*may contain spoilers ; yeah I've read the novel, but this is about the anime adaptation*
Oh God... I don't know how to begin. I did enjoy SAO 2, but once again I can't rate it with numbers. I have to write down my feeling, since that's the only way for a writer to make himself understood :)
So in 2012 this anime called Sword Art Online appeared. If you are interested in my opinion about it, please read my review, I won't spend any time to repeat what I've said there. But in 2014 we got the sequel. It was announced, that it will be about a new game called Gun Gale Online, a game where guns are the common weapons. I was surprised, that everyone was so upset about this. Okay, it's strange that in an anime called Sword Art Online people will use guns, but apart from that I've had no problem with it. Well the sequel finished airing, I watched it and... well let's just begin with the story.
Our story begins one year after Kirito escaped from SAO and saved Asuna from ALO. Kirito lives his happy, daily life, but one day he gets a call from a guy with a suit (sorry, that's all I remember about his character) who says there are some problems in the virtual world again. We are informed, that in a game called Gun Gale Online a strange figure appeared. He calls himself Death Gun and claims, that he can kill anyone with a shot within the game. Of course nobody believes him, but after two casualties, the guy with the suit informs Kirito. He asks him to get in there and investigate the case, and Kirito, as the superhero of the virtual world enters GGO. There, he meets Sinon, a female sniper and together with her he enters the competition called Bullet of Bullets (basically the same as a series of duels and the winner gets a prize), where he might be able to make contact with this Death Gun guy. Soon he realizes, that something is not right with the identity of this player, and Sinon's dark past comes back to haunt her too. Soon the question appears once again: What if virtual reality becomes your reality?
Well guys first things first, GGO is a lot better, than SAO! I mean seriously. SAO had a better story and better potential, but GGO was adapted really well. You won't feel anymore, that it's rushed. It takes it time and stays interesting at the same time. It still won't answer your serious questions and the big wave of psychology still didn't come, but you know what? I don't care! Because I got a really interesting and epic story. The mystery of Death Gun is really interesting, and you will do the same, you do while watching a good crime story. You will try to make theories about Death Gun. Well in the end the reality will be a bit more simple than I awaited, but that's not a problem. It's really fun watching all the fights, the chemistry between Kirito and Sinon and the process, how do they deal with their past.
Onto characters. Kirito is still awesome. He still acts like an invincible player though, which is not a really big problem, since this is not SAO anymore, but he could be a little more afraid of this Death Gun. But Sinon, OMG. She's a really good female lead, I can't believe her character was written by the same guy, who wrote Asuna. She is also really badass, but she also has her female charm. It's really fun watching, how Kirito always surpasses her, no matter how hard she is trying. And when her dark past comes forth, you can really feel for her. Long story short, the characters are a lot better in GGO.
GGO was great. I hate rating in numbers, but I would gladly give GGO a 9/10... oh wait a minute. I gave it a 6. Why?
Well they did it again. In the anime called SAO 2, but also known as Gun Gale Online, Gun Gale Online ends in episode 14. I don't get what's with this 14 episode rule. And as you would guess, YEAH, we are going back to ALfheim. But this time, two arc, 10 episodes.
First we get 3 episodes of Calibur. Why? Is there anyone, who read the novel and said: ''Calibur is my favorite!'' ? Calibur was the longest 3 episodes of my life. Seriously, it doesn't make any sense. They are just doing a minor quest in ALfheim, and literally NOTHING is at stake. Yeah, they want you to believe, that the system can rewrite itself and hell can appear in that game, but anyone who has ever played an MMO knows, that it does not work like that. The only positive about Calibur is a cute moment between Kirito and Sinon near the end.
Then Mother's Rosario, the remaining 7 episodes. Well MR is a side story of SAO. It's about Asuna, who meets a girl called Yuuki, who for some reason really wants to defeat a boss in ALfheim. (yeah I know it's not ALfheim) But later Asuna finds out, that Yuuki has some really serious problems in her real life. Mother's Rosario is once again about the concept, that virtual reality becomes reality for someone. But that won't change the fact that it's a side story. It's a big longer than it should be, and while it's interesting in the beginning, it gets really boring later on. And when you reach the sad conclusion, you won't even care anymore. Asuna still doesn't have any character and while Yuuki is an interesting person, her story is way too simple.
Here's what I think. After the end of GGO they should have either end the season or begin Alicization ark. Mother's Rosario should have been a movie, since it's just a side story. (Calibur? who cares about that?)
Once again I have to mention the art and the sound. The voice actors/actresses made an amazing job, the music is still fantastic. But this time the art and animation are on top! GGO just looks amazing, seriously even more beautiful, than SAO. The cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic backgrounds are orgasmic. And when Kirito starts to dodge the bullets... I thought I'll cu... cucumber? Long story short, it's awesome! The artist really did give their everything. I'm not even talking about Kajiura Yuki anymore, this is like her second nature.
So what is the verdict?
The first 14 episodes are really good in my opinion. They are epic, interesting, well-adapted and probably they did everything right, what SAO did not. But the second half f***s up the whole thing again. Calibur is boring and uninterestig, and while Mother's Rosario is a decent story itself, the way it was apadted is really mediocore. I can't even believe, the last 10 episodes were made by the same studio.
Do I recommend it?
Yeah I do, but I can't say, that I enjoyed every bit of it this time. It was a real pain in the *ss to finish the last 10 episodes. Anyway, GGO is really good, and if you are a fan of cyberpunk or FPS games, it will be twice as much fun to watch it.
(Thank you for reading this, sorry for my English and for all the comas I will never learn to use them properly :) )