Sword Art Online is still on the 4th episode but since I fully read the light novel I thought I should make a comment of what has already been shown. There are spoilers in this review so please wait for the full anime review of this when the first season is finished if you do not want to read spoilers.
After reading the novels I had great expectations of this anime. Despite this, watching the first episode made me think that it they are trying to rush into the climax of the novel and skipping the details.
|Kirito's first kill. :D|
|Asuna being awesome!|
This made me feel that this is episodic as the second and third episodes are both two different side stories. But one thing I felt uncomfortable about was that in the second episode he boasts about going solo and puts on a black coat to show that but turned 180 to join a guild in this episode? This episode was better than the last one as it introduced a new character and also showed some more romance. It was obvious what was going to happen but it still surprises you when you see them get killed like that. This episode was truly sad but I feel that it could've been better if they made finished this in 2 episodes instead of 1 as we couldn't see the guild members enough to feel much emotion when they got killed. Another thing is when we saw the guild leader suicide. You would expect that he would be a bit nervous and start to chicken out but he calmly did it with no hesitation.
|This is Santa in a MMORPG|
|Sad moment to see...|
This episode might've been my favorite episode since episode 1. Kirito was more kind hearted here than in the light novel. This doesn't keep up his solo look as it was supposed to be right now but I felt that it was a good change. I am guessing they made him more kind because Kirito said she resembled his sister. Also, when he gave Silica a set of armor and items I felt nostalgic as I gave new players in my guild my hand me downs. Not only that, there was also the power-leveling Kirito did for Silica when he weakened the monsters and let her kill it. I did that a lot when I was a high level, either helping my friends alts or just new players.
PlotNot the best plot and it could've been better since being trapped in a game isn't the newest idea around but we shouldn't forget that the author was 15 when he first made this. If I had to explain the anime to a person that didn't watch or read this yet I would say :
"It is about a teenager that is madly in love with gaming and was one of the lucky few to be a beta-tester for a VRMMORPG. He played this game non stop every day. The beta finished and when the finished game came out they sent him the game for free for being a beta tester. Of course he started up the game instantly and was one of the first 10,000 to login to the game. But in this case, he was unlucky. While trying to log out of the game he couldn't find the logout button in the menu. Everyone thought it was a bug until they got teleported the the starting city. All 10,000 people were here and to their surprise the GM showed up. He explained that they were stuck in this game until they finished all 100 floors of the game. If in the 2 months of beta testing they had gotten up to only the 7th floor with 1,000 players, who knows when they will be able to finish this game. The catch is, when you die in the game, you also die in the real world."
When explained like this, you find it simple. Not an unpredictable plot. But, as I said in the episode 1 review, the execution here made this anime much more better. I don't want to go into what I already said but the execution is important for any anime. No matter how good the plot may be, if the execution of it is bad then you will not feel anything about that plot at all. If I put it into efficiency then let's say there is an anime with mediocre plot and there is one with an amazing plot. If the one that is mediocre is executed well then it can use it's plot at about 90% efficiency, maybe more or less depending on how well it got executed. However, if the one with an amazing plot got executed badly, it will only be 40% efficient. I hope that you guys will understand from that as I think that I just sounded idiotic when I introduced physics into anime.
ArtworkWhen I started watching this I was amazed by it's visuals. The art is great and the animation is amazing. I thought that the character designs were all done very well but it seemed to me that the background needed a bit more animation. In some fights though, you can notice they skip some frames. These two animation errors I found are probably due to the fact this is budgeted. I hope that they can get more budget after a few more episodes as I love the art and wonder how much better it would be.
MusicAnyone that knows who Yuki Kajiura is will already know that the music is amazing. Yuki Kajiura is one of the best and she didn't let us down in SAO either. The music fit the scenes beautifully adding another layer of excitement. The OP/ED were generic but who says generic is bad? I think that they fit the anime very well and hope that the next ones are also just as good or better.
Additional CommentsWatching this anime after having read the light novel made me reminisce about the things I read. I immediately knew when some content of the light novel was skipped or not and even what was changed. Another thing that I would like to say that shows the difference of a light novel and an anime IMO is that I felt the feelings that the author was trying to convey more in the light novel but in the anime I felt much more excitement.
One thing that I would like everyone to know is that this anime being rushed, the way that in some scenes you can see still frames and the background being barely animated is all due to the fact that this is a budgeted anime. This is a problem with many anime and due to this the anime will not be able to completely follow the light novel. I hope that people will be able to understand this and not end up hating this anime for those cons.
Thank you all for reading all this. Longest review I made up till now as I just loved the SAO light novels. Even if you didn't like the anime, I hope you will still read the light novels.
My review for these 4 episodes is 8/10. I expected to give better when I compare it to the light novel but I just can't simply overlook the rushing and the things that made me sad to see.