Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

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Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by bomaye on Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:44 pm

First thing's first, just watch Episode 1. On the off-chance you haven't heard about it or heard about what it's about before, describing the basic premise spoils much of the first episode.

[And actually it's more like a 3/4s recommendation now, finished Season 2]

-----------

Watched it yet? Interest piqued? If yes, or if you want to know more without potentially having 20 minutes wasted, then here we go. Probably the most important bit is the road-map that I'll have bolded earlier on which explains why my recommendations are both half and full.

Trigger-warnings for some of it too, though I'll list what/where in the road-map.

Spoiler:

Sword Art Online is a series of light novels (equivalent to young adult/pulp trash) about a fantasy MMORPG of the same name that launches in the early 2020s on NERVGear, an advanced VR headset not unlike the Oculus Rift in real life, but with the ability to further tap into your body's nervous system, allowing freer control and ability to experience real sensations within the game. 10 thousand players log on day 1... and as the day wears on, they discover there's no logout button. Suddenly every player in the game is summoned into town square of Starting Town, where a mysterious figure appears in the air and lets everyone know that they are now trapped within the game. If they die in-game, they die in real life, and the only way to escape with their lives is to clear all 100 Floors of the game.

This anime adaptation is very interesting because what it does well, it does really well, and what it does poorly, it does... almost cliche poorly.

Pros:

- The world-building is intelligently laid out, and slowly revealed in an intriguing manner. You don't really get a run-down of how the players are adapting to the death game, you just infer what's happening by the things they offhandedly say. And how this world starts to unfold in a social way is so interesting, because a lot of it sounds like how it would go down for real. The world of Sword Art Online and the NervGear technology and what sprouts from it is arguably the best "character"

- The music and animation quality are pretty good throughout. Especially the music.

- Sword Art Online being a video game allows for a lot of cover for things that would be pretty corny. It's a generic fantasy setting, but it's a video game so that's expected. The characters are highly skilled in what they do even though a lot of them are teenagers, but it's a video game, which is something teenagers do pretty well. And just the video game itself is such a good-looking setting. In some ways the visuals remind me of Breath of the Wild or Xenoblade 1

- Waifus. Everywhere. If that's your thing.

Cons:

- The main character is a Gary Stu. He's a really awesome at everything (caveat, it is video games so I think this actually works fine, though there are definite moments where it's like "really?") and every girl tends to fall in love with him, which a lot of people end up hating that element of it pretty strongly (That warning helped me not cringe to it, and me being okay with waifus also made a lot of pretty  Feeling loved but yeah, it's very much there there and not for everybody)

- The second arc is shockingly bad, almost to the point where you wonder if the same person wrote it. The third and fifth get it back (the fourth was kind of just an adaptation of a side-story used to fill episode time, it was okay) but in much different ways.

- The author is definitely a fan of Berserk, but doesn't quite have a handle for trigger-y material that they include here. It's never truly horrifying like Berserk, but another reason why fans do dislike elements of later arcs is that it's handled in such a clumsy way that it doesn't need to be here at all.

ROAD MAP:

First Arc: Season 1, Episodes 1-14. Full recommendation. If you only want the complete initial experience that wraps up most of the plot threads, this and a few episodes that I'll mention in the second arc will give that to you. However you can also 100% stop here and leave off at that ending, there's a degree of OOMPH that the ending loses once it continues, so it's up to you.

Second Arc: Season 1, Episodes 15-25 (but I only recommend watching Episode 15, and parts of of Episodes 24 (18:10ish "Everything's over now, right?" to the end) and 25 (04:11ish "Come on, [redacted]'s waiting" to the end). You will have a full and satisfying story that wraps up most of the major plot threads if you stop here. A lot of what the first arc really good and borderline great is gone here. Trigger-warning: Handled cartoonishly bad and clumsy as fuck. If you want the complete experience, you can watch it, but if you want a satisfying experience that finishes off the last little plot threads of the first arc, then you only need to watch Episode 15, . Afterwards if you want to continue into the third arc, I'll just list a few of the things that happened in the second arc so that you're up to speed.

Third Arc: Season 2, Episode 1-15. Another full recommendation. The story groove is mostly back, though it focuses heavily on only two characters.

Spoiler:

Kirito and a new character.

Trigger-warning: Still handled poorly, but this time more cliche-bad than clumsy-bad.

Fourth Arc: Season 2, Episode 16-18. This is actually a short story adaptation. It's basically filler, I don't know if it there's any real important plot elements that can't be summed up in a sentence or two, but by next week I'll know. It's okay, but skippable.

Fifth Arc: Season 2, Episode 19-24. A full recommendation but not necessarily for the normal SAO-related reasons. It focuses on one of the other main characters

Spoiler:

Asuna

and goes into quite unexpected territory as it moves along. Some of the best fights and fight animation in the series and easily the most emotional arc. Almost more of a stand-alone side-story.

Sixth Arc Alicization: It's on right now, currently 2 or 3 episodes are out but it's supposed to run all year. Half of the light novels have the "Aliciziation" branding on them, so it figures it might be a major, heavy-duty long-form story arc, but I'll let you know when I get there Wink
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by Enail on Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:55 pm

E1
Spoiler:

-My first thought when he logged in and you zoom out to see all the gazillion other players there, was "oh no, there's so many other people in his video game! Sad" Clearly, I'm not much of an MMO fan Wink
-newbie has to be reminded he's not actually feeling pain Laughing
-it's fun watching otherwise tv show animated characters suddenly having their movements go into discrete videogame-style actions while they charge up their attacks and stuff
-the whole "VR game you can't log out of" thing makes a fine premise for a show, but IRL, who the fuck would play a game that literally stopped you from having any control over your own body while you were in it to the point where you couldn't physically remove yourself from it? Even if you could trust the company not to want to trap you in it for their evil games like this, or even more real-world motives like, say, preventing people of a certain demographic from voting, or who knows what, how could you trust that some random glitch wouldn't leave you stuck twice a week, wreaking havoc on your life, or maybe even damage your nerves or paralyze you. There's no software company that I'd trust to never fuck up enough to risk that.
-Also, aren't they all going to starve to death in the time it takes to complete the game?
-everyone seeing people's real appearances and realizing who was lying Laughing
-"When we first put on the NerveGear, it made us touch all over our body for 'calibration,'" is that what they're calling it these days?  Wink wink nudge nudg
-the names of all three characters introduced so far begin with K, it's not quite Ajin-bad, but still! Disapproving

Pretty fun so far! The main character's not terribly interesting, but hopefully it'll get more character interest when they introduce other party members, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the game mechanics go. I'll keep going on this one.
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by bomaye on Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:55 am

E1

Spoiler:

- This anime both captures my childlike video game wish of "why can't real video games be like this?" and my IRL adult belief that "No fucking way would I ever put one of those helmets on for this exact reason."
- Also the music right off the bat, it's generic in some ways but also absolutely feels like music you'd want to hear on an adventure. I legitimately wonder since it's a video game if the characters are hearing this music too
- Though... even though I'd never do it IRL, "using your own virtual body to fight" would be kind of cool Lurking/sketchy
- "A single blade is your ticket to the entire world" and "I feel more alive here than I ever did in real life" <3
- So originally I didn't really know what this anime was about and just assumed it was about people playing an MMO I was like "Oh yeah, I guess this okay" and then the "Hey, there's no logout button" came up and that piqued my interest
- "A component in the nervegear is required to intercept your bodies signals" and now I'm back to "I would never use that at all"
- Mentions his little sister, Klein is already all over it
- The GM appearing and explaining they're trapped started getting me really interested
- And the 213 people died from having their headgear forcibly removed is when I started getting hype for it
- And then the fucking revelation that it's a 100 floor death game was where my body was totally ready.
- Fucking lol'ed at their real faces being revealed and a lot of the women were dudes Laughing
- Brb, calibrating myself
- The mass panic, but Kirito's already on it. Once they get their bearings, beta testers and experienced MMO players will lock down key early areas for farming experience and money to get stronger, and leveling up is survival in the game
- So the scene with Klein and Kirito... the drive in Kirito it get ahead as quickly as possible with only one other person but not wanting to get bogged down with teammates and a guild, and then Kirito looking back in sort of worry and realization that even though they just met and he knows he has an ally and friend while trapped in this world, he also may never see Klein again because of the death game.
- IMMORTAL SUGIMOTOOOOOOOO

Also, I don't know if you mentioned seeing it or not, but the thing that hyped me up the most was in the post-credits

Spoiler:

It's been one month, Dec 2022, and 2000 people aka 1/5th of everyone trapped has died, and the first floor still hasn't been beaten even though Kirito mentioned as that beta testers got to the 8th Floor in two months. Just that small but brutal establishment of how fatal this world is.

Enail wrote:E1
Spoiler:

-the whole "VR game you can't log out of" thing makes a fine premise for a show, but IRL, who the fuck would play a game that literally stopped you from having any control over your own body while you were in it to the point where you couldn't physically remove yourself from it? Even if you could trust the company not to want to trap you in it for their evil games like this, or even more real-world motives like, say, preventing people of a certain demographic from voting, or who knows what, how could you trust that some random glitch wouldn't leave you stuck twice a week, wreaking havoc on your life, or maybe even damage your nerves or paralyze you. There's no software company that I'd trust to never fuck up enough to risk that.

Spoiler:

Also why I would never wear it Grin


Spoiler:

-Also, aren't they all going to starve to death in the time it takes to complete the game?

Spoiler:

Yes, though the Dr guy did mention that his "warning" and the truth of it is out after the 213 player deaths, so it's at least public knowledge that if you know someone who has the game, they're now trapped in it. It's never explicitly mentioned but I do believe some of the 2000 initial deaths were people who live alone starving to death.


Pretty fun so far! The main character's not terribly interesting, but hopefully it'll get more character interest when they introduce other party members, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the game mechanics go. I'll keep going on this one.

Yeah, he's a total Gary Stu. I'm not sure I ever get too much into his character or his character development, but I did find one or two things relatable.
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by Enail on Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:09 pm

bomaye wrote:E1

Spoiler:

- Though... even though I'd never do it IRL, "using your own virtual body to fight" would be kind of cool Lurking/sketchy
Spoiler:
That'd be fucking awesome, and I think is a lot of the appeal of the show. Motion-capture etc. games are super-fun, fully virtualling it would be so cool! And it makes it really easy to get that "imagine if it was actually you in the setting, or preferably a cooler version of you" thrill, I immediately want to know all the skills or classes or whatever (I think they said there's no classes, which is a little disappointing, it's old-fashioned these days, but I like having clear archetypes to choose and a role for each person) to figure out what I'd be in the world and imagine my own self-insert fanfic with everyone I know. Or maybe a Nerdlounge watch-along group party, if anyone else gets sucked into watching this Grin

Though, it would make video games more of an athletic challenge than a gaming one, which makes it seem wayyyy less fun in an MMO where there are always going to be more athletic people around to remind you you hate sports Sad


Also, I don't know if you mentioned seeing it or not, but the thing that hyped me up the most was in the post-credits

Spoiler:

It's been one month, Dec 2022, and 2000 people aka 1/5th of everyone trapped has died, and the first floor still hasn't been beaten even though Kirito mentioned as that beta testers got to the 8th Floor in two months. Just that small but brutal establishment of how fatal this world is.

Spoiler:
I knew about that much about it going in - pop culture osmosis super-powers make it hard to watch anything that's been around a few years withoutany sense of what I'm getting in for -  so the deaths didn't really shock me, but the one month part was a little more striking, that these people have been living in this world that long already.


Spoiler:

Yes, though the Dr guy did mention that his "warning" and the truth of it is out after the 213 player deaths, so it's at least public knowledge that if you know someone who has the game, they're now trapped in it. It's never explicitly mentioned but I do believe some of the 2000 initial deaths were people who live alone starving to death.

Spoiler:
But even for people who don't live alone, did ten thousand families just have to run out and buy iv feeding tubes or what? It's not essential to know for the story, but it's a weird sort of problem to just have to be like "oh, well, I guess someone in the outside world has done something to deal with this?" and leave it be.  Not to mention, how many of the people stuck in the game are parents and now there are hundreds of essentially orphaned or half-orphaned kids. They'd have to start instituting police safety checks for anyone who's got younger than school-age kids to avoid a bunch of toddlers starving to death with their stuck parents.

Yeah, he's a total Gary Stu. I'm not sure I ever get too much into his character or his character development, but I did find one or two things relatable.

That's probably the thing that'll give me the hardest time in this show, I don't have much tolerance for Gary Stus. And it's especially annoying when

Spoiler:
this scenario would be so much more interesting with a genuine character who has to struggle to figure out what they're doing and how to survive, and who is more realistically terrified and devastated, the psychological awfulness of being stuck in a deadly game could be almost Battle Royale-like (which honestly, would probably be too intense for a whole show-length story, but a lower-level amount would be more compelling, and if you combined it with a little wish fulfillment/"everyone is unrealistically competant"/protagonist protection, it could still be fun), and that combined with the social "how people set up a society to live in in a world that they only meant to play in" aspect that it sounds like is coming would be fantastic. )
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by bomaye on Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:45 pm

Enail wrote:
That's probably the thing that'll give me the hardest time in this show, I don't have much tolerance for Gary Stus. And it's especially annoying when

Spoiler:
this scenario would be so much more interesting with a genuine character who has to struggle to figure out what they're doing and how to survive, and who is more realistically terrified and devastated, the psychological awfulness of being stuck in a deadly game could be almost Battle Royale-like (which honestly, would probably be too intense for a whole show-length story, but a lower-level amount would be more compelling, and if you combined it with a little wish fulfillment/"everyone is unrealistically competant"/protagonist protection, it could still be fun), and that combined with the social "how people set up a society to live in in a world that they only meant to play in" aspect that it sounds like is coming would be fantastic. )

There's more to say on this but can't yet Lurking/sketchy
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by Enail on Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:10 pm

E2
Spoiler:

-I like the way people are starting to have different armour from each other without it being commented on, it's a nice bit of quiet storytelling.
-guy insisting he's a knight class even though there's no classes Laughing
-the beta tester social issue is cool, that people resent them for just going in for themselves but also that at least some of them are freely providing info to help others survive.
-the jug of cream that you tap to get a ball of light that you use to spread it on bread was a nice detail
-how is going forward with the game and fighting monsters or dying trying "being yourself" or "not giving into the game" any more than holing up at the inn in the starting town would be? The game is designed primarily around fighting monsters, the goal the creator has set everyone is to advance in the game by fighting, wouldn't it be more not giving in to the game to do literally anything that wasn't its explicit main purpose, like, say, trying to find glitches to exploit to get hundreds of watermelons, or becoming a therapist (I'm sure people trapped in a deadly videogame while their bodies are potentially dying could use some psychological support) or, I don't know, trying to become a sheep-breeder to get better wool even though the game isn't programmed for animals to reproduce? Anything! This makes me pretty skeptical of the writers' skill and tendency to use lazy cliches as character development
-BOSS FIGHT!
-Knight rushing in on his own when they should be surrounding it, and it's different from the beta, he's fucked
-what the fuck, his health bar's running down and he's got a potion right there and he just doesn't take it!! What the hell?!? There was zero reason for him not to take the health potion. Like seriously, what was the character motivation supposed to be there?!?
-And of course this makes Kirito realize that he should be helping others and not just looking out for himself. This 100% feels like the writers were just using the other dude as a pawn to make the main character do what they need him to do, like they're not bothering to make minor characters actually believably behave like people so much as just putting them in the positions they want them to be in. Lazy character writing again.
-dramatic hood falling off, long, flowing hair reveal
-Everyone working together to beat it
-the bonus item pop-up genuinely gave me that little thrill of opening a treasure box etc.
-Beta tester resentment flares up
-he draws the hatred to himself like a video-game Dark Knight
-dramatically scrolls through his inventory to put on his new coat at just the right moment
-wait, other people haven't realized that there's a name next to people's health bar?! How did they not?? That's not exactly an advanced-level gamer secret skill!
-I guess she's just a ditz?
-the angsty "I'm a dark, tragic solo player doomed to wander the dungeon alone" thing is hilariously teenaged (but the show is taking it seriously Uh-oh)
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by bomaye on Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:30 pm

I'll get to ep 2 a little later but


Spoiler:

-how is going forward with the game and fighting monsters or dying trying "being yourself" or "not giving into the game" any more than holing up at the inn in the starting town would be? The game is designed primarily around fighting monsters, the goal the creator has set everyone is to advance in the game by fighting, wouldn't it be more not giving in to the game to do literally anything that wasn't its explicit main purpose, like, say, trying to find glitches to exploit to get hundreds of watermelons, or becoming a therapist (I'm sure people trapped in a deadly videogame while their bodies are potentially dying could use some psychological support) or, I don't know, trying to become a sheep-breeder to get better wool even though the game isn't programmed for animals to reproduce? Anything! This makes me pretty skeptical of the writers' skill and tendency to use lazy cliches as character development

There is actually a lot more to say on a lot of this. Probably come back to this later.


Spoiler:

-the angsty "I'm a dark, tragic solo player doomed to wander the dungeon alone" thing is hilariously teenaged (but the show is taking it seriously Uh-oh)

Spoiler:

Thissss ends up being one of the weaker parts of the series. This initial justification for being a solo player in the first episode, that he doesn't trust anyone other than Klein and more than one extra player would slow him down (explained this episode via the Switch mechanic), and then trying to lie to end the prejudice held against beta testers by implying he was both a beta tester and a cheater and there was someone actually holding out on everyone doesn't hold up or go to much further than this episode. They do try to address why he solos a few more times here and there, but at the end of the day it really does come down to "teenage boy pretends to be Black Swordsman Guts in an online death game."

However as a person who prefers to solo, I do at least find that inclination relatable Lurking/sketchy
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by Enail on Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:07 pm

bomaye wrote:
Spoiler:

However as a person who prefers to solo, I do at least find that inclination relatable Lurking/sketchy

Spoiler:
Yeah, me too.
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by bomaye on Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:15 am

SAO 2

Spoiler:

- "Boss fight conference." The beginnings of social structures inside this world forming
- Kirito realizing he has no friends and is scrambling to find someone to group up with Laughing
- Kirito did end up being right about the beta testers after all
- Agil sort of smoothing over the beta tester issue because they did offer help in the form of a guidebook, but also kind of revealing a brutal truth of SAO in that player death helps them learn just like a real video game
- The towns are so comfy in this series, and the mix of real players and NPCs somehow adds to it, like there's multiple forms of life happening
- They can actually taste the food even though it's not real
- The music when the boss fight starts <3
- Really the music that plays during battles in general for this series is good. Arguably better than a lot of real video game music
- The "Knight" going for personal glory even in a death game
- I think the Knight dying was supposed to be some Japanese-y shit about the negatives of putting your personal desires about the crowd (he was a beta tester who held out on them and then was trying to take the final drop) and then shame seppukku'ing when his failure might have screwed the entire group, but yeah, I'm kind like "just drink the potion, man"
- And then everyone fighting the boss, dropping all personal pretenses and goals because they're all in this death game together
- YOSHAAAAAA, 1 month, 2000 deaths, and they've finally proven that they can clear a floor
- "Most of the beta testers sucked, even you guys are better than them." Trickyyyyy
- "There's a definite limit for solo players." Kirito doing the angsty self-sacrificing thing to keep the larger playerbase devoted to beating the game and surviving together
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by Enail on Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:54 pm

E3
Spoiler:

-it's considered almost overly personal to ask someone's level, that's awesome
-He lied about his level by half, jeez
-finally joining a guild. But why this one?
-why would they make that girl be the upfront fighter when she's constantly paralyzed by fear
-wow, they've made it to the 29th floor, how long has it been? And he's hanging around on 11 with a bunch of cheerful determined-slackers (that should be an oxymoron but I think it's right)
-saving up for a house. Did players form some kind of real estate economy on their own, or is it an existing game option? I'd assume the latter since it's pretty common, but the former would be interesting.
-Klein's still alive!
-Wait, does he have special tracking abilities no one else has, or are we seriously supposed to believe no one else has checked out their menus and tried out the functions by now?  Or maybe that's one of his skills? They still haven't told us how skills work or anything like that, I'd like more details there. But it does work well, the way they keep the game rules sort of hidden and dole them out indirectly or gradually, but they're underpinning the story, so we kind of see the effects before we see the causes.
-Sachi's starting to think about suicide :/ Maybe they should let her go back to the role that she's comfortable with instead of making her do something that clearly doesn't suit her and makes her terrified. Or if there's anyone who's really not giving in to the game like I suggested, send her to a therapist (or give her a million watermelons? Grin)
-Making promises he can't keep (except he probably can since she's in the OP so she probably doesn't die)
-he's just too cool to even think about fearing death
-why did he randomly decide to protect this group and not any other, the change between last episode and this one is pretty random and doesn't flow from the reactions we saw from him last week. The rule seems to be that he'll join up with someone whenever there's a girl, and then otherwise not Laughing (Also, there are ridiculously few female players, it's like 1:30 from what they've showed, even though women seem to be anywhere from 1:3 to 1:9 in reasonably female-friendly Japanese RPGs Lurking/sketchy)
-uh-oh, they're lightheartedly going to higher dungeons without their leader after they've finally succeeded in buying a house, the unnamed guild members are so going to die and he'll only be able to protect Sachi
-death trap room, what a surprise
-Woah, she died?!? The OP was lying to us!!!
-information brokers and seasonal events
-they're talking about a boss spawning by a fir tree everyone's looking for while they sit under an enormous fir tree right in the town centre Uh-oh
-ohh, he's looking for a resurrect item to bring her back, maybe the OP wasn't lying. But if it does exist, that's risky, once you introduce the concept of resurrection, death becomes a lot less meaningful a scare, it's no longer truly a horrifying deadly game to the audience even if it still is to the characters
-HOLY FUCK, the leader killed himself after he heard what happened
-I guess PVP is a thing, I was wondering about that
-Klein holds off the guild for him, what a good guy
-they didn't even show us the boss fight Sad
-it's only good for 10 seconds after death Sad  Still useful to have, though. Hey, that means that the people aren't actually killed till at least 10 seconds after they die in-game! ...It honestly wouldn't surprise me if the death thing is just a lie and that everyone who died is back out in the real world already (I bet there's a lot of people suicide pacting based that idea either way, though :/)
-Klein crying and asking him to survive till the end, I guess the person who helped you get your footing in a game you didn't know was going to be deadly would feel pretty important :/
-Aww, she left him a 'don't blame yourself' message
-she knew she was going to die because she was never determined to fight
-And she fucking knew he was hiding his level!
-sitting there crying to the quiet humming of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Sad
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by bomaye on Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:46 pm

Ep 3

Spoiler:

- This town music <3
- God, when he lies about his level, and it's now a personal detail that you treat respectfully instead of just a casual thing you ask any game player.
- May 2023. He's now been in the guild for over a month
- First mention of the Clearing Party.
- "What do you think is the difference between us and the Clearing Group." "Willpower."
- Kirito is wistfully imagining the Black Cats making it to the Clearing Group and "changing the unsociable atmosphere there." This grabbed the shit out of me when I first saw it, because it revealed that there is a specific grouping of players dead-set on clearing the game, and not everyone can keep up with them... and it implied that Kirito has spent more time among the Clearing Group even after the events of the first floor. Time in the death game is starting to separate the playerbase
- I was happy that Klein was still alive Grin
- Kirito awkwardly telling Klein that he joined a guild even after refusing to join on Day 1, and still trying to keep distance between himself and others, even though the Black Cats somehow got him
- Six to seven months in now, also starting to see the psychological toll it's taking on players. Someone like Sachi openly saying "maybe we should kill ourselves" because it's just a game, some people just play these to chill and have fun, and yet now their lives are on the line every day and there's a possibility they may never get out
- That Sachi smile and tear ;_;
- Kirito hadn't even considered how much fear a lot of the players are living under daily
- "Please don't go to the upper dungeons, guys"
- June 2023. Kirito has been in the guild for two months
- A door Kirito wasn't aware of even though he's been in these dungeons before
- Just a fucking brutal slaughter by video game monsters, especially those miner type enemies just hacking away on the guy on the ground Sad
- RIP waifu Sachi Sad
- Unexpected Christmas events in a death game. It's been 6 months since the Black Cats died and Kirito is still haunted by it and the last words he didn't hear Sachi say, but at least they've made it almost halfway through the game in just over a year.
- God, when the guild leader jumps to his death, and how mad he was that someone so over-leveled (and the rumoured cheater/beta tester) was with them
- Klein still trying to look after Kirito, he's a good guy
- And Kirito is willing to fight the Klein group for it
- The Divine Dragon Alliance was mentioned as part of the Clearing Group. Their obsessive devotion to "doing anything for rare items" (though I don't think they PK for it) vs the more laid-back qualities of the Black Cats. "Willpower"
- DEATH SANTAAAAA
- "Within 10 seconds of it." Sad
- God, the fucking gift-box message was a killer
- "By the time you hear this, I'll probably be dead." She knew she'd eventually die because she never wanted to leave Starting Town Sad
- (Which is in contrast to Asuna, who thought that "rotting away" in Starting Town is worse than anything)
- "Live to find the meaning of it all" Sad
- And I kind of believe the full emotional impact of the guild dying finally does hit here, while she's humming Rudolph to him.
- Next Time: The Black Swordsman.

Bookmarked reminder, just in case you don't keep up with it after the first Part.

Spoiler:

Lying about his level. I didn't realize it until now, but this plays into things that get mentioned later on


Spoiler:

-wow, they've made it to the 29th floor, how long has it been? And he's hanging around on 11 with a bunch of cheerful determined-slackers (that should be an oxymoron but I think it's right)

Spoiler:

- re: The date, the game started in early November 2022, it's April 2023 when Kirito joins the Black Cats guild, May 2023 when the Clearing Party finishes the 28th floor. June 2023 when the Black Cats die. December 2023, over a year, when Kirito makes the attempt to find the resurrection item. It was this episode when I started noticing "Oh shit, they're starting to lose some significant time to this".


Spoiler:

(Also, there are ridiculously few female players, it's like 1:30 from what they've showed, even though women seem to be anywhere from 1:3 to 1:9 in reasonably female-friendly Japanese RPGs Lurking/sketchy)

Spoiler:

Originally written in 2009, right in the middle of the transition period between "video games are only for smelly nerds" and "these guys are choosing video games over us so I guess we might as well live with it/oh hey, these video games are actually kinda fun..." in the female hivemind.

Actually I imagine it's more the writer was drawing on personal experiences from earlier years when women were more likely to hide their genders than they are now.


Spoiler:

-Klein crying and asking him to survive till the end, I guess the person who helped you get your footing in a game you didn't know was going to be deadly would feel pretty important :/

Bookmarked, I have a pet theory about Klein but after episode 4
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by Enail on Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:31 pm

Originally written in 2009, right in the middle of the transition period between "video games are only for smelly nerds" and "these guys are choosing video games over us so I guess we might as well live with it/oh hey, these video games are actually kinda fun..." in the female hivemind

Yeah, no.  Women have been there the whole time (for MMORPGs, I think 2002 was the earliest I've seen stats, 10-15% women was pretty consistent in that period, though women are far less into PVP; I haven't seen  stats on earlier MMOs, but stats about non-MMOs in the 80s and 90s I've seen seem to show 20%+).
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by bomaye on Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:54 pm

Ep 4

Spoiler:

- Feb 2024. 1 year, 3 months.
- Imagine dying to gorilla butts
- Pet dragonnnnn Sad
- If you have a vagina, the Black Swordsman will be there for you
- Over a year, and now people are starting to treat their virtual pets as real pets and friends.
- The Field of Memories, uwaaaaa~
- She promised not to laugh! (She also doesn't look like his little sister, we saw her for a moment in the first episode)
- I think those are the two guys who were lying to each other in the first episode (the one who was pretending to be a girl, and the one who was pretending to young)
- Finally getting into PKing mechanics, and also how people are different offline compared to online
- Did I say "PKing?" I meant "Murdering"
- The fucking blush rofl
- But yeah, every girl loves Kirito
- Since it's a video game, this is about as naked as they can realistically get.
- Pretty world map
- Eavesdropping. They have mechanics for not being able to hear into rooms unless you knock, unless you upgrade a Hearing skill. So cool
- Flower Garden. I want to live in anime Japan's video games ;_;
- With fucking tiny ladybugs <3
- And all the in-game players taking the few women on dates there (unless those are NPCs)
- "Save me with your eyes closed!" Effing adorable
- It's impolite to ask about the real world, even more so than it used to be now that time is passing
- Grandfather beat him for quitting Kendo, and then little-sister-chan took it up even harder in exchange for his safety Sad
- She'll do her best to get killed by monsters
- "A green member finds prey, orange and reds do the dirty work." This world can be fucking brutal sometimes
- The leader of a guild who had his players murdered camped out at the gates, begging any of the Clearing Party to throw them in prison.
- Also now it's called "The Front Lines."
- And fucking PKers just explain away murder because they don't actually know if anyone is dying in real life from their actions. The way this virtual society evolves
- They hear the name "Kirito" and suddenly "Oh fuck." Players from the Clearing Party are starting to become famous
- They're not even doing damage to him.
- Level 78, god damn
- Fuck, I forgot that him being an angsty solo player actually ended up being cool when said "being orange or red for a few days doesn't matter to me" to PKers
- Making promises to meet in real life ;_;

Enail wrote:
Originally written in 2009, right in the middle of the transition period between "video games are only for smelly nerds" and "these guys are choosing video games over us so I guess we might as well live with it/oh hey, these video games are actually kinda fun..." in the female hivemind

Yeah, no. Women have been there the whole time (for MMORPGs, I think 2002 was the earliest I've seen stats, 10-15% women was pretty consistent in that period, though women are far less into PVP; I haven't seen stats on earlier MMOs, but stats about non-MMOs in the 80s and 90s I've seen seem to show 20%+).

Do any of those stats mention Japanese-specific MMOs? If I recall right Genshiken Nidaime came out around the same time as a reaction to the "emerging" trend of female otakus.

As for those stats themselves, I remember early '00s nerd circles being sausage parties where communities of hundreds/thousands could count the number of people who admitted to being a woman on their fingers and toes, and the one thing that held strong through those circles changing focus was gaming. Shrug
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by bomaye on Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:26 pm

Also btw, whenever you end up watching an ep I'll probably do the next one afterwards unless I'm super busy, it's not meant to be pressure to binge-watch so if it does feel like that, it isn't, and if it still feels like that, I'll wait for your episode reviews before doing one instead Lurking/sketchy
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by Enail on Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:31 pm

No, I haven't seen any stats on Japanese-specific that aren't pretty recent, though I've met Japanese women in the early 2000s who were into gaming in general and didn't seem to think that was unusual.

You're a man, if there were whatever-the-female-euphemism-equivalent-for-sausage-parties-is's, you wouldn't have been in them to remember them! Razz  Women I knew tended to avoid the sausage parties, and typically found smaller circles that they'd vetted for being female-friendly, especially in MMOs, or just lurked and didn't really join up with any particular circle so much as keep it as a quiet interest that they'd only bring up among friends or only reveal their gender to people very selectively. (On the personal level, I was legit surprised as a teenager to learn that guys played JRPGs, and the whole concept of 'nerd culture' as being a bonding point was pretty alien to me until I was a ways into adulthood, because I'd never felt welcome in that group as a girl, it was as much a distant wish for me as getting to be one of the cool kids.).
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by Enail on Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:32 pm

bomaye wrote:Also btw, whenever you end up watching an ep I'll probably do the next one afterwards unless I'm super busy, it's not meant to be pressure to binge-watch so if it does feel like that, it isn't, and if it still feels like that, I'll wait for your episode reviews before doing one instead Lurking/sketchy

Don't worry, I can't be pressured into watching much faster than my usual snail's pace anyway Grin
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by bomaye on Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:47 pm

Enail wrote:
You're a man, if there were whatever-the-female-euphemism-equivalent-for-sausage-parties-is's, you wouldn't have been in them to remember them! Razz  Women I knew tended to avoid the sausage parties, and typically found smaller circles that they'd vetted for being female-friendly, especially in MMOs, or just lurked and didn't really join up with any particular circle so much as keep it as a quiet interest that they'd only bring up among friends or only reveal their gender to people very selectively.

That sort of fits my point in a way, women wouldn't be showing up to sausage parties en-masse especially back then.

And I know the author wouldn't have thought this deeply about it, but the SAO incident kicks off on Day 1, before the ninja-women have a chance to vet it at as pro-woman game  scratch

(On the personal level, I was legit surprised as a teenager to learn that guys played JRPGs, and the whole concept of 'nerd culture' as being a bonding point was pretty alien to me until I was a ways into adulthood, because I'd never felt welcome in that group as a girl, it was as much a distant wish for me as getting to be one of the cool kids.).

I sorta remember it emerging as an underground thing on the internet right in the '00s, with the first PAX event in 2004 being a major moment of "oh shit, this online nerd culture shit is actually a real thing that large amounts of people do." Dragon Con and Star Trek conventions and the like were known things to me but always sounded like these small events that nerds do.
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by Enail on Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:02 pm

bomaye wrote:
That sort of fits my point in a way, women wouldn't be showing up to sausage parties en-masse especially back then.

I wouldn't say the whole game is a sausage party (unless it's not a woman-friendly game design in the sense I explain below, or unless over time it's gotten a reputation for being hostile to women), I'd mean more like not participating in sausage-party nerd social groups, keeping quiet about their gender in the open while playing, and looking for a welcoming guild.


And I know the author wouldn't have thought this deeply about it, but the SAO incident kicks off on Day 1, before the ninja-women have a chance to vet it at as pro-woman game  scratch

Oh, what I mean by woman-friendly here is mostly just that the game type/setting is one that tends to be less associated with macho-ness (eg. rpg's over  shooters, fantasy setting over WWII setting) and character designs that tend to be reasonablyl= appealling to women (cuter style rather than veiny muscle-men, not super-heavy on the sexualisation); I'd describe most fantasy rpgs as pretty woman-friendly in the sense I was meaning it, and it's something you can generally tell based on the advertising alone. The SAO game looks like it qualifies to me (other than, you know, being a death trap, which isn't too friendly in general Razz).
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by bomaye on Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:44 pm

This weekend might be a bit busy, so I'm also going to pre-watch Ep 5 too just because I can do it right now

Ep 5

Spoiler:

- First appearance/re-appearance of the clearing party on the 56th floor
- Asuna's hardcore, wanting to draw the boss to a village so it can be distract by NPCs, whereas Kirito sees NPCs as part of the world they now live in.
- Agil "Why don't you two just fuck already"
- April 11th, my birthday ;_;
- The best weather in Aincrad, and all Asuna can think about is clearing dungeons
- The conflicting opinions, Asuna sees each day they're stuck in SAO as a day lost in the real world, Kirito sees it as a day they're spending in a different world
- Dohohohoo she actually laid down for a snooze
- And Kirito watched over her the whole day dohohohohoooooo
- That fucking adorable sneeze as she wakes up
- One meal to call it even Laughing
- And the clearing party have become famous within the game world, Asuna The Flash recognized in public, so cool
- Sleep-PKing. Taking a sleeping player's finger, physically pressing "accept" to a duel request, then killing them in their sleep. Fucking BRUTAL and god-damn is that creative
- A death in town without sleep PKing, oh shiiii
- "You slept longer than I did" Kirito always knows just what to say to make Asuna angry
- So I know the answer to this murder-mystery so I can't really comment on the investigation, but I do recall that Yolko was Prime Suspect #1 to me, just on the basis of "trying to set up a twist ending with someone you thought was innocent right off the bat."
- Just call her by her name, you dummy Wink wink nudge nudg
- "A friend who's a blacksmith" Nice reference for a future episode
- Eyyyyy Agil
- And he fucking tackles down Kirito because he needs the juicy gossip for why he's hanging out with Asuna
- Asuna jumps to stop him from stabbing himself with the weapon just to find out if there's anything special about it
- Sleep-PKing is still a relatively new thing
- SAO is fundamentally fair, even if it's a death game
- Also my faith in my guess sure took a hit when Yolko fucking DIED OUT THE WINDOW Uh-oh
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by Enail on Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:04 pm

E4
Spoiler:

-so far, I'm not loving the characters, they mostly feel like types instead of people
-oh noooo, the little dragon died Sad (oh god, what if that was her family dog that she got a Nervegear hook-up for, they can't do that for dogs, right??  No )
-people getting as attached to their pets as if they're real.
-It's amazing to me how little info anyone but him seems to have about the game, that more than a year in in, a beast tamer would have no idea that you can resurrect beasts. Are the people in the vanguard/beta testers still putting out info?
-people in tv shows always laugh when they've promised not to laugh
-little kid gets treated as a mascot and got arrogant taking their praise too seriously, that's one of the few genuine-feeling character bits they've had so far, it'd be cool if they'd go into that aspect of her personality more.
-there's a crime system in the game and people deliberately choose to play it that way, great (/horrifying) game-society stuff. (But again, how does someone who's been playing the game for more than a year not know that. They've got to give the info to the viewer somehow, but I feel like they could find a way to do it without quite so much making other characters be total idiots. A lot of parts of this show are 'great concept and details, lazy writing.' Or like they're good at thinking about how people react on the macro level, but not as individuals)
-you can't hear through doors unless you activate sound with a knock, but then there's a Hearing skill to eavesdrop Shiny/thrilled
-why does this show think the character I want to see in their underwear and in upskirt situations and with tentacles and shit is the kid who's at most a pre-teen, who explicitly reminds the main character of his actual sister (okay, cousin, but stil), instead of literally anyone else?  Neutral
-It seems like an extremely personal thing for someone to talk about their life outside the game now.
-the peaceful, slightly sad music at the resurrection flower site was pretty
-green players act as lures for the orange criminals Nod
-acting as law enforcement because the surviving player of a pk massacre is going around begging people to bring the killers to justice. It's interesting, no group has formed to semi-officially handle it that most people know to go to. I guess it'd have to be people who are dedicated enough to advancement to be high-level enough to handle most criminals, but still willing and able to take enough time off doing high-level advancement work to be an effective police force, that might not be a realistic option
-Murderers using "no one knows if it's really true you die IRL if you die in-game" as an excuse.
-they're hitting but his health bar isn't dropping
-he's already at lvl 78?! And he has a ton of skills, I wonder if it's level-based or what.
-"that's the unfair reality of an MMORPG levelling system!" This might be some writer working out their gaming frustrations Laughing
-he doesn't care about a few days' orange indicator b/c he's a solo player (though, realistically, a player with a long-standing party wouldn't need to care either, if they got on decently with their party they could just explain what happened and everyone would be fine with it, it's only players who have a broad circle of acquaintances but no one solidly on their team who would really need to worry about an occasional incident.)
-When he says levels are just a number and not the most important thing, my first reaction was "seriously? you just showed us how incredibly important they are, you jerk," even though he was clearly not talking about the practical level Wink
-"Let's meet in the real world." That's a concept that always gets me a little.

bomaye wrote:
Spoiler:

- Since it's a video game, this is about as naked as they can realistically get.
Spoiler:

-holy fuck, they probably don't pee in this world!?? For some reason that strikes me as something that would be incredibly weird, to go about your virtual life for more than a year without ever going to the bathroom, moreso than a lot of the much bigger weird things about living in a videogame.
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by bomaye on Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:58 pm


Spoiler:


-so far, I'm not loving the characters, they mostly feel like types instead of people

Spoiler:

So this is an interesting part of the adaptation story-wise. SAO was originally a novel written for a contest and after it got popular he started writing more. The second novel was a collection of short stories from the earlier days of Aincrad that take place before the ending of the first novel and fill out the world more. The anime just chose to adapt chronologically instead of release-order because there's a lot of good world building done in those short stories that really add to the anime, and some of the characters introduced do become supporting-cast regulars.


Spoiler:

-It's amazing to me how little info anyone but him seems to have about the game, that more than a year in in, a beast tamer would have no idea that you can resurrect beasts. Are the people in the vanguard/beta testers still putting out info?

Spoiler:

They were trapped on Day 1 with no outside access to the internet. No FAQs and the only information that seems to travel is word-of-mouth. Also, the location of the beast tamer resurrection quest/floor was multiple levels higher than she was, Kirito had to lend her equipment to raise her levels in order for her to even come along Nod

If I recall right, Kirito mentioned that the highest the beta testers got was floor 20, so they're now far beyond what the beta testers would've known.


Spoiler:

-acting as law enforcement because the surviving player of a pk massacre is going around begging people to bring the killers to justice. It's interesting, no group has formed to semi-officially handle it that most people know to go to. I guess it'd have to be people who are dedicated enough to advancement to be high-level enough to handle most criminals, but still willing and able to take enough time off doing high-level advancement work to be an effective police force, that might not be a realistic option

Spoiler:

<_____<


bomaye wrote:
Spoiler:

- Since it's a video game, this is about as naked as they can realistically get.
Spoiler:

-holy fuck, they probably don't pee in this world!?? For some reason that strikes me as something that would be incredibly weird, to go about your virtual life for more than a year without ever going to the bathroom, moreso than a lot of the much bigger weird things about living in a videogame.

Spoiler:

It's not even "probably", they don't. When they eat they're not even eating out of necessity, probably just doing it for the taste and a sense of maintaining normalcy or even just because it's a game mechanic. They don't dress themselves anymore because there's a menu system, they haven't seen themselves naked in a mirror for over a year. Their basic everyday life functions are all fucked up.
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

Post by Enail on Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:48 pm

bomaye wrote:
Spoiler:

They were trapped on Day 1 with no outside access to the internet. No FAQs and the only information that seems to travel is word-of-mouth. Also, the location of the beast tamer resurrection quest/floor was multiple levels higher than she was, Kirito had to lend her equipment to raise her levels in order for her to even come along Nod

If I recall right, Kirito mentioned that the highest the beta testers got was floor 20, so they're now far beyond what the beta testers would've known.

Spoiler:
Even through word-of-mouth, in a world of <8000 people, where information would be crucial, I think there'd be a lot more information-sharing than they show, especially given that we've seen that there are people making efforts to help lower-level people by sharing information, and people do seem to regularly go to lower floors than what would be challenging for them, so rumours about stuff like that would get out.



Spoiler:

It's not even "probably", they don't. When they eat they're not even eating out of necessity, probably just doing it for the taste and a sense of maintaining normalcy or even just because it's a game mechanic. They don't dress themselves anymore because there's a menu system, they haven't seen themselves naked in a mirror for over a year. Their basic everyday life functions are all fucked up.

Spoiler:
For some reason, this is the thing that I find most mind-blowing about this situation. Not being able to take off your underwear ever would feel like losing control of your own body in such a basic way, the idea of it is viscerally creepy.

At least women aren't getting their periods, though. Wink And no one has to worry about maintaining a functional sewage system if the game didn't provide one.
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Re: Sword Art Online Anime [Half Recommendation... but some of it is Full Recommendation]

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