Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Sword Art Online" (anime) episodes 1-5 thoughts

So while on Crunchyroll yesterday I saw something for a show called Sword Art Online. My first impressions of a video on Youtube made it out to look like 1/2 Prince which peaked my interest. The show in case you do not know is set in a kind of futuristic Japan where an MMO called Sword Art Online is just about to launch. The players use virtual reality helmets to simulate a full immersion into the game. They play in a rested state and do not move. When logging in however, all the players realize that the game is about to become far more than a typical MMO.

In the first episode, the players log in and realize that they cannot log out until they clear all 100 levels in the game. Kirito (our main protagonist) meets Klein who does not know very much about the game this early on. At the end of the episode Kirito splits up to quest on his own so he can get a head start on everyone else. The next episode is slated months later...why? The episode after that is given even more of a time gap because he has somehow ended up on level 30ish. By the 5th episode he is on the 50th level and we are only shown a very small amount of what he has gone through -___-.

First off I have to say that even though I have some issues with the show already, I enjoy every episode because it does such a great job emerging you into the show/game. Anyone that has MMO experience will feel right at home because there is a lot of MMO terminology used in the show. People that have no idea what an MMO will also feel welcome because there are many times where the main character Kirito will encounter newbies to the game and will explain everything. Another great thing about the show is the animation. The backgrounds of the different levels are amazing and all the characters look amazing. The sound is also top notch and seem to fit in well. These positive remarks however do not hide what is wrong with the show at the moment.

One major issue with the show is the pacing. Each episode seems to leap very far into the future so it seems as if each episode is it's own contained story. Once that episode is over, the characters Kirito met seem to fade away. Because of this I really don't sense a plot guiding the show other than people need to clear all the levels to get back to the real world. I just really wish that on the first episode Kirito just stayed with Klein and quested with him all the way until level 100.

Anyways other than the piss poor plot structure and random skips in the timeline, this show is still very enjoyable to watch. I will be looking forward to more episodes of this anime.

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