An elemental workshop.

Nearing launch, Sword Art Online isn’t merely attempting to reel in otaku by advertising offline – key visual illustrations of the protagonist pair have been released, and these stunning artworks raise eyebrows.

They do so for two reasons, first of all through their aesthetic pleasure provided – secondly, they seem to rewrite expectations of the series just a bit as there is a curious absence of clothes in the panned-in visage illustrations.

Notice how the facial close-ups have bare skinned shoulders – is this perhaps simply as these illustrations are facially exclusive, making there no need to at least roughly sketch some attire? Or could this actually imply that Sword Art Online is to contain nudity? We’re led to think the latter as one can see that our hero is properly dressed in a few of his up-close shots. The significance in this is that one is left pondering what role going au naturel will play in this series – though captivation occurs either way whether clothing is present or not.

While it’s name certainly caught our interest, that was about as far as we cared for “Sword Art Online” – at least until these amazing key visuals were released, unveiling a cast one is sure to love simply for their looks if nothing else. The girl is spectacularly attractive through an elegant yet post-modern vibe – and as for the guy, well he has some nice swords, you can’t deny that.

Looking first at our hero in this upcoming story named after online based artwork of swords, his attire does him well. He sports a fashionable selection of slate colored articles trimmed in a near-white grey hue – atop all being his trenchcoat which has a simple yet stylish pattern formed by a buckle and the trim, and underneath, he wears several other shades of grey in the form of a standard shirt, pants, and a belt. His apparel is suited for his craft – the artwork is detailed enough to recognize the texture of the textiles, and his clothing is clearly engineered for action.

This can be understood by the loose nature of it all, as well as the combination and composition of clothing items themselves – the shirt alone is a dead giveaway. Though even more awe-striking, and simply due to a facet diminutive yet powerful in effect, take a look at our hero’s side profile – observe the lines of his waist from the left, it’s incredible to see how the clothing acts in response to his physical makeup, as well as the layering of it on top of other items of dress, bulging ever so slightly outward.

That’s simply one example of the many expert applied finer features of this fellow – we’re proud such a well-designed male character will be leading the series.

As for the female, she’s quite divine in appearance – adorned in white robes which are further decorated in various insignia of a sanguine red. This red follows through the entirety of her outfit for the trim and tinier ornate additions – yet it also serves as the hue of her skirt. A rather intriguing trait of her vestments is how the lower half, her skirt, is reminiscent to that of a seifuku – whereas the upper portion is more of a religious, or some sort of organizational garb as one can understand by the markings over it.

Focusing on her head, her hair’s far from revolutionary – yet it is however a style rarely seen, anime or otherwise. Now considering the color of her hair, a lovely blonde, with the hue of her eyes, another scarcely seen characteristic of luminous orange, this makes for a bishoujo with one truly beautiful visage.

Indeed do the characters of Sword Art Online look fantastic, that we’ve easily established – however the point of question remains when examining the key visuals, why do the characters go without clothes? We’ll have to wait and see what this peculiarly titled anime will entitle – yet as a final note, we’d not mind at all to see more of those sexy swords undressed and in action.


  • Anonymous says:

    Judging from the novels, I think that the nudity will be minimal.

    It SHOULD focus more in the MMORPG and action aspect of the death-game anime.

    • Seven says:

      Ah, so there will be some after all.

      What bothers me is why the facial close-ups nearly all lack clothing – this struck me as shocking as that is very rare in a respectable series, and the last time I’ve seen such a thing was for Queen’s Blade.

    • gargamesh says:

      “It SHOULD focus more in the MMORPG and action aspect of the death-game anime.”

      the anime staff of SAO should have followed this Anon’s Advice.

  • skylion says:

    They both looks so very edible.

  • skylion says:

    Despite my professed eating habit, I have to say, I do really like the character design. As expected from the folks that brought us Working!? Looks like they nudged the facial features around a bit, a few more lines where Working!? had more curves. I see some of Yashiro in the female lead. And a bit of our favorite dirt-digger in the male. Like the Winter 2012 season, I’m dipping my big toe into nearly everything that comes out this spring. I have some hopes for this one. No interest in the game.

    • Seven says:

      “Like the Winter 2012 season, I’m dipping my big toe into nearly everything that comes out this spring.”

      I’ve been doing that since last spring – having managed to come across Steins;Gate because of it, I can say it’s quite a good strategy.

  • Anonymous says:

    There’s one chapter in the novel that features a very NSFW scene, but I doubt it’ll be included in the anime. That’s because that chapter was a web-only version. The published novel didn’t include it.

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