Number of episodes: 25
Released date: July 8, 2012
Summary taken from IMDb:
The year is 2022, and gamers have lined up on launch day for Sword Art Online, a hotly-anticipated MMORPG that lets players connect to an immersive virtual reality world with special helmets called Nerve Gear. Kirito is one such gamer who's eager to jump back into action, having spent a great deal of time as a beta tester, and quickly becomes friends with newbie warrior Klein. But soon, Sword Art Online's 10,000 players discover that not only are they unable to log out, the only way they can return to their physical bodies is by beating the 100-level tower's final boss - death in the game means death in the real world. Now, with no one else to turn to, Kirito and the other participants must survive the game as best they can.
5 STARS - I LOVED IT
I've been meaning to watch this anime for a while because so many of my friends have recommended it and because I remember it being a big deal when it first came out. Now I know why everyone loved it. It's just so good!
Sword Art Online manages to blend a little bit of almost every genre into a riveting plot that just sucks you in with every episode. It's got action, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, romance, comedy, and pychological horror at times. It's great.
Not gonna lie, this anime broke almost every action/adventure anime stereotype I had before I started watching it, and I think this is why I ended up really liking it so much. That, and because I really liked most of the characters.
You've got Kirito, who is a solo player and who actually has a legit reason for being a lone wolf for the majority of the game until Asuna gets him to join her party. There's Asuna, who is a badass fighter who knows what she wants and actually does things. And there's Suguha, who is conflicted and real and relatable. There are a lot of side characters who only show up every few episodes, but they're pretty memorable, too.
Like I mentioned earlier, this anime broke most of my stereotypes. The characters actually had a relationship! One that was believable and incredible. There was none of the clearly oblivious characters or anyone dancing around about their feelings or just vague teasings of a love-line. There was kissing and declarations and heartbreak. What surprised me the most was how early on it all happened, lol.
There were a few other surprises that I wasn't really expecting though. The first few episodes seemed kind of choppy as you started to get used to how the anime is set up, with every episode seeming to be continuing from a previous episode that you didn't see. You really had to pay attention to the dates at the beginning of every episode. Also, I didn't expect the anime to be split into two parts. The first 14 episodes have one plot while the last 11 episodes have another plot. But I wasn't really complaining; I didn't have to wait another year for another 13 episode season to come out!
Though, the biggest surprise for me was the amount of feels I had while watching this anime. I mean, I honestly don't know why I'm always so surprised that I get emotionally invested with an anime, but I never really expect action-y anime to have such sad, touching parts that I actually emote. But man, that first half had me rolling in feels. The second half was more like rolling in anger at the villain.
Do I even need to say anything about the art? I loved it. I'm pretty sure I'll watch any anime with this type of art style; it's just so pretty. The outdoor scenes in the games are gorgeous, and I really liked the character designs.
Also, the music was phenomenal. The background music in every scene went so well together, it really set the atmosphere. I also liked the opening and ending songs. They were catchy and matched the anime very well.
Now I can't wait for the new season to come out in July! Yen Press is releasing the light novel, which the anime is based on, and manga, so I'm thinking about reading those as I wait for the new season.