Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sword Art Online

Last week before my trip I watched my first ever season of an anime show.  As you can probably tell from the title of the post, it was Sword Art Online.

I've tried various anime shows over the years but I've never been able to get past the first few episodes of one.  Usually the pacing is too slow and the show isn't visually interesting enough for me.  My brother has told me that modern anime is much better than what I tried to watch long ago, but I haven't had much time to check out any of the shows he recommended.

Then, last week, I heard some of the podcast members on Aggrochat talk about the premise of Sword Art Online and I was very interested.  Essentially, Sword Art Online is a fully immersive MMO in an advanced virtual reality.  The premise of the show is that only 10,000 people were allowed a copy of the game at launch and as soon as they all log in on launch day they are locked in the game until they can complete it.

They end up stuck in the game for a long time and a lot of interesting social dynamics develop.

The part of the show that really got me hooked was the fast paced action in an MMO world that happens in the first 25% of the season.  I thought it was epic when they encountered the first floor boss, that's when I was hooked.

It gave me enough momentum to finish the whole season, but unfortunately the pacing starts to drag in the second half.  I wanted to finish the season anyway just to prove that I could actually finish an anime once in my life.  Now that I have I'm not sure if I want to get into season two or not.

My biggest take away from this is that anime can be interesting and I should probably listen to my brother more often.  I suppose I should ask him what show to try out next.


  1. Season two is A LOT better than season one (well, the ALO arc). The director still makes some unfortunate choices though with focus shots.

    The thing is, Sword Art Online is based on a series of Light Novels - which are actual books, not comics. The ineresting thing is that there is a version called "Progressive" which is a rewrite of the SAO arc going floor by floor. The book also explains mechanics of the games so some weird things actually make sense.

    But, anyway, yeah, season 2 is a lot better

    1. Wow, now I'm super interested in the novels. I would love to see the progression floor by floor, that would be really cool. How exactly is a "Light Novel" different from a normal novel?

      I think I'm going to get around to watching season 2, especially since it's supposed to be good.

    2. Well, Light Novels are usually in First Person Point of view, they tend to have (anime style) illustration pages from time-to-time, usually only about 10 chapters, and don't tell the whole story in one book.

      As an example, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's (Philosopher's) Stone tells one whole story about Harry's first year. One book. A Light Novel version would be about two books usually. Not all follow this pattern but most do.

      It's like a novelized manga or anime in a lot of ways, but benefit from lack of drawings and monologue.

      To give an SAO example, while the first floor boss is essentially the same - there's more characters, Asuna and Kirito meet differently, there's another scene with them before the boss, Kibao is a bit different, we get an internal monologue about why Kirito chose to name himself a Beater, and the Diabel situation is a bit different.

      There's the Progressive version which is a rewrite that is going floor by floor, and then there's the normal version that is more "jumpy" (the first novel was episode 1 and the final arc with Kuradeel, Gleam Eyes, Marriage (not the Yui part, the fishing part), and Heathcliff. The second book covers the other episodes.

      Book 3 and 4 cover ALO - there's a whole section that was skipped in the anime.

  2. People keep telling me I need to watch SAO. I guess I'll add it to my Netflix queue and get to it eventually, haha. There's just so many other shows...

  3. I loved Sword Art Online. I only saw the first season though. Apparently it starts to suck after that but I haven't watched it to confirm this for myself. Still, the entire concept of a virtual reality MMO where death is real is crazy and cool at the same time.

  4. Have you tried cowboy bebop or samurai champloo great pacing, aesthetic and characters. It's the two anime I recommend to new watchers.

    I've also been really getting into the fate/stay series which I'd recommend starting for the beginning.

    If your after something a little more titillating (hehe) try kill la kill..

    1. I tried cowboy bebop the other day and it didn't do anything for me. I'll take a look at the other ones you suggested.

  5. I have watched very very little anime, but I have to second Samurai Champloo. I think it's only available dubbed in Netflix, which is a bother.

    Anyway, I watched SAO because I saw you talking about it on Twitter, and it was .. prety entertaining as an MMO player. I started the second season and it was terrible, so my advice is don't bother.

    1. I'll probably give the 2nd season an episode or 2. But if it's not interesting I won't stick with it.

      Thanks for the recommendation. It's nice to hear from others who aren't that into anime. It's definitely a different perspective that we come from.

  6. Fuck this is my favorite anime of all time. I love anime so much and to be honest this story is beautiful. I haven't read the light novels but I did watch season 2, and undoubtedly the first half of season 1 was the greatest!!! I think you may be interested in the anime "Death Note"