Sword Art Online (Anime Review.)

You know, I’d forgotten how much I like anime.

A little background – back in the cold, dark days of 2005, I filled in a health and safety form and a registration form, and officially founded the Liverpool John Moore’s University Anime society. Admittedly, I wasn’t very good at it. I’m not exceptionally good at leading things and I had a fair few fallings out with people over utterly trivial shit that didn’t really matter in the long run.

The upshot of it was that after two years of running that society, I didn’t watch an anime for a long time. I only really got back into it recently, when the <a href=”http://crunchyroll.com”>Crunchyroll</a&gt; app launched on Xbox 360.

BTW guys, if you read this, get the Xbox One app sorted – running the 360 through my HD in is burning my Leccy, you know what I mean?

Anyway, I got back into Anime in a big way, and remembered just why I enjoyed it so much. And over the past week or so, I fell head over heels for an anime called Sword Art Online. 

I will admit, I skipped over it a few times. The premise is a bit matrix, a bit battle royale – ten thousand MMO players log in to their world for the very first time using their NerveGear virtual reality helmets, and are rather promptly informed that they are now trapped in a life-or-death game, with the goal of reaching the top of the 100 floor tower in order to escape.

Main characters Kirito and Asuna fight their way up the tower, falling in love along the way, eventually taking on the creator of the game in an emotional climax to the first series.

The second series continues with Asuna still trapped in her coma and Kirito fighting to free her from a second online game where the bad guy is frankly the creepiest bastard I’ve ever seen in anime. And that includes Hentai.

The thing I liked so much about this anime is that at its heart it was a good old fashioned fantasy love story, and I found myself getting genuinely drawn into it.  It was very refreshing to find an Anime that resolved its romance plots without the usual umming and ahhing, and the actual relationship that built through the show was lovely to watch. Whilst the first half of the series was about them escaping Sword Art Online, the second half was very much a traditional “Rescue the Princess” fantasy story. It played to a few of the old stereotypes of the high-fantasy genre, but one of the best compliments I can pay is that when I’d finished watching the series, I genuinely wanted to go back and watch it again from the beginning.

I also wanted it to carry on going, but at the same time… SAO ended in an almost perfect spot. Would it spoil the story to have more? Maybe. But with two arcs following on from where the anime stopped in the light novel series the show is based on, theres plenty of room to build. If you like games or fantasy, this is an anime that you just might enjoy. Well worth a shot.

I think I’ll post more anime stuff. I enjoyed this.


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