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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