Trigger WarningI may, or may not have been slightly intoxicated while writing this. Viewer reader discretion is advised. Hello there! You're here because of one of three reasons: You hate Sword Art Online with passion and wanted to see me rant on it. You love Sword Art Online with passion and wanted to tell me I'm wrong/disprove my claims/etc. You clicked here because the title is a bunch of clickbait. Now, without further ado, let's get to the point. As is obvious to you, the anime community generally falls into two categories: Those that like Sword Art Online and those that think it is bad. Now, I fall into the latter type, and here's why: First of all, Sword Art Online is far from perfect. And by that I mean it has so many flaws in it that it's comparable to tissue taken from a patient of IV-stage cancer. Trying to dig down, deep into the very source of this malignant tumor is risky, so I want to warn you. Now, let's start off with the very focus of the show, as is appropriate; our protagonist. [1. The Protagonist.] Enter Kirigaya Kazuto. With his own pet nickname "Kirito Jesus-kun," attributed to him most likely by the anti-fans of the series. Kirigaya, or, Kirito, as he calls himself online, is a leet gamer with legit skills. Or at least, that's what is established early on. I can accept that. But what is it that makes him bad? Now, Kirito starts off in the show at: "Barely, but fairly likable," and quickly drops to: "I fucking hate him." That is, again, my opinion, so don't call me out on this. You're entitled to whatever opinion you hold of him. Why is he so bad, though? You see, by himself, Kirito isn't that bad of a protagonist. It's not him by himself that he makes us hate him. If we were to see his day-to-day life as an anime instead of SAO, I bet he'd be a fairly average, if decent main character. If he was fleshed out a bit more, given a piece of backstory or actual motivation, maybe I'd be able to actually relate to him in about 10% instead of him being the Gary Sue that he is. He falls far below the average on the scale of "Likable Shounen protagonists," and a bit above on the "edge," scale. Why? Let me explain. The "magic" of the first arc of Sword Art Online was the atmosphere. The whole premise of the show is that the characters are stuck in a world full of death and despair, and they can't get out. That being said, I liked this at first. They didn't go too overboard with the theme, but it was an ever-present and immersive feeling of fear. It was almost haunting and actually dragged me into this mess a bit further. Of course, they instantly fuck that up by having him be the best player in the game that is undefeatable. Now, look, the mechanics of SAO as a video game are clunky at best -- you need to use gesticulation to manipulate the menu which removes many classic RPG features from being accessed (like keeping items tabbed, or chugging potions quickly during battles,) and it removes the classic RPG classes from the play, essentially making the concept of strategy and tactics inert by making all battles focus on "SWORD. TO. FACE," in the boss' direction. Why they try to make it out like there are any actual tactics behind swish-swish-swoosh is a mystery to me. This is bad. Very bad. But let's go back to the "magic." Taking that into the spotlight, think about it. The world where anyone can die. Where mistakes are permanent and actions have consequences: that's what they start off with -- what they hang in front of you. And instantly, that's fucked up by the one protagonist who can't come close to being hurt -- and yes, once, Kirito almost dies, which I admit was a pleasant surprise in comparison to that... one... other... time... See, having a protagonist that's unbeatable by 95% of the things that exist is... well, fucking boring. And that boredom is doubled by the fact that it blends itself well with the disappointment we receive at the show's premise being ruined. That's very bad. And that's very bad by itself. And maybe the show would be able to redeem itself a bit later on had they stopped at that, very point. It still had potential. Still had the light of hope in front of it. ... But no, they fucked it up further. Let me get to that. [2. - The Bullshit Fairy.] Asuna was likable, I admit. Kirito, on another hand, barely made it on the radar of my attention. But you want to know who really ruined it? Her. Whatever little tension the show managed to build over time was ruined by this thing. This "perfect child." This, this... disgusting excuse for an inconsequential character. Like I said above, the whole premise is that actions have consequences. So what do the writers decide is a good idea? That's right: Fuck the premise. They... they create this abomination and have her die to create sadness and "motivation," for the characters. And it was at this point that I knew how it would end up. That's right, she comes back, getting revived. And it's at this point that the "dread" and "death," were ruined for me. The atmosphere and immersion, that although lacking, was still existent at this point, faded away with one character's resurrection, proving just how much the writers hated being good at writing. Now, I'm not saying Yui is a bad character by her own, much like her "father," she has some redeeming qualities. Rather, it is her role in the story that the writers attach to her like a huge metallic ball with a chain that screws her up as a character. And this is more disappointing when you think that both Yui and Kirito had tremendous potential as characters, as well as plenty of space for development. We never get to see that, because, frankly, and not meaning to boast, I could definitely write a better show than Sword Art Online by myself and with no supporting writers. I mean, hell, Sword Art Online Abridged had better character development than the original. Not even kidding. There's a whole advanced analysis video on youtube about it. That's right. A parody of the show that actually did things better. Having addressed the problems with two of the worst characters in the show except for the villains, let's move on to another problem that is just as pressing. [3. The Screwed Pacing.] Can you imagine Reki Kawahara's reaction on their business meeting? "Hey, hey! Idea over here! How about we call it... Sword Art Online..." And everyone nodded. "But only the first arc of the first season is about Sword Art Online! Hahaha, I'm a fucking genius!" And somehow, against all odds, everyone, fucking, nodded. How this decision came to pass is, was, and will forever be a mystery to me, and all people who exercise logical thought as their main philosophy. I genuinely believe that the show would be far, far better if they prolonged the Aincrad arc and threw out the fairy-pixie machine bullshit. It was stupid and made Asuna into the typical damsel in distress, instantly dropping my levels of respect for her as a character from "Likable," to "Fuck you and fuck this show and everything it stands for and represents." At that point, when I discovered what the arc was about, I just stopped watching. I couldn't bear the pain. I skipped to the ending of the season and, with agony, suffered through it before moving onto Gungale Online, which was comparatively just as bad if not worse. I'll get to this in a minute. Let me finish this part first. Another point about this I wanted to address was the stupidity that this arc radiated. If I'm a stupidity furnace as a person (which I quite assure you, I am,) then this whole arc was a stupidity factory. Let's review: The villain is a cyber-rapist. Asuna is turned into a damsel in distress. Kirito's sister is... in love with him?! What I want to say, think about the writer/executive who had the 3 ideas above. How anyone in the studio agreed to any of the 3 is sick and should be executed for incompetence as a human being. [3.1 Gungale Online is shit.] Just wanted to point out that in a game with guns, this fucker uses a fucking lightsaber. At that point, I stopped watching. There was no more hope. I get it, he's a kendo adept or whatever, and SAO gave him sword experience -- but deflecting fucking bullets with a lightsaber is impossible. No human nervous system has the processing speed to keep track of projectiles as fast as bullets, virtual world or not. This is so sinful from a writing--no, not writing, scientific--no, just thinking perspective, that I wanted to kill myself just from the intense back pains I got from imagining his spine twisting from all of these impossible, virtual acrobatics. (PS: I dare you to open the link below and look at that gif I posted.) Because the writers say so. [4. Kirito Jesus-kun's blessings fucking curses of Fanservice.] Of course, this is an anime. Anime without fanservice doesn't exist. Any anime will have at least something a bit pervy at one point or another unless it is some grimdark horror, or other terrific thing and shit. That is simply how the world and how anime works. You have to live with it. I don't mind a panty shot or there... but this show? For all the dread of the first arc, takes the cake as one of the most perverted things created by mankind ever since the concept of perversion. Well at least there's no rape! Oh, wait. This show has rape too. Sorry, I forgot. (Though, it's only implied. Still. I find that unacceptable.) Let's review: There's (implied,) rape. And then there's stuff like this, because why not. (I want to point out there's a scene later with her wearing only underwear, so don't complain about me complaining. This show is about as perverted as the average succubus demon.) [5. Curse of Bad Villains.] The antagonists. The sinister fellows in the alleyway. The dark overlords. Curse squad. The bad guys. Ma' boys. They are always there to fuck up your day. ... That being said, Sword Art Online has some of the worst villains in existence. I think it could get a custom award for some of the worst villains to exist. Let's go through one of them at a time, shall we? Kayaba Akihiko: The developer of SAO. Why does he trap people to die in a game? Why does he have a god complex? This is how the show explains it: Fuck knows why fuck knows when. No backstory, no motive. He's so bland that the meals on the average Hell's Kitchen episode suddenly look appealing and appetizing. I'm safely going to go ahead and shamelessly say that Sword Art Online Abridged does a better job of portraying him, because it at least keeps consistent with the comedic tone it had set for itself by saying it was a glitch because of a rushed release and he decided to act like this was all planned and he's some kind of evil mastermind. Whatever his name was/Rape King: That's how little fucks I gave about him. Who I'm talking about is that weird pixie king-rape-guy in Alfheim Online. The guy that imprisoned Asuna. He was such a stupid villain that he makes me look like a scientist with a Ph.D. by comparison. What perplexes me, is, again: Why? Just... why... Why does he exist? Why does he do what he does? Why is he so bland and lacking in texture? Where is the texture?! A good protagonist doesn't exist without a good antagonist! -50 points! Edge Gun: Or was it Death Gun? Or was it Sterben? My point is, this guy is like the child of Darth Vader and Shadow the Hedgehog that also went through an emo phase recently. Also, I get that he's several people at once, but this guy is still stupid. Why he exists will forever be a question to me. Also, the fact that the fucking government hires Kirito to hunt him down. The fucking government hires a teenager to do shit for them because they are less competent. It was at this point that I lost all faith I had in this series ever becoming remotely good. Fuck knows: Whatever villain appears in the 4th arc, if any at all. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't give a fuck to spend the character design budget to animate a new villain because of how little they cared. I heard the 4th arc is a bit better, but I don't feel like watching it. My relationship with this show is already too skewered to do so. That guy from the movie: Yeah, the SAO movie. I watched it. I don't remember the guy's name, but his daughter died in SAO so he tried to recreate her from the memories of people but it'd kill them or something. Now, see, they upgraded their writing to elementary school levels. Now, at least the villain has a Freudian Excuse/"motivation," so to speak to do his evil shit. He's not just a random piece of shit, he actually cares and loves something enough to seem like a human being. This was a step in the right direction, except they fucked up the movie with all the rest of its bullshit that I just don't want to point out because I'm sleepy. There's more, but I honestly don't hold the mental fortitude to write all of the flaws down. Go on youtube, some people make several-hour-long videos about why SAO is bad. Post and discuss below and stuff.