Thursday, October 13, 2016

[ANIMANIUS] Let's Tear Down SAO!


LET'S TEAR DOWN SAO!

I decided to fill in my time with a much older review that I had done.

Anyone that knows me as a person knows how I feel about the anime Sword Art Online.
And about 80% of the time, they know that I will either rip it down or try to convince why I just do not like anything relating to this series.

Note: This is not including season 2. I hear that it is better than the first season in terms of story consistency, but I likely will not ever watch it due to my strong distaste for the series as a whole.

PLOT


In the year 2022, virtual reality has progressed by leaps and bounds, and a massive online role-playing game called Sword Art Online (SAO) is launched. With the aid of "NerveGear" technology, players can control their avatars within the game using nothing but their own thoughts.

Kazuto Kirigaya, nicknamed "Kirito," is among the lucky few enthusiasts who get their hands on the first shipment of the game. He logs in to find himself, with ten-thousand others, in the scenic and elaborate world of Aincrad, one full of fantastic medieval weapons and gruesome monsters. However, in a cruel turn of events, the players soon realize they cannot log out; the game's creator has trapped them in his new world until they complete all one hundred levels of the game.

In order to escape Aincrad, Kirito will now have to interact and cooperate with his fellow players. Some are allies, while others are foes, like Asuna Yuuki, who commands the leading group attempting to escape from the ruthless game. To make matters worse, Sword Art Online is not all fun and games: if they die in Aincrad, they die in real life. Kirito must adapt to his new reality, fight for his survival, and hopefully break free from his virtual hell.
(Source media: Myanimelist.net)

WHAT I DID LIKE

"What? The way you started this off, there's actually stuff you LIKE about this show?"

Yes. Even I can find my perks in a series that I despise. So, what is it here?



  • The first two episodes. It had such a great premise to it, had such potential to it. I mean, come on, 10,000 people getting trapped in a virtual reality world, unable to awaken unless someone beats the game? How cool does THAT sound?! But then it got ripped under me in terms of how far that type of plot potential really held. Because immediately in episode 3, they SKIP. TWO. YEARS. Out of nowhere. No buildup, no nothing.
  • The animation. It is GLORIOUS to look at, especially the boss battles that the characters endure. I think their entire budget went down to those fights, and to some of the scenery. It was just pretty to look at.
  • The opening/ending soundtracks. (Note: NOT including opening 2. Because opening 2 really, really sucked.) I am a fan of Lisa after watching Angel Beats, and when I first heard her singing the first opening of SAO, "Crossing Field," I wasn't disappointed. I also really love the second ending, "Overfly," and "Yume Sekai," the first ending is really soft and lightens my mood. And I refuse to speak of the second opening. So, overall, the music was well done.
  • Clyne and Lisbeth. I adored these characters. Clyne especially, I really thought that he had potential to be a good character, but he was trapped in the wrong show. These two characters barely got to be in a few episodes. I think Lisbeth was only in two, actually. Clyne managed to get MAYBE three.


HERE COMES THE PAIN...

Okay, now on to what you REALLY came here for. My many, many flaws about this series. I've got my list up and raring to go~

I don't think it goes to say this, but there are glaring warnings of spoilers.

I warned you!



  • Kirito is your stereotypical main male character in a video game type environment. He’s a NEET (Someone who stays indoors constantly). I like a lot of NEET characters, such as Sora from "No Game, No Life" (someone that actually came out after Kirito, but is done much better), so I think, hey, he could be okay. Always wearing black, always trying to be the cool mysterious badass, get all the girls to fawn over him somehow, when he pushes all but Asuna away. He has a leg up in the game because he was a beta tester, and everyone hates him. But take away his swords, he’s really got nothing behind him for me. Oh? Wait? You put him back in the real world and he’s a total nobody again? You don’t say. Kirito, to me, has no real personality, similar to how I feel about Asuna. He’s just a wall built for Asuna that swings his sword when people try to even go within five feet of her. 
  • Speaking of Asuna, she is a bland heroine. All that she does is bitch, and then suddenly she turns around and she’s coy, and not even in a good way. Which is funny because I actually love characters of her type. She’s a tsundere done wrong for me. Wanna see good heroines? Try Revy from Black Lagoon, Taiga Aisaka from Toradora, Kyoko Mogami from Skip Beat. Two of those heroines don’t even use weapons (Well… Taiga does on and off, but it’s not something used for killing) or are a part of action shows, and they still have more personality than Asuna!
     
  • Kirito and Asuna’s romance. It came out of nowhere, practically. First, Asuna hates him, they hardly talk, hardly ever see each other, suddenly Kirito is thrown into her guild when he loses a fight. They still hardly talk, she bitches at him. Then Kirito gets close to dying, Asuna saves him. “OH LOOK, BETTER KISS ASUNA. OH WOW, I’M NOT GONNA DIE? HEY, ASUNA, LET’S GET MARRIED AT 16/17. OH, BUT WE’RE NOT REALLY MARRIED, ONLY IN THE GAME. I LOVE YOU THOUGH, GURL, MAKE ME DINNER.” Don’t get me wrong. I am a massive romance fan. But that relationship literally came from thin air to me, and it wasn’t very believable that it happened.
  • There should’ve been more action, more battles with the monsters. There were 100 levels, and they only showed, what, TWO? 
  • Sachi. She's a character that was just there for… an episode, maybe? Only there for Kirito’s harem, they shared a bed, she wants to believe that they’re together, and then, boom, she’s dead. *Shrug* Oh well. Wasn’t that important. Annoying, but not important. Pretty much abandoned by episode 5.
  • Kirito’s GOD-HACKING on health in episode 3 or 4 or whatever, it was relatively early, where he’s getting slashed through trying to help Silica. So WHEN does that come up again? Never. So why have it?
  • Episodes 15-end, ALF Art Online. That. Arc. Was fucking. POINTLESS. Really? Elves?
  • Suguha. I don’t get her point in the show much. She’s Kirito's sister, but not really his sister, they’re actually cousins. Oh, but she loves Kirito, she wants to be with him, but he loves a girl who’s currently stuck in a remote comatose, who’s currently being held prisoner in a video game by some sadistic bastard with the most ridiculous scream I’ve ever heard in anime (I watched the Japanese).
  • Oh, wait, speaking of which! Sadistic Bastard: So bad that I didn't even bother to remember his name! He tries to rape Asuna. Plus in my book, I love a moment where characters have bad things happen to them. Bonus points if I legit cannot stand the character. Downside; He gets beat to death by Kirito because he tries to rape Asuna. Man points lost. You constantly talked about how you wanted to beat him, and the very instant Kirito tracks you down in the real world, you turn with your head in your ass and DIE? Didn’t have much of a point, just some old pedophile that wants Asuna’s vag, wants her parent’s money, wants to legitimately take her for himself, but at the same time, pushes her away.
  • Yui. All that she was… a hardly important character in the first part of the series. Adorable kid that calls Kirito and Asuna her parents. One of my favorite voice actors in Japanese too, Kanae Ito. She’s just a program meant to try and ruin things for them, but she loooooves them too much to hurt them. Programs aren’t meant to feel, only in anime though. But at least she was cute, and legit looked like she could’ve been Asuna and Kirito’s love child.
  • Asuna’s a “great cook.” Taking the easy way out and using magic. Well, at her age, I couldn't cook either, but I wouldn’t have resorted to magic even if I could.
  • SAO’s creator. You hardly ever hear mention of this guy again after episode 14.
Oh, and one MAJOR glaring point here: The creator of the series herself… APOLOGIZED… for how terrible that this show turned out. Point proven.

....BUT THAT'S NOT ALL

Despite all of my hatred towards this series... I don't think that it's the worst show that I've personally ever seen. I just think that you should go into it with lower expectations, and maybe, just maybe, you'd walk out a little better. I also think that those that watch should skip episodes 15-26, and if you like it, move on to season 2. You aren't missing very much in between. 

If I had to give the first season my own ranking, it's a 4/10 for sure. I base my ranking on the overall series, but if I had to rate the first half, it would be a 5.5/10. It had its glaring points, but the first two episodes gave it a little pick-me-up. And the second half of the series completely dragged it through the mud and off a cliff.

So, even after re-reading all of this and revamping it, would I try season 2? Probably not. I still can't find much interest in this show after the first, but I admit, this has provided me with a bit more insight on how much I really can tear down my favorites and least favorites in anime. 

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