Hi, and I'm one of Matthew's friends, Beth Anne. You may remember my post about his cat (I'm really sorry for that post), but today I'm here to review an anime that I myself recently just finished. This is my first review, so please bear with me as I do this. There are spoilers, and I'm warning you now, so if you want to watch this spoiler-free, turn back now.
Sword Art Online is a popular anime, and it has received mixed reviews from some anime websites. I was on the fence about watching it, but eventually (with the persuasion of my friend Morgan) decided,"What the heck? It has sword in the title. It can't be too bad."
After the first episode, I was enjoying it, and I thought the concept was interesting. Kirito, a big online gamer, decides to play a game that uses technology (called Nerve Gear) to make it seem like your body is controlling the avatar in the game. In the virtual world, you move and run around and fight, and in the real world, your body stays lying down with the Nerve Gear on. Make sense? However, an acquaintance of Kirito's goes to log out, and discovers the log out button is missing. It turns out that creator of the game, called Sword Art Online, has trapped all the players in the game until they can beat the game. And there's one deadly twist: If you die in SAO, you die in the real world too.
The picture above this text is Kirito himself, the main character. He's not always the nicest character, and there were a few times I thought, 'Well, now he's just being a jerk.' But there are also some times he's a great character, helping others beat the game. I, personally, thought he got much better as a character after he began to develop a relationship with Asuna, another main character (and my personal favorite).Perhaps this is just because it's later in the season, and the anger that boils between characters and beta testers has cooled down (Kirito was a beta tester, which pissed off some characters) He is a great fighter and he is known as the Black Swordsman.
Asuna, my favorite character, is a great character. She's the picture to the right. She's strong, intelligent and courageous, fighting on the front lines of the game for a long time in the game. She is known for her speed with the rapier, and people say she is lightning fast. Part of the reason she is my favorite is due to the fact that she uses a rapier, which is a heavy fencing weapon, and I am a fencer. So that makes me happy.
The first part of this anime (episodes 1-14) is good, and I enjoyed the battle scenes, but like any anime, it has its sad moments.
The second part, however, I did not enjoy. That arc is after Kirito beats the game and awakens but Asuna does not, and he goes into another game to rescue her. That other game is Alfheim Online, a game very similar to SAO, except the players are all members of different fairy races and have wings and use magic. I don't like this arc because of the love triangle between Asuna, Kirito, and Leafa, who was raised as Kirito's sister, but is his cousin. There are moments between Suguha (Leafa's real life name) and Kirito which makes me think, 'No, honey. You were raised as siblings, and that's kinda gross.' (Nothing ever happens between them, as Kirito is devoted to Asuna, but still). I'm not entirely sure why they chose to do this, but I don't like it.
Another reason I don't like this arc is Asuna herself. She is imprisoned by the main villain of this arc, and she acts very much like a damsel in distress, porcelain doll, whatever you want to call it. She mostly sits around and waits for Kirito to rescue her. Which is not like the Asuna from the previous arc, at all. I don't like this too much, as the Asuna from the first part would have reacted much differently. I think we only saw the Asuna from the first arc cry once or twice, and that was when they figured out that the players in the game had to get out or they would all perish, because their bodies would die in the real world. She also cried after Kirito had defeated the boss and they had both died and the game was deleting itself. She didn't even cry when she thought Kirito was going to die. She was very worried, and scared she didn't make it in time to save him, but she doesn't cry. She gives him a healing potion and everything's sunshine and rainbows again (as much as an anime can be).
She cries a lot more in the second arc. She acts somewhat depressed and only manages an escape once, after which she is immediately brought back. I'm sorry, but this makes me sad, because my favorite main character, once a feisty sword-fighter (and one of the best in the game) is turned into a Rapunzel in a tower-or should I say a Titania in a birdcage.
Everything ends up happy and everyone goes back to the real world, Kirito and Asuna begin to date, everything ends up great. Overall, I enjoyed this anime, with the second arc dragging it down quite a bit. The visuals are okay, but as I haven't watched quite a lot of anime (I'm working on it) I can't say they are great. They are better than some, however. Thanks for hanging in there, and I (hopefully) will post more soon!