|Possibly the only acceptable use of YOLO.|
But I still feel dirty.
Sword Art Online put in proper risk into such a story. Starting off with a Virtual Reality, wearing a helmet that puts your body into a catatonic state while you play. In turn, the developer of the MMO and the VR Headsets adds in a Mortality feature.
Players whose HP drops to 0 in-game will die in real life. And to make sure they do stay in game, anyone whose helmets are removed are also killed. The only way to leave was to finish the game, which has 100 levels, each of which are apparently the size of large cities.
It's a bloody cool concept, and the features of an MMO are numerous. So Factions and Guilds are formed, and people take on various roles to their tastes. It becomes a very real society, with players helping each other between NPC's performing basic functions. It shows some of the naivety of newbies, and the arrogance of experienced players.
However as this is an Anime it falls into tropes. And they're ones that irk me. To start, the main character walking with a wake of love-sick girls.
Now, I appreciate there being a love interest. Asuna is a pretty cool character, too. But then there was his Adopted Sister, the little girl he rescued, blah blah blah. It's a bit annoying, especially since it was layered on so thick, with the fanboyisms riddled throughout to boot. It became the main part of the story, and that's my other problem.
Yes, Kirito falls for Asuna. Yes, he establishes a life with her and have their vacation. Yes, they flesh out the implications of not doing what most MMO's are about: Fighting.
What irked me about all that is that they had a handful of other things they brought to the surface, but didn't go into very much. Like the Murder Guilds.
There were a few players that popped up as part of the Laughing Coffin. Their sole purpose is to kill other players for the sake of killing other players. If there was any other ulterior motive, I don't know what it is, whether it was that they wanted to stay in SAO, or just were psychopaths that wanted to kill.
They could pop up anywhere. They could be part of your guild or be following you around. Why? I'm not sure. They really didn't go into it very much, mainly because they didn't spend enough time on it.
Which brings up my third point. The story is they were in the game for about 2 years. Thousands of players having their lives in the hands of medical facilities in the real world while being cradled in a video game, trying to reach a hundredth level so they could leave and return to their real lives.
... That was completed in half of a season. That is my Irk. You create an immense world, with potential up the fkn wazoo, and you drop that potential in less than 20 episodes. Then the rest of the season is sent back into another game to save Asuna from a creeper who has her stuck under the same pretences, but with the motive of keeping her for himself for some political reason.
It's all a bit ridiculous, and a little unnecessary. But whatever. The first season is over and done with now.
I've moved on to the second season, and I went into it sceptically. With all the tropes that saturated the first game, I thought it would be just as bad. But while it still has it's dumb points, mainly the Main character capable to handle things that an experienced player couldn't, it goes into implications.
For one, the first side character you meet suffers from PTSD and subsequently goes into a panic attack whenever she sees a gun. However, she plays a game called Gun Gale Online (A rather cool name in my opinion) and the lack of reality or consequence seems to help with her trauma.
The other thing that the story shows is the return of MMO players being killed seemingly in-game and then in real life, not in the same way as the original SAO though. I've yet to find out how, the story hasn't progressed that far, but it'll be good to know once it comes around.
But now Kirito has begun an investigation into this character, Death Gun, and has to deal with his own PTSD, as this murderer seems to be from SAO as well. I'm hoping it doesn't layer on the tropes thickly, but all well. It may be one to look up the actual Manga for.