(For the record, read the novel. The anime copies it almost verbatim
, improving some aspects, even...)
When I get over the raw emotion that the series seems to carry, it becomes a lot more easier to properly give my thoughts, and really... it was eh. I mean, the series definitely dropped the ball by the second arc, but even in the first arc, there were flaws. The main character felt like a Gary Stu
without any distinct
personality, only being defined by his actions (which were the standard hero fare) instead of having a personality to justify those actions. The only times he loses, it's either because someone had to cheat
, or he ends up bending the system over to exact revenge before finally not
dying. The supposed Action Girl
Asuna goes from that to a Faux Action Girl
to a complete waifu in a relationship that, while admittedly cute, was too saccharine and had a progression rushed way too quickly without much, if any, conflict. Opportunities for development on Kirito's part are brushed aside either to make him look badass or make him look sensitive or propel the romance (which, by the way, is a Romantic Plot Tumor
)— his guild died and he's feeling survival guilt? Well, we're not going to actually have him bring that up by and for himself or in any other way until seven episodes later when it helps make a cute moment with Asuna, and they're not even going to address it then.
And the antagonism, possibly Kayaba excluded, is just a complete black
on the scale of black-and-white morality, and horribly so. So, then, why do I still say it's meh?
It all comes with presentation, and the first arc succeeds in that.
Again, it's actually better than the LN in a lot of aspects: dropping some things, editing some others, and adding emotional weight in a way that only moving pictures can do while being further helped by the weight of the setting itself. The pathos is well done and justified. The romance, while lacking in substance, is cute, and the fight scenes are just bloody amazing
. Even seeing all the flaws, and even being pissed with the complete romantic detour
the arc takes between episodes 8-13, the anime's
first arc is a fairly enjoyable romp.