|This review contains minor spoilers of the shitty story and characters|
Oh Sword Art Online, how you fooled millions of people into thinking that this show will be every gamer and anime fans' dream-come-true. We all came in, watched the first episode and thought " This actually looks pretty cool " , and continued watching like fish on a fishing rod. How wrong were we? Well, I will tell you, fellow readers, how the anime that received one of the largest fan-bases in recent times, holds the pinnacle of the word 'Overrated '; and I will do my best to convince you to NOT watch this anime.
Now let's begin this review with discussing about the 'gripping' story, that led such a large fan-base into picking up SAO. So, I am not going to talk about the synopsis, as MAl has it displayed at all times, but I have to say that 'disappointment' is an understatement when describing the story of this anime. The biggest disappointment when watching this anime was the colossal time-skips that the anime takes. At one moment Kirito (the main character of the series) is a weakling, and literally in the blink of an eye, he is the most over-powered in the game. Thus, character-development is thrown out of the window. You just can't bring out a realistic and gripping story with such decisions.
The other fact that made the story ridiculous, was the fact that Kirito simply levels so fast by PLAYING ALONE in a bloody MMORPG. If you have played at least 1 game of this genre, you would be highly aware that this is further than impossible, as you would need at least 100 players to beat a boss, of which all players must be very highly leveled. Thus the story becomes so poor and unrealistic, that it is almost hilarious.
The first arc of SAO, which consists of the first 15 episodes, in terms of story overall, was terrible. There were time-skips and an unrealistic story. However, were the story becomes even more ridiculous is the second arc, which consists of the rest of the story. A damsel-in-distress is again, an understatement. You all should be fully aware of the video-game franchise 'Mario'. Kirito is Mario and Asuna (which I will talk about how awful of a character she is in my character section of this review), is princess Peach. And i am not exaggerating at all. This becomes so annoying, that watching this series, I remember wanting to bash my head against the wall to ease my fury. Oh wait, there's more! Ever wanted to see a character in a non-ecchi anime being 'done' by tentacles? Well this is the anime for you! Cause I am sure that all the kids that watched this series, thinking that it would be like a Disney film ended up getting rather scarred.
The last factor that determines my score of '2' is the slice-of-life elements of the show, that tricked the whole audience of the show into thinking that this anime would be consisted of badass action sequences and a complex story. No. Instead, what we get is two idiots telling how much they love each other (even though they met in a game) for most of the series with little to no action. Enjoy.
Oh you thought that I was telling the worst about this anime, were you? Well don't worry, it gets much worse in this section. To put it simply, the characters in this series are laughable, generic, idiotic and extremely one-dimensional. I will talk about some of the characters of the series.
1. Kirito: So what do you get when you mix Makoto from school Days and every other generic protagonist from a harem series, combined with a bit retardation. You get Kirito of course! This guy is living a harem with 5 girls in this series, for absolutely no reason at all. The girls are treated like mindless retards that the only thing that pleases them is a douche like Kirito because of black hair and clothes. This guy is worse than a regular, clueless male lead from a harem series as he does not only understand the situation he finds himself in, but also does not give a shit. He dumps all he rest of the women (including side-chicks) and guess who he decides to go with in the end; HIS FUCKING SISTER. Yes, this anime is incestuous beyond belief. Kirito is the epitome of everything I hate in an anime character combined.
2. Asuna: This chick is the one which receives the worst development (of almost all) of anime i have seen . She starts off looking like a cool female lead, with a large potential of evolution, and then, all of the sudden, she enters a part of Kirito's harem with what seems like so reason at all. She did not give a damn about Kirito, and then instantly wants his D, after sleeping on a field with him, for whatever reason that is.
The relationship of Asuna and Kirito is not only extraordinarily unrealistic, but also dreadful, as this relationship is seen to be so forceful. |SPOILERS| They end up adopting this one girl they find in the woods, and this is when the characters become so BAD. This father-daughter and mother-daughter relationship is so off from real life it's funny. The end up wasting most of the first arc with deciding whether to keep this girl or not (of which destroys the genres of this series wholly) and makes you think this show is a pathetic Clannad rip-off.
The rest of the characters in this series are so forgettable I have forgotten most of their names as a result. The girls are shown to be whores with no wit, while the antagonists of the show are BEYOND HILARIOUS. The main antagonist of the series has NO purpose to trap this people in this world and kill them off. NO reason at all. This guy simply wants to look evil for no ulterior purpose, because this show needs a reason to exist.
In the end, the characters receive little to no development, while proving to the audience that ' the power of friendship' exists in a couple such as Kirito and Asuna, as the romance is so bad in this series, that it feels like Asuna gets friend-zoned by Kirito for wants to jump his sister, which she was the worst character of all. For absolutely no reason at all, this girl wants to bang her brother (which the anime makes statements here and there stating that they are cousins living in the same house, which is still nonsensical). And Kirito falls for her because his motto is " THE BIGGER THE TITS THE BETTER ".
Animation and Art : 8
I have to give credit to A-1 pictures for producing an anime that has decent-looking colors, and a fair amount of frames within the little battle-sequences this anime holds. The art however is nothing that spectacular as to up the score any more than it already is, as an anime which received such a massive audience deserved a greater production value, in my opinion. The background are usually fairly done, and there is no real lack of consistency when dealing with the anime as a whole.
Yuki Kajiura is an amazing composer and I feel that her music really fit the atmosphere of the show. It's a shame that she wasted her efforts in such a show like this, but whatever. The openings are both fantastic, with greater emphasis to the first one, " Crossing Field " which really suited the tone of the anime itself, combined with an excellent chorus.
As a lot of anime, the voice-acting of SAO was on-par and did their job very well (with reference to the original Japanese dub), so whatever part i had to take seriously, I did due to the well executed emotions portrayed through words. Again, its a shame that they bothered to do such a good job on an anime like this.
I tried to enjoy this show, I really did. But I could not take it seriously due to the harem, ecchi and incestuous nature of the show itself. The characters clearly lacked any substance and the story was laughable, thus further lowering my enjoyment of the show. The only facts that upped my enjoyment, was the fantastic opening, that made me want to watch each episode for that purpose. The animation made me enjoy the anime a bit more as well, but all these do not compensate with the sheer horror of the show's execution.
Of course, the animation/art and sound only play for a small part of the overall score. The story and characters were anything below pathetic, and thus could not credit the show itself. Please, do yourself a favor and skip this entry, it is not worth your time at all. Don't get fooled by the popularity of the show itself, as that is not an indication of how good the show is, instead proves how many souls were lost in wasting their time on an anime like this.
Thanks for reading my review! RedInfinity out.