Sword Art Online: (Actual) Episode 6 – What Exactly Is Special About This Show?

Yes, I got the number right this time.

Okay, let me start by saying that the episode itself was fine. The animation was decent, I liked the character interaction between Asuna and Kirito fine, and the way the mystery played out was typical shonen fluff with some clever moments. But that’s the problem. This show is just “fine” in the same way Sket Dance is just fine.  Everything played out typically and there were no surprises to be found at all within this episode, within this two-episode arc, or within the entire show itself. Well okay, there was this line…

Yeah, that was a little funny. But apart from that, this episode delivered nothing I couldn’t get from another shonen show set in a medieval setting. I know that’s not really a bad thing and by the standards of most shonen shows, this is still good. But I fail to see why it is praised so much.

Let’s talk about the MMO elements for a moment, because I haven’t really gone into detail about them. Part of the reason is that I’ve never played an MMO in my entire life and don’t plan on changing that anytime soon. I don’t know jack about the fundamentals or inventory storage space or marriages in the MMO world. What I do know is that the elements are integrated into the anime worse than the body-swapping thing in Kokoro Connect and the fishing in Tsuritama. Every time the MMO world is explained, it takes away from the story the same way the explanations or tutorials took away from Accel World. And to make it worse, it’s not explained very well. There are quite a few times where this anime assumes you know what an MMO is like. First of all, I don’t. Second of all, I do know that not all MMOs are the same. SAO has to have different rules than the ones in World of Warcraft. But the anime doesn’t seem to indicate that at all.

Especially not in this episode. Besides being used as clues to solve the mystery (and let’s not forget that stupid scene where Kirito figures it out just by an accidental expiration of his food), I forgot the characters were in an MMO in the first place. You still have thugs who kill people because…hell if I know. You still have a stupid ghost scene that didn’t make a lick of sense. You still have crappy motives to a murder followed by a typical shonen speech. Nothing about MMOs was ever explored within this arc besides marriages and fucking inventory space. And that wasn’t done very well either. Forgive me, but if an anime takes place in an MMO, shouldn’t it actually use the MMO aspect as more than just a gimmick? If not, then why the fuck is it so hi…okay, I should stop making that complaint.

And of course, I still have problems with this show on the shonen aspect of it. Kirito has long since stopped being interesting, there were no real surprises to be found regarding the mystery besides the semi-clever fake-out deaths, the conclusion played out like it came and went. I have no hopes for that Fall shonen show that’s coming out, Magi, considering it’s probably going to be the same thing. A typical shonen with a few gimmicks. Oh wait, it’s being adapted by Hiroyuki Yoshino. Then it’ll be a typical shonen with a few gimmicks, AND his stupid train wreck bullshit.



  • I still like this better than Kokoro Connect, FYI.
  • Even Sket Dance had that shocking two-parter involving Switch’s brother.

6 responses to “Sword Art Online: (Actual) Episode 6 – What Exactly Is Special About This Show?

  1. The MMO aspect was the fact that the “Locked Room Mystery” existed only because of game mechanics. If it was just a standard fantasy setting, the “mystery” would make no sense because there’s no rule like “can’t kill players in town”. From beginning to end, the “murder mystery” aspect of the story relied entirely on the fact that it was a game. That doesn’t necessarily mean it was a good murder mystery, but that’s how it was. Personally, I thought the whole concept was kind of clever even if the execution left a lot to be desired.

    As for not being an MMO player, I guess I can see how that would reduce your enjoyment. The fact is, the MMO aspects of the game are incredibly detailed, and while I suppose you’re zoning out when they get explained, the geeks among the audience are listening with rapt attention trying to better understand how the game works. Of course, not all games work the same, but that’s exactly why the explanations and little tidbits they give are so fascinating. You can really imagine this as a real game that might be released 10 years from now. Minus the real death part of course. I’ll be the first to admit that the story and characters fall way behind the worldbuilding in terms of quality, and if you simply don’t care about the world there may not be much for you in this series.

    • No, the MMO aspect is not very detailed at all, especially compared to what I’ve seen of .hack. It feels more like a gimmick than an actual part of the show.