If you’ve read my article on Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, you might remember me writing about how hopeful I am for Sword Art Online to redeem itself. I haven’t changed my thoughts about it since, but why?
Sword Art Online’s popularity was probably the largest than any other anime I’ve seen. The fans were partial when it comes to their reactions about the franchise – it was either they hated it or loved it. I kind of understand since Sword Art Online had a lot of good stuff going for it and there were also numerous times where it just ruined itself.
The main reasons why Sword Art Online was ruined is either because Asuna started to suck as a character and depended heavily on Kirito as her knight-in-shinning-armor, Yui was introduced in the series, and Kirito was heavily overpowered.
In the first three episodes, Asuna was a sort of bland character and majority of us were rooting for her development but it was ruined when she developed a sort of dependent relationship with Kirito. Romance can be a good thing in a series but only when done right.
Yui, as a character, was quite absurd for me. An artificial intelligence was somehow set loose by a game’s system and players are able to “adopt” it or just make some conversations with it as if it were a legit human being. I mean, that’s quite impossible in real life but hey – it’s an anime series and anything can happen.
The biggest reason, however, is that Kirito is an overpowered player. I don’t know if the writers intended it to be like this or just didn’t know how to properly write a well-written badass main character.
Him being invincible is a factor up for debate. He might’ve become as such due to the fact that he’s a solo player and therefore gets the full amount of XP from the monsters he fought.
This part is absurd though – hacking. Every time he hacks something, it’s always convenient for plot progression. It’s like a button writers made when they’ve reached a dead end and don’t know how to justify a certain event or actions of a specific character.
But despite of all these, Sword Art Online had a lot of promise going for it.
First of all, the series was and is still known for it’s visually appealing animation. It may lack a bit in how fight scenes are animated but it still does a pretty good job in making the environment more vivid and unique.
Secondly, the setting. Despite the concept of people trapped in a virtual world or game has been used before the series started, none of them have gone deeper than Sword Art Online (as far as I know).
The series does an excellent job of portraying the MMORPG setting but it does have a few flaws. However, if the people working behind this would be able to somehow improve it – that would make a lot of improvement to SAO’s overall setting.
The pros and cons of Sword Art Online have similar weight. I am still hopeful that with this upcoming movie, Ordinal Scale, the series will be able to redeem itself.
Augmented reality is a wonderful setting to tackle after all.