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The Funny Thing About Sword Art Online Is...
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Posted 4/16/14

sonic720 wrote:


windsagio wrote:
It's also shallow, poorly thought out, the characters are cardboard cutouts, and the plotting is embarrassing.

-- Actaully Avatar would be a good example too.


So, I think it's fine to love SAO and enjoy it for what it is, but not pretend it's something it's not.


You say this, though, as if everyone should see SAO the same way as you. What it is to you, may not be what it is to someone else. For you it may seem shallow and the characters might be too generic, but for me it was not. I agree the pacing and some moments were poorly planned out, but other than that it delivered a positive core message I found appealing. I find the story in Aincrad pretty darn compelling. The development of Kirito and Asuna from being self absorbed, with a survival of the fittest mentality, to caring about other people was a major theme that I found moving and relatable. I found it very much a coming of age story, but in a more dire situation than normal life. The death game necessitates they make major life decisions quickly, and the ramifications of those decisions are a burden they struggle with until they come to a place of acceptance with themselves and their flaws.

On the outside Kirito and Asuna may appear outgoing and strong at first glance, but inwardly they are bitter and broken. They both have trust issues and family issues that many viewers may relate with from their own teen years. Kirito even touches on the fact you can lose your self to the game if you think what you do inside it does not affect who you are outside. He learns this fact the hard way because he believes the lie at first and goes down that path only to find it a dead end. Asuna was his light out of despair just as much as he was hers. They both helped each other realize the value of life and the importance of how they treat others regardless of the setting.

I was not a fan of them using the sister/cousin trope for Suguha, but she did act as a major catalyst in the second arc for much of Kirito's introspection and ultimate maturation. At its core SAO is a story about bonds and friendship to me. Kirito does not value companionship or family at the start, but ultimately learns you need not be blood related to have a meaningful relationship with someone.


I'll give you Sugou being a cardboard cut out, however, as his motivations appear pretty shallow with no back story to them; though, sadly, people like him do exist in this world. And that was kind of the point of his character, to contrast with the matured version of Kirito who values others and does not seek to exploit them for personal gain. It was a bit too extreme of a contrast, though, and I'd agree Sugou should have been introduced with more subtlety than him being straight up deranged for no apparent reason.


Similar arguments have been made about Star Wars, which is widely considered a classic.

Cutting everything aside, I think it comes down to this.

1) For various reasons some people like it and some don't on it's face.
2) Say what you like, it's written as if it's author were a 15 year old boy -- because he was.
3) If you like it you'll overlook the flaws and emphasize the positives, and if you don't vice-versa.



So that being said, I'm gonna refocus on what the OP is all about: They really ludicrous plot holes around NerveGear and whatsisname the mass murderer.

About nerveGear; I"m trying to think of a legit case where that argument has been used successfully. "Yes, this was used to fry the brains of 3000 people, and another 7000 are still in a coma. Still, we have NEW SECURITY that means it won't happen again!" By all acounts, whatever the new version is called was being developed during the events of the first arc . How would that ever be allowed to happen, especially DURING the tragedy?

About the Tragedy: This is the worst non-warcrime in the history of Humanity- by FAR. Not only are people fairly ok with what happened, the psychopath that caused it is almost an ally by the end of the second arc... and his underaged victims just shrug.

About the aftermath: Granting the fact that the completed MC tech was secret, there's essentially no way nobody else thought of the idea. Kirito knows this. He still not only releases the tech into the world in an utterly unsupervised/unregulated state, he also re-enters the worlds himself... the worlds he KNOWS can be used to brainwash and possibly murder someone (security safeguards can be hacked too, or a good memory erasure would do a good enough trick). That's not brave or heroic, that's just stupid.

Also about the aftermath: One of the reasons the characters feel hollow to me is because they're barely even phased by the hideously traumatic experiences they've had and are even eager to expose themselves to those worlds again. That's honestly pretty insane... and depending on their ages at the end there, some of them are still minors. Where are there parents, is neglect that rampant?


Really though, at least for me, I enjoyed the show on a "Pretty fun" level, even most of Alfheim. It wasn't until things broke down so badly at the end that my attitude was soured -- which (along with the damselling issue) got me thinking really heavily about the tropes and narrative that I've ranted about so much in the past months.

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Posted 4/16/14

MKingman wrote:

Interesting. It's good to have that solidified as it was never quite clear whether or not it was meant to be taboo. I wonder what the common perception is in Japan, and if there isn't still a stigma attached to relationships with cousins??

I don't know about the perception, but in practice, it rarely happens. According to this site, cousin marriages account for only 4 in 1000 marriages in Japan (but that is 4 times the rate of the US).

I do note I've never seen any other character in an anime play the "But she/he is you cousin" card to discourage the relationship, which we've certainly seen brought up with closer biological relationships.

Frankly, in most anime, the cousin might as well be the childhood friend when it comes to romantic interests, since in many cases they could be used interchangeably.

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Posted 4/16/14

windsagio wrote:
About nerveGear; I"m trying to think of a legit case where that argument has been used successfully. "Yes, this was used to fry the brains of 3000 people, and another 7000 are still in a coma. Still, we have NEW SECURITY that means it won't happen again!" By all acounts, whatever the new version is called was being developed during the events of the first arc . How would that ever be allowed to happen, especially DURING the tragedy?


Private business can make whatever they want so long as it is not prohibited by government. It would take time for the government to pass laws outright banning the VR headgear technology, and in the mean time companies are free to explore it more. The government is not always looking out for the best interest of the citizens and often gets in bed with businesses for political gain. This is our reality, and it happens all the time world round.

Potentially dangerous things, including the food we eat, are allowed to be sold because many politicians are corrupt and cater to unethical businesses. When the US made the A-bomb and used it we saw the utter horror and destruction it made, yet it still exists. Why? Because the cat's out of the bag and anyone with the means can create similar WMDs. Therefore it is foolish not to have atomic weapons at your disposal to look threatening to your enemies. In the same way the VR tech of the Nerve Gear does not disappear with SAO. It is there to stay.

The Japanese government in the show realized this fact, see SAO Extra Edition, and was complicit in it being further developed because further developing the tech could be useful for military use. The guy interviewing Kirito in Extra Edition, Kikuoka Seijirou, was from the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) and his questioning hints that the government knew of the potential for mind control, and was interested in getting its hands on the research. Basically, politicians and governments will do anything for more power and to think otherwise is being naive of the corruption in this world. Corruption and greed is how it's allowed to happen.


windsagio wrote:
About the Tragedy: This is the worst non-warcrime in the history of Humanity- by FAR. Not only are people fairly ok with what happened, the psychopath that caused it is almost an ally by the end of the second arc... and his underaged victims just shrug.


They had already gone through the five stages of grief and reached acceptance long before this event occurred. I really think this point is a non issue because they already fully understood Kayaba to be mad from the time he made his grand announcement. He did say it was his goal to make that world just for the sake of making it and that the log out button being gone was a feature of his "game." What could Kayaba have possibly said at that point that would have made anymore sense than what he had already said and done? Plus they were all in a state of limbo waiting to die as the game shut off, so I don't expect them to waste their final moments alive yelling or trying to reason with a mad man. Kirito and Asuna were already at peace with their ordeal coming to an end, and though it hurt knowing their friends were gone, they were not going to gain any more peace of mind from confronting Kayaba then.


windsagio wrote:
About the aftermath: Granting the fact that the completed MC tech was secret, there's essentially no way nobody else thought of the idea. Kirito knows this. He still not only releases the tech into the world in an utterly unsupervised/unregulated state, he also re-enters the worlds himself... the worlds he KNOWS can be used to brainwash and possibly murder someone (security safeguards can be hacked too, or a good memory erasure would do a good enough trick). That's not brave or heroic, that's just stupid.


All he's doing is making the source code open source. He did this to prevent the control of the tech being limited to the few, like a corrupt government. With it in the hands of the masses they could make and regulate their own worlds. This goes back to the cat being out of the bag with the atomic bomb I discussed above. For better or for worse VR helmets and worlds are there to stay. If he keeps the World Seed to himself, then no one can test and explore the tech without going through a potentially dangerous source again.


windsagio wrote:
Also about the aftermath: One of the reasons the characters feel hollow to me is because they're barely even phased by the hideously traumatic experiences they've had and are even eager to expose themselves to those worlds again. That's honestly pretty insane... and depending on their ages at the end there, some of them are still minors. Where are there parents, is neglect that rampant?


They did not look unfazed to me. They clearly showed lots of emotion during their time in Aincrad. I think you may have mistook their acceptance of things beyond their control as apathy. The trauma is still there with them under the surface, they just are not dwelling on it in the present. That was kind of the message too, not to let your past define your present. They all grew out of depression and sulking and accepted that bad things happen in life. To see them all of a sudden downcast and depressed again would negate the message.

Additionally, there's no reason for them to fear the new virtual worlds as they make them and control themselves with the World Seed. The virtual worlds are not inherently evil. It's the person who makes or controls the world that makes it a place of horror. With the threats eliminated, they had no reason to fear mind control or being trapped anymore; also the AmuSphere had a fail-safe that logged them out automatically if something went wrong.

As to the where are the parents complaint, not every parent knows what their kids are up to and constantly keeps track of them. Even the most diligent of parenting won't stop them from logging in at a friend's house or at a cafe or some place like that. But I agree it would be nice to see some of their parents and get a sense of how they feel. Though in Kirito's case he's adopted by his aunt who is a widowed single mother. She has to work full time to support him and Suguha and is only home in the late night and early morning hours.


windsagio wrote:
Really though, at least for me, I enjoyed the show on a "Pretty fun" level, even most of Alfheim. It wasn't until things broke down so badly at the end that my attitude was soured -- which (along with the damselling issue) got me thinking really heavily about the tropes and narrative that I've ranted about so much in the past months.


I agree with you about the damseling being bad and that the second arc could have been better thought out than that. However, I don't think many of the things you discussed above are really that much of an issue, if at all. The parenting one does make some sense for people other than Kirito and Suguha, but since the story was told from Kirito's POV I does not bother me much. I agree it would be nice to see how the other families are dealing with the aftermath and what they think about them using the AmuSphere. As I've said before, the biggest flaw I see in the story is the public trust in playing these games again so soon after the SAO incident.
Posted 4/16/14
How shitty it is.
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Posted 4/16/14
Just realized, Yuno x Yuuki is Asuna x Kirito, but addresses the problems peeps have with Asuna x Kirito.

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Posted 4/16/14

windsagio wrote:

I like to compare SAO to Star Wars (for good and for ill). It's visually stunning, the action is amazing, it hit's ALL of the buttons that a teen has, it's really effective at being an almost overwhelming entertainment, especially on the first viewing.

It's also shallow, poorly thought out, the characters are cardboard cutouts, and the plotting is embarrassing.

-- Actaully Avatar would be a good example too.


So, I think it's fine to love SAO and enjoy it for what it is, but not pretend it's something it's not.



Ouch. Quite the insult to Starwars! I believe the prequels are described here...but ain't a word about Empire? That one is gloriously well though out with some of the most famous characters in cenima. I could go on about the ending scene or the characters represented in general for Empire...but that's for later.

A lot of argument is going on... and I want to join.

I liked SAO as an anime but have a large distain for it as a story.

Their os no greater sin than failing your potential. SAO has a lot of potential to tap into...but the original source is lacking in size or scope. Someone built a Mmo world and told a clinched story through it...that is fine.

But the appeal lies in SAO. The World of Sword Art Online creates.

I don't care about the stories they tell. But I don't personally like following Kirito or Asuna. Two wholeheartedly unoriginal characters used to shepard us into SAO. Asuna had so little effort they didn't bother with a fantasy name, here character a phoned in tsundere complete with marriage and a Richy Rich family and villian.

Kirito is forgivible, and I didn't mind him.. but they cant sustain it.

SAO is for quests and stories, its heroes are not interesting outside of that conflict. The second season went out of its way to reintroduce the MMO when I was damnable fine with Kirito readjusting. I was fine with Infest sister time be pause they properly addressed it. But damnable it

Ok I'm done kindle is acting up....pretend I made sense and edited all the ramblings out.
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Posted 4/16/14
Im going to have disagree with most of you on this one folks

While I'm obviously a huge SAO fan, I am not a blind fanboy. I can see many faults within the show. However i think some of the complaints are loosely based.

(This is my opinion on others views on the show. This is in no way intended to be mean or offensive)

Im finding a disturbing trend in anime as of late, where certain shows are not held to similar standards as others.

Ex. Kirito is given major hate for lack of character development (which is untrue), but Eren of Attack on Titan is not given the same criticism as Kirito. While i know some have pointed this out, It has not merely gained enough attention. Eren remains a stubborn teen who doesn't like to ask questions, and just yells at EVERYONE. Sure the plot around him changes, he learns new things, and meets new people but he does not change. Other than when his
which incites his after mentioned stubborn aggression.
Kirito however starts of as a isolationist gamer, typical for that of many anime protagonists. He is a "Solo Player" who doesn't need anyone else's help. Sound familiar? Yea, probably so. From their however, he learns that not only does he want to be a solo player, but he must, due to
early in the series. He deals with the grief of loss and the fear of connection. He can't do this forever, and Kirito knows this. Throughout the series he grows into a man that is both mentally, and socially stronger than the Kirito that enters SAO at the begging of the series. If going from socially awkward and uninterested in others, to willing to die for the one you love isn't character development, I don't know what is.

Im not saying all Anime should be judged the same. You can't Judge Dragon Ball Z on the same critique as Anohana.

But things like character development and story should not be central argument points against certain shows and then not argument points on another. (Unless the shows general nature is that of lack of character elopement or plot).

Im rambling now lol

Just leave Sword Art alone and lets all go watch No Game No Life together
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Posted 4/17/14
I actually liked Kayaba, he wasn't nearly as bad as everyone makes him out to be. He didn't personally kill anyone, he simply created a new world, and in this world, like any other, when you die, you die. I mean sure he basically forced people into his new world, but couldn't the same thing be said for real life? We didn't ask to be born into this world, we were simply shoved into it. He didn't commit any atrocities of any sort, in fact his main goal was for people to eventually escape the game after beating him, being the final boss and all. Kirito outwardly showed he despised Kayaba for what he did, but I think that deep inside he understood why Kayaba did what he did, he was sick of the world, so he created a new one for people to live in, but even in his own world he didn't want to play as god, he just wanted to be a player among players. He could have played god, killed whoever he wanted, but he didn't.

I suppose my personality just let's me relate with him more than everyone else.

I loved SAO, - the distasteful Asuna tentacle rape scene.
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Posted 4/17/14
I'm surprised this thread got as much attention as it did.
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Posted 4/17/14

Hero_of_SAO wrote:

Im finding a disturbing trend in anime as of late, where certain shows are not held to similar standards as others.

Ex. Kirito is given major hate for lack of character development (which is untrue), but Eren of Attack on Titan is not given the same criticism as Kirito. While i know some have pointed this out, It has not merely gained enough attention. Eren remains a stubborn teen who doesn't like to ask questions, and just yells at EVERYONE. Sure the plot around him changes, he learns new things, and meets new people but he does not change. Other than when his
which incites his after mentioned stubborn aggression.
Kirito however starts of as a isolationist gamer, typical for that of many anime protagonists. He is a "Solo Player" who doesn't need anyone else's help. Sound familiar? Yea, probably so. From their however, he learns that not only does he want to be a solo player, but he must, due to
early in the series. He deals with the grief of loss and the fear of connection. He can't do this forever, and Kirito knows this. Throughout the series he grows into a man that is both mentally, and socially stronger than the Kirito that enters SAO at the begging of the series. If going from socially awkward and uninterested in others, to willing to die for the one you love isn't character development, I don't know what is.

Im not saying all Anime should be judged the same. You can't Judge Dragon Ball Z on the same critique as Anohana.

But things like character development and story should not be central argument points against certain shows and then not argument points on another. (Unless the shows general nature is that of lack of character elopement or plot).
:


There is a central argument you're dismissing here. Suspension of disbelief and forgiveness.

We can forgive AoT and Erens stupidity in a way we could not forgive SAO. The central conflict in AoT is similar to a zombie movie. The simple and stereotypical characters serve as minor relatable audience fill ins. Your supposed to relate, in some small ways, with anybody. So when shit hora the fan hour at the edge of your seat. Eren is not alone. Mikasa and Armin are around to keep people happy.

SAO was never questioned early on, vlbut with season 2 opening a can of stupid worms and collectively shitting on the entire premise sure posses people off.

Its like if AoT found Gundams inside that basement and Eren lead an army of Mobile Suits to defeat the Titans. People are struck blind at first, then bail out.

Only we are instead given flying fairies in a magical kingdom of incest and rape monsters(human and tentacles!) Where the rules are made up and the points don't matter! Death means snack time!
SAO established rules in its opening moment. Rules like no magic and permadeath.

And its second half vlbroke thee rules....exposing all the stuff our forgiving eyes ignored due to the walls of suspended disbelief.

If you want me to compare and contrast anohana and dragonball I will.

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Posted 4/17/14 , edited 4/17/14

Hero_of_SAO wrote:

Im finding a disturbing trend in anime as of late, where certain shows are not held to similar standards as others.

This is mostly due to there not being hard and fast rules about these things. If someone has a problem with a show, they'll reverse-engineer their way to an explanation. But if they don't have a problem, there's no cause for scrutiny.

In the end it's the whole that succeeds or fails, but if it fails then people will hunt for an explanation. In doing so they're not saying character development is paramount, only that they think it made a difference for them in this particular case.

You can't really look at an element in vacuum, only in how it works together with the larger whole. I'll agree that having too narrow a focus can lead to some faulty deductions and scapegoat accusations for the sake of convenience, though.
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Posted 4/17/14
Pretty much. There's also a lot of female sexism. Girls can't be total badasses and just rely on Kirito to protect them and makes Kirito look good.
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Posted 4/21/14
This thread is making me want to rewatch SAO, especially as I just finished LH. Thing is though, I saw the first three episodes again while introducing it to a friend a few months ago, and though I remember them being the summit of my enjoyment of the show, they really didn't have much of an effect on me this time. I think the spell has been broken - whereas the first time, the immersion covered up the faults, I think it was/will be the other way around on the next one.


Eren is mediocre as a character, but there are a couple of interesting quirks about his position that make him acceptable. Namely, he's weaker, less mature and less clear-thinking than Mikasa and so the two of them are co-dependent. In SAO, Kirito's quiet aloofness would be okay as characteristics if they didn't result in every girl in the game instantly falling for him. Also, there's less interest in the fighting when Kirito so effortlessly demolishes most of his opposition, whereas suffice to say that Eren gets put through some serious shit in comparison. Also he is/can be credibly helped, commanded, rescued or supported by his allies which gives them a more meaningful role by extension.

I'd also venture to say that the godmode loner turning out to be a committed white knight in defence of his maiden isn't really very interesting development. If anything it only completes what was a pretty bland picture to begin with.

Despite this, I'm really not a big fan of Eren and barely care about his constantly raging face, but I find him less of a bother because of the things I mentioned above, and I think that AoT generally has less negatives pulling it down at the moment than SAO did.
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