I don’t care how big SAO is. I hate it.
I am aware that many of you enjoy Sword Art Online. I don’t care. I think it’s a very bad anime. The only episode that I enjoyed was the first one of the first season. It was downhill from there. Perhaps, the best Sword Art Online has ever been since it’s started was the first part of War of Underworld. I am embarrassed to say that although I wasn’t excited, I was kinda looking forward to this season. Mainly because I wanted to watch its conclusion. Unfortunately, what I got from the first episode was fan-service, unnecessary sexual violence and an overall cringey experience.
As you can tell by now, I’m not really a fan of Kirito or his harem. Nonetheless, I always try to be fair and keep an open mind, no matter the anime. I honestly thought that the previous season was vastly improved compared to -let’s say- the second season. Certainly, Kirito’s absence -or should I say his ornamental existence- allowed for other characters to take the stage. The main problem I have with SAO after the first half of the first season is that everything’s been relatively ‘risk free’ compared to the initial ‘trapped in a video game, death is real’ scenario. For Alice and the rest, however, death is real, fear is real and their world is the only world that they know. So, it doesn’t seem fake to me. Whereas, for the other characters, regardless of how sensitive they may be for the AIs (thinking of them as real people), there is no real risk. Ok, Kirito is practically brain-dead at this point, I realize that and this was another point in favor of SAO Alicization, i.e. serious things at risk.
Now, for this first episode. If you’ve watched it, you know what I’m talking about. The whole tentacle-BDSM play is simply unnecessary and only there to tickle the fancy of some people. I’m not trying to push my western ideologies on anime since I too have enjoyed ecchi anime just as much as the next weeb but this is simply distasteful. It reminds me of the second arc of the first season where Asuna, attempting to escape is molested by some tentacles (Do you remember that?). If SAO wants to be serious, it has to prove it. If you want me to be enthralled by the story, then you should try to be reasonable when it comes to fan-service. I can ignore a boob or two but magical bondage is kinda weird. I don’t want to talk any more about this scene. It’s too embarrassing (not the blushing kind of way). To be fair, there was a lot of action and they didn’t skip out on the gore but the fan-service ruined it for me.
I wasn’t expecting much from Sword Art Online and this hasn’t changed at all. I don’t know how the fans feel about this season premiere. However, as a non-fan, it only served to reaffirm my dislike for the series. Just to clarify. I’m not hating on SAO because it’s a trend. I’m honestly disappointed. I thought, even if it was for a moment, that this second part of War of Underworld would be kinda good. I just don’t think so any more.
PS: I know post scripts are unnecessary but just let me add one. If you are SAO and you think of yourself as the biggest and best anime around, maybe you should avoid the Engrish (this, of course, was not the first time in the entire series). Clarification: I’m not hating on Japanese people. I’m questioning the attention the production team paid on a simple matter such as speaking correct English, while knowing that there is a huge audience outside of Japan. Five minutes for a proof-read and a quick Google Translate session and that would be the end of it. But apparently, it’s not worth it.