YMMV Sword Art Online Discussion

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08:51:09 AM Nov 24th 2016

  • Critical Backlash: Not surprisingly, an increasing amount of folks are saying that the hate and backlash for the show, especially the Fairy Dance arc, is in this territory. This is actually the opinion of Toonami themselves (whom probably witnessed first-hand many requests of SAO coming to the block get retracted when the show moved on to Fairy Dance during it's airing in Japan), as their rational for picking it up in response to the backlash.

  • Eight Deadly Words: Detractors of the series frequently point this out as a problem, contending that the show's characters are forgettable, sloppily written, and sometimes reliant on one-note anime character archetypes, making it impossible to care about anything that happens to them.

  • Escapist Character: Kirito and Asuna.

  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks:
    • At least some of the hate for the series can be traced back to the fact it started off as a light novel series loved by the few who knew of it at first, but when the first anime came out and introduced it to a wider audience everyone, even the original likers, started to turn against it and claim anime was crap, especially due to with issues how the characters and the plot were handled in the adaptation, particularly with the second half of the first season where most people claim things went wrong.
    • There's also no shortage of people that claimed that they didn't like the franchise in the first place, but just dropped it without giving it too much extra thought. But then, when they saw how popular it became, they started to actively despise it. This is especially obvious among some critics, partially explained by the fact that they feel they sort of have to talk about the show because their followers just won't stop asking their opinion about it. Or just to be relevant.

  • Romantic Plot Tumor:
    • Kirito and Asuna. Their relationship practically overtakes the whole escaping the MMORPG storyline, even though it barely has any (onscreen) development. note 

  • The Scrappy:
    • Yui gets the most heat, to the point that some believe that she is a lolicon pandering bait, the dreaded moeblob. Many disliked her story arc, as they asserted that the emotion was contrived and pretentious. Ironically, there wasn't the same reaction with Silica in Episode 4 where she was seen in her fanservice underwear.
    • Suguha was INSTANTLY disliked by people for everything she did from her wanting to be Kissing Cousins with Kirito, to her repeatedly going "Kirito-kun" in just about every scene she's in, to even her "stealing" the role of the heroine from Asuna.

  • Seasonal Rot: Quite a few fans consider the Fairy Dance arc as the down part of the series, especially since it nullified Aincrad’s emotional conclusion. Asuna was reduced to a Damsel in Distress, and the romantic aspects were focused on Suguha and her feelings for Kazuto/Kirito. When Episode 21 hit, the arrival of Tentacle Rope had the fanbase screaming and Episode 24's Attempted Rape of Asuna in front of Kirito sent most who had stuck with the show until that point nuclear. As a result, quite a few people that had previously praised SAO switched to bashing the series by the arc's end. In fact, it was quite common to hear the phrase: "I like Aincrad, but hate Alfheim." as a way to basically describe people's viewpoints on the first season. To the point that there was a considerable amount of people who didn't even bothered with the second one because of it.
    • Interestingly enough, this is also applies to some people for the second half of the Aincrad arc, mainly Episode 8/9-14. Albeit to a lesser degree. For these people, the two year Time Skip and the switch of focus from the "complete the game" story to Kirito and Asuna's relationship was what started the decline.

  • Tastes Like Diabetes:
    • Yui. Fans thought that she was adorable and contributed to Kirito and Asuna's relationship. Detractors on the other hand saw it as contrived and pretentious and say it contributed to the show's Seasonal Rot.
    • Debatable sure, but some of Kirito and Asuna's scenes where they are being a couple can really come across this way due to some rather cheesy, if not just down right cringe worthy lines.

    • Not as prominent as the previous examples, but there's people who think even Kirito had significant potential. In the Aincrad arc there are heavy hints that he has serious problems with social interactions, some of which align with him being a shut-in video game nerd. But rather than exploring this and making him overcome it in an organic character arc, Kawahara just uses it for contrived drama and sloppily makes him surpass it in a heavy Wish Fulfillment fashion.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The first three episodes deal with an interesting premise, thousands of players trapped in an online death game by a madman. Then the plot chomps forward with multiple teenage girls dealing with their affection towards Kirito while he remains varying extents of oblivious about it, and Kirito falling in love with Asuna sooner than one would expect. Then in the Fairy Dance arc, Asuna gets relegated to damsel in distress status while Kirito's sister's character arc revolves around her romantic feelings for her brother (actually her cousin) which ended up as awkward for Leafa as it was for fans reading, even if she did get over it. In the light novels, the "multiple teenage girls dealing with their affection towards Kirito while he remains varying extents of oblivious about it" scenarios were left out of the main narrative in volume 1 along with a few other side stories. To some fans, this makes more sense than how it was handled in the anime, since the inclusion of said side stories in the main anime narrative was seen as messing with the momentum. There's slightly more buildup for Kirito and Asuna's relationship in the light novels.
  • Arc Fatigue: The Alicization Arc has been ongoing for 8 volumes, which is half the series. Preceding arcs were two volumes at most.

  • Base Breaker: The Official Couple Kirito and Asuna. Two of the most polarizing heroes in recent anime history. On the broad strokes, some claim that both are a little bit too perfect, thus making them unrelatable, if not downright unlikable. To be more specific:
    • For Kirito it mostly has to do with whether or not he is a blatant Marty Stu and bland Wish Fulfillment as opposed to being a completely legitimate and competent badass lead anime hasn't seen in years. Detractors argue that, even leaving aside his "over-powerness" arguably breaking both the character and the narrative, Kirito's badassery just doesn't work in this setting, since he's basically a One-Man Army, something that just doesn't happen in MMO RPGs. His Chick Magnet status and the way the story tends to focus on him instead of on arguably more interesting characters are also huge points of contention. For some, these points make him utterly unbearable to watch, while others don't mind them and argue they're just blown out of proportion by the detractors.
    • As for Asuna, she is either the most moe, badass and likable female character in recent anime history or another typical Shana Clone and run-of-the-mill Tsundere Love Interest. The way Kawahara tends to put her in the background in most later arcs despite being the female lead of the franchise also hurts her reputation among detractors. Her Spoiled Sweet background is another point of debate, albeit to a lesser degree (to some people, it gives her more depth; to others, it makes her less relatable).

  • Broken Base: Any of these can spark heated discussions:
    • Is the Anime rushed and did it fail to develop its characters effectively as a result? Or is it fine the way it is?
    • Is the novel superior to the anime? Are the novel fans just upset that the animation crew didn't adapt the anime word-for-word to the novel's chronology?
    • Related to Kirito and Asuna as Base Breaker characters above, there are some aspects about them outside their individual characterizations that also heavily polarize viewers.
      • How Kirito and Asuna work as a couple is one of the biggest ones. Some see it as a cute, incredibly heartwarming classic romance between two truly likable characters with genuine chemistry, and consider their relationship at least a big part of of the core of the story. Others see it as a saccharine, melodramatic and non-believable couple, created by a teenager who writes how he thinks relationships work, which's only there for even more Wish Fulfillment (See Romantic Plot Tumor below).
      • On the same note, is Kirito and Asuna's Romance Arc developed enough, especially in the anime? Detractors usually consider Episode 8 the beginning of the arc, so they say it doesn't have nearly enough development to be believable that they fall in love. Kirito's interactions with his Supporting Harem before then don't help either. Defenders, on the other hand, consider that it actually starts in Episode 2, and that even if their relationship is not the A plot, their interactions and Belligerent Sexual Tension are enough build up for when the romance jumps to the forefront. The constant hints that they keep meeting off screen for months (Not a Date included) also help.
      • And finally, is their relationship a blatant and saccharine Romantic Plot Tumor that utterly ruins the awesome premise of the story? Or does it actually add to it, giving it real emotional stakes and creates an incredibly compelling mix between action, adventure and romance that is so hard to find in anime?
      • Who deserves Kirito more? Asuna vs. his Supporting Harem. For some, the Kirito and Asuna relationship lacks chemistry and development, especially in the anime.
      • Whether or not Kirito and Asuna actually had sex. They did in an extra chapter when the story was a web novel in a rather explicit scene (that some consider to be Squicky), albeit the whole scene was mostly a joke from Kawahara (according to him, he wrote the whole thing "to make the topic disappear quickly into the darkness of history"). But the anime is much vaguer, since at most, it just implies it.
    • The implementation of Attempted Rape on Asuna near the finale of the first season. Some viewers think the Attempted Rape scenes add a lot of drama to the series. Others saw the Attempted Rape scenes as either executed very poorly, used as a cheap shock value, devalues Asuna as a character, or used as a fodder to make Kirito look good. Or, worst case scenario, all of the above.
      • It also happen again with the same reaction of the Attempted Rape scene with Sinon in the second season, albeit arguably to a lesser degree since the scene is less graphic.
    • The series has an Awesome Music entry for good reason... although some people may argue that it sounds a little bit too similar to Yuki Kajiura's previous works. Although to be fair, this is not the only soundtrack composed by Kajiura which has been accused of this. It just so happens this came out around the time people started to realize maybe she was repeating herself. Others say that the compositions are great, but the best tracks (particularly swordland) are so overused that they eventually get old.
    • Aniplex USA owns the rights to the series. Anime otakus consider them the EA of anime for good reason.note 
    • Quite a few fans have said that SAO is a good Gateway Series to anime, however, many of its detractors have said otherwise and accused it of being heavy on "Otaku pandering" and Wish Fulfillment. This was a point of contention by some fans on whether it should air on Toonami or not, due to the said block's status as a gateway drug to the medium. Ultimately, the block’s creators thought the negative aspects weren’t a big deal.
    • Kirito's defeat of Suguo/Oberon draws mixed reactions given its brutality. Some fans are horrified at torture being portrayed as heroic and others view it as justified karmic kick and a Catharsis Factor given that Suguo kicked the dog in every single one of his appearances.
    • The Mother's Rosario arc's portrayal of [[spoiler:people with terminal illnesses, particularly Yuuki's AIDS. Some people found it unrealistic and overblown just for cheap tears, while others found the story moving and genuinely heartbreaking.

  • Love It or Hate It: One of the biggest anime examples in recent memory. Depending on who you ask, it's either one of the best animes of all time or one of the worst examples of bad writing in existence. And when these two kinds of viewers collide, it ain't pretty.

    • Asuna is one of the most common examples. Although she's a major Base Breaker, there's not shortage people, even among detractors of the series, who thought she was a potentially great badass female lead, and/or liked her as a Love Interest. However, from the Fairy Dance arc onwardnote , she tends to be Demoted to Satellite Love Interest, which really gets on the nerves of her fans. The Mother's Rosario arc alleviated this to some extend, though.

ALL of the above was deleted on basis of "Inaccurate information". Could whoever made that cleanup spescify what information exacly is inacurate?
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