Sword Heart Online

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Sword Art Online is a Japanese light novel series written by Reki Kawahara which takes place in the near-future and focuses on a specific Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG). The  anime television series produced by A-1 Pictures aired in Japan between July and December 2012 which centers itself around modern day Japan and its release of a new virtual reality MMORPG with the state of the art Nervegear, a device that stimulates the user’s five senses via their brain, players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds for full immersion virtual reality system experience.

Shortly after the new game starts on launch day, the game’s creator “Akihiko Kayaba” quickly prevents any of the players from logging out.  Then, all the players are told they must complete all 100 floors of the floating castle of Aincrad in order to escape the game. Allies will be made, lives will be lost, teams will be forged and tears will be shed as Kirito and a few other players band together to try and reach all 100 floors and beat this death game.

Game Day

In S.A.O we’re introduced to Kirito, an anti social recluse who we see dive right into the world of Sword Art Online. He seems like a kind a character he could beat the game easily. As a result, he set out to beat the game on his own.But that didn’t work out so well since his first group boss battle revealed that he knew more than he was letting on about. Pretty soon everyone turned against him and soon he became known as a”Beater”.

As the game progresses for two years he went through some horrific experiences joining a guild here or bringing false hope there but his whole adventure isn’t all bad.Now with the help of Asuna (girlfriend), Klein, and the rest of their small crew Kirito eventually discovers the identity of Kayaba’s avatar in SAO, they confront and destroy him, freeing themselves and the other players from the game.

Asuna’s trapped

Sword Art Online is an amazingly well put together series that incorporates tons of similar traits and attributes related to real online gaming. The creators have paid really close attention to details in terms of free roaming, maps, missions, dungeons and treasures, leveling up, skill development, character customization, hidden content even boss battles. They left no margin for errors which helps engage viewers in an experience that pulls you in even if you’re a fan of games or not. Player Killers, or certain players who don’t take things seriously enough and decide to kill other people  just to get items that they’re too lazy to earn is just one aspect that the show illustrates just like in real life gaming.

The series is greatly adapted to illustrate what we as the consumer like. Our desire to not just play games but to immerse ourselves in it and to really be a part of the fun. Though the show gained more and more publicity and popularity through the reinforcement theory which demonstrates that the Media can’t force you to watch whatever they want you to watch but if someone you know watches it and says its really good then it sways you to watch it yourself. So even if this series isn’t your cup of tea the media can reinforce their opinion instead of change yours so that in time you yourself can change your mind and watch Which can also be explained by the two-step flow theory. Thus the franchise is everywhere you look whether it’s online, or on a poster or even on DVD.

Sword Art Online blurs the line between the characters in-game and your perception of reality to sway you into believing either that people are either losing themselves in their made up personas or are growing as more than 2 years of each player’s actual lives are spent playing this game in order to survive. Although before you watch the show that’s not exactly what you’d thought it would be about. When you first hear of the series, you hear exactly how it is being represented.With Media Representation A-1 Pictures and other corporate media have constructed the trailers and clips of the series to appeal to their ideal demographic of viewers. Looking for people who love action and fantasy and that in turn spreads the message and influence of the show around the globe to even more people through dozen of media outlets.

s.a.o logic

In Sword Art Online the characters go through intense states of emotion whether its amazement or fear. As a real gamer it’s one thing when you play behind a screen and move your character but its a whole different scenario when you can feel like your literally walking in your characters shoes, drawing your sword and actually being a part of the game. According to Kawahara in an article by Lynzee Lamb, he had said “that he made this series and its characters with the idea that they are looking to escape reality for various reasons and that online gaming was the target of society although he wanted to portray it in a more positive manner.

The Black Swordsman

The show is so engaging and well done that it hooks not only pro gamers but also those who don’t quite fully understand why certain people play online MMO’s so much. The introduction sequence and soundtrack is so catchy and the story will just melt your heart. Teen and young adults who have never seen this show will simply shed a tear or more when watching this series, especially at some of its most tragic scenes. 

Even though Sword Art Online is a very suspenseful and dramatic show it still has its comedic parts too which is why many people can relate to it and has been a huge hit in Japan and across America. People have made memes with tons of photos from the show obsessing over how overpowered the characters are. People cosplay as their favorite character at various conventions and expos. That sense of power and fantasy and peoples reactions makes this series a big success.

In various anime clubs and communities this is just one of the many shows that is too good not to watch. It is posted everywhere you look so you’ll eventually end up watching it. If it’s a new anime then you’ll be anxious when you have to wait for a week for the new episode to be aired. and you’ll be sad when you watch it all when it’s over. I’ve grown quiet fond of the series and I cant wait to watch tons more like it. There are various websites that have the series uploaded if you want to give it a try . Go watch Sword Art Online now and be a part of the adventure.

5 thoughts on “Sword Heart Online

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed both the show and your article. I first watched it a bit after it was first released and each video in this article brought back some major nostalgia, especially the fight with Heathcliff; I almost flipped my table over again. I highly agree with your sentiment, that the show combines both our love for games and the wanting to be immersed in them. SAO’s premise is that the characters are stuck in a game but the story and plot are so much more. The intensity is real and you feel it when you watch it. Give me a second I just rewatched the Heathcliff fight… qq

    I also like how you weaved in the Reinforcement theory into the write up. I haven’t really thought about it, but it is very true; SAO is mega popular and when it was first released there was a crap load of advertisements popping up left and right.

    What are your thoughts on the 2nd season?

    • Well, I’m glad you enjoyed my article. I just wanted to write about something I can relate too. There are many better points I could have focused on but in my opinion these points stuck to me the most. I agree when you said the intensity is real because we’ve all been in the situation where we’re near death and when we win we take a huge sigh of relief. When I first saw it each episode sort of took my breath away. It’ll be very popular for a long while & I hope to acquire Kirito’s swords have awesome props.

      The 2nd season was also as amazing as the 1st. It again illustrates at least to me how we create these personas in video games to try and strengthen ourselves in real life. The transition from swords and shields, to guns and rifles was an interesting twist and it shows the same level of resolve and heart you can put into a character you create for yourself just as much as the 1st season.

  2. I just recently watched this series on Netflix within the past month or so and I have to say it really stands out as a great anime. Although the concept isn’t something entirely new, as The Dot Hack series has done something similar, Sword Art puts an awesome spin on it. I think SAO does a great job of exploring the psychology of the people trapped in this virtual world in a more realistic way. There’s a very colorful cast of characters and they all cope with the crisis at hand in their own unique ways. There are those who fight daily on the front lines for the sake of saving everyone. There are those who go off on their own and have a more introspective journey like the main character Kirito. There are criminals who attempt to take advantage of other players for their own personal gain. It’s a crazy world in there, and I think you did a great job of summing up why it’s so interesting.

  3. This is a very interesting anime series. Ironically, I looked at the parody of SAO first called “SAO abridged”. Then, I begun to watch the original and really saw the potential this show wanted to portray. The fact that the main character prefers the virtual world over the real one not only makes him a him a likable character, but shows viewers that SAO forges new friendships and families.

    As I was reading this article, I was really elated by the videos you chose to further explain your points. The one with Kirito fighting Rosalia and her gang proved how some gamers have malevolent intentions. However, it also showed that people like kirito can overcome any challenges in SAO and be a role model for beginning players. That in itself was very appealing and a great symbol for SAO.

    One thing that I would suggest is to be careful of using multiple theories to explain your analysis. It’s better to focus on one theory (i.e Two-step flow theory) and explain its connection to your topic than finding two additional ones and making them work within your article.

    But either way, you really hit it home with SAO’s impact on anime fans, and I feel its a show that’s going to be popular for quite some time.

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