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"Sword Art Online" More at IMDbPro »

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52 out of 65 people found the following review useful:

Pretty Decent!

Author: crimson_knight_7 from Canada
21 August 2014

In the year 2022, thousands of people get trapped in a new virtual MMORPG (Mass Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) known as Sword Art Online. Where death normally causes you to respawn to a safe zone, Sword Art Online was reprogrammed to kill anyone who dies in the virtual world. The only way to exit the game, is to defeat the final boss. Eager to escape this virtual nightmare, a lone beta player called Kirito fights his way through each floor of the game; however, this lone wolf soon recognizes the need for companionship, and the cost for his freedom. In the end, SAO Season 1 was packed full of mythical virtual excitement, beautiful animation, wonderful orchestral pieces, and intriguing character development. Even if you never watch SAO Season 2, SAO Season 1 is a must see for any Anime enthusiast and deserves a solid 10.

Sword Art Online Season 2, brings us back to the mmo virtual world. However, unlike SAO Season 1, the first half of SA0 season 2 is primarily based on a gunslinger motif known as Gun Gale Online,

In a virtual world comprised of guns and bullets, Kirito, uses a female avatar whilst duel wielding a violet energy sword and a 5.7mm FN Five Seven handgun. Not long after his experiences in Alfheim Online, Kirito is asked to assist in finding a mysterious player called Death Gun who is targeting the best players in the game, and is some how killing them in the real world.

Though we reunite with some familiar characters in the past, GGO introduces a sexy sniper named Sinon who uses a PGM Ultima Ratio Hecate II which is a .50 caliber anti-material sniper rifle. As awesome as this season has been, it does lack a few of the intense emotional elements that made the first season so amazing. (Ex: The romance that developed between Kirito and Asuna, or the intense rage Kirito expressed to certain members of Laughing Coffin)

Upon the conclusion of SOA season 2 mid-season finale, we are brought back to Alfheim Online where we are reunited with everyone in Kirito's party from SOA season 1. After a brief 4 episodes, the remainder of the SAO season 2 focuses on an entirely new guild known as the "the sleeping knights" guild. In a desperate attempt to achieve the unachievable "the sleeping knights" request Asuna's help after assessing her combat skills in a duel against their strongest member Yuuki.

Growing up on anime, I have seen my fair share of classics, but the beautiful atmosphere, the breathtaking music, and the fantastic character development has quickly made SAO my favourite anime series. That being said, those who were a fan of SAO season 1 will notice an almost different atmosphere in SAO season 2. Personally I feel that SAO season 1 was better because the second half completely fed off the first half of the season. However, SAO season 2 had what appeared to be 4-5 parts. Although this introduces us to new characters, the plot felt a little scattered as it lacked the kind of consistency and the emotional build that was provided by SAO season 1. Overall, the second season of SAO was not fantastic, but I still believe it deserves a 7.

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46 out of 68 people found the following review useful:

Not perfect, still very much enjoyable

Author: Andreas Schaug
25 December 2012

I recently finished the last episode and here are some thoughts. This series has one big flaw; you never really "get to know" any of the characters. You never feel like you know a character, any character, and that also ruins the character development a bit. (It might just be my impression.) Another thing that bothered me was that it felt cramped: There should have been more episodes, more room to develop character and story. There was a little lack of action sequences. I was hoping there would be tons of little MMO-details, sadly there were very few. At certain points it's easy to get confused, as things are not always explained properly.

Despite that, I enjoyed this a lot. I was completely hooked (I watched the whole thing over again while waiting for the last couple of episodes.) The plot is probably something you either love or hate, I found it very interesting. The story and characters grab your heart and drag you along an emotional roller-coaster full of ups and downs. The animation is detailed, smooth and colorful. Sound effects and - quality are good. I think the voice acting is great as well. One thing that stands out, is the soundtrack. It is absolutely epic! It is, at times, so beautiful it can be distracting.

Sword Art Online is not a perfect series, but the good and emotional story makes it easy to overlook the minor flaws. A great watch.

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32 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Great first half, unfortunate second half.

Author: MissLaurelle from Canada
9 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First Half: NO SPOILERS.

Sword Art online is a terrifying but beautiful story of a boy names Kirito who is stuck in this virtual video game in which no player can leave until the final boss is defeated. Throughout the game, if one were to be killed, the player would also die in the real world.

In this anime, you never know who is going to die next which keeps the viewers constantly on edge. A character that might have seemed important could be killed at any moment and the fact that those characters actually die in the real world makes the story even more emotional. The story itself is definitely unique and entertaining. The action/fighting is good and the emotions run high in this anime, however, it does have a few flaws.

First off, everything feels rushed in the first half of this anime. In a world that has 100 floors, you only see about 10 of them. To me, I found it annoying to find out that the next episode he had made it 20 floors higher without any explanation. I understand that you can't show him fighting on each floor level, but it could have been more gradual than going from (ex.) floor 20 to floor 47. The first story is completed within 14 episodes and that is it's problem. They do not give enough time for the stories to develop fully. You meet new characters in the beginning of an episode and towards the end of that episode many days have gone by within the anime but truly you've only seen them throughout one episode of 20 minutes, not 2-3 episodes. So when those (not-so) new characters die at the end of the episode where they were first introduced, it doesn't pack the punch it could have had those characters been in the anime longer.

Secondly, SAO lacks Character depth. After watching 14 episodes of Sword Art Online, you know barely anything about the main characters. They still manage to make you like and care for them, but I think that these feelings could have been amplified had we known more about them.

----------- Now for the second half: SPOILERS

The story continues into a new video game in which Kirito enters in order to save his lover Asuna. In this new game if you get killed, you simply respawn. After watching the first half of SAO, this second half right away seems pathetic and childlike. This story focuses on love instead of survival and in my opinion it should have never have been made. They really should have just spent the extra episodes on the first story. This would have fixed the two flaws I pointed out: They could have added more character depth and not made the anime feel as rushed. It's really a shame, because this second half ruins SAO for me.

-------- END SPOILER

All in all, I would highly recommend watching the first 14 episodes of SAO but don't even bother watching anything past that.

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61 out of 104 people found the following review useful:

Wow, just amazing.

Author: Lucidly Prosperous
23 August 2012

This anime is Amazing. Watch it now. I can't even explain this... Sword Art Online is ridiculously well made, so far. A lot of anime have a good start but end horribly but this anime has an incredible start and only time will tell of the end. However, I believe that this anime will finish very well. I don't want to reveal much about the show but the main character Kirito is awesome... Just go watch this show. Now. You wont regret it trust me. I don't know if I'll be able to survive waiting a week for each episode. All I have been doing so far is praising the show but I'm dead serious the characters are awesome, plot is awesome, the idea of the show is very interesting as well. I HIGHLY recommend this show and I know this isn't the most detailed and persuading post (I don't wanna spoil anything), at least I don't think it is but this is a very good show. You will get hooked from episode 1, I promise. My brother and I aren't crazy anime fans, we probably are now because of this show but he saw someone post on a website that an amazing new show is going on air and well, he was right.

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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Perhaps the most overrated anime of all time.

Author: omnigamer94 from Sidmouth, England
21 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Minor Spoilers below. Note: this review is only based on the original SAO, not the second season released in 2014.

The common line which carried SAO to it's popularity was that it was 'a sprawling epic with an inventive concept'

This is simply not the case... while the concept has some fun new twists it's hardly original, the 'if you die in the game you die in real life' is almost becoming a cliché, even more so since SAO increased it's popularity.

And while the animation and music are definitely up to snuff in regards to providing an epic and grandiose spectacle, the story and characters are certainly not.

the lead protagonist Kirito is perhaps the worst protagonist i've ever seen in any televised series, ludicrously overpowered to the point where he's seemingly able to break established world rules at his leisure with no prior explanation as to how. he also has quite bafflingly... no clear motivation for the entire first half of the series. there is simply nothing to him personality-wise either, he's cocky, but other than that there's not much there, he was made as plain and simple as possible to serve the purpose of wish-fulfilment. he's not a character, he's a skin for the viewer to wear.

as for the story, for the first half it's at the very least competent if uninspired it's heavily let-down by a few filler episodes and abuse of timeskips but it's at least bearable. but for the latter half? every mistake that could have been made WAS made, all tension was thrown out of the window as the consequences for in-game death were removed as was the sense of being trapped in the world. and the mysterious villain of the first half was thrown aside in favour of a new, completely flat, completely unintimidating moron.

In summary, the series is the closest approximation of a train-wreck that i can imagine, flat characters, schizophrenic pacing, a glut of rather creepy fanservice... the fantastic animation and music are nowhere NEAR enough to redeem it.

3/10 is being rather generous...

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19 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

So much wasted potential

Author: whiterain-92031 from United States
6 July 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sword Art Online was an anime I went in being very excited for. Being a long time MMO player and anime watcher, an anime about an MMO seemed like it would be right up my ally. How wrong I was.

The show revolves around the main character Kirito and his in-game (and later IRL) girlfriend Asuna and their story after they get trapped within an MMO that causes its players to die for real if they die within the game. It seemed like an interesting concept that was executed in all the wrong ways.

I was looking forward to an anime about the struggles of being trapped within an MMO world and the quest to level up and beat the final boss to "escape" the MMO. However, instead of focusing on that quest, the series focuses heavily on the romance aspect of the series. Much of the leveling and dungeoning process is simply skipped over in favor of giving the main male lead Kirito more time with one of his many lady friends (namely Asuna). At one point during the show, the series goes way off track when Kirito and Asuna decide to get married in game and go have a honeymoon for 2 whole episodes (Two whole episodes of this!). I would have rather seen a series where the leveling and dungeoning process was the main point, and the romance was simply secondary. Instead, the romance takes up much the the series, and the actual MMO parts are pushed to the side or simply skimmed over. This seems rather contradictory, as one would think the characters would be more focused on leveling and beating the game instead of romancing each other, considering they are trapped there and could potentially die.

However, the most glaring problem with this anime is the inconsistency with the two main characters. Asuna, the main female lead and Kirito's love interest, changes multiple times for apparently no reason throughout the first season. She is first portrayed as a strong player that is also a loner, and refusing any offers to partner up with others. Later, after a timeskip, she is shown again, but this time instead as a Tsundre, bossy person that is now in a guild for some reason (despite claiming to be a loner). Some time after that, she turns into a doting, pushover, waifu type of character and remains that way for the rest of the series. All of these personality changes occur without any explanation or plot element that would explain a shift in personality.

However, with as bad as Asuna is, the main character Kirito is 100x worse. He is by far the worst gary stu I've ever seen in an anime. The series essentially revolves around proving how awesome and special Kirito is. Kirito, like Asuna, is originally described as a loner that prefers to play alone, also known as a "beater" in the game. The series gets this wrong right off the bat as they tell us he has this personality instead of showing us. This supposed loner personality is constantly contradicted, as only a couple episodes into the show, Kirito joins a guild and is constantly meeting, playing with, and helping other players. A pretty odd thing for a loner to do right? Oddly enough, all of these players he helps are attractive females in revealing armor that all fall in love with him for no real reason. After a few episodes of this, I realized that this was in fact a harem anime, not the action/adventure I originally thought it was.

Instead of showing leveling and dungeoning progression, each episode of this anime either has Kirito wooing some new girl to add to his harem or romancing Asuna. Amongst the girls that are in his harem, there is also his sister/cousin that has also fallen in love with him for some reason. Of course, Kirito ultimately chooses Asuna, since she is the prettiest and most powerful girl in the game. Don't expect to see many male characters that aren't evil or incredibly peripheral in this series, there's only room for Kirito and his various harem girls.

Kirito always wins his battles through some kind of plot armor, exaggerated to the point where it even breaks the rules of the game at a couple points. He has a special dual wielding ability that no one else has for no other reason aside from the fact that he's special, and also frequently uses other abilities that shouldn't even be possible. At no point is there ever a fear of him dying or even losing, as you know there will always be some random power up he gets that allows him to win.

And unfortunately, this series and its plot only get worse as the series progresses. As bad as the first half of the first season was, it only gets worse. After escaping Sword Art Online, later arcs portray Kirito and his harem girls in their adventures in other mmos. For one, you'd think the characters would be hesitant to play other mmos after their experience in SAO (not much is really said about the people who actually died from the game). But nope, they jump into other mmos without even thinking about it. And these other mmo arcs lose what little plot suspense the first arc had, as they take away the risk of dying that the first mmo arc had.

Ultimately, Sword Art Online is just a harem, fanservice anime with little plot/character development or consistency. Everything about it is gimmicky and poorly executed to the point where it has no saving graces (that is, unless you're into the fanservice). There are plenty of good shounen animes out there and this simply isn't one of them. It's highly overrated and doesn't deserve the hype it gets.

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24 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Could have been a lot better, very disappointing.

Author: kierstynle from United States
5 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My older brother recommended this anime to me when I couldn't find anything to watch. I honestly think I made a mistake watching it. The story follows a boy name Kirito who gets imprisoned in an online game called Sword Art Online. He cannot log out, and his mind and body are trapped in the game. The only way to get out is to beat the final boss at the 100th floor, and you can only get to a new floor if you beat the previous floor's boss. He soon meets Asuna, a beautiful and strong fighter. They fall in love, and actually marry in-game. There's only one problem: I felt the romance weighed down the story. I felt for some of the anime it was too focused on the love between Kirito and Asuna that the actual story. Kirito and Asuna defeat the boss in Sword Art Online, but Asuna gets trapped in another game. Go figure. However, despite not liking it at all, the anime had a few good things. The action scenes were pretty entertaining, and the animation quality wasn't horrible. On the contrary, the English dub wasn't good AT ALL. Neither was the actual plot or the anime in general.

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40 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

Deep and Engaging Story

Author: PiT Logan from United States
30 October 2012

As most of you know there are light novels for this series, all of which I have read. And this has been perhaps the best read I've had in ages. The storyline, characters, vastness of the world and romance between Asuna and Kirito are perfect, and the twists will leave you dying for more. If you're here for an anime with a great storyline, have played any RPGS or enjoy a little romance mixed with action and suspense, then this is the anime for you. Although there has only been 4 episodes (at the time of this review), the anime has covered a substantial part of volume 2 in the sword art series, so from here on out the main and incredible storyline will be followed. The animation is beautiful to say the least, and will no doubt accurately represent the amazing setting from the light novels as well as the character models. The voice acting for the main characters Asuna and Kirito have been spot on (of course), and the sound quality is overall, like the animation, perfect.

As I hinted at above, the story will have you hooked from the beginning , I'm sure many of you have played RPGS, and if you died in those RPGS, you'd respawn and try again of course. But in this anime, the RPG becomes real life, if you health bar drops you're killed almost instantly in real life. With that kind of premise, this anime will be very suspenseful and engaging. I'll focus on the main characters for now because most of the others haven't been fairly introduced yet. Off the bat you can tell Kirito isn't the average anime protagonist, he chooses to go solo for the sake of his own survival rather than stay with his "noob" friend and protecting him in the VRMMORPG. This might seem like a shortcoming, but in the novels he quickly changes upon meeting Asuna (his main love interest+party member), and becomes a character you'll love. Asuna is very strong willed and at first seems to contrast with the anti-social and awkward Kirito, but we later find out how similar they are, and their relationship is perhaps the best I've seen in any other anime or Manga. This anime will only be about 25 or 26 episodes long, covering just volumes 1,2, and perhaps some of 8 in the process, if it does well enough movies and ova's or even another season could be launched, allowing us to further immerse in this incredible universe.

And I'm sure by the time this anime is finished (or long before), everyone will be rushing to read the novels, and they won't be disappointed!

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24 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Great anime series

Author: HajiAltair
10 December 2012

So far I've seen the first dozen of episodes. It goes without saying that this anime is very beautiful and with strong memorable characters. I was hesitant at first to watch this because of the video game theme. But it's a very mature show for what is contrary to what it appears to be in first glance.

Teenage boy Kirito gets stuck in a futuristic MMO game and together with other players in his situation they have to beat the game to be set free or die in the real world.

It's not the typical action packed anime, although it could turn into another Naruto/Bleach/OnePiece of ridiculously overpowered action heroes, I think a better description so far would be a tragic romantic sci fi show. I can't remember when I've seen so many characters die in an anime in such a short succession.

Anyway don't miss this, I'm glad I didn't. There are very few animes these days that make me want to see forward for the next episode.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

It's the wet dream of the creator. Ultra-powerful hero conquers monsters whilst accumulating a horde of scantily-clad females who are helplessly in love with him.

Author: gavinwoolman from United Kingdom
28 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK so first things I enjoyed.

The first three episodes. Some of the time the animation is glorious. Especially in the first episode. When they're showing you the world of SAO it is fantastic, and some of the fight scenes are great. The first three episodes really shows this off.

Episodes that I liked: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9... that's it really.

The main character - whilst probably just the avatar for the creator's wet dream - is actually kind of cool sometimes. I enjoyed his moments of badassery. Asuna (supporting lead) was pretty damn cool when you first meet her. She plays the tsudere role pretty well at first, but towards episode 10 or so she increasingly becomes nothing more than the helpless waifu to worry when Kirito is in danger.

And now I start with the problems in this show.

This is the basic format for the first half: 1) Introduce cute female character. 2) Let us see lots of her breasts and other body parts 3) Ideally invent some situation that involves her accidentally showing a bit too much body, then getting really embarrassed or angry. 4) Invent random monster for Kirito to fight, female character must be in need of protection. 5) Have some speech about love or hope or something 6) Rinse and repeat.

There's a little bit of a sidetrack with some hentai porn, but that's most of the first half. Then we have a similar situation in the second half, but just with the same female character (Sugu) on repeat whilst the supposed 'love' of Kirito is all trapped in a cage being molested so all the creepy people watching can masturbate.

To illustrate Characters who appear in more than one episode:

Kirito, male - basically Goku

Sugu, female in love with Kirito

Asuna in love with Kirito

Lisbeth, f in love with K

Silica, f in love with K

Alicia, f who hits on K

Sakuya, f who hits on K (lots of fan service)

Klein, m

Agil, m

Kuradeel, m

Basicaly most of the characters who actually do things are females and what they do is have their bodies exhibited for the viewer while they're saved by the all powerful Kirito who they then fall in love with.

I could go on about the grand lists of plot holes, things that don't make sense, amount of boring dialog/things that happen and the fact I never once feared for any of the main characters. But that'll just be waffle. You either enjoy the misogynistic misadventures of kirito with a side of side boob, or you don't.

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