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
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.


Episode 1: The World of Swords

Episode 1: The World of Swords

Alright, so first thing’s first. If you feel uncomfortable about… someone’s strongly worded opinion on a relatively popular anime, abandon all hope ye who enter here.

Redditors, you have been warned too.

Season 1 is composed of 26 episodes, with two story arcs each with 13 episodes. And yes, I’m aware there is a Sword Art Online II released as a dub that puts focus on guns instead of swords. Because that isn’t confusing at all. I’ll look over that one at some point, but this one review already has a whole bunch of “SHITS” and “FUCKS” to make a biker blush. So it’s gonna be a while. If I were an alcohol connoisseur, I’d be chugging a whole bottle of whiskey in less than a minute right now. Farewell, brain cells and liver.

So… hope you have a lot of time to spare.


It is the year 2022 and “mankind” has constructed a full virtual world where people can enter and explore. Nice use of “mankind.” It’s almost as if this series wants to be an epic or something…

Sword Art Online Kazuto

A teenage boy puts on his Oculus Rift helmet thing and registers his character as Kirito. He enters the virtual fantasy world of Sword Art Online, or SAO for short.

Sword Art Online Aincrad
Behold, we made a giant screw float over the clouds!

And because the show is so gracious NOT to clearly indicate a time skip, we are expected to believe that some time has passed by without you knowing it and the boy known as Kirito has already experienced much of the game.

…Good start, writers.

A young man named Klein SOMEHOW spots Kirito running away in a crowd full of people and SOMEHOW recognizes him as a beta tester. This is their first meeting, by the way. There is no clear indicator that shows Kirito as a beta tester. Klein… just sort of guesses it right on the money.

Sword Art Online Kirito and Klein
Kirito must be thinking, “Get a haircut, hippie.”

The two become fast friends and later have a talk.

Klein: Sounds like to me you’re really into this.
Kirito: Yeah, you can say that. During the beta test, SAO was the only thing on my mind, day and night. In this world, a single blade can take you anywhere you wanna go. And even though it’s a virtual world, I feel more alive in here than I ever did in the real world.

Annnnnnnnd CUT!

Now, bear with me for a minute: this little monologue is brilliant. And not because it’s good. Because it pretty much tells exactly who the target audience is for this series; people who consider real life to be too dull so they prefer to live in the kind of fantasy world they would find in their daydreams. The ideal escapist retreat!

And you can very well say that this monologue is the basic gist on why so many people like this series.

…You know what else? Something like this would easily make a franchiser’s dream come true. Because…

Spongebob Squarepants Mr Krabs money
MONEY MONEY MONEY!

And yeah, I know plenty of people who actually want to live in a dream world. And while this monologue has the potential of pushing in a very strong moral, there’s a reason why I consider it to be a huge misfire. We’ll get to it later.

When Klein attempts to log out, they find out that the logout button has stopped appearing.

Klein: You know if there is another way to log out of this thing?
Kirito: No. Whenever a player wants to log out of SAO, the only way they can do it is by going through the menu.
Klein: That can’t be right! There’s gotta be some other way out.

…Well, something tells me we’re about to have a plot.

Kirito: And there was no emergency logout in the manual either.

Wait. You knew this and you didn’t QUESTION it?

Klein: I know. I’ll just rip the NerveGear off my head…
Kirito: Don’t bother. Once you’re hooked in, you can’t move your body in the real world anymore. The NerveGear intercepts all the commands you get from inside the game using an interface built into the rig.

…Kid, no offense but have you really played through the game, knowing that shit like this could happen? Or hell, how come no one else questioned this either? SAO must be a retreat for the dumbest gamers in the world.

Klein: Seriously? So now we gotta wait until someone gets around to fixing the bug?
Kirito: That, or until someone in the real world comes along and takes the NerveGear off of us. That’s it.

And after some forced comedic relief to go out of topic for a second, Klein tries to reason this as a game glitch.

Kirito: This isn’t just a bug. If we can’t log out, it’s gonna cause some serious problems for the game.

Or keep thousands of players trapped in the Matrix. But yeah, the game is more important. And what the hell are you, kid? The Exposition Fairy of this picture?

Kirito: I wonder if the developers know what is happening. Cuz they can just shut down the server and log everyone out. But why haven’t they made an announcement…?

Because we wouldn’t have a series then. A popular, but horribly written, series.

But every player gets teleported into a colosseum as a hooded figure appears before them to make his announcement.

Sword Art Online Kayaba in hood
I have come to take your souls…

Kayaba: Attention, players. I welcome you to my world. My name is Akihiko Kayaba. And as of this moment, I am in control of this world. I’m sure most of you have already noticed an item missing from your main menu: the logout button. Let me assure you, this is not a defect in the game. I repeat… this is not a defect. This is how Sword Art Online was designed to be. You cannot log yourselves out of SAO. And no one from the outside will be able to shut down or remove the NerveGear from your head. If anyone attempts to do so, a transmitter inside the NerveGear will discharge a microwave signal into your skull, destroying your brain and ending your life.

…And yeah, the first episode is a LOT of blatant exposition. As someone who did write stories in his spare time, I can tell you that this is a common amateur’s mistake for modern storytelling.

So Kayaba reveals 213 people have already died, as a result of their family and friends attempting to remove the NerveGear helmet, and that news networks all over the world have recorded this.

…So does that mean the developer is ASKING to be sued by many grieving families? Or is he going to take the Ford route and say, “Eh, we’ll just go deal with it. It’s not like we can be put on trial for this, or lose the respect of thousands of customers. Our Pinto will sell anyway! Yes it will!”

Kayaba states that SAO is now a YOLO type of deal, so anyone who dies in the game also dies in real life. And the only way out: to clear the game… which is 100 floors long, each with a boss.

Well, at least Kayaba isn’t a businessman. He would be horrible at it.

JOIN SWORD ART ONLINE! MAKE FRIENDS! GO ON REAL ADVENTURES! DIE IN REAL LIFE FOR MY AMUSEMENT WITH NO ESCAPE FROM THE WORLD! ONLY $49.99.

Okay, let’s stop here for a sec.

Now… to be fair for a moment, this is a brilliant premise. Right from the get-go, there are high stakes. A single man holds the fate of all these players, plus they are in a video game. And in most video games, you die… A LOT. And this especially goes true for fantasy settings. Man, I would hate for this game to be Dark Souls instead…

It also makes you wonder what the hell the villain’s motivation is and why he would risk this much to keep all these people trapped.

So one big question remains.

How do they fuck this premise up?

Well, let me say this. They found ways. Holy hell, they found many ways. It’s a fucking project to find them all. I know for sure.

Kayaba gives everyone a special mirror, which forces them to take on their original appearances in the real world. Why is this necessary? Ha… Fuck if I know…

By the way, do you just love how DIFFERENT Kirito and Klein look from their original avatars?

Sword Art Online Kirito Sword Art Online Kirito
Sword Art Online Klein Sword Art Online Klein

…And they don’t even recognize each other after the aesthetic changes at first. I’m practically blind without my corrective lenses and I still can tell these are the same people. Get your eyes checked, you morons.

By the way, the villain already tells us his motivation. So goodbye, element of mystery.

Kayaba: Right now, you’re probably wondering why. Why would Akihiko Kayaba, developer of Sword Art Online and NerveGear, do this? Ultimately, my goal was a simple one. The reason I created Sword Art Online was to control the fate of a world of my design. As you can see, I have achieved my goal.

That’s right. The only reason he’s risking so many people’s lives is just so he can rule his own stupid little world. You’re aware this is a silly, make-believe world, right? And you’re an adult. A brilliant engineer in the real world, in fact. Why would you dump THAT in favor of living in a virtual world where nothing really matters?

So right off the bat, the series kills a potentially strong premise by revealing the villain’s motivation far too early. Why does it kill the premise? Because it makes the rest of the plot too predictable. Too BORING.

…But hey, hopefully this survival plot can carry the story the rest of the way. And high hopes are for losers here.

Episode 1 ends with Kayaba taking his leave and the players going into a panic. Kirito attempts to forge an alliance with Klein in order to improve their chances of survival, but Klein has other friends that he feel he must watch over and lets Kirito go on his own separate path.

Sword Art Online Klein
Well, nice knowing you, guy who got his ass handed to him by a low-level boar enemy earlier. Hopefully, you can survive a hundred floors without my help.

Oh, but we have some awkward complimenting to do.

Klein: Kirito! I… Hey, Kirito. Uh… you look better like this. Way cooler than your avatar.
Kirito: Yeah, and I think that scruffy face fits you ten times better too.

Sword Art Online Kirito

…Uh, thank you for the compliment?

So typical shounen hero runs off into the sunset to begin his quest, screaming like freakin’ Gear in World War Blue as he fells a boar. Basically…

“I’M ANGRY! I’M INNNN PAAAAAAAAAIN!”

Overdramatic, but I’ll take it. Honestly, there are worse ways to start a series off and this one episode does its job okay.

But don’t get used to those pleasantries from me, because it’s all downhill from here.

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Episode 2: Beater

Episode 2: Beater

Sword Art Online temple

Episode 2 starts off a month later, with Kirito narrating that 2,000 people had already died. And no one cleared the first floor of the game. Where did he get his research and statistics? Just like with the typical Exposition Fairy, never explained. He just KNOWS because he’s fucking Kirito.

Kirito attends a meeting with other players in order to figure out how to tackle the boss of the first floor. During a partying session, Kirito ends up teaming up with a girl in a hood.

Sword Art Online Asuna in hood
Hehe… looks like somebody wants attention!

He learns that her name is Asuna.

Well, good to know the manga author is trying to keep this MMORPG setting realistic, by giving pretty much all of the characters of the series actual names rather than DarkKiller666, SmokesGanja420, shadicdahedgehog722751%8 or asfmifafisfaq. Truly, he knows how to write a great story.

Because every MMORPG player in real life can easily grab a perfect username like that, right?

One aspect of this episode is Kirito and Asuna attempting to bond.

Sword Art Online Kirito and Asuna in hood
Because apparently, eating bread next to a person is what now counts as character development these days.

By the way, you can eat and taste virtual food like they are the real thing. And this kind of technology is wasted on a video game, during the year 2022. Hmm. Huh.

Kirito: Okay. Why are you here?
Asuna: So I don’t lose sight of who I am.

Oh, here we go…

Asuna: I don’t want to lock myself in a room in the town of beginnings since slowly rot away. I rather stay the way I am till the last moment. Even if a monster beats me and I die, I won’t lose to this game or this world. No matter what.

…What does staying in the town you’re in have to do with your personal identity? What the flying fuck are you talking about?

Okay. So the reason you’re fighting is because… you lose sight of who you are then? What exactly makes you come to that conclusion? Are you just secretly a Disney Princess who wants “more?”

And if you haven’t noticed, this is an attempt to explore the characters of two socially awkward people.

…You know, if I wanted to do that, I would just go to an anime convention.

SCHWING!

Sword Art Online boss
‘ey, fatteh fatteh!

Sword Art Online monsters
We’re gonna fuck you up with our crunchy rice ball maces!

So the day of the boss battle comes. It turns out that the boss is a cheating bastard and pulls out an overpowered weapon that pretty much allows it to take on the entire party and even kill the leader named Diavel.

Sword Art Online Diavel death
And he somehow figures out that Kirito is a beta tester, just like him.

Seriously, how are some of these players able to figure that out? They never show a single indication on how they can recognize the beta player status. And somehow, Kirito here is easily recognizable as one.

Kirito makes an inner monologue after Diavel’s sacrifice, giving him something of a goal to strive for in SAO.

Kirito: When this death game started, the only thing I thought about was how I was gonna survive. Nothing else mattered.

Except for that one part where you ask Klein to team up with you since you apparently worried about his safety too. Or are you just looking for an excuse to say “Nothing matters” just to sound cool?

Kirito: But you weren’t like that, Diavel. You never abandoned the other players. You brought them together. You led everyone, and you fought brilliantly.

Except for that time where he got his ass handed by the boss with a single stroke of its attack. Otherwise, he fought brilliantly!

Kirito: You tried to accomplish something I couldn’t.

Whatever.

Through a massive amount of bullshit, Kirito and Asuna fight the boss themselves and seem to be winning. So despite the boss appearing to be overpowered at first, he suddenly seems weaker when those two run into action.

When Kirito’s health drops, the whole team just lets him heal and lets him take the kill. Because he’s Kirito. He’s special. And they WIN.

Sword Art Online Asuna
Also, Asuna’s big reveal with pretty sparkles to emphasize the beauty of the girl standing before you.

Sword Art Online Congratulations
Well, at least the Japanese spelled “congratulations” right.

And Kirito even gets the bonus item for himself, earning the praise of his fellow teammates.

And to score the point home, this douche speaks out against him.

Sword Art Online Kibaou
And something tells me you can trust him with your life.

Earlier in the episode, he blamed the beta testers for letting the other players die (wait, what?) and he uses this opportunity to blame Kirito for the boss slaying Diavel. Again, they just fucking figure out he’s one of the 1,000 beta testers and accuse him of knowing the boss’s attack patterns and sacrificing Diavel for nothing.

…Wow. Talk about blown out of proportion.

Kirito makes a “bluff” that the majority of the beta testers are “noobs” and that’s he’s oh-so-special compared to them.

Kirito: But me? I’m nothing like those guys, man. During the beta, I made it to floors that are higher than any of the testers. That’s a fact. I knew about the boss. Because I fought tons of monsters with way more sword skills on higher floors. I know a bunch of other things too. More than you can imagine. More than any info broker.

sao21
Kirito: He is better than all of you combined and he will always be.

Well, it sure doesn’t explain why you’ve spent a whole month dragging your ass across the carpet and letting someone else take the lead! If you are oh so high and mighty, how come you didn’t lead the charge yourself? Asshole.

Player: He’s a beta tester and a cheater! He’s a Beater!

And yeah, they’re actually serious about this. A “Beater” is an actual thing in this series. Honestly, it may be my dirty mind but it’s the equivalent of “wanker” to me.

Jack: Hey, John, did you know this Beater that was talking to your girlfriend a while ago?
John: …What did you say?
Jack: You know, the Beater? He was talking to your girlfriend just a while ago.
John: He beats off to my girlfriend?
Jack: Uh, no, that’s not what I said…
John: Oh, I know what you said! I’m gonna fucking kill him! *walks off*
Jack: Wait! He’s a beta tester and a cheater! He’s a Beater!

And believe it or not, Kirito wears this title proudly. Holy crap, I bet he “beats” off to virtual boars every night from now on. And to further score the point home, he wears the bonus Coat of Midnight item won from the boss battle…

Sword Art Online Kirito thinks he is cooler than you
Because only cool wankers wear black cloaks.

And because Kirito is so badass, he tells Asuna that she should join a guild—because soloing is bad, mmkay—and he walks away, deciding to go solo. Mmkay.

Truly, this young man is the Messiah.

By the way, that claim of his being better than everyone? It’s all true… just wait and see…

[collapse]
Episode 3: The Red-nosed Reindeer

Episode 3: The Red-nosed Reindeer

Sword Art Online Moonlit Black Cats

So Episode 3 rolls in and Kirito is hanging out with a random guild. Do we know these people? Not really, no.

…Well, that completely defeats the purpose of Kirito’s ending speech of Episode 2, does it? So he preached about going solo, only to go off to join a guild.

And because some jackhat in the writing team forgot to fill in the blanks, Episode 3 had a confusing start on what the hell was happening. It felt like, yet, another uncalled for time skip.

The episode spends half of its time showing Kirito bonding with this guild known as the Moonlit Black Cats… only for all of them to be killed off and never be heard from again.

Really, that’s all that happens.

The only purpose of it is to give our hero, Kirito, a reason to be a total emo throughout the series. And this is just so his would-be waifu, Asuna, would sympathize with his guilt.

But he had other romantic choices! It’s not just Asuna!

…Really? Well, let’s take a look at each one of them.

Sword Art Online Sachi

Aside from Asuna, the first among those ship teases is Sachi. She is a member of the Moonlit Black Cats guild, and a complete coward who is afraid to die in SAO. She is easily the most useless member, because she contributes NOTHING… except giving Kirito more angst.

Sachi: Why can’t we just leave? Why do we have to die when it’s just a stupid game? What’s the point of going through this?

You know, rather than asking “why” and having Kirito protect your ass this whole time, why not gain some grit and fight for your survival? That is why there is such a thing as “leveling up” here.

But she got easily won over by Kirito’s “charm” and ends up sleeping with him.

Heh, no, not in that way. Like, that same night, she asks if she can sleep next to him like a little girl asking to sleep next to her daddy because the monsters will get her.

Kirito: If I stay in this guild, she’ll be safe and we’ll all get back to the real world someday.

Aren’t you a humble one.

Kirito: There must be a lot of players like her. Who are afraid of dying here. But still, they laugh and cry and try to live as best as they can. I never thought about it like that before.

Because I’m Kirito, and I say you’re either all haters or emotionless robots.

But the next day, Kirito and his guild go off exploring a new area, which is the supposed horrible tragedy for our hero.

Sword Art Online Tetsuo dies
TETSUO!

Akira Tetsuo death
KANEDA!

So as you can imagine, this whole scene is just melodramatic. Kirito even does the slo-mo reaching-out-for-someone-who-is-clearly-out-of-his-reach cliché.

Sword Art Online Sachi death
Bye, girl whom I promised I would keep alive! Thanks for your major suckage!

By the way, we never see how the hell Kirito got out of that treasure room alive. The entire room was locked down and every one of his guild members went down quickly. By the time Sachi died, Kirito was still facing against a horde of monsters.

Well, I’ll tell you why. Because he’s Kirito. He got dem skillz, bra.

By the way, the guild leader—who was the only guild member who didn’t come to the massacre—committed suicide upon realizing that Kirito is a Beater.

…Hee hee. Still funny.

…What, you think I would give a shit about the guild’s death? Actually, no. We haven’t seen a whole lot of Kirito bonding with the guild members. Hell, the ONLY person out of them who got SOME character was Sachi and we knew very little about these people in general.

We only get to learn about them for about 15 minutes. Pixar’s Up showed more character in even less time!

So why did the writers think I would give two shits about these people dying AND Kirito being in pain just from thinking about them?

Kirito: That’s right. It’s my fault. My arrogance killed you. All of you. If only I hadn’t kept my true level as a player secret from everyone.

…I’m not sure what that has anything to do with your guild jumping off into danger on their own, pal. No, you just want bring attention to how much pain you’re feeling because your problems are more important than anyone else’s.

By the way, this is about half of the episode. The other half is focused on Kirito going to the 35th floor of the game and looking to beat an event monster on his own.

…Okay, the previous episode made such a big deal about the 1st fucking floor. And we’re ALREADY at Floor 35? What kind of pacing are you going for here, writers?

Sword Art Online Kirito

So Kirito goes off on his merry way in search of a Santa Claus monstrosity.

…You heard me.

The reason: there’s a rumor the boss monster drops an item, upon defeat, that has the power to bring dead players back to life. Rather than having the entire guild on his mind, Kirito’s only concern is Sachi.

Kirito: And if it turns out she was cursing me, fine. I accept it.

Yeeeeah, everyone else is kinda bland. Except Sachi though. She’s the only girl in the guild, and she’s kinda cute. I think she should be the first priority to resurrect, because I’m Kirito and I’m always right.

By the way, Klein appears in this episode with his own guild and he offers to let Kirito in. Because Kirito is such a proud motherfucker, he refuses to join and prefers to go back to soloing.

Star Trek Jean-Luc Picard

Yeah. So basically, Kirito doesn’t want to become part of a guild again because he thinks he will somehow have everyone killed off again even though the deaths of the Moonlit Black Cats guild members aren’t really his fault.

Sword Art Online Holy Dragon Alliance
By the way, who the fuck are these people?

These guys are apparently a guild called the Holy Dragon Alliance, an out-of-nowhere subplot who will “do anything for a rare item, no matter how shady.”

So, “Holy” only by name, huh?

By the way, they don’t speak a single line of dialogue and never make an appearance again. Yeeeeeep. We have this enemy guild that is full of crooked treasure hunters, and Kirito runs off while Klein and his guild take them on their own.

A complete waste of animation budget.

…Then why the fuck introduce this subplot in the first place if you’re going NOWHERE with it?

So Kirito finds his target, and…

Sword Art Online Santa Claus boss
Yes, it’s a giant, deranged Santa Claus demon. I knew the fat, old man couldn’t be trusted.

By the way, we don’t even get to watch the battle. I am dead fucking serious. The scene just jumpcuts as Kirito lets loose a pussy scream.

Cut to the next scene, Kirito appears before Klein already victorious. And apparently, Klein and his guild survived the apparent battle against the Holy Dragon Alliance.

Yes, we don’t even see the aftermath of Klein’s battle. We have no idea how the fuck such a small group of warriors could take on or chase off a much larger guild full of bloodthirsty thieves.

Yes. Kirito is powerful enough to take down a special event boss monster by himself.

Star Trek Jean-Luc Picard

That. Is. Fucking lazy. Why promise fight scenes with your anime if you are NOT going to show them anyway?

We also find out that the revival item can only be used within 10 seconds of another player dying, so Kirito just hands it off to Klein as a gift.

…Just what the fuck is the point of this second half of the episode? If you want to have this melodramatic episode about Kirito’s time in a guild, fine. But why only use HALF of an episode to do so and waste the other half with NOTHING? What the hell were the writers thinking?!

Klein: Kirito… listen… Stay alive, you hear? I don’t care how you do it. Just stay alive till the end… *sobs*

…I don’t think you’re close enough to Kirito to break down at the thought of him dying. I mean, really. But Kirito just pisses off anyway, so…

Kirito: See ya…

Sword Art Online Fuurinkazan guild
Yeah. See ya, you losers. I’m Kirito and I have more important stuff to do… like anguishing over my personal problems because my problems are more important than yours.

Sword Art Online revival item tear
Did the revival item just seriously looked like it had a tear?

…Why?

Well, I’ll tell you. Because it’s sad that Kirito wouldn’t use it!

The episode ends when Kirito receives a remote gift from Sachi, a crystal that has the ability to record messages. Apparently, Sachi predicted that she would die anyway and that Kirito would feel guilty about her death, so she tried to comfort him by urging him to stay alive and even humming Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer song…

Sword Art Online Emo Kirito
Boo-hoo-hoo. I’m so sad. Can’t you see how much pain I’m in?

…Oh, so that’s the point of the second half of the episode. Talk about weak.

So yes, Episode 3 is where I believed SAO began to hit massive bullshit territory. And it will continue being bullshit from here on out.

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Episode 4: The Black Swordsman

Episode 4: The Black Swordsman

Sword Art Online Silica

Episode 4 centers on a girl named Silica, an apparently popular player who looks like she isn’t even 12 and yet she has fans. Due to being at the wrong place at the wrong time, Silica’s pet dragon-bird thing ends up dying to whom she shared a close connection to.

…And this is what happens when you get too attached to your Tomogatchi/Pokémon/Digimon or whatever the fuck you want to call it.

But Kirito appears out of nowhere and ends up saving her ass. So here you go. Meet our next ship tease.

Kirito: I’m sorry. If I got here sooner, I could’ve saved your friend.

Shut up, you self-important douchebag. Not every problem you come across is YOUR fault.

Kirito decides to help Silica resurrect her pet dragon, by going to Floor 47 to revive it. It had to be done within three days, because… fuck, I don’t know. I swear, Kirito makes this shit up half of the time. The reason he is helping her is… apparently, Silica looks like his little sister.

…Dude, don’t kid yourself. You have a talent of attracting the attention of cute teen girls and all I think you’re doing is trying to make her swoon.

Sword Art Online Kirito pets Silica
Or make her feel like a damn puppy.

By the way, SAO apparently allows players to kill one another. What are the conditions of PvP? Honestly, it’s very poorly explained throughout the series. There are “safe zones” in which PvP can only occur if two players agree to one. But at times, you can just randomly ambush someone and do damage against them. There’s no consistency to it. And some players just want to kill people for the fun of it…

The Dark Knight Alfred Some men just want to watch the world burn
Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Oh, and Silica develops… I guess, a crush on Kirito through this episode. Apparently to the point that she almost answers the door to him while in her UNDERWEAR.

Hell, even Floor 47 is filled with young couples walking around to further push this sentiment. And there is this running joke in the episode of Silica covering up her skirt in an attempt to prevent her panties being shown. Yes, even in her battle armor.

Thank you, Japan, for making our women act like totally dignified figures instead of turning them into a total ditz whose first-world problems involve preventing cute boys from seeing her panties. This is totally a step up for mankind!

Why so? Because that’s how Kirito rolls. Are you a chick and you just met him? Well, now he’s your dream boy. Your nipples grow stiff and your panties get wet at the sight of him. No matter who you are, you just want to do naughty things to him, the kind of stuff you see in hentai. You have no choice in the matter. Kirito is and will be the best thing to ever happen to you… ever…. and forevermore.

Sword Art Online Kirito kills giant penis monster
And speaking of hentai… am I the only one seeing Silica getting engulfed by a giant purple penis with pink tentacles at the foreskin?

And Kirito slices it…

…Well, thanks for giving me that image, show. I’m going to have nightmares about man-eating dicks getting cut in half for the entire week.

Might as well fast-forward through the rest of this episode, because it’s a complete fucking waste of time. Aside from some boring characterization about Kirito (he has a little sister, blah blah blah), this episode builds up to practically nothing. It’s a big ship tease between Kirito and Silica, but their relationship never goes beyond their time together in this episode.

Silica gets her happy ending by successfully resurrecting her dead dragon. And despite the romantic overtones, her big revelation of her relationship with Kirito is… he’s like a big brother to her. Yeeeaah… I’m confused too.

And that’s it. Her future appearances in the show are nothing but cameos. Yep. She has no point in the series whatsoever. Even the one-note villain, the ONLY female villain in the series, loses very easily to Kirito and never appears again.

Sword Art Online Kirito threatens Rosalia
She doesn’t even put up a fight.

The other big thing about this episode is the obvious bad guy characterization with the one-note villain. Like, she has no redeeming value as a human whatsoever. And whoop-dee-fucking-doo, Kirito is in the area planning to bring her to justice. Because he is the White Knight of Aincrad.

So yeah. This is a filler episode that serves to showcase a cute anime girl and make Kirito look good, calling him the “Black Swordsman.”

Um, wow. I can make cool names too. How about… Dark Warrior or Shadow Blade? How about every single fucking clichéd nickname you can pull out of your ass?

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Episode 5: Murder in the Safe Zone

Episode 5: Murder in the Safe Zone

Sword Art Online episode 4 opening

And with yet ANOTHER time skip, Episode 5 begins with Kirito at this big meeting of players where Asuna from Episode 2 formulates their attack strategy on the next boss. For some reason, Klein is there too. No line of dialogue.

Where the fuck were they? It’s like the writers thought, “Oh yeah, these characters existed. Put them back into the story. Don’t bother with continuity. No one’s gonna notice.”

Kirito and Asuna argue over using a NPC village as a sacrifice in an upcoming battle with Floor 56’s boss. Kirito doesn’t like the idea but Asuna sees the NPCs as nothing more than objects… and she’s right. Artificial intelligence is not real. And here, Kirito is acting like a self-righteous dick-mule in an attempt to imply that artificial intelligence “has feelings.”

But this argument is pointless anyway, because it is never brought up again. And in Episodes 11 and 12, Asuna becomes a big hypocrite regarding this topic.

Asuna: I’m running this operation, okay? In case you forgot, I’m still second-in-command of the Knights of the Blood Oath. You’ll obey my orders, like it or not.

………

…………..

SINCE WHEN?!

See, this is what I was bitching about with these time skips. The script writers just sort of throw these stories at us without connecting the dots, as if they are just winging it.

Not only that, but this constantly forces the characters to conveniently spout exposition to pick up on where we are at the story. The writers have no idea on how to pace a story, so every stupid thing this show throws just sort of comes and goes at a moment’s notice.

We haven’t seen Asuna since Episode 2. Suddenly, she is back and she’s a second-in-command of one of the most powerful guilds in SAO. This sudden jump from a nobody loner to guild officer is nothing short of whiplash-inducing.

Kirito: Well, she took my advice. Who’d knew she’d join the top guild and be a floor-clearing badass?

How about no one, because you didn’t build her character up enough?

Well, I guess I shouldn’t be completely surprised by this. After all, it was Kirito and Asuna that killed the 1st Floor’s boss together. The only logical reason why that is so is to not only make Kirito seem special, but Asuna seem special too. After all, only SPECIAL people get the spotlight in this show.

And with the way this episode is set up, I think you already know where the relationship between Kirito and Asuna is going. I swear to you, I’ve seen it coming a mile away. More to elaborate later.

By the way, if you haven’t noticed at this point, the plot barely exists. Yeah, we had the scary grim reaper Kayaba giving everyone the task of clearing 100 floors in Aincrad. But…

  1. We haven’t heard from Kayaba since then. He had no appearances, cameos, or even a mere mention of his name so far.
  2. The majority of the episodes in this first story arc are self-contained episodic plots. They’re so boring that they sometimes come across as filler.
  3. This main goal takes a backseat to the “character of the day” or whatever subplot the show throws at you, giving an impression that these characters are in no rush to get out of the virtual world.

The episode continues with Asuna finding Kirito napping while everyone else is fighting throughout Floor 59. Good to know our hero of the story has his priorities straight.

Asuna: Everyone in the assault team is working their butts off to clear the dungeon, and where do I find you? Out here, taking a nap.

…And what exactly were YOU doing, Miss Second-in-Command? Don’t you have an operation to lead?

Kirito: Bet you didn’t even know that this is Aincrad’s nicest season, but today’s weather is at its optimum setting.

…Uh-huh. So?

Kirito: It’d be a waste to have to go to work on a day like this.
Asuna: Whatever. I can’t believe you. Do you even understand what’s going on? Every day here is another one lost in the real world.
Kirito: Yeah, but right now, we’re not in the real world, are we? We’re alive in Aincrad.

I’m sorry, but I call bullshit. Asuna brings up a fair point. Everyone in SAO is trapped inside the Matrix without proper food or rest in the real world. Not only that, but there are people—many of which are children—dying every day.

And here is our hero, not giving a shit about any of this and treating SAO like it IS the real world. Not only does this anime constantly try to paint Kirito in a positive light, it doesn’t even treat his obvious flaws… as flaws, as if they are no big deal. And due to this, I see him as nothing more than this whiny, self-centered, self-righteous asshole who possesses a lot of power and doesn’t use it wisely.

And you know what? Even though Asuna is originally portrayed as this fiery young woman who takes her role very seriously, she easily caves in and decides to take a nap herself.

Sword Art Online Asuna Sword Art Online Kirito napping Sword Art Online Asuna napping

Yes. This irresponsible dumbass managed to convince a girl with a stiff upper lip to put aside her role as an officer and take a nap on the grass without no second though.

The sick part is that we’re supposed to consider this scene as the two going through character development and developing a mutual relationship, leading to romance. The two make jabs at each other for stupid reasons throughout this episode and the next. Kirito is an oblivious jerk and Asuna is a tsundere. WELL, I SIMPLY WONDER WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN WITH THEM.

Forced, awkward romance.

Kirito: I can’t believe she’d fall asleep.

I can’t believe how much of a hypocrite you are. Oh, wait, I TOTALLY CAN!

So, don’t bother with searching for a plot at this point. Apparently, Asuna taking a NAP is a highlight of the show.

Sword Art Online everyone giving Kirito attention
Also, look at this handsome devil. Give him every single molecule of your attention, everyone in the room, because it’s not like there are other teenage Japanese boys who are capable of wearing black coats and random blue polkadot shirts underneath.

…Yes, don’t worry. There’s a point in me mercilessly bashing this character at every turn. Expect a rant.

Anyways, this episode focuses on a subplot about someone getting murdered in a “safe zone,” meaning that a player murdered another in an area where there is supposedly no PvP or Player Killing.

If this fucking show even bothers covering how PvP even works, I’d probably give one-third of a shit.

Sword Art Online Yolko
Also, yet another cute anime girl to throw into the roster.

And no, she’s not a love interest for Kirito this time.

…I swear, nearly every character design in this show portrays everyone as good-looking at the very least. Most of them are young, pretty, and frightened. And because of Kayaba’s little mirror trick from Episode 1, everyone looks exactly as they are in real life. With the exception of a few OBVIOUS bad guys, they lack physical imperfections. Because beauty is good, ugly is bad. Seems like a rule here.

Sword Art Online Yolko's butt
I also forgot to mention that this show has a penchant for inappropriate fanservice.

And of course, the ass shot in the foreground seems to be well liked in this show. In fact, I haven’t mentioned that the previous episode decided to do a closeup on Silica’s ass for no reason whatsoever.

Sword Art Online Silica's butt
Enjoy your lolicon wank material, perv.

Not even for a humorous reason. And of course, we saw her sleeping in nothing but her bra and panties.

…Haha, no, I’m not giving you a shot of that.

In this particular episode, the characters are talking about a murder and the animators decided that this new blue-haired chick’s round cheeks should be the focus here.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a prude but I’m not a total fanservice maniac either. If the people working on this project think a shot of a girl bending over is more important than the story going on at the moment, that should very well tell you where their minds have been during production.

Sword Art Online Asuna's butt
They disappeared into a girl’s butt. Case in point.

…And did Asuna’s dress really get wedged between her cheeks? Christ. Even the dress loves her butt.

But with these seemingly trivial problems aside, does this episode have a point? Not really, no. This subplot has NOTHING to do with the main plot whatsoever. A completely different problem altogether, and Kirito and Asuna are wasting time trying to find out how players can be killed in a “safe zone” while they still have more floors to complete.

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Episode 6: Illusionary Avenger

Episode 6: Illusionary Avenger

Episode 6 continues this subplot. And get this: Kirito and Asuna are talking about ghosts. Yeah, they think the ghost of a person who died in SAO somehow remains inside the Matrix to defy programming and kill other people.

…Yeah, I know this is really dumb speculation, but ARE YOU HIGH? Seriously, GHOSTS in a VIRTUAL WORLD? As if ghosts in the real world isn’t implausible enough?

Sword Art Online Kirito and Asuna

By the way… what the hell is the point of them eating food INSIDE a virtual world? Apparently, Asuna can cook in this realm. And you know what? We later find out that this has no effect on their bodies in real life. Hunger has no consequence. In fact, they got THINNER.

…How is it that these little things that should be in the background open more plot holes? And how am I more invested in how this shit even works over everything else in this episode?

And also, Kirito figures out everything about the murder subplot by himself. Yeah, he’s not just an overpowered warrior and an object of envy, but also a master sleuth.

*groans*

Very soon, I’ll break this character. Very soon.

Towards the end of the episode, Kirito and Asuna talk about… item drops, for some reason, and Asuna brings up the topic of MARRIAGE right the fuck out of nowhere.

Sword Art Online Asuna
Can you hear the chains of entrapment rattle?

Asuna: Also, the rules my guild play by gives the concept of marriage in this world real meaning. Think about it. If you marry, you have to share your item storage. If you’re single, you could hide whatever you want, but… you know, when you’re married, you can’t hide it anymore. I think sharing storage with the person you’re married to is wonderfully pragmatic. At the same time, I think it’s also very romantic.

Star Trek Jean-Luc Picard

…I know the subplot in this episode involves a tragedy between a married couple, but really? Why even bring this up? And this girl thinks sharing ITEM STORAGE in a VIDEO GAME is ROMANTIC?

…I think I just grew an ulcer the moment she uttered that line. You know what else is wonderfully pragmatic? Not forcing romantic scenarios out of nowhere just because you want to!

Kirito: So… how many times have you been married?

Sword Art Online Asuna points fork at Kirito
Kirito, the wonderfully pragmatic dumbass.

…Also, another recurring theme with this relationship is that whenever Kirito says or does something stupid, Asuna either hits him or points a sharp object at him.

Because it’s TOTALLY romantic or hilarious for your would-be partner to threaten to gouge your eyes out with a dinner fork.

…Isn’t that something Naru Narusegawa from Love Hina would do?

Wait a fuck…

Sword Art Online Asuna

Love Hina Naru Narusegawa

Oh my god. Noooooooo. Just, no. Nopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenope. NOPE!

By the way, the murder subplot ends with an anti-climax. No battles. Barely drama worth a damn. Just a ploy to hammer in the marriage thing once again. Even the new characters don’t show up again, minus cameos.

Asuna: Hey… say it was you. And you married someone. And later on, you found out she had a side to her that you didn’t know about. How would you feel?
Kirito: I guess… that I was lucky? Because… I mean, if you marry someone, that means you already like whatever you know about them, doesn’t it? And if you discover something you didn’t know about ’em before and fell in love with that too, then uh… that would be awesome?
Asuna: …Right. Good answer. Anyway, I’m hungry after all this.

Why do you even care, if not to satisfy your own curiosity on how Kirito sees you? Are you forgetting that you know extremely little about him? Or hell, anytime you hang around him, both of your interactions are very awkward?

Regardless, the two become “friends” after this ordeal—which Kirito almost turns down because he thinks a solo player shouldn’t have friends. This idiot really doesn’t have a clue on the differences between “solo player” and “loner,” does he?

…But then again, being friends with Asuna pretty much means you’re her bitch.

Oh, and ghosts apparently do exist in a virtual world. Honestly, if I wasn’t so stupefied by how little of an impact this episode and the last left on me, I would be drawing more attention to it. I’ll just leave the rest to your imagination.

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Episode 7: The Temperature of the Heart

Episode 7: The Temperature of the Heart

Really? What the hell kind of episode title is that?

*sighs*

Whoever said that this show has little to no filler, you are full of shit. Does ANYTHING in this episode… and the last… and the one before that… and the one before that one… and the last one again… have ANY relevance to getting to the 100th floor and help the other players move forward?

Never mistake motion for action.

~ Ernest Hemingway

I think you know the answer to that. The last episode that stuck with the plot was Episode 2, which Kirito and many players have to defeat the boss of the 1st floor. Though the climax was bullshit, at least the episode in its entirety was relevant.

Just because it isn’t Dragon Ball ZNaruto, Bleach, or One Piece doesn’t mean it doesn’t have filler.

So yeah, Episode 7. Meet yet ANOTHER cute anime girl to add to Kirito’s harem.

Sword Art Online Lisbeth
A young blacksmith who wears a pseudo maid’s outfit…

Long story short, this whole episode is about Kirito and Lisbeth forming a friendship while Kirito seeks out the best sword possible. Because Kirito ends up breaking Lisbeth’s best sword available, the two seek out material to forge a new and even better one in a mountainous zone.

Lisbeth: I can’t believe I’m out here alone with this guy. This is getting weird.

…What exactly is weird about traveling with someone your age and working together to get new sword material? Why is it so difficult to treat Kirito as a normal human being?

I’ll tell you why. Because he’s Kirito.

Kirito decides to confront a dragon, alone, even telling Lisbeth not to get involved and do as he says. So basically, he’s insulting her ability to take care of herself.

Sword Art Online Kirito pets Lisbeth
And pets her like a good little bitch she is.

First, there’s Silica and now there’s Lisbeth. This is one instance where I wished Asuna were here so she could impale Kirito through the gut.

You know, the thought occurs to me that there are not very many active female players in this series. Aside from Asuna, most of the female characters are thrown into passive, side roles and are often portrayed as cute, helpless teenage girls. Even Asuna later gets the short end of the stick and she just ends up being another target to save.

Well, gee. If I didn’t know any better, it’s as if the writers of this series are unaware that girls can be typical gamers too.

Thank you for proving a point, Jaltoid.

…And you wonder why some women feel misrepresented in certain media, like, say… VIDEO GAMES?

Sword Art Online ice dragon
Don’t I look tough? Well, you lose, cuz I’m a total pussy.

Kirito beats the dragon—are you even surprised at this point—, saves Lisbeth from danger since she’s another damsel-in-distress who needs to be looked after (how does she even get the material to forge her previous swords), and gets Kirito his sword.

Sword Art Online Lisbeth hugs Kirito

Hell, even Lisbeth forms a crush in such a short time AND confesses that she is in love with him, only for Kirito to not hear a single word she said. And to make matters worse for Lisbeth, she also finds out that Kirito expresses no romantic interest in her and that her good friend Asuna may like him.

Sword Art Online depressed Lisbeth
She knows very well that she doesn’t have a chance and even leaves the shop to cry over a boy that she just barely developed a crush on.

So rather than competing for Kirito’s affections, she just gives up and lets Asuna take the charge.

…Are you starting to see the problem with Kirito here? If not, you need to get your eyes checked, because…

IT’S RANT TIME!

Kirito is a Gary Stu. Or Marty Stu. Or Mary Sue, whatever you wanna call him.

Now, I know what some of you might be thinking. Trust me, I know that look you might be giving.

Kingdom Hearts II Xigbar laugh
Ha ha ha! That’s right! He used to give me that same exact look!

Someone reading this review now is probably going to say, “No, he’s not! He’s a great character! You’re a fatass douche troll for talking crap about one of my favorite characters of all time! Go get a life, you faqqit!”

Or something similar, except with really bad grammar and spelling.

But let’s face it. Kirito, aside from being an arrogant jerkass, has very few flaws offset by far too many strengths to make him close to a realistic character.

Here is a quick list on which Mary Sue traits he fulfills:

  1. Generic nice guy with a generally laidback attitude, and not much else
  2. His looks get complimented from time to time
  3. Popular with just about anyone, despite his social awkwardness
  4. Some players like Klein and Sachi care more about his well-being than over themselves, even breaking down at the thought of him dying
  5. Possesses convenient inside knowledge of almost every aspect of the game, which is never explained on how he gets some of his information
  6. Using this knowledge, he ends up becoming one of the main sources of exposition in the show and the show even points out that he may know more than any info breaker in the world
  7. Attracts the affections of many a fangirl, sometimes in a single day—to the point where his COUSIN is in love with both his real-life self and his in-game self
  8. Gets some of the best gear and skills in the game—including an emo black cloak, a one-of-a-kind sword unknown to most players, and DUAL-WIELDING.
  9. Supposedly a master swordsman, even though all he does is run and scream at his opponent before felling them with a single stroke of his sword
  10. Nearly unstoppable to the point where his opponents have to cheat to gain an upper hand on him—even against the main developer of the game, which we will cover later
  11. Can inexplicably bend the rules of the game to his favor, even going as far as defying programming and DEATH
  12. Some of his opponents surrender or walk away from him almost immediately, out of fear or resignation
  13. Nearly all of his enemies are sneaky scumbags or haters
  14. Not once is he ever portrayed in a negative light, no matter what his actions are
  15. Easily forgiven for any “bad” he has done, including emotionally hurting his cousin in the second story arc. But anyone else? Pft, fuck them. They had it coming.
  16. Draws too much attention to himself without even trying, even if there isn’t much reason for this recognition
  17. Acts like he has a dark past and emotional baggage—mainly, the death of the Moonlit Black Cats guild—despite the fact that he is neither directly nor indirectly responsible for it
  18. Can singlehandedly take down boss enemies without breaking a sweat, while seemingly to be the only player capable of doing this
  19. Is at an absurdly high skill level, despite the fact that we RARELY see him train or level up
  20. Is one of the very few beta testers we see in the whole series, and there were supposed to be another 999 players—in other words, he’s part of a “special group”
  21. Ends up marrying another one of the strongest players in the game
  22. The only person who can stand against the villain of the Aincrad arc
  23. The show constantly looks for excuses to either make him look cool, badass, awesome, etc.
  24. The show also constantly looks for excuses to glorify him as a hero, not once offsetting this quality with anti-hero traits or any realistic flaws that make him more human
  25. Practically carries the entire fate of SAO on his shoulders, because the characters around him emphasize that he is more important than they are and seem to leave their lives on his hands

Dissidia Final Fantasy Kefka I hate guys like you the most

Flaws? Well…

  1. A jerkass and a chauvinist to an extent, with the way he treats girls, which is never a major consequence for him and only a few people call him out for his arrogance
  2. Socially awkward, but never to the point where it becomes a true flaw

…And to be honest, that is all I can think of.  This guy is currently a popular anime character. And yet, there are still fans in denial that Kirito is a Gary Stu.

So you may think I’m over-exaggerating and just like to misuse the term “Mary Sue” because “everyone says it.” Hardly a valid argument, by the way.

Weeeeeeell, screw you then. I just so happen to like well-written characters, not self-insert characters purely written for a power fantasy. And Kirito is NOT well-written.

So with a character with so many good qualities about him, you would think he’s interesting, right? Noooooo. Quite the contrary.

HE IS FUCKING BORING.

There is nothing interesting about this guy whatsoever.  It’s like he borrows every typical trait of a shounen hero, while nothing unique sets him apart from one. His backstory isn’t very deep or interesting. He’s just a kid who apparently spends all day, every day playing SAO ever since it was released. And we’re just sort of expected to believe that he doesn’t get many real-life problems from this. And not just that, we’re also expected to believe that he is one of the top players of the game and have very few people competing with his power.

I’m sorry, but what exactly is special or unique about this kid? He’s such a transparent character that if the show stopped shoving the spotlight onto him, I would slowly forget about him.

Well, he struggles in his fights at least!
Sure… if you call “struggling” a lot of running, screaming, and just swinging your sword until your paper-thin enemy character tilts over. There is no suspense over what Kirito is going to lose and most of the action is very boring. And don’t GET ME STARTED on the bullshit that occurred during the Aincrad arc’s climax, or lack thereof…

And if you wished you were this kid, congratulations. You are attempting to substitute this anime’s version of Bella Swan with yourself.

…Yes, I just went there. I compared Kirito to motherfucking Bella Swan from Twilight. Live with the shame of that revelation.

Kirito was supposedly representative of the socially awkward nerd. And the fact I’m talking about this guy so much should very well put me in the same light as well. So basically, Kirito was the type of character who was targeted towards someone like me. So why don’t I like this guy?

Again…

BORING.

I don’t want to be this dull marketing tool of a character.

Now, back to our original programming.

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Episode 8: The Sword Dance of Black and White

Episode 8: The Sword Dance of Black and White

Sword Art Online Kirito in forest

So with that annoying filler out of the way, Episode 8 rolls in. Kirito just so happens to find an “S-class” rabbit, a super-rare creature. How? Because he’s fucking Kirito.

…And no, I’m not going to stop bashing this character. He doesn’t deserve nearly the amount of praise he gets.

Sword Art Online Kuradeel

Kirito and Asuna plan to cook a little rabbit stew, and no… I have no idea why this is so important. And naturally, Asuna’s bodyguard named Kuradeel hates Kirito for no reason whatsoever and somehow figures out that Kirito is a “Beater.”

  1. How the fuck do these people keep identifying Kirito as a beta tester/Beater? Will you fucking tell us already?
  2. What the hell justifies their hatred of Beaters?

And where the flying fuck are the other Beaters? We’ve never seen one aside from Kirito. And some players hate Beaters because they think Beaters exploit the game and hog all the best gear. But nothing… NOTHING justifies these players’ hatred because we never even see another Beater doing any one of their accusations.

If you’re going to address a bigotry theme in your show, fine. But actually develop it and give it a fucking point.

Sword Art Online Asuna
…Why is Asuna in casual clothes reminding me of Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion?

Oh god, not another obnoxious anime redhead.

Asuna invites Kirito to her humble abode so they can cook up a whole meal. Yes, this is pretty much an unofficial date you’re looking at. A fantasy/action anime and it’s like we’ve jumped into a different genre.

And it’s so boring too.

But yeah, there’s no point to this whole thing other than giving a reason for Kirito and Asuna to have a date. The rabbit stew is just for a fake meal.

Oh, and Asuna reveals that they’ve been in SAO for two years.

…TWO YEARS? THEY’VE BEEN TRAPPED IN THE MATRIX FOR THAT LONG?!

Episode 1-8 is a span of TWO YEARS? And hardly anyone changed in appearance.

And we also get another plot-relevant theme.

Asuna: It’s so weird. Sometimes… I don’t know, I get this feeling… like I lived here my entire life. You ever feel like that?
Kirito: Yeah, almost all the time. In fact, there’s days that I don’t even think about the real world at all. And it’s not just me. These days, more and more people don’t seem to care about clearing the game and getting back to the real world.
Asuna: I noticed that there’s not many players out there fighting on the front lines. Maybe 500, in fact. I guess… they’re used to it. They don’t care anymore. Yeah… well… I want to go back. I mean, there’s things I haven’t done yet. I have to.
Kirito: I know how you feel. And when you stop to consider it, there’s everyone else, right? All the people who still count on us? If we give up, it’s not fair to them.

And right after that, Asuna brings up marriage proposal just to annoy Kirito. What the fuck is your problem? Will you stop bringing that up already?

But other than that… *sighs* this is actually a good dialogue exchange. I hate to admit it, but this is the first time in the series in which I feel it presents a genuine discussion that we ought to care about. We know about our main characters’ thoughts and this moment actually comes out as well-meaning.

Shocking, isn’t it? Weeeeeeell… I hate to be a bummer, but this scene ends up being wasted later. Yeah. We’re not quite at that point yet, but ooooooh… the choice words I have saved…

Kirito seems content about his solo player career…

Sword Art Online Kirito
Because he’s a pompous jerkass about it.

Kirito: Yeah, well… I’m pretty careful. I work better by myself anyway. Besides, most of the time, instead of helping, party members just get in the way.

Sword Art Online Asuna points knife at Kirito
…You were saying?

And Asuna pretty much forces Kirito to team up with her too.

Sword Art Online Asuna points knife at Kirito
You know, if I were to date this bitch in real life, I would do whatever it takes to stay the hell away from her afterwards because… how many times can you raise a fucking blade at a person’s face before you catch the fucking hint that she may be a LITTLE psycho?

The next day, the two party up. Due to a mishap, Asuna falls against Kirito.

Sword Art Online Kirito boob press against face Sword Art Online Kirito accidental pervert Sword Art Online Asuna embarrassed Sword Art Online Asuna punches Kirito in the face
I swear, this running gag in anime needs to fucking die and stay dead.

It turns out that Kuradeel is pursuing Asuna and is trying to force her to return to her guild.

Sword Art Online Kirito, Asuna and Kuradeel
Hands off my woman, beeyatch.

So yeah, it turns out that Kuradeel is a proud motherfucker and is simply insulted by the implication that Kirito might be better at this game than him, and then challenges him to a cock contest.

Sword Art Online pvp menu
This is one of the very few times we get to see how PvP works in what I assume to be a “safe zone.”

Sword Art Online Kuradeel defeated
And Kirito wins with a single stroke that breaks Kuradeel’s sword.

Do you see what I mean about the action in this show being so fucking boring?

Kuradeel accuses Kirito of cheating, but Asuna isn’t having it and relieves Kuradeel of his role as her bodyguard.

Sword Art Online Kuradeel pissed
Urge to kill… rising…

Kuradeel does comply and returns to the guild. Kirito acts like a fucking white knight for Asuna, making her smile. The episode ends with the two exploring the Floor 74 dungeon and finding its boss room.

…Well, at least this episode isn’t filler for once. At least it moves the plot forward.

[collapse]
Episode 9: The Blue-Eyed Demon

Episode 9: The Blue-Eyed Demon

Sword Art Online minotaur boss

Episode 8 has Kirito and Asuna confronting the boss, with means to teleport out of the room if things get hairy. Things do get hairy, so they just piss off.

But fuck that. IT’S LUNCH TIME!

Sword Art Online Kirito eating
Sitting through Asuna’s virtual cooking is worth more than a giant crazy minotaur hunting you down in the same dungeon you’re in.

Lunch is interrupted by…

Sword Art Online Klein
Oh hello, occasional supporting character.  Hadn’t spoken to you since I killed that mutant Santa Claus by myself.

And after some dumbass comic relief, we get another interruption.

Sword Art Online Aincrad Liberation Army
A bunch of faceless soldiers because I don’t give a shit. With love, the writers of this abomination.

It turns out these guys are the Aincrad Liberation Army, led by Lieutenant Colonel Kobatz. Kirito hands the dungeon map over to Kobatz, but soon learns that Kobatz is planning to press forward to confront the floor 74 boss with his beaten down army.

Sword Art Online minotaur boss

Yep. Because anyone who gives a shit about anything in SAO is a reckless dumbass, including a lieutenant colonel. But not Kirito, no. Kirito knows better than every other player combined.

The ALF gets massacred and are unable to teleport out of the room, reminding Kirito of the Moonlit Black Cats. Even the prideful Kobatz is slain.

And this makes Asuna very mad.

Sword Art Online angry Asuna
I’M SO MAAAAAAAD!

So Kirito, Asuna, and Klein jump into the fight to save the remainder of the ALF.

But Asuna and Klein stare on like dumbasses while Kirito fights the boss alone.

Sword Art Online Kirito blocks Minotaur's attack
Don’t worry, folks. He’s Kirito. He benchpresses the giants from Attack on Titan during his spare time.

And with an ass pull, Kirito defeats the monster with TWO swords.

Sword Art Online Kirito dual wield
And there is your whipped cream topping on the Gary Stu sundae, people. Dual-wielding.

Sword Art Online Kirito blocks Minotaur's attack

Umm, no.

World War Blue Gear blocks metal pipe

Nope. Doesn’t happen. The end.

Kirito: Gotta go faster!

For the love of god, man, don’t turn into Sonic the Hedgehog or his carbon copy Gear now.

But yeah, Kirito pretty much owns the boss by himself

Sword Art Online Kirito health critical
Oh, don’t even try to act like he has limits now.

Sword Art Online Asuna hugs Kirito
Ooh, baby, she wants me.

Nevertheless, Asuna cries over his shoulder and Klein praises him while criticizing the dead Kobatz for his foolishness.

Calling recently deceased people fools? Not cool, man.

But you know what the REAL bullshit part of this episode is?

Kirito: It’s an extra skill I picked up: dual-wielding.
Klein: Dude, are there prerequisites?
Kirito: If I knew that, I would’ve shared it by now.

…Sure you would.

Klein: It’s not on the info broker skill list. Guess it’s exclusive to you. Hey, you got a unique skill!

…Or in other words, bullshit. Kirito is so special that he gets a powerful sword AND a powerful skill unknown to pretty much everyone.

Kirito: About six months ago, I was scrolling through my skill menu. And it was just… there.

And why does Kirito hide this skill from everyone? Because he knows that other players will get jealous of him.

…Oh my god. That has got to be the stupidest, most pretentious reason ever. That is the shitty maraschino cherry on top of the Gary Stu sundae. You spent some time in this episode rescuing people, and you went into this ethical discussion during the previous episode. People are dying. You know it’s the right thing to help everyone escape SAO. And you had the FUCKING NERVE to say that the other players are just jelly?

South Park Mr Mackey jelly school
Just maybe I ought to have you sent to Jelly School, mmkay?

And yes, that is exactly how it is presented to us.

Are you starting to see why I hate this show? It keeps acting like it has something important to say, and yet it keeps pussying out. It throws a large number of characters in, only to use them for one episode and throw them out like a used tampon. It tries to portray Kirito as this modest force of good and all that is holy about mankind, and yet one little slip-up every now and then shows that he is an infuriatingly smug asshole who thinks he is better than everyone else.

Klein: Oh, and… by the way… you know how you ran in there… you rescued those army guys like you did?
Kirito: Yeah…
Klein: Well, you know… *wipes away tears* Glad you did. Anyways… see ya.

See ya when Kirito has need of your minor services.

Asuna tells Kirito that she will take a leave of absence from the Knights of the Blood Oath, claiming so because she and Kirito are in a team. Or, you know, because she clearly wants to be with him. This, for some reason, launches a montage of memories of the two together. Kirito agrees to staying with Asuna.

D’aaaaaw, I think I’m gonna be sick.

News of this battle spread pretty fast, so players will never leave Kirito alone. This is sort of why your little speech at the end of Episode 2 is a TERRIBLE idea.

*groans* Sadly, I know how this is. When people found out I had a Mewtwo in this one Pokémon fan MMORPG I once played, they wouldn’t stop bugging the shit out of me about it.

So whatever you do, be fucking discrete. Take it from me.

Kirito finally meets up with the guild leader of the Knights of the Blood Oath, Heathcliff.

Heathcliff character

Hahahahaha, no. I wish. But no, it’s this older guy.

Sword Art Online Heathcliff

Heathcliff doesn’t take the news of Asuna trying to take a leave of absence pretty well, claiming that Kirito is stealing her from the guild like a damn prized possession. Asuna might as well be, considering she’s pretty much trophy wife material and jailbait conveniently wrapped in a frilly package.

So in order for Asuna to leave, Kirito must defeat Heathcliff in combat. If Kirito loses, he must join the Knights.

And Kirito agrees to this. But honestly, I don’t see the downside to joining one of the most powerful guilds in the game. Not only that, he would still be able to see Asuna, so how the fuck is this even dramatic?

…Because free will in a virtual reality MMORPG is for pussies and video game guilds are serious business.

So yeah, that is how the episode ends. Kirito must fight this older guy in order to win over Asuna.

…I need a drink.

[collapse]
Episode 10: Crimson Killing Intent

Episode 10: Crimson Killing Intent

Sword Art Online arena

Episode 10 continues where we left off. I swear, is this duel even necessary? You still have 20+ more floors to clear to get out of SAO and here we are still doing cock size contests.

Asuna calls Kirito out for this senseless duel, claiming that Heathcliff’s fighting ability is pretty much game-breaking and he never comes close to losing.

But word spreads and every player decides to check out this battle, and everyone meets at a coliseum to watch Kirito and Heathcliff duke it out.

Heathcliff: I’m sorry about this, Kirito. I didn’t think this would be such a big deal. This is crazy.

Really? Because in a room with only a few people in which this challenge was discussed, SOMEONE had to have leaked it out. So, either you, Kirito, or Asuna. You asshole.

In a surprisingly decent fight sequence, Kirito ends up losing after time suddenly freezes which allows Heathcliff to deliver a fatal blow to him.

Sword Art Online Heathcliff defeats Kirito
Well, FINALLY, he loses a battle for once.

So yeah, Kirito is now a Knight. He doesn’t take it very well.

Sword Art Online Kirito as a Knight of the Blood Oath
Well, Kirito, white is now the new black. Get used to it, you little emo bitch.

Asuna asks what Kirito’s deal is about not joining guilds, and he reveals his story about the Moonlit Black Cats. He claimed he didn’t tell his level to them before, because he thinks they wouldn’t even accept him.

…Dude, you’re a fucking idiot. Realistically, a small guild like that would LOVE to have such a powerful player in their ranks. But this show’s way of storytelling isn’t realistic, so Kirito is probably right. They would hate him for no reason just because Kirito says so.

Kirito: I’m the reason the whole guild was wiped out. If I hadn’t hidden the fact that I was a Beater, I could’ve convinced them how dangerous that trap really was. I killed them. Sachi… all of ’em…

…Well, maybe you should just come clean and tell everyone that you’ve been jerking off.

HA! “Beater.” Still kinda funny.

Still, his reasoning lacks sense. He could have still warned the guild about the trap. He didn’t have to tell them he’s a Beater. Just say, “Guys, we should get back. This room looks like it’s a trap.” They seemed reasonable enough. How fucking hard is that?

Sword Art Online Asuna touches Kirito

Nevertheless, Asuna buys into this dumbass story and shows her sympathy. Just as she looks like she’s about to confess something—gee, I wonder what it is—a Knight officer named Godfree interrupts the moment and decides to take Kirito on a mission.

However, he meets a familiar face.

Sword Art Online Godfree and Kuradeel

Simpsons Nelson Ha Ha

Kuradeel apologizes to Kirito for generally being a douche in episode 8, but we all know where this is headed.

Sword Art Online poison flask
Gee, a suspicious green flask. I wonder what the fuck that is.

But it’s too late as both Godfree and Kirito drink the poisonous beverages, and Kuradeel takes the moment to attack them while they are unable to fight back.

Yeeeep, turns out Kuradeel is the scummiest scumwad in all of Scumdom. Because he’s trying to keep Asuna away from Kirito despite claiming he has her protection in his best interests, Kuradeel is suddenly a bad guy.

So if you hate Kirito, it means you’re a villain. By extension, I guess I’m the biggest villain of all, considering how much shit I’ve been talking about him.

Sword Art Online Insane Kuradeel
Good lord, make him more over-the-top, why dontcha?

Kuradeel gives Godfree a slow, torturous death and proceeds to do the same thing to Kirito.

Kuradeel: You know, I just killed an innocent bystander because of you.

…No, because you have the social skills of an ant and don’t pay any mind to the fact that you infiltrated a teenage girl’s house and treated the same teenage girl like a fucking possession.

Kirito believes that Kuradeel is more suited for a criminal guild. As it turns out, he really is in such a guild.

Sword Art Online Laughing Coffin tattoo
Hello, random subplot. Nice to see you rear your ugly head.

Kuradeel reveals himself to be a member of the secret society known as the Laughing Coffin, which sounds like the name for Count Dracula’s personal pub. If you have seen Episodes 5 and 6, you may know that some of the members of the guild are behind the murder of a female player.

Why do these guys kill other players, even though there are more pressing matters? They’re all fucking psychos, I guess. And guess what? They don’t appear again after this episode, so this subplot is pretty damn pointless.

Sword Art Online Kuradeel tortures Kirito
NO! NOT MAH DICK!

During this little torture session, Kirito randomly imagines Sachi with black hair and red eyes…

Sword Art Online red eyed Sachi
…What the… fuck…

…I don’t get it. Did the animators forget what colors she used?

Kirito tries to resist the torture as he watches his final hitpoints slowly drop… and while Kuradeel turns into a zombie.

Sword Art Online Insane Kuradeel Sword Art Online Insane Kuradeel

Oh-ho-ho-ho-my-god… I know this is supposed to be a suspenseful scene, but this is just getting goofy… I’m sorry, but this is making me piss my pants with laughter.

One deus ex machina later, Asuna comes in to smash Kuradeel against the wall and fully heal Kirito.

sao92

Asuna has her “big moment” and proceeds to beat the living hell out of Kuradeel.

Kuradeel begs for his life and gains the upper hand by disarming Asuna. Kirito jumps in to save her, losing one of his hands in the process…

Sword Art Online Kirito loses hand

…And uses his other hand to drill into Kuradeel’s stomach…

Sword Art Online Kirito hand drill
Fucking what…?

Is this show just making up bullshit now? Since when can anyone in this game turn their hands into a weapon?!

Kuradeel curses Kirito before his death, seemingly at peace.

Sword Art Online Kirito kills Kuradeel

Kuradeel: Goddamn you… you murdered me….

Zelda's Adventure cdi Wander of Gamelon You've Killed Me
YOU’VE KILLED ME!

Zelda's Adventure cdi Wander of Gamelon You've Killed Me Good
Good!

Asuna blames herself for getting Kirito hurt, but that’s okay I guess. Because…

Sword Art Online Kirito kisses Asuna
What are the fucking odds, right?

Well, gee whiz, I certainly didn’t see that one coming. And here, I thought Kirito was going to pee in Silica’s jailbait butt.

The two make an oath to one another, and… yeah… they’re pretty much a couple now.

Oh, and… Kirito losing his hand? He just grows it back like nothing happened. Because obviously, we can’t have our oh-so-perfect hero have physical flaws, can we?

And also, I should point out that we haven’t seen them reporting to Heathcliff about this incident. Therefore, the disappearances of Kuradeel and Godfree have not been addressed and are left forgotten.

…Oops.

Back at Asuna’s house, we get perhaps the most forced, shameless fan service scene in the entire series… which is saying a lot.

Sword Art Online Embarrassed Asuna Sword Art Online Asuna's feet Sword Art Online Asuna in bra Sword Art Online Asuna's butt in panties Sword Art Online Asuna in bra and panties

…The random pink bow on her panties is a nice touch.

Asuna: D-don’t look… not yet anyway…
Kirito:
Asuna: What’re you waiting for? Get undressed. Don’t just sit there… i-it’s embarrassing…

Sword Art Online Flustered Kirito
My boner is confused.

…Where do I even start here?

Actually, this scene pretty much says it all. I mean… you two share your first kiss with one another. And what runs into Asuna’s dirty little mind on the same day? Stripping down for immediate sex.

…Hmm. Does this technically still count as cybering? And just what is the point of being able to strip down to your underwear in SAO?

But this… is lewd and disgusting. Asuna, this fierce and supposedly independent young warrior woman… reduced to a vulnerable porno anime girl who is now little more beyond Kirito’s waifu.

And of course, Kirito clears this up as a misunderstanding and that he just wants to sleep over at Asuna’s house, not sleep WITH her. And Asuna punches him out for it…

…Tch, maybe she IS Naru Narusegawa.

And here’s the thing about this relationship. The buildup sucks. It isn’t developed well. And they jump into marriage in an unrealistically short time.

“But it IS built up well, so you don’t know anything! That’s why you’ll never get a girlfriend!”

…That butthurt remark gets old, doesn’t it?

Tell me something. Would you consider talking about mundane, very superficial crap… good chemistry? Would randomly jabbing at each other’s pride, not so much joking around, be considered good chemistry?

Okay, so they shared food. They watched a sunset together. They protect each other, like they SHOULD because they are teammates! And just like that, they think they are meant to be for each other.

Yeah, two years have passed. But we have only seen a few scenes of them together, not NEARLY enough to consider marriage or even an engagement. We have no idea how long they’ve spent time together.

What exactly do they know about each other? I mean, personally? We know only a little bit about Kirito and we know NOTHING about Asuna’s past! So how much do they actually know each other?

…Yeah, I thought so. NOTHING. Starting to see my point?

A good relationship starts off with a good friendship. You get along very well with that significant other. You spend a lot of time and effort into making it such a strong friendship. You have been honest with each other, knowing each other well.

…These two… are sort of friends. They skipped the boyfriend-girlfriend phase. They even skipped the fiancé phase. Suddenly, they are husband and wife. No engagement ring. No ceremony. No meeting in-law families. That’s it. Underwhelming and irresponsible.

You don’t let television or other people be your judge. After all, it’s your life and the best thing you can do with it is make this work out right.

If I have any real-life friends that do this kind of crap, I would backhand them and shout, “What the hell is wrong with you?!”

And why, pray tell, would I do that? BECAUSE IT’S STUPID.

You don’t rush into a relationship with a person you barely know. You can’t claim you care for someone that you don’t even know 20% about. Sure, you might be feeling you love the person then, but you’re only going to hurt yourself in the end. You’re just digging yourself a trench.

So why do people even like this relationship? Well, simple. Because they compare their own relationship with their significant other to the one shared between Kirito and Asuna. Yes, there are a few sweet moments between them… just as there are as many awkward scenes… but I wouldn’t exactly call them good friends. And using this comparison, other couples relate. Either that or they’re shippers.

I once saw a guy who got depressed watching this anime again because he had recently got out of a relationship. That… is horrible. And the whole KiritoXAsuna relationship is just setting a bad example in general.

Yeah, someone out there is going to roll his eyes, thinking, “You’re taking this way too seriously. Get a life.”

Well, asshat, here’s my rebuttal: tell that to everyone who took this relationship that seriously. Tell that to everyone who takes any fictional relationship seriously. Oh, and tell everyone who likes a particular character to the point where they want to BE that character.

Plain and simple, that is the power of storytelling. Doesn’t matter how good or bad it is, it will affect someone. It can change people, for better or worse. And in this case, I feel it’s definitely for the worse.

Well… it’s still a better love story than Twilight.

That comment isn’t old AT ALL.

But it really doesn’t say much on the relationship between Kirito and Asuna. Sure, the series makes it clear that they are essentially soulmates and are meant to remain together, but the development is so shallow that it doesn’t rise any higher than your ankles. Sure, there is no abusive asshole and an attention whore who throws herself into danger just to get her boyfriend’s attention, but this relationship is just as manipulative.

Look at all the ship teases that Kirito receives and how easily they’ve been thrown aside, just so he could predictably end up with Asuna. Sachi, Silica, and Lisbeth mean nothing to him. Even Suguha, his pretend sister/cousin, is in love with him during the next story arc.

This… is very bad writing…

…Okay, moving on.

Asuna: Listen, Kirito? I was thinking… maybe we could leave the front lines for a while.
Kirito: What?
Asuna: …I’m scared. I feel like if you returned to the battlefield now, something bad is gonna happen. Or maybe I’m just tired of it all.
Kirito: I know what you mean. I guess I am too.

*sighs* Son of a motherfucking…

Okay, bear with me again.

This is the moment where this story arc truly becomes pointless, believe it or not. In this scene, Kirito suggests that the two get married and live out in the mountains together. Though they call it a vacation, they treat this as if they’re going to spend the rest of their lives together away from the action.

…That’s all well and fine, but DID YOU FORGET THERE ARE STILL MORE PRESSING MATTERS AT HAND?

Episode 8 has the two of them discussing about how they will get out of SAO and save the remaining players still trapped in the game. Right here and now, Kirito is suggesting that the two of them ditch that goal completely just so they can go live off in their own fantasy world together.

This is by far the most selfish thing they have ever done. And not just that, but this puts the entire plot to a stop. Yes. Apparently, this romance subplot is so much more important than the thousands of children dying out there against real fantasy monsters. This relationship is a sign that our main characters have stopped giving a shit.

That’s it. The lives at stake mean nothing to them from this point on. They are among the most powerful players in the game, and they are completely wasting their potential.

…Just… what kind of message is this show trying to send to its viewers?

[collapse]
Episode 11: The Girl of the Morning Dew

Episode 11: The Girl of the Morning Dew

Sword Art Online Asuna looking at lake

Can this romance get any more pandering?

Yes. Yes, it can. Episode 11 is exactly that.

Sword Art Online Asuna sitting on Kirito's shoulders
Now break his neck with your thighs!

Sword Art Online Kirito and Asuna photos
Our memories together of… eating…

Sword Art Online Kirito's hand on Asuna's hip
Lower, baby…

Fuck this genre shift. I was expecting good action and drama in a fantasy setting, and all of those blew chunks. And you think THIS is necessary?

By the way, Asuna is afraid of ghosts… in the fucking Matrix…

Sword Art Online Asuna hiding behind Kirito
Our dignified female lead, everyone… heh…

Did she already forget that she is one of the most powerful players in the game, therefore she has almost nothing to worry about?

Long story short, this entire episode is a forced scenario: giving Kirito and Asuna an amnesiac foster child to look after.

Sword Art Online Kirito finds Yui Sword Art Online Asuna sleeps with Yui Sword Art Online Yui

Yes. In an extremely short time after they’re married, they’re already parenting. What the hell were they thinking?!

And that’s it.

[collapse]
Episode 12: Yui's Heart

Episode 12: Yui’s Heart

Sword Art Online Yui eating

We’re at Episode 12 already. Were you expecting something eventful? Well, too bad.

We’re almost at the very end of the story arc, and THIS is important right now? WE HAVEN’T SEEN OUR ALLEGED VILLAIN YET! Where the fuck is Kayaba?!

The story is a fucking mess. It can’t keep focus on what is really important.

So, what does this episode have?

  • Subplot that goes nowhere
  • Pandering cutesiness
    Sword Art Online Yui smiling
  • The female Robin from Fire Emblem: Awakening, who we never see again
    Sword Art Online Yulier
  • Dumbass comedic relief
  • Yet another bullshit deus ex machina
    Sword Art Online Yui fights grim reaper Sword Art Online Yui defeats grim reaper
  • A supposedly sad ending, where we find out that the little girl Yui is just an AI responsible for monitoring the world of SAO and the main program of the game ends up deleting her

Sword Art Online Yui

Yeah, so basically this little girl is supposed to regulate the world until Kayaba stole that role from her. And because Kirito and Asuna are so motherfucking-super-duper-awesome-spectacular-special, they just so happen to get this kid to fall into their laps and have the privilege of becoming her parents.

GODDAMN IT! WILL YOU STOP SUCKING ON THEIR COCKS, SHOW?! GAAAAH!!!

Yui: I’ve wanted to meet the two of you for the longest time. That’s strange, isn’t it? It should be impossible for me to think things like that. I’m not human. I’m a program after all.

And this supposedly emotionless AI had developed the ability to feel emotions, after meeting Kirito and Asuna, and had grown attached to them to the point of breaking down in tears when she realizes that the world is going to delete her.

Ugggggggggggggh.

After Yui fades away, Kirito manages to salvage a tear-shaped jewel, claiming it’s Yui’s heart.

Sword Art Online Yui's heart
Jesus Christ, this show is so fucking stupid…

The catch? We’re supposed to feel sorry for these three people. I’m sorry but I don’t buy into this melodramatic bullshit. Yui hasn’t had NEARLY enough screentime for me to feel sympathy for her. We’re supposed to be happy for these people as a family and heartbroken that the child is going away… in TWO EPISODES.

This subplot is beyond forced, schmaltzy and unnecessary. We’re expected to believe that these three characters go well with together. But the truth is that there is an extremely shallow amount of development here.

It’s manipulative, and that pisses me off!

So, Episodes 11 and 12 are a waste of time. Fuck off. I want to finish this.

[collapse]
Episode 13: Edge of Hell's Abyss

Episode 13: Edge of Hell’s Abyss

Sword Art Online Kirito fishing
Will this ever end?

Nope, because this show has another story arc after this one and a Season 2.

Sword Art Online Nishida say what
Fan reaction: WAIT, SAY WHAAAAAAAT?

Did I just see a glimpse of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo? Why did I just see a glimpse of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo?

And even though we are so close to the end of the Aincrad Arc, this episode wastes several minutes with filler about fishing. Oh my god, just fucking end already.

Sword Art Online King of Lakes mudskipper
And also, what the fuck am I looking at here?

…I guess a mudskipper from Hell. This episode is titled “Edge of Hell’s Abyss” after all. I guess that means I’m in Hell now.

Also, Kirito and Asuna are NOW just remembering that there are still lives at stake.

Sword Art Online message from Heathcliff
FINALLY! PLOT!

Asuna: Come on! You’ve moped long enough already.
Kirito: Nooo… But it’s only been two weeks…
Asuna: If he needs us on the front lines, then something must have happened. Why else would he interrupt our vacation?

Because your filler is god awful and it will make this story arc end faster.

So this filler ends with Asuna monologuing her revelation on how Kirito changed her life, implying that meeting him had been her destiny. They went as far as implying that living in SAO is better than living in the real world.

Okay, let me stop you right there. First off, living in a virtual fantasy world is unhealthy and nothing to be glorified. I don’t care if it’s your choice or someone else’s. Second, you’re saying it’s okay to marry someone that you knew very little about and look at him as your soulmate. These half-assed morals… are terrible. They’re not morals that you should be telling to your target audience.

If you find love through an online game and you know for sure it’s meant to be, fine. That’s your shit. But don’t tell them to abandon their lives in the real world just so they can live in a make-believe world. Seriously, stay the fuck away from a topic that you don’t even think of the consequences about. That is something that Stephenie Meyer does to little girls, so quit making our youth stupider!

Sword Art Online Knights of the Blood Oath

So half an episode later, Kirito and Asuna speak with Heathcliff and decide to confront the dungeon at Floor 75. Kirito tries to talk Asuna into staying behind for her safety, but Asuna threatens to commit suicide if she finds out that Kirito dies in battle. Kirito apologizes and proclaims that he doesn’t care about going to the real world anymore, as long as he’s still with Asuna.

Sword Art Online Kirito and Asuna
Because that is what real love is, right?

So, Asuna has a habit of pointing sharp objects at her lovers and has suicidal thoughts. Wow. She IS a psycho.

But Asuna reveals that they still have to try to return to the real world, because some players seemed to have gone comatose while their bodies still remained behind. Asuna thinks that all of these people have been hospitalized in the real world, barely being kept alive by machines.

Kirito: So that means… it doesn’t matter whether we clear the game or not anymore. Everyone here is on a time limit. And once that’s up…

Hence, WHY YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE WASTED SO MUCH FUCKING TIME WITH A TWO-WEEK VACATION!

And why does Asuna bring this up JUST NOW? If she had known about this, shouldn’t that tell her to hurry the fuck up and just get this game over with?

I swear to Christ, Kirito and Asuna are the dumbest couple I’ve seen on anime.

Sword Art Online Klein and Agil

But hey, Klein and Agil—who we see throughout the series in very brief scenes that add nothing to the plot, which is why I didn’t mention him—are also joining the expedition.

Sword Art Online Skull Reaper

The expedition team confronts the Skull Reaper, this awesome Lovecraftian abomination that slices the fuck out of people with its mantis-like arms.

We get a brief battle. And to think, the subject matter at the beginning of the episode is fucking FISHING.

Sword Art Online Kirito and Asuna dual attack
And one clichéd dual attack resulting in cliffhanger later…

[collapse]
Episode 14: The End of the World

Episode 14: The End of the World

Sword Art Online Skull Reaper

We get to the final episode of the Aincrad Arc, Episode 14 – The End of the World. Thank God.

After everyone gangs up on the Skull Reaper, the beast is destroyed. Why can’t we make these battles last more than five fucking minutes?

Klein and Agil despair over the fact they’ve just defeated an intensely powerful boss, and they have 25 more floors to clear. Well, I wonder how the hell we’re going to get that far in a single episode too.

But Heathcliff seems to be haven’t flinched from it. Kirito takes one look at him, and for no reason, attempts to murder him.

Sword Art Online Kirito fights Heathcliff

Doing so though, this reveals that Heathcliff is an “Immortal Object,” which is a status usually given to NPCs and structures. Yui from the earlier episodes is also one.

Asuna: An Immortal Object? Commander Heathcliff, what is going on?
Kirito: I think I got the answer to that.

Yes. Tell us, oh Master Sleuth.

Kirito: The reason why the Commander’s HP never hits yellow is cuz he’s protected by the system. You know, ever since Day 1, something’s always bugged me about this whole thing. I was always wondering… where is he hiding while he watches and controls everything in this world? Well, the answer’s pretty simple. It’s basic psychology. In fact, it’s so simple that every kid knows it. There’s nothing more boring than watching someone else playing an RPG. Is there… Akihiko Kayaba?

Star Trek Jean-Luc Picard

*sighs* Might as well call this Facepalm: The Animated Series.

And who the fuck makes you the authority on psychology?

So Commander Heathcliff is a disguised Akihiko Kayaba, who has to resort to cheating to defeat Kirito in their duel. I am fucking serious.

Heathcliff: Yes, I thought so. It was a mistake to think that would go unnoticed by you, but you were so strong and so fast… the only choice I had was to engage the system’s assist mode.

That’s right. Kirito is so fucking awesome that even the main developer of the game, the villain, praises him for just how awesome he is.

And as the main developer, WHY DON’T YOU JUST GIVE YOURSELF THE BEST WEAPONS, ARMORS, AND SKILLS BY DEFAULT THEN?

You’re this genius developer and engineer who created a virtual reality MMORPG, so I THINK you can figure out hide your stats as well. Using that, no one can figure out who you are. That way, you can still remain subtle.

Also, people, are you now convinced that Kirito is one of the biggest Gary Stus in today’s popular anime?

And who is the only person who figures out Heathcliff’s true identity? Motherfucking Kirito, that’s who.

Can we just stop giving the spotlight to this twat and hand it over to Asuna? Or hell, Klein and Agil have barely gotten any focus in this series. Give it to them. They have only the bare foundations of character, and we’re expected to look at them as their own independent supporting characters.

This show is a huge dick-sucking fest for this one boy.

So Heathcliff admits that he is Kayaba all along and also reveals that he is Floor 100’s final boss.

Heathcliff: One thing’s for sure, I always thought you’d be the one standing before me at the very end. You know, dual-wielding is a rare skill. The kind that’s only given to the player with the fastest reaction time. He is the hero of this story. The one who rises up to challenge the demon king. But you… the power you display exceeded my expectations. I guess these unexpected twists and turns are what makes MMORPGs so thrilling to play.

Fuck you and your bullshit. Will you just stop sucking on Kirito’s tiny dick for one second and do what you came here to do?

But one of the Knights gets pissed and attempts to kill him.

Sword Art Online man attempts to kill Heathcliff
Fuuuuck your shooooooooooow!

But of course, Heathcliff cheats and inflicts paralysis on every player in the room. He gloats over this victory, telling everyone how he wasted his time managing the Knights of the Blood Oath and created a large number of elite warriors. Because Kirito manages to figure out his identity, Heathcliff rewards him by challenging him to another one-on-one match before he departs for the 100th Floor.

Sword Art Online Kirito
My my, what to do, what to do…

So the memories of player deaths come rushing into him all at once, which convinces Kirito to accept the challenge.

Oh, so NOW he cares. Asshole.

No, Kirito. Don’t go! You’re much more important to this world than us!

Yeah, that’s basically what everyone else in the room says.

Kirito has Heathcliff promise him to prevent Asuna from committing suicide if he dies, to which Heathcliff agrees. And of course, Asuna goes batshit insane over this decision.

Heathcliff removes his immortality status, and the climactic fight begins.

Sword Art Online Kirito fights Heathcliff

Because Kirito can’t shut his fucking face, he has to narrate over this fight too.

Despite all his efforts, Kirito can’t break through Heathcliff’s rock-solid defense and ends up breaking Lisbeth’s sword. Just as Heathcliff is ready to deal the final blow…

Sword Art Online Heathcliff kills Asuna

*smashes his brains out with a brick*

Yeah. Asuna somehow overcomes her paralysis through sheer force of will and sacrifices herself to protect Kirito.

Well, I’ll give this scene some credit. At least it doesn’t pull the dragshoot and have them monologue for a whole minute before Asuna bites the dust.

Sword Art Online Asuna death
Requiescat in pace.

Sword Art Online shocked Kirito

Heathcliff: Now that was a surprise. I’m sure I never programmed a way for players to neutralize their own paralysis. I guess sometimes these things just happen.

Yes. Asuna just overcame COMPUTER PROGRAMMING through the power of love.

Kill me.

But Kirito grabs Asuna’s rapier, which for some reason hasn’t been destroyed, and gives us a hilariously drunken, pussy sword dance.

Sword Art Online crying Kirito fighting Heathcliff
Heathcliff: …What… are you doing?

Heathcliff disarms Kirito, who has no motivation to defend himself, and plunges the sword through his gut.

Sword Art Online Heathcliff stabs Kirito

Kirito accepts his fate and dies….

YES! YEEEEEEEEEEES! YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!

Street Fighter cartoon M Bison Yes Yes

But then…

Sword Art Online ghost Kirito

Aww, NOOO! NOOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! FUCK NO!

Darth Vader Nooo

How many times can one episode jump the shark? This is what happens when you keep wasting time with your episodes and don’t move the plot forward!

Sword Art Online ghost Kirito kills Heathcliff

Kirito comes back as a ghost and impales Heathcliff, killing him instantly. Both of the warriors pass away.

This climax should’ve at least have an extended fight sequence instead of a one-sided fight with Heathcliff not taking any damage. I can’t believe how so fucking half-assed this is. Kirito defied COMPUTER PROGRAMMING through sheer force of will and ousted the villain with a single thrust of his sword.

This… is so not how programming works. Programming is logic. Programming is math. It does exactly what it is told to do. No room for ambiguity. Willpower has nothing on it. It follows what the instructions say.

If the character’s HP reaches 0, he dies. Game Over screen. Log back in to your MMORPG account and find you have lost money and all sorts of shit.

Do the writers of this series have NO idea on how MMORPGs or even video games work?

Sword Art Online Kirito and Asuna in virtual limbo

So an automatic announcement echoes through SAO, telling all of the remaining players that the game has been beaten and they presumably return back to their real lives.

And based on what this show discussed about players losing reality, perhaps they commit suicide after because they can never have their fantasy world back again, so… nice job, assholes. You just glorified the idea of living in a fantasy world over the real world to a bunch of anime aficionados. I hope you’re proud of yourselves.

And to make matters worse, Kirito finds himself in some virtual sky limbo. There, he reunites with Asuna and they both watch from afar as the floating structure of Aincrad crumbles down.

But they’re not alone.

Sword Art Online ghost Kayaba

So… Kayaba’s ghost explains that the world is getting deleted and that it will all disappear forever, while allowing the remaining 6,147 players to return to the real world. Why did he set up the system to automatically delete itself when the game is won? I have no fucking idea. This guy’s whole motive doesn’t make sense.

Kirito: Why? What’s the point? Why did you do this?
Kayaba: That’s a good question… It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten the reason. Isn’t that strange?

Oh my god. Fuck you. Fuck this whole thing. How is this show so talked about and praised when it has a SHIT TON of flaws going for it? WE’VE LEARNED NOTHING!

Kayaba: Even before I developed the system for the Full Dive environment, I dreamed of this. A castle in a world that wasn’t governed by earthly laws and restrictions. I poured my life into making that world a reality.

And right now, it’s deleting itself. Good work, you stupid fuck.

Kayaba: I created this world. And I got to see something that surpassed anything that I could’ve imagined for it. My steel castle… floating in the sky… I don’t remember how old I was when I became obsessed with it. I wanted to leave the earth, to fly to that castle. I wanted that more than anything else. For as long as I can remember.

I still don’t see why this dream of yours requires TRAPPING 10,000 PLAYERS IN AND MAKING DEATH A REAL THING!

Kayaba: You know what, Kirito? I want to believe it’s still out there. That somewhere in some other world, my castle is still standing. Taller than ever.
Kirito: Yeah… maybe it still is.

Kirito and Asuna, being SO understanding that this man is singlehandedly responsible for the deaths of almost 4,000 people, do not call him out for this bullshit reason.

Kayaba: Before I forget, congratulations on clearing the game. Kirito, Asuna. Well then, I should probably get going now.

Sword Art Online ghost Kayaba
And he departs for the afterlife… only to come back in the next story arc as a cyber ghost again.

But we’re not done yet. Because this big slap in the face isn’t enough I guess.

Before they pass on, Kirito and Asuna reveal their true selves. Kirito is some 16-year old boy named Kazuto Kirigaya and Asuna is a 17-year old girl named Asuna Yuuki.

…Yeah. We have this highly praised romance between the two, and they learned just NOW about each other’s real names. Holy fuck, we are so desperate…

Kirito feels bad that he wasn’t able to save Asuna before her death, but Asuna forgives him and the two accept their deaths as the world fades away.

Sword Art Online Kirito and Asuna erased

*deep breath*

One more bullshit moment.

Sword Art Online Kazuto wakes up

The Matrix Morpheus Welcome to the real world
Welcome… to the real world.

The real-world Kazuto wakes up in a hospital room somehow, even though it’s been made clear that both he and Asuna would die.

This show… it’s…

explain this bullshit meme

So after over two years being stuck in the Matrix, Kazuto moves his body for the first time and struggles to move as he pleads for Asuna. You know, this would’ve been an okay ending… for a MUCH BETTER-WRITTEN SHOW.

Sword Art Online Kazuto limps away
Yes, Kazuto, go to her. Go find that girl, whose whereabouts are unknown and whether she’s still alive or not is up to interpretation.

*sighs*

[collapse]

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)
4.6

STORY

2.5/10

CHARACTERS

2.5/10

ART & ANIMATION

7.0/10

SOUNDTRACK

6.5/10

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6kJKxvbgZ0&index=1&list=PLuAOJfsMefuej06Q3n4QrSSC7qYjQ-FlU
    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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