7 July 2018 | Tweekums
Moe fun with guns
This series is set some time after the events in the original 'Sword Art Online' when the flaws that meant people couldn't exit the game and death in the game really meant death have been fixed. It is centred on Karen Kohiruimaki a girl who is self-conscious of her height so seeks out a virtual reality game where she can play a short character. Her character is Llenn and the game is Gun Gale Online. In this game there are tournaments where players form teams and fight it out till only one team has any members surviving. In her first such competition she is teamed with a player who goes by the name 'M'; he informs her that somebody will murder him in real life if he dies in the game.
If you weren't that keen on the original 'Sword Art Online' don't be put off this as it is effectively a totally new series that just happens to be set in the same reality and feature a virtual reality game. There is plenty of action and it gets tense even when there is no threat of real death for the vast majority of characters. Llenn is fun protagonist even if fans of realism might not be too keen on her entirely pink costume and matching P-90 submachinegun! The other characters are nicely varied; gun-nuts, kids just playing a game and even real soldiers using it for battlefield simulation. Given the cuteness of our protagonist there are a few surprising moments... I certainly wasn't expecting a mini-tutorial on how to sever somebody's femoral artery with a knife; I wouldn't be surprised if that gets cut from any UK DVD release! The story plays out nicely over the course of two such tournaments with the plot deepening as we learn more about the characters. The character designs are pretty good and the animation is solid. Overall I'd recommend this to anybody wanting virtual reality action without the cliché of in game death meaning real death.
These comments are based on watching in Japanese with English subtitles.