Summer First Impressions – Sword Art Online

If ever Sword Art Online manages to  sabotage itself and burst into flames the next episode,  I can go and say: “Well, at least it had a great start.” It does so many things right that it’s easy to forgive it for the little things it does wrong.

First of all, it looks gorgeous. Beautiful,clean visuals and varying frame compositions are always a killer combination. Secondly, it may be too early for Yuki Kajiura to remix Fate/Zero tracks (kidding) but who cares? The score sounds great.

The actual content of the first episode is just as good. They went all out with the mystery and intrigue without sacrificing the time needed to subtly flesh out our protagonist, Kirito. This could’ve easily been a disaster, but Sword Art Online successfully manages to keep itself engaging despite unanswered questions concerning ~*excretory activities*~ and the like.

SAO also does a great job at portraying how disoriented and helpless these players are, the danger is there. I tend to whine about how too many shows need to stop taking themselves too seriously, but SAO is one of those few shows I think is  better off doing just that.

I don’t have a real complaint other than that the first half had a lot of exposition and seemed slow but the characters’ personalities (particularly Klein) shined through that segment.

This is the first real summer show that I found to be compelling, but I’m simply going to stay cautiously optimistic until the next episode. The cynic in me says that it just may be too good to be true.

P.S: I know I should stop changing layouts but I like this so I might stick with it for a while.

P.P.S: Vote for which summer show you want me to blog! SAO is currently in the lead.

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  1. I think I’ve reached saturation point with Yuki Kajiura. She did a great job with Madoka Magica and Kara no Kyoukai, but Fate/Zero’s soundtrack zigzagged between great and mediocre tracks, and Sword Art Online’s OST struck me as pretty bland overall on first listen. Not bad, but lacking soul or gristle or anything resembling a distinctive character other than Yuki Kajiura-ness.

    That said, I liked the rest of this episode a lot! The conceit is genuinely terrifying (even if it’s pretty unlikely) and that moment where the protagonist and his friend parted ways was legitimately poignant in a way that I think bodes pretty well for the episodes to come. The Sword Art Online novels are pretty highly regarded, so hopefully this’ll turn out to be at least entertaining, and at best top-notch blockbuster entertainment. We’ll see!

    • I haven’t listened to a lot of Yuki Kajiura works, but the first few seconds of SAO had me wondering if I had the right file open.

      Being able to make a highly unlikely situation believable is usually a good indication of whether or not the writing is good. That scene at the end was a great way to end the episode, it reminded me a lot of Battle Royale. I hope it’ll continue to entertain and surprise!

  2. I don’t really get all the Yuki Kajiura whiplash going on in the aniblogsphere, but then again she is my favorite composer, thanks to Pandora Hearts.

    Sword Art Online ep 1 was all right, I thought. I’ll definitely give it credit for having a very focused first episode, though. Many stories try to cram too much all at once at the beginning, but SAO did well to just stick with the two characters and the main premise.
    That said, it still felt very generic, though the production values may keep me going for at least a couple more eps, to see if its story can hook me.

  3. Sword Art Online has been another surprise. I expected a regular RPG anime, but the animation looks really good and the story could go places. Wonder how it’ll turn out.

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