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Kairin 2012-12-23 13:40

Sword Art Online - Overall Series Impressions & Total Series Rating
This thread is to be used for discussing the entire episodes of Sword Art Online ... your thoughts about the show, overall impressions, expectations and hopes about Blu-Ray/DVD-exclusive footage etc.

A few subjects you might want to ramble on about:
  • General impression of the series.
  • Opinions on the overall story, writing & plot devices.
  • Thoughts about the animation quality.
  • Characters/Character Design
  • Voice Acting
  • Which kind of footage (Blu-Ray/DVD-exclusive) you feel you'd really like to see.
  • What the show meant to you.
  • What could the creators/animators/writers have done better.

And so on.

The poll represents your total series rating. In other words, how you would rate all the episodes combined (1-10)? If you'd rather rate the whole series by technical/artistic merits, you can do so. An example:

Animation Quality: 1-10
Voice Actors: 1-10
Script: 1-10
Soundtrack: 1-10
Editing: 1-10
Enjoyment: 1-10
Emotional Involvement: 1-10

Average = Total Series Rating

Or a combination of the two. Or your general gut feeling.

Feel free to discuss and more importantly, have fun :)

justsomeguy 2012-12-23 13:43

The good:

* Unlike Accel World which can be summed up as shounen with a VR theme, this show explores actually living in a virtual world.

* An epic feel. A-1 does a good job of making Aincrad and ALO seem vast and "real."

* The skinny guy and fat guy who wanted to play as a cute girl made for likeable background characters.

* Music was effective, mostly. OP1, OP2, and Overfly were great, as well as most of Kajiura's tracks. I thought that the love theme was overused to the point of being cheesy, and that ED1 was kinda bland, though.

The bad (that came from the source):

* The Aincrad arc is disjointed as all hell. I really hope that Progressive eventually gets its own adaptation (along with First Day and a remake of Aria in the Starless Night), to fill in much of the blanks during those two years. ALO was much smoother since it was written as one continuous story, but I'm not quite sure Suguha/Leafa's brocon storyline or having Asuna depowered into a damsel in distress are "good."

* Kirito wins against the two final bosses through the amazing power of Deus Ex Machina. Author favoritism is one thing and very common, but for the main character to constantly get the rules broken in his favor cheapens the conflict and ruins the tension previously built up.

The bad (from the anime):

* The best parts of the series was when Kirito was analyzing the systems' rules and trying to analyze other characters' motives (And Reki really should have found ways for him to use that to win rather than the asspulls). In general, quite a bit of that was left out.

* Aria the Starless Night was butchered. Changing Kirito's first meeting with Asuna was one thing (especially since Reki himself hasn't finished writing Progressive and her character development), but taking out story of Diabel completely changed his character and removed the theme of player conflict that grows as the Aincrad arc proceeds.

* Red-Nosed Reindeer lost a bit of impact due to only being one episode preventing the audience from getting to know the guild a bit more, and having Sachi hum the song instead of singing it.

* Chronologically, Heathcliff first appears during Murder in the Area when Asuna and Kirito take him out to lunch to ask questions about what was possible within SAO's rules. Even though in this novels this was retconned in by the author, this was a good way to introduce Heathcliff and build up to the eventual reveal of his true identity, but the anime skipped it.

* The novels were filled with tons of explanations and Kirito's thoughts and speculations, but much of this was cut out. Sunrise made sure that we always got enough to understand Accel World, but a lot of detail was lost with A-1's SAO, to the point where the anime-only audience would ask reasonable questions that novel readers would have to explain (which of course would be considered ZOMG spoilers!)

* Episode 23 was the worst part of the ALO arc. Not only was Recon's self-sacrifice changed (in the novels, he was saving Leafa, not making a path for Kirito!), but Kirito's super drill attack was looked stupid. Really, his furious dual-weilding could have been represented by using repeated frames of animation, rather than creating an attack that had no precedent.

No matter how I look at it, even taking into account differences in theme, density, and story, SAO was a weaker adaptation than Accel World. Much of the bad can be blamed on limitations of time and budget, as well as flaws of the source, rather than incompetence or malice on the part of the animation crew, but even then, I still got the sense that with slightly better management, this show could have been better. I'm hoping that SAO gets a second 2-cour season, since the material that comes later is better in terms of cohesiveness, and should be easier to adapt.

8/10. Somewhat cheesy material, and not as good an adaptation as it could be, but considering how much I liked it regardless, this seems a fitting score. If I was less forgiving of the source, this will be more like 6/10.

Hooves 2012-12-23 14:13

I give this series a 8.4/10. Mostly because of the rushed (which I can understand with time frame) content. Not letting us grow to feel more towards specific characters before they disappear. Even though the main theme soundtrack was simply amazing. It would have been nice if they had more for the other fights instead of constantly repeating it.

I like how from my perspective, they repeated most of the soundtracks in that one fight in episode 23. But was sadly wasted due to poor animations of the fight, the reinforcements barely doing anything. While the animation seems to have cut down a huge scale from the previous episode with Kirito going solo.

Other then my own personal gripes above. The enjoyment I got out of this was a 9.8

Darsovin 2012-12-23 16:31

As an anime fan since 2001, I've seen many great series come and go. I've seen squandered opportunities and found hidden gems. This series will go down in memory as one my favorites without question.

It has its flaws, as many others have already pointed out. Many of those I understand and wholeheartedly agree with. But for me at the end of the day those flaws were not enough to sway me from the enthusiasm I had for this show.

As a form of escapism, this show was one of the rare ones I fully dived into. I was there every step of the way. I'll remember the rush of the unveiling of that "Starburst Stream", the tears of Yui's farewell, the rage at Sugou, the heartbreak for Suguha, the blind dash towards the World Tree, and the return of Asuna. It touched all the emotions that I will never forget.

I understand there are those out there who just love to hate shows. But as an older fan try to step back and think why you watch anime in the first place.

At least for me, Sword Art Online is DEFINITELY one of the reasons I continue to watch!

9/10 from me!

Julio C 2012-12-23 17:37

This is probably Anime of the year for me, I can't think of any other show that will top this besides Accel World.

Kizoku Keenan 2012-12-23 19:09

Probably the first anime series I have watched in a long time that I am genuinely disappointed that it is over.

SAO brought out every emotion perfectly and for that I'll give a 8 out of 10 it looses 2 points with there just not being more episodes...yes I'm being selfish *huffs*

NoemiChan 2012-12-23 21:25

Animation Quality: 9

Fair enough. Nothing much nothing less. Thought the scenes inside game make you feel like it isn't "in game" until those "sparkles" appear when spmething or someone dies... But what made it special is they manage to maintained it... all throught those 6 months....

Voice Actors: 8

They did well. Nothing more. They fit their respective characters well.

Script: 8

I score it in a "non-manga and non light novels" readers view point... I may rate it as 7 if that was the case... They inserted what they think is important and kept what they think is... The fast track was not something to be complaint about.. yeah..

Soundtrack: 7

None of the SAO soundtracks captured my ear..

Editing: 8

Again. Same as SCRIPT^


The only anime I'm looking forward to watch... after dropping Accel World...

Emotional Involvement: 10

The Asuna-Yui-Kirito dramatic scenes ( the goodbyes, and reunion) always left a tear in my eyes...

Total Rating = 9

Not perfect yet the best anime of 2012.

ReaperxKingx 2012-12-23 21:48

Animation Quality: 8
It really didn't stand out apart from many anime in terms of graphics, but still quite the looker. There were hiccups here and there where I felt could use work, but overall they capture what a MMO would look like.

Voice Actors: 7
Sadly, here is a situation where I compared the anime to the Light Novel. It wasn't a horrible adaption of characters, but it wasn't near the depiction I would expect. It felt more natural in the Light Novel, in the anime they mess up on lines which I can forgive but they took away some of them as well.

Script: 6
The beginning of the anime really brought the points down. As a whole they followed the Light Novel's direction, but adding side stories in the first couple of episode really brought down the excitement. These side stories are entertaining, but it didn't serve the overall plot in that sequence of the story line.

Soundtrack: 8
Really good, not the best music like the Oricon top 100 but overall sound very good. Though it didn't struck me as music I would listen to a lot. The second ending was the most impressive in my opinion.

Editing: 7
There really wasn't anything special to it, it was generic.

Enjoyment: 7-8
Having read the Light Novel, comparing the enjoyment between the two. The Light Novel felt much better and natural. What seriously killed my enjoyment is that the first couple of episodes were from side stories. Some good parts were taken out or changed.

Emotional Involvement: 8
Really touchy moment here and there, felt really good. Didn't bring me any heartbeats or man tears. It was good, better than average but no so much to be called extraordinary.

Final Thoughts or Final Average Rating: 7
Pretty good for the most part, certainly not the best anime I watched this year. For the most part, it excelled in many areas but nothing that popped out of my mind saying it is a anime I would watch over and over again.

Insane 2012-12-24 02:26

SAO, in my opinion, probably the most controversial in reception show in the season, from love to hate, to good but overhyped. To put it in simple metaphor, It's like a train that have reached its destination, but not in the well-oiled state that we’d like it to be. The driver took a lot of bad decisions in which direction to go along the way that he should consider himself lucky that the whole thing did not crash.

Overall 7/10

Master_Yoma 2012-12-24 23:10

This was good but the ending was a little weak and its just to bad you seen most of the characters only once it would of been nice to see a lot more of Keiko and Rika besides at the end

8/10 It would of been better if some one else got to release this besides Aniplex

Zabiking 2012-12-25 02:27

[mod edit: removed link]

I loved it and hope they do a second season covering [mod edit: future arcs...]

Rosalena 2012-12-25 07:22

Let me preface this by saying that I went into Sword Art Online entirely ignorant of its source material. Although I was aware that it was adapted from a light novel series (what show isn't nowadays?) I had not read a single word of it. The only thing that mattered at all to me was that it was the spiritual predecessor in some ways to Accel World. This was relevant because I was unable to sit through more than four episodes of that show before I spared myself further pain by dropping it.

That being said, it is not my intention to come across as purposefully "hating" on this show so I will hope that no one will be so rude as to lob that word at me. My opinion is my own, I will respect yours as you respect mine.

Animation: 5/10. Bland. Shiny but bland. Budget cutting techniques were evident from the very first episode to the very last. One thing that I thought was particularly distracting was that whenever the setting called for background characters (people milling about the towns, crowds cheering, et cetera) there was never any movement. People were frozen in place in mid-step or mid-clap in a way that the studio didn't even attempt to disguise. Furthermore, the so-called "action" sequences were equally problematic. For a show that is supposed to be carried by its genres—action and fantasy adventure—the action was utterly boring. Lots of movement lines and posing but that's about it. I have never claimed to enjoy nitty-gritty battle scenes, but I would have preferred that the action be a bit more . . . well, exciting. As for the background scenery, sure, that was well done but that is only to be expected these days. Even the smallest studio can afford to hire someone to do that.

Voice Acting: 7/10. Generic. I felt nothing for any of the characters in any of the scenes. It wasn't bad, it wasn't good, it was just there. No one shone in their role.

Script: 1/10. I could write a term paper on how much I loathed the so-called "plot" of this show, but I'll save everyone the pain of reading that and just say that it was not well done. I'm sure that those in charge of adapting this drek did the best they could with what they had to work with, but what they had to work is nothing more than a sexually frustrated middle-schooler's poorly written fanfiction.

Music: 3/10. The music was pleasant, but not at all what I would except from Yuki Kaijura. She was the name that drew me to this series in the first place so my expectations were quite high in this department. I don't think words can express my disapointment with this particular OST. For me to say that not a single piece from this show is memorable is worse than saying I dislike it.

Emotional Involvement: 1/10. I liked the blue dragon thing Obligatory Loli Character #1 had as a pet circa episode three until it died. The fact that I was sad to see it die ultimately didn't matter because trope #2358783470 provided the means for it to be brought back to life.

Enjoyment: 0. It's a shame that I cannot assign a negative score to this category. It is rare that I stumble across a show that is legitimately painful to watch. Headaches from rolling one's eyes too many times can be quite uncomfortable. Normally I can still find one or two positive aspects even if I don't like the show entirely. For this show . . . no, I honestly derived no enjoyment from watching it. I would never recommend it to anyone for any reason. I gave it until episode 18 thinking that perhaps the pay-off in the end would make the endurance of earlier episodes worth it, but I simply couldn't continue once the pandering truly kicked into high gear.

Total: 2.8/10

Having said all of that I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I will not pretend to understand why some people enjoy this show because I cannot. I do not think that this show will stand the test of time. As soon as the next "it" thing pops up it will be tossed to the side (and rightly so).

garbage 2012-12-25 08:49

What more can I say, this is my favorite show of the year, (and I do feel there has been good shows this year) and one show where I always look forward to every week for the last half a year. True it has its flaws, but it has never failed to entertain me, and reach my thoughts and/or my heart in every episode. This for me is the most important criteria in any show, :bow:I also think that is why, I enjoyed the last episode so much just seeing all the "old" characters there made my day, just having this feeling of nostalgia and reminiscence. I will truly miss SAO.

Wishing the second season will come soon.;)

Joe_fh 2012-12-25 10:00


Originally Posted by Darsovin (Post 4487041)
It has its flaws, as many others have already pointed out. Many of those I understand and wholeheartedly agree with. But for me at the end of the day those flaws were not enough to sway me from the enthusiasm I had for this show.

As a form of escapism, this show was one of the rare ones I fully dived into. I was there every step of the way. I'll remember the rush of the unveiling of that "Starburst Stream", the tears of Yui's farewell, the rage at Sugou, the heartbreak for Suguha, the blind dash towards the World Tree, and the return of Asuna. It touched all the emotions that I will never forget.

This sums up most of what I have to say.

As a whole it had a lot of flaws - from characters to pacing and plot. I'd usally go "what's the matter with these people" but not here. Here I enjoyed it from the first till the last episode. To be completely honest I'm not entierly sure why I did - as it was said in the quote above me I just fully dived into it. I was completely immersed. That for me happens so rarerly these days that I was as excited as a little kid. So naturally even with its flaws I can't really say anything bad about it - because I enjoyed it so much it's hard to put it into words.

*Overall the animation was good. Wasn't great but it really made you feel the vastness of the world and make you feel part of it - which basically was very important for a number of things - to emphasize the despair in SAO yet the beauty of it, the freedom and hope in ALO and so on. Really great on that part.

The shattering of people when they died was also done very well - a real contrast to everything else in the world, especially the sound. Considering it means someone's mind just got fried - it really helped to make you understand how fragile people were in there and how easy life could be lost.

*The music was awesome. It's true that they overused almost everything and that actually there weren't that many tracks but honestly I loved them all. In my opinion they all fit in so well. The battle theme for example is something I could listen to for hours, especially with its variation like in episode 22 (I think)

*I enjoyed the voice acting as well. There were some scenes that were made really memorable mostly due to the voice acting.

*Won't really go into details about the plot/enjoyment and emotional involvemnt since I sort of covered those at the start.
There were some thing's I didn't like in the plot and from what I've read it could have been done much better.
Either way I enjoyed it immensely. Emotion involvement was right there at the top as well. As I said I completely dived into in from episode one until the end.

I'll be starting the light novel soon in hopes that all the things I didn't like in the plot would be covered better there. We'll see.
Regardless SAO was the most enjoyable anime experience I've had in a log time and I'm glad I didn't miss it.

Megacrash Gr 2012-12-25 11:57

Show's excellent. I like the story which I gave it a 9. Design and animation 9. Overall it's a 9. I do think it's the best anime I've seen this year.

Andrewthelord 2012-12-25 17:12

I will not give a technical assessment.
I'm just saying that this series has attracted me towards empathy and emotions of the characters as happened for Maison Ikkoku, Mirai Shounen Conan and masterpieces of the genre.

10 for me, despite reading the arc of ALO was a torture for me. But having read the novels, i know GGO and especially Mother's Rosary will be great.

Witch of Uncertainty 2012-12-25 20:38

Had some excellent moments.
Had tons of meh moments.
And some terrible moments.

ALFheim was just terrible. I think I hated every single episode, except one in that arc.

Zeydra 2012-12-26 00:40

This year has really been something when it comes to me picking series that start off fantastic and then deteriorate as the show progresses. Not that Sword Art Online was ever truly bad, it just wasn't as good as the show went on.

Be that as it may it was a entertaining watch the entire way through, perhaps not always for the right reasons, but entertaining nevertheless. The animation was top notch and great eye candy, the story had potential that it at times made good on, and the characters were at least likeable with the obvious exception of Sugou. My one main gripe was the music, given the composer was Yuki Kajiura I expected far more from the score than what was done, a few great battle themes aside it sounded pretty lacklustre, however I probably should reserve final judgment on that for when the original soundtracks get released.

Overall a good but nothing great series, and I hope the seemingly inevitable season 2 ups it's form a fair bit. My final score would be 7 out of 10.

NK141 2012-12-26 07:39

What can I say for this anime. This is probably been the best anime I have watched in a long time. I really have nothing bad to say about it except I felt it was a little short. But in saying that, never has an anime I have watched got me so involved, I looked forward to each episode and hit me on so many levels of enjoyment and emotion that I was actually quite sad when I had finished the last episode.

In all I had to give it a 10.

Julio C 2012-12-27 02:42


I do respect your opinion on the show, but I don't understand how you were able to sit through every episode when you simply didn't like it at all. When a show becomes a chore or a pain to sit through 23 mins of watching it, that's when you just cut and dropped it right away. It's a waste of time to force yourself to watch something you don't like at all.

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