Posted by psgels on 25 December 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Sword Art Online

Um yeah. Sword Art Online. While it doesn’t beat Guilty Crown as “trainwreck of the year” for me, it still is a show I had very mixed feelings about. In order to explain why, I’m going to have to diverge a bit from my normal spoiler policy, though. I won’t outright spoil things, but I do have to say things about the plot progression here and what happens at certain stages. Because Sword Art Online has for me been the prime example of jumping the shark for the past half year.

Like Guilty Crown, SAO is what happens if you focus your series way too much around your male lead. Thankfully, Kirito is an actual character. A bland one, but an actual character, rather than a plot device. It’s nearly everything around him that’s a plot device instead though. The first half of the series however thankfully has enough to make up for it.

I mean the setting behind this show is fascinating: you’ve got an MMORPG that traps its own players. Wonderful! The despair of the people who are trapped inside it for an incredibly long time was great. A unique culture evolved that was really interesting to watch. Add that to great fight animation and a great climax, and you’ve got a very solid story. For the first half.

The show’s problems already shine through in the first half, but not bad enough. By far the worst issue I had was the harem element. Picture this: you’re on an mmorpg server. The females are in a big minority. And yet, nearly all of them end up falling for Kirito, the lead. He’s the first who truly cares about them when he meets them, he’s the first who makes them feel comfortable, even though he’s a completely antisocial guy. Yeah, this is wish fulfillment that is pretty thinly veiled. Kirito’s sole salvation here is that he actually ends up in a very good couple, and that the chemistry between him and the female lead actually works. The lead female is strong, and they complement each other quite well. The combination between action and romance works out quite well as the first half goes on and gets to its climax.

So yeah, the second half… it took about two episodes for me to completely give up hope on this series afterwards. That arc is just so inherently wrong on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to really start.

But imagine this: the bland male lead is happy in a couple. Then the female lead gets kidnapped for an entire season, and he starts flirting with his cousin (who he grew up with believing her to be his sister), leading to a completely pointless romantic quasi-incest subplot that doesn’t really go anywhere. Seriously, nearly the entire second half of this series is dedicated to just that, rather than the much more interesting other things aobut this series.

The second half is also littered with plotholes that this show just pulls right out of its ass, just to be more convenient and make the plot go as intended. It’s just too spoilery to go into details, but items appear from out of nowhere, the games in this series are riddled with design decisions that just boggle my mind, characters act irrational for no reason, and half the time this show doesn’t know whether it’s in a virtual world or not, which gets really annoying. Oh and the villain there. He’s one of the most stereotypical evil villains I’ve seen in a long while.

Thankfully this is an A-1 production, so the graphics look good and the fight animation is very creative. Yuki Kajiura behind the soundtrack is also solid, although with this series she really starts to reveal that she has run out of inspiration and that all of her music is just starting to sound the same.

Sword Art Online gets a lot of love. I don’t think that it deserves that. Sword Art Online also gets a lot of hate. And I also don’t think it deserves that either. Sure, its second half is pretty bad and all, but it does have its things to make up for it. Its setting has its traces of brilliance, and the first half was pretty solid there. Nevertheless. There’s better out there. It’s just too flawed to really recommend. The only thing I’m really angry at this series for is how it disrespects its female lead in its second half. That’s the one thing that I really find unforgivable. Apart from that the second half is just bad storytelling. Nothing more, nothing less.

Storytelling: 6.5/10 – Good build-up, but waaaay too many plot devices.
Characters: 6.5/10 – There are some interesting characters here, and the lead couple is quite good in the first half. This show completely disrespects the female lead in its second half by having her kidnapped, making her do nothing and have the male lead head off to a pointless incest subplot.
Production-Values: 8,5/10 – Great animation. It’s overall a very solid looking show at the very least.
Setting: 7.5/10 – The show gets some points for being interesting and having some really nice ideas. It loses points for not making any sense. Especially in its second half.

– .Hack//Sign

51 Responses

  1. Taara535 says:

    I dropped it right after the first episode of the second half. That was abysmal.

    I think you give its first half a bit too much credit. Near the end of the first half, especially, Asuna begins to lose a lot of her own initiative and strength just to show how great Kirito is. I was quite dismayed how a strong female lead suddenly became the poor damsel in distress trope so quickly. It’s quite a shame too, because as you said, the first half really wasn’t that bad.

    Oh well, the season has spoiled us with great new shows anyway. So it was not too much of a loss.

    • Lily says:

      I actually really enjoyed this show, and I think it is the best anime I have seen recently. I can see why some people might have a problem with the second half though. There is definitely a huge transition, between the first half and the second half and it likely threw some people for a loop.

      I think if you watch the show with only little time between episodes the momentum will carry you from the first half deep into the second and you can still be really into it. However, I suspect that if you are watching the episodes at a slower pace you might lose some of that momentum during that transition and maybe that is where some people are lost.

      When you think about it, the first half covers like 2 years of time and the second half is like 2 days. So it is understandable that some might get lost in that transition.

      I think all the incest talk is way over exaggerated though. It is practically nonexistent in the show. They even went out of their way to remove the bother and sister aspect just to appease people who are overly uptight, though had they been it still would of been okay because nothing happens, at all. There isn’t even so much as a forehead kiss.

      • gurdlo says:

        momentum isn’t an issue. i burned through the whole series in 2 days and still thought the second half was awful. Not that i liked the first half much. It had many plot hole, horrible villains, and pointless romances that went nowhere.

      • Iknow says:

        2 year transition is a problem. not an excuse.

    • Darius says:

      I can feel your feminism from here.

  2. Spike says:

    ALO was by FAR the weakest arc in the novel series, I think alot of the praise comes from the opening arc and the upcoming arcs that haven’t yet been animated. (they will be for sure) Questionable choices by the staff to condense / skip certain light novel details also really hurt the story.

    • TheUltimateReaper says:

      Wait wait wait.

      This isn’t the end of the series? How long is it? Wat

    • Spike says:

      There are 3 other arcs and a few more sidestories (like the first few episodes with Lisbeth / Kirito’s guild) Gun Gale Online arc is very good, Asuna has a short arc which is pretty fantastic, and the currently ongoing Alicization is very good so far. Novels are still ongoing and selling very well.

      • zettai says:

        the novels sold because of the release of its anime and its conclusion. i read the stats and its novels topped the novel selling charts along with accel world.

  3. TheUltimateReaper says:

    Ha ha, well I agree. Man. This anime certainly doesn’t have a special place in my heart, however it did enough for me that I won’t forget it.

  4. Bwaffles says:

    I completely agree with everything in this review. I loved the first few episodes and in the first season I wavered back and forth between awesome and mediocre. I particularly loved the mid-season finale and I would’ve given it an 8/10 if it ended there… then the second half came along. I didn’t like the elf themed world much, the fact that Kirito could pick up on everything so fast compared to people that have played it for months and obviously the terrible incest story line. I found myself struggling to get through the second half cause I didn’t even want to watch it anymore. The ending for me went back and forth between decent and terrible… the parking lot scene could have been great but instead it just made my head hurt. And the worst part of the whole show for me is their “child” turning into Navi and having random powers to change the game or get information for Kirito. I would have been perfectly fine with her not being in the second half.

    Overall I gave this a 6/10 which is a shame cause if it kept to the pace of the first half it could have been so much better.

  5. Entrav says:

    ALO is definitely the worst arc but that’s not really saying too much in SAO’s favor. Anyways, what I’m most disappointed in is the soundtrack. The same. Exact. Thing. Played EVERY TIME. It frustrates me because it was Kajiura Yuki and she normally creates fabulous pieces of music.

    Anyways, there was a lot of haters and fanboys surrounding this anime and I love watching them go at it.

  6. Frog says:

    This was a fair review and very balanced. I think it cut to the heart of SAO without letting too much bias get in the way.

  7. Kaiserin Emma says:

    As frog mentioned this review seems pretty even, that said I don’t think I’ll be picking this show up again after reading it. I got midway then started reading summaries, was particularly displeased with the treatment of Asuna’s character based on what I heard.
    It started off pretty good admittedly but faffed about too much with the occasional glimmer now and then.

  8. sushiyassin55 says:

    Agree with this review. On the other hand, incoming flame war in three…two…one…

  9. zero! Merry Christmas. :P

  10. Airies says:

    psgels, you are honestly way to nice.

  11. JaK says:

    good review! for the first time i think you were un biased about this series but really now you should get over your incestophobia xD shows like Oni Ani really made that theme work ah well..

  12. cras says:

    It made a turn for the worst, into a gutter, and out into shark infested waters. Let’s all just forget about the second arc :)

  13. NewNewBoy says:

    Thanks for the review, i thought i was going insane by skipping through the second half to just see what happen to both of the lead character. But i guess there people that can’t stand the alf world arc just like me.

  14. Miragey says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter here. Thanks for all the work you put into this site, Psgels!

    I enjoyed the setting, design and most of the story elements in this show.

    The big kicker for me? Cringe-inducing, hammy, cheesy forced emotions. All the goddamn time. As much despair as people would rightfully feel in a world like this, i just never bought it. Especially not with the main characters crying their eyes out over a computer program they’ve known for two days. I love subtlety in anime and character acting in general, and this show has little to none, IMHO.

    Also Kirito is the usual, tired girl-magnet, super-genius shounen protagonist, that also pissed me off. As Pixar mentions in their storytelling rulebook, “you admire a character more for trying than succeeding.” I felt little more than contempt for this flat, perfect stereotype.

  15. Silty says:

    psgels, should we hold our breath for Season 3 posts once it comes out, or have you completely given up on this series at this point?

    • psgels psgels says:

      The thing is indeed, that I’m not sure whether I want to subject myself to more of this. Sure, this was the worst part and all, but I’m not sure whether I can motivate myself to keep watching after being put through all that.

      • wa says:

        At least this had a nice animation and character design :) But I agree the second half was weak. Overall 3 stars out of 5. I am not sure whether I will either follow next season if there will be one (or several). The best premise was in the first story arc, I assume. On the other hand, this was the only anime I really waited to see week after week.

        • zettai says:

          the other arcs such as the mother rosario arc and the gun gale online arc takes it in a more serious approach as well as the latest project alicization (no more spoilers). overall, i believe this show is bit underestimated with the anime showing its frilly colourful side in the ALO arc when i believe the series should continue onto the more serious side. another season of the anime would fill our cup of teas. if you want to learn more, at least i recommend you research more about these arcs.

  16. SaiDaiOh says:

    I watched the .Hack/ Legend of The Twilight. That was better than this, even its of the same setting and plot

  17. Nelson says:

    Finally, someone who understands that SAO recieved an absurd amount of hype and failed to live up to it. First season wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t great either. I gave up on the second season as well, I just couldn’t stomach the nonsense after episode 17 or so.

  18. Avalon says:

    I agree that this series is overrated and that the 1st half was easily the best, but I still enjoyed it plenty.

    No the incest subplot was not needed, but beside that, I understand you hate incest, but that doesn’t mean a show with it is automatically bad. Back to SAO, did I miss something? When did Kirito ever flirt with his sister? He was just trying to build up their practically non existent brother-sister relationship. She was the one who went oogly eyes over him.

    I don’t know, this show was far from perfect, but I fail to see how Btooom! (which I also enjoyed) got a so much higher score…

  19. MaKinima says:

    Hmm… a decent review. I read the novels first, so it was great to get to see my favorite novel animated. However, I felt some parts were made overly epic and just turned out really corny and cliche. Strangely enough, I thought the ALO arc was interesting in how it handled the whole imouto-incest thing. It was much more interesting than the usual romantic comedy thing, and being told from suguha’s perspective was a plus (at least for me).

    I’ll agree with you on the harem thing. It annoys me to no end, especially when Kirito has a woman already. But I guess it helps to appeal to the readers so w/e, it works for the story.

    Honestly though, I think you should go read the novels rather than the anime as they are done much better than the animation. Plus there are a lot of other side stories and sequels that help flesh out the world. I would have scored it a bit higher honestly just because of my bias, but I thought they could have done more with SAO.

  20. BOB says:

    I totally disagree with your review. Kirito has a lot of character, and perhaps you should read the novel, read the manga, the 4-koma, and watch the entire anime. Then talk. It is wonderful, and Asuna is always off getting captured. Is that, like, the only episode people watched? For real. It is an amazing story plot, and I don’t agree with incest, but it was a stupid sub-plot, for it wasn’t there that long. Sugu only liked Kirito because she was unsure of her heart. She got over him, IF you watched or read.

    • BOB says:

      “but it was a stupid sub-plot”

      Was should be wasn’t.

    • psgels psgels says:

      The thing is, this is a review of the anime Sword Art Online, and just these first 26 episodes. I don’t care about the novels here, this is a series that for me, needs to stand on its own. And in that respect, the incest subplot took up nearly half of its airtime. And if Kirito has a lot of character, then the anime sure did a good job of hiding all this.

    • Airies says:

      mate, no one gives a rats ass about any of the other mediums sao is spread on. This is an anime review site not a ‘pick a series and watch/read everything there is to it’ blog. so calm the fuck down and move on.

      • Amaya says:

        I agree with the above about not needing to read the other mediums, but I’d like to point something out as a person who has read the other mediums as well, particularly the Light Novels.

        Kirito has, to me, no character. He is aptly put a Gary Stu, or a form of wish fufilment character. The only points where he shines are in the action scenes which there is no characterisation involved, and even then he is overpowered which really doesn’t allow for much of a good story.

        His romance with Asuna, presumably the main focus of the series, was so badly written it is almost hilarious. Note the Light Novel itself started at the 75th floor and we were supposed to actually follow the romance from there, so in that aspect the anime actually did a way better job. However, both the anime and the Light Novel failed to tell a story. SAO has a good setting and a lot of promise, but its delivery failed terribly. Main heroines are generally cliches and the main love was started so abruptly and badly that when later stories become pivoted on that romance, it is difficult to actually follow the goal. Instead, it’s more apparent that people follow Kirito and just want to see him kick ass. Asuna, with all her promise in the early parts of the anime, just becomes a generic tsundere.

        SAO’s character development, story telling and all else are hardly anything to praise about at all, but the anime has done a good job portraying fight scenes which are good to watch, and has done a better job telling the story than the actual Light Novels (mostly for the first half, but the time skips are still an issue).

        Regarding your views, Bob, I’d like to address some things. Spoiler alert, so yeah:

        Kirito’s character is bland, and is only saved slightly by the fact that he’s a badass at everything. Even in the case where he confides to that nurse (Aki, I think?) about his worries of killing people, that didn’t give us an insight on what kind of person he is. It does at best let us know that he’s just a kid. And if he is a kid, his actions everywhere else don’t show this at all and the virtual world adventures and everything don’t give us any insight on him other than a carefree attitude and a hero wannabe. This is worsened when the story in the Light Novel is written from his perspective most of the time, so by right we should get to know more about him. But we didn’t.

        Asuna being captured is not one episode; it’s the entirety of the ALO arc. Her character from being a badass vice-captain became nothing more than a tsundere (if you even give her that much credit after seeing how completely lovey-dovey she is later). The main issue is that Asuna’s character seemed to have been completely tossed away the moment she fell in love with Kirito, from a possibly strong female into a girl who’s lovestricken.

  21. PRAX says:

    It seem more and more these days that north americans are falling out of touch with the art of storytelling. I see this all the time when the most common complaint about a anime is that it added piontles characters or events that did nothing to move the plot towards the ending. When people look at a story as a beginning and end rather than a gurney then they shouldn’t be surprised when their expectation falls short or they find themselves being bored by extended dialog and seemingly needles character stories. I want to make it clear that i am not writing this to attack some part of the north american psychology, I have my own theories on this subject but they are anecdotal and pointless to say. what I am here to do is to dipell shity reviews that make illigitamets argument for why the particular animes were crap, and I don’t want anyone giving the “in my opinion speech” stories are fiction and that means opinions are as strong as scientific fact.

    Reason Number one. A story is a gurney, so you can’t sit there and pick and chose what you like and dislike. yes you can find certain characters annoying, and stupid side plot lacking in purpose, but you can not remove and judge these element individually form the story. so if you say “sword art online whas good for the first season but the second season was disappointing” then you are only writing haf a review. Regardless of whether you like the second season or not you did watch it and thus your opinion was influenced by it, so you must judge it as a whole. So if you thought the second season was shit then you have the option of saying it was either fucking awesome or shit, not this bake your kake and have it to bolshit midle ground. A story is a sum of all it parts.

    Reason Number two. If the only enjoyment you get out of a story is seeing the plot end. then you are sadly missing out on most of what makes a story fulfilling. The plot it the guiding force but far from the main event. I have to say this one boils my blood the most. when I hear people say things like, “it was too slow”, “things didn’t get going tell episod X”, “too much filler” fuuukkkkkkkkk, yes there is such thing as too long of a gurney but what would you rather have a filling meal or a cookie. This is where I say to each their own. some people love the ongoing stories like bleach and naruto were the plot essentially take a backseat and it become more about the moment rather than the journey. This also goes the other way some people hate these type shows because they prefer a strong plot and await the conclusion with eager anticipation. I myself fall more into the later of the tow. You can see these story telling style everywhere. some writers spend their careers writing interconnecting series while others write one off original pieces. So when you see what you think is filler then asked yourself is it really un enjoyable to watch or is it cookies with jam. I could go on about this forever but it come down to the fact that anything between the beginning and end is technically filler. I personally like the pacing and depth that side plots and characters add. When properly used it make a plot worth caring about rather than another solved mystery.

    Reason number three. Stereotypes are more original than you shitty attempt at a review. I can’t tell you how many times people main gripe is that the story was not original. Yes your stereo typed character by himself is boring but throw in the rest of the story and bam! your finded your self emotionally invested in the simplest of characters. So next time I hear some dumb shit say “the plot was good but the characters were way too stereotypical or vice versa” I ask this person to consider that fact that maybe it’s them that has become the stereotype picking the same type stories over and over again. if you eat the same foods day after day then no shit it’s going to seem bland and boring to you.

    Reason number four. The purpose. Good storytelling is what shapes us as individuals. Stories for me take me on a gurney that I otherwise would have not been able to go on. I will never save the world, rescue the princess, solve the mystery, find my self in a love triangle with sister/brother (but don’t worry it totally cool they are not blood related) but threw good stories telling I can pretend to experience these things my self. nothing more gratifying than making fantasy realty.

    When we watch anime we do it to be entertained. when we write a review we do it to share our thoughts and feelings that we experienced. so next time you review a story keep in mind that you are not reviewing the story, but the gurny it has taken you on.

    My review of sword art online.

    A brilliant adventure that explores the gap between fantasy and reality. If you are at all a little nerdy then the characters and plot will be very easy to connect with. The story raise some questions that face humanity in the 21st century. If none of that seem interesting than I would say at the very least it make for a amazing Epic love story. If I have to express how it made me feel I would say watch an AMV called “17,568 Hours” by FaytxZen

    ps: Quit chopping anime reviews up into little pieces, it just make you sound like a picky eater.

    • psgels psgels says:

      I disagree with a lot of points here. For example, storytelling being about the journey. That’s indeed fine and all, if time was limitless. Unfortunately, I’m quite busy and I want to spend my limited tim having fun, not watching a story drag on pointlessly. Since I write reviews based on my own opinion just like you, this translates over to my review.

      Stereotypes, you do have a good point about that. For me, stereotypes should not be a problem if there is enough to make up for them. Unfortunately there are enough cases where this isn’t the case. Also, speaking of stereotypes: why North American? I’m Dutch.

    • Cytl says:

      There are different approaches for reviewing/analyzing a work of fiction. Even so, if people didn’t separate the different elements inside a story then modern storytelling wouldn’t exist: Keep in mind that most of the contemporary methods in this field comes from the analytical efforts of the Russian formalism and structuralism. I don’t know if Psgels is a student/professional of these fields (I seriously have no idea) but in either case, I don’t see why he can’t give his own approach when reviewing. I agree half of the time he may nitpick, but analyzing characters, plots, settings, etc. individually is not a case of this.

    • someloser says:

      This has seriously got to be the most retarded thing I’ve read in a long time. Only person whose who doesn’t know shit about storytelling is you, you pretentious faggot. The entire introduction here is nothing more than a summary of how you view your own opinions as being above everyone else.

      reason one: “ignore all good parts or ignore all bad parts”, seriously how old are you? shit being judged as either completely good or completely bad? Are you fucking retarded? The best car on the market will still have flaws, and people will still point out those flaws because people will want to improve on them. judging shit a completely good or completely bad is probably the most shallow and halfassed way to give a review.

      reason two: blah blah blah this isnt your fucking blog, so stop dishing out your own gripes about other fans. The aspect that psgels does a review on every episode goes to show that he doesn’t just pay attention to the end and the beginning. so stop assuming flaws in your reviewers. Do you even know what the hell is a filler?

      reason three: “stereotypes are good because their better than your bitching.” seriously is this the best you can come up with, you filthy casual? “Let’s overwrite this problem, by focusing on how good the plot is and ignoring the stereotypes” Back to reason one you ignorant faggot, stereotyping will always be a negative problem that you cant just overwrite with positive aspects of the show. People dont like seeing the same thing over and over again, and writers know that too.

      reason four: why are you bring this up? psgels has does exactly what you said, but you still seem butthurt that he didn’t find it to his liking. “next time you review a story keep in mind that you are not reviewing the story”

      The questions about the 21st century were never fully explored while the romance was james bond tier, going to show that this has got to be the 3rd piece of work you’ve probably laid your eyes on. and if anything your own shitty review had probably made psgel’s look better in comparison. You aren’t dispelling anything, kid.

      ps: take some damn literature classes while you’re at it. and spelling classes as well. there’s a damn difference between journey and gurney

    • starwatcher162536 says:

      I doubt your overall thesis that North America doesn’t appreciate the journey. There are a number of episodic series that lack a strong cohesive plot that the series centers around that have been popular stateside. Now and Then, Here and There. Cowboy Bepop. Kino’s Journey. Many others.

      Sword Art Online in the first half, did as you say, explore the gap between fantasy and reality. The Second half did not. It was good when it did, but even the first half had much uninteresting fluff. The other series mentioned also had fluff but made it interesting.

      Sword Art Online vacillated between good and mediocre in the first half and mediocre and bad in the second half.

    • Highfinder Highfinder says:

      “A story is a gurney”
      gurney – A wheeled stretcher for transporting hospital patients

      In sword art online’s case that certainly is true. As those who are drawn into it may be in need of hospital care or suffer from terminal stupidity.

      I will just say this. In that giant wall of text there you mentioned about opinions being as strong as scientific fact when it comes to fiction. That depends on how well the opinion is written. For example you have mentioned that you think the plot is strong, the characters are good and the side stories add pacing and depth. Of course, you have not said how the story is strong, how the characters are good or how the the side stories add pacing and depth. Nor given examples from the show which illustrate this. So really that opinion is about as good as someone saying “It’s good because it’s good” so you could have saved a lot of time by saying just that instead of blathering on about other fans opinions and saying some rather irrelevant stuff about a story being a journey instead of a story. Journey or story, that doesn’t change anything. If a journey is poorly constructed then it doesn’t negate it’s flaws by calling it a story.
      I recommend on reading up on writing a well informed opinion. As I can promise that with the way you write now that no one will take your opinion seriously. Because as you write now it sounds that you are basing your opinion fully on a emotional response and truly have no idea what you are talking about.

    • Iknow says:

      i can’t believe that I’ve read all of this and got nothing out of it.
      How sad.

  22. zerr says:

    Ill agree that the second part staled out a bit, but I think youre way overthinking things if you let it get in the way of enjoying the anime… one just has to accept that there will always be something to criticize… so take the review with a grain of salt, and make up your own mind about it, dont let someone else do it for you… that said, it is worth watching and enjoying

  23. zettai says:

    imo, i feel like sword art online should take a second chance in terms of making up for its mistakes when they decide to create the gun gale online arc. surely i enjoyed its story and action but felt a bit weak in the second arc (in my opinion which felt underrated despite its way of storytelling of kirito’s past) as well as the introduction to the “harem element” which i agree kinda ruined the series (not gonna go fanboy with it or hate it) but i’d like the series to continue on. i heard about the story ongoing to some more serious atmosphere which interests me and ideally feels actually more of what this anime really stands out to be. i wish it hurries up to make the upcoming arcs and release it… :/

  24. Sara says:

    I completely agree with you. The second half gave me a feeling of completely destroying my laptop. Its just so freaking unreasonable!
    The main lead couple should have been favored through out! The biggest downfall in this anime for me was the introduction of the fake sister character, and to see their guts, the anime ended with a gut renching dancing scene from the pseudo couple!
    I wish Asuna could just kill her -.-

    The first half of it really made me believe it would be an awesome anime, but for me the disappointment of the latter half made me resent it.

    I wish they did not continue with the anime after episode 15.

  25. the bomb says:

    okay, everyone saying that the anime was bad in the second half are completely wrong. I actually liked the second half as good as the first one. Most of the people who hated the second half are girls, and are jealous and mad at Kirito for getting the chance to flirt with other girls. Not his fault he’s a girl magnet. You can’t expect every anime to be a lovey dovey fairytale like Romeo and Juliet with a beautiful ending. The director actually spiced things up, with his cousin, NOT sister romance. Something out of the blue, and interesting unlike other animes.Even if the romance continued between kirito and his cousin I wouldn’t have a problem with it because it’s the directory’s story and everyone not agreeing that the second half was good by starting the controversies actually makes it more interesting.
    There are so many instances where cousins marry cousins. In the old days it used to be a norm in the early 1800’s so everyone stop whining and enjoy the anime ;). It’s amazinggg

  26. Amaya says:

    I think SAO is a fair, if not good representation of what anime is to other people: a cartoon. It’s great to watch for just surface-deep aspects, such as art, combat scenes, pretty characters. But anyone who watches an anime for plot, character development wise or are able to go beyond the surface-deep level, will be unlikely to like this series because it cannot tell a story.

    Character development, plot development and just about everything that goes beneath the surface are handled poorly. Even its romance, a key plot point, was lazily developed. Characters are cliches and forgettable, even the main character since he is in fact just a Gary Stu or a wish fufilment character without much development otherwise.

    But if you’re looking for something that will entertain you just by looking and not watching, then SAO may be a good choice of anime.

  27. Marceline says:

    The time skips were too fast and I didn’t see proper development of the leads relationship. Legit one episode they hate each other 2 time skips later; “OMG I love you kirito lets get married!!”. Honestly I think I’ll pass watching the next season…

    • meow says:

      My concern with the 2nd season is how they’re starting to introduce some weird abstract philosophical elements into the story. (For those who’ve seen it, I’m talking about Kirito and Asuna’s convo on the park bench.) I’m not sure about what they’re talking about or what relevance, if any, it has on the main story. They talk like they get it completely but the whole thing seems lost on me.

  28. Minna says:

    I’ve learn a few just right stuff here. Definitely
    value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt
    you set to make such a wonderful informative web site (Minna).

  29. april says:

    I’m on episode 19 of s1. I haven’t been paying attention to the last two episodes. Seriously, it’s ridiculous. I was all on board with the first half but past episode 15, I would strongly recommend no one bothering to continue with it. However, annoying, I can’t stop when i’m so close to the end so i’ll grit my teeth through these last few episodes as best i can.

Leave a Reply

Kaiser Eoghan
Based on my comments, it looks like I had a mixed reaction to the third season. Three out of six, but the great was was great and forgives it but I still feel that there was more of a consistentancy in quality in the other seasons. I enjoyed every story in seasons 1 and 2.
Kaiser Eoghan
The final episode felt like a movie all on its own, I'd have gladly watched another thirty minutes of it, ending was a nice punch in the gut.
Just finished black mirror season 3. I hear people basically complaining that it's not as strong as the previous two season but I disagree. I really enjoyed this and this is a show that deserves much more episodes. Personal favorite is between shut up and dance and hated in the nation. Worst I thought was San Junipero. Overall thought each episode was interesting.
Kaiser Eoghan
On the upside I loved black mirrors fifth episode, I'm a sucker for war/action-dramas and I particularly liked the tech in this one.
Kaiser Eoghan
Yeah this is impossible for me to sit through, the romance part is also rather dull.
Kaiser Eoghan
Eh, this fourth episode is plodding and trite, feels like a bad, poorly dated 90s film.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Third episode also instilled a great sense of paranoia.
@Kaiser: thanks for that mate. I have too much to say for Flipflappers but to put them all in coherent flow is goddamn hard. And like I said I still fell I left many details out: that gung-ho potato or Yayaka and the twins
@Friend: jugding from the last convention I went to, people loved Re:Zero customs (Emilia and Rem, Ram were highlights. Or you could try RWBY characters (I for once love to see someone cosplay Pirrha Nikos or Velvet Scarlatina)
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: Didn't care much for new black mirrors second episode, then again I'm not really the target for that story. The third episode while a bit heavyhanded and predictable was suspenseful, nasty/mean and I liked that about it, did in 50 minutes what some thrillers fail to achieve in two hours.
Holo is a good one :0
Materials aren't a problem at all for the most part, except for anything too crazy like working in brass. I'd prefer it to be characters I'm familiar with.
Does it matter to you that they're from shows that you like, or are you just in it for the challenge?
@Friend Aidan has some good ones there. I'd also give the cast of Akame ga Kiru a shot, I don't like the series but it has a lot of neat character designs.
I was thinking simple as I didn't know what kind of materials you got on hand. I was also thinking of Holo from spice and wolf or Kino from Kinos journey either.
Mm, Tatsumaki might be not challenging enough to design for. Doesn't Shiki simply wear either a coat or Japanese kimono? I do work in set design and not in character prop design, but I'd love to try something that would let me reasonably challenge myself.
@Friend, Spit balling here but Tatsumaki from One Punch Man? I know the costume for that one would be simple enough. Or maybe Shiki from Kara No Kyoukai?
*I don't want to do anything too complex for my first try, but I also don't want to do anything boring. Boring would be a character like Rukia or Celty. Any ideas?
I remember talking about this with Emma/Kaiser before, but has anyone here gone cosplaying at an expo before? I thought it would be neat to try designing my own costume and try something else beside drawing on a computer.
@Kaiser, I am up to episode 4. 3 has been the best one so far.Though in all these episodes I pretty much figured out the twist from the get go. Still this shows always tends to get you thinking.
Kaiser Eoghan
I think the roles/identity thing with flipflappers, at least with the protaganist does fit in well with adolescence.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Aidan: I've only seen the first episode so far. I felt the acting was intentional and reflected the satire Brooker was going for on the shallow nature of society. Bleak as ever but gloriously grotesque.
Kaiser Eoghan
@Mario:Good in depth reviewing there Mario of flipflappers episode three.
Good god this first episode of black mirror is hard to watch. I know exactly how it's going to turn out but it's just so damn painful to watch.
Well, tbh up to where I've seen there's not much explicit yaoi in yuri on ice, only a lot of fujoshi fuel.
@Kaiser. thanks for the torrent. Gonna blaze through this today.
@Topgavin, as someone who watches a metric ton of anime I am rather surprised at that estimate that 90% of it contains Yuri.
My god those gay scenes in Yuri on Ice are hard to watch for me. Wonder if this is how it feels to be a girl watching 90% of normal anime nowadays.
okay, Flip Flappers episodic review was up. This is my lengthiest weekly review so far and I still feel I missed a lot of points. Damn you Flip Flappers
Kaiser Eoghan
You have seen the light, not needing to know everything thats happening to enjoy something ^_^
Kaiser Eoghan
I've given some consideration to reviewing that oujia film followup.
Whether you see one or the other is entirely up to your preferences, so it makes no difference to me which is worse. I have gotten very tired of generic character types, but again that's just because of the things I decide to regularly follow.
I will say if it must come down to either unnatural dialogue or unnatural character types, at leas the character type is speaking their own words and not the words of the script writer.
Or was that a black and white fallacy? Maybe it was a little of both.
@Realjustified, K-Off wasn't agreeing with me. That's a Moving the Goal Posts logical Fallacy but well I will answer regardless. Honestly it's preferable to have neither. The big mistake you are making here is that you are putting down a condiction that a show must have one or the other. But both cartoons and anime can have both. I just think it's a lot more prominent in cartoons than anime.
Like, having read hundreds of harem manga over the years, a majority of the ultimate love interest always happens to be the first girl the protagonist meets.
Wait wait wait wait. Aidan and K-Off. I get that dialogue in cartoon can seem like it was written by a script writer, but at the same time, lots of anime have characters whose sole purpose is entirely scripted. The whole spectrum of "deres" and everything. What do you think is worse? Unnatural dialogue, or unnatural character types?
You guys should really go fuck yourself, it's a solution and it's nothing short of great!
You guys should really watch the first 4 episodes of Bungo, it's a prequel and it was nothing short of great!
omg!! I just realized To be Hero was one of the show that I reviewed its 1st episode back in Chinese Animation post. I watched raw then though
forgive me if I'm a bit too overwhelmed by Flip Flappers... For this episode alone I took like 25 screenshots...trying to write a review now...
I have absolutely no idea what is going on in Flip Flappers plot. And yet for some reason I am OK with that.
Anyone out there that's a fan of crude humor should go watch ep.3 of To Be Hero. Certinately stepped it up a notch from the last two humor-wise.
One downside I can think of already is that I'm bound to lose or break one of the detachable controllers. The cost for those pieces is what I'm most interested in.
Nintendo Switch hmm? Honestly it looks too good to be true. I expect some major downsides to this thing.
I like cartoons, don't get me wrong. Certainly good for a change of pace. But there is something about the way they are written that I find rather distracting.
I don't know, maybe if I said it's like the difference from how characters talk in movie vs how characters talk in a sitcom?
@K-Off, I said one liner's or jokes. Not one liner jokes. It's hard to explain. Basically when I hear a conversation in anime even if it is based in stereotypes, it at least feels like a conversation that's being had in the moment. In cartoons however there is a layer of artificiality and it feels like characters know what a person is going to say and has a response prepared.
That's probably why some of my favorite anime in recent years haven't been very heavy on character archetypes, or were either parodies of it.
Comedic dialogue with anime in recent years have leaned too much on the idea of playing off character archetypes. The collected character vs the energetic character, for one. I'd like to see more variety. Some more word play, hyperbolic humor, body humor, etc etc.
@Aidan Not quite sure what you mean by that, because it's certainly not even a majority of cartoons that rely on cheap one liner jokes. I suppose it's entirely up to taste, but I can appreciate the energy in cartoons like Steven Universe or Regular Show when compared to the increasingly repetitive dialogue found in some recent anime.
@Topgavin: I just read that review and his main reason being Shelter is pretentious. oh well! Can't never please anyone.
Thought I'd check out the reviews for Shelter on MAl and the top review is a 1/10. Apparently because it's a cute girl we sympathise with her more, which is bad because reasons. I mean.. what? MAL never ceases to amaze me
@Mario, no. It's more that the dialogue keeps trying to push out one liners or jokes regardless of whose talking.
@Aidan: maybe because they spoke in your native language do you can feel that it's artificial, ya know? I know I have the same problem with Vietnamese drama/ cartoon and maybe Japanese people have that same issues with anime?
By which I mean, the way characters talk in cartoons is very...artificial. Like you can tell that the dialgoue was clearly written beforehand and it never really sounds natural. At least to me.
@Anon, I wouldn't. The writing and structure are too cartoon. What with the episodic nature and dialogue that generally pushes for a comedic tone.
Kaiser Eoghan
Flanagan also directed absentia which I haven't seen yet but I think someone I came across of 4chan linked it to being lovecraftian?
Kaiser Eoghan
Oculus was a film of two halves for me. Hush was a pretty standard home invasion thriller, making the victim deaf was an interesting twist but not as unique as you might think, still suspenseful though.
Kaiser Eoghan
I never saw the first oujia film. Though Mike Flanagan who did the sequel, he's never made a bad movie but he's never really made a great one either.
Kaiser Eoghan
I stick to the firm belief that cartoons and anime, visually should do and be their own thing. I'll prefer a western artstyle for cartoons rather than one pretending to look like anime style.
But this is a good topic and I'm sure everyone has their own opinions so I'm looking to hear some more arguments
@anon352392: no they aren't. For me not because of where their production based, nor their intended audience, but rather their styles, both visually and storytelling-ly, are different
Anime,” they assert, is not a “style” of illustration or animation.
That's where I differ to those guys. For me, anime is a style. In that sense, I consider RWBY, and Canadian-produced short Flutter as an anime. Thunderbolt Fantasy is not and anime-influence shows/movies that are intented for Western audience like AniMatrix or Afro Samurai are anime
@Anon nah they wouldn't be because they aren't made by a japanese producer for the japanese market. Quality isn't the question, production is
NX and Red Dead Redemption 2 trailers tomorrow.
They are good series and i honestly like them alot more than most anime series, would their quality make them anime?
What about cartoons like Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, Wander Over Yonder, Star Vs The Forces Of Evil?
In other news a sequel to an absolutely terrible horror movie called Ouija is out and it's...actually pretty good? Wondering if critics were paid off or it is legit good. Well it did have the guy who was behind Oculus and that was a pretty good movie.
Simplify the term down enough and anime is literally anything animated but the whole point of the term is to distinguish it. For to call Spongebob an anime makes me want to projectile vomit. Point is this, you say you watched a cartoon, people think Tom and jerry, Scooby doo etc. You say you watched an anime, people think Cowboy bebop, Attack on titan, etc. Whole point of the term.
For example, I don't consider Avatar or RWBY to be anime for while they use anime style, the writing is fundamentally structured like an American cartoon. Through I would consider Bloodivores an anime even though it was made by a Chinese animation company, making it technically a Chinese cartoon.
As far as what is and isn't anime I honestly think of the term as a means of distinguishing it from cartoon which gives the impression of being for children. It's like Graphic novel is to comic book. Though techically graphic novels are issues of comics bound in book form, the term Graphic novel is often used to distinguish works that go above superhero comics and whatnot.
Basically I think it was due to Porter Robinsons involvement that they didn't consider it anime.
@Aidan: Did the mods give any concrete reasons why they didn't consider it an anime?
@Mario, It wasn't the community that had the problem. It was the mods. The community made it pretty clear that they considered it anime.
So despite the art style is obviously anime, the character speaks in Japanese, and the production was animated by A1 Studios, it's not an anime? Sometimes I feel sad that the anime community keeps limiting themselves with such fixed minds.
I saw it yesterday and yes it was good. For a 5-minute story, they don't make it too overwhelme with details, and still pack an emotional punch. Moreover it elevates the song. Good stuffs.
Shelter was quite good though. It works well and the animation was beautiful. Song is not bad either. It's got a nice emotional punch to it though it's a bit simple a story.
Well anyway I only saw all this because I checked out the video for the first time and wanted to see how others thought of it with a quick scan through reddit. And I get this shitshow instead.
Playing the victim is the one really pisses off the internet. For refusing to admit you f*cked up only encourages people to shove how you f*cked up into your face. That's what really grinds peoples gears.
Yep, seen that too. The mods even put up another tread about the video and tried to guilt trip people by saying they got death threats. Look, internet rules 101. If you said or did something stupid admit to it and just walk away. Do not try to deflect blame or play the victim, that only adds fuel to the fire.
@Aidan oh yeah saw that live lol. Porter himself even commented on twitter about it, gotta love internet drama
So did anyone happen to catch the big old shitstorm of that Shelter music music when a mod of the Anime subreddit decided it wasn't "Anime" enough and removed the discussion post about it? Oh internet drama...what silly nonsense.
Finally caught up with JoJo. Diamond is Unbreakable has turned out to be much better than Stardust Crusaders. Should have waited for the season to finish through as I really loved marathoning it.
I had a feeling that might be the case considering the source materail for luger.
@Mario Oh I watched that, certinately worth it. Packed more story that some 12-episode shows do nowadays and gorgeous animation.
and I will check out "Shelter" music video to see what all the fuss is about
*this weekend to be exact.
Sounds like Luger Code 1951 is an OVA that will air next week, the same air date with "my" Zaregoto OVA.
@Mario: doesn't sound real at all to me lol
@Mario, I might be able to manage. If all else fails I can talk about the past of these historical figures.
While I don't mind watchinng Drifters, I swaer if I had to cover that show, I couldn't come up with anything to say.
Do you guys know what language the fairies speak in Drifters? It does sound like a genuine language
@topgavin: humanity has declined is a great show. It has good writing and dark, witty sense of humor. I could talk about it in length but psgels pretty much covered it all. He was really impressed by that show however.
That should be me covered till the weekend. Why do all my shows air on the weekend...
@Mario nah I've watched the whole thing but I'd heard about it at the start of this year and put it off. The dialogue between her and the fairies was great stuff, probably gonna rewatch it this weekend now that you mention it
Alright, I got three posts written up and will be throwing them out in about two hours or do.
I thought you've finished it. Yeah I love her character a lot, so cynical but witty. My favorite moment was when she read about fairy's plan to invent religions. She was like "so religions are invented?" (beat) "I've learn something new today". Priceless
@Mario Oh nice, it was one that I had heard about but never got round to. To put it in simple anime terms, Watashi is best girl
@topgavin: I just finished the series yo mentioned the other day: humanity is declined. Man, I love it. I know now I have a thing for dark twisted absurdist anime
@Ano340004: the name is Watashi ga Motete Dousunda, or to put it short Motete. I have fun with it but i'm not that enthuastic
@anon the english name is Kiss him, not me. Search through the first impressions if you need the jap name.
then that girl really loves BL (boy love)
what is the name of the anime that the girl is fat and then she got depressed because her favorite boy anime died then she got thin?
Season 7 is awesome so far too. It feels like the tone of the show is finally back to normal and it feels like Adventure Time again.
Whew, I binged all seasons of Adventure Time this weekend. The show hit a low spot in Season 6 but I think it needed to happen...Poor Finn needed the serious character development after what he did to FP.
You guys are too hard on it
Motete is very funny
Kaiser Eoghan
When it comes to gag manga and four-koma, I just eventually reach a stopping point with a comedy series in that format. Even with hidamari sketch.
I think it was typical light novel trash based on what was in the PV. I laughed that despite it being horrible that the crowd still cheered anyway, likely because it had a bath clip in it.
The PV was hilarious. I had no idea what the anime was about.
@Aidan I'm good, I'll stick with Working.
@K-Off, you could switch to something like Gi(a)rlish Number if you like. I for one am really digging the satire of the show. Plus I like that it's basically showing how an utter train-wreck of an anime can be made. That PV in the last episode was truly painful.
Feeling pretty disappointed with Working. I haven't gotten any more cynical with comedies, at least I don't think, and its flaws are so irritating.
@Adam Le, I find that with Comic book dialogue. Which is one of the reasons I have gone off marvel movies. Cartoons have it to a degree as well.
I love the instagram shots in Yuri
Maybe I can have a watch through those live action films and do a compare/contrast to see which version works better. After all movie and tv series are 2 different medium, and live-action vs animation is the topic that we never get tired of
speaking of which, the overlap between anime and live-action adaptation from manga is overwhelming. For this year alone, there were Erased, 3-gatsu no Lion, Fune o Amu, orange, and Chihayafuru (part 1&2). Those were just the ones I know.
@Adam: Don't know which genre you're into but you can try Fune o Amu (The Great Passage)
Adam Le
I can't seem to get into any of these new shows. I don't know, the dialogue always seems off to me and the forced comedy is a big turn off.
Reminds me of a thought I had when I was last at the Getty art museum. People walking past works of art hundreds of years old, but only taking a second-long glance before moving on to the next one. Not their fault really, it's only the professional critics who can understand what they see with depth.
I'm the opposite really, they're getting paid for what they said so they better know their shits
Kaiser Eoghan
I suppose I'm slightly envious of professional critics somewhat.
Sometimes you're just meant to experience the ride you know. I don't watch those explained video anymore because after all it's just one guy's opinions.
Kaiser Eoghan
Kaiser Eoghan
And I mean people who art professionals or students.
Kaiser Eoghan
I guess I'm just unsure of something, how many people watching "arty" stuff are able to pick it up on their own. By looking up an "explained video" or "explained essay" to get it, am I copping out?
Kaiser Eoghan
I feel like I've begun getting on board with the european art stuff but am really only scratching the surface with the Chinese and that stuff.
Kaiser Eoghan
And find myself missing whats going on sometimes.
Kaiser Eoghan
I'll admit I do find it frustrating, that even though I can like art films, emotionally connect at times, appreciate the visual techniques and admire them for being so different without looking up analysis by people far smarter than myself I honestly feel lost sometimes as to the meaning.
@Kaiser: Apichatphong Weerseethakul's films are so otherworldly and spiritual that I wouldn't dare to call them "dreams" anymore. Check out his "Uncle Boonmie", "Syndromes and a Century", "Cemetery of Splendors". he has such singular vision that just watch and experience his films are rewarding enough
@afgm: well, if we really go over-analyze it, bunnies can represent desire for example ^^
like eating sweet snow is so randomness for me
@Badesh: the things you said might be something I might do in the future. After all I love dissecting symbolism. But for Flip Flappers I need to know more what are intentional and what are randomness first
So Papika is corrupting Cocona? That would make some sense I guess
I mean I guess bunnies represent purity? Maybe?
@Kaiser: I mean yeah I get that things can be beautiful just because they're beautiful. But the effort comes in trying to connect that beauty and symbolism to the story as a whole, which is something I honestly struggle to do with Flip Flappers. It just seems pretty gratuitous at this point.
I don't know I think flip flappers is probably deeper than people might give it credit for. I just don't have the time or energy to piece together the abstraction. Doesn't mean that the meaning doesn't exist, it's just hard (and possibly misguided) to uncover it on the first run through.
but i don't want to get into a "who is right" argument. it was just a wish of mine to get to know the persons view of the world and not just be part of his daily mood
yeah, but i could happen that you grow intelectual but not personal ;)
Kaiser Eoghan
But theres no shame in watching a heavily thematic arthouse thing, liking it then going "didn't quite get/catch that" then looking up what it means.
Kaiser Eoghan
But for going into things, analyzing them, I wasn't saying thats wrong, when I meant overanaylsis I meant people making shit up that isn't actually there.
Kaiser Eoghan
And going too deep into thinking about that image shows the person is failing to understand that they were supposed to interact with it on an emotionally or spiritually intellectual level.
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