There’s something that will, at times, both confuse and irritate me, and that’s when popular series that everyone seems to love I tend to despise with a burning passion because I think it’s a load of crap. But, somehow, everyone seems to love it so much that if I were to try and talk about what I hated about the series, people would flip out on me and tell me “What?! No! It’s the best thing ever!!” One such case revolves around the series I’m taking on today. People may get angry for what I’m going to say, but it’s my opinion. I’m not the almighty otaku god so just calm down and don’t take it personally!
Sword Art Online is a 25 episode Action/Adventure/Drama anime based on the ongoing light novel series by Reki Kawahara and published by ASCII Media Works. The anime from A-1 Pictures and director Tomohiko Ito originally ran during the Summer 2012 season. As of this review, SAO has been licensed by Aniplex of America (US), Manga Entertainment (UK), and Madman Entertainment (AUS). A second season named Sword Art Online II is currently airing in Japan and with Aniplex of America as the only known licensor. You can find the series streaming on Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Hulu.
|Also the action is pretty awesome!|
|SO F**KING POINTLESS!!!|
Although the story took a crash landing, the under developed characters did not save this series in the least. It’s possible that the character writing is even worse than the actual story! Asuna and Leafa’s characters are probably the most saddening to see this happen too. For Asuna, her introduction in the series was really awesome and badass that you’d think would equal a strong female character. Yeah, no. By the next time we see her, she’s turned into a tsundere character who, as Anime Zone’s Giggrk puts it, “can’t do anything without her f***ing boyfriend!” Again, the forced romance doesn’t help this either. Not only that, but Asuna’s character is so poorly written that she ends up in a Princess Peach scenario for the second half of the series. As for Leafa, her character really just isn’t given time to grow and instead ends up stuck in this rut and can’t get out of it. Not only that, but Sword Art goes into a very different route with her character that, because of spoilers, I won't talk about. But it's pretty bad.... The majority of the secondary characters are rather mixed. You have the ladies of Kirito’s harem who get that one episodes to hang out. Then there’s some of the male secondary characters like Klein and Agil who are interesting but we don’t see all that much. Lastly there’s the villains who are either confusing as to their motives or so insane that it’s hilarious! But, of course, we can’t leave out good old Kirito. There’s a term being tossed around in order to describe his character, and it’s so accurate that I can’t think of any other way to describe him. Kirito is a wish fulfillment character. He’s so powerful, so badass, and somehow manages to attract all the ladies. Not only that, but the writing makes it so he can accomplish things that you can’t normally do if you play an actual MMO. Couple that with some of the deus ex machina junk that gets written in, and you have a character that will save the day no matter what happens. Even if he were to get into a knife fight in the real world, some bull s**t is gonna go on and save him. Can you tell how much this series irks me?
|"You should address me as his highness, TODD F**KING HABERKORN!"|
|And my feelings on Papenbrook will remain mixed.....|
|Oh Leigh, if only your character wasn't written poorly....|
Okay! Now that I’ve basically finished ranting about the series, here’s the thing. I know people really do enjoy the series for what it is, and it even got some new viewers into the anime world. That’s something I can understand. There were times where I did find myself enjoying the show or even getting teary eyed during parts. But, if you have a wasted premise and wasted character potential, then it makes the series just an utter disappointment in the end. Even with all the action and all the nice technicals, without a good story and interesting characters for you to invest your time in, it can make it that much more difficult to get through in the end. Honestly, if the writing and characters were a lot better than I could see this as something really amazing! It just didn’t accomplish that because there is a thing in this world called terrible writers. That’s all there is to it. But do we really have to make this series as taboo a topic as the Shonen Three? Seriously? Can’t we all just get along?
By the end of our virtual nightmare, Sword Art Online had so much potential but is just wasted on a poorly written story and very underdeveloped characters. While the animation and soundtrack amazed and the dub was average at best, it’s so hard to overlook the glaring flaws. It is very action packed and I did enjoy myself, but you really REALLY need to turn your brain off on this one. I can say that some anime newcomers may enjoy this a lot, however the older anime fans may be much more on the fence.
Next time, we suffer from a little PTSD in a strange new world. Until then, otaku on my friends!
Final Rating - 4/10 All that potential.... Just wasted.... At least it’s looks pretty.