This review will be a review of TOME as its own series, without comparing it to the original TTA.
TOME's premise is simple: A bunch of kids play an MMORPG. Sound familiar? At first glance you'll immediately think it's some cheap Western version of SAO or Accel World, but TOME is a whole different ballgame.
Characters - 8/10: Within TOME there's 5 characters who are the center of the story, and while a few of them contain cliches, their personalities are done in a way that they don't really feel bland. Nylocke is one who particularly stands out, a charismatic, friendly roleplayer who always stays in character. Flamegirl and Alpha, however, suffer from the problem that they have little-to-nothing that makes them stand out as characters besides the fact that they're the couple of the series. Despite this, none of the characters are downright unlikable, and the side characters are full of personality and charm. As for the character designs, they're pleasing to look at, and are unique enough in that you can tell exactly who's who by their shadows.
Animation - 9/10: The animation starts out alright, but gradually gets better. At first Chris uses cheap tweens for the majority of the characters' movements outside of battle, then later starts using more instances of frame-by-frame. The coolest part of the show is the way it's presented. When characters are conversing they use visual novel/RPG-esque character portraits with dialogue boxes, and when they're fighting, the show switches to hand-drawn sprites which attack and throw things at each other, and goes into full-on FBF animation for the more intense battles. This alone makes TOME a real treat to watch, and I can imagine it'll only get better.
Story - 7/10: The story starts out as the players get into a conflict with a group of hackers, and slowly unravels. It's rather genius. The unique animation style holds you in for the first few episodes, and once that novelty wears out, THAT'S when the story starts getting good and you start to really want to know what's going on. There are times when it feels kind of like a children's cartoon, but it tends to make up for that in one way or another.
Sound - 10/10: Music is catchy, fantastic, compliments the fight scenes well, and the voice acting is superbly done.
Overall - 8.5/10: Nice characters, epic music, interesting story. Watch it.