When Sword Art Online aired two years ago it left me disappointed and frustrated. As I’ve written before, the idea of focusing a story around video games and virtual reality is one that has fascinated me for a long time. Instead of using that idea to its strength, it merely seemed like an afterthought in Sword Art Online.
In episode after episode the game rules were smashed into an unrecognizable mess, making it feel less like a game world and more as a self-fulfilling fantasy world where anything could happen if it meant to spur our hero Kirito. Furthermore, the world was never very carefully crafted and the story felt haphazardly put together – jumping from side story to side story with no tangible relation to the overarching plot – along with characters with paper-thin personalities. It felt like the author Kawahara Reki never actually had played video games.
As such, the second season comes a bit of a surprise. After four enjoyable episodes in a row, I must admit that I really like Sword Art Online II at the moment. Continue reading