Sword Art Online (TV Series 2012– ) Poster

(2012– )

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9/10
Pretty Decent!
crimson_knight_721 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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7/10
Great first half, unfortunate second half.
MissLaurelle9 November 2013
Warning: 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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3/10
Perhaps the most overrated anime of all time.
omnigamer9421 February 2015
Warning: 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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1/10
So much wasted potential
whiterain-920316 July 2015
Warning: 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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9/10
Great anime series
HajiAltair10 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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7/10
Flawed, but Epic
LethalPotato24 January 2015
When I watch a movie or a TV-series, the most important thing to me is that I am entertained.

This is what Sword Art Online does exceptionally well. The show starts up with our main character Kazuto, who has just bought the newest mmorpg on the market, called Sword Art Online. The main selling point of the game is that it has unbelievably realistic virtual reality. The game seems like a lot of fun for all the players, including our main character, but as people try to find the log out button in the main menus, they realize something. The log out button doesn't exist.

The show has it's fair share of flaws and some of the plot twists are never explained, but when Sword Art Online does something right, it does it really right. The animation is colorful and smooth, the action scenes are intense, and the soundtrack is more epic and fantastic than anything I've ever heard before. But what SAO really amazed me with was the Boss Battles. Every episode with a Boss Battle took my breath away and made my jaw drop.

If you are looking for a smart show with brain-twisting plot twists and smart dialog, skip SAO. If you are looking for some epic eye-candy that will make your ears orgasm of the soundtrack, then look no further, SAO will be perfect for you.
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3/10
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.
gavinwoolman28 January 2015
Warning: 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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10/10
Wow, just amazing.
ukrainianz23 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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8/10
Instantly Hooked
mathew-godfrey23 October 2015
With the help of a friend, as well as Sirlionhart's Let's Play of Hollow Fragment, Sword Art Online became the first Japanese Anime that I got into. Closest things to Anime prior that I watched were Avatar: The Last Airbender (Some don't really consider it anime as its American, but its based off it) and if you count movies, Spirited Away. But back on topic.

After my friend showed me game-play of Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment, I decided to check out the series on Netflix and I was instantly hooked. It was humorous at times, very deep and emotional, and really epic. The characters are likable, the story is amazing, the music, score and theme songs, awesome.

I understand that a lot of people don't like the show, and I see the reasons why. I was disappointed when the First Story Arc came to what seemed like a sudden and rather quick end (Which is the reasoning behind me not giving the show a perfect 10 score). I honestly wouldn't have had a problem with different Story Arcs if the first season had focused on just one (Much like ABC's Once Upon a Time, because I think the Story Arcs were rather good.

But overall, I am really glad that I got into the show. It may not be perfect, but I liked it and I really look forward to Sword Art Online 3 as well as the movie (that is, if they have officially been announced rather than rumored)when they come out.
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10/10
Watching this is as crucial to your existence as learning how to breathe!
UglyParents1 January 2013
This anime was nothing less than a masterpiece (and, believe me, I don't throw that word around lightly). I'm not a gamer and yet I found every aspect of SAO appealing: the special skills, the slightly complicated workings of the VRMMORPG(s), the character designs...everything was top- notch. While the idea of creating an anime which focuses on characters playing a VRMMORPG isn't entirely new/original, I believe that SAO manifests the most flawless depiction of such a series.

From the onset of the anime, Tomohiko Ito intrigued me with a plot line so gripping and characters so relatable and admirable that I would undoubtedly watch every last episode of this anime. The phantasmagorical world that he created left me wishing that there was some possibility that it could be real sometimes and the love shared between the two main characters was so heart-rending that it made my heart bleed. This anime illustrates the whole scope of human emotions/relations within a mere 25 episodes AND features quite a bit of character development. Furthermore, it presents a completely fleshed-out and fulfilled story which leaves no "what ifs?"...it ties up all loose ends and then redirects to give you a look at the lives of even some of the minor characters.

This isn't just an anime...it's a true work of art! 100/10 You've gotta watch this! :D
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5/10
Over hyped and kind of stupid, but enjoyable nonetheless
williambendavis-933-21895814 December 2014
I have mixed feelings about this show. It has many good things, but it also has its fair share of bad things. The first half of the show, I like. It's just pure entertainment, with absolutely nothing else, but it's watchable and addictive. The animation is great, I love seeing the world of Sword Art Online, the threat of death creates a little tension, and watching our two main characters Kirito and Asuna fall in love is sweet and charming. The second half I hate. I don't like the new world Alfheim Online. It never captured my interest the way Sword Art Online did and the threat of death is gone. The whole arc with Kiritos' sister is unbearably annoying and I really wish they had just cut that out. Lastly, Asuna, the all powerful Asuna, is reduced to the clichéd damsel in distress, which is stupid, dumb, and makes no sense. All that being said, I still enjoy the show and recommend you watch it. There are stupid things and it may not require much brain power, but you can have fun with it.
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4/10
Could have been a lot better, very disappointing.
kierstynle5 February 2014
Warning: 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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10/10
Amazing
tomcrew-520931 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Based on the general public they have rated it as 7.7 out of 10 which is a reasonable number but if I was proper critic I would reconsider to change the number based on my opinion which I have rated as a 10, i have gave it this rating because it has to be the greatest anime I have watched in my 16 year existence The characters to the story, the atmosphere is so good it's seems real at sometimes and at the end of season 2 it had me wondering why stop there but anyway the story is about a 16 year old kid called kazuto kiragaya but also known for his online persona kirito And there has been a new game released to the public in 2022 and it's called sword art online which is also the main title and it's a vrmmorpg and it's for a device called the nervegear which was designed and produced by akihiko kayaba and he is also the creator of sword art online as well and everyone was trapped in the game for over two year and in those two years kirito met a girl called asuna and sooner or later they became married in the game and also had a little cottage on floor 22 by a lake and they was wondering around the forest and that's when they met there adopted daughter called yui they found her there passed out and took her home as soon as she woke up she couldn't remember anything but it's turns out she was just a artificial intelligence programme which made the story move thrilling as it is but eventually they had to return to the front lines and clear the game and it's turns out commander heathcliff is really akihiko kayaba and he is the boss on floor 100 in the ruby palace so kirito took him down but in the last second asuna saved kirito but at the cost of her own life but for anybody doesn't know she is alive And kayaba is not the true boss on floor 100 the boss is called Incarnation of the Radius but that's for an other time but basically if you have not watched it yet give it a shot and watch it you can watch it in English or japanese your choice but I reviewed this in English cause I don't understand japanese to good and I know people are going to avoid watching it because kirito is voiced Bryce papenbrook but I don't understand why people hate him he is a pretty good voice actor he plays rin in blue Exorcist but anyway go watch it and the only reason kirito and asuna didn't for is because because the system, Cardinal, was designed that way. That's why they have the resurrection item like Disgaea mentioned. There is a delay before the player is killed in the real world, following his avatar's death. ... Now, the same can be said about Kirito killing Kayaba.

Season 2 A year after escaping Sword Art Online, Kazuto Kirigaya has been settling back into the real world. However, his peace is short-lived as a new incident occurs in a game called Gun Gale Online, where a player by the name of Death Gun appears to be killing people in the real world by shooting them in-game. Approached by officials to assist in investigating the murders, Kazuto assumes his persona of Kirito once again and logs into Gun Gale Online, intent on stopping the killer. Overall this season is more thrilling compared to season one, The second season begins with a new virtual reality MMORPG called Gun Gale Online. Rumors are circulating about a person named Death Gun who can fire a bullet in the game that will also kill people in real life. Kirito, the protagonist of the last season, starts working with the Ministry of Internal Affairs to investigate whether such a thing is possible. This arc starts off as a mystery, but it suffers from pacing problems that make it hard to keep an invested interest. The deuteragonist, Sinon, is an avid Gun Gale Online player. She's a well-known sniper in the game, and she even plans on competing in a competition with the silliest name imaginable (Bullet of Bullets). Kirito and Sinon end up working together as Sinon helps Kirito find Death Gun, and Kirito helps Sinon through her fears.

When Sinon was a young girl, a man barged into the post office and aimed a gun at her mother. Sinon managed to take the gun from him and shot him. Because of this event, Sinon is terrified of guns and is playing Gun Gale Online as immersion therapy to conquer her fears. Sinon's stress triggers whenever she comes into close contact with guns or realistic replicas. At first, this seems like a well done representation of a trigger - Sinon panics when she tries to hold the gun replica she keeps in her desk at home. Her breathing becomes labored and she can only remember how terrified she felt the time she held a gun and killed someone. It's surprisingly dark for Sword Art Online, and the show would have pulled it off had it not done it in such an overdramatic manner. The over the top, highly saturated red in the background and an unreasonable amount of blood flowing across the floor distract from the terror Sinon feels.
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10/10
Best anime I've ever seen in my life
coyotemanj28 December 2018
I just got done watching Sword Art Online episodes 1-14. This is possibly the best anime I've ever see in my life. It mad me laugh, love, and cry for the characters in it and their journeys. I will begin to watch the rest of the series later. God damn this show is going down as one of my all time favorites!
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10/10
For those who have just started Anime
louloutd27 December 2018
I'll make this as short as possible.

NOT a mediocre anime, u either like it or dislike it, hate it or LOVE it.

If u only started watching anime about a year or less then this is the show for you. Most people aged 16-22 have this as their first popular anime show due to it first coming out in 2012 and season 2 in 2014. So you'll immediately sympathecize with anime lovers.

Season 1 9.5/10 10/10 ( Aincrad Arc) Episode 1-14 comes from a plot invented by small novel Manga writers, and so don't get surprised when they swift to the Alfeim story line. Due to questionable scenes and dialogue as well as increased fan service, a lot of people give up at this point.... however I still greatly appreciated the Arc and will rated this a. 9/10



If you managed to watch all of season 1 without cringing too much and admire the Story's imagination, beautiful music, ops, funny moments, action and In-game aesthetic then I recommend you continue and watch season 2 and 3.

Season 2 (GGO arc 9/10) (Alfeim part 2 arc 8.5/10) Story improves at first but it slowly dies down until the very end when we get an awesome finale.

Season 3 is a straight up MASTERPIECE and improves even on the Season 1 part 1. All the cliches of this show are put in a blender and recycled into PURE ART.

Animation 10/10 ( think Violet Evergarden) Music 10/10 ( best thing about this show) Plot 10/10 ( improves on everything) Emotion 10/10( the tension is sereal) Characters 10/10 (the big improvement)

A MUST WATCH IF U GENUINELY LIKE THE FIRST TWO SEASONS.
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10/10
Deep and Engaging Story
neos-516-32657930 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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10/10
Love and Sacrefice
hsn-546-42643120 January 2013
one of the best RPG anime ever watched , similar to the one called Hack GU (Haseo) . The romantic story between Kirito and Asuna is really great and heart beating . The director succeeded in viewing the relation between them both . where at first glance you think it's just a series of adventure and killing bosses , but when you watch it episode after episode , you will discover that there's a huge aim of a story which is love , and sacrifices .

starting from the first episode you will be hooked . And i liked how the episodes mingles between two different events . one in SAO and the other in a new video game called the world of fairies. The series is taken from 2 SAO novels . Although Kirito changes the game to a new world , but it will always stay as SAO . And all of this incidents just to show how he would defeat all worlds just to protect the one he loved , Asuna . Using his super skills gained in SAO online game , he turns to another game , and defeat its bosses , not looking for fame , or reputation , just he was looking for his love .

the music , action scenes , just everything fits it to let you repeat the scenes over and over.
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8/10
Anime made for RPG gamers.
xcvb_20035 February 2014
Well I have to say, this has got to be the hardest anime to review and rate that I have come across so far. It is one hell of a mixture. But I did had a great time watching it, was very entertaining and that is what really matters.

On the plus side, I loved the setting/premise, a world where virtual reality has been perfected and MMORPG's truly come to life. The RPG gamer in me was really happy while watching this anime. DAMN I wanted to be in SAO so bad. The animation was great, especially that of the action sequences. I loved em. Coupled with amazing soundtrack, they really became epic. Protagonist was very likable and cool. The heroin was hot. :p

Now on the bad side, the anime felt really rushed in the beginning. It actually felt like I skipped an episode couple of times. Would have been better if they stretched out the first arc into 24 episodes or so, would have been much better. It got a little too much lovey dovey too later on, which was off putting. The side characters were good BUT they got very less screen time, way too less. It was like the anime forgot about them. And then there was the second arc. It didn't suck as bad as many said it would but still it was nowhere near as good as the first arc. IT just didn't had the same feeling as the first arc. The setting in it was cool, had a lot of Final fantasy vibe to it. But the love stuff was lame and pointless.

As for the rating, well I would give it like:

First arc (1-14 episodes) 8.8/10.

Second arc 6.5/10.

Overall, despite its flaws, I somehow still found it to be very enjoyable and was engaged in it a lot. 8.3/10.
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10/10
ONE of the BEST Anime in 2012
Rohb2 September 2012
Sword Art Online (SAO) Even though the anime is not completed as I write this, I can already see that this anime will be one of the best of 2012.SAO is perfectly paced storyline with many plot twists and surprises it's almost impossible to get bored.I have no other words to describe this is just simply amazing and you will easily fall in love with SAO.I can't believe it's only scoring 8.8.It's easy 10/10 in my books...If you watch one anime in 2012 I recommend SAO especially if your an MMO player and even more so if you played MMO's back in the day before they made all of them casual. This anime tells a story from the viewpoint of those kind of games, where things are very challenging, living in another world is possible in games.
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10/10
Amazing So Far
daletharbaugh2 February 2016
I am actually watching this Show really late. Most of my friends watched it over a year ago but i have heard great things. I decided to watch it on HULU yesterday for the first time and i was hooked. I stayed up way to late and watched the first 10 episodes. The Reason why it was so appealing to me was it seemed like it was my life. I game daily its a part of my life and seeing this show where everything you do it real and has consequences just opened my eyes. I love all the characters from the good and bad. Great show i cant believe it took me this long to watch it. Give it a chance. Other shows i have watched and enjoyed...Inuyasha, Bleach, One punch man, Trigun, Cowboy Bebop that's just a few so you see what i watch in comparison and there is a 10 line minimum so just stretching this out a bit.
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7/10
Bad reviews and haters
dayronsanchezarias22 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Honestly, I dont dabble much in making own reviews, English is not my primary languaje and mostly if something has already been said I dont feel the need to say it myself. In this case I felt the urgency to cast a stone because: all good reviews I ve read are fanboyism and all bad reviews seem from college graduate anime critics who seem to have been somehow personally aggravated by the producers. I really cant understand if bad reviewers hate this anime so much how come they made such an effort?? I ve read two pages bad reviews of SAO!! An from people who admit to have watched it twice!!! Come on!! I dont think SAO is perfect, no anime is (except for FMA:B, of course) I wouldnt put it in in a top five but IT IS IN MY TOP FIVE, I think thats the poblem with the great difference in opinions about this show, that peoplo who like it, reeeeally like it and people who dont think their main purpose on earth is to discredit the series and its followers. And the reason why it is in in my top five is because all the things thar are clearly wrong about this anime dont care to me, and the things that might be wrong about this anime (things that you wont like, but thats your personal taste) in my opinion contribute to the strong points. So I will list 3 categories, clearly wrong , relative and strong points

Clearly wrong: the villains, the are either to short seen (the creator of SAO), confusing and unconvincing (Death Gun) or honestly a joke (elf dude in Alfheim) the passage betwen SAO and Alfheim, its a letdown, definitedly. I can dig the borderline incestuous onee-chan, that feels so Japanese, but going from certain death to waste-time-having-to backtrack actually feels like the wiped something in a hurry to go on with the show Mother´s rosario arc: the actual story behind the knigths is gritting and emotional, but upfront it just seemed dum.

Relative stuff: Harem: I personally dont like it, if this was a harem show I wouldnt like it, but as a shounen with harem, specially where the harem does not hurt the main strong points, I simply dont care. Yes, Kirito is the ladies boss, so what, in real life hot girls are the bosses everywhere so its a match Combat system: When you have a 900 episodes series like Naruto yo expect to understand the mechanics behind every move and jutsu, SAO is a anime for gamers, as Warcraft live action movie is for WoW fans, if you dont know the subject you might come to like it but you wont have as many details laid in from the start. For example, a gamer would know from the start everything related to an MMORPG, classes, skills, weapons, party formation, strategic and battle tactics, items, quests and side quests, etc, etc. Obviously you dont get an explanation of oll this in the series. In fact, Warcraft movie also has the same haters/lovers mixed reviews, maybe its common to all shows aimed to a specific segment, thats what we get after GOT mainstreamed high fantasy in cable TV. bland characters, this is tricky, I reckon characters in this show ARE bland, and not only side chars, but mains as well. I could have put this in clearly wrong section but again, having bland characters (specially inside the games) is a part of the critical condradiction that for me is the golden heart of the show. there may be more but Im tired of typing The strong points: Evasion. This is an anime about teenagers living in a world where they can escape their reality, do things they cannot do in the actual society. This is of course no new topic and is also very Japanese like since you can see that phenomenon actually there; but in some way modern society outside Japan is also turning into that. People are transforming human relationship skills into social networking skills; now is more important the selfie you took than the things you experienced visiting a place, peoplo have more friends and are most times more sociable online than in real life. The characters in this show (I mean the actual humans) are anti social, traumatized, repressed whilst their avatars are popular, strong, loved-all-around. If you hadnt "bland characters" you wouldnt get that yuxtaposition. And the silver lining is that in the end, this boys and girls that went to a digital world to evade their sad reality made friends and found love and brought that love to their actual lives. To me is like the endind in "Neverending story" where the boy tries to bring to his stranged dad the water of life but it vanishes as soons as he leaves the fantasy world and as his tears roll down his face his father reckons he actually brought back the water of life. For me thats powerfull, maybe because I see myself there, bu then, when have you actually felt something if you dont see yourself in that place. Emotions: Emotions in this show are real, characters may be bland, but their backgrounds are well stablished and their emotions as events unfold are visceral. The confusion when they cant log out of SAO, thats brilliant The horror when they find out they find out abuout perma death, the mixture of bravery and stubborness of kirito of fighting front line in spite of the danger, the crush between kirito and asuna may not be very elaborated but the loving relationship they describe afterwards is actually touching, the digital parenthood of Yui and their pain when they loose her, kirito´s sister forbbiden and hopeless love for him, shinons trauma (epic). The sad story of terminal patients in mothers rosario arc. All these may be ill connected between each other but no one can deny they are deeply touching. The music: Again, not in my favourite 3 (SNK and FMA) but i had never seen two intros as good as Crossing fields and Ignite son close to each other. Most series have one outstanding theme, FMA has maybe two or three scattered in the two version but SAO is a two shot seasons anime with epic intros to begin each of them....."Untill my voice reaches you, Im going to keep calling your name·."Aim at this contradictory world, and press the trigger without hessitation", daaaamnn
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1/10
"Sword Art Online" Is The Most Disappointing Anime Of All Time
tvnebula6 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The story focuses on the release of the first MMORPG for the NerveGear system, "Sword Art Online" in the year 2020. Kiriyaga Kazuto (Kirito) is one of the beta- testers for this game and was able to easily get his hands on one of the limited 10,000 copies sold in Japan. But things take a "deadly" turn when the video-game's creator, Kayaba Akihiko, forces players to keep playing until someone manages to beat the game. In order to do so, players must defeat 100 "bosses"; each on it's own level in the game and each more powerful than the other. If players die in the game, or someone in the real world attempts to take off the NerveGear, the NerveGear's micro-wave safety system will turn off and it will fry their brain, killing them in real life.

The first three episodes were absolutely incredible! You automatically become drawn into the story, the characters are all so diverse, and the incredible action sequences have you hanging on the edge of your seat! There is so much at stake, and everyone is sacrificing so much to ensure that the game will be beat. The series also grows tense as trust between people grow thin, and players even start to kill one another to ensure their own survival.

Each of the characters was completely unique because they all had their own strengths and weaknesses, forcing everyone to work together in order to survive. One of the most notable side characters is Asuna, an attractive and shy girl who really knows how to wield a sword. She manages to help Kirito defeat the first boss as if they both did it before. I didn't have a doubt that she would be a very strong character that would help Kirito throughout the series.

The train started to move really fast, and everything was going fine. That is, until episode four. That's when the series completely "jumped the shark" and became what I hoped it would not become; a harem romance series with a worthless male protagonist.

Starting at Episode 4, the series starts to skip a lot of levels, so you miss-out on a lot of the story and action. And it's starting at Episode 4 when it starts to slowly sink in that Kirito isn't all that much of a nice guy.

Kirito may be strong, but he only cares about himself and becoming the most powerful character in the game. He hides secrets from his allies which lead to their inevitable deaths, he puts the lives of strangers on the line just to get a more powerful sword, and often uses other people as a means to help him grind his way up the rankings.

What makes this character even more despicable is how many girls are attracted to him and how he treats those girls.

It is a given fact that girls are attracted to strong, independent and cute guys, even if they are completely heartless. I have no idea what these girls see in Kirito (besides how he's one of the strongest characters in SAO). Rather than this, once a new female characters is introduced into the series, they are completely forgotten after the next episode.

In other words, not only are there far too many side-characters in this series, Kirito doesn't care about a single one of them. Not many people who watch this series notice this, though, and that's why this show is completely over-rated (because a good story doesn't really matter, right?)

But that's okay, at least we got Asuna to make the series worth watching, right?

WRONG!

By the time the series ends, Asuna goes from being a strong and independent heroin to a damsel-in-distress who can do nothing without Kirito around. The writers completely ruined Asuna's character just to please the large crowd of fan-boys, and that's unacceptable!

As for the action, it's still there, but only in a couple of episodes for short periods of time. The music and animation is still as good as it was in the beginning, however, there is no good plot to make watching this series worth it. And by then end of the series, nothing is explained.

There is no motive to why the game creator trapped people inside SAO, or how Kirito managed to come back to life for a short moment in time only to somehow kill the final boss (which was suppose to be immortal) with ONE STAB.

AND THEN THERE'S THE SECOND HALF OF SAO, which is when "Alfheim Online" gets introduced. It's as if the writers made the second-half of the series just to please the fan-boys and further throw SAO's potential out the window.

This section of the anime is even hated by the most die-hard SAO fans for a reason; the suspense and action from the first part simply isn't there. The second-half just throws cute girls in your face and the series becomes extremely awkward and annoying, especially once Kirito's sister gets introduced (and if you've watched enough anime, then you know where this is going).

If I were to compare this show to another television show, it would definitely be the series LOST. It started off with incredible potential, then it just went downhill and never came back up.

In conclusion, "Sword Art Online" had incredible potential as an action series, and the first three episodes proved that. Yet it ended up to be another version of "School Days"; pathetic love story, hardly any plot, despicable lead and a lot of cute girls to keep the targeted audience interested.

I honestly despise this anime with all my heart, despite what the large crowd of fan-boys have to say. Not just because of the terrible character development and the worthless plot, but what this series could have become.
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7/10
Only Watch Episodes 1-14
tboggess9224 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
If the final episode of Sword Art Online had been episode 14, I could safely say this would be one of my all time favorite anime series. Unfortunately, someone had the terrible idea to bring the show back for a second season filled with bizarre and terrible creative decisions. The first season was built around a fascinating concept: a virtual reality MMORPG turned into an inescapable world with life and death consequences. It introduced a relatable protagonist, likable side characters, an emotional love story, and excellent action, all culminating in a heart wrenching finale. Then season 2 came along and left me feeling physically disgusted. Here are all the new elements season 2 introduced: the life and death stakes from the first season are removed almost entirely; the vast classic fantasy RPG themed world audiences marveled at in season 1 has been replaced with a smaller, less satisfying Norse mythology and fairy themed environment; the male protagonist's younger adoptive sister is apparently in love/lust with him; the strong, charismatic female love interest from season 1 is now in the clutches of the villain and is literally locked in a cage for the male protagonist to rescue; and this new villain is one of the creepiest, most perverted, most over the top despicable characters I've ever seen (As a specific example, while speaking to the protagonist he reveals his plan to forcibly marry a 17 year old coma patient, smelling her hair as he does it). I don't know what happened in between seasons 1 and 2, but my recommendation is to watch the first 14 episodes and pretend that no more episodes were ever made.
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Stunning story up to episode 14!
todoketai710 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I completely agree with some of the reviews written here - the story was fantastic up until episode 14. The show literally ended for me right there - and I will explain why with possible spoilers below.

My suggestion for this show is to watch it with some solid MMORPG background and watch it only up to episode 14. I promise you will enjoy it very much. :)

-------------- SPOILERS AHEAD --------------------

As a gamer myself, this story is like a gamer's dream come true. Virtual reality and MMORPG together is as awesome as gaming can get - and this story laid out all the possibilities that a gamer could imagine. As you travel through the story following the protagonist Kirito, you really do feel what it's like to play MMORPG like you are actually living in that virtual world.

But that's not all... The story has the amazing premise that you put your life on the line to play this game. With life and death involved, it becomes far more interesting as you see what kind of choices the characters make, and their emotions are much more raw and real - fear, despair, hope, courage, love... etc.

Even though you already know by fact that the protagonist does not die in stories EVER (99.9% of the time), but you still can't help but be on the edge of your seat whenever the characters' lives are in danger because it is a real "death game". For me, what got me the most hooked was the characters' strong will to survive, their way of sacrificing for each other, and their ability to unite as one in will and heart in order to "save the world". All these sound so cliché but they are truly the most attractive qualities of the show. :)

With that being said, the life-and-death risk ends at episode 14 where the game is cleared. To be honest, I didn't like how the game was cleared (at least in the anime), because it was never explained how Kirito "came back to life" and how Asuna did too later on. I know they are the main characters, but that does not align with the rules of that virtual world... D: It makes me frustrated how there are "exceptions" to the system just to make certain things happen. But the other amazing parts of the story can make up for these minor flaws.

What happens after episode 14 is really the main flaw of SAO. It should've just ended at episode 14 to wrap up this wonderful story. With no life-risking factor in the following arc of the story, everything becomes bland and less meaningful. I won't go into much details because simply to put... the second part was a waste of time.

Overall, the story (up until ep.14) is 9/10 in my book. :)

By the way, if you are a gamer, the music compositions will surely make you nostalgic. They are just like how MMORPG OSTs would sound like!!
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1/10
Terrible, Utterly terrible
ryangiavylee2 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is probably the most overrated anime of all time. Friends at school bugger me about watching it and when I did, I thought why am I watching this.

The story is clichéd and the storyline is the same in every episode (There is a girl who is in trouble and Kirito helps her).

The fighting is bad and the storyline is terrible. They made Kirito too strong and it is basically a Harem because every girl likes him. They also went from level 1 to level 22 in one episode and why did the game creators lock the people in a game? What was the point of that? This anime is stupid and don't watch it.
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