Review by roriconfan
Sword Art Online

I am not going easy on this trash of a show. Be aware that you will read a wall of text worth of a rant. THE PREMISE The story is interesting as a premise; ten thousand players are trapped permanently in the MMORPG where the only way to get out is by clearing the game. A nice catch is that if their hit points run out they will not respawn in the nearest portal but instead they will die permanently. Something similar is going to happen if someone from the outside world tries to remove the virtual helmet in an attempt to free them prematurely. This offers a feeling of actual mortal danger and that it’s not just a harmless game. Another catch is how their avatars in the game are made to look as their real selves, so it was funny to find the usual joke of males playing females or hardly being as handsome as they appeared at first. So, think of all the cool stuff you would normally expect to get with such a premise.- A thrilling survival/death game- Epic battles full of buffs, spells, and elaborate strategies - A huge variety of game mechanics and resource management of rare ingredients- Soul crushing tragedies concerning the death of people- Intrigue and conspiracies by those who will do anything it takes to survive… And sadly you only get a few crams of those. As soon as the shock from the most intriguing pilot episode is over, you are offered a mess of a plot, shallow conflicts, cop-out solutions, and lots-n’-lots dumb self-indulgence. Reason of why SAO sucks No.1: The fandom is retarded Sounds strange to have as a reason something that is not directly affiliated with the show and has to do with its fans? It is not strange at all if you consider how this is the most overhyped and overrated series of 2012, proving once again that the majority of the anime fandom is a bunch of tasteless people who only care about fan service and then have the nerve to call that deep and quality writing. At the same time innovating and quality titles such as Shinsekai Yori get neglected exactly because they are about context and subtlety. Makes sense NOT! Thanks for telling the industry what type of shows to make in the future you idiots!If the show wasn’t hyped so bad by people with so bad tastes, this series would be just another mediocrity that would soon be forgotten as it deserved. And instead of that it became the latest example that I will constantly be using every time some idiot claims that a show’s popularity is proof of its masterpiece status. I will be replying by saying “Oh yeah? Tell that to SAO.”In a similar way, if the show wasn’t hyped so bad, this review wouldn’t be so damn long. Every time I was writing something, I had a dozen fanboys jumping on me, trying to excuse the inexcusable. One of them was even a forum moderator who had the nerve to delete every negative post and leave only the hyped positives remaining. With the exception being those he could of course prove wrong by quoting them and providing bullshit reasoning. It was that retarded mentality that forced me to progressively make the review longer in order to constantly shoot down every new crap they were mentioning every week in a futile attempt to defend a crap of a show. So in case you don’t like the size, blame them; not me. I am only being thorough. Let me start by trashing those misguided beliefs by mentioning the obvious: Sword Art Online (SAO) has the same premise as .hack which means it’s about people being trapped in a videogame. At the same time it has a far weaker characterization and no philosophical ramblings or amazing soundtrack, or a good plot; thus a much-much-much worse variant to .hack. It is a lot more about catering videogame nerds with poorly presented terminology that is there just to offer familiarity with their hobby. That is why it got so hyped; it’s full of terminology that offers familiarity to the target audience. It’s like football fans liking a movie a lot just because it has people in it that love to talk about football. Or it’s like shonen fans who like Gintama a lot because it is constantly referring a lot of stuff from their favourite shows. We are living in the videogame generation and SAO was made to appeal to this generation. And sadly that is the only thing it is doing right; since aside from familiarity everything else in it is shit.At the same time it is barely exploring any of its interesting concepts, which means the fans will do the usual: Speculate for years over what the hell is going on. It’s the same thing that made other shonen such as Naruto or Bleach so famous. It is constantly making you have high expectations (which of course are never met) and is deliberately not making any sense so you are made to fill the blanks by yourself, using the only tool available: Imagination and wish fulfilment. It’s a very neat trick to fool the superficial audience into liking and talking about something because it is presented as mysterious, even when in reality it is simply badly written fan fiction. But it’s not like it is a show that can’t be appreciated by the masses either. It is so full of stereotypes and overused formulas that everybody can simply have fun with its kitsch factor. I mean, damn, any attempts at romance this show tries to have is straight from a stereotypical chauvinistic and unrealistic eroge. You can easily see why harem and vn fans will love it at first sight. You know what kind of people I am talking about; the same people you give a real book to read and give up on the third page because it is not full of boobs and has more than 100 different words repeating over and over again. Of course all those stereotypes are magically presented as something original and amazing, since they will conveniently be fooling the idiotic masses with double standards and vague meaning all the time. Just like the Bible! When it suits the script, it will appeal to real life claiming OMG THIS IS SO REAL - THIS IS HOW GAMERS BEHAVE, and when it doesn’t it will run to excuse everything with random gaming terminology clichés. Thus everything is excused! It’s like someone who pretends to be a scientist but every time he can’t reply, he will say God willed it or something; thus winning both sides. And if you think the above element is what makes the show unique, then you haven’t watched many good anime. There are dozens of such anime that make you think and many that are far more mature and intelligent than this mediocrity. So, it’s not like I compare SAO to only .hack and call it shit because it’s not as good as it. There are many anime with a videogame flavour, many of which are worse than it; let’s say, Megaman NT or Tower of Druaga. At the same time, it’s not the best by far, since for example Mahoujin Guruguru is an amazing parody of RPG stereotypes. SAO is also barely original as a concept regarding videogames, so don’t pay attention to what all those nebs out there say. And to prove that, here is a list of recent shows to SAO that have videogames and gamers in them. -> Accel World, Btooom, Ixion Saga, Robotic;Notes, and Hunter X Hunter. And I didn’t even bother to add all the others from earlier years, such as Dennou Coil, or cartoons such as Captain N, or live action movies such as Tron, Spy Kids 3D, or Game Box 2.0. NOT SO ORIGINAL ANYMORE HM?So in a few words, you watch .hack to think about the meaning of life, and then you watch SAO because you play videogames and like to have fun with the gaming terminology, or laugh at its eroge stereotypes. Have no delusions, the show is mediocre at best or below average if you are a demanding viewer. I happen to be demanding and seeing how overhyped this trash is only manages to make me hate it even more.Reason of why SAO sucks No.2: The presentation of the show’s themes lacks severally The anime is based on the light novels by Kawahara Reki, the same author who wrote the Accel World (AW) light novels, which have very similar concepts and themes. This guy is practically only writing about the ideal brothel all gamers want to spend their lives in and sure as hell does not write good plots or characters. He is exactly like those people who write sappy romances full of sex for bored middle aged housewives. He just throws in sci-fi / action / superpower / comedy / drama that are poorly related to some totally imbalanced videogame. Most of what is going on in the plot is implied and not shown. For example, we are told thousands of players died in a few weeks. We never see that, which automatically makes the whole tragedy of the event completely superficial. It would be amazing if we were shown clips of people being killed by monsters and traps since it would make their deaths more than a flimsy passage. Instead of that all we are told is that they are dead; end of story and moving along. Do not expect to see a hundred boss fights. You will get only four, the rest are skipped entirely. Do not expect constant grinding, hard ingredient gathering, or epic battles. They all last only a few minutes and always end anticlimactically. This is not really an action show based on survival by killing monsters. Do not expect 25 episodes of engaging plot, where everybody is constantly trying to survive, levels up, and is always pressing forward. - The death game ends midway through the show; the rest of the episodes are a completely different, non-deadly game- Half of the death game episodes are plotless fillers- Half of the plot-based episodes will not be fantasy adventure in a videogame world but rather slice of life, light adventures, very rushed stories, and fan service. Meaning, the total duration of the actual game only lasts for about 3 full episodes. The rest of them are irrelevant to the basic plot. Do not expect any real fleshing out. Everything will be mentioned for a few seconds and will never be elaborated. Despite the various explanations you will never understand the game mechanics.- Every time someone is injured in this game, his hit points drop gradually and not at once. This led me to believe there was a little bit of time allowed to heal someone before his life drops to zero and he dies by the damage he received seconds ago. But no, the game doesn’t allow that and I had to be told you can’t heal someone if his life is “actually” zero. People in the game are simply dying with delay, just so they can have a few seconds to throw out some famous last words. This creates a very big confusion, since without being told that, it really seems like you can heal them but don’t want to, or the victims refuse to be healed and act like they want to die. You won’t believe how retarded everybody seems to act in their death throes just because they never explained this part. - There is another part where some players have a teleportation crystal but don’t use it to escape to town when they are ambushed by other players. They act like they forgot they had one when in reality I had to be told by someone who read the novels that a crystal needs 8 seconds to activate. Without being told that in-series, it just feels retarded and confusing. - Most said game mechanics will matter only in the same episode they are introduced. You will never see or hear about them in a later episode. - All secondary characters do not have a role to the plot past the episode they are introduced. They will become background decoration afterwards. - All feats the protagonist accomplices will be forgotten in a few episodes by everybody and it’s like they never happened in the first place. This trashes all sense of progress and development. - And there are many other parts that simply contradict the way the game is played. * At some cases it is stated none of the bosses can leave the room they guard, in some others it is stated they roam the countryside and can even attack cities. * At some cases a crystal is said to be enough to teleport away a whole team, at others it only teleports one person. * At one part they mention there are renegade players who have betrayed their city, but then it is stated they respawn back to their town when killed, something which makes no sense, since this way nobody would be able to escape the wrath of those he betrayed.* They constantly say you don’t feel pain in the game, yet you clearly see how every time someone hits them, they act like they are in pain. At the same time they say you can feel pleasure in the game (aka, have an orgasm) when otherwise pleasure and pain can’t exist separately since they are basically the same thing.* There is a barrier at some point of the game to prevent anyone from crossing to forbidden parts of the game. Nothing should be able to pass through it. And yet when someone throws a simple card at it, it just passes through with no problem.All explanations to game mechanics or character roles are presented mostly though explanatory monologues. Meaning, they are talking a lot and show very little. We hardly see how things work out on-screen and they mostly talk about them; which is boring. - But this is also a smart trap the series uses in order to make everything interesting. It never explains something clearly and lets you assume how something happened. You can literally explain everything any way you like and you will be right. For example, when I was pointing out plot holes in some forum, the fanboys of this show would run to excuse them by making up stuff that are not present in the show. They were talking about games they somehow / somewhere / somewhat have a few similarities to SAO and thus every game mechanic makes sense. Which of course is bullshit, since there are so many videogames out there, and one of them is bound to have a mechanic to excuse the unexcused. Every show needs to make sense on its own and not by being compared to other shows or games. But no, the fanboys are stupid enough to believe that since the anime never shows how it works, anything you say may as well be the truth. A very cheap method to hide all plot holes or even bother to explain all the rules of the game. - Of course this trick does not work with someone as smart as me. In fact, if I play their game I get to trash them completely. So, supposed I once played something similar 20 years ago, that somehow feels relevant to a somewhat similar rule in a completely different game such as SAO… Why don’t they become giants when they eat mushrooms in the forests or throw fireballs when they smell daisies in the valleys? If it happened in Super Mario, it should have happen here. But it didn’t, so there are many plot holes in this game. - The fanboys are again trying to excuse that by saying we don’t know how videogames will be like in the future, so it’s wrong to mention rules than apply to current games. At which point I can only laugh at. First they say they love the game terminology and now they say it doesn’t even apply. Meaning, they don’t give a rat’s ass if it makes sense, they only want to hear words that have to do with videogames. Ha! Losers. All revelations occur out of nowhere. The protagonist will literally be sitting in a corner and without any concrete proof or actual facts he will be reaching to flawless epiphanies. Examples include how he found out the way people get murdered in towns or who the guild leader really is. Reason of why SAO sucks No.3: The game mechanics are stupid Even if you try to accept the broken rules and the unexplained gameplay as they are, everything still feels stupid as hell. Take the very objective of the whole SAO game for example. All you have to do in order to win is to kill all the bosses. And if you think this means a lot of hard work and endless hours of farming, equipping, and buffing, you are wrong. You can clear the game without having to fight a single time! I am not kidding; you can spend years sleeping or goofing around and you can still survive. The reason is simple and dumb. Every boss doesn’t respawn! If someone beats it once, it will never return and not every player needs to kill it at least once in order to advance to the next level. Only a dozen hardcore players are enough to clear the whole game by doing the above troublesome procedure, while all the rest can do absolutely nothing. They can be sleeping in town and when they hear the boss is beaten, they can just go to the next level. They don’t even need to walk through dangerous areas in order to get to the next town since they can use an easily acquired teleportation crystal. - The above easy method gets even easier. After a revelation happens they don’t even need to clear all 100 floors, since the game ends prematurely way before they get to the last level. The game is also not really as deadly as they want you to believe. - The things I mentioned above ruin the feeling of dread, since all of a sudden it is very easy to survive in this game. Just don’t do anything or go farming past the easy areas. At the same time it makes the viewer think someone who endangers himself to the point of getting killed, simply deserved it for being a complete idiot who got what he deserved. Every time someone is killed, instead of feeling sad you just end up thinking: “Serves you right for going to farm in a dungeon fifty times your level, instead of letting others with proper levels and skills to do it for you.” - Any sense of danger is lost when you realize the system will make sure the protagonist will always be overpowered, will never lose, and be the guaranteed victor all the time just because he is the protagonist.- Furthermore, the death game aspect that seemed so interesting at first, is completely gone in the second half of the show, since nobody really dies there; it’s just a typical MMO where you respawn as usual. The fighting is heavily based on “switching”, meaning to jump back and forth while waiting for your attacks to cool down and allowing your team mates to storm in without you standing in their way. This makes each battle to feel silly for being based too much on tag in and tag out of battle. Every single problem in the game is based on the exact same thing. Not being able to use of crystals. There are crystals to teleport or heal and if for any reason they can’t use them, tragedy occurs. It becomes predictable early on and so every time someone shows or talks about crystals, get ready for something stupid to happen. The most interesting aspect of the game is underplayed. And no, I don’t mean the ridiculous date sim but the cheats. There are many ways to abuse the game mechanics for powerplay and they are all very interesting for allowing you to have shortcuts to levelling up. But no, they are presented as evil when they are an easy way to beat the game easier. Kirito is hunting anyone who cheats, supposed for fair play, when in reality he is cheating himself for being a beta tester. And to add to all the confusion, several rules don’t even matter after awhile. The author will constantly be rewriting them just for the sake of retarded plot twists, thus ruining even the very main appeal of the show.- Being about to be killed? Have the artificial intelligence of the game saving you just for the heck of it.- Being paralysed? Break the unbreakable status effect with the power of love.- Staying alive even after you are dead? Sure, why not? - Transferring all your hax skills to a completely new game instead of starting from level 1 as normal? Happens all the time. - Being able to steal main equipment from other players that can trash completely the balance of the game? This is something no MMO ever allowed and no other player was ever shown doing it. But whatever; the protagonist can do it because he is the protagonist.- Being able to use items such as access cards that are restricted to admin status only, even when you are not an admin? Yeah, I bet there is a game somewhere that lets you do that too.- Being given the admin status and revoking all the privileges the game owner has by a ghost? But of course! That happens in every MMO we ever played! And I love how the ghost was waiting for the last moment to give him this power up when it could otherwise do it all along. And I still can’t believe how the retarded fanboys tried to excuse that by mentioning that one of the most mature titles of all times, Ghost in the Shell, also has a ghost hacker and nobody complained about that. Yeah, probably because it never offered any deus ex machina to the heroine, nor did it alter the way videogames are played!The funniest part is how thanks to this review I made the fanboys eventually admit the gameplay is full of crap… and STILL excuse it by saying there are lots of imbalanced games out there being played by thousands of people JUST BECAUSE. Yes, the exact same reason everything works in this show. JUST BECAUSE. Reason of why SAO sucks No.4: The characters make no sense As a result of the lacking presentation, several characters will be having some really weird mood swings. - You will never know what they think or why they changed like that all of a sudden. Something simple such as internal monologues could help to clear the confusion but the anime adaptation removed most of them. - Characters will behave in the most one dimensional way possible, just to make the audience know right away what to feel about them for the rest of the show.- Character introductions, relationships, and dramatization will form, develop, and end in just 10 minutes. There is simply no time to appreciate all that, yet the show will constantly expect from you to do so. It’s impossible to care for something which has no time invested in fleshing it out first. You will constantly see characters crying over people they know for a few days and barely exchanged ten sentences with. You are left to wonder what is so tragic about people you barely saw a couple of times. It’s like in those sappy movies such as Titanic or Twilight, where a romance is formed two minutes after the main characters meet. The game is hardly exploiting the survivor aspect and heads for retarded fan service. - All characters follow stereotypes that you mostly find in ecchi comedies. - All characters are to the most part not worried about their lives. They will behave as if this is a game and not a life or death situation. And indeed, instead of making you feel like they do anything they can to survive, you are instead made to think they are enjoying it, like nothing of importance is going on. It may be fun for the audience to see them doing all the classic stuff players do in online games, but this is NOT a typical game. In fact, they are not even playing if they are forced to do it and defeat means death. - The plot is half the time like that of a typical harem and not like that of a survival story. The protagonist for example makes any girl to fall in love with him 10 minutes after they meet for the first time, without any effort or even when he acts like a total jerk to them. There are no ugly girls in the whole show, even when they are supposed to have their real faces, and they all fall in love with the same guy. At the same time, every other male besides the protagonist will be either a lame comic relief, or a completely sadistic asshole who loves to mistreat women and has no redeeming qualities. Kirito, the harem lead, is an anti-social in the real world, so he just spends his time playing videogames. And yet even as something as simple as that is turned to one big mess of contradiction.- We are never told why or how he became anti-social, neither we see him living a lame life outside of the game. We are just told in passing it is as such and need to believe it; that’s it. Talk about poor presentation; you simply have no idea why he doesn’t like people. And that is exactly what makes no sense numerous times later on, since he is he constantly helping people when he is supposed to be afraid of them.- He always mentions he doesn’t want to join guilds or be part of a team, yet he constantly does the exact opposite. And he does it only a cute girl needs his help, which makes him look like a sexual predator that magically becomes sociable when some nice pair of boobs is involved.- Supposed he just wants to help people without getting too friendly with them. That is far from true, since he always manipulates them for personal gain.* (episode 2) His idea of friendship is to betray his own team and make everybody to hate him, so they will be too busy trying to kill him instead of killing each other. Somebody needs to tell him that a team which wants to self-destroy itself is not really a team. But it’s ok, it’s not something anyone cares about a few episodes later. In fact, they will pretend like he never betrayed anyone. * (episode 3) He constantly lies to his team or doesn’t tell them crucial information, a thing which always results to misunderstanding and a lot of deaths that could very easily had been prevented. * Even when girls are involved, instead of being polite to them he treats them like dirt. Practically every male in the story is a misogynist and the protagonist is supposed to be there to protect the girls from other men, yet he is no better than the rest. Yet, the girls don’t mind and forgive him right away, just because he is the protagonist. • (episode 4) He pretends to care for a girl but in reality he only uses her as bait for bandits, so he can show off how cool he is.• (episode 5) He pretends he cares for a female blacksmith but in reality he breaks her best sword and then manipulates her into making another one, which of course she gives it for free. And as soon as she expects from him to say how much he loves her, he runs away with his other girlfriend, he refused to mention he had all this time. * Furthermore, he is supposed to be the top level player in the game, presumably by constantly fighting in the higher levels, yet always goes back to lower levels and randomly walks around looking for weaker players who may need his help. How is that possible?• How is he the top player if he is spending half his time in lower areas that offer less experience? • Not to mention how you need to share the experience from the battles amongst other players. • What logic is this; to save others by delaying his progress through the game by going back and looking around for random players who all accidentally may need his help? He can save them all by simply pressing forward and clearing the game, instead of this nonsense. Meaning, he ended up killing far more people this way, instead of saving.* At one point he refuses to kill a few NPC players, an act that will help them beat a boss. His excuse is that he doesn’t want to see people dying. They are not real dumb-ass; plus they respawn even when they die. So who cares? • Later, he contradicts that by spending the whole day sleeping and saying his life is just fine in the game and doesn’t need to do anything anymore. In the meantime, others were getting killed while fighting bosses and monsters. Supposed he did that because it reminds him of the time his earlier guild was killed but we are never told that; so it’s like a plot hole. • Even more later, when the game is no longer deadly, he contradicts himself once again and kills all the players he just met for fun. * (episode 6) At another point, someone got murdered and he cares to find the criminal for no given reason, while everybody else in the whole game doesn’t give a damn about it. Contradiction! * He is also such a hypocrite. He always rushes to capture players who break the rules when himself is a beta tester, and thus a cheater.* Later on he is not even doing that, since he becomes a detective who lets the criminals go away. He seemed pretty serious in imprisoning simple bandits but then doesn’t care to arrest murderers. Supposed they were too powerful to attempt arresting them but we are never told that so you can again assume anything you like. That still doesn’t excuse how he spared one of them who admitted the crime and was very weak. He literally left him to be scolded by his companions and that’s it. - He can use special abilities nobody else in the game can. The thing is, he refuses to use them all the time, supposed because he doesn’t want others to find out and pest him about it. In reality of course he doesn’t because every battle will end in two seconds if he does. And that can also lead to some facepalming cases of forced drama, such as letting people die instead of using his powers right away (episode 9). So much for caring about saving lives! The hilarious part is that eventually everybody found out about it. Guess what; nothing of importance happened. Later on he is supposed to fight hundreds of powerful monsters and again refuses to use his abilities. Why? Because he forgot he had them! Hilarious!- On top of everything else, he is also a great hacker who even manages to alter the game’s programming. An element they mentioned only for ten seconds but never cared to elaborate ever again.- And despite his elite powers in videogames, he still makes mistakes not even rookies would accomplish. At one point he needs to go on a rescue mission, and begins the journey without the slightest preparation. He has infinite amounts of wealth and never buys better equipment or even a second sword for his special skill. - He is not even a believable character. He is closer to a plot device and wishful thinking for the dork audience. All he does is being the best in everything, solves all mysteries, beats all the monsters, wins all the chicks, and saves the day while shovelling us with forced preachy monologues about how the game works. Every gamer’s dream.- Hell, the videogames themselves do their best to make him immune to defeat. * The first game picked him to be the chosen one, so it makes sure he gets a Deus ex Machina every time he is about to lose. * The second game lets him become the most powerful player of them all, as soon as he begins playing. - And for God’s sake, his nickname in the game is the black swordsman. How do they dare naming this pussy after the most awesome Berserk protagonist? This is an outrage! Asuna, the main harem girl, is a beautiful girl who falls for Kirito. Why? Because everybody finds out he is a manipulating cheater, and she is a dumb broad who loves to be exploited.- She likes to roam around while wearing a cloak that hides her face. That doesn’t help in any way since nobody is chasing her, and by hiding her face she only attracts more attention on her. DERP! - She becomes the second in command in the most powerful guild of the game (and as always, out of screen). How the hell did this bimbo become no.2, has a level of around 70, and controls a guild of hundreds of players? You can just imagine how dumber everyone else playing the game is. Or how easy it is to level up without dying from stupidity.- They are constantly trying to present her as strong and dynamic, when she otherwise acts like a total idiot and is incapable to do the slightest thing when Kirito is around. Misogyny anyone? * Her escort turns against her? KYAAA FIGHT HIM FOR ME KIRITO!* Her leader tells her she can’t have a day out? KYAAA FIGHT HIM TOO KIRITO!* Sees a girl in a forest? KYAAA GHOST, SAVE ME KIRITO!- And despite all the above, she acts like a typical tsundere that makes no sense!* She scolds Kirito for taking a nap before an important battle and proceeds to take a much longer nap RIGHT NEXT TO HIM!* She drops on Kirito, then slaps him and says it was his fault that SHE TRIPPED!* Kirito asks her where he can spend the night? She assumes that means he wants to fuck her AND UNDRESSES!* He says he doesn’t want to have sex with her and she punches him for not seeing her AS A FUCKHOLE!* She tells him how much she cares about him when he is sleeping and acts completely shy WHEN HE WAKES UP!* She tells him not to look at her panties even after she had sex with him A HUNDRED TIMES! (out of screen of course) - Guess where she was spending all her skill points all this time. On cooking! Instead of going for a more useful ability that would make her a better spy or fighter, she wasted all her skills on something that is completely worthless in the whole game! And they actually made this monkey their second in command! And what a surprise, the only person she ever cooks for is the protagonist. SAVE ME MY MOLESTER! AND THEN AS REWARD I WILL COOK FOR YOU! Fate/Stay Kitchen you bitch! And fetch me a sandwich while you’re at it. - And let’s not forget all those sappy moments where she gets all emotional. Oh, I wanted to kill myself with the artificial date sim way she was talking. “I believe in you Kirito! I will kill myself if you die! I can’t exist without you!” And God, the way she was acting for a married woman was horrible! She still acts like she is a naive little girl who is afraid to show her own husband her virtual panties. And guess what, she doesn’t even know how old the person she married is!!! - As if all that weren’t enough, in the second half of the show she turns from a (supposed) dynamic woman, to a powerless damsel in distress who is constantly raped by a jerk and needs Kirito to rescue her. How typical, making women useless in shonen despite all their bravado a few episodes ago. Sugu, main love rival and harem girl no.2, is Kirito’s cousin and adopted sister. And she is in love with him because this is what all sisters are obligated to do in harem shows. - She is supposed to be strong both physically and mentally, but as soon as Kirito is around she can’t even breathe without him coming to her rescue. - Turns out that she is also playing MMOs, despite the fact that her own brother and thousands of others were killed or in coma because of them. And yet she acts as if it was never much of an issue and just was curious to see what was so special about them. - Check this out, as soon as Kirito enters the game, the very first person he meats by complete chance and immediately runs to save is her. Try to calculate those odds. - Furthermore, even after she meets him, she doesn’t recognise him, despite having the exact same voice, nickname, and fighting style. - She doesn’t even raise an eyebrow for any of the above. Not even when a seemingly new player has enough power to defeat four others without much effort. - Best lolling part yet. She otherwise falls in love with him, EVEN in the videogame and without knowing who he is. Yui, the obligatory moe character. She is an AI, and a direct rip-off from Aura in .hack. She acts as if she is the game-based child of Kirito before revealing to be a rogue program who fell in love with him (the platonic type) because he is the protagonist (of course!). And even saves him from a monster with her hax skills before she turns into a moeblob accessory. Very fitting for how gamers view women in games. - Later on she returns as a guiding pixie, like that annoying thing from Legend of Zelda. Best troll of the show is how despite not being part of the new game, she is magically intergraded into it, like it was a very easy thing to do, because supposed she shares the same programming as the previous game. And at the same time she DOESN’T have her hax skills anymore for no apparent reason. Bullshit! - Afterwards she becomes a pocket Wikipedia just for the sake of advancing the plot without the hero having to bother searching or asking around for information. There isn’t a thing she doesn’t know; she can point you to the right direction, the proper person, and even calculates the exact distance and time to get there. This trashed completely the sense of mystery and adventure the first arc had. - She also becomes a psychiatrist of sorts, as she constantly tries to offer explanations to why people love each other and what it means to care about someone, and other cheesy stuff like that. And she does it from the perspective of a stupid child, so it passes as nothing more than yet another effortless attempt to make the show deep when it’s a pile of shit. Her line of thought makes no sense and they are actually paying attention to her. - Towards the end of the show, she all of a sudden has admin access once again. Why? Because they were running out of episodes and the protagonists wasn’t hax enough to win in a few episodes. The person who was responsible for trapping everyone in the game doesn’t even have a reason for doing it. Meaning, the whole thing happened because someone was feeling like being a douche. Facepalming.- As usual of course the fandom was making its best to try to reason that and before you know it, all of a sudden this guy is a prophet! He warned people for the dangers of MMOs and how they can be abused by men in power, as it was proven in the second half of the show. Too bad nobody in the whole world gave a damn, since people kept playing these games like nothing of importance had happened. - He also didn’t kill anyone, since he only trapped them; those who died killed themselves with their actions. That’s right people; you are not a murderer if you give guns to killers. You are just a douche who wants to have fun.- And don’t go asking yourselves why wasn’t anyone from the outside world able to hack into the game and capture this asshole for years. The game was simply unhackable… until Kirito tries that is; and does it in three seconds. - Also towards the end of the show this guy is somehow becoming a hero for helping the protagonist with another deus ex machina he conveniently gave to him in the last minute when he could otherwise do it all along. Yeah, let’s disregard all the deaths he caused or how he had no bloody reason for doing it in the first place. The second villain is ten times as worse. He is a jerk busyness man who will act like a complete lunatic every time he describes his plans and demands to rape a comatose girl because he has enough money. Screw human rights and laws, I HAVE MONEY. And will be kind enough to act like a jerk and constantly explaining all his satanic masterplans in a most honest way and in front of the protagonist. What was his important reason for revealing such crucial information to a nobody civilian? Why, so we can all hate him 2 minutes after he is introduced of course! Deep and well-thought characterization right there!- And despite his constant gloating, his showdown with the hero will be the most anti-climactic thing in the whole show. At least the first villain posed a severe thread and was very hard to beat. This one was weak and was wasted without an effort… with some aid by the hacking skills of a ghost! Yeah, tactics are so good, ain’t they? - Of course you are never to wonder why he never knew there was such a thing in his own game, or why it didn’t do anything about it all this time. The rest of the players are equally dumb. For example they get very annoyed if someone is trying to hoard all the special items for himself. They even call cheaters all the beta testers of the game just because they have an unfair advantage over the rest by knowing most of the attack patterns of the monsters. And this is seen as a bad thing… ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Your lives are at stake and you are seriously complaining about fair play? You must do anything it takes to clear the game fast and easy! Screw fair play! So what if a guy has all the cool weapons and can warn you about the tricks of each boss fight? You intend to keep some rare sword for yourselves in a game you just want to run away from? No matter how much you fight to get a super weapon, you do it so you can escape this damn game. You are not even going to take it along with you in the real world like they do with superpowers in AW or some other crappy show like Esthetica of a Rogue Hero. You can be a level 9999 twelve winged radiating motherfrakking god by the time you complete the game and you will still be the same weak dork you always were in real life. Not to mention you will be weakened even more by all the years your body didn’t move. So why the hell are you so angry for losing something you can’t keep no matter what you do? In fact you will feel better for not wasting endless hours risking your life just so you will be a super god in the game, while knowing very well you will lose it all when you leave it. - And don’t anyone dare say they perhaps do it to prove their worth by winning fair and square. Nobody wants to do that if he is forced to play a death game! You are kept away from real life! Your relatives are getting crazy from grief! You can die! WHO CARES ABOUT CHEATING! CHEATING IS GOOD! In fact, everybody should do the same and use as many cracks, cheats, hacks, or whatever else they can find. It would normally ruin a game if some abuse the rules like that but in this case this is not entertainment anymore! You don’t care about having fun beating the game; YOU JUST WANT TO BEAT IT!- And speaking about fair play, there are guilds in the game as usual. Each one goes on its own missions and gathers its own items and experience. After all I have described so far, DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE??? In such a situation there shouldn’t be guilds, sides, teams, rivals, or whatever. Everybody should be a single team and working for the common good of everybody. They should all go to fight the same boss, instead of spreading out and have so many casualties. I mean the progression of the levels is as linear as it gets; this is not Skyrim where you can go anywhere you like and do things in any order you prefer. Why are they all spreading out like that? Stupid and unexplained. - And instead what do we get? The top guilds killing each other just for the sake of getting random drops that resurrect the dead. Get it? They kill other players, so they can be the ones to fight a boss and hopefully get an item to resurrect them. Bullshit!- And then we get the second game of the series, where again many players play it. They are not trapped in it but are very well aware of how it was created with the same game engine as SAO and was released a few months after it. Are they really trying to tell us that thousands of people, who knew very well that a much similar game caused the entrapment and death of several others, ARE NOT AFRAID? Hell, five people dying from a chicken disease was enough to spread world wide chaos for months and such an event is presented as something unimportant? BULLSHIT!- Let’s just suppose for a second that they don’t care about the game having the same game engine. How about balance issues? The second game is broken and unfair and yet they don’t seem to care once again. * Anyone who gets to the top of the tower will offer to his race a superior set of wings that will trash the game balance completely. * There is a game feature that allows a player to change races. If a race gets the new wings, then everybody will immediately use the feature to become that race, thus ruining the whole purpose of having many races.* There are no game masters to investigate possible cheating or hacking. Everybody can break the rules as he likes and nobody will do the slightest thing to stop him. * There is another game feature that allows you to steal other peoples’ main equipment. Can you imagine someone stealing the sword you spent months trying to get? Who would possibly want to play such a game?- I keep hearing excuses by some fans who claim all the above are reasonable because: * the characters are teenagers and stupid, so they are ok to make mistakes. That is not saving it, since we see players of all ages in the game, and they are all equally stupid. * most players in any MMORPG are retards and the series is just being realistic about it. That is not saving it either; if they are retards, how do they survive? Even careful players die twice a day in normal games and these idiots here just survive in an unforgiving death game. Everybody who is stupid should be dead and only the cunning and intelligent would remain alive. * And let’s just go easy on it for awhile and assume the above does not matter. They are still not acting as typical MMORPG players, since the show is a harem. Really, just look how all the girls behave and then come tell me that real life female players are acting exactly like harem girls. And now for the invisible uncaring people of the world!- Thousands of players get trapped in a videogame and in the whole series nobody cares or does the slightest thing to help them. - Thousands of players wake up after years in coma and not a single doctor runs to help them. - Kirito saves thousands of lives and nobody cares about him.- Thousands of survivors need to go through rehabilitation as means to be intergraded back into society without any physical or mental scars to ruin the rest of their lives and again NOBODY CARES and everybody is just working and having a normal life like nothing much happened. And now some words regarding the rest of Kirito’s unofficial harem: Sachi, harem girl no.3, was a minor female character that was very afraid of fighting and preferred to spend the whole game in the safety of the safe zones. It was a smart decision since there were lots of others progressing through the game very fast. She could just wait there for them to clear the game and free her. Instead of that the protagonist gives her courage to pointlessly risk her life in levelling up, which eventually leads to her as well as the rest of her team being killed in an ambush. What were her last words? “Thank you so much!” Yes, that makes sense; thank you so much for getting us killed for no reason. Character rewrite once again. Of course they try to present it as if she thanked him for being the only one who gave her courage to keep trying to survive instead of committing suicide or something but that doesn’t fool me. She got killed EXACTLY because he encouraged her and he is supposed to be an anti-social who doesn’t give a rat’s ass. Oh, and let me not forget to mention how she also had the hots for the protagonist for no apparent reason besides him being the protagonist. Thanks for another dumb whore you expect us to like mr. author. Harem girl no.4, Silika the token loli. She managed to get all the way to level 45 by making all the deviant male players to be giving her healing potions and sharing their experience with her just for the sake of having her around and undressing her in their minds. That would normally make her a very manipulating personality, since she exploits people’s lust to have it her way. But no, she is a total dumb girl who doesn’t even know the basic rules of the game. Contradiction anyone? She doesn’t even know of Kirito, one of the most famous players of the game. And yes, she too falls for him because he exploited her emotions for capturing some bandits and doesn’t miss the chance to offer fan service by constantly flashing her panties and being molested by hentai-like monsters. Great respect for another whore there mr. author. Liz, harem girl no.5, is a blacksmith who falls in love with Kirito for breaking her best sword and exploited her skills for getting better swords from her. She also claims to be an experienced player but all we see her be doing is being completely stupid in battle and in need to be rescued twice in ten minutes. Yeah, that is how you treat women in fiction. By the way, the majority of the fanboys refuse to admit the show is a harem, because the protagonist has chosen a girl and all the rest of them don’t stand a chance. Yeah, tell that to Tenchi Muyo, Love Hina, and Ah My Goddess, the most famous of all harem shows who all have a secured couple right away, yet keep throwing girls at the hero’s face. Losers! Reason of why SAO sucks No.5: The scriptwriter is terrible His AW novels were also adapted to anime and were even airing at the same time as this one for awhile. And guess what, just like SAO, AW was also mostly guilty pleasure than quality writing or good characterization. It was also hyped for similar reasons and was also mocked by most after it turned out to be crap like SAO. So in case you disliked that one, you will dislike this one for similar reasons. If you want more specific examples, just look at how he writes. Constantly introducing new characters and trying to make them dramatic before killing them or never mentioning them again in the exact same episode is just lame. If he wants us to feel sorry for a dying character, he should have kept him around for a dozen episodes so we get to like him first. The plot is all over the place, to the point it has several time skips every few minutes. To give you an example, it begins with making the game appear extremely hard in level 1 but 7 episodes later they have cleared three quarters of it easily and out of screen. In the meantime, characters have gained new equipment, got lots of levels, and joined powerful guilds without ever bothering to show us how they managed to do all that. Adding to all that we have some of the sappiest melodrama you can ever hope to encounter, forced tragedies and revelations that come out of thin air, just for the sake of superficial shock factor. What was the show called again Soap Art Operain? Here is another proof of how crap these books are. The SAO series is currently 10 volumes long. One would think this means that the story is very long. And it’s not! SAO technically lasts only one book! The others are irrelevant side stories that happen in flashbacks or entirely different games! That’s right, the title SAO is practically useless after the first book. It’s there just so the idiotic fans will keep buying more books with its name on it. It’s like buying compulsory everything that has an apple on it. This happens because the author used the old “Bait and Switch” method. Being completely useless to keep a story going for more than a few chapters, yet unwilling to let it finish and move to writing something else, every time an arc ends he just finds a poor excuse to make another arc and start all over again, rehashing the exact same things. The characters constantly enter completely different games that are not called or played like SAO! After all the aspects of the first game were presented (poorly and unbalanced as always), the only way for the gamers to keep being interested in such a show is to introduce a new game with new rules and start all over again to explain stuff. Something which happens four times! You heard right; the only thing this story does in order to keep you interested, is to present something in a rushed and superficial way before it resets the plot completely. If that is not enough for anyone to understand how shit the plot really is, then he is a retard. And let’s be honest here; aside from anything I said so far, it is based on light novels. Meaning, stories written by people with little to no talent, appealing to people with no exposure to quality literature. Some of them may be smash hits and considered masterpieces amongst LN fans but try to give those books to veteran readers of literature and try to see what they will say about it. You won’t find a big enough rock to hide under. So don’t assume that because the SAO novels are currently considered to be THE BEST BOOKS EVER WRITTEN it automatically means they are good. They are not. They are simply glorified fan service in a similar way the Harry Potter and Twilight books were hyped in the past. Reason of why SAO sucks No.6: Fan catering Well, that is pretty much self-explanatory for why it makes the show bad. The plot is one huge pile of stereotypes aiming to appeal to gamers and dorks. The setting by itself is going to attract anyone who likes playing MMORPGs. It will make them to constantly be comparing it to various game mechanics, and since the game does a shitty job at explaining its gameplay, they will be talking about it for weeks. Before eventually they realize the game sucks that is.Take the protagonist for example. He is THE BEST in everything. He has the highest level in the game, super skills nobody else has in the game, the most knowledge of how to farm easy, and can beat the strongest bosses all alone without even being prepared for it. No reason for why he is so good in everything; we are just supposed to accept he is super cool and wish to be like him. Well if you ask me he is completely boring for the same reason. He acts like a Mary Stue who always wins just because of his statistics reaching epic levels without ever showing us how. An overpowered character is a boring character exactly because there is no challenge he can’t overcome. He is also just there to give forceful explanations to how the game works, as if it’s too hard to just show it on screen. And despite the explanations, the game ill still make no bloody sense. And the joke becomes bigger at how he is supposed to be an anti-social yet EVERY SINGLE GIRL IN THE GAME HAS THE HOTS FOR HIM. And he accomplishes that by being a complete jerk. He lies, exploits, doesn’t reveal crucial information, leads people to their deaths and every goddamn girl in the game finds out about that and her reaction is to beg him to bang her. Yeah mr. author, thanks for trying to make us feel like jerks who can get away with everything by identifying with this ass of a protagonist you are throwing at our faces. And thanks a lot for making him act as blunt and boring as possible so we can better get into his shoes. What was the game called again, Harem Art Online? It goes further than this by having all the female players running around in mini skirts and constantly trying not to show their panties. - And of course the animators made it impossible for girls to wear decent clothes. - Oh, and not to forget to mention how they are constantly molested by tentacle monsters and crazy rapists. - And how they can’t do anything right when Kirito is around so he will of course run to their rescue every single time with his amazing skills. - And how they constantly forget to dress and walk out of their rooms while in their underwear. - And how they never miss the chance to bend over and have the camera zoom to their asses. How was the show called again? Nice Ass Online? I love how this more than obvious fan catering show is otherwise pretending to be serious and suspenseful by having double standards. It is supposed to make the viewer be afraid of the game but at the same time it wants to make him wish he was part of it. - Imagine you being trapped in a fantastic world full of dangers and adventure, where you need to fight hard in order to survive! This is not a game, it’s as real as life itself! … But at the same time it’s still a game and everybody still acts like it is. You would definitely want to be there, right?- Imagine you being the most awesome, most powerful, most smart, most sexy person in the whole world, and have all the girls in the world falling in love with you right away. But you stay faithful to an equally perfect, beautiful, sexy, tsundere wife who cooks and cries only for you. And imagine having cyber sex with her without worrying she might get pregnant. It’s the best life there is… But you also want to get out of there, because it’s a virtual world and your real bodies are withering! You would definitely want to be that man, right?What kind of bullshit logic is this? It’s like hearing someone talking about how bad rape is but you otherwise love to see him constantly raping people. Meaning, this is a show for masochists. If not, it’s just self-insert, wish fulfilment nonsense that pretends to be SERIOUS AND DEEP when it’s otherwise as shallow as it gets. Reason of why SAO sucks No.7: The director is useless The director is Itou Tomohiko’s whose only previous full fledged directing work Occult Academy was dull at best. He kept the tradition alive by doing the same thing in this show; ie it doesn’t feel good to watch for long. The scenes change randomly and people seem to be standing in a completely different position in each one. Even worse, secondary players magically disappear from the fighting scenes for no reason. Half the duration of the first half of the show is about stand alone missions, which in the books were short stories without connection to one another. Each one of them ends up being nothing but an easy mission where the protagonist is showing off how cool he is and increases his harem. They are completely boring despite attempting to help us get to know the game and the secondary characters. It also creates continuity problems, since when the side story ends and the main story is back, people behave very differently, as if the previous events never happened and crucial information is mentioned only then and not earlier when they were supposed to know it all along. The story was also badly adapted from the books. - They took out several explanations regarding the way the game is played, and internal monologues which reason the mentality of a character in certain episodes.- The girls are presented in a lot more harem-like way. They were turned from dynamic women who like the protagonist to fap material after his virtual cock. - They took out the sex scenes and replaced them with several ecchi scenes where they simply make overused boob grabs and pantsu shots, followed by bitch slaps. And instead of “we had sex” they always say “we were playing for hours.” Great way to dumb down the good parts. - The original script of the first arc was only one book long that could hardly fill half a season. The second book were just stand alone side stories that happen in between its various time skips. The director had the stupid idea of animating them in chronological order, which means that for several episodes you get a bunch of filler episodes which lack plot continuity and even have several personality inconsistencies. Reason of why SAO sucks No.8: The action is boring - The animation is done by Studio A-1 Pictures which usually cares a lot for character appeal and has good budgets. This is hardly one of their best works though; it has several scenes per episode where it is too crude. The artwork is definitely nice since it really feels like a fancy Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG). The animation is otherwise very poor; there is very little animation in it for a show that is supposed to be full of action and adventure. There may be battles in this show, but they are all dull and usually end in a few minutes. You are looking at static pictures and flashes that are substituting motions to the most part. Many times the battles aren’t even shown and are resolved out of screen or we fast forward after they are over. Hell, all battles are resolved through broken powers and deus ex machina asspulls. The emotional impact is lost because everything feels unexciting and completely convinient. So after all these reasons, I can say nothing more than “screw this shitty anime!” If you want dark death games that look like a videogame, go watch Gantz. And if you want depth, stick to .hack. SAO is simply badly made.