Only a few shows about video games manage to get the idea of people playing videogames right. Shows like Reboot and .hack//sign come to mind for good video game themed shows and Level Up comes to mind for the worst video game themed show I have ever seen in my life. Showing on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim segment is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game themed anime called Sword Art Online and I could not be happier to watch it.
Sword Art Online follows the story of Kirito, a solo beta tester for the MMORPG named Sword Art Online. Sword Art Online uses a virtual reality helmet called the Nerve Gear. The Nerve Gear allows the player to experience the world of Sword Art Online physically through an avatar. On the first day of the game’s release, Kirito finds out he and other players can not log out of the game.
The game creator has locked everyone inside Sword Art Online and the only way out is for someone to beat the final boss. If someone takes the Nerve Gear off of the player’s physical body then that player’s brain will be fried and they will die in the real world If a player dies in Sword Art Online then that player dies in the real world as well. Anyone who has played a MMORPG knows that MMORPGs are full of beginners, the highly skilled players, people who are not good at fighting, and players who take joy in killing other players.
Knowing that everyone in the game has to live inside Sword Art Online, player killers have become real criminals and players look down upon beta testers. Kirito must learn to become a team player in order to survive and beat Sword Art Online.
There is obvious knowledge of mmorpgs and the situations people face in mmorpgs in this anime. I found myself relating to Kirito’s situations as a solo player, recalling how many males and females who play the opposite gender of their avatars, and trying to stay away from players who like killing other players.
Our protagonist Kirito maybe one of the best players but he still has his challenges when grouping with other players who are often weaker than him. The love interest Asuna comes off as a likeable female protagonist who can hold her own in fights and is a good leader of her own guild. The relationship between these two develops nicely with it’s ups and downs. I would like to see these two make it through the game and get together in the real world.
Sword Art Online is an anime that mmorpg game fans would love to watch. For those that want to see Sword Art Online on TV in English can now look at Adult Swim every Saturday night.