Sword Art Online (Seasons 1-2)
Sword Art Online is an Japanese Anime series based on the namesake light novel series written by Reki Kawakahara and illustrated by Abec.
In the year 2022, virtual reality has progressed by leaps and bounds, and a massive online role-playing game called Sword Art Online (SAO) is launched. With the aid of "NerveGear" technology, players can control their avatars within the game using nothing but their own thoughts.
Kazuto Kirigaya, nicknamed "Kirito," is among the lucky few enthusiasts who get their hands on the first shipment of the game. He logs in to find himself, with ten-thousand others, in the scenic and elaborate world of Aincrad, one full of fantastic medieval weapons and gruesome monsters. However, in a cruel turn of events, the players soon realize they cannot log out; the game's creator has trapped them in his new world until they complete all one hundred levels of the game.
In order to escape Aincrad, Kirito will now have to interact and cooperate with his fellow players. Some are allies, while others are foes, like Asuna Yuuki, who commands the leading group attempting to escape from the ruthless game. To make matters worse, Sword Art Online is not all fun and games: if they die in Aincrad, they die in real life. Kirito must adapt to his new reality, fight for his survival, and hopefully break free from his virtual hell.
The story of the second season follows Kazuto "Kirito" Kirigaya as he plays the new virtual reality game called "Gun Gale Online" (GGO), where he allies himself with a girl named Shino "Sinon" Asada and enters a tournament to investigate a player known only as "Death Gun", who has the ability to kill a person in the real world by killing their virtual avatar.
- Bad and cliched writing.
- Some episodes are filled with deus-ex machina in its purest form like how Kayaba grants Kirito Super-Admin access through the Heathcliff username. It's similar to a god granting a hero divine power.
- Kazuto Kirigaya, or Kirito, the main protagonist is a big Gary Stu, he has no personality, he is good at everything he does for no reason, a super sleuth, a ladies man, and a master hacker.
- Some characters are somewhat unidimensional, like Yui who is just a walking Deus-Ex Machina.
- Mediocre villains with Sugou Nobuyuki/Oberon the Fairy King as an notable offender who is an idiot and a complete monster who assaults Asuna as his slave.
- Season 1 has a nonsensical ending.
- The show needlessly shoves in rape, which serves no real purpose other than shock value.
- The second season is the definition of a filler season. The plot is resolved after 13 episodes, which is very uninteresting from the start, the rest is just having the characters tackle really trivial things, until episode 20 where they introduce Yuuki. Almost all the episodes are predictable too.
- Some dumb moments like where Kirito comes to the conclusion that the way Death Gun kills people in real life is because there are two people behind it. How did he come to this sudden conclusion? By staring at Sinon's ass.
- There are things missing in the game surrounding the anime despite being something that is common in MMORPGs like dual-wielding, a job system, class selection, range weapons or attacks, and etc., which doesn't make any sense.
- Yuuki's death is really melodramatic and underwhelming despite how hard it tries to get you to feel sad.
- The girls constantly hit on Kirito despite being in a relationship with Asuna, who doesn't even tell them to cut it out. Because of this, it almost presents it as if there's a harem in the works when there isn't.
- The final counter between Kirito & Sugou is very pointless as Sugou didn't die even though he was cut in the neck by Kirito. Also, don't forget that his scream will give you a lot of nerves.
- Amazing action scenes (except of the final counter of Kirito and Sugou), with some of the moves give homage to the video game series, Devil May Cry.
- It has some likable characters like Asuna, Sinon, Agil, Klein and Silica.
- The soundtrack is very good to listen to.
- Well made animation by A-1 Pictures.
- The voice acting is well done.
- Most characters' visual designs and the backgrounds are decent.
- The video games and the GGO side story based on this show are enjoyable.
- Sword Art Online: Alicization, while it still has criticism, is a huge improvement over the first two seasons.
Sword Art Online had a positive reception by the critics, but a mixed reception by audiences and amateur critics, while this show gained cult following worldwide, some people criticized the writing and the characters, however this franchise had a great commercial success.
Since lots of Internet users in Taiwan dislikes the franchise and its supporters, some catchy phrases, mainly "Star Burst Stream", the skill that Kirito delivered the fatal blow to Gleaming Eyes, are popular memes on the forums there.