A Strong Second Act Can't Save Sword Art Online II

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A Strong Second Act Can't Save Sword Art Online II

Welcome to Sword Art Online II: the show where everyone loves Kirito and nothing matters.

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I'm glad I jumped ship after the Alfhiem tentacle molestation scene. The villain at the second half of the first season was cartoonishly evil and they nerfed one of the most powerful and badass characters and made her into a damsel that gets molested both in the game world and implied in the real world in her hospital bed. The writer of this series is messed up.

The first 9 or so episodes of this show really had promise. Then is just became a weird, sappy love story that removed many aspects of the world being a video game out of the narrative. Very disappointing.

Free advice watch Log Horizon instead.

I don't get why people like this series, I didn't enjoy it much when I saw it, it totaly wasted its mmo setting. Log horizon does everything better.

If you want to watch a good teardown of this series then check this out.

circularlogic88:
I'm glad I jumped ship after the Alfhiem tentacle molestation scene. The villain at the second half of the first season was cartoonishly evil and they berfed one of the most powerful and badass characters and made her into a damsel that gets molested both in the game world and implied in the real world in her hospital bed. The writer of this series is messed up.

More like he's just lazy; rape is usually just the result of a lazy writer not being able to find another way to make a protagonist heroic or an antagonist villainous.

P-89 Scorpion:
Free advice watch Log Horizon instead.

Or .hack//SIGN

Ok, disregarding anything about the show that I've never watched and have no plans to watch, I wish the shows I liked could afford half of the animating budget that obviously went into this one.

I stopped watching this show once I discovered Log Horizon. Better characters, better premise, MUCH better opening music!

Honestly I didn't like any of the arcs of this season:

Gun Gale had some cool concepts but most of it just annoyed me (why did he look like a girl? Why is he ignoring Asuna? Does he realise he's leading on all the girls?) The main villain started off interesting but when it became another Kirito saves the day from rapist it lost me.

What was up with that mid-season thing? It might as well have been called Kirito and Friends: Light-Hearted Adventures in Alfheim

Apparently lots of people like the Rosario arc. More power to them, but personally I laughed when Yukki died I just thought it was so cheesy. In fairness the high point of the season was when it just about grazed the surface of how being trapped in a life or death situation for 2+ years would have an effect on you and your personal relationships, but it seemed to drop it as quickly as it picked it up. I also thought Yukki was pretty 1-dimensional as well; she didn't seem to have any opinions or thoughts of her own, she was just nice and nothing else. Like the female equivalent of a "nice-guy". Being nice is all well and good but it doesn't make for an interesting person on its own.

I don't even know why I still watch it all it does is annoy me. I'm weird.

Flaws and all, I've always had a soft spot for this series. I didn't even hate the second half of the first season, even though I was supposed to. And yeah, the rape scene this season was awful, but the worst episode of anime? It wasn't even the worst anime rape scene this year .

That honor goes to Love Stage, a "rom-com" from the summer. This one feature one of our romantic leads attempting to rape the other three episodes in. Then all is forgiven and forgotten and we're expected to root for these two to get together. After that, SAO's scene didn't have the same impact to me.

From what I've been reading on some SAO forums, fans of the manga are clamoring for a third season because the arcs that will be covered are considered the strongest of the entire series; so a third season could offer redemption from the "meh"-ness of this one. Here's hoping.

Men, I gave up on season 1 halfway through the first Arc and this doesn't make me want to come back.

IMO they've been telling the wrong story from the start...I'd like to have seen a real world side with the investigation into the kids trapped in the game and a hunt for the guy behind it. I mean ok, it would have turned SAO into something more like Psycho Pass but that would have been no bad thing...

I liked gun gale alright but when it started turning into "kirito got the best dick we luvs him!" kind of harem bs I couldnt stand it.

From reading this review it sounds like they are just responding to criticism's and trying to fix things here and there. Oh the womens have no agency you say? how bout we tack this on towards the end here. utter nonsense.

I watched all of SAO and I watched all of the first act of SAO2, but then I just kinda lost interest. The first arc of SAO was something that I really, really enjoyed as a premise, but I felt that it was really let down by the constant time jumps, and the fact that it was so short of an arc. It never really made much sense to me that the game that the show is named after only gets one half of a series. What I feel really needed to happen was for Arc 1 to span a whole season to allow for more character development and so that we could really get a feeling for the world of SAO, but instead they decided to cut it off and jump straight into the much less interesting fairy world in which Kirito's companion's only memorable trait was that she was secretly his sister/cousin and she had massive boobs. and they made Asuna, Kirito's girlfriend and companion from Arc 1, into a damsel in distress and they stripped her of all of her power.

SAO2 had a good start, and I was really starting to like the character of Sinon, but for whatever reason, the person who started out as a strong female supporting character soon devolved into yet another helpless character that had to depend on Kirito whenever they were together, and could hardly do anything for the latter half of the arc. What I did like was how it tied into Sword Art Online, or at least tried to, but I wish that the antagonist of this arc had actually been in SAO instead of just making him up during SAO2 and then showing a flashback of Kirito meeting him. I then watched Kirito get Excalibur in magical fairy world (AKA Act 2), and then I just stopped watching it.

I have no real need for a strong female character, but you don't build them up as strong characters only to have them stripped of it because Kirito is there (in the case of Sinon) or isn't there (in the case of Asuna). It just seems like they are backtracking on the original design on the characters just to create some form of forced drama.

What I do like about SAO is how it's not forcing a harem anime, and there's no "romantic rivalry" except for Lisbeth blue-screening that one time, and Sinon teasing Kirito about it. Other than that, they're all friends, and they all have their own life, and the plot isn't forced into submission by trying to balance who Kirito likes today. I mean, okay, the ladies fall for Kirito rather blatantly at times, but they seem to get over it rather quickly.

Also I like how the official couple seem to have a rather natural relationship going, and have their own lives outside it, and trust each other to make their own decisions.

So on that note at least, the series is rather refreshing.

KYoukai:
From what I've been reading on some SAO forums, fans of the manga are clamoring for a third season because the arcs that will be covered are considered the strongest of the entire series; so a third season could offer redemption from the "meh"-ness of this one. Here's hoping.

It's the same argument of when people were telling me that FF13 gets good and opens up 20 hours in. Why put up with mediocrity and frustration of the characters, story and setting for so long just to get to the good bits? Why not start off with the good bits and keep everything good thoughout?

More power to you if you want to see this thing get a third season. I just don't see any logic behind how this world works past the original first arc. Like, wouldn't a device that jacks into your brain and has the capacity to microwave it be instabanned? Or at the very least have a moratorium on such devices? How does such a device get put to market to begin with? Someone down the line had to have known the dangers a VR device such as this posed to its users.

Iunno, SOA gives me the creeps. It presents itself as typical shonen and then just takes really dark detours into subjects that its writer doesn't seem to understand how to handle narratively well at all.

Mumbly:
What I do like about SAO is how it's not forcing a harem anime, and there's no "romantic rivalry" except for Lisbeth blue-screening that one time, and Sinon teasing Kirito about it. Other than that, they're all friends, and they all have their own life, and the plot isn't forced into submission by trying to balance who Kirito likes today. I mean, okay, the ladies fall for Kirito rather blatantly at times, but they seem to get over it rather quickly.

Also I like how the official couple seem to have a rather natural relationship going, and have their own lives outside it, and trust each other to make their own decisions.

So on that note at least, the series is rather refreshing.

How can you say it's not forcing a harem when pretty much every girl Kirito came across in the first season looked at him with admiration and lust? His not-quite-sister even shows an unhealthy obsession with him in the second half of season 1, with heavy implications that she's been fantasizing about being with him in a romantic way. It's one step removed from brother/sister incest.

In the books, both halves of season 2 were actually pretty good. I was always wary of how they'd make it work in animated form though. My solution would have been running both arcs simultaneously, and jumping back and forth (modifying the story a bit to fit). The pacing was also poor in this second season of the anime.

I don't understand why people somehow magically thought SWO sucked once Log Horizon came out. I didn't care enough about the central plot of Log Horizon (ie: it didn't have much of one) until the end of the first season. To be fair, I will totally look forward to marathoning the whole show once season 2 is done (assuming they resolve the series).

As for SWO, I am just hoping they have enough momentum to animate the next story arc, which was a very compelling read (shades of Escaflowne)!

I watched SAO on Adult Swim when it came out. I never watched it before because I didn't think it was a very new or interesting idea, and I could already predict some aspects and story ideas based solely on the promotional material. When I did see it on Adult Swim, it was just meh, I didn't see what others saw in the first half of the season as being so awesome and second half actually made me angry in a variety of ways.

I watched the first few episodes of the second season just to see which direction it was going in and it only disillusioned me more. It saddens me to hear that it went even more over the top and rapey with Sinon, who I thought was a pretty solid character. Maybe I'll look at the Mother's Rosario arc, but the big twist in that arc was already given to me so I'm not sure how much I'll enjoy it, considering how poorly the series deals with emotional topics. I know anime in general isn't known for its emotional subtlety, but SAO seems to be considerably worse and juvenile compared to most other dramas.

I was very disappointed in SAO as well. The first episode in season 1 showed so much promise and then they rushed through the world like nothing. And they turned it into a Harem. I actually like good Harem anime as well (Highschool DxD for example has good story and I also like Trinity Seven) but I expected a different direction from SAO.

I was already disappointed in the mid season final of S1 but kept watching in the hope of it getting better, but it turned out meh....

Same happened with season 2. Hoped for the best and was utterly disappointed with the result. What the hell were these 4-5 episodes after GGO? I have to admit though that I actually liked the mothers rosario part. Decent pacing and the characters were ok.

I don't get why some people call it the best anime. It's average at best and Log Horizon is much better.

circularlogic88:

How can you say it's not forcing a harem when pretty much every girl Kirito came across in the first season looked at him with admiration and lust? His not-quite-sister even shows an unhealthy obsession with him in the second half of season 1, with heavy implications that she's been fantasizing about being with him in a romantic way. It's one step removed from brother/sister incest.

But it never gets there and it's resolved quickly. Those girls don't compete for Kirito's affections, they're not each other's romantic rivals as they would be in a typical harem anime. Hell, even Klein who was jealous of Asuna (because now his buddy Kirito will be spending more time with her than with him) gets to terms with it.

Mumbly:

circularlogic88:

How can you say it's not forcing a harem when pretty much every girl Kirito came across in the first season looked at him with admiration and lust? His not-quite-sister even shows an unhealthy obsession with him in the second half of season 1, with heavy implications that she's been fantasizing about being with him in a romantic way. It's one step removed from brother/sister incest.

But it never gets there and it's resolved quickly. Those girls don't compete for Kirito's affections, they're not each other's romantic rivals as they would be in a typical harem anime. Hell, even Klein who was jealous of Asuna (because now his buddy Kirito will be spending more time with her than with him) gets to terms with it.

I guess that's fair enough. It just reminds me a lot of series like Index and Zero no Tsukaima where any time there's a female introduced into the show, eventually they will have some sort of intrinsic infatuation with the male main character and he appears to be oblivious to that fact. I'll admit, at this point, I'm just looking for things to complain about with this series and apologize.

Not surprising, I'd written it off after the atrocious second half of the first season. It had an interesting premise and good action and animation, but the plot and characters just plain stunk. Good to know I'm not missing out on anything by passing up season 2.

The show where everyone loves Kirito and nothing matters.

Perhaps the best TLDR of SAO I've ever seen.

So, basically, it's a reverse of the first season?

Because the whole 'strong female is now sex toy' rubbed me the wrong way.
I have no problem with difficult subjects and 'taboo' being explored, such as sexual assault, regardless of the medium.

But SAO has NO idea how to do it.
Asuna is sexually assaulted, almost raped, all for the MC to be more 'heroic' and the big bad to be more 'villainous'.
AND, it was done so damn POORLY.

Go look at Berserk.
While the author probably needs to see a therapist...
At least any sexual assault (flat out rape, really) that happens manages to 'mean' something as the story progresses.

AND...he's not afraid to use it everyone.
-And, I mean, EVERYONE.
-At this point I'm kind of amazed a random dog hasn't had a flashback to some horrid moment as a puppy.
--Which, is why I think he may need to see a therapist actually.

But SAO?
Author(s) don't seem to know how to do anything other than a middle of the road series that reads like they found about about 'tropes' and went to town on them.

I'll never understand why Sword Art Online's popular. It was way too big of a buy-in for me, since they were trying so hard to make it seem like something that could feasibly happen in the real world, a world where Internet never goes down, and thus all these people don't die on accident from some kind of drop in the server. It's just too unbelievable for me. You know your show is trying too hard when .hack makes me since. Also, I hated the invincible main character. The fact that there is a second season at all doesn't surprise me, I just don't see why it needed any more in the first place.

man, so much negativity.....maybe it's because I'm more interested by the battle scenes and the overall idea of the mechanics of the Nervegear technology in the world of SAO, but the series has never come across, as so many apparently see, a "harem" type show. given also the show is adapted from graphic novels, kinda not surprised the anime would get some of the heavier scenes, but, I won't deny they maybe could have been done better *shrugs*

also I'll contest that log horizon has better intro music. sao's got more, and better ones. XP a weird rock-ish song that didn't change between seasons....vs at least 4-5 decent (imo) intros on sao.....nope XD can't see how that's worse.

Mumbly:
What I do like about SAO is how it's not forcing a harem anime, and there's no "romantic rivalry" except for Lisbeth blue-screening that one time, and Sinon teasing Kirito about it. Other than that, they're all friends, and they all have their own life, and the plot isn't forced into submission by trying to balance who Kirito likes today. I mean, okay, the ladies fall for Kirito rather blatantly at times, but they seem to get over it rather quickly.

Also I like how the official couple seem to have a rather natural relationship going, and have their own lives outside it, and trust each other to make their own decisions.

So on that note at least, the series is rather refreshing.

But in SAO, no one has their own lives. Literally nothing in the story moves anywhere and none of the characters seem to exist in its world without Kirito involvement.

In fact, this is hammmered home on the very first episode of season 2, where Kirito is talking about doing technology stuff in the future, whereas Asuna's ambition is to...be with him. The problem with their relationship is that there's absolutely no chemistry, dynamic, or personal conflict that goes on between them. It's just a perfect relationship with no consequences, in fact that basically sums up SAO as a whole.

Reading the review and the comments... there's far more negativity than I feel the series deserves. Sure it's got a lot of flaws, but I enjoyed it (as someone who read the LN and watched the series in full). I also like Log Horizon, although that show has its flaws too. And I liked the .hack// series too, and those were full of flaws.

I don't know, maybe I'm just a lot less critical than some people and can enjoy something for what it is. Or maybe watching it as it's streamed on Crunchyroll helps (by having a week between each episode).

hentropy:
I watched SAO on Adult Swim when it came out. I never watched it before because I didn't think it was a very new or interesting idea, and I could already predict some aspects and story ideas based solely on the promotional material. When I did see it on Adult Swim, it was just meh, I didn't see what others saw in the first half of the season as being so awesome and second half actually made me angry in a variety of ways.

I watched the first few episodes of the second season just to see which direction it was going in and it only disillusioned me more. It saddens me to hear that it went even more over the top and rapey with Sinon, who I thought was a pretty solid character. Maybe I'll look at the Mother's Rosario arc, but the big twist in that arc was already given to me so I'm not sure how much I'll enjoy it, considering how poorly the series deals with emotional topics. I know anime in general isn't known for its emotional subtlety, but SAO seems to be considerably worse and juvenile compared to most other dramas.

Actually it could be "just as poor" but that it doesnt offer anything of redeeming value after the fact whereas most anime tend to have other redeeming qualities.

I stopped watching the first season of sword art online after it became too inconsistent to continue with. The show keeps setting up potentially interesting encounters and barriers for the main character but most are either brushed off or ignored completely, I'm pretty sure this starts even in the first episode with characters discussing how they will be able to eat and drink and whatnot in the real world,but they mention it then its never brought up again as far as I can remember. Nobody even puts forward a theory as to how anyone in the game who lives alone in the real world isn't dropping dead from thirst. There were a lot more things like this and I got increasingly frustrated with how these issues and inconsistencies were mentioned and then immediately forgotten about in favor of the main character being even more boringly OP. I admit I never finished the show so maybe they get around to addressing some of this stuff but for me it was just some fun action scenes tied together with a poorly thought out plot.

Those "remember this" moments never happened in season 1. They were part of season 2 because we never actually saw them.

It's always disappointing to read a review by someone that clearly doesn't give a shit.

I'll definitely agree that SAO is absolutely terrible at showin sexual assault. I actually skipped the aforementioned scene with Sinon because it made me so uncomfortable (I also did the same with the scene with Asuna in SAO). Its not done respectfully at all and its really really bad.

I don't agree with most everythin else though. The Gun Gale Online arc was fantastic imo. Kirito dealin with the fact that he literally killed people is somethin I was really surprised they never outright dealt with before. Turns out its because he completely compartmentalized it to the point that he didn't think about it on purpose. Sinon dealin with her PTSD was also, imo, well done.

The end of the act, outside of the creepy creeper part, was great as well.

The mid season arc was fun, even if it was fairly pointless.

The final arc was glorious. Asuna getting to be center stage for the first time in ever? Awesome. The glorious fight scenes? Glorious. The conclusion? Sad but beautiful. Really enjoyed the entirety of that arc.

This shows popularity truly boggles my mind, I tried watching it as it seemed like it was taking the idea but ditching Kirito. But lo and behold, turns out the dark haired girl was him in drag and I have never felt more disappointed. Yet I tried to give it a go, watched till like episode 5, but every time Kirito was adding a new girl to his harem made me violently ill.

Maybe that's why it's so popular; it's gross wish fulfilment for otaku's, inept at every part of their lives till they play games and viola, insta-pussy magnet.

(Opinion incoming!)

Yeah, I'm glad that I threw the series at the start of Gun Gale.
It just felt that nothing was changing. It was all about Kirito and how the world revolves around him. (Most of the time at least)
Hell, I'm surprised I didn't drop SAO during the first arc, where one episode was given to another girl, and they joined the Kirito harem, until Asuna came in and stole him ... with barely any development with their relationship. So the romance is shit (Although my bar for romance is Clannad, so that might be a bit difficult to overcome). Too quick.

I have to feel sorry for the side-characters, they keep introducing them, not developing them, and ultimately throwing them to the side in favour for Kirito. It just teaches me how you don't need lots of side-characters (or you need to balance them with other side-characers. Like other male friends and their relationship with Kirito/other girls). As I see it, SAO is suppose to be a personal journey, but ultimately ruins that. Log Horizon is very world/multi-people focused, and it's doing better than okay at that.

But yes, I dropped it when we hit this part.
Sinon: "I like him ... "
All other girl characters: "We all do, but they went with the bad one.

So yes, dropped it, good, and I don't want to look back.
I have some Unlimited Blade Works to watch.

Originality:
Reading the review and the comments... there's far more negativity than I feel the series deserves. Sure it's got a lot of flaws, but I enjoyed it (as someone who read the LN and watched the series in full). I also like Log Horizon, although that show has its flaws too. And I liked the .hack// series too, and those were full of flaws.

I don't know, maybe I'm just a lot less critical than some people and can enjoy something for what it is. Or maybe watching it as it's streamed on Crunchyroll helps (by having a week between each episode).

I think what you really mean is that you have lower standards, because "liking something for what it is" doesn't mean what you think it means. As a property, you can't get any more generic and uninspired than SAO.

wooty:
MUCH better opening music!

Ain't that the fucking truth!

I usually listen to an opening once then skip it in all future episodes. At best, I'll like it and listen to it a few times then start skipping.

Log Horizon though?

Thirty-eight or so episodes in (And many repeat viewings), and I have YET to skip the intro. That's a legit series first. No other series has managed this.

Captcha: since when.

Since never Captcha... since never.

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