This review INCLUDES SPOILERS. For those of you who don’t like spoilers read the next sentence then stop reading. Watch the first 14 episodes then quit watching the series. Over all I like this anime but there are a few issues that irks me.
The first half of this anime is amazing in my opinion but there were times when some scenes felt rushed. This by itself can be overlooked but once one begins to watch episodes 15-25 they will quickly begin to think “Why didn’t they pad the rushed scenes with content instead of adding this near meaningless arc?” Example: The premise of the story, for the first arc, is Kirito, the main character, learns about a new virtual MMORPG . Once entering the game he finds out there’s no way to log out. Furthermore if a person dies in the game, nervegear, the thing players put on their head to play, will fry their brain thus killing the player. The only way to log out is to complete the game which is 100 levels in total. Now here’s one of the parts i felt was rushed. Kirito had experience with the game because he was a beta player. He says farthest he’s ever made it was floor 8. Yet by episode three he’s on level 50 something. Level 50! What happened during all that time? Even some battles the story built up to are skipped. I cant say its because of bad writing because scenes Sword Art Online does show are done extremely well. That leads me to believe the original story was written with these large time gaps.
The above is minor in my opinion. It leaves the viewer wanting more. That can be a good thing at times. The main issue I have with Sword Art Online is the latter half of the series. The death game is completed and both characters die in episode 14. “GachiYellow if both characters die how is the story continued?” How you say — by creating a major plot whole of course! Both main characters are somehow alive once episode 15 starts. Already, at the very start of the second arc the show is off on the wrong foot. Next the main villain somehow becomes some sort of an ally in order to defeat the 2nd arc’s villain. Why? The first villain was a better villain. He killed 10 times as many people and accomplished his goal. How is he an ally? Why is Kirito acting friendly towards the person that murdered him and his lover? (Yet they somehow survived) It makes no sense. On top of that the second arc lost any sort of suspense its predecessor had. The first MMO was a life of death situation for the main characters and every player in the game. The second MMO is just a normal game. Kirito even dies in the second MMO. The death is meaningless because the second MMO is a normal game. There are no consequences. That leads me to another issue I want to bring up. Ok I get that the reason Kirito plays the Second MMO is to save Asuka. I understand that. Why on earth would Kirito put on the same nervegear that could have killed him in the first arc to play the second game? Is he not traumatized at all? I know this is an anime we’re talking about here but using the same thing that could have killed him is slightly unbelievable.
Now while the vast majority of the second arc is bad, its only horrible in comparison to the first arc. The first arc was just that good. If the second arc was a stand alone anime it would have been pretty decent in and of itself. That being said, there are two epic parts in the second arc. 1. When Kirito’s sister who is not really his sister confesses to him. 2. When Kirito fights the main villain in the second arc.
I know I said a lot of negative things about the second arc but these two scenes — the writing and especially the acting were golden. I think I can honestly say that was some of the best acting I’ve ever seen in an anime. I recommend skipping the second arc but If any of you chose to watch it this is the reason why you should. Those actors need a raise. I don’t know how much they got paid but it needs to be doubled after acting those scenes out. The feeling and the atmosphere around Kirito when he says he’s going to kill the villan; epic.
Speaking of good things I want to end this review on a good note. I do think this anime is worth watching. The first 14 episode were amazing. I can not emphasize this enough. The first 14 episodes are amazing. I’ve seen a lot of anime. Its been a long time since an anime brought this level of emotion out of me. There were times where I could have come to tears. I didn’t though because I’m a man! Joking aside Sword art online does an amazing job making the viewers care about its characters. That’s why I wish some scenes were not rushed or skipped. Even with all the parts that were skipped the story and the acting are so well done it almost does not matter. If the first 14 episodes would have been the entire 25 this anime would have easily and I mean easily been in my top ten favorite anime of all time. The only thing that holds it back is the time allotted to the second arc — and the second arc itself which unfortunately does a decent job making viewers care less about the anime.
The first 14 episode I’d give a 8/10. It is a must watch. What are you waiting for? Stop reading this review and go watch Sword Art Online.