The second season of Sword Art Online is probably one of the most anticipated shows this season next to the reboot of Sailor Moon. When I logged into my Facebook account this morning all I could see were posts about Sailor Moon and Sword Art Online. However, having two of the most anticipated shows air on the same date did not bode well for the streaming website Crunchyroll as they faced some technical issues earlier today as masses of people flooded their website to tune in. In addition to their current paying members, they must of had a large influx of other individuals log onto their site as I saw numerous people handing out 48 hour guest passes earlier.
Now a large hype around a show does not necessarily mean it will end up being good in the end. As some of you may know, I wasn’t a fan of the first season of Sword Art Online. I enjoyed reading the light novels (I stopped at Gun Gale Online), but the first season of the anime felt way too rushed to me. I don’t think it was a wise decision to cram the Aincrad arc into around 12 episodes, and then the Fairy Dance arc into another 12 or so episodes. I could continue to discuss the problems I had with the first season, but this post isn’t supposed to be about me ranting about the first season, it’s supposed to be about the second! Let’s continue, shall we?
The story in the second season is based within another VRMMO known as Gun Gale Online. Kirito is approached by Seijiro Kikuoka from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Department “VR Division” to look into the “Death Gun” incidents taking place within the game. Players who are shot by this mysterious avatar within the game lose their lives in the real world as well. Kirito agrees to log into Gun Gale Online, but finds it hard to believe that these reported incidents are actually true. Below is the PV if you want to take a quick look at what the series is going to be like:
It seems like the staff for the second season of Sword Art Online listened to the complaints about the fast pacing of the first season and tried to fix it, however it didn’t turn out too well in my opinion. The first episode was way too slow paced that it ended up getting boring towards the end. Basically every story follows the same basic structure where there is a build up (rising action) towards the climax of the story. A whole story/anime series follows this structure, and so does each episode within that series. The next time you watch an episode of anime take note of the diagram below; chances are it will probably follow this structure.
What the first episode lacked was a climax. Sure, they did a good job covering the information about Gun Gale Online and the Death Gun incidents, with a few recaps here and there, but there was nothing really exciting the whole episode. In my opinion the episode would have been much better if they had cut to some action within Gun Gale Online directly after discussing the “Death Gun” incidents (yes, if they had cut to the scene with Sinon earlier and showed a tiny bit more fitting, that would have made the episode much better). I’m not saying that an episode needs a fight scene with bullets flying everywhere as the main character dodges them to be good, I just feel that it needs some sort of exciting moment; whatever that may end up being. That whole discussion between Kirito and Kikuoka was basically the rising action within the episode, it was the build up before he enters GGO for the first time. However, instead of acting upon the rising action they had built, they instead cut back to the quiet and peaceful scene of Kirito’s and Asuna’s date which made the whole episode feel very flat and somewhat boring in the end. Instead of the diagram above, the episode felt more like the line pictured below.
As for the art and music, both seemed pretty average. I’m sure things will pick up during the next episode, I just hope they don’t end up rushing the storyline like in the first season.