Disclaimer: Since I have not watched Sword Art Online since it aired what I may say may be incorrect.
So in Sword Art Online we have our main character, Kirito. The series from when this is posted contains 3 Arcs:
- Arc 1 SAO (Sword Art Online)
- Arc 2 ALO (Alfhiem Online)
- Arc 3 GGO (Gun Gale Online)
The concept of Sword Art Online (as of arc 1) was that when the new MMO title Sword Art Online was released, The creator trapped thoughts of the day 1 players inside the game with no option of escape. The concept is simple we are stuck inside a game, but what made SAO unique was that it was the first Anime which took this idea serious (maybe too serious), and added in the plot of when you die in-game you die in real life. This changed as SAO falls and we move onto the second arc but the concept of the first arc follows but instead of being stuck they can now live freely inside games.
Arc 1 - Sword Art Online
This arc was serious, though it tried to not make it out as being serious. This arc started us off in the world which you couldn't escape from without dying or completing the game. In short you where stuck in the game with the only option of trying to survive and trying to do that and come to realization of the situation you were in must have taken a toll on most of the people who were stuck.
Our main character, Kirito who played the game in beta stage was experienced with the game aswell as being the massively knowledgeable of the world of SAO. What this meant to the viewer is that we are not viewing the situation of someone who has just discovered a new world and stuck in it (we see this through other players), instead we get another take on a player who have been through most of the game and knows alot about it.
Alot of the first arc was meeting other players in many different situations and helping them but this is not the point of this blog post. In the first arc we basically got the whole background knowledge required for the other two arcs. In a MMO where people died and had to fight to survive we experienced the struggle and realization that there was no hope unless they beat the game which was not achieved during the beta. Throughout the first arc Kirito goes from people a solo player (someone who plays games without anyone alone) to discovering that in this world that he had to depend on people and after meeting Asuna, formed a group in which he had to protect. With this we went through the first arc really experiencing this life and death situation of lots of people who want to live.
Arc 2 - Alfhiem Online
So we are at the stage where SAO has fallen, survivors have recovered and most are going back to there normal lives. The second arc of sword art online is known as the fall of the series, it was the most hated, completely embarrassing arc of the whole show. Which is the main reason to why SAO has the rep it has now. But this arc was really focusing on the relationship between Kirito and Asuna which they developed throughout SAO. And with that we learnt about what happened to some people who survived SAO. In short this arc was not the created but for the fans of the pairing it was key.
The movie length OVA?
Now this was just a service for the fans, a fun enjoyable hour long episode which we learned about life after ALO. With this we actually learnt alot because it went into detail about what actually was going on in SAO, how the group of friends kept playing games together and enjoyed there lives inside and outside of the games. It did go onto how most players from the game moved on.
Arc 3 - Gun Gale Online
At time of writing this post I have watched episode 10
So its been a while and most people have gone back to life and moved on. We get to experience more of the life of the survivors of SAO and what they did after. But as of episode 10 what we learn is that as much as the people of SAO moved on, it has left a mark on most people. This being mainly around the fact that in the world if you killed another player, you have pretty much murdered them. But discover the toll on the person outside of the game and how it has mentally affected them. For example Sinon murdered someone in self defence and we see this has mentally destroyed her. Kirito has done so aswell in the game, though he was able to ignore it but still it has affected him, so we have this connection between the two characters. But hows does this relate to SAO? As people who have been keeping up with the series knows, the main bad guy of the show is Death Gun who is from Laughing coffin guild in SAO (Who killed players). From this point the whole plot of Arc 3 is one of the many outcomes from SAO, Where yeah we saw many people move on with life, but what about the players who murdered others and changed due to being stuck in the game. We are now seeing the actions of one of the players who did murder others and how he has moved on from SAO and still has a need to kill people which as of right now we don't know how he is doing it.
The problem of Arc 3
It is slow.... yes it is very slow, but i think that this is for the best. Look at the depth of the story we are now getting, we are now being told of things which we never knew of before and only now we discover and really understand things. Now the whole slow idea is mainly pointed out by people who enjoy the series for how it is and like the new mmo feel.
The slowness allows for:
- Story depth
If the show was any faster they would lose out on these details and for most it would be a show about a girl scared of guns playing a gun based MMO with Kirito and taking down a bad guy from SAO. But instead we get a story enriched with detail of everything that is going on. We get to know all about Sinon's background and we discover the connection between murder in real life and in game (inside SAO). You would never be able to enjoy this series without having watched SAO in the first place.
Basically the show is weak. It attends mostly to attract the viewers and please them through Asuna's and Kirito's relationship and that. But underneath it has its story enriched depth that I really wished they focused on. Though these points have been made really clear and obvious that there is a connection between all the arcs its the idea that whats going on in GGO is a result of a player of SAO which didn't move onto and forgot about SAO but instead carried on his actions.
This post is a mess but its an adaptation of a twitter spam I caused. Alot of people say SAO is bad and yeah it was pretty bad but it was mainly due to arc 2. And though the fan base is pretty huge, it kinda contains of casuals, people who aren't completely into anime or watch it cause its cool. So SAO is a easy target cause it was pretty good and had alot of hype when it aired, Somewhat like Attack on Titan. So in a sense the fan base is corrupted. There's people who take the story serious and theres some watching it for fun. Which has no effect on the show itself.
Essentially if they had aired GGO instead of arc 2 things could have gone better. But what makes most of us secretly love SAO is the fact it's so easy to relate to. We all play games, we all enjoy and plonder the idea of being stuck in those games.