's gotten real in Gun Gale Online. Some of the best players are being killed off in the game, including the winner of the most recent 1v1 ultimate badass tournament. The kicker? Players are not only clocking out in-game, but are found deceased in real life as well. Enter Kirito, our harem hero from the first season. Naturally he is called upon to investigate this tragic state of affairs, and of course he obliges to help. He doesn't exactly tell his girlfriend Asuna what he's doing, but her third grade intellect uncovers the truth as the season progresses.
The other side of the story involves Sinnon, a bodacious babe with a mean looking sniper rifle whose past haunts her with the intensity of a Stephen King novel. When she was younger, she managed to shoot and kill a criminal with a gun to protect her mother and is forever followed by the burden. But just like the nonsensical approach Kirito had to enter a game where real people are dying TWICE, Sinnon enters Gun Gale Online to confront her fear of guns by killing people with..... GUNS?! What the hell is wrong with these people?
As the story transpires, Kirito enters the world of GGO as a convert ALO character, looking like a teenage boy going through their awkward stages in life. I still have trouble buying this whole "converted character" ruse. Are all of these VRMMO's owned by the same monopolistic company? What gives people!? All ridiculousness aside, even if we buy the fact that Kirito is converted.... than why the hell does he have to look so much like a girl? I have a feeling it was written this way to give him a viable excuse to become insta-friends with Sinnon. Because of course, they meet no longer than 5 minutes after he enters the world. Sinnon ends up helping Kirito out with the early stages of GGO, and with no surprise to anyone... Kirito is an instant badass. Within his first logged session, he manages to beat an impossible minigame in the main city. This earns him instantaneous fame and money in-game. Go figure, he's probably already the best player in the game. The funniest part is when he goes to buy an "energy sword" (key word for 'light saber'). Copyright officials would probably just laugh at how obvious this is... I mean they even have the same sound effects.
I won't divulge the continued plot for obvious spoiler reasons, but it's kind of crap. So many unanswered questions, so many made-up flashbacks to fit the story line. Oh, and did I mention that it has a second part to the season? I basically had the same reaction to the second half of SAO II as I did in SAO.... "Are you fricking kidding me?!" Not the damn elves again! After the unnecessarily short first arc, the writers managed to cram two more shit-tastic ones into 10 episodes! YuYu Hakusho only had 25 or-so episodes to unfold the Sensui storyline, and barely managed to get it right. So what made them think that an average of 5 was kosher??? Bad move guys, bad move. One good flash of brilliance was the absence of Sugguha's love affair with her sort-of brother. Thank God, I don't think I could've stomached one more incestual monologue from her.
Beyond all, there was no official closure from the first arc. It's not even a damn cliffhanger. To be a cliffhanger would be to imply that it was well written in the first place. But to say that there is another potential enemy on the loose and then flash forward to a completely separate story arc is asinine to say the least. That one takes the cake for me when it comes to the sloppily put together story. There are just so many swings and so many misses with SAO II's story it's not even funny.
Even though I scored this category low, it doesn't mean that all the characters were bad. I still loved Klein from the first season, and Sinnon is actually a semi-complex addition to the sea of deadweight characters. She has a somewhat believable past, and her initial standoffish relationship with Kirito is decent. Of course Kirito eventually gets to her, and the two of them share an awkward flirtatiousness during the tournament. Not to mention all the random shots of her butt dimples. Can't scream "forced fanservice" any louder than that I guess. During the resolution of the first half of the season, she unwinds even more... revealing an ending that can make the more sappy of fans fulfilled. Unfortunately, she doesn't play nearly as big of a role in the second half of the season. Sigh, just another reason to complain about those arcs.
I'm going to preface the next paragaph by directing you to my original SAO review where I discuss how I felt about the relationship between Kirito and Asuna. This will be more or less the same opinion, just to the extreme. I just don't get it. To quote Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa, "God d*&#it, are you f!*@ing with me?!" It's one thing to claim that you have a couple in an anime, but it HAS to be somewhat believable. They've got the cheesy one-liners down pat, I'll at least give them that. But there's no genuine sense of romance whatsoever. I mean, they have a kid (sort-of) for crying out loud! I mean, I'm pretty sure that Asuna could see Kirito macking on Sinnon throughout the entire GGO tournament, and she didn't seem the least bit jealous. But the harem that Kirito built around himself sure showed envy every time he winked Asuna's way. Gag me. And now I'll step off of my soap box.
I really had some hope at the beginning of SAO II that Kirito's personality and motives had developed since he was last trapped within the VRMMO world. I was wrong, again. He's a likeable super badass, but that's about all he has going for him. The worst part of it all is when I realized how bad the other characters were, transitioning into the 3rd arc... when Kirito played more of a supporting character. The relationship between Asuna and her mother during Mother's Rosario was probably the most "real" thing in the whole show for me. It wasn't bad. I found myself really feeling for Asuna as her matriarch disemboweled her ideas for the future. It kind of reminded me of the struggles I went through growing up. The one major difference between the situations was that I couldn't change my mom's mind by strapping a headset on her and transporting her to a comfy log cabin in the middle of lala land while reminiscing about things past. Uggh...
I don't want to offend anyone, but I also felt that Yuuki was weak. Granted it wasn't entirely her fault, the writers spent like 38 seconds developing her character. I really wanted to feel for her, but the emotions just couldn't reach me. Everything was rushed, and I found myself looking ahead to see the remaining episodes wondering where the hell they were going with all of it. Her guild friends also could've been expounded upon tenfold. GIVE ME TIME TO GET ATTACHED TO THE DANG CHARACTERS!
Again, I hate saying that this was the most enjoyable part of the anime... but it was. If the art style was bad, I have a strong feeling that this anime would not be nearly as popular as it is. For it to be unbearable would be an understatement. To that end, the environments are vast and vividly detailed. The character designs are close to flawless, and slightly improved upon the original SAO. I thought it was cool how they would show the bullet travel out of Sinnon's Hecate II sniper rifle. It reminded me a bit of that late 2000's movie "Wanted" where they curve the bullets. Pretty nifty if you ask me. As with the good, the bad flutters in as well. I did NOT like that floating squid looking thingamajigger. I don't know what the hell it was, but the way it moved was creepy.
The first opening was amazing as well. I love how it starts off with the powerfully erupting vocals, then slowly adding in piano. Simply breathtaking. The 2nd opening was not nearly as good, and I often found myself skipping it. The rest of the show's sound effects were great, and background music made me not want to rip out my eyeballs.
I absolutely hate the idea of giving an anime a 4/10, but I feel like there's no other route to meander on here. SAO II, much like it's predecessor, suffered from lazy writing and static character development. There were some good moments, but nearly enough to offset the rubbish ones. Can someone tell these guys to just stick with one arc per season? The second and third arcs were entirely unnecessary and rushed. I mean, what WAS the point of the Excalibur one? Just to show the viewers that Sinnon got included into the super badass harem possee'? I know I'm not alone in this argument, I've seen other irritated reviews of this anime. I really, really want to like this anime... especially now that I am 48 cumulative episodes committed. If there IS a third season, which with all the fanboyism I do expect, I hope the writers adhere to our criticisms and make it a good anime.
"The Virtual World is just a different form of reality."
Welp, we didn't see it coming but here it fucking is. Sword Art Online II, somehow this show got a second season, I mean I understand the first season was popular but this, it just came out of nowhere. It's like, well, imagine you're throwing a frisby for your dog to catch, now that frisby is Sword Art Online. Usually the dog would take a bunch of seconds but instead, out of nowhere the frisby hits your face, thats Sword Art Online II for ya. So, did tis get better or worser? Well this is, OK.
It's not good but its fair. The story is better now but with some major problems instead of failing everything. The Art is solid as usual but the music is pretty great with some stellar tunes. The Characters are pretty meh. And the enjoyment isn't just its mindless action shockingly.
Story & Characters: 4.7/10
So this time around there's this incident with a man known as "Death Gun" where its been reported that in game he'd shoot a certain person and well that person suddenly disconnects and well, they die in real life. Huh, its linear story with a bit of taking from S1, well at least this isn't a romance and harem right? Oh wait, fanservice, filler, bad pacing. Well lets give it a tick for not falling in romance or harem this time.
First we have the Bland and Generic Character we all hate! Kirito. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH YOU SUCK! YOU SUCK! YOU JACKASS! Alright everyone calm down so, first off he's still as bland but secondly, later on we realize that he is suffering from his past which is a good idea, the fact that some of thhe stuff is happening is related to the previous season is smart! But that dosen't make up for him still being bland.
Then we have ass- I mean Sinon. When we first see Sinon she's proning as we see the best part about her which is DAT ASS! *nosebleeds* Hell, when we're first introduced to her we see her ass and a space for her va-gi-nq which looks really weird..... Is this falling for the ecchi genre now? Like Sinon's ass could make this an ecchi, now apart from her buutiful and luxurious round ass. Well, she's intresting, we find out as a child she murdered a man to save her own mother and after that she has been bullied on and only has one friend...intresting right? And when she ever holds a gun she barfs or passes out however in the game she dosen't feel that. Man I like this character! But, remember what happened to Asuna in Season 1, yeah that happens to her, as soon as she meets Kirito she first hates him then falls for him later on *sigh* and she becomes a little weaker like, Asuna. Oh Kirito, are you thou sexy? Or thou this logic lazy? Either waya lot of potential is wasted on an interesting character.
Like last season the art is nice. Amazing visuals. Shockingly not sloppy in some scenes. Overall, good.
Now, the music, please marry me. The music is so enjoyable, both OPs and EDs are well done and really noice. It really fits the show and is really nice to listen to.
Sadly, there isn't as much action, but, plot-twists. These things are what keep you on your feet, literally without these this show would've gotten a 4. But when something tense or bad happens you go "OH PAPER SHEETS!" and it gets you on your feet, there isn't much action but when it happens, its mindless and enjoyable as ever.
This was OK. There wasn'tmuch improvement but this was pretty OK, for a sequel this is much better than it's predeccesor. The ending shockingly, was a cliffhanger...so theres gonna be a chance of an SAO III.....hehe, uh, yeah I so did not just punch 10 holes in my wall and flip 16 tables. *sigh* So, should you watch this? Well, I guess you can give it a go, other than that there's not too much change here. Well A-1, you tried, and if you make an SAO III, please make it good at least? Thanks.
The second season of S.A.O. was really strange, the reason why is:
1st part Gun Gale Online - 9/10
2nd part Excalibur Quest - 7/10
3rd part Mother's Rosario - 6/10
In Gun Gale Online they give you a complete new game with a really interesting plot - pursuiting Death Gun, a person that shoots another person in-game (with a "special" pistol) and that person dies in real life. Inside this game Kirito meets a girl player named Sinon, who introduces him to the game, Sinon is an awesome character in GGO with a great design and her abilities who tie
in a certain way to events of her real self. During the 13 episodes of this part Kirito becomes closer to Sinon and almost anyone who watched S.A.O. II has that "screw Asuna we want Sinon+Kirito" kinda thoughts, and the "hidden romance" between them mixed with all the other aspects of the anime makes it really unique and really great, keeping you pumped to watch every episode. And that's where the "break" comes in.
You finish the Gun Gale Online phase and they stop playing the game to go reunite with Asuna and the other at Alfheim. And that's when the anime loses almost everything, in my onpinion, it gets boring, loses all the hype on Sinon, I completely lost the interest to watch it until the end, but I did it anyways.
In excalibur quest, Kirito and the crew (now with Sinon) go to a dungeon where they have to fight through some monsters and a HUGE boss to get Excalibur. In this part you witness the last Kirito+Sinon ties.
In Mother's Rosario the main character becomes Asuna and you follow her as a member of a new guild with the most poweful player in the game who has something "special" (on the bad side) in real life. This part also shows problems of Asuna and her mother in matters of her professional future.
This concludes my Sword Art Online II review. In my opinion just watch Gun Gale Online, but if you are like me and you "have" to watch it to the end because you already saw half of it, then watch it and you might hate or even like the rest of it.
I have watched all the episodes including the last episode this week and this my review
The story is very easy to guess and very boring ( I did not read the light novel at all ). For GGO story is still pretty good even though I almost sleepy watching it . when entering excalibur story arc is getting very boring .
Good art but I do not excited almost no difference with the first SAO
I like just that opening (Courage by Haruka Tomatsu is beautiful) only while BGM is very ill-fitting.
Character just is not a lot of change even nicer first SAO
. What I did not like was no correlation characteristics of each arc . Sinon who becomes the main character in GGO suddenly disappeared in Mother Rosario Arc
I could not enjoy it . I probably watch all the episodes of necessity .
I think this anime is only suitable for SAO lovers only.
I have to say, I really disagree with the masses about SAO II.
The story, for the most part, had meaning--albeit points of random filler which I did not appreciate, especially since it left even less time for the actual story, which many agree is rushed at times.
CON: What I disliked about it, to be honest, is that many parts of the plot were pretty stale... leftovers from season 1. For example, (maybe a spoiler?) the brute strength of Kirito is hardly toned down at all in the third arc.
PRO: However, I did love the new story with Sinon. I really did. No
CON: Also, the fighting scenes... ughh... well, this is probably only a personal opinion, but in general, I find fighting scenes to be drawn and and boring most of the time, and SAO did little to make them more interesting for the most part. I could tell they tried, but... not hard enough. They were still boring.
PRO: The fourth arc, however, was really refreshing. The series went in a direction which I never expected it to, and I admire it for that.
CON: But what I still didn't like about it was how they had to push it all at us in the last couple of episodes. They also tried a little too hard to make the last episode a tear-jerker, but my feels weren't having it. As always, when it comes to pacing, SAO gets it all wrong.
PRO: But it was nice to see Kirito get his ass whopped for once.
There isn't really much to say about the art. I'm giving it a 10/10 because I think it's fair to say that it's up to par with some of the best out there.
Honestly, I think that they could have gotten some better songs. Almost every song throughout the series that I can recall was soundtrack from a fighting seen, and more dramatic music could have been used at times. (Although the fourth arc probably had some, I just wasn't paying much attention.)
I'm giving the character 8/10 because SAO did a good job of covering the backstories of nearly every essential character, but as far as screen time goes, the amount of time Yuuka got as unexceptable. She deserved way more than the 4 or 5 episodes she got, considering a couple were still in the "who is this mysterious girl?" phase.
Despite how critical I sound, I did really enjoy this anime. It wasn't boring by any means, in fact it was enjoyable, and was easy to get through. The plot devices that were used successfully were enough to keep me coming back for more.
IN CONCLUSION, SAO II is not as bad as I think people are making it sound. It's earned a lot of praise in general, and for that reason, people are becoming hypercritical to point out it's flaws and are generally disappointed when it doesn't reach a standard of near-perfection. However, if you have the time for it, SAO II isn't a bad series to pick up and watch.
The technology we experience in this day and age is marvelous. Incredible medical advances, personal computers the size of our hands, and sensory perception devices have already become the norm. The more we improve upon this technology, the further the line between reality and virtual is skewed. It's a fascinating development that holds a plethora of implications unknown to people even twenty years ago. These implications can either bring terrible trauma or untold happiness. In Sword Art Online 2, both sides are investigated, leaving us with an overall improvement from the first season.
Sword Art Online 2 starts where
Sword Art Online finished: Kirito, Asuna, and the rest of the gang have been happily living their lives outside of Aincrad for a while now. However, one day, Kirito is tasked with the mission to investigate an online killer known as "Death Gun," who is seemingly capable of killing people in the real world from within the virtual.
From the outset, Sword Art Online 2 has rather big shoes to fill, considering the popularity of the previous season. This time around, the anime focuses on three separate arcs: Phantom Bullet, Excalibur, and Mother's Rosario. What's different this time around is not just in the amount of stories that are told, but rather in their execution. Namely, the tales are not world driven but instead character driven. Phantom Bullet explores Sinon, Excalibur demonstrates the group dynamic, and Mother's Rosario takes a look at Yuuki. This provides the show with an opportunity for greater characterization, emotional appeal, and depth that was sorely lacking from the initial season.
The first and largest portion for this season comes from the Phantom Bullet arc. Here, the anime adopts an exposition-heavy approach that poses a stark contrast to much of what the first season offered. This direction slows everything down, providing the characters with more time to elaborate on not only the situations at hand but on their personal beings. At the same time, it attempts to find a balance between dialogue and battles that isn't quite found. Often times, there either exists too much talking with little progress or too much fighting with little explanation. Both sides as presented work as intended, but in unison they constantly seem to clash.
The second story is the shortest among both seasons. Entitled Excalibur, it doesn't serve much purpose other than providing a bit of fan-service to fans of the series. Deep down, it's meant to showcase the cast working together, but their isn't much weight behind these events, leaving it as fun rather than fulfilling.
The final adventure, and arguably the strongest part of Sword Art Online to date, is Mother's Rosario. This time, the anime gets it right; finding that balance between fighting and character exposition, it weaves a story filled with incredible emotions and an endearing message. Talking more about this balance, this arc uses the battles not as a means to survive or to demonstrate the power of the characters. Rather, they are utilized to shape the people at play and provide the audience with the idea that people can be defined by more than what reality provides us. That there exists more to someone than what is at first perceived.
Thematically, and perhaps obviously, Sword Art Online 2's overall message is simple: finding the strength in oneself. The strength to not give up, the strength to keep fighting even in the face of impossible odds, the strength to understand that one is more important and special than he or she ever thought possible. Again, this ties into both the real and virtual worlds within Sword Art Online, and has connections to our own. Having such strength is never easy to come by, but once it is found, it's a beautiful feeling that can never be replaced.
The production values, as expected, are quite high within Sword Art Online 2.
The art style stays more or less the same from the first season. The environments depicted are rife with detail, with locations both old and new looked upon. The bustling city within Gun Gale Online, the lone oak tree in Alfheim, and the snow-covered cabin where Kirito, Asuna, and Yui call home are prominent examples of how scenic the world can be.
The character designs are also given much attention. Kirito sees a face-lift in all departments and the newly introduced characters are given their own flair and details that allow them to slide easily into the pact.
Actual animation remains strong, with well choreographed duels, sword action, bullet-dodging, various move-sets, differing abilities, and both short and long-range skirmishes. Seeing as part of the allure to Sword Art Online are the fun and often intense battle sequences, it's no wonder that a lot of time was spent in this department.
Overall, it's nothing absolutely beautiful to look at or a prime example of how art and animation is to be done, but it is nice to see consistent quality across the board.
As stated before, Sword Art Online foregoes world building and sets its sights on the characters at hand.
Simultaneously the most loved and hated guy in anime, Kirito is back in full force during the first half of the show. Powerful yet understanding, he often talks with his swords first and his words later. However, contrary to his stigma, he actually receives a development that grounds him to reality. Seeing the all-mighty, over-powered main character succumb to a completely human feeling was refreshing to see, even if it only lasted for a short time.
Not to be outdone, Asuna takes up her rapier once more in the second half. Beautiful, kind, and intelligent, she's a woman every man dreams of finding. Beginning as a bad-ass, experiencing an oft forgotten misstep, and settling as an independent young woman, it seems there isn't much left to do with her character. But as the Mother's Rosario arc reveals, there is. The turmoil and struggle she experiences internally mirrors that of Kirito. She wants to have her feelings be known, but she doesn't have the capability to do so. This is mostly attributed to the circumstances that surround her life.
Both Kirito and Asuna develop past their troubles for one reason: their respective partnership with the characters they meet. In other words, Sinon and Yuuki provide the strength that Kirito and Asuna need to overcome the issues that plague them. Our couple serve as an example of not finding such strength within yourself, but having it given or revealed to you.
Sinon, the star of Gun Gale Online and arguably the strongest character this season, is a young woman attempting to overcome a past that torments her. Masking her beauty with that of a cool aura, she is always looking to better herself. For her, there is a distinction that exists between the virtual and the real world, and it is this separation that is tested. While she may be sexualized more so than is necessary, there is no denying the development she undergoes and the experiences she has fighting alongside Kirito. For her, the strength to keep fighting, the strength to move on gives her a welcoming feeling of relief that demonstrates what Sword Art Online can do when focusing so well on characterization.
Last, but certainly not least, Yuuki is a jubilant, fun, and all-around friendly young woman known for her swordplay that is rivaled only by that of Kirito and Asuna. Her loyalty knows no bounds, and her smile can cure the saddest of hearts. While she exudes a tough outer exterior, the emotions she keeps bottled inside can be too much for her to handle. As her story progresses, more and more is revealed about the almighty "Zekken," leading her down a path that provides us the already re-iterated message of finding one's strength. For Yuuki, this strength is the strength to understand that everyone, regardless of their background, has something to contribute. The contribution may not be physical, but even so it will exist for years to come within the hearts of those it touched.
The first OP is the best of the bunch, hearkening back to season one's "Crossing Field." The guitar and drums provide resounding flourishes, and the tune is incredibly catchy to hear. Plus, the vocalist provides great depth and range, giving the song both highs and lows that make it a joy on each new listen.
The second OP is good, if not as grand as the first. The vocalist this time takes a more relaxed approach, with the guitar and drums once more providing the beat necessary to make the piece as lively as needed. It's both uplifting and sorrowful at the same time, adding to the atmosphere that permeates Mother's Rosario.
The first ED is quite good. It's a quiet piece, with the piano adding to the gracefulness that the visuals provide. The vocals are peaceful and hopeful, much like the first arc of this season.
The second ED earns last place. It's quick in nature, with a somewhat boring beat, even if the vocalist attempts to save the song from being as tame as it is.
The third and final ED is a beautiful piece, and arguably the strongest of the bunch. Starting slow and soft, eventually picking up both tempo and power, it evokes great emotion. The violins, piano, and music provide a stellar arrangement that makes it tough to listen to after all is said and done.
The soundtrack brings about new pieces and returning favorites, making each depicted scene more fun, tense, or emotional than they would be on their own. Big shout-out to Yuki Kajiura for her continued work in the field of music.
Voice acting sees each cast member performing at least average to above average. While there are no superb performances to be had, each actor and actress did what was needed to be done.
It is impossible to deny the popularity of Sword Art Online. The characters are fun, their interactions are silly, the romance elements are nice, the inside jokes of established harems and whether or not Klein is actually the main character make the entire experience more worthwhile. It's a "gateway" series that can be loved by anime watchers both young and old, and it does this remarkably well.
The first arc add tons of action, even if it was rather slow at times. It wasn't extremely enjoyable, but watching Kirito flip around with a light-saber just because he can never ceased to make me smile. The Excalibur story, while technically not the weakest part of the entire series, was just a fun little side adventure. Admittedly, other anime did/do this better (namely, Log Horizon), but seeing the show at least attempt to incorporate more MMO elements was nice to see.
I'll say it, I welled up during the finale of Mother's Rosario. I even still have the little tissues I used to dab my eyes. It was probably the same amount of emotion that was evoked the multiple times it occurred during Clannad: After Story. That's how moving it was. And it was moving not just because of Asuna or Yuuki. It was moving because of how together it all felt. While the arc didn't last long, I don't think I'll be able to forget about it for quite a while.
Sword Art Online 2 is a proper sequel. More action, more emotions, more characters; it does it all. While still far from perfect, I think the unending bashing of the series should at least calm down for the time being. While the story of Kirito, Asuna, and everyone else concludes for now, I can't wait to experience more of what this world, both the real and virtual, have to offer.
Story: Fine, okay first arc, bad second arc, good last arc
Animation: Good, scenic locations, good actual animation
Characters: Fine, Kirito, Asuna, and Yuuki are okay, Sinon is good
Sound: Great, good OPs, great EDs, great soundtrack, good VA work
Enjoyment: Great, begins with action but ends with emotion
Well, now that SAO II has finished, it's time for a review. I'm not a fanboy of SAO but I must say that it's a very good anime (both seasons). This second season openned with the story of BoB, which was an amazing story that linked very well both virtual and real worlds. The season has finished with Mother's Rosario's story, which has also been very good (I even cried with the end).
Once said all this, why not a 10? Why a 9? Well, Between both stories there was Excalibur's arc. For me, this arc was horrible. It had a great lack of sense and
it looked like "we have 3 episodes empty, what do we create for them?" "we could make a short terrible story so we don't have to think much". This arc is what for me makes SAO II not worth a 10.
(If there were some mistakes I'm sorry, I'm Spanish and I had never written a review before)
They release game called SAO Fatal Bullet and I did not want to play it so at first I decided to watch SAO II so that after that it would be interesting to play, and yesterday i graduated (complete 24/24) and I was not satisfied with anime. Those who watched 4 years ago, these people (anime viewers) I fully understand, why many of them caused a low rating (like 3/10-6/10) ok... let's start with the main one.
OP 1 intro 10/10- Song and animation just epic
OP 2 intro 6/10- nothing special
Story in overall 7/10- (1-15 episodes) I liked Gun Gale online, I wanted to see it
until episode 24, but....... they switched to another mmorpg at first it seemed cool, because I was thinking that they would return to the gun gale online back, but that was not the case, 16-24 episode this part can be highly valued only and only true SAO fans, my raiting is 6/10 because there are too many soap operas and melodrama, especially in the last three episodes, the second part +/- is intended exclusively for real fans, but Gun Gale online I would say to all, who of course, have played computer games only so I liked the first part but not the second one.
Art 9/10- Very well drawn, but animation in gun gale online I liked more.
Sound 9/10- Which really shocked me is the weapon sounds the feeling that they took the sound of real weapons, and when they fired from them, I already knew from what weapon they were shooting (pistol,shoutgun,sniper rifle, assault rifle and more), and music in general also liked.
Character 8/10- Most of all I liked the Sinon despite being in her past where she defends itself and inadvertently kills a bad person she was acting right then I did not like the other people's reaction to the fact that she killed a man, except Asada Shino others in that moment was useless and weak, bad people MUST DIE! And in gun gale online Sinon was just a gift for me very pretty girl, but others like Asuna Kirito and they friends stay same as first season.
Enjoyment 7/10- First part I watched 3 episodes every day and second part 1 episode every day.
Overall 8/10- Now I can start enjoying the game Sao Fatal Bullet and get into Sinon place and enjoy own Gun Gale Online.
And bonus- Difficult to evaluate correctly, but from my own experience those, who play games using computer hardware, take an example from Sao heroes if you are weak in real life, but playing a computer game you feel strong then motivate yourself from the games to real life as it did in the end with Shino Asada.
It maybe slightly better than the first, but it does get super annoying on how millions of people make discussions about it now “everyone” is just talking at how horrible it was is just getting on my nerves, at the end of the day, all what You really want is just Kirito simply kicking the hell out of everyone, not some cheesy and over-reacting Michael Bay slash Urobutcher I'm now going to cry like sh*ty cheese drama... It could've been fine if it was JoJo Crusader clone... ANYWAYS....
Kirito is now sent to play another game again! Yay!
This time its an FPS. (now its obious that there milking the show) In Gun Gale Online its just like every other VMMO RPG but everything You fight is in FPS mode. Why? Its because some rich business guy asked him to kill a mysterious player called death gun, a mysterious player who uses a weapon called the “Death Gun” a weapon in which if a player got shot by it, they die in real life. Why on Earth are these people hiring teens to do there dirty work? Cuz it sells.
Before I try to get all meticulous with detail, yes, I loved the original cast especially Kirito as a character because I was a casual back then. I was purely sucked in nostalgia seeing him once again just sword flinging he's way aganist hoards of zero dimensional bad guys and the whole Harem aspect.
(take that for a grain of salt)
Everyone is just so serious, like how Shione is surrounded by a bunch of guys doing some PK'ing and when the heavy comes, everyone just all flip the hell out as if this was real life near-death situation! The characters tend to react in this unorganic state of form and completely feels like the writer just pulled he's own pants, this overall makes the Drama corny as all hell, and moments when we are supposed to care about whatever on Earth is on screen, just looses it.
Kirito as the protagonist seems to be one who tends to drop all tension and drama since You know he's going to plot armoured, You know he's going to kill the bad guys, You know he's going emo when in reality the writers were just pretentious and You definitely can predict which new girl will enter he's Harem club miles away! Since the point of Kiritos existence is to be the “OP” it could've been fine if the show had more self-awareness and made itself more like a Michael Bay transformers when all You wanted was to see cool land mechs on CGI LSD fighting to the death without a sense of art, and it could've been so easy and so much better if they just made mindless action.
So the show fails to be consistent, so what about the Shion? Well she's annoying, the show constantly pokes at her as some emo tsundare who seems to sob every time the writers decided to put some “DRAMATIC” scene in which it becomes pretentious as how she treats everything like its a life or death situation making all the Drama corny as hell. Like how we view her back story as this robber shot her mum (OH HOW SAD) but the meat of how it was so bad was that every time she looked at a gun, it hallucinates her into the past event! But even if they do pull that sh*t right, it still does not help that she's pretty much plot armoured like Kirito.
Logically, the company that noticed this issue about Death Gun would try to ban him, but there wasn’t even a sign of moderators in the game, and there is still just as many players playing this game... So what? They can't man overseas or even pick up the phone?!
If there would ever been anything that was improved as comparison to the original, is that they removed some of the bad writing, as for the first time ever! It actually feels like a game, they clearly present You the world in the first few episodes and how the gun gale thing works like tournament, control schemes, actual guns etc. though it feels like the information can be quite vague like how they never explain class builds but they improved the overall “This is a Game” tone it was trying to achieve but not the content.
Side characters? What side characters? All what I remember was that forgettable harem, and how they trashed Asuna over the side view, and now the 98% of the original cast are just there to be filler scenes for the fantards to gasm, because those characters can still be milked cash until it runs dry.
Really guys? Death Gun? What a horrible name for a villain that is meant to make fantards go crazy....
The show does a pretty bad job at trying to keep mysteries as it fails trying to stick to its own identity, because the good guys are OP and that teenagers are the most powerful things in the universe Valvrave style. There is also a sense that the writers were clearly forcing plot twists out of nowhere to create SHOCK FACTOR to make audinece scream in the top of their lungs, as Death Gun ominously triumphs the hoards of players with “Death Gun” Kirito, now in confronting him noticed that it was really just a random psycho path from earlier memory in the original SAO, as the show fails to even create such twists as the whole thing felt like this inorganic pull.
At this point, You all what You want to see is just Kirito killing everyone so easily, or just see loads of action having plot devices that clearly feel like the show was just giving as action, not this faulty Drama and thriller BS. They also made Kiritos new sprite into a girl which the show could've been the same without it, and can remove some useless filler scenes.
Judging the show in its own merit, the original source material seems to be around 12 episodes long, while this adaptation is going to run for about 24. What a great cash in guys! You might as well go pull out some cheap scape plot convenience saying that the real villains of the show are Aliens, and that they were manipulating him even when he was a baby!
Well at least the show feels like a game for once...
Well at least the Animation still looks pretty to look at, and the CGI is not as horrendous, or no where as bad as the mainstreams of the season, and even though they still blended the backgrounds with some CGI, I still stand that one of the best things from SAO was the CGI fight scenes like Aldnoah. The action scenes look cool, the charcter designs are a slob for the most part, and an actual light saber as unoriginal product placement like wtf guys? The Action scenes still look cool as all hell, and just seeing Kirito simply doing what seems to be an impossible win made it look so easy doesn’t never seemed to grow old despite of the bad content. Sure the budget kind of felt lower, but its still great and consistent all through out.
OST is still pretty damn good, though it does feel rather similar to the first, and it would be fine if they just reusing the first OST, but overall, the music has a variety of all the mainstream instruments and sounds like techno beats, guitars, pianos, violins etc. Though not massively impressive, and me being far from a music critic, it still shows genuine emotion from each piece. The OP was a downgrade for me, screw it, its just more generic j-pop that I'm getting bored of these days. The purple tentacles were also a hilarious touch too.
Its just more fangasm for fans wanting more for SAO, for the rest seeing how popular it was to hate this show, its still some of that mainstream garbage we critics have to be constantly fed everyday. so come up of any method to over think Your argument casuals! It will never work...
3/10 – Story shucks.
3.5/10 – But all I wanted was my Kirito to kill players! ;_;
7/10 – Eh, just as good as the original...
7/10 – Eh, it might as well be the same as the original OST...
4/10 – When the story tries to be serious, it feels like a drag.
FINALE: 4/10 When all I wanted to see was Kirito just kicking the hell out of everyone, the show tries to be pretentious.
5/10 – The second half of the show did feature the original cast in action, due to nostalgia, that was a good watch and it does repair the damages caused by the first.
Sword Art Online II
Special Episode: 1 (14.5)
First of all, if you've seen SAO then you will probably for sure watch this and yes, it's worth it. Well, I won't be going on about why you should watch it since it's pretty much evident. Let's get to the review
It's divided into 2 arcs; Gun Gale Online and Alfheim Online
The first arc is from episodes 1 to 14 and a summary of the arc in the special 14.5
The second arc is from 15 onward and is further divided into 2 episodes; Calibur and Mother Rosario.
It's pretty much the same. A problem arises in GGO and
Kirito is called to that game in order to solve it. GGO is completely new to Kirito and he makes new friends and meets up with old enemies.
In ALO, stuff passes much more quicker and there are no problems in this arc. So, it's basically just your average VRMMORPG quest completion arc. However, the feels part of the anime comes in this arc. So, there is not much "fight-till-the-death" thing in this arc rather it's a talking type arc and the feels run high in this one.
The opening and ending themes are amazing. My favorite is the ending of the first arc; Startear.
The graphics and animation is the same as it was in the prequel. With new characters being introduced and the avatars of the characters changed slightly. But the character design is really good. And the new characters have their own real world problems to take care of which also merges with their performance in the game. Anyway, you'll love the new characters a lot.
That's a given. It was a hell of a ride. And by the end of the series, you'll be crying, that I can guarantee. Too many feels.
There are 2 ways in which SAO II differs from SAO
1. SAO is much darker than SAO II
2. SAO II has more feels than SAO
Overall, it was a really nice sequel to the epic prequel. Don't miss it.
I cannot deny that I am fond of the Sword Art Online (SAO) franchise, and that I am a particular fan of their ideas of the existence of VRMMO (Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online) games. But I will do my utmost best not to let bias lead me.
The first season of SAO was a pleasure to watch and in my opinion it had its charms. It can be noted however, there were more plot holes then actual plot. But then again, they had to cover two years and an arc in a limited amount of episodes. The writers probably did
their best, but it just did not work out. But even though it had its flaws, it was a fun anime to watch.
Please note though that the anime is an adaption of the light novel, so a few things that happen in the light novel are not explained in the anime. For someone who has not read the light novel it would already generate a plot hole why Kirito started playing VRMMO’s again. Asuna’s mother quite right pointed out that she found it weird that a SAO survivor would even want to use the AmuSphere, an invention that resembles the NerveGear after being stuck in Aincrad.
(Side-track:) Reasoning it could be said that there would be two logical first reactions after ‘waking up’. The first would be the one Asuna’s mother points out; You do not want to play VRMMO again and you would rather (exaggerating extremely) die than use it again. The other reaction would be that you have grown so fond of the world you were in (you have lived there for two years after all…) that you would rather live in a VRMMO than in the real world.
But back to season two, the plot exists out of three arcs; the Gun Gale Online (GGO), the Caliber and the Mother Rosario arcs. It can be noted that the creators made the same ‘mistake’ by having an anime that was split. In SAO there was the Aincrad arc, followed by the ALfheim Online (ALO) arc. In SOA II you have three arcs. It weakens the plot of the anime as a whole, if not executed right. The transition between the GGO arc and the Caliber arc was quite horrible, the viewer was thrown form one game to another. The transition of Caliber and Mother Rosario was already better, but that is only because they share the same game, and thus the same setting, namely ALO.
Not mentioning the bad transitions between arcs, the plot is inconsistent at times. The one I found most striking was the promise of Kirito to Sinon. He promises Sinon that he would always think about her when he uses the sword Excalibur. However when Kirito equips the sword and starts to yield it there is absolutely no reference to the promise. Not even a simple thought. The plot of also GGO lacks distinctive battles and realistically ones. If you are an agility based character and have some fine reflexes I can understand that you are able to deflect and arrow, that could be realistic. But deflecting bullets from a gun that is just a few meters away? Highly unlikely.
The main themes of SAO were the exploring of a fictional world. The world of GGO seems quite interesting with its desolate area’s and unique nature, but the world was hardly explored, like in SAO. There are monster raids for EXP and money, but no monster actually appeared in the anime. The setting of this arc is merely the Bullets of Bullets tournament, divided into a qualification tournament and the real tournament. The battles that were fought in the qualification tournament were far from exciting, lasting mere seconds. The battles in the real tournament were better, but even the finale was far from worthy. The plot continues with Caliber, a horrible transition.
The Caliber is a short side story that is very weak. Stretching only three episodes, it felt rushed. A master quest has to be done and, surprise, Kirito & Co had to save the world. The major character development was done in the GGO arc and was left behind in this arc. Especially Sinon’s development was left out. The atmosphere was also juxtaposed, from having to ‘finish business with the villain’ to ‘exploring dungeons’. Caliber can only be seen as a filler arc hardly worth mentioning.
The final arc, Mother Rosaria, had an emotionally strong plot. ‘Right in the feels’ as a 9gagger would say. It is very character-orientated, with Asuna joining the Sleeping Knights guild to help them defeat the floor boss. Later it is revealed why the Sleeping Knights are so keen on defeating the floor boss. The Mother Rosaria arc also zooms in on Asuna’s personal situation and her struggle with her mother. Today’s teenagers can easily relate with Asuna since having internet friends is a taboo. Put bluntly at least. The battles were better animated and also realistic – as far that is possible in a fantasy world.
One of the biggest points critics made was that SAO had little to no character development. In SAO II, there is a lot more character development, especially towards Asuna in the Mother Rosaria arc. The GGO arc is also character-orientated, but less in comparison to the last arc.
The GGO arc had character development, however it was not strong. The dialogue the two had, where it would go in-depth, Sinon was in suggestive positions and the camera angles were, kind of, ‘well aimed at the female curves’. In the other dialoge they had it was circular.
Kirito and Sinon both share guilt for murdering. I had more empathy for Sinon, because when Kirito killed the men it was a matter of having to kill, a ‘them or I’ scenario. In Sinons case however, she did not have to interfere with the robbery. While both share the feeling of guilt, in the Caliber arc, however this feeling has evaporated and Sinon becomes a flat character that instantly fits in the ‘crew’.
The Calibar arc is not worth mentioning here and the Mother Rosaria arc did what the writer should have done in the GGO arc. Asuna gets a good background story, where the viewer can finally relate with her struggle. Her mother hates that Asuna still plays VRMMO and considers it only as a waste of time, while for Asuna the virtual world has become her ‘real’ world.
The artwork has improved, in comparison with the first season. The battle scenes were well executed, but because of the lack in number, a full potential was never reached. So the quality of the artwork does not shine, like it deserved to. The GGO arc was juxtaposed to the ALO arc in artwork. The GGO arc had mostly a dark, grey and metallic colours, while the ALO arcs had bright colours which really stood out. But it was well done nonetheless.
The sound and music were not better nor worse than season one. The voice acting did not stand out, no sentences worth remembering. It should be noted however, that there was no voice ‘out of place’ or a voice that caused a distraction.
The OST does what it was composed for, delivering the extra edge to each scene. The OST in season one were in place and so were they in season two. Solid, but not extraordinary.
Overall I did enjoy watching the show. But again the first episode of the anime has a fan service scene which returns more often in the anime. Namely an extreme fixation of the female curves of Sinon. Not that I mind the shots, but it adds little to nothing to the anime, not even comical relief. It is not the best anime, not the worst. It falls, just like its predecessor, in the middle. One should note that the Mother Rosaria arc did what no SAO arc has done before, the good development of characters. Yes the anime had its flaws, but for the casual watcher, it could be an enjoyable anime. For the hard critics however, not so.
This is, SAO II. Its ups and down, but there is always only one truth.
"Although as an avid Eroge reader it left me dissapointed.'"
To discern this one truth I went to many great lengths, I rewrote this review, MAL deleted my previous one. (not seeing its greatness) Yet I did not falter, for I know Kami are with me. SAO is one of a kind of a franchise. Only this anime can inspire such hate and such love at the same time. I certainly belong to the 3rd camp, read on to find out the truth beyond the truth.
Although as an
avid eroge gamer it left me dissapointed. Things that I required to enjoy this were missing. Although the studio went to great lengths to negate the effect of a lack of hentai scenes. The frequency of the famous (and great) Sinon ass shots is so astoundingly great that it left my dick hard throughout the entire 24 episodes. Yet it left me feeling that something was missing, something more. And for that I never managed to finish with my dick mashing by just watching this anime. Ass shots, shameless fanservice, almost sexual scenes and a huge amount of them at that, it teases, and teases yet leaves you unfulfilled at the end of an episode necessitating you to fire up some Eroge/porn/Hentai to finish off.... If there was a score of fappability on MAL I'd give it a 5/10 - Casual, Poorly Executed, Yet for avid fans of SAO certainly possible.
Well in any case, the story of SAO is quite the different type of a complex bear. Watching SAO made me feel like I was watching a documentary on the History Channel(ehm yes History...) the writing feels like it was written by a horny 30 year old male virgin. Yet what you feel is of no concern to the writer. The writing is well executed and well written for sure. SAO clearly states itself as a plot-driven anime and that necessiates good writing, thankfully our good o'l writer is a genius the likes of never seen before Reinhard Heydrich.
Our main protagonist is Kirito, he is special. For he has the power unique to him. Throughout my anime watching career I never encountered a power of similar proportions and scale. SAO is similar to Steins' Gate in the way that everything is explained scientifically and in the way of the protagonist who is an intellectual scientist, in the case of SAO the protagonist is a nuclear physicist who most likely studied at MIT (and other CIA-driven top secret facilities all around the world to perfect his invention) well those facts were not explicitly stated. But here is where the writer shows his greatness - everything is implied in huge detail. If you read between the lines you realise that Kirito possess the power of the King - Just like Geass from Code Geass! This power, it has power over the magnetic forces of the universe, he can denuclearize electrons using his device which is implanted onto his dick. Yes, his dick. It has a gravitational field capable of pulling every female (and some MALES!) into its reach forcing them to orbit his humble dick (which even without the device scores a massive 30 inch length. That is the implied reason on why Kirito gets every single p***y in the land of SAO.
Yet it is clear, Kirito isn't a gamer, he is a spy for the CIA investigating Japanese visual reality technology. That is why he looks like a professional model kung-fu karate fighter from ancient Tibet 15th Dalai Lama. That is my fan theory. I have an IQ of over 250 so it must be correct. In any case, it is clear, SAO is the new scientific/intellectual anime, pfft Steins; Gate idiotic stuff for under 50 IQ children of ages 5 and below. Pfft Code Geass, Lelouch is a fag compared to Kirito who could 360 no scope him using his sword. Pfft SAO 1, Kirito from SAO II is a female so he can pull his male Kirito friend using his female dick, wait a minute male Kirito's dick would counteract Female Kirito dick creating a gravitational vortex and a universal implosion because you cant just have antimatter meet with matter and expect shit not to blow the hell up. Okay in any case Kirito is the best protagonist since the coming of Reinhard von Lohengramm(although it is undeniable Kirito could command his loyal army of females to destroy the von Lohengramm empire easily and then piss on Reinhard's grave while resurrecting Kircheis if he was here) and Prophet Zoroaster (Kirito made a better religion than that casual zoroastrianism, Kirito and his dick is an item to be worshipped for eternity).
In any case, Sinon, is the new main female (at least until Kirito and the writer get bored of her in later episodes) She has quite a nice buttcrack. Very enjoyable to watch, although sucks when she is talking and the camera ain't focused on her 'ASSets'.... In any case at first she resists Kirito's dick ability of gravitational manipulation (which doesn't disobey Newton's law, this is a science anime so I expected nothing less than brilliant explanations) although soon enough she gets too close to the source of gravity and gets pulled in as hard as Silica (the only character name aside from Kirito, Sinon and Assuna I remember oh and that Grail or Krail guy who is only there to be a male member of Kirito's Solar system) welp, towards the end she becomes background character #10. Which kinda made me pissed off because her buttcrack wasn't as often on the screen.
So yes, after in-depth analysis and 10 rewatches of this masterpiece of a series I had been led to a final conclusion, this series is remarkable. The literary value of this and the influence on the modern world is outstanding, I'd even argue the writer of this masterpiece was more influencial in the shaping of this modern world than Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, Charles V, Nicholas II, Oda Nobunaga or even Charlamagne! I am sure in 200 years the name of this author will be put in history books alongside such personas of history. (most likely right beside Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot and Chairman Mao)
In any case, I grant this anime a 10 STAR RATING, for all its glory.
Thought provoking narrative.
Directing the likes of never seen since the coming of Buddha.
10/10 best anime of 2014 - without a doubt. This is undeniable.
I was hyped for this season mainly because of Sinon and the introduction of guns. I get why people hated this season. It's because of guns. Me personally, I love guns. Thats why I loved watching this season. Like before, I'm going to give independent ratings since there are different arcs. Here's my review
GGO 1st arc 9/10
Story: 1 year after the ALO incident, Seijiro, a guy from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications "VR Division" asked Kazuto to dive in the GGO game and investigate an incident. Professional players who are shot by "Death Gun" in the game is also dying in real life.
Art/Animation: Same as SAO 1st Season. Beautiful and colorful
Sound: The soundtrack is way more superior than the 1st Season. It gave me more eargasms. The opening soundtrack however is ok. Better than ALO's soundtrack but not better than SAO's opening soundtrack
Character: Sinon, my 2nd favourite character behind Lizbeth has been introduced. Her character development is very well done and explains a lot about her character, why she acts very seriously in the game, etc. Her past story is also very good. Her best friend was also introduced.
Enjoyment: I loved this arc. I wouldn't mind them focusing a whole season based on GGO. Screw the swords, guns are way more superior than swords.
Caliber 2nd arc 6.8/10
Story: Sugu showed Kirito a new article stating that the Excaliber has been found in the game but no one has yet to retrieve it. Kazuto formed a party of 7 (Kirito, Sugu, Asuna, Lizbeth, Silica, Klein, and Sinon) and set out in a quest to get the Excaliber sword.
Character: Sets of NPC were introduced but no major character was introduced in this arc.
Sound: Soundtrack was the same but my god, that opening soundtrack. For whatever reason, I can't stop listening to it. Opening soundtrack is way better than ALO and GGO's opening soundtrack but not better than SAO's opening soundtrack
Enjoyment: This arc ain't that long and this was just a filler. I enjoyed this arc nonetheless because of some funny moments. They should have made this arc in an OVA instead of filling up 3 episode slots of Season 2.
Mother's Rosario 3rd arc 9/10
Story: After being dissapointed with the Caliber arc, I thought this was also going to be a dissapointment. I was wrong. This was a lot better. In fact, it was in par with GGO even though it had less action
Characters: This arc focuses more on Asuna and some new characters were introduced. Yuuki, an "undefeatable" player with 67 straight wins and leader of the "Sleeping Knights" guild. She's nicknamed "Zekken" or "Absolute Sword". Even Kirito lost to her. There's also 5 "Sleeping Knighs" member introduced but I'm not going to list all of them since it's going to cost me time.
Enjoyment: I absolutely enjoy this arc. It was a very emotional arc and I'm not going to spoil what happened at the end of the arc. You have to see it for yourself. All I'm going to say is this is the 1st anime that made me shed a tear and I usually don't cry or even shed a tear when watching tv shows.
I wouldn't say this was better than the 1st season but definitely a lot better than the ALO arc. I just didn't like how they wasted 4 episode slots on the Caliber arc and the useless 14.5 episode. I also can't wait for the 3rd season which is most likely going to be the "Alicization arc".
-Introduction of guns
-Perfect plot twists
-Great Character development
-Perfectly executed last arc
-The rape scene
-Useless 14.5 filler episode.