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Sword Art Online II Episode 1 First Impressions: Some Potential
Sword Art Online was a smash hit as a light novel series, and proved to be an even bigger hit when it was adapted into an anime. So naturally, a second season was made which will cover volumes five and six of the light novel series. Not entirely sure why they keep calling this series SAO since most of it doesn’t take place in that game, but I suppose it wouldn’t make much sense to change the name every time the game changes.
In short, Sword Art Online II is about Kirito investigating the claims of a player in GGO who is able to kill people in real life with an in-game gun. Along the way Kirito encounters another player by the name of Sinon who plays a fairly big role in this part of the series, and from what I hear has some sort of traumatic event that occurred when she was young. I do like how natural Kirito’s reaction was when he was asked to investigate this. As to be expected he refused, but of course once monetary compensation was thrown in that changed things.
As to be expected, Sword Art Online II looks and sounds exactly like the previous season. This isn’t too surprising since it is the same team as last time, but consistency is always appreciated. The art style fits perfectly, the visual effects are great, and so far the UI in GGO looks authentic enough that it could be something you’d find in a real video game. The character designs are great, especially with Death Gun and how they made him look both badass yet extremely intimidating. Although I admit I was a little disappointed that the Death Pistol basically looks like an ordinary gun, I was kind of hoping it would have some sort of unique design on it given it is only the core of the entire plot for this story arc.
So far, this episode followed along the same path as the light novel. Although they did cut out some parts of the meeting between Kirito and Seijirou Kikuoka. Not that I have a problem with this, as the lengthy discussion of the five senses between the two felt long and dragged out in the light novel. Although there are many things in the light novel which I wish could somehow be weaved into the story of the anime as well, as the light novels always provided a lot of extra detail and explanations for things that happened in the first season that added much more to the scene.
On a conceptual level, GGO sounds like a really interesting game. Not only that, but the fact that players can actually earn money in-game is pure awesome. Too bad that kind of thing doesn’t really exist in real life, that would be a pretty nice career to have. However, it sounds like the kind of game that would have some insanely competitive and scary players. How exactly Kikuoka expects for Kirito to do well in that game is beyond me, given that realistically there are just some genres that a player will not be as good at as they are with others. For Kirito I see him being mostly good at RPGs, MMOs, and possibly fighting games. I don’t really see him being a first person shooter kind of player, but I suppose he does have the reflexes for it.
I only read part of the fifth volume of the light novel, but I would imagine the second episode will be where Kirito actually logs in to GGO. Given the name of the next episode is something on the lines of the Ice Sniper, I imagine it will be about Kirito meeting Sinon in some way. Either way, Sword Art Online II is starting off very well and I can’t wait to see some of the action scenes in Gun Gale Online. I’m just hoping that this season will actually stay in GGO rather than jumping into whatever the next game is. Fairy Dance felt ridiculously out of place when compared to the first half of the original season, and I hope that sort of jarring transition does not occur in Sword Art Online II.