Sword Art Online is the start of Kirito’s journey set in a dangerous MMO that is inescapable. If you die in the game, you will die in real life. But the players that entered the world did not sign up for this and do everything to escape. Here is our full Sword Art Online Review.
The season was aired in the Summer 2012 anime season. Sword Art Online was animated by A-1 Pictures and based on the light novel of the same name. A-1 Pictures is also known for anime like Kaguya-sama, 86, Fairy Tail, and Persona 3.
The 1st 14 episodes of the season focus on Kirito being stuck in the world of Sword Art Online, 10.000 gamers have been trapped by the developer and the only way out is to finish the game. Easier set than done, because over those 14 episodes, they spend over 2 years stuck in the game while their IRL body is on life support. The premise is pretty grim, but it makes for an amazing drive to actually do something and have an amazing story… Sadly they don’t actually do much with it.
It felt like the SAO part of the season went by way too fast, out of nowhere he is just this OP dude and we don’t see Kirito develop as a character much with his levels and what happens in between all the floors, it randomly just skips months/weeks ahead. I feel like this show would have been better of with the One Piece or Pokemon approach with 50+ episodes in 1 season than this time skipping thing.
For an amine about being in a fantasy MMO, it didn’t feel like much of the time. In the early episodes, after episodes 1 and 2, it felt like the action was not used enough. The battles that are there are amazing, but there are just a few episodes that just felt very boring compared to the later ones of the SAO arc. There were 2 episodes of them just being on vacation and fishing for some reason. With the 14 episodes that we got, it felt like there was spending way too much time with useless things that didn’t really help Kirito.
After having seen the 2 Progressive movies, I hate how Asuna is like a whole different character when she pops back up in episode 5 and how she is absent in episodes 3 and 4. They have built her up as the 2nd protagonist, but early and late in the season, it doesn’t feel like that at all, and it’s kinda a shame.
Early on they kinda tease that Asuna is going to be one of the strongest (maybe even the strongest) in the SAO world, but they don’t really do anything with it. This is something that keeps happening during the whole season, just like the side characters only showing up 1 time and then being forgotten about until the 25th episode.
Episode 14 felt like a perfect season ending and I think the season should have stopped there and the other half should have had its own season. But then again, I feel like the first 14 episodes could have been extended to at least 100 episodes.
I think it’s best to put the review in 2 parts, I consider episode 14 the “ending” of SAO’s 1st season because it was just weird how they decided to put the other half of the season in a whole new world. This is mainly because the 2nd half is forgettable and holds down the quality of the season. While it’s not that bad, it does feel like a strange disconnect from the rest of the season.
The twist about Kirito and Leafa was unexpected and surprising, but it also feels like it’s so strange that they meet out of every player in the game. Other than that twist, the only good thing was the ending, but at the same time, that was also kinda forgettable. The IRL fight with the bad guy from ALFheim was fun to see, you saw a different side of Kirito. On multiple occasions, you see Kirito think “this is the end”, a lot more than when he was in SAO, but in ALFheim he could have just respawned…
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