Having been a fan of A1-Picture (an animation studio) since ‘Your Lie in April’ and ‘Anohana’, I have decided to watch its said-to-be Masterpiece Sword Art Online with my friend. First of all, this is a horrendous story, with the two main characters being dragged into an online game, and this online game is a special one in which people actually die when they die in game.

Well, hopefully not much spoiler, here are my comments:

First of all, although the anime successfully got me engaged with the plot, the flow of the anime can be said problematic: the plot of SAO is like broken glasses, most episodes are not quite connected with each other. If you watch the first few episodes, you will probably recognise Kirito as the main character (not that difficult), but most of the other characters just appear for just one or two episodes and then they just disappear. Even Asuna didn’t quite appear as the other main character in the first 9 episodes.

Also, the atmosphere portrayed in SAO is horrendous. If it is a game of survival, I believe most players will come together (better together) to finish the game in order to get back to life. So they fight, fight and fight. And suddenly, you get the newly-wed life of Asuna and Kirito. When I try to adapt my mood to watch their peaceful lake-life, they went back to fight in just one episode. This jump is slightly too quick, and the atmosphere in SAO changes quick as traffic lights.

The ending of SAO (the first online game) is definitely a rushed-up. The boss on level 75 firstly appeared to be quite brutal, but then it got beaten fairly easily (within minutes), and it makes me feel like something is missing in the battle, and that they could have put more into it. When they finish killing that level-75 boss, normal viewers like me would probably look forward to the bosses on higher levels. But then, Kayaba suddenly appear and offer to fight so that Kirito can have a chance to win…. I was so speechless. And wow, it was a nice scene when Asuna tries to save Kirito, but she should have been paralysed, right? So how does she do that? And, Kirito is supposed to have died when fighting Kayaba, but he is like half-dead, and kills Kayaba? How does he do that? There are more question marks left on my head and my mind is like a pretzel. So, take a football match as an example, if Team A is leading 5-0 against Team B, and suddenly make an offer to Team B saying ‘if you score a goal, you win the whole match.’, I think everyone will wonder why? This is exactly like SAO.

So, second part of SAO Season one, the ALO game, so, what is the point of ALO? Is it a part just for Kirito to save Asuna? Is it a part for Kirito’s sister to appear as a character? To be honest, I think it is a less exciting part than the first game (first half season), this is not even an online game which can determine your life and death. Most importantly, this part of the season has nothing much to do with the first half (lacking continuity). If I say to my friends ‘Kirito is the main character and he tries to save Asuna’, then everyone of my friends can literally start watching from Episode 15 and not feeling missing anything.

There are several quotes in the anime such as ‘There is no meaningful difference between a real and a virtual world’ which appear to be quite ridiculous, but they probably mean it in the anime. If the plot can be more detailed, maybe those quotes will appear to be less ridiculous.

To conclude, SAO is quite an alright anime to watch, as it can actually get you engaged with the plot. But if you get too engaged you will find too many loopholes and stuff. It is good, but it shouldn’t be crowned as a Masterpiece. I don’t know if it is the fault of A-1 Pictures, but this is definitely not the best A-1 Pictures anime I’ve seen.


P.S. I didn’t even realise the girl with blue hair at the end was Asuna. Well apparently I am not the only one who didn’t know! This is an example of one of the weakness of the anime!