|LLCoolK in action|
Despite how much I have professed my love for Neon Genesis Evangelion, I have still been quite reticent to do a full-dive into the world of anime. Oh sure, I've watched a few episodes of the silly shows on Netflix like Rosario + Vampire and Fairy Tale (for clarification, both were funny and entertaining), but something has always been holding me back from getting completely into anime.
Maybe it's because I don't particularly like reading subtitles, so all anime I watch will be English-dubbed. And RIGHT there, I just lost pretty much everyone. Or maybe it's the fact that a lot of anime fans are, quite frankly, weird as hell and I don't want to be lumped into that fringe group? And right there I just lost everyone else, heh.
|The best and only anime romance I've seen all year|
But no, I'm sure the reason I haven't given anime a fair shake is probably because I would really like a lot of it and I simply don't have the time for dozens upon dozens of new shows right now. Enter Sword Art Online. I don't know why I started it, to be honest. The reviews I saw were middling at best, I don't like MMOs, and I'm not known to watch random anime on a whim. But I slogged through the first episode anyway, unimpressed. At the end, I made an important decision to carry on, and before I knew it, I was 19 episodes closer to the end and had eight hours less to call my own.
The plot of SAO is unique, albeit not THAT unique. It's just interesting enough to keep you watching. For those of you that don't know, it's about a boy named Kirito who is stuck in a virtual reality MMO by its madman creator, and if you die in the game, you die for real! Que Frankie Munez movie, Stay Alive. Throughout the series, however, I really became attached to Kirito, his love interest Asuna, and their beautifully blossoming relationship. It's surprisingly heartfelt and real, despite the anime contrivances and sitcom-like situations they sometimes wind up in.
The voicework is excellent, and the translation, while suffering from a few silly moments (sometimes the script reads like an ad for MMOs: "And THAT is what makes MMOs so fun to play!"), for the most part is stellar. The animation is standard, but effective, the music is repetitive, yet rousing, and the storyline drastically shifts around 15 episodes in to provide a fresh change of pace. This kept me from getting bored and was actually a big proponent of keeping me glued to the TV for eight literal hours.
To say that Sword Art Online is perfect would be dishonest. It's not. Not even close. But what it has done is give me all kinds of warm fuzzies in my dank, cold, heart-region, and any show that can do that is A-OK in my book.