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REVIEW: Sword Art Online eps. 8-14


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Fencedude5609



Joined: 09 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:02 pm Reply with quote
ShinnFlowen wrote:

I only hope the next arc shows Kirito grow up instead of staying as the loner.


Next arc Asuna is spoiler[literally a damsel in distress]
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HitokiriShadow



Joined: 09 May 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:05 pm Reply with quote
AiddonValentine wrote:

Kirito's problem is that he's a blank slate with not enough personal problems or issues to make a flawed, three-dimensional character. Even Sachi's death felt a bit tacked on, almost as if the author needed SOMETHING to give him personal angst.


Well, that episode WAS a side-story that was made later. It got referenced a bit in the main story the anime, but I'm not sure if that was actually in the novels or just a slight tweak in the anime to make it tie in better.


Last edited by HitokiriShadow on Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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relentlessflame



Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:30 pm Reply with quote
ShinnFlowen wrote:
Everything about Kirito's relationship with Asuna makes Aher seem weaker or dependent on male companionship. If Asuna was not portrayed to be weaker than Kirito after his dual sword ability was shown I would be more inclined to say that they see each other as equals, yet the show takes away traits or provide Kirito ways to make himself the ultimate adventurer in SAO making the female the damsel in distress.

If you look at it this way, then it doesn't matter who Kirito got into a relationship with, because he was portrayed as the single faster player in the game of SAO in terms of his game skills. I don't think there is anything in the story, though, that shows Asuna being "dependant on male companionship" (perhaps benefiting from companionship gender unrelated, but who doesn't?), or that really makes her a "damsel in distress" thus far in the story any more than all the rest of the players in the game were "damselled" when Kayaba decided it was all about him and Kirito fighting it out. Kirito being a strong player didn't really have any impact on Asuna's feelings for him at all, other than it was what allowed them to keep running into each other. Asuna being a strong player did have an impact on Kirito, though, because it allowed him to trust her more than other people he met (who he did think needed to be protected).

ShinnFlowen wrote:
Other issues come from he relationship as it seemed forced. The biggest weakness lies in the constant time skips that kill the viewer's understanding of how the relationships have grown in 2 years and what has taken place during all that time. It is much harder to know if there was enough interactions to make each other slowly grow fond of one another.

I think you see a lot of interactions that cover every step of Asuna's developing feelings for Kirito. (First meeting, the encounter that triggers a change in Asuna, them becoming friends, Asuna realizing her feelings, Asuna's growing stress in the guild, Kirito's near-death experience, Kirito joining the guild, Kirito's second near-death experience resulting in their pledge to protect each other.) I guess Kirito is a bit of a harder read (part of his sort of solo loner thing), but even he gets fleshed out somewhat both before and after the transition of their relationship. So I'm honestly not too sure what additional scenes they needed to add to make it clearer how the relationship grew. The only thing I can think of is perhaps a bit of additional monologue to help us in the audience understand more clearly what Kirito is thinking, but this show has tried to avoid too much monologue for the most part. Some might consider that a strength of the anime, but I suppose it comes at a cost too.


I'm again not trying to say that there aren't ways the story could be improved, but I think some of things that are claimed to be lacking really were in the story. Clearly, for whatever reason, they weren't conveyed as clearly as they could have been, though, otherwise people wouldn't be claiming otherwise. I find the wildly diverging viewpoints rather perplexing, to be honest. It really is a case where multiple people view the same thing and see something almost completely different.
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halochief_90



Joined: 06 Feb 2006
Posts: 463
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:41 am Reply with quote
bleachj0j wrote:
Episode 14 is where I had to drop the show. The writing was horrible. It was so poorly done I didn't know whether to take it seriously.
While I'm not about to drop the show, I do agree that this was such a poor way to go about spoiler[the end of SAO.] The "final battle" felt so rushed. I imagine they wanted to surprise the viewers, but it actually just felt like they slapped everything together to get it over with. Neither the main boss or Kirito bothered to even restore their health before starting the battle that would decide the fate of everyone!
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ShinnFlowen



Joined: 07 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:05 am Reply with quote
Fencedude5609 wrote:
ShinnFlowen wrote:

I only hope the next arc shows Kirito grow up instead of staying as the loner.


Next arc Asuna is spoiler[literally a damsel in distress]


I did not expect the anime to already begin that story arc.
It looks like there not going to be any good character development with the coming premise or the future ones to come and there is going be some romantic distractions for mostly fanservice. At least the action will be look great.

@relentlessflame
Kirito's lack of monologues is likely a key problem in seeing how their relationship was made possible. It is hard to understand the main character's feelings towards Asuna when he tries to keep this loner mentality in his actions/speeches.
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Draneor



Joined: 19 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:18 am Reply with quote
HitokiriShadow wrote:
Well, that episode WAS a side-story that was made later. It got referenced a bit in the main story the anime, but I'm not sure if that was actually in the novels or just a slight tweak in the anime to make it tie in better.

The original novel referenced those events quickly (and Asuna's backstory), but the actually details were provided in the short stories from volume 2 (and also in Aria in the Starless Night for Asuna which was cut from the anime). The short stories were back filling in information that should have been in the original story, had it not been written as a one shot.
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Sven Viking



Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 518

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:45 am Reply with quote
I guess the passion level of SAO hate is largely in reaction to its massive popularity, but those complaining about improbable plot elements, mary-stu wish-fulfilment, etc. should really check out BTOOOM.* You're sure to love it. Wink

Not having read the novels, I was assuming that spoiler[the developer planned the whole thing and lost the fight intentionally -- Everyone is still in a game world, but now an even more realistic version that mimics real life (the Matrix). This would easily explain characters being able to break out of paralysis, defy death, and walk after waking from a two year coma, as it's all part of the game dev's little drama.] Based on comments here, though, perhaps that's not the case.

* Or, in fact, virtually any other anime.


Last edited by Sven Viking on Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Fencedude5609



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:49 am Reply with quote
Sven Viking wrote:
Based on comments here, though, perhaps that's not the case.


That would still be trite and silly, but significantly less so than what is going to happen in ~12 hours or so.
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dtm42



Joined: 05 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 4:43 am Reply with quote
Fencedude5609 wrote:
That would still be trite and silly, but significantly less so than what is going to happen in ~12 hours or so.


Oh crap, a wave of dread just came over me when I read that.
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dragon695



Joined: 28 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:48 am Reply with quote
Fencedude5609 wrote:
RyanSaotome wrote:
and its top of the line when it comes to otaku battle shonen anime.


Thank god this isn't true or things would be truly dire.

BTW. I have extensive thoughts on this.

Fore once, I absolutely agree with you. This show has so many problems,from the massive wish-fufillment to the author's clearly self-insert character. Let us also not forget the two years of pent up desire spewing forth endlessly into Asuna part that was left out. I have quickly concluded that this is nothing more than glorified fan-fiction written by a lonely Japanese otaku when he was 16 and didn't masturbate enough.
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MaxSouth



Joined: 11 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:58 am Reply with quote
I am not sure if I agree with Theron's view that Kirito's journey comes from being selfish to caring for others.

Kirito's issue is probably that he is too sensitive and too scared to get hurt, to lose people once he gets close to them. This is the reason why he left the friendly guy in the first episode, and could barely allow himself associated with others. And even when he did, it turned out bad.

So Kirito's true journey is overcoming his fear of being close to others, and coming to accepting the risks of relationships. This road is depicted well -- right to the very end of 14th episode. It is not something that happens overnight; it is still scary for Kirito to act "out of character".


Pfhor wrote:
I don't know what boss battles the reviewer was watching, the only passable one I thought was episode 2 cause at least it had some semblance of strategy/tactical planning. The next 2 were just slash mindlessly until you win with lots of still frame shots, and in the case of the bones snake monster they didn't even show you the actual battle. Episode 13 his health bar was almost full, cliffhanger, episode 14 he dies instantly.


Boss battles do not have to be very intricate to be exciting -- I would suppose Theron meant this. But yes, of course, none of those fight come close to be best industry examples of intelligent, multi-layered tactical fights like, for example, Kishimoto comes up with in Naruto.

Yet this show's problems will not tamper with it becoming very popular. You might remember that, for example, Sailor Moon has many issues and it became huge anyway. Not that SOA is necessary going to be ever that huge, I just mean the principle.

As to believability: how come people got to notice the issue only by this 14th episode?
spoiler[The idea of some software process going astray and getting the power of discrete will is no different than what happens in 13th-14th episodes.]
I mean you either have to notice such things from very beginning, or not pay attention to it all. Only this approach would be consistent.
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Sven Viking



Joined: 09 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:21 pm Reply with quote
MaxSouth wrote:
As to believability: how come people got to notice the issue only by this 14th episode?
spoiler[The idea of some software process going astray and getting the power of discrete will is no different than what happens in 13th-14th episodes.]
I mean you either have to notice such things from very beginning, or not pay attention to it all. Only this approach would be consistent.

Agreed. To be honest, both that and some of the Ep14 stuff annoyed me a bit, but not enough to prevent me from enjoying the series.

Ep15 has me worried, though.
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Bluenoser



Joined: 17 Jul 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:28 pm Reply with quote
In general I would agree with this review, and even much of the commentary in this thread regarding the flaws/weaknesses of this series to date. I really was underwhelmed with the motivation of the lead antagonist when it was revealed. How it was didn't bother me so much, but given the efforts involved in setting up SAO, forcing people to play or die once they enter, and then keeping the servers inaccessible to the outside world forces that had to be (1) tracing them down, (2) trying to hack/crack them so as to free the people trapped, and (3) trying to trace the creator down for 2 years, I found the rationale given exceptionally weak and implausible. I could accept it as part of the reasoning for his actions, but the primary/bulk of it, sorry, that took my ability to suspend disbelief offline.

There is another aspect though I would like to discuss for a moment, namely the emotional relationship Asuna has with Kirito, spoiler[especially once they marry,] and the aspect that I think is being missed or given too little consideration for why she becomes such a "wifey" sort. At this point she has been in a combat environment for 2 years, and combat fatigue/PTSD is hardly a new notion, and I expect it would be worse in this situation than even real combat environments because here there really is no way out except death (that is if you are a personality type unable to try to fight to free themselves, as some can simply stay in the background and avoid any fighting, but really for many people/personalities I doubt they would consider it living) and the accumulation would have been severe in her case given her rise in the ranks of the most organized "military" unit in SAO while also being a front line fighter. Indeed, this is referenced directly spoiler[when she asks for the time off as well as when she discusses it with Kirito,] so it surprises me a bit to not see it mentioned/considered in this matter. So when she finally meets someone she feels she can have that deep an emotional relationship with letting her hair down and acting the way she did I found to be entirely plausible and consistent with human conduct/nature without it automatically being sexist or pandering to such, although I can see why some might think it such, I freely acknowledge that there is some basis for such a perception, even if I think it a misperception/misread in this case. I find the dismissal of it as Otaku masturbation material as some have characterized it frankly a bit superficial and trite. I really think there was far more to it, especially when we see her able to shiftspoiler[ from that domesticated aspect when protecting their "daughter" as well as when returning to fight the last Boss and then the creator in ep 14.]

Now, am I saying that this is the only possible explanation for her behaviour, no, but what I *AM* saying is that it is at least as plausible as any others thrown out here in this thread and personally I think more so than some. Since I hadn't seen the combat fatigue aspect considered dealing with Asuna's behaviour shift with Kirito I thought it should be pointed out, because as I just said it is and was for me why I had no trouble with this aspect of the series to date.

All that being said I am enjoying this series despite it's issues and I look forward to seeing where it goes next.
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Sven Viking



Joined: 09 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:57 am Reply with quote
I don't know about the author's intentions (though I'm feeling increasingly cynical about them), but as far as the finished product goes in anime form, I agree with Bluenoser. There are some legitimate criticisms to be made, but I think a few people are jumping on basic human traits as signs of weakness and dependency. You don't need to be a Strong Female Character to be a strong female character.

Last edited by Sven Viking on Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:23 am; edited 2 times in total
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relentlessflame



Joined: 14 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:14 am Reply with quote
Bluenoser wrote:
but given the efforts involved in setting up SAO, forcing people to play or die once they enter, and then keeping the servers inaccessible to the outside world forces that had to be (1) tracing them down, (2) trying to hack/crack them so as to free the people trapped, and (3) trying to trace the creator down for 2 years, I found the rationale given exceptionally weak and implausible. I could accept it as part of the reasoning for his actions, but the primary/bulk of it, sorry, that took my ability to suspend disbelief offline.

I think this was basically foreshadowed back in the very first episode though when he said that, having created the world, his goal was complete; his goal was to create the world and force people to live in it (with him). So when, two years later, he's asked to go back and provide some further reason, there isn't really much to say. He accomplished what he set out to do. He made his dream a reality. In other words, he's a sociopath. That's not necessarily as satisfying as someone who has some deep sinister reason or cunning plan, but to me it didn't really strike me as so implausible. It'd be easier to hate him if he were deliberately evil, but as it stands he's more of a truly-crazy genius.


I agree with you regarding Asuna, as that is what the show itself said. I think some people are feeling more cynical because of the way the events coincided with each other.


Last edited by relentlessflame on Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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