(Thank you to the blog Pinky’s Palace for inspiring me to write this post.)
I am a fan of Sword Art Online. Specifically, a fan of the Aincrad Arc. It’s the only arc I’ve watched all the way through.
I haven’t watched the Gun Gale Online Arc yet. And I didn’t watch the ALfheim Online Arc all the way through for two reasons:
The fan service made me go “Really?”
I have no problem with the sight of a character’s butt, breasts, or other body parts.
God created the human body and said it is “very good.” (Genesis 1:31) The butt and breasts, in their own ways, proclaim God’s glory. It’s just, because of the imperfect nature of the world — Genesis 3:7 — it can be difficult to see that.
I believe that fan service can serve a good purpose. But, as the old saying goes, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. The fan service in Sword Art Online got to a point where it ceased to be inspiring and thought-provoking and became tedious.
I want to look beyond a woman’s pleasure-inducing body parts and see the human being underneath. Gratuitous fan service makes it difficult to do that.
And the other reason I haven’t finished the ALfheim Online Arc is:
ALfheim Online felt anti-climactic.
I wanted the next arc to take place in the real world.
Having seen Kirito and Asuna in the virtual world of Aincrad, I was excited to see what they would do in the real world. Going from an action-packed fantasy adventure to a slice-of-life story would be quite the shift for Sword Art Online. But it is a shift that, to me, felt like a natural progression of Kirito’s and Asuna’s relationship: The game is over, and now it’s time to face reality.
What I actually got was: More of the same.
Other than Yui coming back (“Yay!”) the ALfheim Online Arc felt like an anti-climax.
More of the same isn’t an inherently bad thing: It’s nice to watch Kirito and his friends/loved ones kicking butt and going on adventures in a virtual world. But I think about all the possibilities that that final shot of Kirito walking through the hospital, trying to find Asuna, opened up. So much potential. Only for things to, basically, immediately go back to the way they were: In seemingly no time at all, Kirito is once again in a virtual world. (Asuna, to her credit, has no choice — she’s a prisoner.)
My hopes and dreams for Sword Art Online were not fulfilled. But despite that, and despite the issue I have with the amount of fan service, the show’s strengths outweigh its weaknesses.
The world of Aincrad (including all the people in it) is a world I look forward to experiencing again and again…
…and Kirito, Asuna, and Yui will always make me go “Aww!”