It all makes sense now – M stands for Masochist!
Before diving into the Final Impressions, let me take a second to say just how perfect this episode was as a closing to this fun SAO side story. Full of everything that made the past 11 episodes worth watching, I really appreciated how most of the time was spent in the real world. Not only did it give Karen and Miyu a chance to remind us just how great they are in the real world, but boy I’d probably flip a table if we didn’t get to see just who Pito was in real life. And sure, in hindsight it makes a lot of sense that she’d be Kanzaki Elza, but the way that Karen revealed just how she knew felt so damn satisfying that I couldn’t care less.
That and Miyu provides such amazing timing as comedic relief that it’s a damn shame we didn’t get to see more of her interacting with Karen and her friends. Anyways, let’s dive into the (what I expect will be short) Final Impressions!
As a spinoff of a very popular and successful series, I think Sword Art Online Alternative – Gun Gale Online did a great job at carving out a space just for itself. Without relying on source material (except for the world it built), we were given a story that managed to pack not one but two big plot points into a mere 12 episodes. With what began as a journey of a tall girl named Karen finding the strength in an avatar named LLENN to overcome her insecurities, turned into a slightly larger epic where that very same person needed to harness that strength in order to save a friend that she cared deeply about. Along the way we met a larger cast of characters who all played a significant role and through a pretty believable set of circumstances, were truly necessary in allowing the story to give us such a satisfying ending that this final episode brought with it.
However, even with a strong plot that had well crafted characters to support it, the one other thing that Alternative had going for it was the way it handled its world building; or more specifically, how it handled recreating the thrill of actually playing an intense online game. Because if there’s something that the original series is beginning to lack, it’s the basic sense of fun you experience through the characters as they play whatever game they’re playing. Not to say that the main series isn’t fun (I like SAO), but when the stakes become too high, having fun and enjoying the game is one of the first things to take a backseat since the story needs to keep things “serious”. Something that I once again think Alternative did a great job capitalizing on.
Besides that, I don’t think there’s all that much me to touch on. Throughout the posts we’ve had ample time to talk on the specifics on an episode-to-episode basis, but suffice to say, I really enjoyed this show and would definitely recommend to everyone.
As always, thanks again for keeping up with the posts and I’ll see you guys around the bend once the Summer Season kicks into full gear. See you later!