Since completing OITNB season 2 and GoT there really hasn't been much of anything to watch so we have been binging on anime on Crunchyroll. Here are some thoughts on Sword Art Online. Spoiler warning for anyone who had not yet watched or finished watching the entire series.
I liked the first half of Sword Art Online; The second half not so much because the pacing, among other things falls flat after the completion of Aincrad. Without the threat of actual death and the looming idea that their bodies are deteriorating in the real world, the story isn't nearly as compelling. The floor progression, which was used a baseline for the first arc's pacing was replaced by a deadline that relied upon the romantic relationship between Asuna and Kirito; Not nearly as engaging of a plot device as say, people dying. All of this is also ignoring the fact that the ending to both arcs as well as many other conflicts were resolved by straight up Deus Ex Machina.
Additionally, the second arc and the end of the first arc felt just rushed in general. The plot twist was okay, but ALfheim did not feel nearly as fleshed out of a world as Aincrad. I liked a lot of the supporting characters from Aincrad, but they seemed to be underused in the first arc and almost completely absent from the second arc. I feel as if the new setting and new set of characters would have been better suited for Sword Art Online II.
During the second arc, Asuna transforms from a competent and at the very east tolerable female warrior to a helpless caged damsel, effectively halting her character progression. It was disappointing seeing such an awesome character being used as nothing more than a trophy upon a pedestal. Also, what’s with the creepy rapey fanservice? And the love triangle? That was just dumb.
Don’t get me wrong though, Sword Art Online is a fun show to watch and I did enjoy watching it quite a bit. It is a decent show but I would be hard pressed to rate it any higher than that. On a side note: The ending did wrap the series up rather nicely, in that there was close that didn’t involve everyone getting f’d over and dying, which is pretty rare for anime in my opinion, or at least the shows that I usually watch.