Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sword Art Online Season 1

I was happy to read that dgundam tried out LoGH and loved it. I was going to reply that in this age of Sword Art Online, epic non harem anime like LoGH can never be made. They tried with Guin Saga and it didn't get popular enough for a second season. Then I realised that I've had the review of SAO sitting in my head since I watched it long time ago and I'd better write it down.

So anyway, SAO starts off with an interesting premise. There is an online fantasy RPG where people wear a VR headset and somehow no one is allowed to leave the game on pain of death and the catch is that death in SOA will result in death in the real world. In other words, SOA is a fantasy anime with MMO rules. As I've said many times, I will accept any premise as long as it takes me somewhere interesting and the first half of SOA does that.

There is an awesome episode where a player is killed inside a town the mystery is how that happened cause in SOA, no one can be killed in a town. That episode is a perfect example of taking an unusual concept and running with it.

Unfortunately, the second half of SOA takes place in another MMO where death is no longer permanent, thereby getting rid of all the tension. MMOs are inherent a game of numbers when there are no stakes except for the rescuing this girl who's stuck in the game, there is no excitement.

Instead of making full use of the concept, SOA turns into a moe harem, main characters playing fake family in MMO story. SOA goes from clever story to pandering to the lowest common denominator otaku. I've seen this shit happen to so many anime and doramas that I always expect any show with an unusual setting to go down that path. Its as if the more high concept a show is, the more it will try to be normal to pander to the average viewer. The fact that Border had the balls to somewhere interesting is probably the biggest and most pleasant surprise this year.

SOA is a crappy anime with a good first half that has somehow continued to be popular and it has led to a second season. What this tells publishers and tv stations is that, execution of a story does not matter. A clever story with interesting characters. You just need a hook, throw in lots of moe and a harem and an anime will become popular.

Like jdoramas, there are probably good anime which most probably lack the viewership and ratings, I can't be stuffed cause anime are generally a lot longer than jdoramas and thus its harder to tell if something is worth watching. I don't have any screencaps cause I deleted the damn show for wasting my time. I guess the same rules apply to anime and jdoramas; avoid anything popular cause most of the time, its popular not because its good and good Japanese shows hardly get public recognition.


Shane said...

I know what you mean, 99% of anime is complete trash. I also hate those long endlessly running series which are full of filler.

I have a fair idea of what you like from reading your blog all these years. So if you're looking for GOOD anime, I would point you towards the following:

Welcome to the NHK
Steins Gate
Paranoia Agent
Ergo Proxy
Psycho Pass

dgundam said...

Most modern animes are garbage. There are few good especially now. Too much moe and harem crap. It's disgusting how the animes industry has evolved to catering to the Otaku. Or animes that just cater to fujoshis. Plus milking them like crazy.

I rarely watch anime now unless it's by a well known production or is widely acclaimed.

So far the only thing I liked this year was kill la kill. Good story music and action .
This season tried aldnoah zero. It started out good but it's gone to mediocrity atm. With each episode ending in a cliffhanger that is easily solved or a fake out at the start of the next episode. The second male lead is pretty useless and it's already episode 11 with last episode this week and he still hasn't done much. But the show at least is still better than the normal crap bring made.

Oh an anime that was bad last season was dai ishin shogun. The character designs was all about boobs. But the story was terrible and the animations are terrible. You just see the characters mouth moves in each seen . U barely see them moving around and the action scenes are terrible like a visual novels. U just see a flash and sound effects but not the actual movement of action the you just see the results of the enemy defeated. They probably didn't have enough money to animate the characters.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

An anime episode is half the length of a dorama one, and most shows are 12 episodes, making them half shorter than doramas.

Shane: "99% of anime is complete trash."
dgundam: "Most modern animes are garbage."

This is like a picky eater going to a restaurant and claiming that 99% of the food is trash because he only likes one dish. Personal preference and quality are two different things.

"It's disgusting how the animes industry has evolved to catering to the Otaku."

This is mostly an illusion. The late night programming block didn't even really exist until the late 90s or so, daytime shows haven't gone anywhere, the total number of shows has greatly increased, and all the classic properties and famous creators from the 90s and earlier are still around. And today you can easily see everything the industry puts out, whereas in the 90s and early 00s the vast majority of people were aware of only a few shows.

As for "moe" and harem shows, they're about 95% hysteria and misconceptions and completely blown out of proportion.

Akiramike said...

Thanks Shane. I love NHK, Steins Gate and Monster. Will put the rest in my to watch list. Why isn't there a 20th Century Boys anime?

4545 said...

I recommend Chihayafuru and Haikyuu. They "so happen" to be sports anime but in my books, they both rate a 9.5/10.