Sword Art Online (Aincrad Arc)

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CreatorTomohiko Ito
StudioA-1 Pictures
Original run2012
Number of episodes25 (only 14 covered in this review)
Purchase DVD collectionNOPE! I refuse to help advertise sales for this garbage.

Warning: Contains NSFW content and LOTS OF HATE. Prepare your popcorn…

…Oooooh, some of you are going to hate me for this.

Yep. I’m going to talk shit about Sword Art Online, and there’s nothing you can do about it. What you are looking at is one of my most hated pieces of animation of all time, which is oddly among the favorites of other otaku.

Dissidia Final Fantasy Kefka I Hate You

Really think about that. I don’t do it just to be different. I really think it’s THAT horrible and I truly believe I have legit reasons to.

So let me break out the Haterade and we can get started!

…This series is an anus. It’s a stinky, dirty, and shitty black hole that expels nothing but scum. It deserves all of my vitriol and I shall give it full force!

Now, what is this show? Why, Sword Art Online—or as I like to call it, A 13-year Old Shounen Fanboy Gamer’s Wet Dream—is a very popular series revolving around a virtual reality MMORPG. And the anime is an adaptation of a cult classic light novel. Not a bad premise, mind you. And considering I’ve been a gamer before some of you have even been born, it should appeal to me… right? Hehehe.

The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Dr Robotnik No

And trust me, I have a LOT to say about this show. So brace yourself, because this is one of the longest reviews I’ve ever written.

…Did I mention I hate this show? Yeah? Okay then.

So, let’s not waste any time! Let’s tear this a new one.

Whether you like fantasy or not, I think many of us can agree that we can do much better than Sword Art Online. The characters, especially the male lead, are obnoxious, the morals are fucked up, and the story is complete bullshit.

And believe me, this show is very well animated most of the time. The bright vibrant colors, the large and epic scenery, and it shows just about everything you want to see in a fantasy world. I WANT this show to be good.

But with all the shit I said about it, it’s like this show wants to go out of its way to be beyond saving. The story is just horrible.

As a digital media/communications major, I have one big question to ask the team who have worked on Sword Art Online: WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE DO YOU THINK YOU ARE SENDING TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?

And the endless amount of praise this show receives is inexplicable. It is beyond painful.

  • “One of my favorite anime of all time.”
  • “Amazing show.”
  • “Really good.”
  • “Great main character.”
  • “Best anime ever, hands down.”
  • “Great action.”
  • “Very good writing.”
  • “One of the best plots of all time.”
  • “Exceeds every one of my expectations.”
  • “BEST ANIME EVER!!!!!!!Exclamation!!!!!”
  • “This is SO good!”
  • “A thrill ride.”
  • “The main character is well written.”
  • “Best written romance of all time.”
  • “Cowboy Bebop doesn’t have shit on this.”
  • “You haven’t seen real anime until you watched this one.”
  • “Life-changing.”
  • “So sad :'(“
  • “Amazing story, characters, soundtrack, and art.”
  • “This show is genius.”
  • “Best show of all time.”
  • “10/10 recommend”
  • “A little flawed, but I’ll still give it 6/5 stars!”
  • “Best voice acting in all of anime.”

…Yes, I have seen every one of those types of comments or similar. And now, you are very depressed.

I’m sorry, but this series is fucking terrible. The story has no idea on where it wants to go, the characterizations are mediocre, the action (or lack thereof) makes this surprisingly boring to watch, and the backwards ass morals don’t fit. There are much better anime out there that people could be watching, and THIS ONE is one of your favorites?

Well, that’s your opinion. I just so happen to think this is the greatest anime series of all time, and I bet I watched more anime than you will ever see in your lifetime. And you’re just a hater, so your opinion doesn’t matter anyway.

Well, okay, Mr. or Ms. Revolutionary. Go write a whole manga and market it to people outside of Japan. See if you can attract western audiences with it. If you really think this type of writing is the best thing ever, try to appeal to EVERYONE.

…No? I thought so.

Yes, it is my opinion that this show absolutely sucks ass.

Yes, there are much worse anime out there.

Yes, there are much worse stories out there.

But even if I cut out the snarky remarks about this show and present this review more professionally and objectively, I would still call it a badly written story almost at the realm of Twilight.

And not just that, this childish attempt at a video game plot is insulting. I would even call it pretentious in its presentation. While it tries to be flashy and acts like it has something to say, it demonstrates that it has nothing to say at all and just pussies out at every opportunity. I don’t know how desensitized you would have to be to even consider this show good.

Similar example: if you were to ask a Twilight fan about how good Twilight is, guess what kind of response you would get. And if that fan knows nothing about how writing a good story works, guess how reliable that fan’s feedback is.

At this point, some of you might be thinking I’m just beating a dead horse at this point and that “I don’t understand this series.” Or maybe, “you give EVERYTHING a negative review, therefore you hate everything.”

Typical butthurt fan response.

My rebuttal: this is how criticism works. I don’t praise works to death like they’re a fucking godsend. Every story in the world has flaws, and to recognize and point out those flaws is the beginning. And to give your thoughts on those flaws is the full brunt of it. You pick what you praise and you pick what you disagree with.

So I admit, I am really biased about Sword Art Online and I’ve been a snarky ass about it throughout this review. But that is just how it is, man. Opinion is not meant to align with the masses. If I have to be that one guy to talk shit about this series, so be it. It left a really bitter taste in my mouth during my first viewing, so I sat through a second viewing just to bring this review out to you.

Now I have halitosis. Yep. I subjected myself to this horseshit again so you can read this. You’re fucking welcome.

I gave the criticisms that I believe this series deserved and I hope some people will catch on that SAO is far from being a good series.

Also, congratulations. You just read through… whew, nearly 18,000 words, close to the size of a novella. I commend your patience for sitting through this canyon of nerdy hatred. Expect more when I get to the story arc that splits the fanbase down the middle, the Fairy Dance Arc.

So until then, like this post, subscribe to the blog, comment, whatever. I’m done with this shit for now.

Number of times fuck was used: A whopping 86
Number of times shit was used: 42

…Dat a lotta hate, bra.

Sword Art Online (Aincrad Arc)

Sword Art Online (Aincrad Arc)










  • For the most part, the artwork and animation are very good.
  • The soundtrack is also good.
  • Episode 1 does its job well by giving a very strong premise, but is sadly wasted with terrible story execution.
  • Bringing the concept of virtual reality MMORPGs to life.


  • The numerous plot holes and the heavy amount of filler that draws little to no connection to the main plot. Also, the flat villain and his nonsensical goal
  • KIRITO ALL THE WAY. The fact that Kirito hogs most of the spotlight, which prevents the side characters from having a strong presence in the story.
  • The awkward, unrealistic romance between Kirito and Asuna. Even with the other potential love interests, Asuna is the only one of them all who has shared a close enough connection to Kirito.
  • The fight scenes leave a lot to be desired; they’re either too short, have too simple choreography, or both.
  • The skewed morals/ethics that the story attempts to present to you—mainly escapism and online relationships—, which unfortunately do affect the show’s viewers in real life.
  • The absolutely wasted potential to tell a good story, because this show has many great ideas ruined by flawed execution.
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1 thought on “Sword Art Online (Aincrad Arc)

  1. At least your 18k words were important (sort of). I watched it once, and since at the time, I wanted flashing lights and a soundtrack, it worked. I wasn’t looking for plot, and am glad I didn’t find one. Have you watched SAO Abridged?
    It pokes a little fun so, I thought you might like it. It also tries to shed as much negative light on Kirito as it can I think, which he kinda deserves.

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