This is my review of fabled anime, Sword Art Online… Well, of the first 14 episodes of season one that is! Overall SAO has been a big part of my “dive” (pun intended) into the anime world. It features an awesome story and characters… for the better part.
So in the words of Kirito… Link start!
What Sword Art Online (SAO) Is About
Creator: Reki Kawahara
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Director: Tomohiko Itō
Producer(s): Kazuma Miki, Shinichirō Kashiwada
Known As: ソードアート・オンライン, Sōdo Āto Onrain, SAO, Sword Art Online
Air Date: July 8, 2012 – December 23, 2012
Genres: Adventure, Science Fiction, Virtual Reality, Action, MMORPG, Fantasy, Isekai
A Small Synopsis
The year is 2022, 10,000 people are chosen/given the chance to play a virtual reality MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) called Sword Art Online or SAO for short.
This is accompanied by a revolutionary VR headset called the NerveGear. It stimulates the users five senses via their brain and players can experience and control their in-game avatars/characters with their minds. But things take a turn for the worst and so the 10,000 people chosen to play are stuck inside the MMORPG until they reach and clear the 100th floor.
What Is Good About Sword Art Online (SAO)
Protagonists are charismatic
In the initial episode, Kirito teaches newly found friend Klein how to wield a blade and use sword skills. Both characters appeared to be unique in their own ways, you could instantly tell by the way Klein spoke and moved that he was the comedic relief character.
As soon as things turn south, Kirito doesn’t think twice before grabbing Klein and running towards the correct places to level up and protect the both of them.
Klein politely declines because he has friends of his own who he needs to protect, but invites Kirito to join them every given opportunity.
Agil stands up for the beaters (beta testers) and convinces annoying character Kibow to stop making things worse.
Asuna comes across as very shy but firm in her belief that she will not die. Later in the season, she makes a comeback! Coining a really cool nickname.
Silica and Pena (her beast companion) are introduced a few episodes later, Kirito comes across her while she is fighting against some monsters and saves her. As you can imagine, Kirito’s harem is ever-growing throughout this series…
Later on, we are introduced to Liz (Lisbeth), another key player in Kirito’s
harem party. She is a blacksmith who happens to help Kirito get the materials and forge his accompanying iconic sword, Dark Repulser.
The art style is pretty good
While you could argue that the art style isn’t the best and the characters suffer with the same face syndrome… I personally feel A-1 did an excellent job at animating this series for its time.
There are tonnes of epic scenes which are, in my opinion, iconic. The adaptation from the light novel to the anime has been tremendous.
The scenery is outstanding and A-1 have yet again done an outstanding job with this. The colour palette used is just right and it makes your eyes want more!
The Flower Garden is absolutely beautiful, and straight out of an MMO for sure!
If I had to list more scenes, I would just bore you!
The storyline is very unique, as are the characters and their progression. It was nice to see how 10,000 people handled being trapped in VR and not being able to do anything until they completed the entire 100 floors/levels.
When Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of the SAO world and NerveGear which drives SAO appears amongst the people, it really shows that this goes from normal isekai fantasy and sci-fi towards action horror and dark fantasy.
You really start to gauge the severity of things and just how hard it will be to clear the game. When Kayaba gives them their “present” it just goes to show that things have taken a turn from bad to worse.
All the way throughout, Kirito forms relationships with new people, who come and go for multiple reasons. But those who he forms them with tend to be the ones he cares for the most throughout this entire series.
Awesome boss fights and more!
Epic fight scenes
There are a handful of fight scenes which I enjoyed. Full of awesome fighting, amazing music and cool moves/skills.
For example the fight in Episode 2, Beater;
Once the boss was found, multiple parties formed and took it down. With Kirito and Asuna defeating it in the last stand after things turn south for the players. Kirito then is rewarded with his iconic black cape, therefore becoming the black swordsman.
There are a lot more which I can think of, but as to not spoil things I will leave them out! Just know you have a good 10+ fight scenes which are coming up in the next episodes to look forwards to.
What Is Bad About Sword Art Online (SAO)
A few annoying characters
I think there are a lot of characters who are annoying and for their own reasons… but the ones which stood out to me the most are;
- The Aincrad Liberation Army.
While some might get upset that Yui is on this list, I feel that this is as honest as I can be.
I think it’s safe to say this has aged well and will always be a classic to watch. It’s also excellent for watching if you’re into your MMORPG games such as TERA, World of Warcraft and Black Desert Online!
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