Random Curiosity

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Sword Art Online – 25 (END)

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「世界の種子」 (Sekai no Shoushi)
“The World Seed”

I’m not really sure how to begin this post – it’s been a long ride and the finale is one that leaves me with some conflicted emotions. It felt both fitting and unfitting as a finale to Sword Art Online. The final few moments before the credits rolled felt like a good way to conclude the series, as did the return of every single character of import from the two arcs and the final showdown between Sugou and Kirito. These were all things worthy of being in what came across as a finale-epilogue combination. Yet at the same time it felt as though a lot of the episode dragged, that it could’ve been shortened dramatically. The ‘climax’ came too early, and while it was good to see how things wound up in the wake of Asuna’s awakening, it felt like it was petering out slowly rather than trying to end on a strong note. Admittedly, I did feel as though it ended on a relatively strong note, but much of what occurred between the climax and final moments felt a little on the dull side.

That said, there was a momentarily nice contrast between the video game world and the real world – a difference SAO hasn’t really deigned to show us until now. Even if Kirito faced death within the video game world, knowing that to die in SAO would cause death in the real world, is not the same as actually dying within the real world. There was no pain in SAO, no blood or injury of that kind. The fear in Kirito’s eyes as he’s faced with true death is wonderful – he’s not a Gary Stu here, his mad gaming skills won’t save him now! But it’s only a fleeting moment before his normal self kicks back in and Sugou ends up bleeding from the neck. I know I’m not the only one who thought he might actually slit Sugou’s throat at that moment – that Kawahara Reki might actually slide so low as to believe that the death would be justified after the brutality Kirito inflicted last week. Fortunately, that outcome was narrowly evaded or else this post might be entirely different.

There’s something I find rather curious about Sugou’s injuries. While I think it was handled relatively well, it seems a little strange to me. Kirito set the pain absorber to zero, which implies that you would be feeling the full amount of pain inflicted – the amount you’d feel if you received such wounds on your real body. Sugou lost an arm, was shorn in half and then had a giant sword ram through his eye and essentially smash his entire face and head. Now, I’m no expert on psychology here, but those are some pretty serious wounds. How is he even still sane? Sure, the wounds don’t actually directly transfer to his real body, but it was apparently enough to cause permanent damage to his eye. Shouldn’t he be a babbling wreck somewhere? This is a genuine question born of curiosity that perhaps someone with a greater understanding of severe pain and its effect on the psyche can answer.

With The Seed, new VRMMOs are born, allowing everyone to continue playing despite the financial failings of the major companies. It’s hardly surprising that things would go downhill – two serious crimes relating to VRMMOs within such a close span of each other? It’s a little surprising that no attempt was made to stop The Seed – I hope they at least got trained analysts to take a proper look at it before it was released worldwide. The damn thing was created by Kayaba Akihiko after all, a notorious indirect mass-murderer who trapped ten thousand people in a game by tampering with its core design.

In the end, I still feel bad for all the female characters, forced to continue enduring their love for Kirito despite being unable to win. It would’ve been nice if we could’ve seen them move on – it’s not really like other harems where it feels as though there might be a chance for someone else, leaving their continued adoration for him nothing more than a cruelty. Sugu seems to remain the worst off, unable even to fit in with the rest of the group having never faced the same things they did. There was a sort of nice parallel between watching Sugu attempt to fly to unreachable heights, denied by system itself, and her continued pursuit of Kirito, ever held beyond reach by the author of the construct. For a moment I thought Asuna had been callously cast aside for the final scenes, until I realised she was the blue-haired elf girl. I’m not even going to ask.

tl;dr: @MoombaDS – And so #SAO ends, with an episode that felt a little like a finale, and a little like an epilogue.

Random thoughts:

  • For a moment all I could see was the psychotic grin.
  • Those representations of their past selves walking off into the distance would’ve been clever… if it wasn’t horribly cliché.
  • I love how these guys actually made yet another cameo!
  • Kirito’s look of exasperation during his congratulatory party was one of the few times I’ve actually empathised with him. At least he’s not revelling in it as though he deserved it.
  • Why are they spinning again dammit?!

Full-length images: 04, 08, 16, 29, 34.

 

ED3 Sequence

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ED3: 「crossing field」 by LiSA

End Card

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Final Impressions:

Sword Art Online has been an extremely polarising series. On the one hand, there are those who grace it with endless praise, calling it the best anime of all time, a masterpiece, the smartest anime in recent years, and all manner of other things. On the other, lie those who loathe its very existence. I like to think I fall somewhere in the middle ground. I don’t hate Sword Art Online – it’s far from the worst anime of 2012 and there was certainly enjoyment to be had, mostly in the first half of the series, but it was still there. The first episode was magnificent, but when we moved into the side-stories, some began to drift away due to the broken pace and sudden departure from what they’d seen as an awesome premise. A lot of people wanted a new Guilty Crown, a series to ridicule, much in the same way as people seek Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica in every show that has the potential to suddenly turn dark or want to see an MMO turn into the next SWTOR. There’s an enjoyment in the kind of buzz those types of controversies spark, something that only really comes once but others wish to see repeated.

The Story & Writing: Aincrad Arc


The Sword Art Online arc was, for the most part, genuinely entertaining. It had interesting mechanics, guild interactions, boss fights, a story that felt like it had some moderate danger to it even if it never really felt like Kirito was exposed, and male characters who didn’t exist purely to be ridiculed in order to make Kirito seem even more badass. Egil and Klein were truly likeable people where almost every male character in ALO is made out to be a horribly clingy nuisance as a foil to Kirito or pure evil. There was even a well executed twist in the form of Heathcliff’s true identity and most of the time, Kirito was sufferable – he had Asuna to temper him so that he never felt too far ahead of everyone else and the Gary Stu didn’t really set in quite as much until the final scenes.

Click for more ▼

The Story & Writing: Fairy Dance Arc


ALO is my single biggest issue with the series as a whole. While the SAO arc did gradually begun to turn sour for many people in its final episode, ALO is where it began to earn ridicule. Perhaps had we stopped after the completion of SAO, more viewers would be left with a much better view of the series in general. The SAO arc felt like a self-contained story – it had a strong MMO world that felt believable within the scope of VR and gaming business, a passing-decent story, a myriad of characters to offset Kirito, and a sense of danger conveyed by the fact it was a death game. ALO cast all these things aside in order to be a world that exists solely as a playground in order to show off how incredibly awesome Kirito is supposed to be. Rather than building a game world and then forcing Kirito to conform to it as SAO did, it felt like Kawahara wrote the game world around Kirito instead. From a design standpoint, ALO is a terrible game and would most likely be an immense financial failure.

This one is even longer ▼

The Story & Writing: General Thoughts


Kawahara Reki seems to write in extremes. This is not an inherently bad thing as many people do it to great effect. But those people are writing entirely different genres for an entirely different purpose. Accel World suffered from this too, with things like Noumi and his flawed plot. There’s no subtlety. ‘You must like this person! This person is cool!’ or ‘You must hate this person! This person is pure evil!’ I don’t like being told who I should and shouldn’t like – I want to form my own opinions based upon what their actions and thoughts tell me. Slapping me constantly in the face with how incredibly badass Kirito is supposed to be or how incredibly evil Sugou is meant to be was never the right way to get me to feel the correct emotions towards them.

You know the drill ▼

The Music & Animation


To move away from the storyline aspects, it has to be said that for the most part, Kajiura’s music didn’t really come across as magnificently as it has in other works. There were certainly moments during climatic scenes where we heard some wonderful choral chanting and beautiful orchestral cues, but these were generally few and far between. Much of the other stuff was fairly similar and frequently recycled ad nauseum. Part of this could be blamed on those in charge of making the selections of which cues to use in which scenes – the blame for overuse of certain parts of the score falls squarely on their shoulders – and perhaps on the director who may or may not have given the original directions on what type of music Kajiura should be writing. But it’s unfair to push all of the blame away from Kajiura – at the end of the day, each of these cues was her work, and as I understand it, anime composers are given quite a bit of flexibility in what they write – if particular tracks were uninteresting, that is a fault which likely originates from the composer rather than the staff. Most of the composition is done away from the material itself, so to say that SAO itself did not give her the opportunity to shine is not entirely true.

Last one, I swear ▼

The Highlights & Final Words


If we want to look at the series’ highlights, those would largely be the moments when teamwork was present – when it wasn’t just Kirito acting alone, when he had Klein, Egil and Asuna to back him up, along with countless nameless players in boss battles. The best moments came when Sword Art Online actually mirrored the things one can expect from an MMORPG. Many of the viewers who were drawn to it (myself included) came because of a love for MMORPGs and everything they represent. At times, it was a series where we could go ‘Oh, I remember doing something like that!’ There were situations we could empathise with as fellow gamers. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why ALO feels so wrong – because it no longer acts in a way which is believable by the standards of the MMO archetype. Had it remained true to the original concepts set down during the first arc, I feel it would’ve come across a lot better.

So, as always, we come to the last and quite possibly most important question – was it entertaining? Anime exists primarily to entertain and make money after all and it most certainly succeeded in the later department. I have to say both yes and no. I’ve discussed some of the enjoyable moments elsewhere in this post, and there are many more to be found throughout the series as a whole. There was entertainment generated by the atmosphere and worlds (mostly SAO) – world building was one of the series’ strongest points during that first arc – by the depictions of players working together to survive in a hostile and unfamiliar world, and in watching them deal with the many issues that come from a video game world where death is final. There were clever ideas, interesting systems and mechanics, and even some cool battles. But there was also much frustration to be found towards the end of SAO and over the course of ALO. While there was still enjoyment to be had, it can be hard to properly appreciate it while there’s an underlying feeling of irritation towards a main character who went from being moderately likeable to being nothing more than a walking Ken doll we’re supposed to feel admiration for as he ignores any attempts by others to help him and dismisses their value through his existence alone. He even becomes all preachy at times, many of these sermons consisting of utter nonsense. I feel as though ending after the SAO arc concluded would have been a much better way to go out. That conclusion was not ideal either, but at least it was more satisfying than seeing ALO tromp all over what had made the series appeal to me in the first place.

December 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm
268 comments »
  • December 23, 2012 at 1:37 pmSAOfan

    I had a different take on the knife fight. Sure at first Kazuto realized he was in a life or death situation for the first time in real life; that much should be obvious to all of us. The turning point in that fight was when Sugou missed. Sugou said it was because his glasses were foggy, but his hand starts shaking afterwards and he gets emotional. Kazuto makes the crucial observation that Sugou wasn’t any different from in game. None of this was much different than in game. Sugou missed not because his glasses were foggy, but because he is an incompetent coward who never dirtied his hands killing anyone before. Kazuto overpowered Sugou because Kazuto HAD BEEN in several life or death fights before, and he HAS killed someone before. If anything, this fight blurred the difference between in game and in real life again.

  • December 23, 2012 at 1:59 pmCrook

    Worse than expected but not bad entirely. I hope future arcs resemble SAO’s main story, and not the side stories.

  • December 23, 2012 at 2:44 pmQWERTY

    Can’t wait for cross dressing Kirito next season XD

    • December 24, 2012 at 12:08 amJagermeister

      There won’t be a next season it was the series finale.

      • December 25, 2012 at 4:04 amd-LaN

        I will be pretty surprised if a S2 is not announced judging by the amount of sales it have.

  • December 23, 2012 at 3:07 pmSuppa Tenko

    One final point. I don’t think the author intended his story to be viewed from an MMORPG view point. IMO, Sword Art Online is just one big fantasy story with MMORPG elements put in to hand wave stuff. It’s theme is that the virtual world and the real world aren’t so different (though there are a lot of other themes) and we shouldn’t always think “this isn’t how games work”

  • December 23, 2012 at 5:27 pmSenseirei

    How I wish Kirito would end that bastard life, but this ain’t that kind of anime. As far as I concern, Kazuto is done in real life regardless. Flase advertisement, imprisonment, sexual assault, and assault with deadly weapon. There is no way any company will want him when this is brought to court.

    • December 24, 2012 at 12:15 amDualash

      Do you mean Sugou? He’s was the one that did the sexual assault and the other misdeeds, not Kazuto/Kirito

      • December 24, 2012 at 8:45 amsenseirei

        oh yea, got the name wrong. My bad

  • December 23, 2012 at 5:42 pmgrey

    I really like the design of their school uniform!

    • December 23, 2012 at 10:53 pmKJacket

      Yeah it looks pretty stylish, and the collar’s patterned too!

  • December 23, 2012 at 6:19 pmFrontier

    Sword Art Online finally ends, not with a bang necessarily, but with a satisfying conclusion in its own right.

    I mentioned before how I was disappointed in the final fight between Kirito and Oberon in the last episode, even setting aside Kayaba’s sudden intrusion, so it was a real treat to get a more fitting showdown in the real world between Kazuto and Sugou. It was an intense yet simple fight, which I think worked very much to its favor, as two people driven to the brink by one another face off to finally settle things. Now that’s a final fight I can get behind! And it’s much more satisfying than Kirito just easily taking apart Oberon like he did in ALO. Ultimately Kazuto prevailed over what little was left of Sugou, a horrible man whose plan and mind were torn apart by his own ego and futile attempts to turn himself into someone better than Kayaba.

    Kazuto was right that in some regards he and Sugou were the same, two people who used online games for personal reasons and to feel more powerful, but the difference is that Kazuto eventually let go of that desire before it ruined his life while Sugou couldn’t. Kazuto proved himself to be the better man by not giving in to his urge to kill Sugou, which was no easy feat. Kazuto is very much a person controlled by his emotions, and they’ve gotten the better of him plenty of times over the course of the show. Contrast the calm and collected Black Swordsman who helped Silica with the guy who couldn’t move due to past trauma, broke down at the thought of losing his wife, and challenged a near-impossible quest on his own. Thankfully, here Kazuto was able to use some self-control, no doubt helped by the fact that he wasn’t at that hospital for revenge but for the reunion that both he and Asuna had always desired since SAO.

    I think Kazuto and Asuna’s kiss in her hospital room is hands down the best out of all their kisses so far, helped by the meaning behind it as their first “real” kiss and the overall atmosphere of the scene. And as cliche as it may be, I thought the scene with their SAO selves disappearing was quite fitting, as now that they’re together in the real world the couple can truly move on from their experiences in SAO and go forward. It’s best summed up by what Kirito said to Leafa, that he no longer needs to be The Black Swordsman who fought to free others from SAO with little regard to himself. He can now be a new and better person, to both Suguha and his friends and family since a part of him is no longer stuck in SAO.

    Ultimately, I see The Seed as Kayaba’s attempt to both fulfill his dream and in some ways redeem himself. I don’t think Kayaba regrets what he did, but after Kirito beat him in SAO, he may have realized that, in the end, he’d gone about achieving his dream the wrong way. Ergo, he gives The World Seed to Kirito in an effort to keep his dream of creating a true fantasy world alive, as well as allowing for anyone to make their own, keeping the VRMMO genre alive and stronger than ever. He does so without inhibiting the games with the Death Game penalty, which I believe is because he no longer believes that the fear of death is necessary for one to truly “live” inside a virtual reality. Kayaba’s dream was never really evil or malicious, only the method he went about achieving it.

    It was great seeing the Sword Art Online cast again, especially Klein. It was especially a treat to finally see Silica and Lisbeth again, and while some may think it’s sad that they still harbor feelings for Kirito, I found it quite entertaining. It was funny to see how their being good friends and letting Asuna and Kirito have a month to themselves completely backfired on them. Since it doesn’t seem to be tearing them up emotionally, barring instances of jealousy, I don’t see a problem with them still being in love with Kirito. And while Kirito may have come out pretty lucky in regards to women, Thinker didn’t do too bad either, since he got to marry Yulier.

    The funniest scene though? Kirito trying to get a bourbon at the party, only to be trolled by Agil while Klein gets the real deal. Kirito’s not that lucky. It’s also nice to see Kirito get trolled for once.

    The Fairy Dance at the end represented, to me at least, Kirito and Leafa cementing the bond between them that was forged in ALO, replacing their failed familial one. They both had baggage coming into ALO, Kirito’s mind being stuck in SAO and his suicidal/loner tendencies, and Leafa’s failure to understand Kazuto and have him look at her as anything more than a sister, and it was through working together and being partners that they were able to get over them and start to move forward. Wherever Kirito goes, Leafa will always have a space beside him. While he may not see her in the exact same romantic sense that he sees Asuna, I think Kirito at least sees her as an irreplaceable partner just like Asuna. I think this is best emphasized by having the two heroines standing side by side one another in front of him at the end, and the end card having the two both holding onto Kirito. And for now I think that’s enough for Suguha.

    Kirito may have been fine getting over the emotional trauma and what he experienced in SAO, leaving it behind as nothing more than the past, but the gamer in him must have felt terrible that he was never able to properly complete the game. And now that he has Asuna and has patched things up with Suguha, Kirito can complete his new life goal: finally, legitimately beating Sword Art Online. And having learned from his experiences and failures in ALO, he’s not going to go it alone this time as he’s joined by his harem, friends, associates, and rivals in taking on Aincraid and completing a new Grand Quest. I think it’s a nice way for things to really tie together in the end, and for the overall story of Sword Art Online that began in episode 1 to come to a close on. Though many will get the chance to fully beat the game before Kirito in the Infinity Moment PSP game…

    I’ll admit I began watching Sword Art Online as a result of all the hype I was hearing about it. I don’t usually follow hype, and I’ve seen both the positive and negative results of those who watch something just because of the hype. In my case, I’m glad I listened to the hype if only for the fact that it gave me two shows I came to greatly enjoy: Sword Art Online an Accel World. I enjoyed many things about Sword Art Online, from the story, the action, the characters, the romance, and the ideas and concepts it brought into the spotlight. Though in no way could I have expected it to become so divisive in regards to peoples opinions on it. I can understand the things people had problems with in the show, but personally they either didn’t bother me as much or I just didn’t see it the same way they did. I’ll never say Sword Art Online was the “greatest anime of all time,” but I’d never say that about anything I watch. What I will say is that I had an immense pleasure watching the show, reading Moomba’s posts and replying with my thoughts and opinions. All in all watching Sword Art Online has been a great experience, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for Kirito and Asuna!

  • December 23, 2012 at 7:36 pmHochmeister

    Sayanora SAO.

    The first three to four episodes were probably the best and were what got me hooked on this show. While the SAO arc could have been better, it was still highly entertaining and raised some rather unique themes. I mainly play single player games, and have a very difficult time enjoying anything with multiplayer. From this perspective, Kirito’s development from being an introverted solo player, trying to make friends and getting burned, isolating himself, and then falling in love with Asuna and realizing that relationships were what made both the real world and MMO’s worthwhile felt somewhat poignant. The supporting characters in the first arc were also well done, each with unique personalities and responses to the death game. The show also got instant credit when Lizbeth, upon realizing that Asuna loved Kirito decided to give up and just be friends (i.e. the only reasonable and decent thing to do). Unfortunately this didn’t last. About the Deus Ex ending of the first arc, I think that it was meant to raise questions about the nature of the virtual world and how people shape it (Matrix style). Kirito was still constrained by the system and died, he just managed to drag his death animation out long enough to kill Heathcliff. Still, these themes and Kabaya’s motivations were insufficiently explored.

    Things went downhill for me immediately after the SAO arc ended. The entire plot of ALO felt extremely contrived from the beginning. In what civilized nation is a man allowed to marry and sleep with a comatose 17 year old girl?!? The basic plot (save the princess) just wasn’t that interesting, and the new characters didn’t make up for it. While Sugou was hilarious, it did not a good villain make. The only other new characters were Reccom, who didn’t make a very big impression, and Sugu. Yeah… to be brutally honest I find the whole concept of “oni-chan love” very disturbing. Even though they were cousins (only slightly less disturbing in my opinion), they were raised as brother and sister which shouldn’t lead to a romantic relationship. Sugu’s character was fine, good even, but I still don’t know why she fell in love with Kazuto. I know why Asuna and Saachi fell for him, and I can see why Lizbeth and Leefa developed feelings for him, but the source of Sugu’s romantic feelings for her brother, supposedly pre-dating SAO, and not clear. There were some good moments in the ALO arc, but the cliched plot, poorly developed characters, and slide into a generic harem show prevented me from enjoying it. Honestly, the parts I liked the most were Kirito vs. Oberon and Kazuto vs. Sugou. While not morally right, Kirito’s grisly execution of Sugou is something that anyone would be tempted to do. If I was in the same situation, I can’t honestly say with 100% certainty that I would do any different. It’s the second showdown in the real world where Kazuto didn’t kill him because (I think) he realized that he was becoming something he didn’t want to be. He had crossed the line in the virtual world, and was about to cross it again, even more seriously, in the real world. Unfortunately, such themes were not expanded enough to feel fully relevant. Aside from Sugu and harem issues I quite enjoyed the final episode, it tied up the loose ends nicely and gave a satisfying conclusion to the series.

    Looking back at the series, I think that SAO is a show that would have benefited from a looser adherence to the novels. As several people have pointed out they were written a decade ago and even the author admits that they have flaws. The show could have been much better if they dropped the ALO arc completely, and expanded the SAO arc to smooth out Kirito’s character development and emphasize some of the more interesting side characters and background themes. The change in pacing and themes from “escape the death game” to “save the princess from a fate worse than death” and the near total absence of all SAO characters up to the final episode really hurt the second half of the show. I doubt I’ll follow this show any further if they make a second season, but I would be up for a re-worked SAO arc.

    To Moomba: Thanks for your thought-provoking analysis of this show. While I don’t agree with everything you said, your critiques were interesting and helped me see things from different perspectives. Hope you have a good Christmas!

    • December 24, 2012 at 11:26 amScorps

      I agree with almost everything you said. I’m glad that someone has a similar take as I do.
      I can only say that this show let me down strongly in some aspects. I didn’t like the ending and I didn’t feel any attachment to the anime, the novel at least had me hooked me for some time, so, to me, that means that they haven’t done a good job in converting the media.
      All in all, I’d say the anime was overrated and it definitely won’t get to be a favorite of mine.

  • December 23, 2012 at 9:22 pmAnonymous

    I’ve noticed something, amongst those of us “middle of the roaders” who articulate our views civilly and in an inoffensive manner, most of us get 2-3 downvotes for one reason or another.

    For the people who like SAO unreservedly, we’re too harsh with our criticism.
    For the staunch bashers, we’re too lenient with it.
    I don’t mind if they find our opinion not worth answering, but lazily giving us a downvote just feels very deflating after all the thought we have put into coming up with such opinions.

    We just can’t fucking win without getting some respect whatsoever. Please scrap the fucking downvotes please, it’s just discouraging and has no purpose whatsoever.

    • December 23, 2012 at 10:50 pmKJacket

      Ignore most of the downvotes is the best option so far, there’s probably a couple trolls with their mouse pointers over every single downvote button, you know, just cuz they can.

  • December 23, 2012 at 10:49 pmHououin Kyouma

    I totally disliked the last 2 eps and found them cliched and lazy. However, after reading Moomba’s summary, it reminded me of how awesome was the fisrt part, and I kinda feel the 2nd cour was actually unnecessary.
    During SAO I wanted every week already to be saturday, but after Kayaba’s fall….
    Also, I haven’t read the novels but from what everyone says, it seems they are very nice, so it should be a good thing more people can enjoy the best of the author’s work and not care anymore about the bad moments in the anime.
    Merry xmas guys!

  • December 23, 2012 at 11:43 pmNeo Kyo

    The flaws didn’t stop this anime from being enjoyable. There’s enough that kept me watching till the very last and I wish to see more.

  • December 24, 2012 at 12:57 amPhoenixDown

    Fun Fact Accel World shares the same world as SAO

  • December 24, 2012 at 1:42 amCiel

    Just curious about one thing.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • December 24, 2012 at 2:12 amginobi47

      they are truly dead.

  • December 24, 2012 at 9:15 amKingofConquerors

    i agree with you Moomba when u mentioned about the series’ lack of subtlety…rather than too the extremes, i’d rather say that the characters were too one-dimensional…proof of Reki’s inability to creating depth in the characters in his series, for example, Sugou is a prick for molesting Asuna and performing all kinds of sick experiments on around 300 people (he should be given a life sentence just for that), but when Kirito and Leafa oftentimes admired how beautiful ALO was, don’t u think they were indirectly lauding Sugou?, if Reki had made a special scene just to put the praise in a more direct term, maybe i wouldn’t have thought this badly of the series…..

    All in all, a fairly disappointing series which was nearly a waste of time (i truly watched it just for completion’s sake), the battles i thought were alright, and the animation was consistent and eye-catchy throughout, though the character designs still left much to be desired (i couldn’t differ Sacchi from Suguha for example)

    5.5/10

  • December 24, 2012 at 12:08 pmKaki

    Thank you for a wonderful anime and thank you to RC for the splendid screenshots and reviews!
    Goodbye, Sword Art Online.

    • January 22, 2013 at 7:25 pmOJ

      Goobye? sword art is not finished there will be a season 2 this summer title GGO (Gun Gale Online)

  • December 24, 2012 at 3:01 pmJuneau

    Well, I have to say that this last 3 episodes made the second arc worth the while. I mean, the Sylph-Cait co-op battle in the last Quest + Kirito ‘last skill’ (‘the dual blade hurricane’) was AWESOME. Other thing was seeing some madness in a fairy world where SAO headed (a completely wrong direction imo). Watching the freaking-perv-madness of Suguo, and them Kirito becoming the mad guy and cutting him, and then impaling his head was like ‘wow.’. In the real world, you see their final showdown and everybody was like ‘oh my god, its gonna happen’…
    I have to say that SAO arc was awesome, then ALO arc was ‘wut?’ and the last 3 episodes were awesome again.
    But i can’t say that i haven’t enjoyed it, it was a pretty good work to watch.

    • January 22, 2013 at 7:31 pmOJ

      You got that right… SAO arc was really amazing but that second one was like i dunno.. but the last scenes were good.. well i could say it’s more on fantasy, if you look at it that way.. yeah it’s good thumbs up for SAO =)

  • December 24, 2012 at 5:08 pmMatroid

    Definitely a contender for Best Anime of 2012.

  • December 24, 2012 at 9:10 pmAnonymous

    A wild and crazed Sugou appears!
    Kazuto activates Special Ability “Not a Single Shit was Given”!
    Sugou attacks with knife
    Kazuto takes damage to right arm
    Kazuto is bleeding!
    Kazuto activates Special Ability “Not a Single Shit was Given”!
    Kazuto Counterattacks!
    It is Super Ultra Effective!
    Sugou faints while pissing his pants!

  • December 24, 2012 at 11:46 pmchris

    I wonder what it was like for all these SAO players who didnt have to poo or pee for 2 years to suddenly have the need to relieve themselves again..

  • December 25, 2012 at 6:34 amKiri, Hari

    This animu was nothing but autism and pandering to aspies.

  • December 25, 2012 at 12:45 pmA Random Comment

    It doesn’t seem to be available to English speaking readers yet, but imho if you want to see co-operation in battles (of all sorts), and a protagonist who doesn’t (or rather can’t) settle everything by himself, all set in a lost-in-an-MMO’s-world situation, Touno Mamare’s Log Horizon might be a good series for you.

    No battle, either in the field or on the bargaining table, is fought alone, and the protagonist, though also playing a high-leveled character, chose to be a full-support, non-healer magus with pathetic damage. Despite being the house-bound type, he enjoys the experience of working with others, not as the frontline man but through doing what his class does best, supporting the party with his buffs, binds, debuffs, etc.

  • December 28, 2012 at 7:19 amAnon

    Can anyone explain to me how Asuna survived her death in SAO? Kayaba said that anyone who died in the game would be in a perma coma, and Asuna died before the game was cleared. Was her death recent enough that she could be preserved, or was it somehow the work of Sugou? Did the novels do a better job of explaining this?

    • December 28, 2012 at 8:42 amTheMoondoggie

      It was explained in the LN.
      Yes it was “recent enough”. There was a lag time between the death in-game and her actual death. Kirito managed to kill Kayaba before they died IRL.

  • December 30, 2012 at 5:06 pmfatalblue

    Do I think the complaints against this show are valid? yes. Did it stop me from enjoying it thoroughly? absolutely…not lol When I was looking for something to watch this summer my only requirement was for it to be entertaining & SAO was that from start to finish for me.

    SAO was no masterpiece but it was fun & pretty to look at & finally got me back into the hobby I never stop loving!

  • January 4, 2013 at 6:31 amAshen

    “I feel as though ending after the SAO arc concluded would have been a much better way to go out. That conclusion was not ideal either, but at least it was more satisfying than seeing ALO tromp all over what had made the series appeal to me in the first place.”
    QFT, my friend. Overall I’m glad I watched this series, though ultimately I feel I could’ve stopped at SAO’s arc finale and still would’ve enjoyed the series just fine.

    What drew me to the series was the premise, “how would gamers react in a true death game MMORPG?” The actions usually taken by some players in these games could potentially translate into some very hairy and indelible situations. Further, the impact of in-game vs. reality after the players escaped was a fascinating concept to me. Case in point: Kirito and Asuna’s marriage. Their union may seem like nothing more than playing house to the outside world, but to them their feelings were very real.

    Extended to the entirety of the survivors of SAO, for all intents and purposes they “went to war and back,” and I believe that could’ve been a thought-provoking, enjoyable avenue to explore as well.

    In the end we got but glimpses of these things. Because of it no longer being a life-or-death setup, much of the ALO arc felt tacked on, forcibly dramatic, and irritating. It had some highlights but taken as a whole I vastly preferred the flawed yet heartfelt SAO arc.

  • January 10, 2013 at 8:07 amhikkikomori no aria

    i generally agree with what moomba-san said.

    i’m also a huge fan [maybe a bit hardcore?] of the light novel so, i was really excited when the anime was announced, and was so happy everytime i watched the anime, since somehow i feel like crying in happiness everytime i see the character was actually moving, not only in my mind. still, i also think SAO anime IS over-rated. lots of fans are biased.

    i myself is pretty disappointed by some aspects of the anime, for example, the action part is not as great as what described at the LN and too short, some part is unnecessarily long, and some important part is cut or being too short, things like that. well, including myself, there are also fans that is unsatisfied with the anime. i can’t help but to compare it with the LNs.

    still, i think the best episode was only the 1st episode. it really is great and leave a deep impression in me. i think that one episode can really pulls people into watching and reading the light novel.

    From ‘me’ who wish to spread the love of LN to the whole world <3

  • January 13, 2013 at 7:10 amtanpopo

    i don’t know if somebody have answered moomba-san question, i forgot about the anime, but it was explained in the LN, Sugou was able to endure the pain because he took pain-killer pills

  • January 24, 2013 at 1:14 amSuguha

    For those who don’t know this, you can marry your own brother or sister in Japan as long as the person was adopted.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_law_in_Japan

    • January 26, 2013 at 1:44 pmKiri

      But Kirito wasn’t just adopted, he was Suguha’s cousin so technically they are related by blood…

  • February 22, 2013 at 9:10 pmEthan

    I feel as though the anime did not end as i actually wanted to, as though nothing really does.I was broken at the fact that the ending was just after Kirito and Sugu danced. In my mined i was hurt, seeing as the love through Asuna and Kirito was so strong in the first arc, i wanted an amazing passionate kiss at the end. Even though that is cliche, i think it would have been better than….. “Yup, just 2 girls, and they both like you….OH and remember? you went through fucking tyranny to save Asuna, so um, END WITH An AMAZING THING!” Just seeing them stand there and the credits roll dissapointed me, seeing as alll this shit Kirito had to go through, i just left broken but happy for some reason. I would love to see a season 2, yet, im not possitive i want too. It would have ended perfectly if Asuna and Kirito just kissed in the moonlight for 20 seconds with Yui in the middle,and smiled afterwords. I wouldve been complete (sorry im really emotional), but now im stuck with an emotional imprint on my mind that will never go away!!! DAMNIT!!!! I wish they make an alternate ending!!!! :CCC If anyone feels the same way id love feedback, hopefully it would make me feel better :D

  • April 1, 2013 at 12:30 pmKayaba Akihiko

    Hey, that 2 years of coma we were in was fun, let’s do it again! Did they learn nothing from being trapped and experimented with in the VRMMORPG! Worst yet, they’ve decided that the “seed” given to them by the person that trapped them in the virtual world in the first place and whom now resides there was a good thing deploy?! The anime should’ve ended when Asuna woke up.

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