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View Poll Results: Sword Art Online - Total Series Rating
Perfect 10 45 21.74%
9 out of 10 : Excellent 41 19.81%
8 out of 10 : Very Good 38 18.36%
7 out of 10 : Good 36 17.39%
6 out of 10 : Average 28 13.53%
5 out of 10 : Below Average 5 2.42%
4 out of 10 : Poor 7 3.38%
3 out of 10 : Bad 2 0.97%
2 out of 10 : Very Bad 3 1.45%
1 out of 10 : Painful 2 0.97%
Voters: 207. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2013-01-01, 19:34   Link #41
Chiibi
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Originally Posted by Reek of Blood View Post

Aah~ How refreshing that Sword Art Online is finally over.
Oh boy, are YOU naive...
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Old 2013-01-02, 01:11   Link #42
Burden
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Animation Quality: 7
As far as the animation quality goes, there are no complaints. But, there are no accolades to be given either. The first few episodes were very well animated and while I wouldn't say that the quality degraded over time, it was clearly a bit duller by the time we had reached the end of the second cour.

Voice Actors: 9
This will probably be the highest ranked section I will give. The actors for Kirito, Asuna, and Suguha were well cast. Interesting to see Taketatsu Ayana cast as another little sister...

Script: 8
Very true to the novels and while Oberon's deterioration as a real antagonist was very childish, it does not detract from the overall score. While a sound script, still lacking a lot of impacts to carry as a 9 or 10 which are explained below.

Soundtrack: 5
Put bluntly, unremarkable.

Enjoyment: 9 (SAO); 6 (ALO)
There were good times and bad times. I chose to break it apart into two, for each MMO that Kirito embarked in. Overall, I enjoyed SAO quite a bit and they chose the scenes well from the various amounts of content available. However, ALO, which I believe they spent TOO much time on, was clearly not as enjoyable to the adventures in SAO.

Emotional Involvement: 7
Clearly, this is not a romance (spare me, it's not) or drama series, but the emotional involvement of the series was rather lackluster. With notable exceptions in the Black Cats guild and the end of the entire SAO arc, there are few scenes to remember. While the emotional involvement of hate was present towards the end at Oberon/Sugou, his dehumanization into a questionable villain was a tearing of my suspension of disbelief (and I'm a very lenient person as far as that goes).

Overall, I rank it a 7. If however I were to rate it by simply the first cour, it would be a high 8, low 9.
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Old 2013-01-03, 00:27   Link #43
velderia
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9/10 - Some parts really disturbed me, the pacing felt off at times, but overall very, very good.

Spoiler for Talking about the ending mostly - Spoilers:
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Old 2013-01-04, 09:10   Link #44
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I give it a 10/10.
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Old 2013-01-04, 10:06   Link #45
backbone
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Honestly, i don´t really get the hype of Sword Art Online.

The arts and music not great, not even really good.
The characters are thin as paper.
The story idea neither new nor really interesting.
The pacings too quick, the battles chaotic, the world-building happens barely and only in pieces.
And the final ending/boss fight is just a laughing joke. Same for the reason to let 4000 people die.

The only two interesting things were when that guy lost and when Asuna not crying in ALO and that´s it pretty much.

I guess it must be due the LN since there seems to be much more explanation and anything else than in the anime.
I´ll give the LN a look and hope it´s better than anime.
And really, that isn´t that much of a challenge.

Oh right, about Asuna.
Meh, she´s okay. Not really interesting though, more of a cliched heroine but still, a good cliched heroine. Though the romance made no sense as it just "ehehe, we´ve got two pretty people; time to marry them to each other".
Same for the A.I. child, seriously? -_-

Whateva. If people liked it then i´m glad they did. I sure didn´t enjoyed watching Sword Art Online and was pretty disappointed with the ending of the game. It was too rushed so it had no tension nor any excitement.
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Old 2013-01-04, 14:17   Link #46
HuNGaricum
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9/10. I really enjoyed this show, and hope that they do more. the songs except the 2nd op didn't appear on my playlist, and the ALO adaptation was a bit disappointing, thus the -1, but I liked the art style, Haruka Tomatsu did a great job at playing Asuna, I've heard her "serious voice" for the first time. (the characters i heard from her, Lala, Yuka and Gruier were all childish) Having read the LN before I knew exactly what would happen, but still I had to remind myself not to smash the monitor when Oberon went nasty with Asuna.
Great show(probably best) Want m04r!
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Old 2013-01-05, 09:34   Link #47
Solace
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I really wanted to like this show, and as far as entertainment is concerned, I did. However, as someone who literally skipped through the final five episodes in a speed watch, I can definitely say the second half didn't keep me interested nearly as much as the first half did.

In the end I found a number of good moments, and some good emotions were evoked. There was a ton of wasted potential however, and I just don't feel like the great ideas that could have been explored were ever given more than a mere thought in favor of the Kirito and Asuna relationship. I didn't mind that dynamic exactly, but I just felt there could have been more done with, well, everything.

Overall I just can't see myself watching this again. For all the hype and potential of the idea of SAO, it was pretty much an average anime. I could be harsher on particular things, but to be honest I can't feel any reason to do so. There was never really anything to the show that pulled me in enough to stay invested in it. That's a shame too, because it's rare that concepts like this ever get explored in anime.
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Old 2013-01-05, 15:23   Link #48
janipani
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Way too long for way too weak show.

There is nothing that an old anime junkie can get from this.
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Old 2013-01-06, 08:26   Link #49
MrTerrorist
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I'm gonna give this series a 10. Animation, storyline, the romance between Kirito and Asuna, the premise and music is what enjoy about this series.

Here's hoping for season 2.
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Old 2013-01-06, 09:56   Link #50
orpheus2
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I gave it a 8 since I still enjoyed it.

It would have been nice if they added monolgues to see the character's thoughts. It would have made it better. Otherwise, it was a mostly fathful adaptation.
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Old 2013-01-06, 14:08   Link #51
Lightning_Wing
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I found SAO to be less-than-overwhelming as some other people apparently have. After watching this anime on top of the countless others that I've seen, in my opinion, this series doesn't add up.

Not to say that I didn't somewhat enjoy SAO. After all, I did take the time to actually keep with this anime and not drop it, so there was some hook to it that made me see through it to the very end.

That hook was, at first, the entire concept of an MMORPG. I am both unfamiliar with MMOs in general, and anime dealing with the game genre, so I had plenty of curiosity to spare for Sword Art Online in the beginning episodes. However, that curiosity was soon replaced as the main reason for liking the anime when Kirito's character was developed early on. I very much enjoyed the premise of gamer-kid-is-a-badass-in-game, and the series itself balances his badassery with his normal kid life very well. At equal points, it shows his frustration and hopelessness of being trapped in a video game for an indiscriminate amount of time, and shows his strength of character to be able to beat the game eventually, and deal with the problem on his own throughout the course of the Sword Art Online arc.

Other than these two hooks, however, nothing else was interesting enough to be memorable. The romance between Asuna and Kirito was rushed and felt weak. Asuna, herself, was really intriguing in the beginning but that soon unraveled into the love interest and eventually damsel-in-distress so quickly that I forgot about the mysterious but pretty badass character that she was in the beginning. It almost felt fanservice-y, how quickly Asuna devolved to fit the Kirito x Asuna plot device. Also, the sister-who-wasn't side story and the other random female "moe" characters (the Cait-Slipth people) were just unnecessary and didn't have enough material to actually be worthwhile. The entire sister drama is still horribly confusing in general.

Aesthetically, SAO was pretty decent with it's backgrounds, but there wasn't anything that really set it apart. The music was nothing special, and the voice acting, even, was rather bland.

Overall, I'd give the series a 5/10. It was okay enough to be watchable, but definitely not a staple of anime, or to be particularly memorable.
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Old 2013-01-06, 22:29   Link #52
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This series had so many moments that hit home for me, I couldn't give it anything less than a 10/10.
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Old 2013-01-08, 16:17   Link #53
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Just finished watching the show. It's what I would call an "interesting" case, as it has a crapload of both good and bad, and manage to also both excel and completely miss some entire themes.

First, I, like so many people, found the AOL part to be FAR below the SAO one. The show would have been MUCH better if they just removed the entire post-SAO plot and instead first added a few episodes to explain things in SAO itself in more depth, and second focused more on the aftereffect once people went out of SAO (see the latter part of the post about this point).

AOL in itself was not THAT bad per se, but it just clashed a lot with SAO, and for the most part added only totally unnecessary things - I particularly loathed the whole Sugu-pseudo-romance garbage, which added probably more shit to the show than everything else together : cliché ("imouto" crap is common enough that we make jokes with friends about it) and even cliché up to eleven "well, we're not REALLY brother and sister", sidetracking the story (Kirito should be running for Asuna, but leisurely waste time with Leafa, which added a lot of "WTF ?" to the anime) and lacking a lot in tension after the "die for real" deal of SAO. When it comes to character, Yui was one that I never liked and which felt really unrealistic (even in the context of a VR game, a real AI able to think and feel ? It's groundbreaking enough to be the SUBJECT of a serie, not a side character...) and tacked-on, so I didn't like her expanded role.
The ambiance was also a very stark contrast, and though I welcomed a much ligther tone than the very depressive SAO, it didn't went well with the continuing "action" and would have been better as simply a "conclusion".
Not to add, the entire idea of having a VRMMO launched and running nearly concurrently with the "10 000 persons locked into VR and many of them having their brain fried by their toys" is just hilariously unrealistic - the 25th episode shows much better what should have logically happened.

Now that AOL has been dealt with, let's go for the real meat : SAO.

The idea of a VR game that becomes "too real" is rather interesting and exciting. The fact that it's treated rather in-depth is very appreciable. It's also pretty good how the scenario explore many aspects of MMO, and is rather thorough about that.
The atmosphere, as said above, is also very oppressive and depressing, which is very much logical considering the settings. I particularly liked the Moonlit Black Cat ep, as unsurprising as it was, to show the bleak face of such a world.

I also appreciated the non-cliché parts. Having a hero rather classy and not the usual "headstrong but stupid" was a welcomed change from so many shônen. Having the romance actually not only go somewhere, but even happening right in the middle of the story, and continuing, is nearly a feat of strength considering how it's 99 % of the time "nothing happens despite the main couple being in love at first sight, until 3 mn before the end". It gave a lot of realism and freshness to the story, and the emotion was always here and left me often with teary eyes.
The twist at the end was also rather original - skipping the last 25 levels is certainly not what I would have guessed that would happen
So, lots of satisfying surprises and a story that flew rather well.

The action/aventure part was rather good. As common as it is, the cavalry coming to save the day is still very satisfying when it's pulled off well (and this show made a specialty of doing just that). The fights were very reminiscent of real game, and for someone who is a very enthusiast gamer like me, it just constantly gave me the desire to jump back in time and play some The Burning Crusade with the guild's pals.

That said, half of the flaws and qualities of the show go hand to hand together. Most of the bad things comes from the fact that I found the scenario stopping half-way in most aspect and not going as far as it should have, and "forgetting" lots of stuff that could have added a lot of depth.
At the same time, it means that the scenario at least went half-way, which is better than nothing.
So I'm a bit on the fence if it's actually a bad thing or a good thing.

The main problem I had was that, despite the horror of being captive of a virtual world that can kill you being the very point of the plot, and despite the ambiance conveying this feeling of hopelessness and despair quite well, the show paradoxally downplayed very much the psychological traumas that should have arisen.
It also missed an opportunity to raise very thoughtful questions and become much deeper, by mostly handwaving the consequences for people after being liberated. Imagine the consequence of living two years not only under constant possibility of death, but MEANINGLESS death, all "for a game". How spending basically two years where killing is the only answer to everything (be it monsters, NPC or even other players), where respect and potential and possibilities come only from waving a sword in a computer-assisted way, would make for people in even far worse situation than most veterans from real war. How they would have basically lost many normal social skills, probably also lots of real skills, to be replaced only with "game mechanics" mentality.
There was a gold mine for social, ethical and metaphysical questions here. Sadly, it was not really explored in depth.

In the same way, it felt very weird to see the vilainy of Akihito nearly shrugged off, and people living such a traumatic experience ready to plunge again in VR just a few days/weeks later with a good laugh.
I could never shake the feeling that the author was always torn between understanding that it would be a horrible situation, but somehow wishing it was true.

It was a show full of flaws, but still interesting enough that I felt I had a wall of text worth of comment about it.
I regret a lot it didn't delve more deeply in the psychological impact over the players, and that it didn't seem to be able to make up its mind about VR.
It was a nice show that I enjoyed watching, but which only barely scratched the surface of its potential, and missed countless opportunity of exploring more the questions it was able to raise. It suffered from a very weak second part, that would have been better used to flesh out the first.

In the end, it missed the occasion to be a great show, by not going deep enough, but still managed to be a nice show, with lots of flaws but lots of good points.

I'll give it an upper 7.
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Old 2013-01-10, 21:36   Link #54
kitten320
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After finishing the show I can only give it 5... maximum 6.

It did have potential to be something great but all of it was wasted =/

If anyone is interested in reading my full review, here you go. Do warn that it is negative so if you are big fanatic, better stay away or you'll get mad.

Spoiler for full review:
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Old 2013-01-11, 00:22   Link #55
Kyuu
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Originally Posted by Solace View Post
I really wanted to like this show, and as far as entertainment is concerned, I did. However, as someone who literally skipped through the final five episodes in a speed watch, I can definitely say the second half didn't keep me interested nearly as much as the first half did.
Personally, the second half is a situation that would have pissed me off -- more so than the first. Oh wait, it did. With the last 4 episodes left to go... yea...
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Old 2013-01-11, 01:49   Link #56
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Originally Posted by kitten320 View Post
I can tolerate 8 and 7 marks but I totally can't accept 9 and 10 especially when people themselves admit that show has flows and that novel did this or that better.

Before you SAO fans will start to scream at me, shouting "Fuck you, SAO still has high rating." let me ask you one thing... do you know why?
Think about it... how many so called haters have given this show 1 or 2? I'm for most part hater but I tried to be reasonable and gave it 5. Imagine that all of us were to lower our marks to 1 and 2... How big will be this difference?

It will fall, I guarantee you that. So before calling us names think, it is thanks to us that this show is holding the high score, not only you.

Besides shows have to be criticized otherwise we would have thousands of works with perfect mark and then no one could call fanfics bad.
I think you're placing a bit too much stock in arbitrary numbers that really don't mean anything, and the pointless debates that surround these meaningless valuations. The show is highly-rated because it's generally liked. It's not either either because "critics are trying to be reasonable" or because "fanboys are inflating the score and not being honest about the flaws". It all averages out.

There's a difference between "recognizing a flaw" and finding that the flaw hurts your own personal experience. I mean, every piece of entertainment has flaws (and trade-offs), but the issue is the impact those flaws have on you. In reading both your posts and now this review, I can recognize the things you saw in the show that annoyed you. But many of those same things just simply didn't annoy me either at all or not nearly as much (and some I consider features, not bugs). Some of them I find you're really overplaying to a great degree, and thus missing some of the other things that were more important to me. But that's different perspectives for you.

In the end, I felt your review would have been better without the whole passive-aggressive "critics vs. fanboys" dig. But it could also be that I am so damn sick of that war by now. There's nothing wrong with disliking something, nor is there anything wrong with liking it. I don't know why people spend so much effort trying to convince people that their personal opinion is Right (TM).
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Old 2013-01-11, 11:36   Link #57
Akka
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Well, he still have a very valid point. It's a widely know phenomenon that people as a rule tends to be very simplistic and binary in their notations, and usually go for extreme, leading to very large amount of meaningless "perfect" scores even when it's obvious (even to the people who have voted 10 themselves) that the show has flaws.
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Old 2013-01-11, 11:52   Link #58
Oroboro
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If I had to rate things objectively, the show is rather flawed, I would give it a 7 or 8.

But for my personal subjective opinion of how much I enjoyed the show, it'd be a 9 or 9.5. There was rarely a minute watching it I wasn't entertained, and I looked forward to each episode eagerly every Saturday like I was a kid again, which not many things can make me do.

Plus I got to have so many delightful arguements about SAO online!
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Old 2013-01-11, 14:01   Link #59
Akito Kinomoto
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I have to say that Sword Art Online wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be. That isn't to say there weren't storytelling and character development problems but for me Kirito and Asuna's relationship more than made up for everything the show could not. More thoughts below...
Spoiler for Length:
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Old 2013-01-11, 15:17   Link #60
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Originally Posted by Akka View Post
Well, he still have a very valid point. It's a widely know phenomenon that people as a rule tends to be very simplistic and binary in their notations, and usually go for extreme, leading to very large amount of meaningless "perfect" scores even when it's obvious (even to the people who have voted 10 themselves) that the show has flaws.
But the numbers don't mean anything to start with. There's not some sort of objective standard or common rulebook that determines whether something is a 2, a 5, a 7, or 10. One person might say "I'd only give something a Perfect 10 if I really think it's Perfect and has no flaws". Another person might say "I know nothing in the world is perfect, but I give it a 10 because none of the flaws hurt my enjoyment in any meaningful or significant way". Neither approach is either right or wrong, but here in this thread (and most other websites that rate shows) it's all merged together. So there's really no point in being so "well, you know, the only reason this show is rated so highly is because some of us are being reasonable" about it.

Frankly, if it were just about me, I'd get rid of the poll entirely and just let people use words to explain their opinions. But people seem to really like having a number (so they can engage in pointless comparisons and argue about whether it was given "fairly" or not ).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Oroboro View Post
If I had to rate things objectively, the show is rather flawed, I would give it a 7 or 8.

But for my personal subjective opinion of how much I enjoyed the show, it'd be a 9 or 9.5. There was rarely a minute watching it I wasn't entertained, and I looked forward to each episode eagerly every Saturday like I was a kid again, which not many things can make me do.

Plus I got to have so many delightful arguements about SAO online!
That's pretty much the way I feel about it as well (although I didn't always find the arguments "delightful", but some of the topics that were discussed were quite interesting). There are certainly plenty of areas in the show that could have been further developed, and some questions that will forever remain unanswered (well, unless the author addresses them in a rewrite, but that doesn't help the anime on a standalone basis). But I generally enjoyed speculating about it and trying to fill in the blanks myself (and in conversations with everyone else). And I definitely eagerly looked forward to each week, and even watched every episode multiple times, which I basically never do. If the rating is supposed to be a reflection of how much I enjoyed the show and would recommend it to others, I'd give it top marks for that reason, even though I understand perfectly well that it isn't for everyone.

My attitude is that every engagement with a show is a negotiation of trade-offs (and, indeed, nothing is perfect). Enjoyment is basically a measure of your personal "heart" reaction to the decisions the creators make. That's why each person will see things differently.
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