Sword Art Online 2 ReviewKatrina Hummel
Sword Art Online 2, produced by the same studio, A-1 Pictures and sitting at 24 episodes, is set one year after the events of the first Sword Art Online. SAO 2 covers the events of volumes 5 and 6 of the light novels. Kazuto and Asuna have resumed their normal lovey dovey life in the real world while occasionally meeting with their friends and playing Alfheim Online. However soon some suspicious deaths begin occurring in another MMO called Gun Gale Online, and Kikuoka Seijiro, the Ministry of Internal Affairs guy who was part of helping save the people from SAO, requests Kazuto, as his character Kirito to investigate. Here in GGO, he meets new allies, and must find the secret behind how the player Death Gun kills people with heart failure from inside a video game.
Oh, so Im watching Death Note? What do you mean this isnt Death Note? Theres a guy whos giving people fatal heart attacks without actually being there, thats Death Note right? is what I first thought. Turns out its NOT Death Note, despite the striking similarities at first. I was scared it would just be a virtual game of cat and mouse, but pleasantly it was not. I have a lot of good and bad things to say about SAO 2. The plot for it is pretty much the same as SAO. Some crazy dude just wants to cause trouble, and Kirito has to save the day. Surrounded by females. Of course. Now theres nothing wrong with harem anime, but for the love of everything sacred, please dont make him actually be in a relationship with Asuna if EVERY of female character who are their mutual friends keep hitting on him. Like really. That is the most annoying thing about SAO 2 that kept irritating me. Okay now that Ive got that off my chest, the actions of the GGO arc are great, pretty generic, theres a couple good plot twists that I dont want to spoil here. The trauma that Sinon has I thought was really interesting at first, but they kinda got shoved down your throat with too many flash backs, but thats wrapped up nicely so I can forgive it. My favorite part of SAO 2 though was the third arc, when Asuna impresses the greatest sword fighter in the entire game and is recruited to help their guild, The Sleeping Knights, take down a floor boss with a heck of a lot fewer players than recommended. I think that arc was the best part and oh my god the feels. Just.. Be ready with those tissues guys. Im not kidding.
Kirito. Kirito. You need to stop having such cheesy lines. I know what youre trying to do, but oh man, I got second hand embarrassment from some of the things you were saying. The line where he goes You dont die alone, when you die a little part of you lives on in someone else, and you already live within me! or some other puke inducing line like that. We all know Kirito is a boss with a blade, but this is a MMO based around guns, you should choose a gun. No.. Kirito put the light saber down... Guh he picked the light saber. And of course against all odds hes a freaking god with it. In a game based around ranged weapons, Kirito still manages to use that super human speed and block bullets and stuff. I was on the edge of my seat with sparkly eyes going COOOOOOL!!!!! and then it occurred to me how ridiculous it was.... Still cool though. Oh, also because he copied his character from a different game, he gets a special avatar. A.. Very special.. Female looking avatar. Funny things ensue when Kirito realizes he can get a lot of things he wants by pretending to be a girl, it also gets him in trouble! Oh the troubles of the female gamer. Maybe he understands them a bit better?
Sinon is a really cool character, shes got her flaws in the real world. Mostly involving some trauma she had to go through as a child which cause her to become terrified of guns. She started playing GGO as a sort of.. Therapy to her trauma. And look, it worked for the most part. In the game shes not afraid of guns at all and is one of the best snipers in the whole game.
Asuna was the coolest Ive ever seen her at the beginning of the Sleeping Knights arc. This arc was mainly focused on her and her friendship with the mysterious super strong swordsman Yuuki. Well, shes really a spunky little girl. We get a really good glimpse at Asunas life in the real world. She is after all, a rich girl with a lot of responsibilities and pressure put on her by her family. Her conversations with her mom, and how she gets her mom to finally listen to her I thought was really clever, and really sweet. The interactions with Yuuki and their friendship though is truly beautiful. They only just met but their friendship became incredibly strong.
The other characters are there, mostly just being them selves and not contributing anything else to the story except their cute faces. Which is a real shame, because I think Klein is a bit more of an interesting character than some of our mains honestly.
Holy crap the animation budget for this must have been HUGE! Everything is well animated, but the most striking parts were the battles. I had to rewind and rewatch some of the battles because they were just so beautiful. There werent a massive amount of battles, but they were such a treat when they happened. The back grounds were well crafted and not distracting, they set the scenes very well. Im sure there was a ton of CGI used, but I honestly I noticed it a few times, and even then it was so nicely cel shaded that it wasnt obnoxious at all.
The sound track was really well placed. The action parts having action sounding music, and the emotional parts having equally heart wrenching music to just twist that extra tear out of you. The music never really seemed distracting and was just there adding to the scene.
Overall I liked Sword Art Online 2, it had its amazing moments and it had its moments I was struggling to get through the whole episode. It dealt with human emotions and trauma a lot, which made the characters seem so real. Ultimately, it made me think about technology and how we use it today a lot. Particularly, how when one enters a virtual world, some people can turn into bullies, or completely different people than how they are in the real world. This is what the villain of SAO 2 made me realize about human existence, some people can be naturally good or evil, and it may become more pronounced when under the veil of a game where one is anonymous. I admit, Ive gotten into a few online fights with no worries over any repercussions because no one knew who I was. This is the same thing, but what happens when a virtual world becomes tangled into the real world? I would recommend anyone to watch this, but dont focus on actions too much, focus on what they mean. When I started watching it with this frame of mind, it became a lot more interesting.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.
"Hello! I'm Katrina, a senior in college and major in Japanese. My interests include anime and Japan, but recently also drawing and guitar. I'm looking forward to doing a lot of anime reviews!"
About the Author: Katrina Hummel
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