Sword Art Online

TV (25 eps)
4.21 out of 5 from 86,042 votes
Rank #677

The year is 2022, and gamers have lined up on launch day for Sword Art Online, a hotly-anticipated MMORPG that lets players connect to an immersive virtual reality world with special helmets called Nerve Gear. Kirito is one such gamer who's eager to jump back into action, having spent a great deal of time as a beta tester, and quickly becomes friends with newbie warrior Klein. But soon, Sword Art Online's 10,000 players discover that not only are they unable to log out, the only way they can return to their physical bodies is by beating the 100-level tower's final boss - that is, if their HP doesn't drop to zero first, for death in the game means death in the real world. Now, with no one else to turn to, Kirito and the other participants must survive the game as best they can – some forming guilds, others ruthlessly leaving their peers behind, and many tragically falling by the wayside or to the merciless monsters populating the lands...

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The World of Swords image

Episode 1

The World of Swords

Beater image

Episode 2

Beater

Red Nosed Reindeer image

Episode 3

Red Nosed Reindeer

The Black Swordsman image

Episode 4

The Black Swordsman

A Crime Within the Walls image

Episode 5

A Crime Within the Walls

Illusionary Avenger image

Episode 6

Illusionary Avenger

The Temperature of the Heart image

Episode 7

The Temperature of the Heart

The Sword Dance of White and Black image

Episode 8

The Sword Dance of White and Black

The Blue-Eyed Demon image

Episode 9

The Blue-Eyed Demon

Crimson Killing Intent image

Episode 10

Crimson Killing Intent

The Girl of Morning Dew image

Episode 11

The Girl of Morning Dew

Yui's Heart image

Episode 12

Yui's Heart

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Reviews

LindLTailor
2

I might as well skip the plot synopsis of Sword Art Online, because odds are you already know it. Sword Art Online has utterly exploded. It is all over the place. It is that one show the EVERYONE is watching, whether it be through genuine interest or sheer bile fascination. And amidst this, it has split the anime fandom enormously between those who utterly love it and those who absolutely hate it. As you no doubt checked what I scored this before anything else, you can probably tell I'm in the latter camp.In the event that you've been living under a rock these past 6 months, Sword Art Online revolves around an online game that allows full immersion, that all of it's players soon become trapped in via the classic "you die here, you die in the real world" plot device. All the game's players are now trapped in a brutal survival game, as per a ton of other anime that you have doubtlessly watched at least one of before. SAO's first and most obvious fault even to someone who hasn't watched it would be that the premise is incredibly generic - it's just a cobbling-together of Mirai Nikki and .Hack, amongst others, and neither were very good to start with.But for all my complaints with the series SAO scrapped itself together from, at least those series bothered with a coherent narrative. SAO's story is an inconsistent and appallingly-paced trainwreck, jumping through numerous ill-placed timeskips and sudden shifts in the style of the story in a way that is, to make an understatement of it, very jarring.The series goes through several stages. The first is confined to episode 1, AKA the only good episode. It serves to set up the plot, and does a decent enough job of it. However, rather than following said plot, it quickly switches to episodic journeys through the world our protagonist is trapped in. In theory that isn't such a terrible idea, but any promise it had is ruined by drearily slow pacing, and more importantly, the most mind-numbingly flat Gary Stu viewer self-insertion blank slate of a protagonist you could possibly imagine. His sole character trait is that he is an extremely powerful player (worse yet, any development into such a powerful player happens offscreen).Around the episode 9 mark, the actual plot starts to take place. Kirito, the aforementioned dullard emotion-bot protagonist, befriends Asuna, a similarly one-dimensional fellow player he met in an earlier episode, and through a series of events is dragged into joining her guild, who plan to take on the final boss of SAO. In the process of this, the two become romantically involved. Sorry, did I say the plot happened here? My mistake, it actually gets thrown out the window at the first hint of romance. The whole "escaping SAO" plot is put on hold for several episodes while Kirito and Asuna's romantic "subplot" takes over. This doesn't seem that bad until you remember that Kirito and Asuna are totally one-dimensional. Fittingly enough, their romance feels forced and completely fake. How they even "fall in love" is totally ignored - they just do.Eventually, they get a move on with the damned plot, and *SPOILER ALERT* - everything comes to an extremely rushed and sudden conclusion (especially jarring due to how drearily slow everything was before), and they manage to beat SAO, in spite of some major leaps of logic involving how it actually happened. At last, everyone can escape this wretched game, and continue with their lives. Happy ending!...Wait a tick. Why are there still 11 episodes left?"Oh right, there's still good money to make off this series. We can't end it just yet! Let's draw it out a bit longer... I dunno, pull some bullshit subplot out of nowhere. Just make some stuff up."In a nutshell, Sore Arse Online managed to drag itself out. Another online game, Alfheim Online, manages to get involved in the plot, using some leftover technology from SAO. Kirito has to enter this game as well, along with his sister to whom he isn't related by blood. Because of course, if they were related by blood, they couldn't make her a romantic interest! Through this convenient and overly-cliche twist, we can remove most of the taboo and avoid all the dramatic writing we'd need in order to handle such a heavy theme! It's the perfect copout! Man, aren't we so smart....OK, I'll stop now. Anyway, the most generous thing I can say about his sister is that unlike Kirito and Asuna, she at least has a personality. For better or worse, since her personality is that of a completely insufferable melodramatic whining brat. She's not the only terrible character introduced in this arc, though... we also get the villainous mastermind behind Alfheim Online, who starts off overly and campily evil and just keeps getting more heinous from there. At every opportunity, the series will remind you that he is evil in new and terrible ways. You will quickly get the point, but SAO will keep shoving it down your throat. Even his eventual comeuppance is more uncomfortable than cathartic.So there's SAO in four parts. It's an uneven, shifting, poorly-planned mess. It's characters are awful. It's plot is awful. It's pacing is awful. Short of it's decent production job, everything in SAO is awful.I highly recommend you stay offline.That pun was awful.Final Words: More like BORED ART ONLINE, amirite?Story/Plot: 1/10Characters: 1/10Animation/Art: 7/10Music: 7/10Acting: 5/10Overall: 2/10For Fans Of: .Hack, Mirai Nikki

RoyalOss
8

Sword Art Online...very hard to rate due to the two very different arcs with a very inconsistent season. ConceptI love the concept of players trapped inside an VMMORPG, die in the game and you die in RL, remove the headset and die. You can only escape by completing the game.Gamers in MMORPGs can specialize in certain areas like blacksmithing or gathering and this happens also in the anime. This is a nice feature as it lets you keep the feeling it is all a game, but in the anime it has a touch of despair because of the fear of dying. The same applies on the occasionally showing user controls and HP bars to give you the feeling it is all happening inside a game. Animation/soundThe animation was really good, the characters, the backgrounds and fluent battle scenes, haven't seen any flaws here. No complaints either about the music, the SOA theme song is one of the best I heard. CharactersThe secondary characters haven't been much into the picture, it would of been nice to see more of Klein for example. Kirito and Assuna however were both very good characters, both are strong, mentally and psychically, with Kirito as the silent outcast hero and Asuna the popular leading figure. I didn't have the idea they were overpowered as some complained about the anime, both are very high level players so it makes sense that they are (one of) the strongest players. And it not like they won battles without even making an effort. StoryPacing is an issue. The first half of the SAO arc revolved around the action and completing the game, rushing through the floors where they would skip dozens of floors in several minutes. The second half of the SAO arc the story pushed the brakes and it slowed down significally to focus on the romance. I've got no objections against romance in action shows so I found this different focus nice, Kirito had something to lose inside the game which made you understand why some of the other players stopped climbing in fear. And where normal shows peak at holding hands SAO got as far as actual sex and having an family! The second arc, ALO was however a big disappointment. The biggest issue was the reason for the plot, it felt tacked on from out of nowhere. And another big issue was the removal of the ''die ingame and you die IRL''. This took away almost all of the excitement/tension. Another issue was the development of the characters, Kirito and Asuna started out strong, Asuna already lost a bit of her strength in the first arc but both have been destroyed in the second arc. They have been reduced to a sniveling weakling and a literal damsel in distress. They also added an unnecessary weird love-triangle incest subplot with some out of place ecchi shots.  ConclusionThe first arc was almost perfect, it would of completely perfect if they stretched it out towards a full 22-26 episode long season while focusing more on Kirito grinding, gaining his black sword, more development and screen time for the secondary characters and such. The story skipped several months and several dozens of floors to fit it all in 14 episodes. SAO get the following rating from me:9,5/10 story10/10 animation10/10 sound9,5/10 characters9,5/10 overall The ALO arc get the following rating:6/10 story10/10 animation10/10 sound7,5/10 characters6/10 overall I can only hope the second season will be closer to the first arc and maybe, one day, they will remake the first arc into a full 26 episode season.

Tyaida
9

*Don't worry No Spoilers* Lets see were to start with this amazing Anime... Story: Alright the story... Now the story is pretty gripping and paced out nicely, the charachters develop well and the whole timing of the story makes sense. What is really great about the story is that it's not extremly predictible leaving some great twists and changes that effect the story throughout. Animation: There is some really amazing art in this anime which truly brings the world to life in a way that I just can't take my eyes off, it's well thought out and wonderfully designed giving your eyes a nice treat! Sound: now I'll start with the voice acting here. Lets start with an unpopular opinion (hey it's my review, so my opinions ;D) I love the dubbed version! Of course the subbed is great and it's completly up to you which is your preference but for me the dubbed really worked out and the voices sound perfect for each character. Now as for the OST (and I looooove OSTs more than anyone I know (maybe))  it is amazing!  I've listened to it on its own while doing various things such as working and time flew by! Characters: ahhh EVERY character in this anime is so unique and memorable and it is my favourite thing about it! I love all the characters they're lovable and compliment (both literally and figuratively) eachother sooo well!  Overall: I love it! Now I haven't seen many animes but overall this is the best anime I've seen and it just feels like something I would love to watch again! I recommend if you haven't seen it and you love Action, adventure and romance I urge you to try this anime out! Bring on Sword Art Online II!

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