In which I rant about how Harem, er, Sword Art Online started so well, and ended so badly.

At four episodes in it was my star pick for the summer season.

At nine episodes in I was bemoaning the failure to live up to the opening credits by applying the Deedlit effect to Asuna: Asuna was powerful only when it was convenient to Kirito’s story.

Asuna was a damsel in distress otherwise.

Then the Alfheim arc started, and the perversion of Asuna’s agency got worse.  Asuna carefully planned an escape over several episodes only to be handed the Idiot Ball halfway through.

You see, the plot demanded that Asuna be a plot coupon rather than a character.

Therefore she had to be stupid instead of patient, foolhardy instead of clever.

You know, just like the damsel in distress that she was supposed to be.

At this point please join me in going Arggggghhh!

Meanwhile Kirito was collecting a harem of fanservice girls*, including his sister/cousin Suguha, and was easily distracted by other challenges from rescuing Asuna.  *See second opening for examples:

At this point please join me in going Arggggghhh!

Oh, and don’t forget the utterly pathetic caricature of a villain in the Alfheim arc.

Across the story arcs there was the recurring issue of excessive editing to the point of incomprehensibility. The deus ex machina of the climax in Alfheim was probably a lot less ridiculous in the books. But, as I noted in another post, it is not acceptable to rely on the books to explain the anime. The anime should stand on its own as its own continuity, and Sword Art Online repeatedly fails to do so.

The final episode of Sword Art Online was a reasonable ending of sorts with clear sequel bait built in.

I hope that there won’t be a sequel, but if AKB0048 can get a sequel (and Rocket Girls can’t) then there is a sufficient lack of justice in the universe to make it entirely likely.

To be fair the individual episodes were generally enjoyable to watch, so long as I didn’t think too hard about the elements that should have been so much better.

Sword Art Online is OK overall, probably worth a look for RPG/MMO fans, but potentially rage inducing for the gender roles alone.