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It has rather bad execution, and many things in it just seem pointless (Like a very good portion of one episode was spent on what's her name-I'm horrible with names-and not well-done fanservice). The MC is also fairly unlikable, and the characters are rather shallow and don't seem to have very much depth.
I'm doubting it will improve.
Nausicaa by Ghibli again is considered very close in themes. Nothing other particularly similar comes to mind but give a try to Windaria or Serei no Moribito.
If you liked Mononoke you could watch other movies by Myazaki.
Asuna hardly behaves like a married girl, especially one that is having sex for days with Kirito. That ruins it all. Also, the visuals are not that great compared to what else is out there. Even in terms of a videogame feel, .hack//Sekai no Mukou ni did far better.
And you should not judge a show by the visuals. In a few years from now, you will dislike everything you like now only because they have aged.
Episode 11 has again a side story that will have no effect in the plot for the next 5 episodes. And forget about all the other girls Kirito met earlier, they hardly matter to the plot as well.
Arriety is just the tip of the iceberg for the material they had. The books are of course far better and even that silly cartoon of the 80's had more plot and adventure than the Ghibli film.
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