Posted by psgels on 29 July 2012 with categories: Sword Art Online

Before I got into anime blogging, I was a member of an RPG community, focused on RPG creation. Back then I spent a lot of time fiddling with stories, level designs and gameplay (in fact, this blog started out as an experiment during that time), and during that time I also played my share of MMORPGs, so I know what it’s like to play one. And I also know that SOA brings in one major difference that makes the mindset of its players completely different: the fact that you die once your HP reaches zero.

Generally when I played, I’d run around in areas that would give me the fastest experience with the least amount of hassle. I would then turn on the auto pilot until my SP (or skill points or however it was called) run out, after which I’d probably die from a lack of healing items or efficient ways to kill monsters. Now, would I have done the same if my life depended on it? Hell no. I’d stock up on healing items and focus on running away from monsters.

In fact, it surprises me that Kirito still is alive: his playing style is incredibly risky. Apparently he was this awesome player during the beta test, but back then dying still was a momentary annoyance. I’m surprised that he managed to turn off his automatic pilot that is so prevalent in MMORPGs due to all the repetition. Someone said that in the first month, more beta testers lost their lives than new players, and I can very well believe that: these were already used to the rules of the beta, while the new players were probably extra careful.

So yeah, I’m digging this concept, I’d just wish that the plot of these past two episodes made better use of this. The concept of this episode for example was good, as it showed how the jail system evolved and how this game’s moral system is. But the characters were just boring. This yet again was Kirito interacting with the cutest girl around. Have some variety. What I find particularly annoying is how this series looks down upon the rest of the people in this MMORPG. The girl actually had friends, but she decided to ditch them and go with Kirito. The evil players? We never knew what goes on inside their heads: I see no difference between them and NPCs.

Also, why were all the monsters suddenly equipped with tentacles?
Rating: (Good)

26 Responses

  1. meow says:

    Before I got into anime blogging, I was a member of an RPG community, focused on RPG creation.

    Ah. My apologies. I completely misunderstood your post in episode 3.

    I’m surprised that he managed to turn off his automatic pilot that is so prevalent in MMORPGs due to all the repetition.

    Well, in an MMO I played, I found some top level players who didn’t simply play within the system’s limits but were actively searching for exploits. It’s like Kirito today able to measure how much damage he was taking per second at a glance. These obsessive players would measure exactly how much damage a mob could take before falling and would do tests like seeing if doing juuuuust the amount of damage to kill off the enemy would improve rare treasure drop rates, exactly how long mobs, particularly rare mob take to reappear so they could be camped, etc. Hours, days, weeks of crazy, seemingly useless things that casual gamers wouldn’t ordinarily consider, looking for exploits in the system that even the developers may have overlooked. These are the guys who could max out the levels on their characters in record times when everyone else is struggling because they know the most efficient way to power level, and could single-handedly tank a major boss that was mopping the floor with everyone else. You could consider Kirito one of these hardcore players. There is also another element to Kirito’s success but I think it will only be revealed later in the story.

    I’d just wish that the plot of these past two episodes made better use of this.

    Unfortunately, as a lot of LN readers have been complaining, the pace seems to be running a little fast so a lot of elements are summarized or skipped entirely (particularly in the 2nd episode). As you noticed, this episode was mostly an explanation of a few aspects of the moral system in the game, the concept of “orange” and “red” players who harm and kill other players as well as the existence of skill mechanics like “eavesdropping”, “hiding” and “searching”. In this case, this was an example of bandit gangs, as well as the effect of a high level difference.

    The girl actually had friends, but she decided to ditch them and go with Kirito.

    Actually, no. The episode does hint about this at the part where the two guys try to invite Silica to join them in the town. She’s one of the youngest characters in the game (13 I think) and is a very rare Beast Tamer type so a lot of guy players just want her along as a mascot. She gets very little plot development outside of this episode so I’m not really sure if she had any long-term friends in Aincrad.

    Also, why were all the monsters suddenly equipped with tentacles?

    It was a flower level so all the monster are plant based, but you know the real reason: Fanservice. ^^ There will probably be more later in the series.

    • boo says:

      It was a flower level so all the monster are plant based, but you know the real reason: Fanservice. ^^ There will probably be more later in the series.

      And I almost forgot that this show is a harem, but this episode definitely reminded me of it.

      • meow says:

        Hm. Is it really a harem? I hesitate to call it that, because imho, as far as I know, although Kirito meets and fights beside many partners, he only had one girl in his heart.

        • boo says:

          It’s not? I certainly hope it’s not a harem, because i’m not all that fond of them. I guess Stars comment below, the fact that he meets one girl per episode (yes i know Asuna is protagonist and that he wasn’t romancing any of them so far), plus the tentacles, sort of got me think about it in those terms.

          • meow says:

            Put it this way. Unless they seriously change the story, this is probably the last we see of Silica.

        • Cytl says:

          Many girls fall in love with him as the story goes on. But the series avoid using lame things like jealousy wars and misunderstandings (as you said he only has eyes for one girl), so I don’t see the problem with it. Also, Kirito may be overpowered and sometimes “too perfect” but at least this justifies why so many girls fall for him, contrary to the typical bland and weak harem MC.

  2. Stars says:

    It looks like the next few episodes are going to focus on fleshing out the game and slowly introducing the main characters (all the while turning it into a harem..). There is a lot of things about the mechanics of the game and giving some character depth which will make the ending a lot more sastisfying than if it followed the LN I’m finding.

    • meow says:

      Still seems rushed though. I don’t see how they can squeeze the whole story into a single episode. Too many important points to cover. I wonder what they’ll cut out.

      • Terry says:

        Agreed.

        SAO is one of those stories/genres which can last 100+ episodes; given its marketability and intricacy, you would think the producers would milk it for all it’s worth – and yet it would be completely forgiveable because I genuinely believe it wouldn’t feel slow-paced at all. Part of this is because the original author himself left many aspects of gaming unexplored, yet was still able to script a compelling tale.

        But again, this was a good episode; MUCH better paced, fewer plot-holes which means a new-comer to the story won’t recognize the missing elements. Love the animation quality and music as well as the impact direction during the climax.

        If the producers are making the rest of the series up to these standards (or better), this will be a great series (in spite of the starting stumble). Especially given that these stories are merely build-up, appetizers to the main course.

  3. Terry says:

    I actually found this particular episode to be very well paced.

    It kept the essentials of the LN intact, and the subtleties involved in weaving as many aspects of the MMO (such as Kirito’s help in power-leveling the under-leveled Silica) are things I’m sure many MMO veterans can relate to.

    In short, there were far fewer plot-holes and I hope the producers are hitting their stride. But the next episode will be telling: executed properly, the next installment can be a powerful window into the motivations and role-changes as it effects people in real life. Executed poorly, it’ll leave absolutely no imprint on the viewer.

    Here’s hoping…

    • meow says:

      Yeah. I was especially glad that they included Suguha’s backstory. That was a pleasant surprise. I wonder if the reason why they’re rushing is because they intend to do Fairy Dance in the 2nd course? I don’t know if it’s possible to do all of Aincrad properly in one course though.

      • Terry says:

        Cramming it all into 24 episodes is certainly part of it, and given how much material they’ve already discarded, they may feel compelled to stick to their timeline.

        It’s possible to do it all in 24 and to do it well, however abbreviated.

        Again the key, as always, relies on the skill and dedication of the producers and its team. A good indicator that they’re putting in some serious effort into this is the improvement, episode by episode.

        The animation quality doesn’t slip, there are no stick-figure cheats to stand-in for clean (and time-consuming) animation. The Sound is fairly intricate in instrumentation, composition, and variety for each appropriate scene.

        Take a look at how many times the animators changed Silica’s clothing, 4 sets in a single episode which is not something that animators normally like to do unless they’re well-motivated. If the animators stayed with the same clothing design the entire episode, it would be lazy but not a “cardinal sin” in animation. However, the theme of Silica changing, upgrading, and maturing along with her clothing is an important aspect in the LN story.

        This attention to detail and effort is subtle and it’s a great sign that the producers are serious.

  4. HunterWulf says:

    Silica didn’t have friends, when the two guys from the first ep tried to make her join their party she told Kirito clearly that people who want her to join their party just want her as a sort of mascot for their party since she is quite popular and has a pet(and the party she was with in the beginning is no different).

    And they really don’t look down on the rest of the people there, there are many players fighting on the front-lines of the game and probably better than Kirito at the game (and at a higher level), but i guess we will get to that later in the story (i mean clearly Kirito here traveled to a lower level area so he was OP compared to everyone else around, he himself comments on that and on the whole “power levels” in MMOs thing being an illusion of power and that there are more important things to worry about)

    • meow says:

      One thing about Silica, she is one of the more underdeveloped characters in the novels. She was only 13 years old but did she really survive day-to-day for over a year just bouncing between parties? I guess she was happy just to have Pina.

  5. This series is definitely my favourite of the summer season. Many people are likening it to .Hack// with good reason, however I think that this series has its own charms that make it unique and enjoyable.

    I particularly enjoy Kirito’s character and how badass he seems, however I do wonder if he’s going to come up against something he can’t handle soon. At the moment I’d love to know what Asuna has been up to.

  6. UltimateReaper says:

    This series is not my favorite of this season, however it is among the better than average anime I’ve seen, I dig the concept too, I’ve never actually played an online multiplayer but have always wanted to, I’m just too turned off and overwhelmed by trying to find something that isn’t just another “cliche”

    At this point I wonder how long the series will be, if its around 24 I’m fine with this pace, however if its one of the short ones, then it’s quite underwhelming, especially with the rushed feeling it gives

    • meow says:

      I’ve been pretty tempted to get back into my old MMO too after watching SAO but my reasons for leaving it in the first place haven’t changed. One thing about MMOs is it’s a virtual life that can eat into your real one in terms of time and possibly money, depending on how exploitative the game system is or what kind of people you may run into inside the MMO. Anime like SAO or .hack are kind of like honey traps and are a poor representation of actual MMO life. Perhaps I was one of the unlucky ones but, in spite of spending a small fortune on one over time, I didn’t get very far, didn’t manage to make any friends to keep and overall, my bad experiences exceeded my good ones in the end.

  7. UltimateReaper says:

    never played*

  8. Tpolo says:

    *SAO

    It was a good episode, other than the needless fanservice with those plants that brought it down on the reputable level . I really hope the pace of this episode is kept. I’m enjoying the show but I want it to be better, as people are saying the LN is.

  9. Cytl says:

    I actually liked this episode the most in terms of pacing and entertainment. Too bad the next episode is probably going to feel rushed and/or butchered.

    • meow says:

      I hope not. I was kind of looking forward to episode 4 as a litmus test and I have to say that it passed with flying colors. But yeah, next episode is pretty big. It’s two or three times longer than this episode’s story but it’s still seems to be only allocated to one episode. Hmm….

  10. AidanAK47 says:

    This series should improve immensely once it returns to the main plot. When that happens though…is the question. At the moment we are getting the side stories and I for one am a little annoyed that the only side story which was properly executed happened to be the weakest(In my opinion) and most MOE filled. She is a bit better than most Loli characters but she is still walking HNNNNGHHH.

    • Roninski says:

      Mm… All this filler (As I consider book two to pretty much be) is really getting me down. Get on with it bros!

      • meow says:

        Actually, explaining the mechanics of the game as well as the variety of environments is pretty important to the plot later. It goes into explaining some of the characters’ behavior and attitude towards the game. For example, little things like that bread with cream Asuna ate on the first level will have a big impact on her character later.

        One thing I feel this anime still needs is more visibility on how much time is actually passing between time skips so the audience can better anticipate/appreciate subtle changes to the characters over time. It’s only episode 4 but almost 17 months have passed and more than half the game’s levels have been cleared. 8 months passed between the disbandment of the Cats guild and the Christmas event and this Flower event happens roughly 3 months after that.

      • Crion says:

        The series seems to be progressing in chronological order which means there’s going to be a whole lot of filler for a while since the first volume of the books starts out in 2024, two full years after everything started.

  11. elior1 says:

    i think the next side story will be 2 or 3 episodes becouse it was big chapter and it also include asuna and kirito cute scences so if they will realy want to cover all the story this will be 2 or 3 episodes

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... otherwise have to wait for a year, even more before it reaches Australia. But many companies will raise in the wake of Netflix and that will be where problems arise
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Oh yeah, it turned out well. Didnt mean to say it didnt.
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Lol theres a surprise, seriously, Black Lagoons manga is updating again.
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worst recap ever for me? Gangsta. That was a stupid recap episode. Really like a Public Announcement. Useless, stupid, and ruining atmosphere. Utter stupidity. There I got it our of me :p
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They serve no purpose except to fill airtime when production gets fucked up. They have 2 bad choices - run a recap or run an unfinished episode. Recap is generally the less dogshit choice. I've seen a few anime that ran the episodes with unfinished animations and still frames.... the backlash was about 100x what a recap is.
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I'm about to say that to you as well Kaiser, maybe watch the recap and then continue on. The only thing I kind of take from the recap episode is the editting: how they chop off the fat of 6 episodes to still give you important developments. But as a way to catch up/ to reintroduce the series, it's freaking useless
Anonymous1104087
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Lenlo
I mean, aside from whatever happens with Mugaro.
Lenlo
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Lenlo
Seems I was right, Azazel didnt predict that Nina might not be so easily riled up as she once was. To bad so sad Azazel, she has someone she loves now.
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How useful are these recap episodes anyway/actually? Hypothetically lets say I was feeling lazy and decided to watch tsuki ga kirei starting from the recap episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
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Lenlo
So long as there are consequences for how hes acting, then I am ok with it. I just dont want him to turn into some MC hero when hes acting like this.
AidanAK47
And in Re:Creators Sota is still being a goddamn pussy. Now that the exposition has gone down I am really starting to hate this kid.
SuperMario
It's the presentation that they differ. Ghost Hound focuses more on the atmosphere, so those details I mentioned before work for their benefits; whereas Sagrada Reset focus on plots (and confusing themes) so those stick out like sore thumb.
SuperMario
4 episodes into Ghost Hound so far. This show also reminds me a bit of Sagrada Reset this season- the way they both emotional distant, complex plots; keep viewers away at arm's length, and feature characters that have robotic facial expressions. Yet I enjoyed Ghost Hound so far and couldn't engage in Sagrada Reset at all.
SuperMario
@Spike: I was like... "tsuki ga kirei has a recap episode, so let's move on to Kado"... another recap. Tsuki ga kirei I'm not too worry as it confirmed that it'll have 12 episodes, but I'm not confident on Kado
SuperMario
@lenlo: in a sense you have to suffer it all alone. No worries thou as I intend to binge watch it when this season's over
Spike
Kado team crumbled under the pressure. Recap this week.
Lenlo
@SuperMario, im happy I dont have to compete with anyone to cover Berserk :P Got it all to myself to whine about, though its been ever so slowly improving.
Anonymous1100725
Ranka is ranka in any verse.
Anonymous1100725
Bahmut no spoilers. Ranka Lee. She just doesn't get it so everyone dies. As she stands around wondering.
SuperMario
In fact, Okja will play in the Sydney film festival next month, but seeing that it will stream in Netflix at the end of June I think it's best to wait until then
SuperMario
@Kaiser: great, I'm super hyped to watch Okja. Always enjoy Boon's movies. The critic's reviews from Cannes on Okja should come up soon I believe.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I watched Lain many times over as well but I'm sure that I didn't pick up everything. That show required multiple-viewing anyways.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Good news, netflix will stream Okja at the end of this June.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its not often that I rewatch things, but years ago I've seen Lain at least three times, its also one of those few anime series where I felt to look up deeper analysis into it. It had a tremendous atmosphere and was ahead of its time.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: watching Ghost Hound made me want to revisit Serial Experiment Lain and give my episodic thoughts on that. Not gonna happen soon as I have my hand full right now but I swear I'll get to that one day.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I actually am planning to rewatch ghost hound soon, so I'll give you my new thoughts on it then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always avoided Altair mostly based on it being a shounen action series. Kakeguruis premise involves gambling games, which I don't find interesting.
KTravlos
Kakegurui is on my list. I thought it would be crap (terrible setting etc), but the manga won me over. Princess Principal will be given a chance, so will Shoukouko no Altair.and perhaps Reflection. We shall see. Also Twilight Axis Gundam, as I love the manga team.
AidanAK47
@Anon, Recap episodes exist because of production troubles. Sometimes shit happens when you make an anime.
You are being a bit overally argressive but I do agree with the statement that Ntr is pathetic power fantasy. It really is.
Anonymous1099236
Ntr is a pathetic power fantasy for pathetic people
Anonymous1099236
Why the hell do recap episodes exist. Do they think we're that autistic
SuperMario
I honestly don't even what NTR is so I had to look it up. Interesting
SuperMario
Just a quick remaider that Tsuki ga Kirei has a recap episode this week. And yep, after watching this week's Sakura Quest I think I'm gonna stick with it
SuperMario
Flipping through the list, I'm also pretty know what I'm interested in, most of them are original anime, which is a plus
SuperMario
@Aidan: I'm still amazed that us never have to fight over covering shows, except for that one time with Flip Flappers. Always thought that crappy tastes are the same
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Those two comments were refering to NTR trap
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would really genuinely like to see some of these smut manga actually functionally use fanservice and romantic sex scenes rather than just cheap titilattion
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Poorly done ragey drama with bad comedy bits , I've reached a point with it where I no longer want my time wasted by it.
AidanAK47
@Mario, I admit to having passing interest in Princess Principal but not enough to fight you over it.
And Tsurezure Children is actually really really good. Really fluffy love stories with great comedy.
SuperMario
haha, even me who love slice-of-life won't fall for Tsurezure Children
SuperMario
@Aidan: Princess Principal
SuperMario
@Kaiser: The character designs on Centaur kind of weirds me out though
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, Ugh...that one. Imagine a discount scums wish and you get the general idea.
AidanAK47
Mate if you are talking about Fate then let me say there is no way in hell I am not covering that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
NTR as the title of an anime? How shameless.
AidanAK47
@Mario,....Tsurezure Children?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I was surprised by centaur no nanami's manga. Actually cares about its setting and genuinely charming characters.
SuperMario
@Aidan: and this time there is 1 show we might both want to cover ^^
AidanAK47
I will have to start writing up that preview for this. I think it's pretty obvious what I am looking forward the most to watching.
AidanAK47
Links generally work with text if you place them at the end of it. Like so:
http://anichart.net/Summer-2017
Kaiser-Eoghan
[link src="http://anichart.net/Summer-2017
I....I"] might at least try the Vatican kiseki one and centaur no nanami...
AidanAK47
@Anon, Don't believe Clickbait. This is all based on a quote from the author thanking the animation studio and hoping for an opportunity to work with them in the future. What this confirms is that there is no plans for a season 3...yet. Could very well happen in the future. What this confirms is that it ain't happening any time soon.
Puran
Natsume is killing it this season.
Anonymous1094513
RIP Konosuba. Season 3 confirmed to not happen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PvOmsKjcJU.
Lenlo
Im not sure what they are even saying.
Anonymous1092432
lmao Anon 250 got rekt
AidanAK47
Normally I would delete openly offensive posts but seeing as these don't make enough sense to be offensive I will give them a free pass.
AidanAK47
No idea who this Adnan guy is but if he watches gay porn then so what?
Anonymous1092250
adnan watches gay porn
Anonymous1092250
people who watch one piece are just watching gay porn
Anonymous1092250
one piece of shit
SuperMario
Hey, do you guys know about wanna cry ransomware? how's the heck that I just aware of its existence today? Scary@@
Lenlo
Haha will do, but im not gonna compete outside a local, maybe regional level, not anymore. I mostly want to get back into my old shape after 2 years of letting it lapse.
SuperMario
Oh, congrats. Used to play sport in competitive level myself (tennis), but now I feel like an old big fat geezer now haha. Keep me updated on your Fencing as it might motivate me to join sooner ^^
Lenlo
Dont even have to work out to do Fencing, you can just go for fun once a week. Im just trying to get back into competitive shape now that I have my degree
SuperMario
I'm not really big on workin out though; my housemate just keeps asking to join gyming but I always back out, haha. Although I'm okay with running and I'm doing yoga like 4 times a week
Lenlo
Cool. And definitely, give Fencing a try, find your local gym.
SuperMario
When you feel sore it just means it's working, so all good haha. I'm still pretty much interested in try Fencing one day btw. About Uchouten, it's about a bunch of tanuki in human shape wander around and having fun (I'm not serious btw). I think the forst episode of the first season can tell you exactly the tone of the show, so you can watch that episode to see if it's your thing
Lenlo
I both love and hate the post-workout aches. Its what I get for trying to get back into Fencing shape.

Whats Uchouten about?
SuperMario
My love is blind, Kaiser. When I love a show I tend to go overboard with it ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
I’d forgotten how fun these characters are, although some of the novelty, charm, humour has worn off, it is still there and I’m beginning to re-remember while watching.
I do hope though that they’ll do more with Kaisei and Bonten however.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Annnnd thank you Mario again for your reviews tempting me to watch a show.
I was hesitant sitting down to watch season 2 of Uchouten Kazoku because it had been so long since I saw the original.
I caught up, Nidaime and Tenyama got my attention most, standout scenes were the shogi match and the second half of episode inside the painting, the bits between Yaichiro and that girl.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly I could never do the sleeping on the back thing, thats largely because I heard that it increases the risk of sleep paralysis/apnea.
Total users: 21

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