Originally written for a competition, but too long to be submitted, Sword Art Online began as a Japanese Light Novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec. I’m going to summarize Season One episodes 1 and 2, and then get into my likes and dislikes and overall evaluation of the series.
The second episode is action packed, and introduces two more of the few recurring characters in the series; Agil, a recurring secondary character, and Asuna, the female lead.
My First Impression was that this was a brilliant, high stakes anime with well animated and choreographed action scenes. SPOILER ALERT: Only Season One (episode 1-14) is set in Sword Art Online and the world of Aincrad. Season One: I felt the development for the main characters, Kirito and Asuna, was well done and for the most part, progressed nicely.
Our female protagonist Asuna, or ‘Lightning Flash’ Asuna as she gets known as throughout Aincrad, is a very serious and focused individual. I won’t comment too much on the antagonist, Akihiko Kayaba other than to say I think his concept is rather wonderful. As for the other characters that receive the most development, that would be Klein, Commander Heathcliff (the commander of the Knights of the Blood Oath), Agil, Liz and Yui. I can’t really get into the character development of Season Two without spoiling things for Season One, but the new female protagonist standing in for Asuna is called Lyfa. The antagonist for season two, Nobuyuki Sugo is a mediocre villain at best, riding on the coattails of Akihiko Kayaba’s brilliance.
The series is set to the beautiful music of the talented Yuki Kajiura who has composed the OSTs for many animes including .Hack and Tsubasa Chronicles.
I would recommend Season One of Sword Art Online if you’re looking for an anime with great action and if you’re a fan of romance themes.
Erinn Ashworth-Velez is an eclectic, tea drinking, strawberry-obsessed 27-year-old Canadian-born geek girl who lives in the US. WWE All Stars came out in April 2011 and it has obviously been 2 years now since it’s May 2013 now.
Still, other fans are a little angry about this because the servers for Smackdown vs Raw 2007 still work. Some games, as noted in the review, are provided to us by the publishers for review purposes. All intellectual property, trademarks and copyrights contained in any articles or content (including but not limited to text, pictures, screenshots etc.) on the site are owned by their respective trademark and copyright holders. And while I was worried that it would be too similar to .Hack, I can say that  Sword Art Online follows a new path. A group of players has gathered together to discuss an attempt at beating the first floor boss.
I thought that the representations of human behavior were extremely accurate and well done. I think it did an excellent job of portraying the different types of players in an MMO, and how those different types of players would respond to such a frightening situation, while at the same time, keeping the main plot moving forward. The weight, the urgency and the high stakes built up from the beginning of Season One, seems to dissipate into a frivolous bit of drivel.
He puts forth a facade of superiority and arrogance in an attempt to keep people at arms length. I enjoyed the idea of this brilliant game creator, using this advanced technology to play God and become what would likely be the worst serial killer in existence.
What development there is very weak and if I’m honest, it feels like there were instances of regression rather than progression. ESPECIALLY in the case of Asuna, who is turned into a nearly helpless damsel in distress. Lyfa who is really dun dun dun… Sugu, Kirito’s (or as he’s called IRL, Kazuto) little sister. I loved the art styles immensely, and I think the character designs for the first season were beautiful. While romance isn’t the main theme of SOA (at least in Season One), the relationship between Kirito and Asuna was rather enjoyable. But I will let you decide for yourselves, you can watch all 25 episodes of Sword Art Online here at Crunchy Roll. I keep waiting for one of these stories about people inside a game to really take off and be a mega-hit. There was one quasi-game horror film called Brainscan a while back that hinted at the theme but totally blew it. This is one of those animes that has a LOT of hype surrounding it and I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about. And later this year, the franchise’s first video game (Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment) will launch. Taking a walk through the starting town another character, Klein, picks him out of the crowd as someone who seems to know his way around.
Gathered by a charismatic player named Diabel, qho tells them that his party has discovered the first floor boss’ location.


And I was immensely enjoying the MMO tropes that were being thrown in both for authenticity and humor. There were very few instances of what felt like ‘filler’ episodes, and they were mostly near the beginning of the season. It had almost redeeming moments, and towards the end picked up a bit — but for me, the transition between Season One and Season Two was SO abrupt, I don’t think I really recovered from the disconnect. But if you’re new to the story of SOA and you fall in love with the first season (like I was and did), when it ends and Season Two picks up in a new and VASTLY different VRMMORPG, called ‘ALFheim Online’, you’re in for a shock. Largely out of the guilt he carries for decisions he made at the beginning of the series, like abandoning Klein, and because of the loss of several friends he’d made, for whose deaths he blames himself.
She begins the series thinking that every day that passes in Aincrad, is a day she’s lost in real world.
And while I fantasize about virtual reality, I believe that this anime highlights what could be a very plausible risk. Stealing the game engine for Sword Art Online, Sugo creates ALFheim Online, and uses it to put himself upon the throne as Oberon, the Fairy King. Now I’m not going to lie, initially I was pretty impressed, but that gave way to disappointment as the series progressed, especially in the Second Season. Gaming has been taken to the next level and gamers can enjoy Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (VRMMORPGs). Kirito, admitting that he was one of the 1000 players who participated in the closed beta test for a month, agrees to show him the ropes. Parties are formed and only two players are left on their own, Kirito and a cloaked girl sitting on her own named Asuna. I felt like the writers also did an excellent job of creating what felt like a war torn world and again, portraying how different types of individuals respond to and handle conflict. ALFheim Online, is a VRMMORPG in which players can experience what it’s like to fly — because most of the races have fairy wings. Through the relationship she develops with Kirito, that begins to change and she loosens up a little. To me, the abuse of power and technology that occurs in Season One (and in Season Two), is believable.
She becomes a shell of what she was in season one, and is one of the many reasons that I disliked season two so terribly.
Sugu has the hots for her Nii-chan Kazuto, and winds up falling in love with Kirito in ALFheim (not realizing they’re one in the same). The humor aimed at MMO players is particularly enjoyable and the many tropes they included was one of my favorite aspects of the series. She loves playing video games, watching anime, reading Shakespeare, vampire & fantasy literature. Players are immersed in the virtual world and control their avatars with their minds through the advanced technology known as ‘Nerve Gear’. Kirito takes him outside of the town and teaches him how to charge and aim his attack to maximize its effectiveness and once he has the hang of it, Klein says he needs to log out to pick up the food he ordered, only—he can’t log out. Agil is introduced when a boisterous player named Kibaou storms on stage and demands an apology from any beta players present, blaming them for leaving the new players behind in the beginning while they went ahead to loot and level, saving themselves. There are a lot of time skips in this series, sometimes they’re effective at carrying the story forward and helping convey the sense of tedium that the trapped players may be feeling, but other times I felt it handicapped the depth of the story and potential character development. There were a couple of twists in the story (one in particular) that I felt were excellently executed. I have mixed feelings about this — because on one hand, I feel that it lends to the authenticity of an MMO environment. But we see several examples through the series where despite his reputation for apathy and selfishness, he regularly helps others in need. Following Kirito’s advice, Asuna joined a guild called the ‘Knights of the Blood Oath’ which quickly becomes known as the strongest guild in Aincrad.
He is holding her consciousness captive in ALFheim, forcing her to play the role of Titania, the Queen of the fairies. Kirito tells him to look harder, and checks himself to see to his surprise that there really is no logout button. Agil comes on stage and puts Kibaou in his place by revealing that it was the beta testers feedback that compiled the guidebook that all the new players have been using to help them survive. Season Two’s pacing for the most part, was very slow and didn’t really pick up towards the end (as with most aspects of Season Two).
There was the odd moment however that it felt like the series couldn’t make up its mind about what kind of anime it was, and would clumsily try and appeal to various fetishes. And where Season One had those awkward moments where the anime didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be, Season Two is like a train wreck built on that aspect.
If you play MMO’s than you know that you frequently meet other players or ‘randoms’ that you may talk to or even party with briefly that you don’t necessarily add to your friends list or ever see or play with again. Even his decision in episode 2, to allow himself to be vilified was for the well-being of the other players.


As a Vice Commander of the guild, an exceptionally skilled swordsman and as a very attractive young woman in heavily male populated world, Asuna gains a wide spread reputation something akin to celebrity status amongst the SOA players. I say this, because Kirito and Lyfa get through the whole second season without realizing who one another is until the very end when Kirito starts yelling out Asuna’s name.
While in real life, Sugo plots to wed Asuna’s unconscious body so that he can take RCT Progress Inc.
Sword Art Online is the newest, hottest game to hit the market from the leading game creator, Akihiko Kayaba.
Chalking it down to a glitch, Kirito is pretty laid back about it, sure that the GM’s are fixing it as they speak. Towards the end it had a disturbing tendency to jump several maturity levels without much warning. The first season had some grit to it, but season two felt entirely too sparkly and frou frou. But on the downside, it made it difficult to connect with or care about the characters at times. That night Kirito crosses paths with Asuna sitting on bench, and he shares some food with her. Having watched the whole series now, I feel that they could have taken much more time in SOA, and included more character development for the secondary and even some of the tertiary characters. I have to wonder if that was a conscious decision, in an effort to help you feel the separation of Kirito and the other players.
Where confusion is rampant and an edge of panic is starting to spread through the gathered crowd. She tells him that she wants to go on this raid because she feels compelled to do something, rather than sit idly by. However, her strength is undermined on several occasions and she is at times treated like an object. So when the sky turns red with system alerts and blood pours fourth, taking the shape of a giant cloaked figure whose face is unseen, everyone is properly terrified, and rightly so. Despite his vow to defeat the game, he knows it’s important to take time to enjoy and appreciate the little things.
It is his relationship with Asuna, that helps Kirito to begin letting others get close, and help him realize you can’t do everything on your own. He has intentionally removed the logout feature and that the only way to exit from the game is to clear the 100 floor tower and beat the game.
As he rushes in to attack, Kirito notices something is wrong, the weapon the boss has is different from the beta version, and the boss strikes Diabel down. Kirito rushes to him, where he realizes, Diabel was also a beta tester, and was trying to get the rare drop. Oh, and the same thing happens if anyone outside of the game tries to remove the Nerve Gear from a player.
But he also realizes, that instead of only taking care of himself, Diabel has been helping the new players. News of this development is already spreading through real world media, as hundreds of players have already died as families tried to disconnect the helmets. As a parting gift to the players, he converts everyone’s avatars to their real life appearances, obtained during the Nerve Gear’s boot up scan. Backed by the parties, and fighting side by side with Asuna as they ‘switch’ in and out, alternating their attacks, Kirito brings down the boss. Which actually makes for a pretty funny moment, where guys playing girls (they exist in every MMO and I can only imagine how many more there would be when they actually get to experience a female body in the virtual flesh *wink* ) get exposed, standing about in a dress, and the guys who thought they were talking to a female player have a moment of horrified surprise at the gender revelations. The elation of victory is short lived however, as Kibaou quickly pipes up, accusing Kirito of letting Diabel die, accusing him of withholding knowledge that would have saved Diabel, because he wanted the drop. Fearing that this will lead to even more fighting between beta players and new players, Kirito puts on an arrogant facade and laughs at them. Kirito asks Klein to come with him, to run ahead to the next town before the panicking crowd can deplete the limited resources and exp, but Klein declines and loyally stays to find his friends. That he is superior to them and has gathered a much more vast amount of intelligence on the game than they ever could. At the end of the first month, 2000 players are dead and the first of one hundred floors has yet to be cleared.
Smiling smugly, Kirito says he likes that and equips the rare item the boss dropped, a black trench coat and walks off. Asuna (who during the fight has her cloak destroyed and her appearance revealed aka she’s hot *wink* ), follows him, seeing through the facade. But for the time being, Kirito leaves on his own continuing his path as a solo player, after telling Asuna that she is really strong, and that if she finds a strong guild, she should join it.



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