Sword Art Online Episode 1 [First Impression]: My Body is Ready
Everything is beautiful. And NOTHING HURTS.
The year is 2022, and mankind has perfected a virtual reality gaming environment, with the first VRMMO, Sword Art Online being released to the public. On the game’s premiere day, a former beta tester Kirito immediately logs on and moves through the first town at a fast pace, before being intercepted by a newbie, Klein, who begs him to teach him the basics. After pausing their training, they realize that the log out button is missing, leaving them trapped in the game. Every player is then forcibly teleported to a stadium where they are greeted by the GM Kayaba Akihiko, who informs them that this feature was put in on purpose, and the only way to escape is to clear all 100 floors of the floating castle Aincrad. If you happen to die…you die in real life.
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So people who are following my light novel coverage of Sword Art Online are probably just as excited as I am about this, and with good reason! Yes, I already know what happens for about the next 9 volumes, but with shows (like Fate/Zero), knowing the conclusion is only half the excitement, with the other half being how it’s all played out. And trust me, it’s amazing watching characters you’ve read about actually come to life and move about – just glorious.
Anyway, SAO is all about a death game – something like Diablo’s hardcore mode except you actually die in real life if you get killed in-game. The phrase “people die when they get killed” has never been any truer up until now. Obviously, this affects the mentality and psychology of the players instantly, and this was shown when Scilica (twintails girl) started screaming, triggering complete panic of everyone in that stadium. There’s a cycle or something about different stages of grief, where you go from denial, to anger to eventually acceptance. People like Kirito, being beta testers immediately skip to acceptance and make the most rational choice, where a lot of the players were trapped in denial, or anger at the creator Kayaba Akihiko. Why Kayaba would want to trap loads of gamers is questionable at this point, so hopefully it’ll get explained soon.
The main character of SAO is Kirito, who every guy will later go gar over (have you seen his outfit in the OP/ED?) or at least come to feel respect for. Even though he’s a former tester, it’s still admirable how he immediately sets out to the next village without moping or crying, even amongst all that anger at Kayaba. In real life, he seems like the loner type, who doesn’t really mix around and plays lots of games – you all saw his hesitation when Klein offered to introduce him to his guild friends. In a death game like SAO though, having a few friends you can trust might be vital, especially with the kind of risk the game has. The game itself is pretty much the ultimate target of gaming tech in our future – where you create virtual reality, and actually go INTO the game. The Legend of Zelda, Skyward Sword is one of the first steps towards that, with the Wii’s 1:1 sword controls.
Character designs were something I initially frowned on, since they look older in the light novels – and I thought I’d stick to that when I first saw everyone’s made-up game characters. I suppose it’s better now though, and it’s pretty at least, with lots of scenery porn in the background. And Asuna looks sexy however she’s designed.
My second main problem was that they might make it really cheery and overlook the whole concept of death and survival – but that ominous blood when Kayaba turned up, as well as the title of the next ep gave me a bit of hope that shit will really hit the fan for the players. And a month on, 2000 of them have died, with no progress whatsoever.
Oh. Maybe I shouldn’t worry too much after all xD
Possibility of Watching: 100%
Possibility of Blogging: 100%
- Also, the OP, “crossing field” is beautiful! Knew I could count on LiSA.