anime review: Sword Art Online
Note: This is the real deal.
I’m sure most people are aware what my overall thoughts are going to be.
Watching the trailers before the series debuted, I smelled an A class anime on the way. Strong premise and presentation demonstrates the show’s potential within the first 3 eps. Who wouldn’t find trapped VR gamers playing to survive premise interesting? It was consistent for the most part even though there were some logical flaws that can easily be overlooked. Great OP song that sets the mood perfectly. ED song, eh… not so much but at least it’s not awful seiyuu music.
But eps 4-END is where the problem just keeps on piling. If I were to sum this show in one word, that would be “cliche”. It’s cliche in EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD. Let me lay out a check list for you:
- Main protagonist harem? Check.
- Main protagonist dense as a rock? Check.
- Tsunderes? Check.
- Females reduced to nothing but plot devices? Check.
- New girl of the week? Check.
- Forced fanservice? Check.
- Manipulative moe loli? Check.
- Mustache twirling cartoon villains? Check.
- Main character plot hax? Check.
- Predictable lines from character interactions? Check.
- Forced drama? Check.
- Emo moments with obvious dramatic music? Check.
- Main character has a little sis? Check.
- Little sis has incestual feelings? Check.
- Main character’s illogical nonsense on pretentious conversation? Check.
- Cliche dialogues? Check.
- Extremely generic side characters? Check.
- Cliche character reactions? Check.
- Filler eps? Check.
- Scattered plotholes? Check.
- etc. etc…… Shall I keep going?
Talk about trainwreck. Another thing I have to point out is the inconsistent pacing and characterization. If the first arc alone was the entire show then some of these useless eps wouldn’t be a problem. However, eps like 4-7 and 11-12 disrupted the pace and serve no relevance to its main plot. Eps 11-12 featured a certain loli bitch that was so god awful it almost made me drop the show. Characters on other hand are sloppily depicted throughout. It’d be interesting to see Kirito take on the dark protagonist persona, but all that disappears in the 3rd episode and on. Its as if the ‘beater’ conflict never happened. He reduces to an emo crybaby(more so on the 2nd arc). Asuna’s depiction is the clumsiest of all. She starts out as a strong, recklessly brave, and a somewhat capable leader but rather than being an individual, she fumbles down to a certain character archetype listed above as well as regressing her to a defenseless kitten. While I do give credit for making the 2 main leads a couple early on, it’s horribly developed romance. How do you go from guy meets girl, then reunite after being separated for more than a year, to fall in love in a few days – spend a night(?) to marriage right after? The first arc ended on a very rushed and below average note with the help of deus ex machina.
I’m not sure where to begin with the 2nd arc. The whole plot is so stupid beyond human comprehension. Asuna’s father lets this creepo villain marry his comatose daughter? Words cannot express how hilariously bad that is. New OP/ED songs was the only thing I could tolerate from this garbage. If you thought the deus ex machina was bad in the first arc, you have no idea what you’re in for. Just to save myself time from explaining this BS, I’m just gonna stop here and direct you to this link. Thinking about this show kills my brain cells.
I give this anime a “Wasted Potential”, “Most Ass Pulls”, and “Worst Anime of 2012” achievements. It’s too bad SAO never became the series I envisioned.