So, I’m starting a new series, I’m going to be talking about and kind of designing a prototype game based off of SAO, Sword Art Online. SAO is one of my favorite anime, I think that I’ve watched the first season now three times and …
Tag: Sword Art Online
One thing that I haven’t minded about working from home is that I’m able to throw on TV shows in the background, I have already written stuff up on The Order and Haven, but I’ve also managed to checkout some anime. Expect some reviews coming out of that, and the first one I want to talk about is Gun Gale Online. So I’m not talking about season 2 of Sword Art Online which introduces Gun Gale Online, the game, but instead looking at the spin off show. Now, I’m a big fan of Sword Art Online, both seasons, and I think that it touches on some interesting things, the question is, does Gun Gale Online live up to those standards or does it fall short?
So in Sword Art Online, we get introduced to Battle of Bullets, a player versus player and eventually a free for all last man standing tournament. Now, we have an eccentric millionaire/billionaire who has decided that they want to spend their money to create a team version of that, and that’s where we hop in. Karen, her real world name, hasn’t ever felt like she’s fit in, mainly because she’s so tall. A friend of hers tells her that in online gaming she can be anyone she wants to be and so she starts trying out various VR games, and all of them make her tall, except eventually when she hits GGO. There, she’s a really fast little character with a machine gun. She meets a mysterious character, Pitohui, in game name. She seems pretty easy going, all about shooting things and always up for the next thing, but there’s something off about her. Karen and Pitohui are going to enter this tournament but Pitohui has a conflict and gets another one of her friends, simply known as M to team up with Karen.
That’s the basics of the story without getting into spoiler level details. I feel like this show is lacking a bunch in plot. Now, I’m a tall person, and I standout in crowds depending on where I am, and I can understand for some people why it would be a big deal, but also as driving factor for Karen’s character motivations and actions, it’s a little bit weak. Compare this to season 2 of SAO, the main character in GGO there is someone who is trying to overcome a fear of guns after having to kill someone in self defense as a child and going to PTSD whenever she interacts with a gun or an image of a gun in real life. And she’s found that in GGO it feels different and hoping it’ll help her overcome some of that trauma. That, compared to being tall. Now, not to dismiss the bullying and everything that can go on with that in real life, but for the stakes of the show, it feels lacking.
The other things is the character of Pitohui. She’s this awesome fighter who has a bit of an eccentric personality. Who she is in real life is supposed to be a mystery, it isn’t. And her motivations are again a bit weird. This is going to have some spoilers coming up here, so you’ve been warned, I won’t give away home she is outside of the game though. Her biggest motivation is that she’s trying to find danger and excitement in a game. All because she was supposed to have gone into SAO when it launched but hadn’t been able to, and once she realized it was a death game, she wanted to even more so. There are obviously people who do things because of the adrenaline rush that are dangerous, but her idea is to find a game that’ll give her the same feeling, and because of Death Gun from SAO season 2, she’s decided on GGO. I think that this could have been done more interesting, make it a more subtle part of her character that slowly unfolds over time, but you get it quite quickly, that tied together with the other “twist” doesn’t work all that well.
Finally, I think that the story as a whole is lacking. The characters aren’t as interesting and the plot feels like it’s been vastly simplified. The motivations are weaker, the character development is slower, and the stakes feel so much lower throughout, even with Pitohui’s death wish. I think with SAO they were able to delve more into the psychology of people and what makes them tick as well as some simpler plot lines, and in GGO they want to do that, but everything is done on more of a simpler laid out level than it was in SAO. With that, they are also trying to be clever about stuff and just not managing to pull it off. M, this really mysterious character, turns out to be kind of a bust in real life and a cliche when he’s finally brought in that way. They try and have a number of twists or more shocking moments, but overall it’s too telegraphed and nothing really feels surprising about it. It also tries to pack the story with more action than SAO did, and that was part of the charm of SAO, you got to see a few boss fights or a few fights that really mattered, but not all of them, here we have multiple episodes that stretch over the tournaments and they try and do some plot in them, but it’s mainly action.
So, you can see that I’m down on this. I wouldn’t say that it’s horrible, it’s just lacking. They had a lot of things they could have done with the story, character developments that they could have had, but instead it’s more your typical anime where it doesn’t handle anything with finesse, it’s just simplified down. Would I recommend checking it out, not really, again, it’s just lacking. Will you be upset that you watched it, probably not, it does have a few moments, but it doesn’t feel like there’s all that much going on, so good background noise type of anime, in my opinion.
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Anime #2 has been watched this year, first was Dagashi Kashi and now Kristen and I just wrapped up watching Gamers!. So I’m well on my goal of getting five animes watched this year, I’ll probably double it realistically, but five seemed safe in case we jumped back into Fairy Tale.
Gamers! is a cute little slice of life anime about Amano, a big video game nerd who just loves to play video games and have fun with it. He gets invited by Karen Tendou, the prettiest girl in the school, to join the gaming club that she started. However, that isn’t why Amano plays games, and he declines. The problem is that Tendou is head over heals for Amano and the anime follows their relationship as it grows and the meddling of Tasuku, a closet video game nerd, who befriends Amano and tries to help him with his girl problems.
It’s a slice of life anime that focuses on those main characters as well as Aguri, Tasuku’s girlfriend, and Hoshinomori, another girl in the school who is also a huge gaming nerd who just loves video games, but not competing like Amano does. It really focuses on Amano and how Tasuku tries to help him get out of his shell so that he can be part of society. There are all sorts of crazy twists and turns and everyone tries to figure out who likes whom and who to try and set-up together.
What this isn’t is a gaming anime. A more traditional gaming anime like Sword Art Online or Overlord focuses in on the game that is being played. In this anime, though it is called Gamers!, it’s about the people who play the video games and their relationships versus the actual games themselves. The games are really there to bring the characters together, if you go into it thinking it’s going to be about some epic game or focus in on a game every episode, you’ll be disappointed. But what it does, it does well. It really focuses in on the relationships and how gamers aren’t always the best at talking relationships through and saying what they mean. So there are lots of misunderstandings about what is going on and who likes who, it’s a real Comedy of Errors.
Now, is it a great anime? I don’t think so, I don’t think it would likely even hit my honorable mentions list when I do my top 5 (or 10) anime at the end of the year. But it is definitely enjoyable. The characters are all quite sweet, so you don’t have the traditional antagonist in the story. Each character, is, in some ways, their own antagonist, as they struggle through relationship drama. Also, with the relationship drama, it’s never heavy or overbearing drama, it’s almost always the case of someone thinking something that isn’t happening and it just works quite well.
So, would this be an anime that I recommend to people? If they are looking for an anime with a cute story line and some fun characters, it’s a good choice. There is a bit of fan service, heavy fan service in the finale, but for reasons you’ll understand if you watch the anime, so it does a solid job of not going too over the top. This isn’t a thinky anime and it isn’t an action anime, so if that’s more your thing, this one is probably going to seem too fluffy and simple for you.
If you’ve seen Gamers! what are your thoughts on it?
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So, I recently did a review of Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale. In that I said that Kristen and I had just started watching the anime so we knew a little bit about it since she got free tickets from her anime writing at Twin Cities Geek. So we wrapped up just about a week ago the first season of Sword Art Online.
To recap a little bit about what I said on Ordinal Scale, this anime as a whole seems more like a popcorn anime. It doesn’t have a ton of depth of the bad guys, the good guys develop some depth, but it’s not a very important focus. There seems like there should be because of the theme of getting trapped in a video game and having to beat the game in order to survive. They should have been able to really delve into the psyche of the players in the game, and while they do some of that, it doesn’t really build too much upon that. I do appreciate though that the show has never been about the boss fights, and while there are fights, it’s never drawn out that long.
Now, there are some weird things about this show as well, the first being the lack of motivation for the first bad guy. He seems to have created this world simply because he could and there doesn’t seem to be any more reason than t hat. The second being how it switches in the middle when the new bad guy takes over. Without getting into spoilers, it goes to a creepy dark sort of place and feel, all without really being all that creepy or dark still. It’s just kind of weird how it changes. It almost has a George RR Martin feel to it (not in terms of killing everyone) but where in book four he seemingly decided, I’m bored with these characters, let me write about new ones for no good reason and introduce magic. Sword Art Online kind of has a similar feel to that about half way through the first season. If it weren’t for the fact that you were invested into the story at that point, say this had happened in the first four episodes, I’m not sure I would have continued with the anime. But I think if you are forewarned about the change, it’ll be easier to watch and keep into the story.
With all of that out of the way, the basic premise for the show is that there is an awesome new MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) where you get into the game as a full dive. This full dive technology basically allows you to feel like you are 100% in the gaming world. So when 10,000 players who get the first copies log in, they are super excited to start killing monsters, hanging out, and killing boars because obviously you have to kill boars to level up faster. Things change drastically when everyone is teleported back to the city of beginnings (where you spawn to start the game) and they all find out that the creator of the game and the full dive system has locked everyone into the world so they can’t log out, the only way to escape the world is to make it to level 100 of the world defeating the bosses along the way and if you die in the game, you die in real life. We follow our main character, Kirito as he battles by himself through the world and finds out that while he can’t save everyone, he needs to try to save them.
It’s an interesting premise, like I said, and it doesn’t focus on the boss battles, in fact they maybe show a handful of snippets of them throughout the show. This show focuses in on the people who are in the world and how they react to being trapped in the world. It takes a fairly light approach to it as there seems to be less concern about being the game than one would expect, but as relationships develop, characters die, and it’s been a long time in the real world, it creates an interesting dynamic. If it had gone darker than it did, I think I’d have a fairly different view on this. Often when I’m watching anime I want something that is enjoyable, makes me think some, but I don’t generally want something that weighs on me too much.
Sword Art Online (Season 1) is one that I’d recommend to people. While it is light and doesn’t go to the depth that it could, and has that swerve in the middle to a different sort of story, it’s enjoyable, it doesn’t seem like a long show. It’s the light beer of anime (as I said in my review for Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale ) I don’t think that is really a bad thing in this case. I’d say that I’ve seen better Anime shows, such as The Devil is a Part-Timer! (expect a review on that later), but Sword Art Online is worth the time watching it and most people will find it enjoyable.
P.S. I know that Sword Art Online is kind of fun to hate on for a lot of people because it’s lighter. If you go into it knowing it’s light and decide that you hate on it because it’s light, get a job.
P.S.S. (Forgot to put this in the first place) – This is also an anime that you can probably watch either dubbed or subbed without missing all that much.
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