Final Thoughts on Sword Art Online

It was a scapegoat for an entire anime generation, the punching bag for so many hang ups for the industry. A lightning in a bottle series that struck it rich in a way that happens only once a decade. So much so that some say it got too popular too fast. A series loved my millions and loathed by just as many. Either the underappreciated gem, or the overrated mess. But, how does the series really hold up? What does someone, so removed from the fanboys, the haters, think of the series? What happens when that person just lets the series exist?

Join me after the cut as I give you my final thoughts on the Sword Art Online.

Sword Art Online is a good series.

It has moments of greatness, moments that touch the heart, that move the soul, or just make you full of excitement. It also has moments of frustration, of questionable decisions, and overuse of certain elements. But at its heart, this is a series that never falls into the realm of bad, that even on its worst day, can be considered a well done piece of storytelling.

It is a story of a boy who transforms himself for a reclusive shut-in, to a well adjusted and driven young man. It’s a story of a girl who breaks free of her pre-packaged expectations to boldly seize her own destiny. It’s a story of a girl shaken by trauma who overcomes that fear. It is a story of a boy who seeks to save the woman he loves, to become a hero and be adored. And a story about a girl robbed of her past and forced to confront things she never could fathom, in a world that could be deleted with a stroke of a key.

Throughout four seasons and a movie, I have found myself asking the same question over and over again. Why have people hated this series so much? Why was it Sword Art Online that became the beaten horse so many made it out to be. At the end of this journey, I still struggle to see the badness that people showed such hatred before. Sword Art Online getting lucky because it came out at the perfect time and spoke to a generation of anime fans doesn’t make it bad.

Yet it also isn’t a masterpiece, and I think even the most die-hard fans, ones who I’ve crossed paths with many times, don’t think that. Yet I would advise them to be wary, to not tie yourself up with what is, at the end of the day, just a cartoon. Sword Art Online has many great moments, but it isn’t the pinnacle of storytelling, nothing is, and there are flaws just as evident as its triumphs.

Still, Reki Kawahara, and the cast and crew of A1-pictures have created something that has stood the test of time. Something that will be looked on by many of this generation with great fondness. I do not know if Sword Art Online is a ‘great work’ of the anime artform, but I do believe that is one of the most influential and significant anime series to come out in the last 10 years. Something that has transformed the industry, for good and ill, and has touched the heart of millions. 

That I think, is more important than anything else. That is something that Sword Art Online can be proud of.

Take us out, Crossing Field. See you in the Light Novels.

2 thoughts on “Final Thoughts on Sword Art Online

  1. I agree. Sword Art Online is no masterpiece, and DEFINITELY has its own flaws but over time it definitely improves a good chunk to become a good show. I remember that I enjoyed SAO II much more than the first even, because the writers seemed to have cleaned up the pacing, plot and characters, making them more grounded than the previous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perfect way of putting it. There are elements that worthy of praise and even some story arcs that I consider to be among the best in anime such as Mother’s Rosario. I also have no qualms about it’s flaws either. It is a series which is perfect for someone new into anime especially since it showcases both the good and the bad that you can find in anime. It was one of my first anime and while many others have surpassed it for me, I’m still glad that I had a chance to experience the story with it’s highs and lows.

    Liked by 1 person

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