Sword Art Online: What if you were trapped inside your favourite video game and dying in the game meant dying in real life? That’s what Sword Art Online (or SAO) is all about. Adventure, awesome battles and beautiful scenarios await you!
In A Nutshell
Kirito (Kazuto Kirigaya) is a teenage boy who is obsessed with Sword Art Online, a Virtual Reality MMORPG released in 2022. With the addition of the Nerve Gear, a virtual reality helmet that stimulates the user’s brain, players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds. But on November 6, 2022, the players are informed by SAO’s creator, that they can’t log out and that if they wish to be free, they must reach the 100th floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss. However, if their avatars die in-game, their bodies will also die in the real world.
Meet the Characters
He is the main protagonist. He is a “beater” (combination of ‘beta tester’ and ‘cheater’) and is therefore hated by the rest of the players. He chooses to go solo and beat the game for everyone on his own. He’s known as the Black Swordsman. However, he’s not afraid to let other people in, like Asuna, whom he later meets.
She’s the main female protagonist. She befriends Kirito and accompanies him during the game. She’s also the sub-leader of the “Knights of the Blood Oath”, a medium-sized guild acknowledged as the strongest guild in Aincrad. Being one of the few girls that play SAO and extremely attractive, she receives many invitations and proposals. Asuna is a strong-willed, accomplished player known in-game as the “Flash” for her extraordinary fast sword skill.
He’s a player that Kirito meets in the beginning of the game. They go their separate ways shortly after when Kirito leaves for another town to power level, while Klein remains behind to help out his less experienced friends. Klein uses a katana to fight and later becomes a leader of his own guild, Fuurinkazan.
A Brief History of Sword Art Online: the When, Where and How
Sword Art Online started as a Japanese light novel series written by Reki Kawahara. The novels began publication on ASCII Media Works‘ Dengeki Bunko in 2009, with a spin-off series launching in 2012. The series has spawned 8 manga adaptations published by ASCII Media Works and Kadokawa.
An anime series produced by A-1 Pictures started airing in July 2012. The second season titled Sword Art Online II began airing in 2014. There is also a few video game based on the series, like Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment, released on PlayStation Portable in 2013.
The series has become wildly popular in the latest years, earning worldwide commercial success. The series has received mixed to positive reviews from critics, with some praising the exploration of the psychological aspects of virtual reality, while others criticized the series’ pacing and writing.
Why It’s Awesome
If you love videogames, you’ll be at least pretty interested in this series. Let’s be honest, what gamer wouldn’t love to be able to go inside their favourite videogame? Certainly, one of the many factors of SAO’s success would be the fact that it mixes two very popular worlds for geeks: anime and videogames.
And, in case the premise wasn’t interesting enough for you, the first episode is one of the best first episodes I’ve seen for any series as it’s able to hook you up from the start. The way it’s built is incredibly captivating and you will only want to watch more and explore the game by yourself.
As per the characters, Kirito and Asuna are very well designed. They both have their own personality, ambitions and character growth. Especially Kirito, who challenges the idea of a shonen male characters who’s very social and needs to be constantly surrounded by friends (Luffy, Naruto, Natsu…). Instead, Kirito would rather go alone and not depend on anyone if possible. He’s also very strong from the beginning. However, these character details are missing from the rest of the characters, who all come out as pretty flat.
The battles are also very neat. There’s no Deus ex Machina. The fights are decided by the characters’ abilities and strategies, and not for the character’s motivation or “the power of friendship“. However, there is plot armor and you already have the feeling that they’re going to survive and win. However, since there’s not many decisive battles, this doesn’t feel too repetitive.
|Show Quality||8 / 10|
|Characters||7 / 10|
|Fandom||8 / 10|
|Animation and OST||9 / 10|
|Drama/Comedy||7 / 10|
|Total||39 / 50|