Anime: Sword Art Online – Episode 1 Summary + Review

“100 levels?! Sure.. I can finish that, but how many seasons do I have?”

(Handy for slicing pizzas..)

Studio: A-1 Pictures

Genre: Game, MMO, Fantasy, Sc-Fi, Age: 13+

Released: 6th July 2012 – onwards

Sword Art Online is an MMO that players can experience by connecting to a nerve-linking system that will make the world feel real to the players.

After completing the beta Kirito is eager to play this newly populated world. He thinks he’s got things covered, but Sword Art is about to reveal a terrible, perilous secret..

(Castle? In the sky? Oh whyy??~#)

Set in a multi-level game, Sword Art is a beautiful and large world.

(Speed dating goes MMO)

Recently populated, everyone stats off in “The Town of Beginnings”. This is where the new players gather.

Kirito, although experienced with the Beta-testing, also starts off the with the basic level of points given to new players.

(Nah, man, I’m not not giving you my number)

His experience singles him out to Klein, a newcomer, who wants a quick tutorial since he’s struggling.

(I just want a tutorial… you know what I mean..)

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Klein’s voice; he’s played by Hiroaki Hirata, a.k.a Wild Tiger from last year’s Tiger and Bunny!

(This is our DINNER!!!)

Klein eventually gets the hang of fighting in this world, which is good.

I wasn’t happy about the tutorial that the person watching would have to sit through. It’s annoying enough in games, never mind in anime when you have no control over skill level. Thankfully it was short.

(Is no-one wondering why the pointy-thingies haven’t toppled yet?)

During the tutorial, I actually found my eyes lingering on the background. The environment design is really beautiful and interesting.

(Worship me mini-mortals. I rule your asses now…)

Anyways, after finding out that there’s no log-out button in the menu, both Kirito and Klein are transported to the town center.

In there, the creator of Sword Online claims that it’s just become some kind of hideous competition where players will DIE if they don’t complete the game; both in the game and real-life.

The only way to stay alive is to complete the game to pass through the 100 levels.

(Aww man, I play MMOs to escape the dweebiness..)

Also… everyone’s reverted to their original looks, rather their character avatar.

I was disappointed that Kirito returns to his baby-faced visage. He looked much more capable before… but I guess the vulnerability is a point.

(The new iPhone was pretty tough to figure out..)

Kirito invites Klein to come with him to the next town where they would have better chance of surviving and getting resources. Klein refuses, but tells Kirito thanks anyway.

Overall, I wasn’t expecting this to be half as interesting as it was!

Last season’s Accel World didn’t have the speed for world building, even if it did have interesting characters. This feels so much slicker, and the story pace is a definite positive. Add to the lush visuals and likable characters and I think I’ll definitely be keeping up with this.

You know what else it reminded me of? ReBoot! One of my favourite series when I was younger, but is obviously old now. It only involved one player traveling across many worlds; Sword Art Online is a bit more epic feeling.

The chilling message at the end… “2000 players died in the first month, without completing the first level”… Ouch. In a good way!

Rated – 3.5/5 Good concept, good story, good characters. Can’t wait to see where this goes.

See the next episode!

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