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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?" 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's a true work of art! 100/10 You've gotta watch this! :D
  • 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.
  • 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!!
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?


    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.
  • 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.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I recommend all to read TVNEBULAS review for a full review because he literally stole the words out of my mouth and i want his review heard. But here is my summary.... The anime had potential that it never met. It literally disappointed me every episode after the first two episodes for so many reasons but ultimately not meeting its potential. Such a disappointment for me and my girlfriend. The only reason I continued watching it is because of it's splendid rating and my friend telling me to. But every single episode just left my girlfriend and I yelling "what the #$@&" and then a conversation on what should be being done with this anime and how its nothing but a disappointment.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sword Art Online (SAO) was a pretty bad anime. I know loads of people loved this series, considering its popularity, but I have some complaints about the series nonetheless.

    The idea of being stuck in a virtual reality MMORPG really is a cool idea. It actually made me desperate for something like it, without the dying of course. However, the cool idea is the only place where this show scores points in my book, nor is it the first anime to use this idea.

    The first time watching this I loved it. The second time through I couldn't even make it past the second arc. Everything was so boring, and not just because I knew what was going to happen next. The characters are so unbelievably flat, and their conversations shedding little light on who they really are. All they ever talk about is "Ever wonder if we'll get back to the real world?" or "Do you ever forget that we're in a game nowadays?" They use variations of these questions in literally EVERY conversation. Why can't you just accept that your stuck, and move on with your life? Now you may argue "Maybe they're just the kinds of people who don't let things go easily". Maybe, but that doesn't stop the characters from being lame and uninspired. The creators ought to show some creativity with their characters, instead of rehashing the same character traits and changing their gender.

    That's not to say that I hated all the characters. Characters like Klein and Agil were my favorite characters. Why? Because they almost never brought up how much they missed the real world. All Kirito and Asuna do is whine about it. Sure, they have their distinct character traits that are shown through some dialogue and their actions, but the conversations they have together aren't ever about anything else. We know generally who they are, but never go fully into their character to see smaller, individual traits. It has to come up at least once every time they talk. The conversations they have with the secondary characters are more interesting because the others actually know how to move on.

    Some people have said that SAO has something for everyone, action for boys, romance for girls. You may disagree with this (many people seem to), but I found the action to be quite mediocre. The sequences of action were, although realistic for a video game, weren't fun to watch. In virtual reality you'd think that they'd add a bit more strategy to how they fight over just wailing on the enemy. When there was action though it was always interrupted by something less interesting, which really took away from it.

    The romance, on the other hand, is pretty poorly developed. It comes completely out of the blue, with Kirito and Asuna hating each other one episode, then completely in love the next. Where did this come from? The episode limitation. The creators had to rush everything because they had to cram two story arcs into 25 episodes (that's my theory anyway). I'm not saying that Kirito and Asuna weren't the best possible couple in this show, but it just happened randomly, with no explanation as to what their relationship was between the points of hatred and love, so their relationship really isn't all that developed.

    You may say "Well the show is story-driven, not character driven", well actually it isn't considering how little is actually put into the story, and how few episodes actually have to do with progressing it. Most episodes are spent 'developing' the characters. Even if it was completely story-driven, the characters are so flat that you wouldn't even care whether or not they achieved their goal.

    In terms of story arcs, the first one was much more enjoyable. Many people have said that the second was bad, but I thought it was alright. It wasn't as good as the first arc, but then again, the show isn't all that great either. I wish that they'd spent more time in the first arc, as Sword Art Online was way more interesting than Alfheim Online.

    VERDICT: Sword Art Online is a show that fails on many levels, with the exception of its not-so-original-but-still-cool idea. I feel like the reason why the show is so overrated was because everyone was so attractive. The bad guys were obviously bad because they were ugly, and the good guys were all good-looking. It felt like this show had more development of Asuna's rear end than her actual character did. Overall, Sword Art Online isn't worth watching. It was filled with lame main characters, poorly developed relationships, and an interesting but still linear story line.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    (A short review)

    The first season was fantastic, its setting and plot immediately drew me in. It truly felt like I was watching a real life MMORPG take place. The characters really grew onto me throughout the season and I was intrigued by this world that the writer had created. I would always come home, hop onto my computer and watch some episodes of Sword Art Online. Unlike many other anime, I did not feel bored throughout the whole first season. Every episode was interesting and felt amazing to watch.

    Then the second season began. At first it was quite interesting and fun to finally see the real world that Kirito lives in. However, when Kirito enters the world of ALO the show began to decline. ALO no longer felt like a proper game. The plot itself became a prince saves princess sort of story with an added love triangle. While the main characters still remained lovable, the world did not. Kirito arguably cheated his way to the end (Didn't really gather proper gear,level,etc). The villain felt plain, like those in a fairy tale. In the end, ALO didn't feel like a MMORPG anymore and completely broke off from SAO.

    Don't get me wrong, the series as a whole is still great and I would definitely recommend it to some of my friends. Like many of you people, I'm keen on seeing the next season or arc. Overall it was still a joy to watch. Unfortunately the second season just wasn't up to par with the first and that was a real disappointment.

    first season:9/10 second season:6/10 overall rating:7.5/10
  • 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.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I made an account just to say this.

    I don't get why everyone is so extremely positive about this series. It's good, but it's not that good. The first 2 episodes were very promising, but the ones after those are worse. They are just some unnecessary side stories. Plus they really skipped a lot of time in these episodes which I normally like, but only if you have a good reason for it.

    It was still okay and fun to watch but then the plot of the first part wtf .I don't know how the f*ck you can f*ck up a story like that. How do you come up with an idea like that? WARNING SPOILER: Alfheim online omg I died when this started. It's almost funny. Almost. Suddenly there's a new game with elves and magic and stuff like that. It's like Winx Club if you know that. I was embarrassed when someone asked what I was watching. END SPOILER

    There are more bad things that they should have thought about before making it such a (i'm sorry to use this word but it's true) 'gay' series. Don't misunderstand me, I don't mind a bit of love story, but there are other things like the WARNING SPOILER: NPC daughter END SPOILER that made me cringe so hard.

    The overall story is pretty good but it's definitely not a perfect anime. Fullmetal Alchemist was better. Watch that instead.
  • Don't believe with bad rating. You must watch it first before you know how excellent this anime. I really really love this love story, adventures, and much more. i just warn you again to watch it first. Kirito and Asuna's story so beautiful to loss it. sword art online is the best!
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