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From Yen Press:
In the year 2022, gamers rejoice as Sword Art Online-a VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) like no other-opens its virtual doors, allowing players to take full advantage of the ultimate in gaming technology: NerveGear, a system that allows users to completely immerse themselves in the game world by manipulating their brain waves to create a wholly realistic gaming experience. But when the game goes live, the elation of the players quickly turns to horror as they discover that, for all its amazing features, SAO is missing one of the most basic functions of any MMORPG-a log-out button. Now trapped in the virtual world of Aincrad, their bodies held captive by NerveGear in the real world, users are issued a chilling ultimatum: conquer all one hundred floors of Aincrad to regain your freedom. But in the warped world of SAO, "game over" means certain death-both virtual and real...
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The Unique ONE
is a history where you actually feel like if you were feeling the same as the characters and (this is only mi gues but..) Akihiko Kayaba's Dream may be the final stage to the author if you think about it the climax of all this event´s only could be a maximun battle in other dimension or New World, and in the other subject well... the Romantic subplot if you read the side history "There is but one ultimate way" you already gasp the idea so is no use to say any spoiler, but what is going to happen whit YUI in the end i belive that is too soon to say someting.
PD: nice one baka-tsuki, just after a couple of days they already have the vol.10 and I hope that they translate it, the faster the better
... Last updated on July 12th, 2012, 7:24pm
Boring heroine but good story
The worst thing in this story is its supposed main heroine Asuna who lacks personality and the supposed romance is shallow as hell. bUt other than the Asuna the story and other characters are good.
Recommended but be aware that you will need to suffer through one of the most shallow heroines lately. Luckily she rarely is around and when she is she lacks personality s much that you will barely notice her anyway.
Not bad but...
Okay, a lot of people here are saying that Volume 1 was one of, if not THE, best volume in the entire series. A damn good pilot volume, kudos to the author. But I read SAO from volumes 1 ~ 3, and I believe that the story deteriorated from volume 2. Volume 2 was a medley of side stories that occur between time frames from volume 1, but they did not appeal to me because they did nothing to progress the story. Simply put, VOLUME 2 WAS BORING.
Then here comes Volume 3. The good news? The story progresses into a rescue mission, and Kirito has found new resolve to go back to the gaming world hell to entertain us readers. The bad news? You have to read volume 2 to understand the subtleties of volume 3. It's basically saying "Don't skip this one just because its a side story volume. It has its uses later on." Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but in my opinion it was just BORING.
Volume 1 was certainly not a bad volume, but I don't think it deserves the hype that it gets.
May change my opinion later on.
The major strengths of this story are in how well the writing is done, along with the ability to create an interesting world. The characters are typical, but well written. I love this story: it's one of the few that can make me come back, over and over again.
While people may hate, may love
While many people have stated they love this series me being one of them, the people who hate or dislike they also have a point. Me I have reread the series into its grave and then some. I don't know what about this series appeals to me, cause when I analyze it it doesn't add up. I mean the character development is mid-range, the setting is minorly overused, with some uniqueness, and the plot is very good, yet that doesn't justify my fanaticism, if you look at it in summation it is average series. This series has the unusual quality like Harry Potter, that you will love it even if you don't understand why.
Disagreement and Warning
Like kiari7!!!, I've also read Yu Wo's novel and The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor, and think that Asuna is shallow compared to other character, especially when compared to Sinon (or maybe it just because I worship Kirito x Sinon pairing)
However, I can't agre with one thing. SAO is not, in any way, boring. It is true that SAO is not as funny as 1/2 prince (remembering that SAO, unlike 1/2 Prince, isn't a comedy genre), but you could actually relate to character in SAO. I wouldn't explain how good is SAO, because there's already tons of comment that explain how awesome SAO was in a better and easier to understand way than what I could ever type.
As for the reason why Kirito feel guilty about becoming beta tester, it was explained later in the story, and explained further in SAO: Aria. Current fav arc: Aincrad (first volume) and Phantom Bullet (5th and 6th volume)
Warning: This novel could make the reader didn't move from the computer (even for final examination preparation, (or maybe it just me who's lazy)), addiction, and constant daydreaming about SAO.
... Last updated on July 14th, 2012, 7:20am
The premise was good, but the story was poorly executed. I stopped reading around chapter 13 of the first volume 'cause it just got too boring.
I am VERY confused as of the reasons Kirito should feel guilty about being a Beta Tester and a Solo player (especially when said player has been helping clearing floors). I don't even get why Beta Testers are considered cheaters. They might have had 2 months of extra -and safe- gaming time, but they barely got to floor 6, and everyone's been in the game for 2 whole years now.
I play mmorpgs, and this is stupid, but WHY is the health bar blue?! :/ That's the mana bar.
The girl is a pain. Yes. She's the most shallow and boring female heroine I've read about in a while. She's there, but it's like she's not. Her personality is nonexistent. Their romance is just as shallow, just as vague, sudden and tepid. Even cheesy. It made me want to hit her.
It's not a BAD story, but it's just so grey and plain. Truly a delusion for me. But I've been reading Half Prince, Legend of the Sun Knight and The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor. Those are so good, they might be the reason I can't enjoy Sword Art Online.
... Last updated on September 28th, 2011, 3:14pm
This novel deals really well with the premise of a game that forces people from real to virtual absolutely and the imagination aspect is good but I don't think this is anywhere near a novel that can incite curiosity or emotions.I picked it up given its high ratings but i was disappointed. I am not a game addict so i cannot tell if it was unique but it was pretty unrealistic. And yes the protagonist is cliched, boring and deluded and hardly develops in that aspect. I am not spewing nonsense. I read this to the end even against my will and i do appreciate the battle and action scenes but the character and emotions seem like a total fraud and the romance is illogical. The story could have fared a lot better if it had focused on the precarious scenarios with a bit more insight and treated the players more realistically. I mean even if being trapped for two years erases the distinction between virtual and real you would still retain a human mind. The conversations are superficial but intended to be deep and emotional, that really disappoints.
Could have been a lot better.
I recommend vol 1 for everyone. After that it depends
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Regarding the romance, it developed at the speed of sound for a shounen, though it is perhaps understandable since some parts have been left out, there is mutual attraction and flirting with death every day kinda does that to people (they tend to say some incredibly corny things).
Vol 3+4 is about another game where in-game death doesn't mean death in real life, it's like every other normal MMO game (except for the 'sinister' plot of the main villain). As the author himself explained, he tried to tell a different story without the convenient 'permanent death' plot device, since such an evil game doesn't exist in real life and relying on it would mean all the emotions the author felt while playing normal MMORPGs were fake. While I certainly applaud his noble intentions and greatly enjoyed the almost surreal Jötunheimr arc in vol 4, it is evident that the main story and the MC's efforts would have amounted to nothing of note but for the unrealistic plot of the main villain. It would have been just another tale about gamers competing in an online game among thousands of online games (and truthfully people have gotten fed up with such things). So here is an author trying not to use an unrealistic trope, while still opting for another.
Tropes aren't inherently bad, that 'permanent death' plot device he avoids makes the drama and tragedies real, and arguably even more real than all the 'disney deaths' in stories with real-life settings, since dead characters in SAO never come back. The trope makes every fight the hero undertakes a heroic, selfless and perhaps reckless course of action. And I dig that. But he chose not to reuse it, to vindicate his own belief at the expense of suspense and significance of the characters' struggle, whose only meaning then was to thwart the villain's plan. There was still nothing wrong at that point. But the villain turned out to be predictable and unsympathetic, his plot was simply depicted as a gesture of madness. It could have been much more.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Researching into memories, thoughts and feelings is an absolutely grand project that we're doing even today. Understanding how the brain works has so many great applications when you have the right regulations. Without lies we can solve every crime case, put fraudsters, and many politicians (maybe they are no different from the former) in jail. We can back up our memories and recover lost ones. We can help fight depression, and so many other things... Knowledge does not commit crimes, humans do. How we use it is up to us. Turning people into research subjects without their consent is bad, but since they don't remember anything after the fact and aren't directly harmed, the villain could have at least tried to appear a sympathetic martyr, accepting all kinds of condemnation for the sake of rapid progress (he'd grow old and die before people could agree on such matters, for example). Instead all he could say was that he wanted to be god blah blah blah. Tell me another story where 'science' doesn't try to overcome 'god', whatever that is.
The villain and his plot in vol 1 were much better. He didn't try to justify himself, and while it appeared to be simply madness at first glance, the characters eventually discovered a hint of sense to what he was doing. He was a villain you couldn't hate.
... Last updated on June 2nd, 2011, 5:48am
Brilliant volume 1.
The first volume is perfect for me. Well, not quite, there are some minor things that felt unnatural for me, but overall I loved every single part of it.
However, I can't say the same for the other volumes. I only read 3 and 4, since those are the ones fully translated, and the first part of volume 2. Volume 2 in itself seems to be a nice compliment for 1, so no problems for me there (I have yet to read all of it though), but 3 and 4... I don't know.
They were okay, but just fell to some more annoying cliches than the first volume, which managed to transform what cliches it had into a good part of its story. V1 even had a hint of seinen, while V3 and 4 felt like flat-out shounen for me and had some very ridiculous moments that killed the "magic" I felt from V1. I won't go into spoilers, but V1 actually felt like something possible and reasonable (so to say), while V3 and V4 felt like an impossible scenario given the big mount of incoherent situations.
Maybe it's just me, but the story is going downhill. If it comes down to it, I'll just mentalize myself to think that V1 was all of Sword Art Online. I'l keep my rate at 10 for now, but it's hard to do so. Overall, I agree with Claudiofd. What was written in Claudiofd's comment, is very close to what I felt when reading this.