10 August 2014 | cheetos0099
Disappointing, but still a worthwhile anime
The first few episodes of SAO lead you to think this will be an on-the-edge-of-your- seat tale of survival in a virtual world, when it quickly devolves into primarily a mushy romance.
In SAO, players become trapped in a virtual reality game, subject to real-life death if they perish in the fictional world. Everyone wants to beat the game to liberate all players from the death trap they're in. The main character is Kirito, a guy who prefers to be on his own while everyone around him is part of a team. That is, until he meets the love of his life.
I enjoyed SAO much more before the romance really started to kick in. I found Kirito to be a complex character, longing for companionship yet always straying away from it. He's a very skilled player with a caring personality, and because of this, we're always rooting for his survival in particular.
When the romance sinks its claws into the plot, things get awkward. We find young teenagers talking about love in ways that are far too mature for their age. The protagonists' devotion to one another is touching, but definitely not without a degree of repulsion.
It's a shame because the amazing soundtrack, animations, action, and survival theme are taken a little out of focus because of the great attention to romance. If you can overcome the very in-your-face presentation of the love story, there actually is a lot to like about this show. Just know that by the end, you'll find yourself watching something a bit different than what you initially expected.