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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Random thoughts:

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

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

 

ED3 Sequence

ED3: 「crossing field」 by LiSA

End Card

Final Impressions:

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

The Story & Writing: Aincrad Arc


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

Click for more ▼

The Story & Writing: Fairy Dance Arc


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

This one is even longer ▼

The Story & Writing: General Thoughts


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

You know the drill ▼

The Music & Animation


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

Last one, I swear ▼

The Highlights & Final Words


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

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

268 Comments

  1. I personally enjoyed the series. It is by no means perfect, but it definitely kept me entertained and wanting more, week after week. In my book, that counts as a success.

    Is Sword Art Online overhyped? Maybe. But is it enjoyable to watch? Definitely. And I would recommend this series to people who like a little fantasy adventure, but are not looking for anything too deep.

    As an end note, I will leave you guys with this fantastic fanart, credit goes to the artist.

    MasterDragonKnight
    1. I agreed, it was a long journey towards the end but I really loved everything about the series, specially the reltionship between kirito and Asuna. I know it was not perfect but I don´t even care, can´t wait for the second season to see Phantom Bullet animated. See you in the next season guys and Merry Chistmas!.

      haseo0408
      1. @The Moondoggie
        Show Spoiler ▼

        Any ways if they do another SAO then just like the current series that ended the animators will stick to the time line. Which is pretty appropriate for something that should be explain in sequence!
        Side note: people stopped watching this because it was sticking to the time line?

      2. I agree, SAO and ALO is not too perfect in anime also it does not follow the entire light novel as it goes but none the less it make it enjoy to watch as anime. What was create is already create and if like or dislike is all our own opinion to this anime after all we just watch where the studio make them. To answer above article the Sugou suppose to be heavy injury but in novel said that he took some pain killer so he could kill Kirito none the less he suppose to be there outside the hospital regardless last week he was slice & dice no matter how many time. To make it as last boss in reality world 🙂

        Zero X Cent
    2. Some stories are written by master writers who can have their readers dance in the palm of their hands, but considering how experimental SAO is, I’d say the anime was pretty good. Definitely not how I imagined it to be 2 years ago, but none the less good. It’s kinda like the Unlimited Blade Works movie. It’s absolutely terrible shit when seen from a stand alone movie viewpoint, but if we view it as a supplement of the VN itself then it’s pretty good.

      Also the “using will to defy the system” is a running theme in all arcs of SAO, especially Alicization, almost a built in function of Kayaba’s Cardinal system. Of course it’s a cliche nonetheless. But some times when one is engrossed in a story, one can easily overlook the absurd and stupid points and even make then seem charming in the reader’s mind.

      IMO, Sword Art Online is one of the better fantasy adventure animes, it just happens to be overshadowed by the spectacular lineup we’ve had these past 4 years. Had it been released in 2005 or something, it might have been considered really good.

      Suppa Tenko
      1. After finishing the last episode (hotel has horrible internet so I posted during the dance sequence) I think it’s awesome when an anime plays the “The Book Begins” notrealtropebutnonetheless and shows the first theme as the ending.

        Suppa Tenko
      2. Sometimes I wish I can edit, sorry for taking up such valuable space.

        Sugou was a mess after being stabbed by Kirito, that’s why the normally weak Kazuto was able to overpower him. The scene is slightly different in the novel but it has pretty much the same effect.

        Suppa Tenko
    3. Its finally over. Which is both a great but sad thing at the same time I guess. Though I do wish they had kept some scenes or detailed some abit more. For example, I felt that they could have played up the scene where Kirito was walking to Asuna’s ward. If they had done it with abit of a slow walk with flashbacks, it would certainly have added to the drama. And rather have a mix of female voices (sounded like Sugu and Sachi) call out for Kirito to move forward to meet Asuna, personally, I felt that having Sachi being the only one instead would make it much better. And it would be alot better if they had not cut out the scene where Kirito recognises the lunch Asuna made for him as being the real world version of the lunch sandwich she made for him in the 74th floor of Aincrad. But i guess time constraints is always a major factor, and they had already removed the OP so its probably the best they could do.

      Like MDK, I personally enjoyed the series. It is certainly not the greatest anime series ever. But I would certainly consider it one of my favourite animes since for the last 6 months, this series had me looking forward to every weekend just for the weekly episode release. Not many shows had me feeling like that so it definitely is a winner in my book. That and I really loved the pairing of Kirito and Asuna (having read the novels helped even more). They would certainly rank among the top 3 (maybe even the top) of my favourite couple pairings of all time.

      For fans of this series, I guess we can only hope they will animate GGO, Caliber and possibly Mother’s Rosario. If the DVD and Blu-ray sales are anything to go by, the possibility is there. Even the novels are selling like hotcakes (last I saw, the sales chart had SAO a full million ahead of the 2nd place series, which is incidentally, Accel World. Kawahara Reki is certainly raking them in). So we can pray and hope :D. Merry Christmas to all!

      Euzio
    4. SAO was something I really wanted to enjoy (not many stories based on VR) but never could over look the pure logic fail it was built on. If it hadn’t tried to be serious, at all, I probably could have over looked it. However, the attempts at trying to prove it was somehow based on some form of reality was the exact thing that made it impossible to over look how badly it failed at being realistic. Even the author himself couldn’t come up with a reasonable explanation for why the guy suddenly decided to hold the player base hostage and twist his dream into a death trap. It’s because, the way it was setup, not even a completely insane person would consider it logical. Yes, even insanity follows a form of logic. It’s twisted but it does follow a pattern. Simply put, the main antagonist’s personality and nearly all of his actions were in direct contradiction with each other.

      The author is just generally a bad writer and on top of that his experience and understanding of games and gamers as a whole felt rather lacking. I’ve never really played games with a strictly Japanese player base, so it’s possible there’s some differences there but, even allowing that, his understanding seems more than a little flawed. It’s like he has no idea about the mind of any type of gamer aside from a casual gamer. The purely casual gamer perspective really doesn’t appeal to me. It’s this lack of understanding that likely lead to his main protagonist suffering the same problem of his personality and actions being in direct conflict with each other. Either that or it just shows his inability to craft even semi-realistic characters. Even the side characters with their 2D personalities seemed to suffer from this.

      Compared to the light novel, it’s hard to really say whether the show was worse or better. It was crap to begin with and the show itself was crap too. If they had at least skimmed over or shortened the emo bullshit portions of the story and left out more of the fail logic bullshit, I probably would have actually liked the anime version. However, they not only crammed most of it in, it even became the entire focus of some episodes.

      The whole series felt like a bullshit wish fulfillment trip and it wasn’t fulfilling a wish that appealed to me in any way outside of being a part of the VR genre. The overall theme was something that should have appealed to me but the end result was a story and characters that I couldn’t relate to at all and even flat out irritated me at points. Every time I thought there was going to be some element that appealed to me, it’d suddenly turn a different direction and just end up pissing me off.

      TLDR;

      The characters (especially the main protagonist and antagonist) are completely unrealistic; actions and personalities don’t match at all.

      Much of the logic the show/novels were built on is critically flawed.

      SAO’s attempts at proving it is somehow based in reality makes it impossible to ignore the logic flaws.

      The whole story felt like a cheap wish fulfillment trip.

      The light novels suffer from poor writing and completely half-assed fact checking. The show completely inherited these problems.

      Anon
      1. This was written during the time when Ragnarok was popular, when games were about serious gaming and stuff. Kinda like how getting to lvl 70 in Maplestory was a big deal, but now everyone and their cat is lvl 70. The author does base GGO off of his gaming experiences.

        Suppa Tenko
  2. well, it is finally ending. After almost half a year. I enjoyed the series and hope for a sequel. Well, they can use some improvement or alternation form the LN. But either way, it wasn’t that bad.

    Like this comment if you enjoyed the show, dislike if you didn’t like the show.
    Well, I look forward to see the results lol

    inferno
    1. I enjoyed the show and have always figured this would be the best place to end the series. GGO always felt more like a sequel and less like a continuation of the story of SAO.

      Sortedevaras
  3. Well I can honestly say that I have never watched a series in which my opinion changed so much between arcs. The SAO season I thought was fun an exiting, even the side stories, and it had a pretty cool female lead. The ALO arc on the other hand I found frustrating and annoying also I didn’t like Sugu. Then there’s the sudden brocon, that’s just my personal bias of course.

    xephx
    1. You mean that scene with the white haired guy getting interrogated by the police?

      The scene where the voice over was explicitly talking about how one of Sugou’s guys ratted on him?

      Here’s a hint… the white haired guy ain’t Sugou.

      qwert
      1. But in the SAO LN’s thats kinda the same concept. YOu can transfer from game to game, you just lose your items so you had to store them in the game you was leaving if you intended on comming back.

        Arcad
  4. Gah, I was kinda hoping I would see an announcement of a second season. Id really like to see the gun arc animated. SAO may have its flaws but it was still one of the more enjoyable ones out there.

    unknown2
  5. Oh boy, the spinning again.

    Well, it’s over at last and I found this to be a pretty nice ending. I like it when stories take their time to finish things instead of shoving climax and epilogue into the last 5 minutes. That’s simply not satisfying in any way, shape or form, yet so many authors do it anyway.
    I also liked that the real world segments got a good amount of screen time. Something that is usually very neglected in this kind of story.

    At the end of the day this was a show, and novel, with a good idea but terrible to mediocre execution, and it really shows. Which is sad, really, because I like the idea very much. I still think that the story would’ve been much better off if Sword Art Online had remained the only setting, spending a lot of time to flesh it out, and that ALO (and the even worse GGO) never happened. Instead of cyber god and Gary Stu Kirito, the show should’ve paid more attention to the rest of the cast and allowed them to shine every now and then instead of disappearing completely after the sole purpose they were written for was fulfilled.
    Not to mention I am very disappointed in the OST delivered by Kajiura, even though these last few episodes did have a finally noticeable soundtrack backing them.

    In the end I am not sure why I bothered to watch this show, having already read the novels and finding them just as mediocre. I suppose I hoped seeing it animated and with Kajiura doing the OST it would be bearable, even enjoyable. I hoped that this would be one of those very rare adaptions where the studio did a bit of thinking of its own and surpassed the source material. Alas, my hopes did not come true, though I did get some enjoyment out of the whole thing at least, and I’ve seen worse.

    While we can be fairly sure that they will animate GGO (and beyond?), I certainly won’t be watching it, though. For one because Sword Art Online and Fairy Dance were already mediocre (and the later ones not really any better), and because the arcs afterwards have almost nothing to do with the initial premise I was interested in and instead reset everything and exist simply to give Kirito more time to be awesome.

    Well. I’m off to watch .hack//SIGN again and hoping that the next story with a Virtual MMO as setting, which probably won’t happen for at least a decade (seriously, why are they so rare?), will be done by actually competent people.

    Access
  6. The whole incident with Sugou seemed a bit off to me though I will admit that it was a necessary conclusion to his character I think. Interestingly enough, what I enjoyed most about the episode had nothing to do with at all but rather Moomba’s final impressions and overall thoughts on the series.

    Thank you for the coverage! While it may have had its faults, the series as a whole was an enjoyable experience.

    sakuga
    1. You’re most welcome! I agree, while it had many flaws, there was still enjoyment to be had. It was certainly an interesting experience to write all these posts and see the differing reactions of viewers, both to my impressions and to the show itself.

      Moomba
  7. By the way, what was that towards the end when Kirito opened his mouth but we heard nothing? Did he say something we weren’t supposed to hear – given the reaction of the others – or he was just.. taking deep breaths? ._.

    Misk
  8. Well, SAO’s biggest weakness is it’s inability to pull off a solid climactic episode to end it’s stories, and most of the finales to SAO crumble on their own weight due to poor direction and sloppy, convenient writing. Every arc is a long rise to the climax, but the finale to both arcs and several of it’s side stories have been heavily criticized by many, many people for being extremely flawed and sloppily written. While 14 was bad enough for invalidating much of the journey (from game mechanics being broken with the power of love to the main villain just showing up and ending the game), episode 24, is in my eyes one of the worst climaxes I’ve ever seen and up there with episode 18 of Guilty Crown. I try to take as much good things as I can from an episode, but there was nothing about 24 which could redeem it. Much of the climactic scenes to each of the arcs and side stories end with a deus ex machina which makes it hard to take the series as a whole seriously.

    Another huge complaint of mine is that the poor treatment of the side characters, most notably the female cast. To me, Liz and Silica are interesting, likable characters in their own right, but as soon as they serve their purpose they just go and disappear into the wind. More than once does Sword Art Online use “love” as an excuse to either promote character growth in Kirito (which is done to a debatable amount of success) or, at it’s very worst, use them as a blatantly obvious pass at advancing the story, the biggest tell being the Cait Sith and Sylph commanders. A lot of anibloggers criticized that as downright misogyny, and I’m more inclined to agree them.

    Worst series of the year? Of course not. But for some this will definitely be one of the most disappointing, and that I can understand. I definitely wouldn’t call SAO good, and I wouldn’t call it average either, but even I can understand the broad appeal that it has to audiences.

    Regardless, if a series with this big of an audience get more people into watching anime, then I’m happy it exists.

      1. Well my friend, I’m going to try to be as polite as possible: there is absolutely zero truth about that statement.

        First off, the most important thing to take note of when reviewing an adaptation is that no matter what, an adaptation must be able to stand on its own. A light novel is not an anime is not a live action is not a poem is not a book: each medium has it’s own set of quirks and strengths and completely different ways to express themselves. It’s called an adaptation for a reason; do not copy, adapt.

        Furthermore, it’s not that SAO doesn’t try to pull off a climactic ending, it’s that it can’t. Why? Well, the I don’t think anybody will contest that the writing of SAO has been consistently the weakest part. Although I cannot speak for them myself, I’m sure that Moomba and Enzo (and several other anibloggers) would be more inclined to agree, based on their writing. The endings are littered with massive plot holes, poor execution, and fat deus ex machinas which conveniently solve everything. For God’s sake, how many world mechanics are destroyed just so Kawahara can write himself out of a corner? Now, I don’t care what medium you have, that’s just extremely bad writing, made even more noticeable by sloppy direction.

        Just because SAO was based off of a light novel does not mean it can’t pull off an ending to an arc. Too many adaptations, from classics such as Haruhi Suzumiya to this year’s Jintai, both of which feature several arcs and extremely strong endings to each, have proven this false idealogy to be wrong. SAO is in my book, far from one of these series, and has not only pulled off a poor closing once, but twice, no, four times if one includes the side stories from the first half. Light novel adaptations can have a conclusive ending and I refuse to pardon this as an account of it’s “light novel status.”

        If any of you out there like SAO, I won’t stop you from liking it. That’s fine, and although it won’t make think any better of the series (I’m assuming you people already know my quite negative stance on this series), I won’t think any lesser of you for liking it. Too many times do we forget that the goal of discourse and of writing is just to engage in a fun or meaningful discussion with the fans, NOT TO DESTROY THEM. But bending rules just so the reality meets your expectations? That’s cognitive dissonance.

  9. I dove straight into Sword art online , not knowing totally what it was all about. I heard that it was somewhat similar to the .hack series (which I regrettably never finished) so I decided to dive straight into SAO.

    And even to this day my I am glad that I did.

    The joy , the tears , and the laughter.

    Thanks for the ride SAO , heres to meeting again in Gun Gale .

    For now , I guess its time to log out , and spend more time with the SAO novels .

    Renegade_Saber
  10. For all the times the plot failures have shot the show in the face, I think I still enjoyed the ending. I mean, I’m sure everyone saw it coming. For a show like SAO that basically yelled out “HEY, THE MAIN CHARACTER IS INVINCIBLE”, there’s no way it would end in some kind of sad limbo. It’s the happy-ever-ending that’s shallow and obvious – the male MC gets together with the female MC and everyone is friends and joyous and hopeful. I want to dislike that kind of ending because it’s shallow and predictable. Yet it’s so heartwarming and nice to watch every time. Oh the trap that is shounen anime.

    That being said, I think the ending had to drag on. Since SAO is pretty much just a wish fulfillment anime, to end it at Kirito and Asuna’s reunion, or even a little bit after, might have been too much. I remember when I was in middle school, and every time I finished a show, I’d wish the ending would have been a bit longer, so I would know just a bit more about the details. Well, now that urge has faded away quite a bit. But it’s a pretty smart decision to have this kind of an epilogue. I’m sure plenty of kids will be happy.

    Lastly, I can’t agree more with you, Moomba, on your last point. I think the time when I enjoyed SAO the most was during the SAO arc. I loved seeing everyone kind of just band together, trying to get as many people as possible to tackle new obstacles. And then once Kirito had grinded enough, seeing him try to solo those bosses. It reminded me so much of my days playing Ragnarok Online (if anyone played RebirthRO, heya!) and maplestory. New quests came out, all the top PvP’ers got together and threw on their best gear and tackled it head-on. It was great. Watching it unfold in SAO was nostalgic and awesome at the same time. The ALO arc? I’ll just pretend it never really happened, heh. SAO definitely had its moments and I think it was a worthwhile watch.

    Okay, fine. The real reason I kept watching SAO was Asuna. Asuna is so hot.

    Abstinence
  11. ^^ That is a quite a ride, for the people who liked this show we hope there will be another season to come when the LN gets farther away (also wished for accel world). And for those who hated this show you can’t excused yourselves since you also watched this show to the end LOL.

    BaKaYaRou
  12. Man, Kayaba Akihiko really is a ‘god’ till the very end. The Seed contains countless of possibilities. And since the castle data can be transferred over to ALO, i wonder how epic it will be if all the MMOs created with the Seed were be to merge as one. Guess it will brought a whole new meaning to term MMO, if that were to happen.

    And is Silica-chan more well verse in love than Liz-chan? :p *starts to imagine Silica-chan as an Onee-chan*

    Lastly, so what’s the next O after SAO and ALO and the next villain is not another mad scientist, i hope.

    Omega
  13. Show Spoiler ▼

    Vaas Montenegro
    1. Vaas Montenegro, why bother hide this?? Leave it open for all to see (after all, you went all that trouble to censor all the naughty words) and enjoy fuming SAOsheeps smashing their mouse to click the thumb-down button on your post.

      You will get it either way, so what’s the point of this? OUT and PROUD, my man (although if I may add, it was a bit repetitive on ranting. It could’ve been better in about half length).

      Jak
      1. You Fuck! You dare to compare me, ME to Reki Kawahara pussy villains…HA!
        You think it’s funny huh?, You think it’s funny… DO YOU WANT ME TO DRIVE A FUCKING BULLET TO YOUR SKULL! SHUT THE FUCK UP!! OK!
        What? You think Sugou is CRAZY… FUCK! I’m the only one with the fucking dick here ok, and Reki Kawahara villains are my bitch.

        And what it is with all the fucking downvotes, why aren’t you liking it like you did up there, why is this not fun anymore? Have I failed to entertain you…
        You see… The thing is, up there all the shit tards think that SAO is great… Way up in their fucking brain… They think that SAO is the best shit they seen, but no, no, no, cuz you.. If you apply any working brain on it, SAO… Will hit the ground…

        Vaas Montenegro
      1. I wouldn’t expect an anime blog occupied by 99% weaboos to have play Far Cry 3 let alone any fps in the past year. All they do is play JRPG’s on their PS2’s two feet from their televisions on the floor cross legged while eating their overpriced imported pocky.

        Karasu
  14. Fuck yeah! IT IS OVER! No more of this taking space in RC! I just can’t believe my luck! No more Reki Kawahara’s crap for a foreseeable future! It’s the pre-christmas miracle! I don’t believe in super-natural nonsense, but I will take this deal. Thank you all!!

    Strawman
      1. I think he was asking about the girl on the far right of this picture.

        Not sure who it is either, but my best guess would be Sakuya. She appears older than the rest of the group, and Sakuya is a graduate student in real life. The appearance of ALO characters also do not completely match their real life counterpart, but there are some similarities.

        MasterDragonKnight
      2. Yeah i think its Yulier too. The party was to commemorate Kirito clearing SAO after all. Sakuya was only involved in Alfheim. The only person who wasn’t involved in the SAO incident in that party was Suguha.

        Euzio
  15. @Moomba
    “But it’s not only on this front that there are issues. Asuna was one of the biggest draws to the original SAO arc – a strong, capable and admirable female character who, while not quite at Kirito’s heights of power, was still able to stand alongside him as an equal. ALO reduced her from this and assigned her the role of a damsel in distress that Kirito needed to save from her gilded cage. Sure, she escaped once, but only to highlight how incompetent Sugou was and how evil and disgusting the scientists who work for him were. Instead of growing as a writer in the wake of SAO, it feels like Kawahara Reki regressed in ALO, returning to more simplistic and cliché concepts. Asuna isn’t the only one treated in this manner either – Sugu enters the stage as a new companion and haremite for Kirito, yet another strong and independent female character who can more than hold her own. Immediately after joining him, she too, is relegated to a trivial role while Kirito does the actual fighting.”

    You could have just said you ‘wanted to watch girls fighting, but was disappointed’, it would have been much shorter and simpler.

    DRK
  16. The ‘climax’ came too early, and while it was good to see how things wound up in the wake of Asuna’s awakening, it felt like it was petering out slowly rather than trying to end on a strong note. Admittedly, I did feel as though it ended on a relatively strong note, but much of what occurred between the climax and final moments felt a little on the dull side.

    It’s the epilogue episode after all.

    Now, I’m no expert on psychology here, but those are some pretty serious wounds. How is he even still sane?

    Sugou was taking pills, no idea why they didn’t animate it.

    It’s a little surprising that no attempt was made to stop The Seed – I hope they at least got trained analysts to take a proper look at it before it was released worldwide. The damn thing was created by Kayaba Akihiko after all, a notorious indirect mass-murderer who trapped ten thousand people in a game by tampering with its core design.

    IIRC Kirito didn’t tell anybody that he was the one who received and uploaded the Seed, nor that it was from Kayaba. As far as everybody knows, it was released by anonymous workers from the first or the second company.

    For a moment I thought Asuna had been callously cast aside for the final scenes, until I realised she was the blue-haired elf girl. I’m not even going to ask.

    She’s an Undine. Like Kirito she has chosen to switch permanently to a new avatar.

    For a moment all I could see was the psychotic grin.

    Same here. 🙂

    Asuna was one of the biggest draws to the original SAO arc – a strong, capable and admirable female character who, while not quite at Kirito’s heights of power, was still able to stand alongside him as an equal. ALO reduced her from this and assigned her the role of a damsel in distress that Kirito needed to save from her gilded cage.

    Personally I don’t have this “overpowering need” for strong females. I’m a fan of them (e.g. Kan’u and Motoko Kusanagi, to name two examples), but if the plot doesn’t revolve around them then I’m not going to complain. *Inventing* a reason to make them essential would be bad, too.

    The best moments came when Sword Art Online actually mirrored the things one can expect from an MMORPG.

    You may feel so, but the author is more interested in the implications of having the real world and the virtual world interact with each other. (*Showing* the virtual world and its mechanics is just one aspect of that.) So the story will first of all continue to follow Kirito.

    And maybe it would been better to say that SAO was always about the one person who would clear the game. In that light it becomes obvious why Kirito appears as a Gary Stu.

    creaothceann
  17. SAO. I wasn’t expecting another hurdle for our hero Kirito. I guess it wasn’t a walk in the park. I was disappointed that Kirito set the pain absorber to zero, but then he redeemed himself by not killing the creep Sugou.

    I know Kirito and Asuna had their moment(s)…but was Sugu seem to kinda take the spotlight towards the end. I’m all for her, just thought it was kind of weird placement when Asuna came in.

    But, in the end, alls well that ends well.

    ctscloud
  18. After the last couple episodes, I couldn’t even bring myself to watch this finale and, much to my surprise (*read, very sarcastic*), it ended as expected.

    I agree with the notion that SAO would’ve been much better off just ending after the “actual” SAO arc (even if the finale broke things). Personally, “Sword Art Online” will only consist of episodes 1 through 14 while episodes 15 through 24 may as well not exist. The ALO arc just ruined 95% of what made SAO a pretty interesting series to me by degenerating it into a pretty typical shonen-style love triangle story with the deus ex machina moments, the third person being a cousin, the main character being so dense about said triangle, and so on.

    While I don’t mind the genre in general, as I do watch such things, at least they were MEANT to be written that way and don’t start off as trying to appear as one thing, then dribble down into it because of running out of ideas or something. It would be like if Mobile Suit Gundam ended up turning into G Gundam during the last part of the series.

    HalfDemonInuyasha
  19. It would probably be no exaggeration to say that this anime was the biggest dissapointment anime-wise this year so far, and the second-worst show (first is GC) that I’ve seen (though admittedly, I’ve geen getting better at avoiding bad shows, so I’m sure there’s worse out there than SAO this year). The premise was interesting and after enjoying Accel World, flaws and all, I was expecting something at least of the same level, and the first two episodes seemed to be going that way. Sadly, it couldn’t last. It soon started drowning in side stories that ceased to be interesting real fast, the main characters started to get on my nerves and the whole thing ended on a big anti-climax. Too bad, and I would’ve sad it was a regrettably flawed show, if not for that second half.

    Because really, that’s what truly dragged my opinion down and marked the moment I stopped taking this show seriously. Everything was bad about it. I was disgusted by the new roles the main characters got (Gary Stu and Princess Peach), the drama fell flat, the incest-themes were like something out of a bad harem-show, the politics and the world weren’t interesting and Sugou, entertaining as he was, was probably one of the worst written villains I’ve seen this year. On a technical aspect this show didn’t impress me either, in which especially the soundtrack dissapointed me. So yeah, to quote the horse from Ren & Stimpy…

    ‘No sir, I don’t like it.’

    Oh, and about the final episode…whose bright idea was it to revive a world created by a massmurderer and spread it all over the net? Have our main characters learned anything? Apparently not.

    Dvalinn
  20. While I felt that there were some problems with the series, overall, it did a good job matching up with the light novel. I like to think that Asuna chose an Undine healer so that she can heal Kirito when he needs it..and she would discard her Titania avatar (that wasn’t exactly hers?) because of all of the horrible memories that she experienced as it. That being said, it’s a good ending. By the by, Asuna as an undine healer is pretty cool..

    jn99y4
  21. I love the first episode of SAO, and maybe episode 3, the Sachi one, that’s pretty much it.
    Have tried the novel up to Vol.3, love the first couple of chapters, but it went downhill really fast because of all the plot conveniences they pull. They also try to add a “very” serious romance between Asuna and Kirito, but failed because of the harem stuff they add.

    For me, SAO is pretty much your average MMO, has a good concept but failed to deliver it, broken and needs ALOT of patching and bug fixing.

  22. Kirito said “You are both my wings.”.(Just Kidding)

    25 Episodes for half of 2012 but still want more,How about Season 2 everyone?
    SAO had nice start ,cool and interesting storyline up till the end.
    ALO maybe lack somethings but it was still good.

    Kirito,Asuna,Sugu,Riz,Yui,Klein,Silica,etc. I will miss you all.

    Topboy
  23. In my opinion SAO was Epic one of the best story I had ever read but here the Hint READ, SAO was one of the top 3 Novel in my list when I start reading them. But thats only Novel but when it come to Anime I have to say is so and so, is good but I definitely expect a whole lot better. One of the main problem is the side story during the beginning on the anime it just bore me to death, if they had follow the way how the novel was written and make these side story after the SAO arc I think it would have been a bit better. Overall SAO is good but I think Accel World done a better job being anime, so SAO I can’t say you will be miss like some of my other anime, but I did enjoy the ride.

    So good luck in a season 2 if we do get one in the future, I will be happy if we do but not gonna be sad if we don’t, cause I honestly feel SAO stay best as a novel.

    Hank
      1. @Utrollin
        Moron if u think an opinion is trolling then u must be retarded.

        Another reason why I say anime is not as good as novel, if some of u remember how one episode he was fighting that fire general then give a bag full of money to the wind and cat leader, after that two episodes later they all show up with everything prepare, in the anime it make it look like it all happen in a few hrs, which for those of us that actually play a mmo will know that preparing a raid takes longer than that, it just bad writing in the anime part because they skip a few chapter in the novel about nep. If they actually give us nep episode then we can all use the reasons of while kirito and leafa stuck in nep the two leader using this time in preparing. Not showing us two episode later which make it seem like everything prepare in few hrs, which just don’t happen in a mmo.

        hank
  24. I did enjoy this series.. It may not be perfect, yet still it’s fun and enjoyable to watch.. it’s just that the ending part were more focus on the siblings rather than Kirito and Asuna that makes me sad..

    Faint Smile
  25. Show Spoiler ▼

    Gaze of Providence
  26. Well it took some time to read this long, well-thought out post that probably addressed what most people had “critiqued” about in the previous episodic reviews.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Show Spoiler ▼

    random viewer
  27. Definitely one of the best series from the last season, SAO managed to pull a good start and a good end, and round everything sweetly.

    Perhaps this is one of the reasons why ALO feels so wrong – because it no longer acts in a way which is believable by the standards of the MMO archetype.

    Moomba you’re too focused on the MMO part of the show. ALO wasn’t about Kirito playing MMO just because, ALO was about Kirito searching for Asuna. If he didn’t the things he normally did in SAO, well it’s because it isn’t SAO. It isn’t the death game anymore. The desperation levels maybe the same, but the priorities here are totally different.

    The Moondoggie
  28. I hope there’s another season… But then again, will Reki Kawahara finish Sword Art Online and link it with Accel World?

    I hope he finish that novel so that he’ll focus on Accel World. I don’t want him to become the next Narita with Durarara! and Baccano. (plus Vamp! and Etsusa Bridge series)

  29. Big shout outs the the voice actor of Kirito for creating some of the most engaging battle scenes come alive and Asuka’s voice actress for bringing out the diverse set of emotions that she went through.

    This show for me, was really good in the SAO arc. The characters were memorable, I personally am the Klien of my own gamer friends. After reading the light novels, Im glad that this show kept true to Kawahara, Reki masterful work. It even kept me engaged enough to have a discussion about the future of gaming in our own world and how one day it could potentially be a monumental part of the human life. My friends and I talked about how games if turn virtual, could affect the human experience. Ahh so much to talk about. The romance in the first arc, though I originally thought was rushed, became really memorable to me, especially their alone time away from the battle. The opening song of the first arc really fits the show. The second part of the series aka, ALO, though wasn’t as great as SAO definitely talked about some important potential problems with the future of full dive gaming when it becomes a reality in the fututre.

    end3rr
  30. First episode was pretty good, this anime really had potencial,the story was entertaining. The fighting scenes were nice, but then it felt just so boring and so predictable.I believe that Reki Kawahara has many things to learn if he really wants to improve, maybe someday he could give us a better work,. It’s not the worst anime, but not the best anime of the year, either.

    Zein
  31. This show was very entertaining despite the flaws that have been noted here and IMO SAO has more than the eye can catch… I really enjoyed this ride and when someone is having a good time nothing else matters.

    FSLightbringer
  32. Watching the last ep reminded me of how many hearts Kirito broke. Was it necessary to introduce that many female side characters & to have them all like Kirito at some point? I think I would have liked SAO a lot more if they did away with a few of those characters & focused more on game mechanics/cute romance between Kirito & Asuna.

    *v*
  33. Th last epiode was nice a gave a good conclusion.
    But the show as a whole was disappointing. the SAO arc was just rushed and ALO shiftet the focus from the the main characters to the fanservice girl Suguha instead on developing the main characters, Asuna and Kirito, and the villain, Sugou, more.
    Suguhas onesided romance thing was just too drawn out and felt extremely forced and the villain Sugou was written so bad that i could not take him serious at all. Not to forget the many plotholes this show had.
    Overall, this anime is just the avarge show with a flat plot and flat characters, despite them being funny and enterteining.

    lockomoto
  34. I liked the majority of the first part, as it shows the interactions between fellow players of SAO. Perhaps, in the whole series, the most entertaining characters are the side characters in SAO(Agil, Klein) while the ALO arc was just too focused on Kirito and him overpowering everybody else.

    That said, I liked this final episode. Bringing the SAO characters back to real life and still maintaining friendly relationships is great to watch. Although it didn’t live up to its hype, I still believe that its entertainment value is high, and as long as you don’t take the story too seriously, it will be a great watch.

    Kiiro
    1. That pretty much sums it up.

      Even when Kirito says his stats are reset, we all know that is BS, you can’t reset Gary Stu max levels lol.

      I hope if they do GGO or Excalibur quest etc, that they do more scenes with the supporting cast.

      Nanashi
  35. As they say, once you hit rock bottom the only way is back up. After the (enjoyably) awful, deus ex machina finale of ALO this one comes across as relatively boring and inoffensive. Seeing Sugou again was uncessary though, and really should have just put everything about him last episode. I still can’t get over the fact that Kirito is guilty of brutally torturing a human being and its never addressed because he’s Jesus and its all about him and his boring romance with the perfect waifu.

    And they actually showed the interesting SAO characters! Glad to see that the show actually remembers they exist. Too bad in this episode they’re just mouth pieces to say how awesome Kirito is because I’m totally not tired of hearing that. Even more face-palm worthy is that the show had completely forgotten that Kayaba was a psychopath and outright stating that the source code he gave away the world is a good thing. WHAT. THE. F***!

    I think it bears repeating: SAO was decent when its was about the game and its players. I wanted to know more about Aincrad and Alfheim. I wanted to know about the system used to play, the different factions and rivalries, the dungeons and the loot. But all of is wasted, its nothing more than a setting to center around a boring Gary Stu and his Mary Sue girlfriend.

    It all went wrong when they started focusing on on the the romance. The whole plot SAO grinds to a halt just so they can display KiritoxAsuna on the screen with barely any time to develop it. Its so bland and boring but the writing keeps trying to force me to believe they’re the best couple ever. Then ALO came and suddenly its a boring Damsel plot where the lead female stops being a character and is reduced to a trophy to win. Any premise of an MMO setting has suddenly vanished.

    Well at least its over, like a bad flu SAO will slowly be ejected from my system. Given its top sales though, there will surely be more of it some time in the future. And I’ll be there ripping this overhyped show a new one.

    fragb85
    1. And I’ll be there ripping this overhyped show a new one.

      I think you mean wasting your time watching a show you don’t even like and needlessly bashing it on the internet like a self-important loser.

      Kuntzy
      1. Sorry man, not a defender.

        Show’s not even close to as bad as you make it seem though. Unfortunately, I’m not the type to watch shows just so I can type up 200 word essays on how much I hated it and how my tastes are superior to yours.

        Hell, most of the bashers are people who watched it, simply said “I don’t like how this part”, shut off their brains and didn’t think about the scenes at all.

        Case in point, Kirito torturing Sugou. He gave him the most powerful sword in the game, and set the pain absorption to 0. That’s a fair duel, if a little in favor of Sugou if he had any skill with a sword. He ended up cutting him three times to deplete his HP and kill him. Hardly torture, you’re just looking for a reason to bash him cause he’s Gary Stu (I agree, but that’s not always a bad thing ex. Alucard)

        Case 2. You didn’t mention it, but the Deus Ex Machina in 24. Funny thing is, it ceased being a Deus Ex Machina in this episode due to the explanation that Kayaba uploaded his mind to the net. A Deus Ex Machina is an unexplained phenomenon used to get the writer out of a corner he put himself into, so it’s just become a surprise plot twist with no foreshadowing (still not that good), but it also sets up future events so it’s needed. Ending to 14 was terrible and author dude should be ashamed he even wrote that though.

        So please, by all means, keep watching shows without thinking at all. Kinda ruins the point of stories though dont’cha think?

        Kuntzy
      2. Unfortunately, I’m not the type to watch shows just so I can type up 200 word essays on how much I hated it and how my tastes are superior to yours.

        Yummy, delicious double standard.

        Save me your self-righteous strawman, I’m not the one calling others loser. All I ever said is my opinion about the show and I don’t try to elevate my opinion as superior to others.

        fragb85
      3. Double standard? Oh really? Where’s this show I don’t like that I’m writing an essay for?

        I said show, not person who’s not looking at things objectively and bashing a show for absolutely no reason other than they get a kick out of it.

        By all means keep going sir, I can go on all night.

        Kuntzy
      4. Also, I’ll apologize for the loser comment. But it is in my opinion that people that if someone is not enjoying something they should simply stop watching rather than troll the fan base.

        I typed that in the heat of the moment, and that was a my bad. I apologize once again. I don’t usually insult people over the internet (Because it’s childish).

        Kuntzy
      5. No I get a kick of forming my own opinion about a show and even provided my reasons. Also there is no such thing as an objective opinion.

        You on the other hand get a kick by pretending to be superior to others.

        But please do go on, you greatly amuse me.

        fragb85
      6. Also ‘self important SAO defenders’ doesn’t sound condescending to people who actually enjoyed the show? Sounds to me like you definitely place your opinion above theirs.

        (Need…edit…button…)

        Kuntzy
      7. Yes, their is no such thing as an objective opinion, but their is such a thing as looking at something objectively like your opinion on Kirito torturing Sugou was highly subjective. I gave you an objective outlook on the scene. Hence thinking objectively, and not subjectively, like you seem to be doing. You made your opinion on Kirito and he can do no right, as shown by your view on that scene.

        Kuntzy
      8. @fragb85

        So you refuse to acknowledge a different interpretation of the show/selected scenes, take selected scenes from the anime to show that it’s bad, without regard for how that those scenes are connected to other parts of the anime and come to the conclusion that this anime is bad but still watches it just to bash the anime?And have fun while doing it?
        Wow, you’re just like me.

        A Troll
      9. Well, Kuntzy, there are alot of self-important haters here and they all appeared God Knows when(hint: episode 1)

        fagbot85 can you just please keep you sorry comments to yourself. If you and your pathetic haters just watch anime to hate then your just wasting your pathetic lives. Kuntzy and all the fans, why are you guys even kind to these people. Show them their own anime sucks.

        Like PsychoPass hype this week? WTF is with the hype of it being dark and edgy when it’s to be expected. It’s just Gen doing what Gen is expected to do.

        Seriously go back to some other hole you trolls crawled out from.

        Kratos
      10. Says the person who just wasted his own time to insulting me.

        You people are funny. You accuse me as a hater and conveniently ignore the points I made, strip the context of my criticisms and put word on my mouth and then resort to insults. Must be nice play the victim and and be dismissive of the other side. Whatever makes sleep at night.

        fragb85
      11. Oh? If it’s a waste of time, why did you actually replied? Affected? Playing like all your nit-picked arguments are right and pretending not to be feeling self-important while your dumb first post is full of it isn’t gonna work with me.

        Kratos
      12. Once again you put words in my mouth and rip my statements out of context.

        And for the record I am smug and I enjoy presenting my opinions. I didn’t like the SAO and I said it. I’ve also praised the few good parts that I’ve found, but you’ve already plugged your ears to those. I’m not the one who feels the need to resort to insults just to think it makes my opinion better.

        fragb85
      13. @fragb85

        As far as I’m aware, I have not put words in your mouth at all. I have taken your criticisms and tried to shed light on why you should be rethinking your thoughts.

        As far as your first post goes, it pretty much all boils down to “The show didn’t play out how I wanted it” or “Show’s bad ’cause Gary Stu”. Obviously things aren’t written to cater to you, if you don’t like it, tough. And as for the Gary Stu stuff, well, that’s been known by pretty much everyone since before the anime aired. The show after all is about the strongest player in a death game.

        Seriously though, I gave you points to discuss earlier and you completely ignored them, preferring to reply to my comments about you (with rather poor reading comprehension might I add). You just straight up don’t like the show, I just straight up don’t like people like you. So yeah, let’s just agree to disagree and you can go move on to next show you don’t like, waste 25 minutes watching each episode and go write posts about how much you hate it like it actually means something. Then after, you can whine about being a victim of someone trying to act superior to you because you can’t actually discuss things and prefer to hate things for shits and giggles.

        Kuntzy
      14. Funny thing is, it ceased being a Deus Ex Machina in this episode due to the explanation that Kayaba uploaded his mind to the net. A Deus Ex Machina is an unexplained phenomenon used to get the writer out of a corner he put himself into, so it’s just become a surprise plot twist with no foreshadowing (still not that good), but it also sets up future events so it’s needed.

        Actually, here is the definition of a deus ex machina: a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.

        Explaining god literally being lowered onto the stage with a crane and literally giving Kirito the key to the Kingdom does not eliminate it as a DEM. This is still a completely unexpected turn of events, whereas say Kirito pulling out dual wielding was foreshadowed.

        Anon
    2. Wow that is quite an opinion. I am inclined to agree with many points. However after years of anime, you kind of expect the downturn in quality at some point. That is, the point when the world building transitions back to the main character story telling, who most likely has Gary Stu levels of powers, and plot bending abilities. Unfortunately for SAO that was like in episode 2 or 3.

      You do have to remember though, the source material is quite old, and ALL of it is told from Kirito’s perspective, and he himself seems surprised at his own achievements at times.

      Yep agree with the face palm of Kayaba being written into a good guy. The LN was more clear that he isn’t *that* good at the end, and he boosted Kirito only because he didn’t want some “underling” (Sugou) to get the win over him.

      Nanashi
    1. Yes, but I was yelling “Do it!” instead of “No! Godammit Urobuchi, why you gotta be like this?”

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Kuntzy
      1. In Psycho Pass I was screaming “NNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DAMN YOU UROBOCHI FOR MIND FUCKING ME!!!!!!!!!”

        But here…. I was screaming “Hell YEA!”

        I truly wonder what’s wrong with me.

        Seriously, when Yuki was being dragged away, I was praying that she’d come out alright but sadly no… =( It hit me hard just like when it happened to Tomoe Mami, Kyouko Sakura and Akemi Homura’s ZETSUBOUSHITA!

        c2710
  36. Well, it ended. It may not be the best anime, but it still has its merits.

    I liked the contrast between the virtual game world and the real world, a colourful world, and the other a dull world. The issue of not feeling pain in the game actually kind of parallels real life, where we don’t feel “pain” in games.

    Mother’s Rosario needs to be animated.

    Mightnare
  37. Blue hair Asuna is a bit odd. How many times did they say that one of Asuna’s trademarks is her hair? I understand why it has to be blue, but just a minute before her return we learn that they can use SAO avatars, which one would think she would use some elements.

    Just a nitpick not a gripe.

    However Sugou vs Kirito round 2 was the best payoff. I wish they included some of Kirito’s thinking such as in the LN where he remembers his battle experience.

    Nanashi
  38. All in all, a fun ride. I just don’t get why Aincrad was brought back, seeing as it’s a castle that killed 4000 players. I can understand a handful of players (like Kirito) wanting to complete floors 76-100, but so many playing SAO from level 1? While on that note, how come VRMMO’s became so popular after SAO? Shouldn’t they have been (perhaps irrationally) banned after SAO, at least for a couple of years due to fear of similar incidents occurring?
    And finally, why hasn’t Kirito been to visit the graves of Black Cats? He can’t have forgotten them that easily!

    Sekai
    1. Yes, kind of odd to bring back Aincrad where so many died, but if I were to reason it a bit further, it absolutely needs to be brought back and conquered to prove that humans are better, and honor the dead that didn’t make it.

      But with the somewhat shallow/misrepresented storytelling, might as well have Kirito hold hands with Kayaba as they fly back to the castle.

      Also, it seemed like a fun game if their lives weren’t on the line, so why not go back I guess.

      VRMMO’s were sort of blacklisted, but the world seed allowed practically anyone to make new VRMMO…so it is now a phenomenon that cannot be stopped (private servers etc.)

      Black Cats? bahhaa they were just stepping stones…evidently the animators thought it was better to show the weak supporting cast of ALO rather than his original guild.

      Nanashi
    2. Why do you think Kayaba said: “if you feel anything else but hate for that world”?

      Also Kirito hasn’t forgotten about the Black Cats. He just doesn’t let it haunt him forever and ever and ever and ever. Except Sachi of course, he calls out to her in the end. XD

      JHN
  39. For all the bad writing in ALO, I thought the epilogue was pretty decent, mostly wrapping up things nicely. I like how they actually put in little tidbits like the marriage of Yulier and Thinker as well as Klein actually having a job (that guy does look a little like a bum with that hairstyle XD). It would have been nice to see more focus on the female characters, where those little tidbits about their own lives were fleshed out rather than the pointless competition for Kazuto.

    As for the final showdown….”I told you so” sounds a little condescending here, though that might apply to many overly critical viewers who think Kirito is overly perfect. Perhaps he might be in some ways, but KAZUTO is by no means a good representation of his avatar, and by that I’m pretty satisfied to see that he struggled a little against the deranged, one-dimensional villain destined for a rotten end.

    Like you, though, I don’t quite get the meaning of the dancing scene.

    On the whole, I have to say I enjoyed SAO despite the glaring flaws in the ALO arc. I might be even convinced to stay tuned for GGO as well as the future adventures in a proper ALO.

    Owaranai Destiny
  40. And that was SAO, or should I say ALO. No matter how it will be remembered, it goes into history for making me go read a novel. That alone is praiseworthy. XD

    Anyway, after reading the first 4 volumes and now the adaption, I can say: “SAO was good, ALO not as much.” With SAO I remember thinking that the novel and anime were equals, one compensated for the other. Example, the novel had more dept and explanation (like a novel) and the anime had better action and such (like an anime). In short, I consider them two halfs of one whole.

    But ALO, oh boy. I admit, the novel wasn’t as good as SAO, it pretty much had an sequel curse. Writer wanted to do more, made stuff up, tried to do something original, failed (just like AO), but still enjoyable in novel form. But the anime adaption kinda rubbed me the wrong way. The novel at least kept some of the magic while the anime just went southward imo. Depth just felt lost (not that the novel was so full of it originally). I’m kinda glad I read the novel first, cuz the anime adaption would’ve made me hate it (if it wasn’t for Sugu :P).

    I liked this epilogue though. For some it may feel drawn-out, but I tend to complain on the lack of a nice long epilogue (Star Driver my most hated case, even though I love that show). Rather too much than too little I say. ^_^

    It’s not that the best anime of the season (that’s either Jormungand or Psycho-Pass, especially after the latest episode XD), but it’s really fun to watch and that’s what’s most important. Dunno about you guys, but if they can do GGO at least as good as SAO then I say animate it! Give me some good sniping Sinon!

    JHN
  41. “Sugou lost an arm, was shorn in half and then had a giant sword ram through his eye and essentially smash his entire face and head. […] Shouldn’t he be a babbling wreck somewhere?”

    if you’re a Mass Effect fan, you’ll know that as Zaeed Massani said:

    “Rage is a hell of an anesthetic.”

    darkjedi5646
  42. Through the polarising first and second arcs I still found enjoyment in both.
    Definitely missed the the side characters from the actual SAO arc but oh well.
    I agree with many points made here the good and the bad (but not so much the ugly).
    Some people do have good points of critique and others…weeeell to each his own I guess(just people who bash the show just to bash it).
    In the end I enjoyed this show, kept wanting to watch it weekly, so that is definitely a good thing. I will miss Asuna, Klein, Egil, Silica, Yui And hell even Kirito and Sugu.
    Second season? I don’t know. Don’t particularly want another one but, whatever happens happens.

    CatsRofl
  43. Perhaps it’s safe to say the general consensus for those of us folks “in the middle” (neither insanely raving it or insanely bashing it):

    It was decently entertaining but the anime adaptation could and should definitely be handled better.

    Is that fair enough?

    Kinny Riddle
      1. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a train wreck, because I view the train as having reached its destination, but not in the well-oiled state that we’d like it to be. The driver took a lot of bad decisions in which direction to go along the way that he should consider himself lucky that the whole thing did not crash.

        Kinny Riddle
  44. This is a bit off-topic, so I’m putting this as a separate post.

    SAO is one of those polarizing animes where I wished RC had never implemented the downvoting system (of which I’ve been railing against ever since it was implemented), because it just creates too many butthurts and discourages people with opposing views to actually have a good debate rather than lazily clicking the downvote button.

    By all means, keep the upvote button to encourage good posts, and if you disagree with said “good” post, reply to him/her and explain why.

    One may argue it acts as a good deterrent against trolls, but back in Omni’s day, trolls wouldn’t even get a chance of their posts lasting for over 3 hours in average.

    Here’s a compromise proposition for Divine if he still does not wish to scrap the downvotes: Keep the voting score for each post hidden, but highlight a post green if it receives an aggregate score of +20 and collapse it if its an aggregate score of -20.

    At any rate, just put that score out of my bloody sight. I could care less who disagrees with me if they do not wish to explain why they disagree, but as long as I don’t remain controversial or trollish, I don’t want to be made to count how many had disagreed with me. It’s just discouraging and demoralizing.

    Kinny Riddle
    1. I’d wish the upvote and downvote buttons gone. I think the only reason why Divine set this up is because, unlike the creator Omni, he doesn’t have the time to weed out trolls and people/post who might cause a flame war.

      I know it’s an eyesore, but what can we do? Omni’s gone and Divine’s taken backstage management.

      The Moondoggie
  45. Since this post is way in the bottom I highly doubt that you’ll read it. BUT
    Here’s my take:
    SAO was more of survival and escape from the game. The arc showed how some people cooped with the situation. Some people gave up and committed suicide, some gave up trying and just lived in the game, while there are those who fight for various reasons.

    ALO feels like it’s more of a test for Kirito. From what he learned from the first arc. That also involves putting all the weight on himself. Which means he tried doing all the work by himself. He even tried to do the gate alone, getting himself “killed”.

    Ending itself. The ending for this arc I think showed a bit of both. His fight with Sugou was about survival it’s difference between the real world and Virtual Reality. He probably hasn’t bled since he got back. Note in the beginning of the series were he made himself “bleed”. He still connected the two. His time in SAO severed that connection, probably make him feel like a god. His decision not to kill sugou also might have come from this and accepting he did not have the right to judge. Let the world judge him. Now for the part of ALO in the ending. He finally learned he can’t do everything alone. This is shown when he asked for Sugu’s help. It might not have seem like a big deal but do note his character has been reset and probably all the other players from SAO too. A big change for our Soloist Beater.

    Conclusion: Can’t have one arc without the other. They would have chosen to stop after the SAO arc but it wouldn’t be complete. One can say that ALO was just a new setting for The whole SAO arc.

    Kuroshu
    1. >SAO was more of survival and escape from the game.

      Sure didn’t seem like it.
      I seriously hope you didn’t forget how they all decided to settle in rather than book it near the end.

      Sol
  46. Ah, the SAO, probably the most controversial in reception show in the season, from love to hate, to good but overhyped (my own opinion).
    For all its failings it had its moments and the closure ain’t half bad either. Sugou mounting dinal real life attack was predictable. I was actually worried Kirito would pull the knife, but in the end he has proven to be more solid character in RL than ingame.
    The poor haremettes left with unattainalble love are probably the saddest moment, though offline meeting in the pub was great (where was the pizza????). Also final moment when joined cast of both worlds got onto a new adventure, was fun.
    Kajiura’s music simply was probably suffering from lack of epic enough events on-screen, though for example in the epic army-sized, dragon-including raid on the tree-tower was definitely a moment when it all came together.
    To paraphrase certaing saying; I am not in love with SAO, but I would not delete it from my computer…
    And I’d gladly see more adventures of Kirito, Asuna and friends in wahtever future games they will play.

    ewok40k
  47. Loved the story! Too bad people disliked the ALO arc. Overall it was a fun adventure. I wish I could have seen more SAO arc with all the material in the Light Novel but I’m satisfied enough. Most likely a second season which I’m glad for, but I hope it doesn’t push more people from the series.

    ME
  48. Not going to say SAO was flawless/perfect, I don’t know any shows I would categorize as flawless/perfect and wasn’t expecting this one to be either, but this will definitely make my top 10 list.And I also enjoyed both arcs, they were different, but I enjoyed them both on different tastes and levels.Something I noticed and enjoyed in SAO(LN) is how it gives off a different feeling/taste/vibe/flavor with each arc, which may cause the fan-base to dwindle, but for me it was intriguing.

    I think part of the criticism and negativity on SAO(and ALO arc) stem from the fact that it DOESN’T conform with CURRENT popular trends and cliches, contrary to most complains about it being too cliche.Don’t forget that a cliche becomes a negative attribute to a anime when it’s overused in numerous anime for the sake of using that cliche, rather than for the sake of the story and in SAO the supposed cliches didn’t seem out of place to me.And another part of the negativity mostly come from people who bought in to the hype and brought too many preconceptions with them.To use a analogy, some people’s complains about SAO are equivalent to a guy who tasted sugar and complained it wasn’t spicy.To be fair there was definitely room for improvement in the anime, but as for the LN – I like it just fine with the way it is.And not sure why so many people seem to dislike Kirito, sure he’s different from an average protagonist, but personally I saw no reason to dislike him.

    It may just be me but I tend to take anime for what it is, ignoring little faults and enjoy it as much as possible and SAO was worth every second I spent watching it.And looking forward to a second season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Frontier
  53. Sayanora SAO.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hououin Kyouma
  56. Just curious about one thing.

    Show Spoiler ▼

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

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

    5.5/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  64. i generally agree with what moomba-san said.

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

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

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

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

    hikkikomori no aria
  65. i don’t know if somebody have answered moomba-san question, i forgot about the anime, but it was explained in the LN, Sugou was able to endure the pain because he took pain-killer pills

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

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

    Kayaba Akihiko

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