「剣の世界」 (Ken no Sekai)
“The World of Swords”

Before we begin, I’d like to quickly mention that I am a huge fan of the light novels. Despite this, I will try to keep any mention of the novels themselves to a minimum, though it’s inevitable that some comparison will crop up in looking at how well the anime adapts the original material. In addition, I am (and always have been) a huge fan of the MMORPG genre and have played an unworldly number over the years so hopefully my knowledge in that area might help to shed some light on any exposition left out of the anime adaption!

To quickly summarise (for those who may be on the fence about watching the series at all and haven’t seen the episode yet, otherwise skip this paragraph), on the launch day of the eponymous MMORPG Sword Art Online, Kirito (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) meets and befriends Klein (Hirata Hiroaki, whose slightly comic typecasting is perfect for Klein) to whom he teaches the basics of how to play the game. After a while, it becomes apparent that there’s no way to log out of the game and the entire population is summoned to the town square. There Kayaba Akihiko (Yamadera Kouichi) informs the players that death in the game world is equivalent to death in the real world, they can’t be forcibly extracted from the game via removal of the NerveGear either. With this out of the way, he grants each player a Mirror which replaces their in-game character with their true appearance before leaving to allow the panic to settle in. In order to avoid competing with other players for resources, Kirito elects to move to the next town while Klein decides to remain behind to meet up with friends from a previous game.

Even before the first episode aired, some people had been dismissing SAO as nothing more than an inferior rip-off of .hack//SIGN based on the fact that it’s set within a videogame world in which people are unable to log out. It doesn’t seem to matter that these superficial similarities are pretty much the only similarities between the two. So let me ask you something (disclaimer: the following does not represent my own opinion on the series in question) – does this mean Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica is an inferior rip-off of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha because both feature Magical Girls and some measure of suffering? Just because SAO is the first noteworthy anime to use the MMORPG setting since does not mean that the setting is the exclusive province of the .hack franchise. It’s also worth noting that both series were originally written in the same year. I suppose to some this may be even more of a reason to cry ‘inferior knockoff!’ along with the inclusion of Kajiura Yuki as the composer (a little more on her in a bit), but regardless of what may be apparent on the surface, both are very different underneath.

The explanations of game mechanics, in addition to the workings of the NerveGear, were handled pretty well in my view. There are many ways they could’ve gone about it including the dreaded ‘tell don’t show,’ yet in this instance far more time was spent showing us how things work. Though much of Kirito’s explanations on Sword Arts themselves were done through words, we had the added benefit of actually watching how they were executed (it also helps that the explanations were relatively succinct). Not only did this prove an entertaining way to be introduced to the workings of the world, but also one that managed to convey all the essential knowledge without needing to break context.

When a story is set entirely within a game world, it can be hard to give things a sense of urgency and danger. Why should I care if a protagonist is about to die and respawn? Lose precious items/experience he worked hard to earn? Sure, these things might seem disastrous to the player at the time, but they have far less (read: no) impact on us, the viewers. This is actually one of the things that bothers me about Accel World (both series having been written by Kawahara Reki) – at the end of the day, the only thing at risk should Haru lose is the ability to play the game. For that reason I can never fully empathise when people act like losing will bring about the end of the world. There are actually very few ways to create a serious sense of danger within a game world. .hack took the coma route – a legitimate risk if you think about neural interfacing. SAO, on the other hand, goes further down the dark path and picks death. ‘People die if they are killed…’ (Okay I admit I just wanted to quote that and it has no real bearing on anything.) To die in the game world means to lose your life in the real world. Now that is something to despair over! Especially when you take into consideration how frequently people die in MMORPGs – it’s just another part of the game that everyone faces at some point.

Leading up to the first episode’s premiere, I heard a lot of muttering about how bright and colourful so many of the shots appeared given the dark threat looming over the world. I personally felt that the art style worked well for the episode. It is, after all, a video game world – why should the atmosphere change to reflect the darker side rather than remain as bright and vibrant as it was originally designed to be? That’s not to say that the art is all that way either – during the discovery of the users’ inability to log out, the world darkened due to overcast clouds, and the global warning messages completely changed the atmosphere during Kayaba’s speech. So far (though one episode is not much to go on), the anime has been grim when it needed to be grim and bright otherwise. Along with the smooth combat animation (and the blessed absence of voiced attacks), I can only commend the artwork!

Every time Kajiura is mentioned, the similarity of her music as a whole is brought up. It was mentioned in both our retrospective podcasts and I even brought it up for my first Madoka Magica OST post. It’s not something that can be denied, but neither is it something unique to Kajiura. Sakimoto Hitoshi, Sakuraba Motoi and Hamauzu Masashi (most notably in Binbougami ga!) are all composers who have had this criticism levelled at them at some point in time. I have to admit that while the music has been good so far, it hasn’t broken her usual mould. There’s still plenty of time though, and given how music is something that’s directly referenced in the novels (it is a game world after all) it would be nice to see her crank out some RPG tracks similar to those she wrote for .hack//SIGN.

tl;dr: @MoombaDS – Living in an RPG world… how bad could it be? Well… maybe if you disregard the ‘death’ part…. #SAO

Random thoughts:

  • I spy a BBC News article there! I wonder how many others are familiar?
  • You’re a guy?!‘ I was slightly concerned about how they’d handle the switch to true appearances – if everyone in anime is a bishie anyway, how bad could it be? Fortunately A-1 exceeded my expectations brilliantly!
  • I understand that Kirito’s bleeding finger is to emphasise the fact that these are now their real bodies… but if everything beyond their face was generated from measurements taken during calibration, why would he retain the cut on his finger?
  • Kirito mentioned that resources are limited – I can’t remember if this was exactly what was said in the original, but given the evidence that monsters respawn, this isn’t entirely true. Rather it would be better to say that the rate at which you earn these resources is limited by how fast monsters respawn and how many people are competing over them.
  • This week, the OP was used as the ED!

Full-length images: 12, 14, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 29, 32, 34, 38.

 

OP Sequence

OP: 「crossing field」 by LiSA
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼

Preview

End Card

 

Note: Since this is an adaption, I’d like to ask people who are already familiar with the material (myself included) to refrain from posting spoilers in the comments as much as possible. If you absolutely must, the spoiler tags are your friends!

356 Comments

      1. honestly the premise is too good for this series to fail as guilty crown…..though guilty crowns premise was actually somewhat intruiging just poorly executed

        Piglet
    1. That was…. surprisingly good actually. Maybe my expectation was low as after I saw the poster initially, I thought “meh… another shounen show with a girlish-looking boy lead.” BUT this was entertaining and way better than “Accel World” so far.

      …. hopefully this won’t turn into another Guilty Crown. So far, so good.

      .....
      1. Originally starting to get published as a web novel since 2002, this one is the original of Japanese MMO light novel, and imo the best one so far. I have very high hope on this anime adoption and so far, it’s delivered nicely.

        U Doh
      2. well guilty crown had a shit storyline imo, but SAO is different cause a lot ppl already know the storyline and have already backed it up as a good series. if it weren’t good i doubt the novel would have gotten past the first volume.
        Not sure if theyre going to get to ALo in time since in the first volume of the novel
        Show Spoiler ▼

        But there’s no doubt in my mind that this will be a great series, since i’m already a fan of the novel. Can’t wait till the next one comes out. Both friday and saturday Accel and SAO. I feel a little spoiled. 😛

        aimless
      3. It really hasn’t gotten anywhere near the interest level of Accel World. The primary reason following…

        I’ve heard more believable plot explanations in pr0n than they gave for the mechanics of the NerveGear. Really, microwaves? They would have been better off just calling it moon beams or some other utter bullshit explanation, so as to prevent anyone from even trying to take it seriously. There’s so many problems with that explanation and why they “can’t log out” that I could write a book on it but I really don’t care enough to go into detail. I will say one thing though, there’s no such thing as an escape proof or uncrackable device. That’s especially true when you already have over 200 of them to reverse engineer from the ones who already removed them.

        The current leader by a large margin for thought interfaces is EEG: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain%E2%80%93computer_interface#EEG

        In fact, there are already devices being sold: http://www.emotiv.com/

        Ultimately, I’m going to have to learn to just ignore any and all explanations that are supposed to relate to the real world, if I want to even have a chance at suspending my disbelief and enjoying the show. Extremely jarring tech explanations aside, the show was interesting enough to make my watch list, for now.

        Anon
      4. I know all the death mechanics were explained but there is one huge plot hole that seems too be over looked. What happens if your body starves to death in the real world? They never really bothered to mention that.

        Agron
      5. Well they didn’t really explain it in the anime but in the novels they are moved into hospitals and other similar facilities and are treated basically as patients in a coma. That means they get fed through a tube and get taken care of by medical staff.

        Kazuto
    2. BTW, am I the ONLY ONE who thinks that “original” older and more manly looking face of Kirito would’ve been so much better than the “typical” mainstream girly-looking babyface? Mind you, the “original” face wasn’t the most macho face out there, with zero facial hair and long lock covering half of face, but I still prefer that over the girly face.

      If I had to guess, with the “original face”, I guess they would sell more DVD/BD to female fans, but less otaku fans, thus making less money in the end. The mainstream money formula is girly-looking boy+moe girl combo, so I guess I can’t blame them. They had to make money to feed its staff and their families after all!! But what a shame (for me). It could’ve been even better with the “original” face.

      .....
      1. Hahahh that’s so ironic. Well I’m a female fan, but I like the “baby-face” better? I actually HATED it in the promo art with Asuna and Kirito back to back in front of Aincrad, because it looked like slice of life Working! But just like the color scheme, I actually like the anime facial designs a lot after seeing it in action. Seems really faithful to the LN cover illustrations.

        If he actually had that pre-mirror face, that dangly strand would have really bothered me.

        I thought it was more like, Kirito/Cline went from awkward-to-anime-eque, while almost everyone else went from cute to awkward.

        Plus if he had that gritty face, the whole anime probably should have been really dark. The current style really grew on me and hightlights the dark and light moments. The only possible complaint I could have is that the blood from the announcement was too candy red.

        Chloesong
      2. As a fan of the light novels, I’m pretty happy with this first episode. But this is just the first episode, so I still hold my reservations. In terms of the art style, I find it okay, only because Kirito is a younger character in general, so having the baby-face doesn’t bother me as much (but it still does bother me). Its okay so far, don’t let me down SAO. xd

        Kou-Kun
      3. And no one say tht the original novel design is better? (Though tht just me nitpicking)

        His anime design looks REALLY lk Houtarou when his hair cover his face or during certain scenes….

        D-LaN
      4. I we got fat shy protagonist people complain… if we get non fat protagonist that actually not suck that can fight instead always being protected by girls people still complain… what is happening to this world..?

        kurochan
      1. But this is not how I imagined it when I read the novels ;_;

        Still, the version in my head is infinitely more detailed in both audio and visual than what the studio can create, but this version is not bad either!

        Yoz
      2. True, I thought it would be better to start out in media res with Kirito fighting the Lizard man then flash back as he teleports back to the city, but this works well too.

        Suppa Tenko
  1. To your random thoughts, the cut on his finger was just him realizing that SAO is as real as reality, it was a metaphor that went through his mind, not the Nerve Gear replicating the cut.

    And for the limited resources, it is limited if you look at it in general MMORPG terms. The best hunting spots will be overtaken, depending on spawn times certain areas could become unusable as well.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Syaoran
    1. The flashback of him dying to a low level monster also reinforces the threat of death in SAO. It completely changes everything from a fun carefree environment to a game of Death.

      FadingMoon
    2. Hmm, that makes sense.

      As to limited resources, I believe that’s pretty much exactly what I said. It’s not that the resources are limited in a finite way, only that the rate at which they can be earned is limited. I merely wanted to clarify that fact.

      Moomba
      1. Yep, it’s the matter of respawn rate of monster vs number of players. And the respawn rate is fixed, not increase with number of players who’s hunting, so the more players there are in the area = less monster to kill per person = limited resource. Not to mention some monsters have better efficiency XP than the others.

        Serapita
  2. There’s a lot of promise in this series.! I’m quite excited by the prospect ahead.

    So much so that I might just have to go dust off the ps2 and dig out the copies of the .hack series for some comparable nostalgia.

    or resurrect a tarutaru…

    defunktbots
    1. Ahh Final Fantasy XI. Now that brings back some great memories! While it may not have had the threat of death looming over it, I think some comparison could definitely be made between the grind in both FFXI and SAO!

      Moomba
      1. Ah, now that you mentioned it. Yeah, SAO has is similar to FFXI in that in order to hunt monsters you either have to
        1. Really outlevel them… which won’t net you much xp.
        2. Party up and hunt high level monsters.
        since the monster that’s ‘Even Match’ actually MATCH your strength.

        Serapita
      2. @Serapita And actually “Even Match” applied only to early levels because there was little difference in stats and abilities. By the time you were mid-level only a few jobs would single handedly kill something EM without bringing you to your knees. Yeah I’m aware that by end-level with good gear and specialized tactics some jobs can kill EM mobs.

        As for the limited resources well all those are dependant on respawn time, xp/hr and the drops and their drop rate. All this reminded me of FFXI and the LS I was in, ohh good times.

        Kamui04
      3. The original author started to publish the novel in 2002.(all on-line, no less) That’s when FFXI came out and most Japanese started to find out what MMORPG is all about. So it’s no wonder FFXI has made major impact on this novel.

        U Doh
    2. They adapted the first chapter magnificently, the explanations of the mechanichs didn´t feel rush at all and the scene where every was introduced to the deat game was incredible, I could actually feel the desbelief and tension transforming into mass panic. I was worried they tried to include the female lead right away but only a glimpse of her was showed, I´m exited to see waht is next.

      haseo0408
    1. Well, SAO is written by the same guy as Accel World, but even though timeline-wise, they could be in the same world, I believe they’re in different universes. The reason being that the author wrote a cross-over story between the two, and (trying to avoid spoilers here) Kirito wasn’t significantly aged to the point that the two stories would intersect naturally.

      Rasen
      1. The fight between Kirito and Silver Crow is canon. It’s in Volume 10 of Accel World after all.

        As far as I know, they’re in the same timeline. Show Spoiler ▼

        Also, the Sword Art Online incident is probably the reason why people with neurolinkers get logged out when they get hit.

        Elucidator
      2. I’m not saying the events are not canon, but as for the same timeline/universe, there are issues.

        Accel World takes place 2046+
        SAO takes place 2022-2026+ so far

        And the events in the crossover take place in 2026, from Kirito’s point of view. If SAO and Accel World were part of the same timeline, Arita wouldn’t even be born yet.

        More likely is that through some quantum mechanic bullplop, the technology either allowed for Kirito and Silver Crow to communicate across time or dimensions.

        Rasen
      3. Also, if we’re going to talk about possible influences that SAO would have on neurolinker tendencies, I’d think that having something like the SAO incident would make people especially reluctant to IMPLANT hardware into people. They may get logged out when hit, but what happens if there’s some virus or something that prevents that? After the SAO incident, steps are taken to make sure it never happens again, and something like neurolinking seems like it just opens the doors wide to it again.

        Rasen
      4. Well that’d be like saying you’d think people would have stopped flying after the first airplane crash, or people don’t use computers anymore because of viruses.
        Technology moves on, and some safety precautions are taken, but on the whole, as long as benefits outweigh the risks, people still accept the risks.

        rsquirrel
      5. While that’s true, but what are the obvious benefits of neurolinking? If you take out the Accel World and Brain Burst, which I think is reasonable because it’s not well-known, all that’s really left is you can access the internet and play videogames 24/7.

        We have cellphones that do that, and by 2046, there are probably VR games that don’t require having a hi-tech modem jacked into your brain to play. None of that seems worth exposing infants to dangers when it renders them even more vulnerable to hacking, memory loss, and death in a post SAO world. It makes “sense” however, if nothing notably bad had happened yet.

        Also, consider that the technology was already generally accepted and considered safe around 2029-ish. Fear of terrorism may disappear after time, but the SAO incident would have been too recent for public opinion to suddenly swing from “we need caution when creating equipment for VR games” to “let’s all create the Matrix! And expose babies to it!”

        I get that technology progresses, but fear from accidents and fear from intentional incidents are two different things. After the first plane crash, people continued to fly, but I bet if during Orville’s first flight he snapped and went on a killing spree that claimed 2000+ lives, people would have been a lot more slower in developing the field. Likewise with viruses, computers and the internet had become an integral part of our lives before the first notable incidents occurred. If the first thing that happened when man booted up the first computer was that all his financial information was stolen, computer technology would not be where it is today. I use these sort of examples because it’s what happened in SAO. The very first true VR system is created, and BAM 10000 victims.

        I’m not saying that Neurolinker technology wouldn’t eventually be developed, but 3-4 years strikes me as too soon to just drop almost every lesson of safety learned from a major terrorism incident. Look at America post 9/11.

        Rasen
      6. Well if you think about it the Neurolinking system in Accel World allows the participant to actually “feel” the world there in, rather then just experience it with the NerveGear.

        Ani_BEE
      7. well for most intents the system of accel world is more similar to a built-in smart phone than an immersive vr world with the exception of when they burst link, which runs a separate program; similar to how you have a computer, and normally it’s very safe and you won’t get any viruses or have your bank account and identity hacked unless you run dangerous programs

        in a way when they walk around checking mail and opening doors it reminds me of the google glasses:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4

        which by the way need this app:
        http://www.futureoftech.msnbc.msn.com/technology/futureoftech/man-dates-virtual-pop-star-using-vr-goggles-871612

        rsquirrel
      8. You can say that neurolinking is very safe, but after doing a little more reading into Accel World, people use neurolinkers to improve/compensate for their eyesight. That means even the regular equipment already taps into the person’s nervous system, and then manipulates the information. That is ridiculously intrusive, since unlike the google glasses, the neurolinker uses the person’s own eyes to take in information and decides how the brain interprets it.

        The analogy of how computers are usually safe is a little off, since while yes, one doesn’t usually get viruses or information stolen unless you go to a sketchy webpage, that’s not 100% accurate. Programs can sneak their way in, hackers don’t always depend on random security-ignorant persons to open an infected file. The thing that makes the average computer and internet surfing experience very safe is the sheer number of people, not the computer’s firewalls (which help, but wouldn’t stand against a dedicated hacking attempt). And of course, by being online all the time, that only increases the chances of infection.

        In Accel World, Show Spoiler ▼

        Rasen
    2. @Rasen

      suffice to say that not only the technology not “killed off”, it was actually further refined and developed upon. Public opinions hardly ever matters when it involves high technology with vast potentials to national interests 😛

      Mike
  3. As someone who is currently playing PSO2, I freaking LOL’ed at the mirrior item! That was an awesome move and the girl turning into the fugly guy was epic!

    This concept of the MMORPG in SAO feels more realistic however (when you mentioned .hack), in the sense that Kirito was also a beta tester. Being one has a HUGE advantage and it shows to great effect in the anime when he knows about the limitation of resources and areas to grind before heading up into the higher floors. He already stated it will most likely take him a month to get back up to the 8th floor, so I can only imagine how long it will take newcomers to get anywhere near that level.

    The only thing I hope though, is that they’ll show parts involving his real world family. I am curious about what is happening in the real world and what they’ll be doing while he’s trapped inside. I can only imagine the world being in chaos right now over the massive amount of sudden deaths…

    Akizuki09
    1. It’s definitely true that Beta Testers have a huge advantage in early game content and given the title of the next episode (Beater), it looks we’ll be getting some focus on that idea!

      The ratio of male to female characters in PSO2 is pretty funny… all those tiny lolis running around everywhere! If I remember right, the stats for the second closed alpha test (the one I played in) showed that over 70% of all player characters were female.

      Moomba
    2. You’re playing PSO2 as well? Join the club, but I’m assuming you’re in Ship 2 at the moment.

      Yeah, I definitely LOLed at the female avatar being unveiled to being a guy. Take that GIRLs.

      Gekokujou
      1. I was on Ship 2, however the overcrowding is becoming an issue in some cases. I moved over to Ship 10 to start a new character + class. I think the community on Ship 10 is much better actually as well. Plus the welcome campaign for Ships 6-10 was too tempting! 😀

        Akizuki09
      2. I’m currently on Ship 7 as character creation on Ship 2 is blocked of. I think I’ll start again on Ship as I’m too happy with my character atm. What block will everyone be in?

        Gekokujou
      3. The large bulk of the English speaking community is in Block 20, same with Ship 2. Since they closed character creations from Ships 1-5 it’s definitely the best alternative if your looking for a very friendly English and Japanese community since it’s less populated and people tend to stick together. 🙂

        Akizuki09
    3. The first anime episode pointed out at the end that a month after launch 2,000 people had died and the first floor still had not been cleared, so Kirito’s claim to be able to get back to floor 8 in one month was proven wrong (after all, everyone’s going to play it much more safe when their life is on the line). Also, when a floor is cleared by defeating its dungeon boss, it’s cleared for everyone, not just the people who defeated it. Unless they plan on doing things a little differently with the anime, expect a large time skip in the next episode.

      michaemlan90
      1. Well in Kirito’s possible defence, maybe he met under normal circumstances, but now that he has to compete with close to 10,000 others wanting to do the same thing at the same time, it threw his game plan down the drain.

        Gekokujou
      2. The fact he did not clear it within a month proves much more then him being wrong. There’s a lot of other things he could be doing within the world that is taking up his time rather then willing to rush to the top.

        If this is anything like our current MMO’s he could be off seeking extremely rare and powerful equipment to use during boss battles. When he stated it would take him a month to get back up, it was before they announced they were all trapped. And judging by Kirito’s attitude, it would seem he doesn’t trust other players very much. He seems to follow the Beta Tester mentality actually, where to them newer players are a much larger risk then going it solo and knowing the capabilities of the not only your avatar, but the enemies as well.

        He wasn’t too trilled to meet up with other players, and definitely didn’t want to hang back and go with a group of 4 or more when he wanted to go out and rush to the next town. He knows the game sure, but he is most likely seeking a long term solution by hanging back rather then joining the horde of players rushing to clear the floor bosses.

        Akizuki09
      3. I think Kirito’s mentality would be the opposite, actually: move on past the beginner area and use his knowledge from the beta test to level faster and stay ahead of the pack so that whenever he gets to a new area there’s no competition, since everyone else is still behind him, rather than staying back and letting everyone else move ahead.

        michaemlan90
  4. Wow! (this world is so cool!)
    Hmm. (Since you asked I’ll help you beginner!)
    See? (You got the hang of it, lets be friends!)
    Huh? (What the Hell we’re TRAPPED!?)
    AHHH! (Wait a minute, we can DIE for real in here!?)
    Ugh! (Climb a hundred FLOORS with no REVIVE or CONTINUE option!?)

    That’s how I felt from start to finish and I’m already pumped to see what happens next! They have to clear 100 floors but wont their bodies in the real world DIE from the lack of nutrition or will the trapped gamers get assisted by doctors via intravenous drip?

    With the implication of “every man for themselves” but knowing that they can’t do it alone does fit well with how most MMORPGs work since most people would rather work alone if possible to horde loot

    What the hell was Game creator’s objective in doing this? Is he in hiding still connected to system or was that a program?

    1. You’re right, normally they would die from lack of nutrition. Fortunately, Japan somehow has enough hospitals to house and care for all of the players.

      I’ll definitely agree that teamwork is extremely important in MMORPGs, it’s a pity that more and more games are trying to turn it into a solo game in a multiplayer setting.

      Moomba
      1. The players get treated because Show Spoiler ▼

        And if MMORPG has ‘hardcore mode’ like SAO, I’m sure most players will readily agree to cooperate with each others. After all, you can’t make a single mistake and the golden rule is ‘There must be NO casualty’.

        Serapita
      2. Well it’s mentioned that all the players are hospitalized and taken care of. But, although I haven’t read the LN, another important aspect is even with nutrition and medical care, someone in a coma or immobile on a hospital bed or ICU will surely suffer from muscle atrophy for the whole body including hearts and lungs. Each day or week (can’t remember timeframe) you spend, your body deteriorates as if you’ve aged one year. If just one or two months is enough for you to get dizzy and short breath from just standing up and losing 50% or more of your muscle mass, longer periods can even lead to osteoporosis making you feel like a old granps. Can’t even image the state of their bodies after Show Spoiler ▼

        Kamui04
  5. Yeah, I said it was obviously inspired by .Hack, while that may not be true, that’s just what i feel about it.

    And I just saw the first episode and I liked it.Klein sounds like Kotetsu from Tiger and Bunny.I don’t keep up on VAs so the VA for Klein is probably one and the same.

    I spotted a Black Haired Aura in the end there ;p

    I loved the part at the end of the episode giving the death count and how no one finished Floor 1 yet.As grim dark as the episode tried to be with the whole dying in real life stuff, I laughed at that part about no one finishing Floor 1.

    Anishuma
    1. The reason they haven’t cleared the first floor after a month IS because of the death penalty. A lot of people after hearing that their lives will be at risk, just said “Eff it, I’ll just wait for help to come for me.” and stay in the starting cities. Then the additional dilemma of not being able to take risks like you normally would in MMOs to see whether you can handle the next step or not. Believe it or not, people like to play it safe when their lives are on the line.

      Nadi
    2. There are a lot of other troubles as well. People need to get used to the game, they need to take things slowly because reckless means dead. And since in normal game, you could ‘dead-scout’ the ‘floor boss’ (comparable to raid boss) to see the abilities and attack patterns, you can’t do that here since it also means dead. Organizing a raid for the first time will be ridiculously hard and at the same time, very crucial. Show Spoiler ▼

      Serapita
  6. Did we just experience a character revealed as gay with almost flippant maturity (Klein)? Maybe I’m reading too much into the “cute face” and “just my type” lines, but if not, I’m impressed.
    This looks like it could be good.

    Bio D
    1. I too see parallels to Druaga no Tou (props for bringing it up since it’s an awesome anime) in the objective of clearing the tower. In a way, it’s quite a classic video game scenario – clearing floors of a dungeon to reach the final boss. This can only be a good thing!

      Moomba
      1. This make me wonder why no MMORPG dare to take this move. A MMORPG where there IS an ending, once you clear it.. it’s done. I dunno, it should give some sort of satisfaction to the players that they actually CLEAR the game.

        But yeah, it’s gonna be hard to pull that one off. In SAO, players combined their strength to clear the floor because they have to or they will die. In normal MMO, there’s nothing like that to drive players to co-operate with each other server-wide.

        Serapita
      2. Well the final fantasy MMOs did their best to encourage cooperative teamwork by having hard as hell enemies that can mostly only be defeated in parties and most MMOs nowadays force you to form parties before you can even go inside boss dungeons. More people complain about not being able to solo MMOs then people who complain about not having enough multiplayer in it.

        I personally enjoy interacting with people in mmos but you can really only interact with people lv 1-15 in most. After that… everyone’s grind obsessed and wont even give me the time of day to say Hi.

        Conversations go.
        ME: Hi..
        OTHER: You wouldn’t happen to have a fierce deity scroll would you?
        ME: No, you look pretty high-level when’d you start.
        OTHER: Gotta go.

        People get too wrapped up in it and forget it’s a game sometimes.

        TitanAnteus
      3. I heard there was an MMO with an ending. It was called A Tale in The Desert (if I remember it right) and its about building ancient egypt civilization. From the little bits I’ve read it was also a game that very much encourage/require cooperationto finish it. I don’t know how the ending goes but it apparently have been finished and restarted several times.

        Salbazier
      4. @Titan

        Yeah, FFXI at its prime was really great. I still remember the day we have to rotate serveral Linkshells in order to tackle Absolute Virtue. Those sky gods and sea gods are fun as heck. The XP grinds are fun too since you have to group up and fight those VT-IT mobs where single mistake might cause the whole party to wipe… ah good time, good time.

        Serapita
    2. No one is going to make an MMORPG with an end because it puts an artificial limit on the life of the game itself, which is not conductive towards making money, which is the goal of every companies, game dev or not.

      If EQ or UO had endings, they would not still be running today and making their dev money.

      Mike
      1. Well, an ending does not necessarily means the game will be non-active afterward isn’t it? The game could be restarted, with additional/changed content and bonus stuff for players of previous play. That sort of what happen with A Tale in The Desert it seems. Otherwise, maybe the dev can made a new objectives once the original has been cleared. Essentially making it no different than playing a a series of games. Game clear also dosn’t mean the server has to be shut downimmediately afterward even if there is no restart/new content coming, we all know of games that got replayed over and over again just to explore more of the environment, collect some more items, ect.

        Salbazier
      2. Well, most game expansions are actually like a new game using the same system with imported characters, they also cost as much as the original game anyway.

        With that in mind, they can create a game with an end, then start a new one with an option to import character data to it, just like an expansion. This will create a sense to drive players forward with a goal in mind.

        I know it’s hard in practice since making an actual expansion is far easier, but it’s an interesting concept that’s worth exploring.

        Serapita
      3. @Serapita

        At that point it’s no longer a MMO with an end, but merely your generic run-of-the-mill theme park MMOs that we have so many of already today today.

        @Salbazier

        Applying single player game mentality to MMOs won’t work, single player games gets completed within days of game time, often times much less. A MMO have to sustain hundreds and thousands of hours of gameplay, not many people would want to “start over” when they’ve already invested years into a game, they’d simply move on to something else.

        Mike
      4. It will definitely end since you can’t really go back when you complete it and they shut the server down once the whole run is done.

        And then in the new game they can either create a total new character or import old one with small benefit, just like in the old days when the game with sequel let you import the prequel character’s data with add benefit.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Serapita
  7. The funniest part was the revelation that some of the cute girls we seen earlier were in fact guys! lol

    Especially the couple.
    “Wait, your a guy!?”
    “Your not seventeen!?” (A follower of Kikuko Inoue i see.)

    MrTerrorist
  8. Great points Moomba, about the difference between .hack and SAO. I agree that both stories have extremely different themes that they deal with, and with very different ways they go about their execution.

    Now, even though I say that, I do find that SAO parallels one other popular franchise that should be recognizable to anyone: The Matrix. You can sort of glean from this introductory episode with Kayaba’s ultimatum which traps players in this live-or-die world, that one of the key tenets of SAO’s story is the validity of a virtual reality as an actual reality, a theme that is also at the heart of the story in The Matrix, and one which hardly gets explored in .hack. Of course, both stories go about their execution in wildly different ways, and its ignorant to try and call one a ripoff of the other.

    Also, while I had my doubt about the director Itou Tomohiko (whose only other notable effort is Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin) it seems that they thankfully are largely unfounded. There are few other series this season that seems to show the same sharp directing and pacing SAO displayed in its first episode.

    Asobi
    1. They covered all the mmorpg avatar jokes. The girl playing as a guy hiding the fact she’s a girl. I like the one of that girl in the middle who made her avatar look almost just like herself the best. There’s always that small few who do that.

      EliteF22
    2. I’m a dude that usually rolls a female avatar, I usually clarify that I’m a dude. I’d rather have to stare at a female avatar all day than a male one.

      RickyMack
    3. Well,

      If this Game has a 3rd View. You want to look onto a Male Ass?… So you just answerd your own Question

      I love watching a Female Ass, then male Ass…

      Germanguy
    1. i’m honestly a little wary of approaching this anime, if only because it’s the perfect setup for lots of tragedy and drama, what with the whole dying thing and all. or maybe it’s just a first impression thing and everyone does a better job of staying alive next episode onwards.

      either way i’m just TOO SENSITIVE and cries like a baby when watching drama animes :'(

      Nitro
      1. Um, isn’t that a good thing? It means the story is really touching that you shed tears for it. I even cried when I read the end of SAO volume 4 and volume 7. The story is just so good and it really draw you into it.

        Serapita
      2. Grief makes happy moments even more precious… well it may be that we tragedy lovers are just masochistic.

        I think of it as good sign when an anime can make me cry. It may not be good for me to have my heart crushed, but if a story can move feelings so strongly like that then it is sign that it is a good story.

        Salbazier
      3. Yep, Salbazier has it right. I think it makes the happy moment even more precious. Like when you really hate one antagonist so much that you want to strangle him to dead yourself, and when the protagonist finally take him down, it’s like 2 times more satisfaction.

        Serapita
  9. This series didn’t become number one the novel chart for nothing, the best part is yet to come, all I goner say is if it weren’t for SAO, Accel world would never even be included in my novel to read list.

    Benz
  10. Really good fist episode, even though not to much happened they still did a fairly good job opening up the show. I’m not ready to jump on the bandwagon and call this the best anime so far this year, or this season for that matter. This show does have a lot of potential. You can’t argue with that.

    Belize
  11. I know this is just nitpicking but
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Don’t get me wrong though, this anime looks pretty amazing, can’t wait for the next episode.

    Chen2
    1. Well, for starters there’s the practicality issue of having to detonate a weapon(primarily of the nuclear kind :P) to generate EMP… also, electronics can be shielded against EMP.

      Kayaba is the one that designed the system, it’s not like the gov’t didn’t try to find a way to disable the helmets, there was just no way to do it without killing the user.

      Mike
    2. Also if you think about it a bit, even if they find a way to access and disable the the microwaves with a spare Nerve Gear, there is a low chance it is possible to accomplish with someone wearing it. Plus, who would risk a loved ones life on a chance they might be able to get it off without consequence?

      Syaoran
    3. Say that’s true, that there’s absolutely no way for anyone to ever figure out a single weakness in the circuitry, any kind of consumer oriented electronics like these would go through rigorous testing. I mean we’re talking about something that hooks up to somebody’s brain here. A government agency (FDA, CPSC, etc.) would make absolutely sure that there’s no possible way for the product to ever harm anyone before letting them sell it to consumers. In today’s world, something like that wouldn’t even be allowed to be tested on humans in the first place if a manual override option wasn’t built in on every unit to allow the user to exit at will. Letting a microwave emitter with enough power to fry the user’s brain slip past the initial checks is impossible.

      Chen2
    4. I do agree with you in that extent, but I also am curious, does Japan follow FDA/CSPC, etc? Also you can allow anime logic to fill in the gap here as well, that they just don’t live in the same type of society thus the regulations are different. Plus its not hooked up to the brain persay, its just diverting electrical signals and putting them through the Nerve Gear.

      The battery could be passed off as a fail safe for power outages so game play isn’t interupted, the high powered waves can be passed off as a way to enhance game play so its more realistic. If a company wants to pass their product through, they’ll find loopholes.

      Not completely realistic reasoning, but this is just my guess at how it got through.

      Syaoran
    5. Yeah, that’s true, but something that has enough power to pose a danger to the user will never get passed in the first place, no matter what loopholes they would try to get through, even if it at 1/100 the power output (think X-rays machines at the dentist, the amount of radiation it produces is miniscule, you’d have to be blasted by that thing with no protection for years straight before side effects MIGHT appear, but everyday we hear people complaining, and we always have to wear those lead vests to protect the rest of the body as well).

      But yeah, you’re right about this being an anime and the logic is different, and maybe the world they live in hold a different standard as well. I was just perplexed at the idea at first and it sort of bothered me how it’s possible in the first place, but I really should just sit back and enjoy the show, so far it seems to be the best this season.

      Chen2
    6. Mike: In regards to EMP, you’re talking about nuclear EMP, which is only one type and no longer used. Anyone can build an EMP generator/Pulse gun in their own back yard. The government will definitely possess something much more powerful/practical, especially to disable a small headset like in the show. Shielding against an EMP blast is very unreliable, and it’s almost impossible for something as small to protect against a blast at close range.

      Chen2
      1. Hard to say whether something is possible or not possible in an anime show that takes place in a future, especially when the centerpiece of that show includes a neural interface powerful enough to simulate a full life-like VR environment and capable of completely intercept all outgoing brain signals and able to create its own, and all of that in the size of a motorcycle helmet 😛

        Mike
    7. I’m just going for Occam’s Razor but my assumption is that if the SAO creator is powerful enough to mass produce revolutionary technology like the Nerve Gear, I’m sure he found ways to bypass normal Safety Laws like bribing officials or faking documents. Its also pretty easy to establish at least that he is a genius AND complete nutjob.

      fragb85
      1. Yeah, sometimes it really made me wish there weren’t so many rules regarding that to today’s world. Any kind of revolutionary technology will go through years of scrutiny and a ridiculous amount of different tests before having the remote possibility of seeing the light of day. Even if said technology has a 0.5% chance of side effects, it will not be approved and has to go back to development. Even if it did go on sale, if say 5 people out of a million had the same problem with it, the company will get sued out of their ***, recall all their products and probably lose their patent and licenses (remember the Toyota recall: 3 reported instances, 2.7 million cars recalled just in the US and numerous lawsuits).

        These kind of things really kills innovation. Companies are afraid to come out with products overtly complex or innovative, as R&D and rigorous testing costs and delays will probably make most products unprofitable. Not saying to disregard safety concerns, but there has to be a balance between not caring and what we have now, which is ridiculous. If something like this anime’s technology is successfully developed, say, today. It will be at least 5-10 years before we’ll see it on the mass market, provided it passes successfully through all of the tests and does not get delayed.

        Chen2
      2. Indeed, from your Toyota numbers, from a social efficiency viewpoint, if it costs >$10 to fix each car, it’d be better to pay each of the 3 victims $9m

        Conversely, say there was a cure for a deadly disease (like AIDS), but the patient immediately dies 10% of the time (and completely recovers the other 90%), yet it would never pass the FDA. Of course it spurs innovation to bring down that 10%, but when does it become acceptable? 5%? 1%?

        rsquirrel
  12. Why do I fear that Klein will eventually end up coming back as a higher Level player and an enemy to Kirito, if only due to survival of the fittest and both of them wanting the same thing and fighting over it? lol

    I just got that impression with how they seem to buddy-buddy at first, Kirito teaching him the basics and all before they end up separating.

    HalfDemonInuyasha
      1. Not really, since I have no idea what will happen on it either. I was just teasing. Show Spoiler ▼

        Salbazier
      2. generally I don’t think such things fit the theme of his novels
        Show Spoiler ▼

        rsquirrel
  13. One thing they didn’t include in the 1st episode was how the players get moved to the hospitals. Unless they retcon that, they just left something very important out.

    Silivious
    1. They could always show it later. That’s an element that doesn’t have to be resolved right away. I think they would juggle some things and put all the real world repercussions into a single episode.

      EliteF22
  14. Wow. They didn’t choose very suitable title for a TV SHOW, did they? It’s like expecting to see gameplay of an online RPG broastcast on television. It’s like naming your latest show “Photoshop Creative Suite 6.0 for MAC”!

    Boy I sound like the Nostalgia Critic.

    starss
    1. Same here, i was a big fan of Ragnarok too and this episode of SAO reminded me of that, and some people here say the author of the Sword Art Online novels on which this anime is based was a fan of Ragnarok too .. that might be teh reason why this episode reminded a lot of people of Rangraok Online (which i had a lot of fun with .. it was very addicting XD)

      HunterWulf
  15. Moomba, I’d like to point out with regards to your point about Accel World. Show Spoiler ▼

    Hakarum
    1. Show Spoiler ▼

      Seraf
  16. I don’t play MMORPGs but I know a lot who do play so the seeing the players in SAO genderbend their avatars is pretty spot on in what happens in-game. I already wondered how many of these cute girls in the game are guys. Also I never watched .hack//SIGN so I really can’t compare SAO to that, which I think is a good thing. Overall the premise is definitely interesting so I’ll be following this.

    Zhinvu
  17. Seeing as the polls on RC showed SAO to be the most anticipated anime of this season, I’m gonna be watching this past the three-episode rule. Getting that out of the way, SAO is an anime I can relate to, especially since I’ve been playing (and getting killed, or dying in) MMORPGs like Ragnarok Online, Tantra, Gunz, RF Online, Granado Espada, Cabal Online and most recently, World of Tanks.

    https://randomc.net/image/Sword%20Art%20Online/Sword%20Art%20Online%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2022.jpg

    The girl with drill twin-tails seems like a flat-chested version of Tomoe Mami (flat-chested and Tomoe Mami in a single sentence sound like words of Heresy, haha). Here’s hoping she won’t get ahead of herself or lose her head – if she shows up in future episodes anyway. XD

    The_Magus_Killer
  18. It didn’t disappoint my high expectation. Animation, Characters, Music, Story are all great
    Definitely the best this season
    I don’t know if I should play to virtual games or not in the future >.< (afraid of it because SAO lol)
    Good post, but I think you should add your overall impression or conclusion in the post 🙂

    ShuA
    1. Well, personally I can’t quite comprehend why everyone is reacting that much towards this scene. I’m guessing it’s a culture thing? Guys and buddies casually commenting on each others’ looks (in this case, Klein sorta pokes fun at the fact Kirito has a cutesy face) isn’t uncommon for me at least.

      Seraf
    1. Considering this is the first VRMMORPG in history, they might want to just let a droplet of players in initially and ramp up over time. What I’m baffled at is only a couple of months of beta testing. Seriously? Something revolutionary like VRMMORPG should’ve gone through at least 5 months of beta test.

      Lansglenn
  19. Hope they can keep up the quality, the first episode felt so much movie threater quality material. But this anime definitely has the potential to be the best anime of a very long long time.

    Benz
  20. I know some friends who completely dismisses SAO BECAUSE it is in the same genre as .Hack, thinking it’s just another copy. But I totally agree with you Moomba, thanks for putting my thoughts in words. When I first knew of this anime, I quickly turn to read the light novel before it airs so I can get a feel of the original. Now I am at volume 5 and I still can’t stop reading it!! This episode’s adaption was pretty good. Although it does add a little more details (i.e.TV reports at the beginning and stuff,) the whole atmosphere is still there so I’m good. Looking forward to the next episode already 😀

    Kaka
  21. How the flying fuck can the stay alive without water and food. A good part of the people have ought to die in a couple of days. What…the…hell? It just blows my mind how stupid is that.

    Noname
    1. It’s stated in the novel, and to a lesser degree in the anime, that the public has already been informed and Kayaba gave a “grace” period where people were allowed to be disconnected from the servers in order for them to be moved to specially equipped hospitals that were prepared after the announcement.

      And if your still asking how they’re alive even after that, Um…Coma patients? How do they keep them alive?

      Nadi
      1. Yes I thought about it and yes it is possible if someone drops into a coma that they get help. But how the flying fuck do you help 10000 motha-fucking people comatosed at the same time? You don’t. It’s impossible. There is no amount of IVs available and specialized hospitals available to take care of such a number especially over a longer period of time.

        Yes, people go to comma and they receive help. If 10000 people go to coma coincidentally most of them are bound to die. It is just a matter of logistical chaos and improbability.

        Noname
      2. Not necessairly, if the government intervenes and is able to handle the chaos correctly they would be able to at least get all of the players on drip and life support, especially since they won’t immediately show signs of deteriation. They do have time. Now for proper long term treatment they need more time to get facilities ready, but you still have more time once you have them on life support in some fashion.

        Or so I would believe.

        Syaoran
      3. Don’t forget the story is set on 2022, 10 years from now on, the medical heath care might progress by a lot. And it’s 10,000 players logging in from all over the country, not just in the same prefecture. If they can’t treat 10,000 people all over the country… I’d say they have serious problem with their health care system. And like Syaoran said, the governments have a hand in the helping as well.

        Serapita
      4. @Everyone
        Personally I just don’t find it believable that the events in the anime/novels would go the way they were shown to go. I’m just seeing this as a huge plot hole that I can’t get over.

        @Nadi
        10000 IV’s daily on top on the usual supply of IV they regurarly use. In the last minutes they said that after a whole month nobody cleared even floor 1. A Month. If they needed IV’s daily, and maybe several per day, don’t you think that would present a bit of a problem looking long term?

        Also after a month of lack of movement their muscles would have to be atrophied. Although I guess they could have trained their family members to exercise them by moving their unconscious bodies.

        Noname
      5. @Noname
        erm, since ICU (Intensive care unit) patients are sometimes in a induced coma state (for a short period of time) because of their severe sickness/near death state, I don’t think it would be too far fetched to say that every hospital with ICU capabilities could support comatose patients. In other words, Normal hospitals with ICUs can give life-support. Also you have to remember that they are otherwise Healthy individuals, which makes them much easier to take care of. It sounds so dramatic to be “coma-tose”, but really it’s not that difficult to sustain life mechanically, if they’re not dying from some other disease.

        So, spread out 10,000 additional patients over the entirety of Japan and it’s not really enough cases to run into a IV fluid problem. A lot of normal patients are on IV all day for things like dehydration and heck, some people buy them to use at home in Asia, so no problem there,

        As for the muscle atrophy, yea it definitely happens. It’s called deconditioning, it takes a lot of hard work and physical therapy, but that’s something to worry about if they get out of the game.

        Personally I find it really reasonable to say that they were transported safely to a hospital.

        Chloesong
      6. 10000 across the the entire Japan. The number gets thinned into 10~20 per hospital if you have 500+ hospitals, which is like, well within the usage spike expectancy. And seriously, for a major and well-developed country even in present day standards, if it doesn’t have 500+ hospitals in an optimistic future setting, I’d find that even more jarring.

        Seraf
      7. @Nadi

        No grace period was given, no player was allowed to be disconnected from the server for medical relocation. What Kayaba said was that the built-in battery would sustain the NervGear helmet long enough(2hrs)for them to be disconnected from a stationary power source for relocation to a medical facility.

        @Noname

        You vastly underestimate the capability of modern medicine in a developed country today, much less future ones 😛 The only realistic limitation to the prospect of long-term care of those players is simply cost, which ended up being picked up by the Japanese government.

        In other words, it only seems unbelievable to you because you lack any actual knowledge in the field.

        Mike
      8. After reading all the comments I realize that I was wrong. Sorry to waste everyone’s time. I come from a small country in development and those figures sounded ridiculous to me. The scale of Japans population and infrastructure was completely lost upon me o.o”

        Again thank you all and I apologize.

        Noname
    2. To put it simply:

      1. Unhook the player from their computer, let it run on battery power.
      2. Use an ambulance to take them to the nearest large hospital.
      3. Hook up with NerveGear to a computer.
      4. Put them IV nutrition. Take care of bodily needs. Monitor their vital signs.

      Repeat for all SAO players in the town.

      The author explains it in depth in the LN, that maybe why you’re having a hard time with this.

      Chloesong
    3. Lets not forget that 2000 people died by the end of the first month, so its not like these hospitals have to sustain the lives of all 10000 players for the full game period.

      livevoid
  22. Wow!! I thought the anime looked pretty good, but those screenshots look amazing!!!

    Especially the comparison of the before and after, as well as the background of Cline and Kirito training.
    To be honest, I was kinda disappointed that the other players didn’t move at all during the announcement, but I didn’t realize until I saw those screenshots that each player was individually designed and changed. That’s pretty cool.

    I also noticed BBC, thought that was an interesting add.

    I was really satisfied with epi. 1 and enjoyed the faithfulness to the LN like Kirito’s hair Show Spoiler ▼

    I was wary of the colorful backgrounds in the PV fight, but later I realized that rainbow scheme was on a LN illustration to start with. After seeing the epi., the mood of the anime seems pretty fitting.

    Sooo excited and glad that it’s FINALLY airing. 🙂 Looking forward to a good run. Curious about how the anime is going to be paced. Considered me hooked. 🙂

    Chloesong
  23. Reminds me of HxH Greed Island arc more than .Hack imo.

    I wonder if there will be a lot of player killers… There are obviously tons of creepers on the internet playing MMOs (just look at all the females that turned male) so it wouldn’t be totally outlandish for some of them to turn to such tactics.

    esod
    1. Show Spoiler ▼

      Salbazier
  24. I probably one of the few people around who absolutely LOVED the .hack// series. I liked how detailed the entire mythology was combined with RPG game elements and great soundtrack. Its probably why I felt compelled to watch this. Even Kaijura herself is doing to OST how awesome a coincidence is that?

    It was a great first episode too, it FELT like .hack// but it wasn’t. One thing that about .hack// was always character driven and loved my being vague and mysterious. SAO pretty much spelled the conflict rather quickly and sets the tone of the show right away and that’s great. In a sense its being what I wish .hack could have been.

    fragb85
    1. I really loved .hack//Twilight, especially the soundtrack and the super gauge, mysterious feel, We…can’t be in the minority because lots of people seem to appreciate Kaijura… Right? :S

      Chloesong
  25. I wouldn’t want to play in this MMO. Not because of the death thing, but because of the death thing there would be no PvP, which is imo the best part of MMO games. : (

    SnooSnoo
    1. Show Spoiler ▼

      Serapita
  26. I would like to see an anime about a VRMMORPG where players can log in/out at will. The story would be about IRL vs VR world players’ dynamics.

    But SAO is close enough for now =) (.Hack does not count)

    Lansglenn
  27. I liked it. Really novel idea for me especially since I play MMOs

    But boy oh boy, when I heard “event”, all I could think of were the dynamic events in Guild Wars 2 🙂

    Dima
  28. AWESOME is the only word I have for this! 😀 It was really nice too see the game mechanics along with Aincrad environment in animation. Fellow MMO players should be getting the familiar feeling of playing a game (I would call it ‘nostalgia’ vibe but I’m not sure it would be the correct term) and the “I want to play it too” feeling as well. The animation of the skills and other game mechanics was quite good as well. The bleeding finger was also the only thing that I find odd.

    This is much better than accel world, both in the source material and in the adaptation. The animation and direction looks bettter for one. AW was an interesting read as a novel and a good watch for several episodes but for me who already read the novels later episodes became a bit boring, somehow the adaptation just can be good enough to keep the hype. Judging from SAO more emotional & memorable content quality of this first episode, that less likely to happen with SAO.

    Salbazier
    1. BTW, Klein for all his stupidity is actually a quite awesome character. Too bad it is rather far into the series before I can see some of my favorite moments of him

      Salbazier
      1. Yep, Klein is awesome. Same goes to most of the characters though. Even Egil has his moment. Show Spoiler ▼

        Serapita
      2. True that

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Salbazier
      3. Yeah, Show Spoiler ▼

        Serapita
  29. Already heard about SAO years ago, but I decided to hold it when the anime announcement comes out.

    Well, I’m gladly surprised that it exceeds my expectation!

    Now, I’ll move away from some sites that potentially could spoil me. Finger crossed for epic adaptation!

    zeroyuki92
  30. ive never seen hack/sign so i can’t compare but so far the premise and characters are interesting.
    I wonder how long are these people stuck in the game in the manga. did the people on the outside stick iv tubes in them to keep them from starving to death. goodness me.

    hwighting
  31. Very promising series. I hope it can recapture the nostalgia i had for the early days of MMOs.. Runescape and Ragnarok Online being my favorite way back in 02~03.. While I did play WoW and many other 3-D MMOs, nothing quite captures the magic of those old ones..

    Ragnarok Online for me, despite no “end-game” so to speak beisdes level 99 was an amazing expereince. I loved WoE and the MVP bosses.

    When they had the far sky-view of the First City all I could think of was PRONTERA! Combined with enjoying the first episode, I have really high hopes for this show! Glad someone on RC is covering it 😀

  32. Loved it. Especially how the episode ended with it stating a month has gone by and 2000 people have already died. It sets it up nicely to go into the thick of the plot without all the in-between training and level up.
    However, this raises a question on what the government and FBI or whatever equivalent agents are doing in that month. I know that you’re not suppose to apply real-world mechanics into anime and such but still. 2000 people dead would make it a mass homicide.

    koager
    1. Fantastic, i really had high expectations for this series and it delivered, i bet most if not all people who played an MMOs in their lives enjoyed this episode a lot and got that fuzzy feeling inside whenever characters were explaining game mechanics (or when something like a “guy” playing a with a girl avatar was revealed).

      Also i have to note that that the background art and special effects a re top-notch .. the sunset before the game creator announced his intentions looked fantastic .. but to their credits .. before they found out they can’t log-out the beauty of the scene made me want to play a game like that (even if there is some slight risk involved) .. but when they realized they are stuck in that world .. suddenly the beautiful scenery started feeling hollow and creepy … they handled that scene very well .. also it was clever to do the scene when Kirito first logs-in the game world in “first-person” to give us an idea of how he sees the world (they do switch to FPS view from tiem to time too).

      And while i didn’t read the novels that people talk about .. i guess the game creator is just mad … he clearly has a GOD complex .. showing up as massive masked avatar towering over the players .. saying stuff like “welcome to my world” .. and “i build this world to to admire it” .. he clearly wants to play GOD and he needed people to be trapped in his virtual world and forced to experience everything it has to offer over a large period of time .. police probably are afraid to try pursuing him lest he kills all the players .. he literally has 10,000 people as hostages.

      finally i have to say i can’t wait to see the next episode ^_^

      Hunter-Wolf
    2. It’s already explained in the novels that the company Argus had its ass sued off by the victims. Also, the reason why the government couldn’t do anything about the servers is that one wrong move might activate the signal for the nervgears to kill everyone.

      Suppa Tenko
  33. “Even before the first episode aired, some people had been dismissing SAO as nothing more than an inferior rip-off of .hack//SIGN based on the fact that it’s set within a videogame world in which people are unable to log out.”

    Well, sorry. Guilty as charged as I consider the whole .hack series a masterpiece. Maybe, SAO is not for me I mean I tried the author’s other work; Accel World and I just couldn’t get in. Overall, I think the first episode leaves a good impression. Who knows, maybe one day i’ll enjoy it. Gotta follow the 3 episodes rule.

    Zuhri
    1. Note that .hack is in no way the original idea here as there have been other manga/novels/anime/movies with a similar idea before that one. There are actually quite a few series with similar theme around.

      Znail
  34. This is brilliant and hopefully best pick anime of this season/or even year.Because I myself love MMORPG (Ragnarok beta is my first) so story about virtual MMORPG is delicious.Before SAO,I read 1/2 prince and loved it.Sadly it wasn’t adapt to anime.However SAO is great in many way : concept, character design, CG,atmosphere and etc.

    My guess for next 1-2 episodes : As for being MMORPG player myself I guess Kirito soon will face troubled cause by travel alone and have to come to form a party soon enough.

    Topboy
    1. Ragnarok Online you say?! Remember those early days when we’d get groups of like 10 random people ranging from level 30 to 80 all trying to take down Bapho in the maze, and the adventures in Payon Caves with your first party… Ah the memories are simply endless.. its also what hooked me into the MMO genre..

      OH and when you saw the first city in the sky-line view, did you immediately think “PRONTERA?” XD

      As for the next 2 episodes, i agree.. I expect the same, the idea of “soloing” being given to viewers and the effects that stronger mobs have on players resulting in the forcing of either a party or guild of some sorts, maybe even just a single other player. Kirito does seem to have that solo mentality, so heres to hoping they handle his forcing into a party well 😛

  35. We get the picture on the creator being such a crazed developer, the real question

    Show Spoiler ▼

    DaBrotherman
    1. Well, they are all in his World now. He can control the Input from the Real World. So this Dead Players can be a Setup of him. to Prevent them to Force Log out. Like Take of the Helm, or Power off and deplete the Helm Battery

      So, since they Log in. The Game is their World, their Truth..

      Dont forget that

      Germanguy
      1. ..um found plot Hole..

        If they Power Off the “Computer” of the Player. What will happen? Or has this Helm some Hidden Magic to uphold the Connect to the Server?. Oh yes, this Microwave think.. So this Battery inside the Helm.. It’s useless if the Computer shut down of Power failure. This Battery is only to move around. But, he have a Cable connect onto the Computer…. So, Plot Hole

        Germanguy
      2. @germanguy

        wow, you’re making terrible posts up here too eh?

        If they Power Off the “Computer” of the Player. What will happen? Or has this Helm some Hidden Magic to uphold the Connect to the Server?

        lolfail#1, the NervGear is a stand-alone piece of hardware, it is not run off the computer. The cable he hooked up was a ethernet cable.

        Oh yes, this Microwave think.. So this Battery inside the Helm.. It’s useless if the Computer shut down of Power failure. This Battery is only to move around. But, he have a Cable connect onto the Computer…. So, Plot Hole

        Read above, your failure at understanding basic concepts that a 8yr old would have no problem with continue to amuse me. The only plotholes around here seems to be inside your head where a brain would normally exist.

        Mike
      3. Actually, it IS a plot hole. The simple fact that they showed Kirito connect an ethernet cable means that they still use cables in the future. So inevitably, they would have to disconnect a player from the server, which means it would kill the player… Unless of course, if the ethernet cable they showed wasn’t for the Nervgear, and the Nervgear actually connects wirelessly….

        vlm
      4. Well, the 2 hours was mentioned in the novels, but my question is, what happens to the player in those 2 hours? Do they experience at most 2 hours of complete absolute darkness? Do they lose consciousness while they are being transferred? Is there some kind of offline area within the program of Nervgear where their consciousness can wait while being transferred? Any one of these situations could have been possible, but it wasn’t clearly stated. Well the author could have intentionally left it to speculation, but it would have been nice to know.

        vlm
      5. Well just like any always on DRM system it would just say you’ve been disconnected (2:00 hours till you drop dead) The game doesn’t actually transfer your mind it just intercepts your perception sortof like a dream and plops you in a virtual world. (The death part is facilitated by friendly microwaves)

        a20020000
    2. Well, the 2 hours was mentioned in the novels, but my question is, what happens to the player in those 2 hours? Do they experience at most 2 hours of complete absolute darkness? Do they lose consciousness while they are being transferred? Is there some kind of offline area within the program of Nervgear where their consciousness can wait while being transferred? Any one of these situations could have been possible, but it wasn’t clearly stated. Well the author could have intentionally left it to speculation, but it would have been nice to know.

      Either they could’ve went into sleep mode, or like you say, 2hrs of nothingness, there’s no storing of consciousness in Nervgear, as it is very much still inside the player’s brain.

      Mike
  36. As far as “trapped-in-game” stories go, this one is brilliant. Alead game designer has made this a deliberate feature, and has worked hard to remove all hindrances to his master plan. But what is his goal behind making people try to reach floor 100 and endboss – or die trying?
    I also wonder how long it would take before he would be waterboarded into giving up and repairing the game code – and that is only if other programmers out there can’t simply compare the codes from the betatest and find the differences. If there would be argument for torture against terrorist, this one is perfect, 10.000 hostages!
    I’d like also to point out that the most reasonable survival strategy would be to stay in safe zones and not level up at all, waiting for the real world to deal with situation.
    Finally, as most explosive devices experts will tell you, there is always a way to defuse electronic device, just often there is not enough time to study it and find a method before it detonates. As the Nerve Gear seems to be standard hardware in the 2022, there should be no problem with finding a way to remove it without triggering the electromagnetic burst killing the player.

    ewok40k
    1. 1. Kayaba’s goal will be clarified later
      2. No one would be stupid enough to stick around where they’ll be found when pulling something like this, much less a genius like Kayaba.
      3. Also, Kayaba created the core of SAO, the Cardinal System, and designed NervGear, while it’s unclear how many others worked with him, he was the mastermind behind the creation of both.
      4. Show Spoiler ▼

      5. Nerv Gear is not a standard tech, it’s the first of its kind as a matter of fact. Also the killswitch is not a mechanical boobytrap/bomb, it’s simply a program that will execute the kill order when certain criteria are met.

      Mike
    2. Unlike a bomb they are technically hooked up to an always on DRM system that has the nasty side effect of death. (Low battery, Spotty Internet, Fell out of bed) = Death.

      Technically they could have easily designed the system to be fail deadly with the microwave emitter on its on dedicated circuit that has enough stored energy to kill the user. Not to mention disarming one might be possible but even the servers had a mass kill switch system so I would also be conceivable that if the authorities were successful in pulling people out they would need to simultaneously disable 8k devices at the same time to prevent the developer or automatic systems from killing the rest. Only radiation pulse of equal strength to the emitters ratings would burn out the headgear but given the system was designed to deliver lethal amounts of RF energy you would likely cook the users brain at the same time.

      Although I do find it a little hard to believe one man could have created all this fail deadly systems without someone noticing.

      a20020000
  37. There are no girls on the internet

    StereoMAN and ZANIBAS and others says hi. (I am 100% a dude though)

    Also, am I the only one who thinks anime Kirito looks A LOT lk Houtarou in certain scene sans messy hair?
    And nothing says PLOTPLOTPLOTPLOT than nekkid black haired loli. Nice tht they include cameos!! So they r mixing event frm Vol 2 in the main storyline too eh?
    Klein is just lk those walking LOL friends you hv. And he such a bro…… But his comment…. o.O

    D-LaN
  38. I’m glad they handled the girl vs g.i.r.l. thing at the start. Although after learning that death is permanent, that other “surprise” from your party member might matter abit less.

    Namzor
  39. LOL at all the crossdressers in the game world.

    I think I read somewhere about Kawahara Reki himself denying SAO has nothing to do with AW, still it does not stop me from speculating the Neural Link technology in AW (2032-2047) is somehow based on SAO’s Nerve Gear technology (2022), based on collected results from the deadly experiment by the game’s “Mad Scientist” developer Kayaba.

    I started following Kajiura Yuki when she first scored the music for .hack//SIGN, so seeing her do another MMORPG-themed series was like full circle for me, though I don’t expect SAO to be anything similar to .hack.

    Kinny Riddle
    1. Kayaba wanted to make the players feel that this is their reality now and take the game seriously so he made the players’ avatars look like their real faces and bodies.

      belatkuro
    2. If you were playing a female character and got forcefully switched over to your real body you are technically cross dressing in this game .. like that guy in the pink clothes that was using the female avatar XD

      Hunter-Wolf
  40. Where’s the Korean starcraft player when you need him? Or even an American FPS player? Damn, I’m willing to bet if Kayaba tried to pull this in US/Korea, the game will definitely be completed in less than 1 week, with people clamouring for more hardcore conditions!

    Aleksandria
    1. LOL that’s for sure.

      Kawahara Reki is a casual MMORPG player, so there is a limit to how much he can understand end-game / hardcore gameplay when writing about them.

      Given that the story was written in 2002, that’s groundbreaking.

      Lansglenn
      1. Maybe he watched Korea’s Starcraft channels to get inspiration for SAO. I mean, seriously, Korea is probably the ONLY nation that has tv channels dedicated to MMO games like Starcraft. You can say its probably their national sport ( ok I’m exaggerating, but it’s seriously THAT prominent in Korea ) . All that’s left is for him to write a light novel called : Sword Art Online ; Korean edition . This one only needs 2 chapters , where the 1st chapter introduces the game, and the 2nd chapter shows how the Korean players beat the game in 1 week. I assumed that the US has so many FPS games and practically half of Xbox players are from the US, so they are probably good. Noted, I only played Ace Combat and Halo, not CoD or MoH

        Aleksandria
      2. Heh, Starcraft isn’t an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online), it’s an RTS (Real Time Strategy). But it’s correct that MMO’s are a big thing in Korea and they have quite a few people that plays them.

        Znail
    2. As a Korean related to a hardcore starcraft player as well as another american server FPS player, I find your comment extremely hilarious. In a good way, because now I’m imagining those two people participating in SAO, like they are currently playing DIablo…. (even funnier, they both have chars as wizard girls, so that girl stereotype is so true)

      I think the real limit of progressing to SAO 2nd floor is not an individual’s ability, but that Show Spoiler ▼

      If SAO was an RPG, not a MMORPG, no doubt even Kirito would have cleared the game in record time.

      Chloesong
      1. True true. Luckily Kayaba didn’t release SAO in China though, the Chinese gold sellers/farmers will definitely farm every available inch they can get, and probably not giving a damn in clearing the game

        Aleksandria
    3. Lol if this was set in the US all the hospitalized players would either end up being rejected medical care, kicked out from the hospital or their families would receive bills that would bankrupt them for life even after a single week stay. Not to mention that health care insurances don’t cover mad genius scientists. And the US government instead of paying the bills would invest trillions of dollars into an all out war to find this mad scientist wherever he is.

      Kamui04
  41. i skipped through all the comments for the first time in fear of getting spoiled just because how much i enjoyed this. even a hikkikomori like me went on a rampage with the OP theme song and i ended listening to the 1 minute 30 sec song on repeat while suddenly got fired up and burst out of my room into the sun and rode my bike out to other towns for 4 hours experiencing the adventurous environment like in SAO. (though i must admit it’s nowhere near as fascinating as SAO and the song did lose its impact around the 3rd hour or so…)

    1. LiSA makes pretty good songs, both Oath Sign and Crossing Field are equally good! It made me wonder why didn’t they used Crossing Field as the opening for Fate/Zero. But then again, its too upbeat for Fate/Zero, I guess. Maybe they could use the SAO opening for Broskander and Waver, or Kirei and Gilgamesh (LOL)

      Aleksandria
    2. Lol, did you ….really burst out into the sun and go adventuring? XD?

      If you’re afraid of getting spoiled, I’d advise you to continue skipping all the comments. It’s like a spoiler landmine for a non-LN reader.

      Chloesong
  42. Realize that the players have to eat and sleep in the SAO world. Plus you just can’t sleep anywhere.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    So saying a RL hardcore gamer could clear SAO in a week or so isn’t true. It also disregards that ‘death is absolute’.

    And remember there is no magic so no priests to heal you during combat.

    rh75
    1. What about that insane hardcore Canadian player who completed the ENTIRE DIABLO III HARDCORE MODE (Where 1 death = instant game over)in just 1 month, and the whole of ACT IV in 9 hours. Now THAT’S what I call hardcore player! If he can pull that insane thing off , I think he’ll have no difficulty pulling the same insane actions in SAO as well.

      Diu2
      1. It’s one thing to play a hard game on a monitor where the worst thing that will happen to you is that you lose that character, it’s quite another when you’re playing a hard game in a life-like virtual environment where you can actually die for real.

        Imagine Call of Duty or Battlefield, now imagine playing those games in a VR environment, where the bullets fired at you can kill you, are you going to play the same way? Will that Canadian D3 player be able to do the same thing if he was actually in the game, casting spell/waving axes personally, and are being hit by the same, while knowing that if he dies in the game, he will die for real?

        Mike
      2. The hardcore gamer aspect of SAO was addressed.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        rh75
      3. You also realize that D3 is an online hack n slash game, not a real MMORPG with a “single” persistent world shared by all the players? On a real MMORPG you compete with other players for limited resources as explained by the end of the first episode?

        Anyone who has played an MMORPG can tell that in the end it boils down to numbers. How much experience you can get from mobs, how fast or how slow you can kill them depending on your level, how fast they respawn which translate into XP/HR if you’re trying to grind levels. Also add in the competition from other players to kill the same mobs you’re trying to level on. Also you have the equipment you need and nobody would be such a n00b and cheapskate as to be lvl 99 and still carry a lvl 1 sword and armor. And this equipment will surely not be free, you either get it from drops that have a variable drop rate or % which is indirectly proportional to it’s lvl/quality. Or if buying it you’d need money which comes from killing mobs, doing quest or selling drops. All in all it takes time and MMORPGs as is the case of SAO are designed to last a long time.

        You can finish any offline RPG in less than 20 hrs. But having played many MMORPGs and in each one accumulated hundreds of days worth of gameplay (not hours) and in many of them I haven’t completed all the storyline or relevant quesst which would be the equivalent of reaching floor 100 in SAO.

        Kamui04
  43. Having listened to Crossing Field, I wonder, why couldn’t Accel WOrld have such an awesome opening as well? Chase the World was okay, but it didn’t seem to ignite much excitement in me as compared to Crossing Field, or maybe I got used to May’n, having listened to her songs in a lot of animes; Hidan, Macross Frontier, Ookami and now Accel World. Hopefully AW will have an equally epic 2nd opening soon!

    Kai
  44. Spoiler for anime plot, you have been warned.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Chloesong
  45. Well I didn’t read the light novels and wasn’t into watching this anime, I even voted for Kokoro connect,Oda nobuna and couple others as I was under the impression that the plot seemed very similar to the Hack series but after watching the first episode I was amazed and it is turning out to be my favorite show this season, story is very gripping and exciting with a dark feel to it,that a game that everyone was enjoying and using to lessen their boredom turned out to the most important thing to them concerning their Life/Death.Awesome! I hope it stays as gripping as it is now.

    Shiki999
  46. This Setup dont fit my art of Anime.

    No Log out of Virtual World, without Death. But what happen, if they shut down the Game Server? Oh, he took the Players hostage? The Players real Body, can hold up to stay Online that long? His “Buddy” is hungry. I dont think he will hold up until they “finish” this Game

    To many “Story Holes” and “No one took notice, this all along”. Sure, his is a Genius. He program this Game all alone…

    to much overdoing

    Germanguy
    1. Oh look, another one who didn’t pay attention :rolleyes:

      1. If the game server is shut down, everyone will die after two hours, as the NervGear is programmed to fry brains if it’s disconnected from the server for more than 2 hours.

      2. Of course they can’t live long enough to beat the game without outside care. In case you didn’t bother to pay attention (which you didn’t), it was already said that authorities have already been notified, the now practically comatose players are taken to hospitals where they will be cared for.

      Oh, and in case you didn’t pay attention to real life as well, yes, you can actually keep comatose patients alive, there are these things called IV and feeding tubes, try googling them sometimes, you’ll be surprised by what you find.

      Mike
      1. i see, you like this Show

        no one in the Developer team asked the “chief”. Why they need this “Microwave” device in the headgear? Oh, they dont ask their Superior, because of not losing his Face?

        You can keep up the normal body functions. But until now, you cant keep a Brain alive in function. Just his Vital signs. This is not more then an Empty Shell

        As you can see. i dont get it. Why no one suspect this “Programmer” and his choices

        This Helms are Mass production, or not? So even there is no one that use his own Brain to ask why this must there? “you are paid to work, not to ask question SLAVE!!” ? 🙂

        So, is to unrealistic for me. Sorry

        Germanguy
      2. 1. The “microwave” is the very basis of the neural interface technology, which is direct stimulation of brain cells via electromagnetic waves. Without it, there is no VR immersion tech.

        2. The brain is functioning perfectly fine, it’s not as their brain have stopped functioning. You really didn’t have any clue what you were watching did you? they spelled it out very plainly, NervGear intercepts signals that are sent by the brain and use it as control input, while directing sensory signals directly to the brain itself to simulate the game feedback and environment, this is not remotely close to brain death as you are implying.

        3. Those are not default function of NervGear, something like this has never happened before, and nobody knew it could’ve been used that way.

        I’m not sure if it’s because of a language barrier or a plain lack of intelligence that you have failed so spectacularly at comprehending the basic information that is clearly laid out for you, but the more you talk the more I’m inclined to believe it’s the latter.

        Mike
      3. Because he manipulate everybody somehow? That maybe sounds unrealistic but compared to any other stuff one can pull underground in other series it isn’t that much.

        I didn’t get at all what you mean by ’empty shell’ and ‘can’t keep brain alive’. If the rest of body are working properly and receive enough nutrition, the brain will be fine as well. Some patients cannot wake up from coma, but that is their are damaged from the beginning, not because comatose condition create further damage to the brain.

        Salbazier
      4. Not my fault if you’re incapable of grasping simple concepts that hundreds of thousands of other people had no problem with.

        Also, don’t get butthurt when you post ridiculous stuff online and people proceed to rip your posts apart, learn how to not make terrible posts full of factually incorrect information instead.

        Mike
      5. Following Mike’s explanation of the Microwaves. Seems like again either there’s a language barrier, or you simply don’t pay attention to the plot or you lack braincells.

        When Kayaba mentions the brain frying microwave, Kirito mentions it’s possible since the brain stimulation circuit uses microwaves and if you removed the limiter it would be powerful enough to fry the brain. And I bet you’ll come up with another stupid question that how couldn’t they put a less powerful microwave. Because all consumer products are designed and manufactured to be used a certain rate/threshold which warranties a certain lifespan, but of course you could override or take it beyond your usual usage.

        Like how your usual 2Ghz processor is rated as that and can last years with normal usage. But you can overclock it to 6Ghz or even 10Ghz but it most likely fry in a few minutes if not cooled with liquid nitrogen.

        Or your car with an average 200HP at 6000 RPM. On your day to day basis you will almost never fully use the 200HP or go beyond 3000RPMs, but you can tap into that power. But it’ll degrade your engine faster, you’ll need to change the oil more often. The same with your tyres which can last upwards of 50,000 miles of normal usage, but take them to a racetrack at race pace or drift competition and they won’t last more than a few laps totaling just a few dozen miles.

        Even your average 9V battery doesn’t look like much, does it? But it powers a Taser or Stungun that knocks you with 50,000V.

        Kamui04
    2. Fine

      If i would be the Bad Guys here. I could say “You Mad Bro?”

      Where did i Insult you Guys? i was talking about the Anime. Not you. You are the ones that took this Privat.

      All “bad things” against your Favorite “game/Anime/World” is a insult for you?

      Would i been a meanie, i could put out real “Troll Baits”

      Germanguy
      1. No, I didn’t get offended by your criticism to SAO. Disliking it was your right I would actually enjoyed discussing about this series merits or demerits. Your religion blah blah above is rather insulting however.

        My other problem with you is that I find it rather hard to understand what you actually trying to say (which lead to the me making ‘goobledegook’ comment in impulse far above, for which I do apologize).

        Salbazier
      2. @Germanguy

        you’re the one who’s mad here 😉

        Where did i Insult you Guys? i was talking about the Anime. Not you. You are the ones that took this Privat.

        Taking it personal? naw, I couldn’t care less if you like it or not.

        All “bad things” against your Favorite “game/Anime/World” is a insult for you?

        Oh no, everyone have the right to their own opinion and to criticize a show if they want. That being said, everyone else also have the right to rip apart your opinion and criticism when it’s based on faulty assumptions, misunderstandings, and factually incorrect information.

        Would i been a meanie, i could put out real “Troll Baits”

        Feel free to waste your time if you want.

        Mike
      3. sigh, failed blockquoting…. *wtb edit button*

        @Germanguy

        you’re the one who’s mad here 😉

        Where did i Insult you Guys? i was talking about the Anime. Not you. You are the ones that took this Privat.

        Taking it personal? naw, I couldn’t care less if you like it or not.

        All “bad things” against your Favorite “game/Anime/World” is a insult for you?

        Oh no, everyone have the right to their own opinion and to criticize a show if they want. That being said, everyone else also have the right to rip apart your opinion and criticism when it’s based on faulty assumptions, misunderstandings, and factually incorrect information.

        Would i been a meanie, i could put out real “Troll Baits”

        Feel free to waste your time if you want.

        Mike
    1. If they really animate that chapter (which I hope it might happen, however slight it is), I really want them to not mess up that chapter. I’m still scarred from Studio DEEN and Fate/Stay Night’s dragon scene in the anime. I’d rather they not animate it than follow Studio DEEN’s route

      Pfiz
  47. I’ve been waiting for this series and I wasn’t disappointed, actually, I was most definitely impressed, I really enjoyed watching this 1st episode and already can’t wait for next ^^
    Many people seems to be talking about .Hack// but sincerely, it didn’t even cross my mind at all until I read about it now from others fans posts…
    Lots of talks about the novels too, I’m now tempted to read them too, but then I’m afraid to become too critical toward the anime, so I’m now battling with very conflicting feelings ^^;

    sherry
  48. Just because Sword Art Online was supposedly created around the ‘same time .hack//SIGN was announced” doesn’t mean that it can’t still be a rather lighter and less in-depth version of .hack. (The SAO light novels were released in 2009, whereas .hack//SIGN was finished in 2002. That gives plenty of time for the creator to take a lot of elements from .hack//SIGN, so there’s no way we can rule out the whole ‘scam/cheap copy of .hack’ idea)

    That’s not to say that SAO wasn’t enjoyable for me, but I did find quite a lot of similarities, plot-wise with .hack//SIGN; namely the whole logging out business. Other than that and the fact that they both share the same music composer, SAO seems to be much more focused on action rather than a mature, psychological take on the characters. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, they are different side-genres, but I think saying that SAO wasn’t based off of .hack//SIGN in SOME way or another would be foolish. Does that mean SAO still can’t be good? Of course not- but let’s not be hasty here and say that comparisons can’t be made. SAO still has a different feel to it though, so I’ll give it that and sit in for the ride for another couple of episodes to allow it to really distinguish itself as something more than just “.hack//SIGN that’s lighter and more action packed and in HD.”

    Snowolf
    1. I practically don’t care if this taking things from .hack or not. To me the similarities is actually the first selling point, the thing that made me check SAO in the first place. Because I was so impressed with .hack that I’m thirsty for more of similar goodness. So, yeah, I was a bit perplexed with people who are dismissing SAO because they perceive it as a copy. Being a copy does not necessarily reduce the quality from a story, as long it is executed well. Most of the time it was the execution that made the good or the bad of a story instead of it basic concept/premise. And honestly, this “.hack copy” issue aside, Reki Kawahara’s writing is littered with cliches. He, however can use those common plot elements nicely that it still resulted in a enjoyable story.

      Salbazier
      1. I never said copying is anything bad! Copying is a sign of inspiration- and I don’t think SAO suffers from any of that, if anything, it improves on it. I’m a fan of .hack, but I liked SAO. But I can’t just go ahead from one episode and say “this is a masterpiece in itself that isn’t anything like .hack whatsoever!” because that would be rather immature of me. All I’m saying that is that we can neither dismiss the similarities as coincidence nor say that they are completely different entities. They fall under similar traits so it’s natural to compare one to the other. For me, I’ll have to wait to see if SAO is worth watching (like any anime I’m watching to be honest) but since I’ve already seen all of .hack I have the capability of saying that there are some tropes/traits here and there that really match up.

        Does that mean SAO isn’t going to be good? No. All I’m saying is that there are similarities. We can’t deny that. Now whether SAO makes use of those similarities throughout but establishes itself as a totally different game (something I have only gleaned from one episode, once again) is something we’ll have to watch out for- hence me saying, I’m going to be sticking around to see. I hope it gets good! I like good anime (lol who doesn’t).

        Snowolf
      2. Yes, sorry. By ‘people who are dismissing SAO just because they think it is a copy” I don’t mean you. I pretty much agree with you there that the similarities cannot be denied.

        Salbazier
    2. Just because Sword Art Online was supposedly created around the ‘same time .hack//SIGN was announced” doesn’t mean that it can’t still be a rather lighter and less in-depth version of .hack. (The SAO light novels were released in 2009, whereas .hack//SIGN was finished in 2002. That gives plenty of time for the creator to take a lot of elements from .hack//SIGN, so there’s no way we can rule out the whole ‘scam/cheap copy of .hack’ idea)

      Except that Kawahara wrote SAO to compete in the 2002 Dengeki LN Award, and ended up publishing the whole thing on his web blog when he was unable to keep the page count within the limit of the competition. The complete SAO story has been out there for years, but it was only picked up for publication when Kawahara’s Accel World was picked up, hence the 2009 release date.

      That’s not to say that SAO wasn’t enjoyable for me, but I did find quite a lot of similarities, plot-wise with .hack//SIGN; namely the whole logging out business. Other than that and the fact that they both share the same music composer

      Yes, because the anime studio’s choice of composer has everything to do with whether an author took his ideas from another story created at the same time a decade ago :rolleyes:

      think saying that SAO wasn’t based off of .hack//SIGN in SOME way or another would be foolish.

      No more foolish than believing without doubt that it is.

      Does that mean SAO still can’t be good? Of course not- but let’s not be hasty here and say that comparisons can’t be made. SAO still has a different feel to it though, so I’ll give it that and sit in for the ride for another couple of episodes to allow it to really distinguish itself as something more than just “.hack//SIGN that’s lighter and more action packed and in HD.”

      The similarities between SAO and .hack begin and ends at the fact that both had log-out issues and took place in a VRMMO, outside of those they are two totally different story.

      Mike
    3. While I do agree that .hack// has some deeper things going on below the surface I cannot actually wrap my head around the idea that is SAO a light hearted version of it. Well in some cases it is but some chapters like “Red Nosed Reindeer” in vol. 2 and vol 7 “Mothers Rosario” delivered a level of drama and tension that .hack// tried to implement but fell short of. It’s one of the few stories where you actually really feel a sense of loss since the theme of death is always present in all the stories in some form or another and can actually induce tears in even the hardest of hearts. So please try to stick around for a few episodes more. If it still doesn’t tickle your fancy then it’s all good.

      Kazuto
  49. erm. Well it didn’t flat out suck thank god. When I heard online world and trapped I immediately was afraid they had just made a water downed version of .hack. Since this episode was nothing but an info dump explanation it was really kind of waste of time for me as the only important info that if you die you die for real could have been conveyed in just a few minutes of the actual story instead of absorbing an entire episode. So I’ll have to wait for the next episode to decide if this is really worth my time or not.

    I was disappointed when they made all the characters have their “real” faces. Part of the fun in .hack was the people playing the game could be anyone and their avatar could be completely opposite of that. Having the real faces makes me think the entire cast is going to be limited to just your standard 16-21 year old characters, which is boring and annoying to me at this point in my life. Seeing the same 16 year old FF stereotype character over and over and over again losses all meaning after awhile.

    I was also annoyed when they actually explained in detail how they would die. By doing so they gave me to much info about the death trap that I immediately thought of away around it. Just because it has a battery doesn’t make it inescapable, you just have to cut the power off from the battery to the headgear because if it like any other piece of electronic gear all the power flows through the battery so cutting off the power there will shut down the system. Plus what happens if we just shut down the servers? Actually wouldn’t that be the 1st thing the admins would do because who would believe the mad scientist right away that ending the game early = death? See to much info was given and instead of providing answers it just raises more pointless questions like LOST. ha LOST joke. I know most people probably won’t pick up on that kind of stuff but it drives me nuts because the way to avoid it actually takes less effort than including said information did in the first place. Just don’t say anything, we don’t need to know exactly how they will die just that they will.

    That brings me to my last and biggest fear for this show. The underlying tension that this is a death trap. I just wonder if they will be able to maintain the feeling that everyone is in danger or if we’re going to see a beach episode? For me nothing sucks the life out of a show more than setting up a serious/dark/dangerous type setting and then undercutting it with sappy characters who go to the beach or seem to be permanently oblivious to the situation. I guess I’ll see next time if they plan on staying serious or not.

    W.Wolf
    1. First of all, clearly from the ED (or what’s going to be next week OP) there are character older than 16-21 involved in the story and important enough to appear in the OP .. but in reality there are less people from 25 to 50 that are play MMOs because of the amount of time needed to play one which conflicts with work and social responsibilities .. so it makes sense there will only be few old character in the game world.

      Second, you clearly don’t understand how this helmet works, if you try to disconnect it from the power source it still works on the internal battery and immediately fries the brain of the use .. as people who read the novels say .. when the government moved the players real bodies to hospitals -after hearing his warning- to put them on life support he gave them a grace period in which the kill-switch won’t activate if the helmet it disconnected from its power source .. but if they took longer to move the player’s body and the battery in the helmet was near empty the energy left will be used to fry the brain of the user before the battery runs out or if they try to remove the helmet forcefully.

      Shutting down the servers by force will also have the same effect of killing all the players in the game .. it isn’t any better than removing the helmet by force .. he seems to have thought this out very well when he set out to create that helmet and that virtual world in which he want to play GOD .. and clearly there are are no admins in the game world in anymore .. he runs and controls everything .. a.k.a like a real GOD as he aspires .. when someone holds 10,000 people as hostages you also have to be very careful in dealing with him .. specially if he has the severe case of GOD complex this guy has XD

      As for tension, i suppose it is guaranteed the main character will survive, but what about the others, all the other character that viewers might like and get attached to besides the main character might die or get killed at some point in the story (like his friend from this episode or all the other character from the OP/ED vid) .. that creates more than enough tension IMO.

      Hunter-Wolf
    2. sigh, here we go again.

      1. The NervGear will immediate execute the kill order as soon as it detects tampering with the helmet, so no, you ain’t getting inside the cut the battery out. Remember, the NervGear is designed by Kayaba, the culprit himself.

      2. Shutting down the server would accomplish absolutely nothing, other than killing every single remaining player. The client is stored inside NervGear itself, so is the kill program. As a matter of fact, being disconnected from the server for more than two hours will automatically trigger the kill command.

      3. Of course not everyone believed him, which is why 216 people got their brains fried before the people realized he wasn’t joking.

      It’s ironic that you complain about there being too much exposition and information given, yet you still got some pretty basic stuff dead wrong.

      Mike
      1. 1. when did anyone say that any tampering would result in auto kill? All he said is removing the helmet will kill you. So when they mention just cutting the power our hero brings up the internal battery. No physical booby trap is ever mentioned.

        2. So I guess the game servers have fail proof power supply and no one in this future ever suffer from internet black outs? People would die just from getting disconnects.

        3. Yes but that was from just yanking the helmets off. That says nothing about an attempt to regain access to the servers and end the game with Admin powers. Now admittedly they will probably never talk about the outside again as this show is just a fantasy story encapsulated inside a Matrix plot device, so it doesn’t really matter.

        Like I said before they introduced this limited knowledge which in turns opens up all the possibilities of what you could do about it. But if that knowledge had not been given and was just limited to you are trapped and any attempt to interfere from the outside means death, I would not be able to run on these tangents and get fixated on them. I’m glad you don’t become annoyed by them since that makes it much easier for you to like this show but it does not work like that for me.

        W.Wolf
      2. 1. It wasn’t as clear as it could’ve in the anime, since he said that any attempts to shut down or remove the helmet will trigger the kill. It was quite clearly stated in the novel however.

        2. In case you don’t know, even today large-scale servers are often housed in their own structure, with their own backup generator. Also, as all the players are being cared by the government in medical facilities, it’s a no-brainer that they would ensure those facilities would have redundant net access. And yes, if for some reason there is an inexplicable loss of net access for 2hrs, those affect would die.

        3. The SAO server is under complete control by Kayaba. The core system of SAO, the Cardinal System, and NervGear are both his creations. The government did attempt to gain access over the servers, but was never successful. Also, you can’t be any more wrong by assuming the story will no longer involve the outside world again.

        Like I said before they introduced this limited knowledge which in turns opens up all the possibilities of what you could do about it. But if that knowledge had not been given and was just limited to you are trapped and any attempt to interfere from the outside means death, I would not be able to run on these tangents and get fixated on them. I’m glad you don’t become annoyed by them since that makes it much easier for you to like this show but it does not work like that for me.

        That’s certainly your right to feel that way, but I have to say by that logic how can you possibly like any show if the first thing you do with any background/world setting info is try to poke holes in it? Frankly SAO’s premise is rather simple and straight forward, it’s a very different story than what you’ve been assuming so far.

        Mike
  50. Fantastic, i really had high expectations for this series and it delivered, i bet most if not all people who played an MMOs in their lives enjoyed this episode a lot and got that fuzzy feeling inside whenever characters were explaining game mechanics (or when something like a “guy” playing a with a girl avatar was revealed).

    Also i have to note that that the background art and special effects a re top-notch .. the sunset before the game creator announced his intentions looked fantastic .. but to their credits .. before they found out they can’t log-out the beauty of the scene made me want to play a game like that (even if there is some slight risk involved) .. but when they realized they are stuck in that world .. suddenly the beautiful scenery started feeling hollow and creepy … they handled that scene very well .. also it was clever to do the scene when Kirito first logs-in the game world in “first-person” to give us an idea of how he sees the world (they do switch to FPS view from tiem to time too).

    And while i didn’t read the novels that people talk about .. i guess the game creator is just mad … he clearly has a GOD complex .. showing up as massive masked avatar towering over the players .. saying stuff like “welcome to my world” .. and “i build this world to to admire it” .. he clearly wants to play GOD and he needed people to be trapped in his virtual world and forced to experience everything it has to offer over a large period of time .. police probably are afraid to try pursuing him lest he kills all the players .. he literally has 10,000 people as hostages.

    finally i have to say i can’t wait to see the next episode ^_^

    Hunter-Wolf
  51. As much as far-fetched the idea is, it has been at least worked upon to ensure credible suspension of disbelief… (and better than in say, hack. with it’s near mystic attitude)
    Technical plausibility aside, I guess there would be one real problem for our mad scientist villain – namely as OBL case shows no one can hide forever.
    As for the “hardcore” players, not even they went far in the beta, (Kirito was at 8 floor? or do I remember it wrong?) so while they might have advantage early, sooner or later they gonna be running into unexpected situations and monsters – with deadly results.
    I wonder how the whole grouping/solo aspect will be played in the series, as well as pvp aspect. I also wonder how – if at all – works any healing in-game? There is no magic, so at best some first-aid kits, but this may mean even minor injuries will easily accumulate to the point no further fighting is possible. If in-game skills are in any way related to RL, a RL doctor or nurse would be invaluable asset to any group.
    I am very interested in how the series will handle those and other issues, and as an veteran MMO gamer, though nowhere near calling myself hardcore generally curious about the in-story game (cue RC joke and Chitanda eyes…)

    ewok40k
    1. Well, for healing, SAO has 3 ways of replenishing HP.
      1)Potions – These things heal in a Heal over time(HoT)fashion, so using it while your getting pounded on isn’t really an ideal way of using it since it takes a long time to heal a large amount.
      2)Healing Crystals – These things heal an X amount instantly, but are pretty rare and pretty expensive.
      3)Passive HP regen – It can be boosted by certain skills in the game but it doesn’t really heal that much either. This will kinda help with your Potion expenses at least, and reduce downtime.

      Nadi
  52. Rant incoming:.

    What hurts me about SAO compared to .hack. is though the expression was a COMA, DEATH was very much the focus. …Crap .hack//SIGN and .hack//IMOQ Spoilers Follow: Show Spoiler ▼


    The setting was plausible, and written in such a way that was believeable. Genius AI programmer Harold Hoerwick. Designed the black box core of “The World” .hack// is set in. Even then, the coma feature wasnt something readily discoverable…

    With the way games are produced nowadays, with Teams upon Teams of people. I see no. way. in. hell. this one idiot could’ve programmed the game, to leave the technology this dangerous. You’d think even more, they would take extra precaution to make sure their game ISNT going to kill people from malfunction or bugs in the system. I don’t see how he could’ve modified the beta to the Release to remove the log-out option, and doom 10k people to their imminent deaths w/out a corporation knowing about it and saying: “WHAT THE FSK DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!” … … …

    (p.s. I’m just a LITTLE rage-y on this point. … ten thousand people taken hostage and more or less doomed to die. WHAT THE FSK ?!?! Ok, I get that this is the setting, but it breaks reality just a little too hard for me. … I look forward to where this series goes. But Blatant ignornace towards how production and MMO society works is why I hated .hack//GU. And SAO just took a FAT strike one from me right here for the exact same reasons. … (To explain my experience, 2.5 years of Private Server RO on a guild that couldn’t find a server to suit us, so we built our own. If you’ve played on Essence RO or heard of § guild. Er, dat ess ess guild. ah those were good times, those times long ago~))

    (Post Reading comments: .. Oh, this was first written in ’02?. Enh, I probably would’ve bought it then ^^;;;.)

    Back on non-ragey things for a bit:
    I admit I lol’d when I heard Kajiura’s compositions begin to tease me. Just how much of .hack// do you intend to imitate, I pondered. I think the series can still do great things, but it has a big hill to climb to overcome my miserable opinion of its path to its setting.

    Kumakaori
    1. So a genius programmer creates a game that can magically suck people’s soul in is believable(despite never providing any explanation as to how such a feat is accomplished), but another genius programmer who creates a game and locks the players in with a clearly defined technology and method is unbelievable? Gotcha! :rolleyes:

      Kayaba is anything but an idiot, NervGear and SAO’s core, the Cardinal System, were his creation, with the explicit goal of creating his own world. Like it or not, this is the setting of the story, and complaining that a game in the future in an anime wasn’t developed the way games are made today is just ridiculous, this is Sword Art Online, not Game Dev Online. Besides, if they do mirror how MMOs are made today, all we’d end up with is either a crap F2P WoW clone, or a crap F2P WoW clone.

      As for “normal MMO society”, wtf? Not only do you not know how the social structure in SAO ended up being yet, trying to imply that it should follow what normal MMOs are like is just flat out ignorant. Show me a MMO where you die in real life when your character dies, then you can talk about “normal MMO society”.

      Your problem is that you’re viewing SAO through your rose-tinted .hack-issued fanboy glasses.

      Mike
      1. Yeahh, cause your own fanboi glasses aren’t any less rose in tint…
        .hack at least makes it clear it’s running on a black box. SAO? no mention yet.

        My rage towards MMO society ignorance, … wasn’t at SAO. So, ‘grats on paying attention to that. It’s not that I don’t like the setting. I don’t like how we got there.

        Thanks to A2002k for making it clear that some justice was served.

        @HunterWulf: Yeah it makes enough sense /for/ there to be backdoors and stuff, I guess I would’ve appreciated it being made painfully obvious thats what he’d done :/.

        kumakaori
      2. Yeahh, cause your own fanboi glasses aren’t any less rose in tint…
        .hack at least makes it clear it’s running on a black box. SAO? no mention yet.

        Nope, I’m actually a big fan of .hack as well, I’m just not ignorant about the strength and weakness of both franchises. Also, you can harp on about Harold’s black box for as long as you want, it doesn’t explain jack shit about how it sucks out the consciousness/soul of a player who’s playing the game through a VR glass and game pad. In SAO there’s no such gaping logic hole, the player’s consciousness is still very much inside their own body, the NervGear simply cuts off the brain’s access to the rest of the body.

        My rage towards MMO society ignorance, … wasn’t at SAO. So, ‘grats on paying attention to that. It’s not that I don’t like the setting. I don’t like how we got there.

        You may want to read your own post again. Your “rage toward MMO society” popped out of nowhere in the middle of your rant, with no mentioning of what it is about before or after. In SAO’s case, you don’t even have any idea what its society is like yet, the story hasn’t even gotten to that point, how can you dislike “how we got there” when you HAVEN’T gotten there yet?

        Mike
    2. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume this NervGear is actually an extension of something called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with multiple input/ouput emitters, higher resolution, and beam steering. (Future plausible)

      This aside it is easily possible that the system was designed to be “safe” but because of the complexity of the RF interface system it likely used software to prevent the beams from affecting critical areas of the brain or concentrating too many beams in one spot. If he was the lead developer of many he could have created black box code that provided him backdoors into the servers and equipment. Although it is highly unlikely he would succeed in evading a concentrated effort to validate the system for absolute safety it can be assumed that this process was skipped because it was just a game. (New tech little regulations, there’s no such thing as perfectly “safe” code even with non-malicious developers)

      Judging from the novels there were a large number of developers and the system probably became too big to review effectively and the head of the project could easily slip code in unnoticed.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Removing a logout button is probably fairly easy to do as the only sys-admin and I doubt anyone wanted to risk trying anything after he said there were fail-deadly protections. Even if they tried revoking his rights, shutting the servers, hacking, etc… all of it could have easily ended with ~10k dead people. (Disabling a button isn’t exactly rocket science, safely removing 10k people in an instant would be a feat)

      Show Spoiler ▼

      a20020000
    3. Also it would be highly unrealistic to think a corporation would willingly create a deadly VR game and trap 10k people without anyone noticing. At best you could get a small group to do malicious things together. It wouldn’t be very interesting or realistic at all if the company was pure evil and created some system to kill gamers without an employee whistle-blowing.

      It actually is plausible to have the head of a project and inventor to hide traps and hoard control over his project. (It is his job and invention so he naturally would have the final say and control) All the developers supporting him would likely only work on aspects of the system and without seeing everything as a whole and poking around it would be hard to find any backdoors.

      a20020000
      1. Fact is, the system isn’t meant to kill players in normal circumstances, the microwave emitter is how the helmet connects with the brain, so it is an integral part of the design and no one will doubt it is there for another reason .. the inventor just made enough backdoors to allow him to both remove the log-out option and remove the limiter on the microwave emitter so it kills the player if try removing the helmet or disconnecting it from the game.

        HunterWulf
      2. There are people deathly afraid of cell phones. Yes, I said cell phones. Add to that the fact that there’s already existing tech that is not only safe but well developed and proven tech already in widespread use, right now, and you have pretty much no plausible reasoning for even developing headsets like that. Further, no company or government (outside of maybe the 3rd Reich; Godwin’s law, I went there) that I know of would even begin to approve a piece of headgear physically capable of producing a lethal amount of microwaves. It would have to be physically limited, not just software limits, against being able to kill the user. Any company or government organization willing to approve such a device would be signing their own death warrant. Being a “genius” doesn’t allow you to automagic your way past physical limitations.

        Hence, this was the most retarded attempt at explaining away a plot device that I’ve seen outside of hentai.

        Anon
      3. Oh? Even if the something like the nervgear did have physical limits to how much microwaves can be outputted, how can you say they can’t be bypassed? If you think about it, being a genius CAN let you do that. Remember that Kayaba, is the creator of Nervgear.

        We can ASSUME, that this creation is made up of components which are also his creations, which means that it is entirely possible that each component is something that has never been seen before, and that components which Kayaba say do a particular funtion actually has a hidden function available only to his control. What if the components that limit the nervgear are also his creations? Then it would be easy to bypass such limiting components.

        vlm
      4. The spoilers tags in this post just compact it.

        Further, no company or government I know of would even begin to approve a piece of headgear physically capable of producing a lethal amount of microwaves. It would have to be physically limited, not just software limits, against being able to kill the user. Any company or government organization willing to approve such a device would be signing their own death warrant. Being a “genius” doesn’t allow you to automagic your way past physical limitations.

        Ever heard of something called beamforming?
        Show Spoiler ▼

        It would be impossible/difficult to have a physical safety to prevent a bad algorithm from steering the beams into one concentrated point but one could make a “validated” control algorithm that would pass RF exposure laws. This assumes the designer is putting safety first.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Therac 25 (Radiation Therapy Machine) had poorly written software that depended on hardware interlocks that didn’t exist in the newer machines and killed some patients after causing massive cell death. (It cooked their torsos basically).

        Show Spoiler ▼

        However when it comes to new consumer products or innovative technology things can go awry in the first generation as the regulatory agency wouldn’t fully understand it yet. Not to mention as a product not advertised for any direct medical application it wouldn’t be subject to many medical trials and the such. Many of the RF compliance measures are self-reported and through third party groups and as such they only really test what you give them.

        Another thing to note is that most RF amps can be digitally controlled to vary the output power.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Willing and being tricked are two different things it’s highly unlikely the company or government was complicit in designing this deadly game system. (Not go PR or business) And with ever increasing system complicity physical safeties are hard/impossible to implement without some control software.

        After all this to long did not read stuff, he could have just put a physical safety that had a proper limit and then put in some last minute design changes during production that grossly increased the physical limit even if one could exist. (Simple thing is he could just lie they don’t test things as thoroughly as you might think in reality its a form of trust designers and engineers have in not making deadly things on purpose)

        The one below actually is a spoiler for later,
        Show Spoiler ▼

        a20020000
    1. If this series blew you away, then you should really give Accel World 1 more chance. The next few Accel World arcs (not the one now) have the same quality as that of the current SAO arc!

      Pfiz
  53. I don’t know why, but the BGM by Kajira Yuki at the beginning as well as the BGM at the end of this episode made me thought that some servant-like summoning will occur. Or maybe its because I re watched Fate/Zero episode 1 before watching this. >.< O well the songs are really well done!

    Souloa
      1. But Comments with the “RTFM” Style are increasing. So this kind of Anime with Merchandising = WIN WIN

        RTFM? Read The Fucking Manga 🙂 (Anime without Manga Background is half as fun)

        Germanguy
      2. Because when you try to condense a light novel, which has the luxury to explain everything in great detail, into anime form, there will always be paraphrasing. You can’t spend 2-3 episodes explaining the mechanics/rules; people will lose interest. Especially now when a lot of people want action “NOW! NOW! NOW!” nowadays. So, the studios are left having to just summarize the important points for the sake of pacing.

        That’s why people tell you “read the manga/novel/light novel/visual novel/eroge” The source material will always be better information/lore/story wise.

        Nadi
    1. I’m not an mmorpg person either but I think most people that are into video games in general has played or tried one RPG can relate to this series in term of set up. And this was a pretty kick ass intro to this series.

      Ani_BEE
  54. Wow Fate/Zero of the season. So many debates going on…… Just how many experts r @ here anyway!? (Though I read the novel so it clear most of my confusion….)

    D-LaN
  55. To the poster who talked about starving bodies, if their virtual body was replaced with the real one and they can get hurt and bleed. I think its safe to assume that if they EAT food in the game world they will not starve. They didn’t state it because its blatantly obvious. Just saying.

    M to the Star
    1. No, that scene was just to show Kirito’s mindset, that the game world is now just as real to them as the real world, his character did not actually bleed.

      There is no metaphysical connection between the players and the SAO world like in .hack, if nobody cares for their body in the real world, they will eventually die and disappear from SAO.

      Mike
    2. Actually there more of in a coma to the real world and there is something called total parenteral nutrition where they basically give you processed liquids will all the nutrients and chemicals required for life. (Side effects exist and feeding tubes also work as the digestive tract is autonomic)

      Waste products are greatly reduced for these methods and the IV method generates no solid wastes as it goes directly into your bloodstream.

      a20020000
    3. By far one of the most enjoyable opening episodes of the season. I hadn’t heard anything about the series before watching this episode so it came as a complete surprise. I’m already looking forward to episode two more than any other show.

      Some people asked how their real world bodies would survive if they didn’t eat. I imagine anyone that was found with the headgear on would have been transported to a hospital with his gaming equipment and hooked up to IVs as if they were in a coma.

      Vornesoul
  56. I was very impressed with this 1st episode =03. There wasn’t much in the way of action, but what they did show, including how attacking works and such(the Kirito/Klein tutorial moment) was really an exceptional way for viewers to understand how the game operates. The logic Kirito had about heading to the next town in anticipation of the resources getting low around the main hub, as well as NOT being a hero and sticking with Klein is just storytelling at its finest (^,^)! The music was great, animation smooth and colorful, story intriguing, and Kirito’s perspective of everything was interesting and enjoyable to watch. This’ll prob be THEE anime of the season for me at this rate.

    frubam
    1. Yep Kirito isn’t your typical hotblooded shounen hero or the taciturn silent type either. He’s a considerably normal 14 year old kid that has been thrown suddenly into a game of death. He wasn’t willing to play hero because he was afraid of the responsibilities involving placing another persons life in his hands. He’s worried that if ever another person dies on his watch he wouldn’t be able to handle the guilt and the scorn by others who would definitely blame him. And this will happen sooner or later and it would be one of the most moving storylines you’ll ever have the pleasure of watching/reading. Though he does turn into a mary sue later on he’s a “likable mary sue”. Damn I never though I would ever see the day.

      Kazuto
  57. I have a funny Idea. Well, every MMO out there, has a “Private Server” 🙂 Why not hook off 1 Player, and plug him in into a Private Server wheres the Log Out button exitst..

    ok, i bet in the Manga is written (bible), but i am only Anime viewer, that his Server Security is tight

    But i see this the only sullution to save them with a “Save Log Out” attempt

    And, Guys. How the Outside World knows about this “If force DC, he dies!”. Did he sent a e-Mail? Because the Outer World only see “Dead people” with Helmets.

    Germanguy
    1. That’s not even remotely true. It takes a lot of time and effort to crack server code to make private servers. Have you ever heard of Final Fantasy XI? It took several years after release before people finally managed to crack it and they still haven’t managed to get it to function fully.

      Even if they were able to get a copy of the original server code, there’s no guarantee it would contain the parts that would recognize a player as logged in and stop the frying process – Kabaya would have implemented that himself for obvious reasons.

      As to your other point. He specifically mentioned alerting authorities in the episode itself. Did you even watch the damn thing or do you just come here to try and poke plotholes in it without having a clue?

      Spinning
      1. Actually for that FFXI private server they took several years to crack the encryption and authentication process used for the client connecting to the server and even then their solution isn’t perfect. Which would also be one of the major obstacles of what Germanguy thinks is his solution.

        Now how do you guarantee that the NerveGear which is an invention by the same Kayaba doesn’t have other propietary encryption and authentication methods. Any slip up from the “rescue team” would trigger some boobytrap or silently alert Kayaba as to what they’re trying to do and mass kill the rest of the 10,000 players.

        I don’t think you even have any notion of programming. But even with the creator providing the source code it takes time to analyze it and understand it since each programmer writes code differently. Even worse if don’t have the source code, you have to reverse engineer or decompile the game executable and files themselves. Add in that whatever solution they come up with needs testing. Can they test it without the NerveGear hooked up to a person? or would anyone volunteer to be the Guinea Pig?

        From another of your previous comments spouting nonsense. It’s been said either in the anime or comments by LN readers that if you disconnect for the server for too long you die. If you disconnect from the electric power for more than 10 min you die. It’s mentioned that the battery last 2 hours and I guess you’ll say why not disconnect for 9min, hook back to electricity and repeat till the battery drains out. And whose to say that Kayaba didn’t already think about it and implemented and algorithm where if you disconnect and connect repeatedly from the power, or the battery gets too low are an indication of tampering and again you’re dead.

        Like other people mentioned all your post are trying to poke plotholes where they don’t exist since you seem to not pay any attention to the plot or trying to overthink stuff even when all the info has already been served in a silver plate in front of you and you can’t or refuse to see it.

        Kamui04
    2. Given that the show states if you disconnect a player they die connecting them to a copy server wouldn’t do anything as they are still not connected to the main game.

      Now if you want to get complicated the fail deadly system could easily check for IP reroutes, cert validity, etc… all it would take is one little slip up in the switching process to kill a player. Now even if you successfully rerouted a player perfectly seemlessly to an identical server the crazy dev guy and or automatic system could easily detect how many players were removed and after a certain point it would fail deadly on the remaining population.

      Also although it isn’t known to the people inside if he is really telling the truth he does show news articles about the few hundred dead players that were removed from the game even after his warning. An email, video, dead people would probably be more than sufficient of a message to the outside world.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      a20020000
      1. Thats what i was hoping for, Someone to “think out of the Box” and start some Fiction. All others are so stiff, and defend their “treasure” like a Lion. You missing the Fun

        Thanks

        Germanguy
      2. Not sure what you mean as I’m basically saying making a perfect emulated private server would be difficult to impossible without risking 10k dead people.

        Although if you want out of the box using liquid gallium would simultaneously block the microwaves and short the helmet out for the low cost of ~$30-100k per patient but it would have to be done simultaneously and there is a risk that many would still die depending on how strong the microwaves are.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        a20020000
      3. “out of the Box”?

        Well, i am pretty sure, the Anime covers just the Players inside this World.

        And thats what come into Play. I or We try to fill the Black Holes, that the Anime left. “Is there a Way to shut down Server?, Emulate an Clone Save Server?, What will happen is Japan/Nippon get a Power Out? (You self know what Nature can do). All kind of things, that the Anime not covers until yet… It’s called Fiction or Speculation. Thats more Fun just to Watch. It build up your own Fantasy and “What if…” scenarios. To get deeper bounds.

        And, i try to find out the Mind of the Posters here. And i starting to become a Picture…

        uh? Why?.. Let’s say Marketing
        (Future questions about this, will end in No Comment)

        Germanguy
      4. The fact remains though, those things suggested MIGHT work, BUT are you confident it WILL work 100%? And IF it fails, will you take responsibility of the death of the person you used as a “guinea pig”? Because saying things like “I thought it was a good idea.” won’t save you from the liabilities if it does fail.

        Nadi
      5. I don’t really think there are any giant plot holes in the basic premise of the show.

        1) Shut down server, everyone dies.
        2) Emulate server, fail deadly trap, everyone dies.
        3) Power goes out, Backup Generators / UPS (Hospitals/Servers both have these), after 72+ hours everyone dies.

        Its not actually speculation as the show clearly states removing the players will kill them. The server farms and hospitals do have backup power in the present so it’s not much of a jump to believe that this same reliability exists in Japan’s near future. (Any disaster large enough to permanently knock out major hospitals, infrastructure would have likely be deadly in itself)

        Also “out of the box” is a turn of phrase meaning a far out idea that is not normally thought of. Also,

        Show Spoiler ▼

        a20020000
    1. It wasn’t really explained well in the anime but as mentioned Kirito being a beta tester knows the lay out of the first floor by heart. He knows all efficient levelling grounds and dangerous areas and thus he chooses the routes where he is less likely to encounter mobs and all monster spawns are easily handled even at lvl 1. Also there are some quests that do not involve fighting monsters but earn decent Coll (currency).

      Kazuto
  58. Yup I’m probably one of the last considering that I’ve only watch SAO 2 days ago and basically I feel that SAO is over hyped, although by all means it is a good watch.

    This is a short excerpt on a short writeup I’ve written for SAO (do check it out if it is of interest) but basically:

    My biggest concern is regarding where the story is headed towards, since I have not read the LNs. I have no idea what the current situation is like although I did some poking around to get a little more non-plot related information, but as far as genres go, it really seems to me like an overpowered male lead who just decimates every enemy kind of deal – obviously since there is no story left to tell once Kirito is dead unless some insane twist happens (which is possible when and if he finally reaches the last level in approximately another 10 years time).

    Disclaimer: My opinion is that of a non-biased non LN reader.

  59. “I understand that Kirito’s bleeding finger is to emphasise the fact that these are now their real bodies… but if everything beyond their face was generated from measurements taken during calibration, why would he retain the cut on his finger?”
    Given the spotlight effect as well, I took this to be symbolic of Kirito’s pain becoming a very real threat, not that his papercut had actually transferred over from the RL to his virtual self.

    Despite its flaws, I’m rather excited about this series so far. As someone new to the franchise as a whole, I hold no standards or prejudices towards it, and while I’m a long time .hack fan, I don’t see the point in comparing two different ponies, so to speak.

    Bring on the next couple episodes.

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