Sword Art Online First Impressions

From the creator of Accel World, comes another sci-fi anime. 

Summary: News about the greatness of the game, Sword Art Online is being spread in the news. Kirito, a beta-tester goes back to the virtual world, Aincrad and meets Klein who asks him for help in using the system’s techniques.  The RPG doesn’t use magic apparently. The two were about to part ways but were unable to logout. They were later forced transported to the plaza for the game master, Kayaba Akihiko’s message.  They can’t remove the NerveGear (the tool used to connect to the game) if not their brains in the real world will be fried. They also can’t allow their HP to become 0 because the NerveGear will destroy their brains. The only way to escape is to complete the game by beating the bosses of all 100 floors. Their avatars changed to their real life appearance.  He tells Klein to go to the next village with him to earn money and EXP, but the latter can’t avoid his comrades from his guild in a previous game.

Thoughts: Once again, Kawahara-sensei doesn’t fail us in presenting an awesome set-up. Despite Accel World being animated first, I think Sword Art Online is the stronger work. I’m sorry to be comparing but it’s the easiest method to get my thoughts across. First and foremost, I am very pleased that our main character, Kirito isn’t as wussy and annoying as Haruyuki. It’s obvious they both are adept in video games but the former recognizes this strength and uses it to his advantage. Second, the overall reason why they must level-up brings a different kind of depth. SAO is more of fighting to stay alive and escape while AW is more on becoming the strongest fighter. The fact that death is a looming theme for SAO brings a darker side, which is usually more entertaining to watch. Third, I like how they managed to integrate games, where other gamers formed bonds. This will naturally bring out more psychological and trust conflict. I’m quite excited for the next episodes already. This has been one of the stronger pilot episodes for this season, hopefully it won’t disappoint.

Initial Rating: 8.5/10

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