Check out our Sword Art Online review ( Part 1 DVD), by Edmond Guy. Don’t you just hate it when you play the latest video game, get trapped in said video game, and if you die in-game you die in real life?
Name: Sword Art Online
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Licensed by: Manga UK
Release date: 16/12/2013
“but if we are honest Sword Art Online is by far the most promising take on the popular plot”
By now the Anime world is well aware of the trapped in video game genre, with such titles as .Hack having many iterations. Recently, Log Horizon launched with a similar theme, but if we are honest Sword Art Online is by far the most promising take on the popular plot. You see, in Sword Art Online if you die in-game; you die in reality. How will our protagonists get out of this nightmare virtual world? Well, if they clear 100 in-game floors, defeating the bosses, without dying the game will end for all who are trapped. Doesn’t sound so bad? Only problem is that even the beta testers didn’t clear the game.
The plot above is told from the perspective of a enthusiastic gamer named Kirito. Kirito is only interested in playing solo however, and makes that painfully clear when ever he gets the opportunity. As the storyline progresses he faces tough decisions, has to deal with the deaths of people he meets, and is seemingly of interest to another player named Asuna. Asuna is quite different to Kirito, as she prefers to team with other players.
One thing that stands out about Sword Art Online is the animation quality. The world is beautifully created, and the character designs aren’t half bad. Even though, slight observation incoming, to say it’s an anime about a game where you collect items; they sure wear the same stuff quite a lot.
Sounding like a great anime so far? Well, the idea is great. The execution is, however, wrong – in my opinion. The storyline skips quite drastically, minor spoiler incoming, for example: After the initial episode, introducing us to this frightening concept, they decide to time lapse. Time lapse to after people have got used to living in this virtual world. Surely, surely the best part of the story would be the initial reaction to this dramatic development? I would be very interested to see the first week of everyone trapped in the Sword Art Online world. We would of seen peoples true colors quite quickly I imagine.
Back to compliments, the voice acting on the Japanese track is very good. Kirito especially stands out, as he yells violently on occasion. I find that the effort levels in Japanese voice acting are, usually, much higher than their English counter parts. I will admit though, the trailer below provides evidence that Sword Art Online has got the yell nailed. Why am I focusing on the yell so much? Memories of the goosebumps from Chiaki Omigawa, as Maka Albarn in Soul Eater, as she would unleash the best battle cry I’ve ever heard.
Sword Art Online is a promising concept, but under delivered on telling a full story so far. That said, it still succeeds in entertaining with brilliant animation, quality voice acting, and, on occasion, high octane battle scenes. I just wish the anime would focus on story lines that make sense, and not ones that seem irrelevant.