Friday, 12 September 2014

Thoughts on Sword Art Online

To be completely honest, this post was due two years ago, but back then I never would've thought Sword Art Online would've turned into what it is today. Since it's become such a big thing, though, and I'm in the mood to do a bit of writing, I thought I'd share my two cents.

So, first thing's first - Sword Art Online is shit. This is the point where I lose all of the narrow-minded SAO sheep, and good riddance. Now, knowing me, I wouldn't make a claim like this if I didn't have anything to say afterwards, but to understand all of this we'll have to rewind a little. Here's my history with SAO.

Quite a few years ago, a good friend of mine messaged me on MSN (rip msn) and told me about this light novel series he was reading. He said it was called Sword Art Online, and it was about a guy that got stuck in a game. I was also informed that it was due to be getting an anime soon. This piqued my intrest, but not to the extent where I would immediately pick up the novels and begin reading.

A few months later, though, purely on whim, I decided I'd take a look at the novels. Mind you, this was still before the SAO anime had even been confirmed. So over the course of the nothern hemisphere's summer of 2011, I spent a good amount of time literally staring at PNGs on my screen comprising solely text, and I must admit, I quite enjoyed it.

Sword Art Online didn't have the "deep symbolism" that Madoka and Evangelion boasted, nor did it show any evidence Nisio's witty dialogue like Bakemonogatari did, but nonetheless, it was fun. This is where I like to draw the distiction between something being "enjoyable" and something being "good", but that's a story for another time.

In fact, I became quite obsessed with it. Back then, though, SAO was rather obscure and finding any relevant media was a pain. The only things I could indulge in were the five or so coloured pages in the books, and the render right above this paragraph. Those were literally the only resources available. However, I wasn't deterred by this, and I went on to make several wallpapers, forum signatures and a cover for the folder I used at school with this image. There was even a bout of time where I was quite obsessed with Asuna, up to the point where I was looking for merchandise to buy and trying to get people to cosplay as her (never again).

Now that all of this "good stuff" has been said about SAO, you're probably wondering why I'm calling it shit. You see, the thing is, even though I liked it so much, I probably knew deep down that it was just some self-insert wish-fulfilment bullshit that I was geting into. In and of itself, the story had numerous holes, the main character has a several-mile-thick suit of plot armour and it's overall design was meant to pander people who would fall victim to that - people like me.

See, although I liked it, it was just a spur of the moment thing. I read up to around chapter 6 or 7, then I kind of just got bored and stopped. As fickle as I am, this isn't anything surprising, and for a few months afterward, any and all thoughts of Sword Art Online were long forgotten, never to reveal my power level.

And then the anime aired.

I'd all but forgotten about the entire franchise, but I was pleasantly surprised when I was looking through the list of anime for the coming season and found Sword Art Online. I sat in for a shitty livestream of the initial airing (even though I could've just gone to the living room and turned on my TV) and prepared mydickself.

Man, was I disappointed. It may have been partly due to the terrible stream quality I sat through, but at the end of the first episode, I figured the production quality was garbage. It was. SAO doesn't really have much going for it. The story is mediocre and all of the characters are 100% cookie cutter products, but when you think about all of the possible sword fights and special abilities, you'd think a lot of money would be invested in the animation quality. It wasn't.

To be fair, the OST was pretty good, but I'd rather not turn this into a full-fledged review of the anime. Staying on the same train of thought, the anime was really disappointing. Although the novels I read were just the products of a pretentious author translated by some faggots on the internet, they were somewhat enjoyable. The anime that adapted these novels hardly did them justice. They weren't even that good to begin with, and not being able to meet even that standard is quite something.

It was condensed as fuck, leaving out only the good things, effort was put into all the wrong places, and people liked it. As narcissistic as it may seem, yes, I don't like it because other people like it. There's a bit more to it than that, though, so bear with me for a bit.

Shitty taste isn't uncommon - in fact, it's quite the opposite. But, when people go around preaching about how "SAO is the best anime ever!! ecks dee!!11!1!!" when pretty much every other anime exists, it gets really annoying, and I know I'm not the only one who thinks like this. Then, when you have someone like me, who enjoyed the SAO novels to some extent, some problems begin to arise.

First, if I say I liked SAO, I'm immediately grouped with the retarded pre-teen fanboys. If I say I don't, those retarded pre-teen fanboys start crying and shitting their pants. But when I try to explain myself this way, I'm just labelled as a hipster faggot (which I can't exactly deny). It's a loss either way, so I opt to just be honest and give it straight to save myself the trouble.

In the end, I'm basically just trying to justify my own delusions, and I'm not doing a very good job of it. Regardless, I'm being different just for the sake of being different - a hipster faggot, if you will - and if I wasn't, I wouldn't be writing this blog.

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