Overlooking the unexplained, Sword Art Online feels full of momentum and thunder in the making – not merely our protagonist, but a massive sector of populace go from normal living, to at death’s edge, instantly.
Apparently, Sword Art Online is the ultimate in MMO gaming – within the real world of our protagonist, people are awaiting it much like how Americans feverishly rage in anticipation for a game on killing terrorists. Yet in any case, the situation with Sword Art Online is that it is being limited to a sale of 10,000 units – meaning that all those campers who wait several days outside a store to make the purchase are likely to be the only ones securing the game, which unfortunately for them, turns out to be quite a regrettable decision.
To play Sword Art Online, one must wear a helmet – at which point they will enter the world’s first completely virtual environment, a place our protagonist enters, and is apparently quite familiar with. He’s played the beta when it released – and now, he’s excited to be enjoying the final product, a sensation which won’t last long.
As he runs around confidently and pleased, feeling as if set free within this world where he believes he has more significance – another fellow of the game chases after him, noticing that our protagonist is rather versed in his motion.
From there on, the two become friends within the game – yet only shortly afterward, come to see that no button exists to exit, or in other words, “log out”. And subsequently, the two are, as is everyone within this cyber space, teleported unwillingly to a central plaza where “the game master” makes his overly dramatic appearance – having not much of a real life, the “game master” has seemingly made himself the essence of super fantastic within the game, Sword Art Online.
Feeling himself high and mighty, the “game master” announces his evil deeds to the community he’s apparently now imprisoned – the absence of a means of escaping the game is part of Sword Art Online. He purposefully trapped them all within – and any single effort to escape will inevitably result in their death. The single method of returning to reality, as ordained by the “game master”, is to successfully clear the title and then head home. And of course, to win the game, one must go through some ridiculously over the top degree of obstacles.
Now sadly, there’s already a few major flaws – one would think that if these individuals can’t remove the helmets, or essentially do anything in reality till defeating the game, they would face expiration from thirst or hunger. Additionally, one has to wonder how a man who has taken the lives of thousands hostage is somehow evading all the advanced law enforcement technology of the year 2022. Neither of those facets ruin this series in any way – yet they do make it feel more a novelty than anything, especially with A-1 Pictures’ not-so-impressive recycled artwork.
In spite of everything, the plot has escalated from a point of nothing, to a life threatening contention for survival in which our protagonist, who thankfully is no generic highschooler, is heavily determined to win. That’s the point where we’re left off at with the conclusion of this first episode – and the potential feels nearly infinite from here, though uncertain. This series may still wobble off course, though if it keeps up at the current rate – all will be certainly beyond well.
Note that nothing feels particularly grand about this series save for the story – the music and visuals don’t strike with any specific feelings, yet this is actually a strength in the case of Sword Art Online. The characters, as well as the story, are immensely intense and captivating – both receiving heavy development, and one can sympathize and understand each thus far. And because other elements are more faded and weak, it allows for the stronger areas to stand out heavily – like putting a blotch of black paint on pure white canvas.
Furthermore, while one would think the RPGs of 2022 would look far superior than Sword Art Online’s own graphics, nonetheless, the setting being a game makes them rather fitting in that they’re at the very least, vivid and distinct – not to mention it’s also “the world’s first ever” virtual whatnot, meaning lacking visuals could be considered part of the game itself. It’s an excuse, though it works.
Nothing managed to send a riveting sensation during the basic unfolding moments of the series – one could feel the heightening tensity, yet it wasn’t too thrilling the mind. However, to witness the short segment past the credits, a slew of passing already, it becomes something else entirely – and then it hits indeed, this series has one entrapped much like the protagonist. If it continues operating at this pace, one will basically be stuck to the end – just like the protagonist and friends.