Say hello to probably the most watched anime during Summer and Autumn 2014. Now one thing I just hate is being late to the show with an anime. I just got into Sword Art Online. It’s totally awesome and I wish that I had been on the hype train back in 2012.

So why am I reviewing Sword Art online now?

Hype! The hype told me I ordered it of me! And I must obey the hype!

In the near future, a Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online has been released where players can control their avatars through brain waves using technology called “NerveGear.” When players enter the game, they discover they cannot log out, as the game creator is holding them captive. To escape, players must beat the game by defeating each boss on all 100 floors; however, if they die in the game, they die in real life too. Their struggle for survival starts now…

Hmmm…sounds familiar. Reminds me of something from my chilhood…Oh .//Hack Sign!

And that’s a common misconception about Sword Art Online, that it’s a rip off of the .Hack series. Not actually. If you look it up on SAO wiki and Reki Kahaharu’s page, you’ll actually see that Sword Art Online started around the time that .Hack did.

See the author originally wanted to submit SAO for a Denki award but it was too long. So he started it up a web novel while he made the Accel World Series. As his name grew as an author he basically got the right to write and publish a really long book.

So while Sword Art Online may be similar to .Hack, it’s just a coincendence. Log Horizon however…

That’s a joke people…

Note: Log Horizon is actually on my list for anime to watch. I want to see what they do with the whole ‘trapped in a video game ‘ trope that SAO and .Hack didn’t do.

My Opinion
What’s not to like about this anime that was pretty much the leader of the Summer and Fall 2012 Seasons. It had a good premise with being trapped in a video game. Each episode had some great action. However the really good stuff wasn’t the action. It was the emotions between Kirito and Asuna. The Seiyuu in Japan and the voice actors in English really conveyed them falling in love really well. It’s definitely the anime you want to watch if you like your action to have those good moments of romance.

The Highlights

  • The Cast. Since I know so many people in this anime from both the Japanese and the English, I’ll just tell you about one from each.
  1. Coming in at around 5 feet tall, it’s Cherami Leigh as the English voice of Asuna. She’s one of Funimation’s ace voice actors and she’s had a insane amount of roles from Funimination. Now she’s trying her talents in LA and this is her first role. I think it’s safe to say she started off strong.
  2. From the Japanese and even shorter than Cherami, it’s Kanae Ito from Haganai! …I wish I had the internet to give more of a list about all the stuff they’ve been on.
  • The Plot. Like I said, the ‘trapped in the video game’ thing has been done before and it’s epically protected by nostalgia. So what do you do to make it interesting? If you die in the game, you die for real! That makes it more interesting!
  • The Final Arc of the Aincrad Arc
  • The Anime Finale

The Downsides

  • Kirito goes on God mode the second he goes into ALO because all the stuff from ALO is just SAO with a skin change. This makes him insanely powerful, easily able to wreck players that have been playing for a lot longer than he had been. Thank goodness that after this arc, he resets his stats back to normal so he can play for fun. He’s still insanely strong because of his experience in SAO but at least he’s at a semi level playing field.
  • Asuna going all damsel in distress in ALO. Granted I understand it. Sugou locked in her in a room at the top of the world tree, she didn’t have the ability to use any of the game’s skills, and she couldn’t even see the key panel to get out. I understand all of this but still I want Asuna to be the legendary Flash she was back in SAO.
  • Suguha being Kirito’s cousin instead of his sister. Now this is something that legit came out of left field. They look so much alike. But now it goes for the ‘it’s not quite incest’ line which I personally believe only needs to be in wincest anime and harems that go that way.

Despite that I really like this one. The one thing I wish I could say right now is that you can check out the Light Novel if you want to know more but I can’t. The biggest website for Light Novel, Baka-Tsuki, took Sword Art Online of their site and app. Mostly because it was the smart move. Sword Art Online was picked up by Yen Press so they did it so they won’t get hit with a C&D. So the only way to get a look at SAO is to watch the anime or to buy it from Yen Press.

So now that I’ve given you your veggies it’s time to get to the meat. So there’s 9 arcs in this anime in my opinion. They are the Introduction Arc(Episode 1 & 2), The Red Nosed Reindeer Arc(Episode 3), The Black Swordsman Arc(Episode 4), A Murder Case in the Area Arc(Episodes 5 & 6), Warmth of the Heart Arc(Episode 7), the Falling in Love Arc(Episodes 8-10), Morning Dew Girl Arc(Episodes 11-12), The 75th Floor Boss Arc(Episodes 13-14), and the Fairy Dance Arc(Episodes 15-25)

Side Note: I love games like SAO(more sword and sorcery MMO games) so I’ll be using terms. I’ll try to explain some of the terms in the review

The Introduction Arc

So this arc of course introduces Kirito(voiced by Yoshitisugu Matsuoka). Kirito is a former beta player of the beta of Sword Art Online. He logs into the full version of Sword Art Online using the newly made Nerve Gear system where he meets up with Klein, a new player. Kirito teaches him how to play the game. After playing for a while, Klein tries to log only to realize that there is no log out button. All the players are teleported to the Town of Beginning where they are told by Akihiko Kayaba, the game creator, that the log out option was intentionally taken out. And once your HP hits zero, you die for real. As the first episode ends it is said that 2000 players died in the first month.

As the second episode begins, a strategy meeting is held to discuss how to defeat the first floor boss. Kirito ends up meeting a man named Agil as well as a girl named Asuna. A mass party is formed to face the first boss. The boss is defeated but Kirito is accused of being a beater(a beta tester and cheater). Kirito takes on all of the hate for all the other beta testers as he dons the Coat of Midnight and leaves for the second floor.

The Red Nosed Reindeer Arc

So a few weeks later, after saving a guild(organized group of players that regularly play together) called Moonlight Black Cats Kirito is asked to join them which he accepts. He’s really happy. Imagine it. You’re in a game where your life is very much on the line. It’s good to band together with people that you can trust. Plus guilds are very much a major part of any MMO game.

Kirito joins the guild but he hides the fact that his level is nearly twice as high as theirs. Note:They’re on the second floor so there’s roughly about level 20 so Kirito’s at least 40 or higher. Wow.

Anyway, Kirito truly bonds with his new guild particularly one member named Sachi who confides in him that she’s very afraid to die. So that means she’s going to live right? Wrong! She and the guild die in the most gruesomely horrible way possible…so of course I’ll have pictures detailing their deaths in detail. 🙂

The only one that manages to survive was Kirito who tells their guild leader about his fallen friends. He commits suicide by jumping off the edge of Aincrad…while Kirito watches.

Six months pass and Kirito goes to a certain fir tree on the first Christmas Eve in the game on a rumor that it would drop an item that resurrect a fallen player. Kirito kills the boss by himself and it does drop the resurrection item but it only works up to 10 seconds after death. By this time, Sachi’s been dead for half a year. Kirito goes into a deep depression which isn’t helped out by getting a pre-sent gift from Sachi. She explains how she knows that he was higher leveled than them and not to blame himself for her death. The arc ends with Kirito crying as Sachi hums Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

It’s been outright confirmed by the author that Sachi was Kirito’s first love and the death of the guild is something that haunts Kirito for years.

The Black Swordsman Arc

We see the young Beast Tamer, Silica, about to get killed by some Drunken Apes after her pet Pina has been killed. However our man Kirito comes through and saves her. After explaining that Pina can be revived by going to the 47th floor, Kirito loans Silica some equipment to help her get up there. As they walk Kirito reveals that the reason he’s helping Silica out is because she reminds him of his sister.

Hahahaha oh god. It hurts.

Kirito’s sister is Suguha. And for being around the youngest character in this anime, she’s got the biggest boobs! And Silica…got the smallest. Hahaha the comedy!

Anyway after getting the flower and a unfortunate panty shot by Silica, they get ambushed by the orange guild Titan’s Hand. They try to kill Kirito but they fail epically. Kirito captures them and promises to meet with Silica in the real world.

A Murder Case in the Area Arc

Another timeskip later, Kirito’s napping on a hillside until Asuna comes to wake him up and scolds him for wasting time while all the other front liners were clearing the Labyrinth. Kirito manages to convince her to relax and soon she falls asleep. After she wakes up she gets angry that Kirito let her fall asleep but thanks him for protecting her from any orange or red players.

While they have dinner, they witness a new unknown PK method that lets someone PK within a safe zone. As Kirito and Asuna investigate how something like this could happen they meet Yolko who leads them to the creator of the weapon that killed her friend. However it is later revealed to be a ruse by Yolko to discover who truly killed their former guildmaster. Turns out it was her husband. He hated the fact that his wife rose to the challenges of SAO and changed from being the soft spoken housewife to someone with a spine. Now that’s just sick.

Warmth of the Heart Arc

There are a lot of timeskips in this anime. So I guess a few weeks later, Kirito goes to Lisbeth’s Smith Shop to get a new sword made. However good old Kirito breaks her best sword so he takes her on a quest to find the raw materials to make a new sword…unfortunately they fall into a pit. As night comes around, they fall asleep holding hands. The next day, Kirito manages to get the Crystallite Ingot so Lisbeth can make the sword Dark Repulser.

The Falling in Love Arc

After two years in the game, Kirito on the front lines finds a Ragout Rabbit and gives it to Asuna to cook. They have a nice little dinner before Asuna asks(read threatens) to join her party. The next day they go out on a mapping mission and end up finding the 74th floor’s boss. They also meet up with Klein and his guild. However soon after they meet up with the Aincrad Libreration Army who like some idiots challenge the boss tired. They end up getting wrecked until Kirito, Asuna, and Klein run in to help.

However the boss, the Gleam Eyes, is too tough so Kirito busts out his Secret Skill, Dual Blades and defeats the Gleam Eyes. After the battle against the boss, Asuna requests leave from the guild but in order to get it Kirito must defeat the guildmaster, Heathcliff, in a duel…he doesn’t. So Kirito’s forced to join the Knights of Blood and is sent on a training mission with a guy named Kuradeel and Godfree. Then Kuradeel kills Godfree and nearly kills Kirito if not for Asuna. After Kirito kills Kuradeel, he says that he’s in love with Asuna and they both get married and take leave on the 22nd floor.

The Morning Dew Girl Arc

Personally one of my favorite arcs. After arriving on the 22nd floor for their honeymoon Kirito and Asuna find a young girl named Yui. She doesn’t have a icon over her head meaning she’s not a player, an NPC, or a monster. Despite this, they take her home. Once they question her and eventually go to the the Town of Beginnings to find her parents. Instead they find some members of the Army harassing some children and their caretaker. Asuna scares them away before they find Yulier, the second command of the Army. She asks them to help her reach their leader and her lover, Thinker. However Yui comes along with them. The party ends up getting attacked by a boss from the 90th floor called the Fatal Scythe. The Fatal Scythe tries to attack Yui but it turns out that she’s an Immortal Object and AI. Despite this realization, Asuna and Kirito still love and accept her as their daughter. However Yui is deleted by the system for interfering in the game. But not before Kirito is able to convert Yui’s data into an item named Yui’s Heart, swearing to find a way to restore her.

The 75th Floor Boss Arc

During the last few days of their honeymoon after the pretty much death of Yui, Kirito and Asuna are called back to the front lines by Heathcliff. The boss for the 75th floor has been found. There’s no information since every scouting party has been unable to return. So a big raid party is formed to face the 75th Floor Boss, the Skull Reaper and nearly half the party is killed off by it. After the battle, Kirito decides to test a theory and stabs Heathcliff. Turns out that Heathcliff is actually Kayaba Akihiko. He offers Kirito a chance to save all the players if he can beat him right then. Kirito manages to win but at the cost of Asuna’s life. All the players are freed from SAO and Kirito and Asuna are released as well. As Kirito wakes up in the hospital after two years in SAO the first thing he does is go search for Asuna. Aww.

Fairy Dance Arc

Two months after the end of SAO, Asuna has yet to wake. So following some information from Agil, Kirito dives into Alfheim Online. He meets with Leafa who assists him in heading to the World Tree where Asuna assumed to be. After a few battles and managing to save the leaders of Sylph and the Cait Sith, Kirito manages to make it to save Asuna from Sugou. And with that SAO is over.

So a few comments and some stuff I thought about.

So in Sword Art Online(the game) there is an Ethic Code which prevents “unwanted physical advances” like a stolen kiss or …something more forceful and it sends the person doing it flying. And typically they’ll be sealed up in the Black Iron Prison, The Aincrad Libreration’s Army’s Jail.

However there is taking such things by force. For example, all you need to basically advantage of someone is pull out a sword and put it to someone’s neck and “Turn off the Ethic Code or die,” and …you can basically do what you want.

I assume the same Ethics Code exists in ALO and GGO as well but hey the threat isn’t as bad there….

I need something more postive to end the review with! I just talked about assault! Hmmm…

Oh after the ALO arc ended, ALO was shut down but after Kirito releases the World Seed and a new company called Ymir buys all of ALO’s data from their old company. This along with the release of the World Seed revives the VMMORG genre after the horrors of SAO and ALO incidents.

Also when Ymir took over ALO they found a full copy of the Aincrad Castle on the company’s mainframe. So with a little kick up to the difficulty, the Aincrad Castle became the new Grand Quest of Alfheim Online.

They also added in the original Sword Skills from SAO but took out ten skills out of the ability roster. It’s been speculated by fans that these are the 10 Unique Skills like Kirito’s Dual Blades and Heathcliff’s Holy Sword.

So that’s a better end than the other one.

So I give Sword Art Online a 9.5/10 for good plot, great voice acting, and excellent art. However it loses that last half point because Asuna got nerfed in ALO.

So with that it’s the end of this months’s Full Season Review.

So as you know from my Rio: Rainbow Gate Full Season Review, the next one on my list for November will be my favorite Funimation anime, Suzuka!

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Now I’m going to do something special for December. Double Full Season Review! Why? Mostly because I felt that December had two types of feelings in it. The more energetic first part and the more lazy and relaxing second part around Christmas.

So for December you’ll be getting a Full Series Review on one of my Favorite Light Novel Adapdations, Haganai and Haganai Next!

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So until the next Full Season Review,

Later Days

You can ask me as many questions as you want on ?Ask.fm? and you can follow me on?Twitter?to know when my new reviews are coming out. You’ll know when stuff comes out right when it does! 🙂

Also check out my main blog on AnimeThief?where you can find a whole lot of Speculations, Anime News, Date A Live and Love Live up the wazoo and whole lot of other stuff. What are you waiting for? Check out the stuff that isn’t on here? But always come back here. My heart’s on both blogs. 🙂

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