Sword Art Online – Interesting but flawed and disappointing


Sword Art Online was not a very good series, in fact it was a rather disappointing and largely flawed series, but neither was it terrible, with numerous elements that were interesting and a fascinating set of worlds. As a set of stories Sword Art Online partly fails because of its inconsistencies and generally problematic nature of the entire setup and how it is portrayed within the series itself. Certain key elements to do with the worlds and how they work in a broader context for example are pushed to one side in order to concentrate on the central characters such as Kirito, Asuna and later on Sugu. This isn’t the end of the world of course since Sword Art Online is at its heart and action adventure, with the virtual world and characters allowing for excellent action sequences and some rather grand fights between players and boss monsters. The worlds are vast and colourful with an immense variety in terrain and monsters, thus producing vibrant and fascinating looking sets and landscapes. Unfortunately none of this is ever really used until the Alfheim Online, but even then these worlds, regardless of their vibrancy and apparently central nature are ignored and pushed to one side. It is therefore a series with lots of potential that never truly fulfils it, or does anything with the tools that are available. As a series it continually introduces new and actually rather interesting ideas and characters, but never really uses them to their fullest, often forgetting about them almost as soon as they are introduced. Read more of this post

Reality and Dreams in Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online started with a bang, introducing a world that was full of danger and death, a game that had suddenly become the reality of those who were stuck there. Kirito as the central character appears to have accepted this new reality, and has moved on, learning to cope with the idea that a simple slip up could mean death in the real world. However, he has gone out on his own, wishing to have as few problems to deal with as possible. As a character he is afraid of responsibility, and more importantly he is afraid of having to deal with the responsibility of another players life. During the first episodes when they cleared the first floor dungeon we see an important character (at least to the gathered players) die due to ignorance and what could be argued as stupidity. He believed utterly in the data gathered by all those who had been beta tests (he was among them), and thought that with such knowledge they would be able to clear the dungeon with ease. He therefore discounted the possibility that Kayaba may have changed things in this game in very subtle ways, thus invalidating such information. Read more of this post

Purgatory, self-sacrifice and hatred in Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online is an adaptation of the light novel by the same author behind Accel World, and tells the story of a video game gone horribly wrong. Video games and virtual reality have been covered on a few occasions in anime, most notably with the .Hack franchise, exploring how a game can become someone’s reality. Sword Art Online is the latest anime to explore this area, and may possibly be the most over-hyped anime of the summer. In general I tend to be wary of such hype since it invariably leads to disappointment when the series cannot possibly live up to such high expectations. With that in mind I approach Sword Art Online with some caution, hoping to enjoy it, but wary of getting my hopes up only for them to be dashed against the cliffs of disappointment. It was a pleasant surprise then that Sword Art Online is not only a very good series, while also touching on some fascinating ideas to do with self-preservation and what humans do when put under extreme pressure. Read more of this post