Sword Art Online — First Impressions

Whoa! This was unexpected, but this episode was actually really good!

First of all, the artwork is gorgeous. This virtual game looks better than real life in most anime.

Second, this show is not boring. Now, I hate MMOs. In my opinion, killing the same monsters and pressing the same buttons over and over again with no discernible plot is simply not too exciting. There’s the online camaraderie, sure, but if I wanted to play games with other people I would choose a game that’s— you know— fun.

What makes this show more interesting than other shows about MMOs, like .Hack/Sign? For me, it’s the fact that there’s a clear-cut goal and an actual threat. We aren’t just sitting around killing monsters for fun. If you die, you die in real life. And there is a clear-cut way to escape. So these people’s encounters and fights matter. It’s not like if you die you can just log back in and try again.

16 thoughts on “Sword Art Online — First Impressions

  1. Another cool thing is that people have to work together because individual progress through the dungeon is global progress, but there’s also a sense of “every man for himself” because people wouldn’t want to risk dying to save someone else.

    1. Ah, I was wondering about that. It seemed odd that the main character was running off by himself to train instead of going with other people to mitigate the risk of getting himself killed.

  2. I really liked this episode. As you mentioned already, the animation was fantabulous and it was not boring.

    I am really, really looking forward to the next episode and I hope the other characters that have not yet been introduced (like the female lead) are fun.

    1. Yep, me too. The female lead is the easiest way they could screw this up. I hope she’s not a tsundere.

  3. I’d digress a bit re the animation. The artwork wasn’t bad, but not match for shows like Hyoka or Tari Tari imo. But let’s see how the fights are animated; from how the trailer looked this could be quite amazing.
    On MMO’s I have no experience whatsoever but I imagine I’d think similarly about them as you do. Generally, I don’t really like game settings in anime. I do like Accel World but if you ask me they should just leave out the Accel World part and focus on the “real world” fanservice parts 🙂
    Admittedly the premise here is interesting so I’ll follow it for a while. When the game master’s speech ended and the two guys left in a hurry I thought for a moment we’d witness a mass panic w/ people going mad and going at each others’ throats. That’s what would happen in real life, I guess.

    1. True, it’s nowhere near the level of KyoAni or TariTari at the moment. But the fights have been nice so far— I especially liked the camera work when he cut up that wolf near the end (the top screenshot).

      I’m not much of a fan of Accel World. It just seems like a very convoluted world with people obsessed with this game just so they can cheat on tests and sports. I don’t really see the point.

      Seeing everyone kill each other would have been much more entertaining, that much is certain.

  4. It was also unexpectedly good for me, Draggle. The first thing that came to me as I started watching episode 1 was .hack//Sign. I liked .hack//Sign but was too slow for my taste. But Sword Art Online seems ultra intense. I hope SAO becomes a great series.

    1. Same here, the pace of .hack/Sign just couldn’t keep my interest. But here they’re moving faster with intense battles and a clear goal, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

  5. it’s the fact that there’s a clear-cut goal and an actual threat < YES THAT! In the world of .hack\\SIGN there were only a select few that new the plot and threat! So in Sword Art Online there is a common enemy and a end game! But wow that ending? They have been trapped in the game world and only two months have passed? That makes things great though we wont have to suffer through the main character "training" for the whole two months.

    Artwork wise AAAAHHHH! SO GOOD! Even the Working!! Character designs manage to fit nicely, but yeah random thoughts Tiger from Tiger and bunny! HIS VOICE OMG I could listen to him for hours…anyway great stuff and I can't wait to see more <3

    1. Yep, it’s good to know that this shouldn’t bog down in training arcs either. And the cutesy character designs really did fit in well with the pretty artwork. I’m kind of surprised it worked so well too.

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