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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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Not all mangas are horrible just because they've been adapted from a novel, i've read several; yes, there have been bad ones, but theat doesnt make them neccessariy bad. With a novel, you have a lot more room to play with. -- Yes, if you were to compare them, you'll probably have an opinion of one being better, but face it, they're not the same. If they were, why read it?
-- And back to the actual review part (eventually) its worth a read, although the art style might make you cringe a bit.
Review based on first chapter:
As a fan of SAO novel, I am rather very disappointed with the first chapter. 1.The art SUCKS! (as the translator Teaparty said:"its completely shojo now") 2.The mangaka decided to start right off the bat in the middle with Kirito and Asuna fighting the boss. It's fine, but when you compare that with where the writer of the novel starts off, it totally sucked. 3. The story lacked substance. Well, what can i expect from a manga based on a novel? Especially one like SAO.
What can I say beside the fact that you'd be better off reading the novel.