Secret Santa Review:
Story: the stongpoint of this anime is certainlly the plot. i don't know if this is the 1st of it's kind. i say this because at the time of this writing, there seems to be quite a few of anime about people trapped in a video game. either way, this was the 1st of that type of anime i have seen therefore, it had the impact of a new idea. hopefully, i'm not too bias. the story starts off slow but get better with time by leaps and bounds. apparently, there are many psychological themes in the story that deal with why people who escape reality because of it's harshness, in favor of a world where they are perhaps more important, more capable, and independent.
animation: the animation looked as if it was from the 1990's. i can't tell if this was done on purpose to give it a "throwback" feel or if it just was simply...poor quality. i don't recall any recycled scenes so, that's a plus. i will say this though, i suspect a good reason as to why the studio protrayed the scenes from the video game vs the way they protrayed the scenes from the real world, in that manner. my best guess is one is meant to represent life and excitement, as opposed to a place of misery, dull and painful.
sound: this was my least favoirite aspect of the anime. opening and ending songs were apporpiate to the setting, i suppose. however, Subaru's theme (Fake Wings) was the bane of my ears, especially in the 1st few episodes. every time she was on screne that theme would play. sometimes depending on the scene, one of these themes would play and the tempo might be altered to match the pacing of the scene. needless to say, don't go and youtube the song "fake wings" because there will be enough for that should u choose to watch this anime. it made me hate Subaru's face, not her actions, just her face.
characters: which leads us to character design. this is another saving grace of the anime: the character developement. early on, the support characters really carry the anime far. we have a good foundation in them while some main characters are still developing to more likeable ways. they each serve their purpose: silly ass comic reliefs, mentors, leaders, the numb skull followers, anti socials, friends, and whatnot. the point is though, they become different people as the plot moves.
overall: watch it. i feel the anime is good but the franchise is strong. it's a bit dialog heavy but how else do you lay the foundation to a good story. as a result, there are many complimentary OVA's and animes that follow it, making this anime worth the time. a lot of times we see an anime based off of some different media (video game, live action movie, you name it) soley for the purpose as a money maker or the milking of a francise. i don't see that here. i see a base for a good journey.