I finally finished watching Sword Art Online this weekend after a whole month of putting it off because I was busy. When I turned off the television and went straight to MAL to update my list, I also started checking out all the posts about the series that I had ignored while I was watching it in order to stay spoiler-free. And basically…well…they weren’t so great. Of course, then I was hooked. I had to check out a bunch of reviews and nicely edited youtube videos about the show. And while I got a lot of inspiration from all the bloggers/youtubers I checked out, the consensus was clear: nobody likes this show. At least nobody liked it enough to say, “YES THIS SHOW IS SO GREAT, I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD WATCH IT RIGHT NOW!!11”
Well…I liked it. And I would recommend people to watch it, and not because it’s a train wreck.
Apparently, you have to be a gamer to really love (or really loathe, depending on who you’re talking to) this show. But I’m not a gamer. I’ve never played one of those MMORPG games in my life. I don’t even know what MMORPG means. I don’t even know how to pronounce it. Still, I liked this show. Do you want to know why?
I felt something for the characters.
I hear you already. You’re rolling your eyes at me while saying, “Hey, Glitterbots! The characters were the WORST PART other than the time skips/plot holes/second half of the series! Are you a moron?” I didn’t say I liked the characters, I said I felt something for them.
Take away the gaming plot. Take away Kirito attempting to be the best SAO player ever~. Take away the fact that Asuna dumped her independent nature and became a love sick puppy dog. Do you want to know what Sword Art Online is? It’s a freaking love story.
STOP! SPOILER TIME!
Let’s be real. It’s not about being trapped in a game. That ended once the sense of urgency for having people die in real life stopped. It’s not about some dude’s quest to be the very best (like no one ever was…). It’s not about some creeper obsessed with getting with some girl in a hospital who is in a coma. It’s about Kirito and Asuna falling in love and staying in love despite their situation.
Yes, most of their development had to have taken place during time skips. But you know what? We don’t need to see their third date or the twentieth time they kissed. Sometimes you just know you’re in love and when you’re there…well. You get this:
From this point on, all Kirito wants to do is protect the one he loves. When Asuna remains trapped in the game, he doesn’t let her go. He uses any method he can to not only bring her back to the real world, but to keep her safe from Sugo. He almost slits that creeper’s throat! He is a boy in love, and nothing is going to hold him back. I don’t really care that he has to jump into some bizarro fairy land to be with his girlfriend again. I’d watch him reading to her while she was in the hospital bed if that’s what the producers decided to animate. Once Kirito and Asuna fall for one another, forget the adventure and the game and even the ridiculous subplot with his sister/not-so-sister. Sword Art Online is a straight up romance, and I want Kirito and Asuna to be together forever.
I’m not going to get into the ending until I hit my Anime Mondays post for the week, but for now, I’ve said my piece. Call it shit all you want, but I like SAO for what it is. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic or a firm believer in chivalry. Or maybe I’m just a moron. But I could give a crap about hit points and dragons and fairy wing acceleration. I just felt my heart thump a little bit harder every time Kirito shed a tear because he was so smitten with his girlfriend. I’m a sap, I’ll readily admit it, and I was crying every time he did. I realize that I am looking past a great many flaws, here, but I’ve yet to see anything that’s perfect. This may be less perfect than most, but I still enjoyed it. So, yes, I like Sword Art Online.
There you have it.
Featured image from animevice.com.