So if you told me a few months ago I’d be willingly watching more Sword Art Online, I’d think you were another of my alcohol induced hallucinations. As it so happens, our friend Christian and I went out and he convinced me afterwards to give the show a shot. By “convince,” I mean I was sick and couldn’t leave and he put it on TV where I couldn’t get away. Not going to lie, I was face palming a lot, but overall, I thought the show was passable for most of it and even at times could be considered very good. Mostly because of the fact that instead of some sort of stupid plot, or inane threats that pale compared to SAO season 1, we have a person playing a game, much like how I play PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (Fair warning, be prepared for some comparisons or references to PUBG/Battle Royal games).
This first episode kicked off with none of the shenanigans of “you die you die” or “death in the game is death IRL.” It’s simply put, a generic video game anime with a military focus, starting out on our protagonist, LLENN, her trusty FN P90 “P-Chan,” and her partner “M.” While participating in the team based Battle Royal Squad Jam, they encounter different teams a la PUBG, with M taking the approach I tend to take with my teammates, and using them as cannon fodder/bait because they are honestly not that useful (most times, sometimes the bait is helpful). LLENN seems to be a joke wearing bright pink gear (very obvious in the forest, arctic, urban, jungle, or you know, just about ANYWHERE) and is adorably tiny. She actually gets rather grating with her whining and complaining, and her pout can be adorable at times, but M tolerates her regardless. He goes about having her maneuver around in a calculated manner to out flank and draw out other teams, especially a team that appears to be legitimate military personnel using GGO as a training exercise. These pros strike down all opponents with great ease and eventually go off to chase down LLENN and M.
After approaching their last pinged location, the pros find an empty street with nothing but garbage and debris, no manhole cover or moving bushes (which was my Fortnite inspired guess to be honest). Instead, LLENN pops out from the suitcase and begins opening fire upon the pros at close range, decimating them and subsequently using speed boosts and the corpses of her enemies as cover. Upon beating 4 of the 6, the apparent lead calls off the op as that superhuman and unrealistic speed was a variable that didn’t matter.
We then find a group of girls watching the aftermath in which LLENN and M defeated the others, winning accolades and renown. While my guess was that they were in fact the pros, I was laughably disappointing. Instead we find that LLENN is Karen Kohiruimaki, apparently their caretaker.
And this is where we leave off. I have seen mostly negative or mediocre reviews of this but honestly with my recent love of battle royal games like PUBG, I can’t help but enjoy this concept of GGO where the protagonist doesn’t DEFLECT BULLETS WITH LIGHTSABERS. I’m not salty I swear, but I am optimistic that this game will offer a great insight into a world as rich as Sword Art Online, but with none of that terrible plot or horrid moments of pants-on-head derp. The art was good with no terrible CG I noticed, and the detail of that suitcase being drawn into the background even as LLENN wears it had me impressed with the attention to detail. The intro was good and the outro was cute, but I can’t say it was anything in particular amazing as it’s on par with other SAO entries. I’m going to at least give this a 3 episode test and have high enough hopes that it will be good, if anything for a good shooter anime. I’m glad as long as they don’t suddenly have this craziness happen anymore: