Review: Sword Art Online II
Intro: Well...it looks the infamous and famously praised SAO is back with another season. The new season now includes guns and awkwardly voiced gender bent Kirito with new adventures to behold...Lets see if SAO has made any sort of improvement from its predecessor.
Story: A year after the events of SAO, Kirito and his gang of friends readjust their life into reality and aim to become normal again. However, Kirito is approached by the government to investigate mysterious events where a person by the in game name of Death Gun in the game Gale Gun Online, is mysteriously killing people in real life by just shooting people in game. Kirito then is lead to the world of GGO(Gale Gun Online) where he meets a new friend and investigate Death Gun.
The Characters and Voices:
Asada Shino- She is the new female protagonist in the first half and the best sniper in GGO. She also has a certain fear of fire arms in real life and is somewhat anti social too. Voiced By Sawashiro Miyuki who is also Kanbaru from the Monogatari Series,Beelzebub from Beelezebub, Yomi aka Dead Master in BRS and Kurapika from Hunter x Hunter.
Kirigaya Kazuto: Known as Kirito, he is the main protagonist that is known for his legendary gaming skills and stats, and a survivor of SAO. He is also Dating Asuna.
Voiced by Matsuoka Yoshitsugu who is also Titus from Magi and Sora from No Game No Life.
Yuuki Asuna: The famous Asuna The Flash in SAO, she is dating Kirito and a survivor of SAO. Voiced by Haruka Tomatsu who is also Morgiana from magi, Anjou from AnoHana, Lala from To Love Ru and many more.
The animation is done by the famous A-1 Pictures, providing us with their famous and quality artwork and animation throughout the series. The combat series are, of course, a special highlight of the show because they're both beautiful and epic. To make it short, the artwork is topnotch.
Composed by the lovely Kajiura Yuki who has also done the .hack// series, the newer Fate Series, Puella Madoka Magica and more, did this music with excellent scores. Some songs are reused from the first season, I find this acceptable since SAO is going to be released regularly every year so it helps having noticable, main songs. The 2 openings for the shows are enjoyable and okay for the most part, I find myself humming to the tune of them sometimes...oddly.
The main OST consist of the usual from Yuki epic orchestral pieces mixed with guitar, the mellow piano, the beautiful string, flutes, numbers, some sprinkles of electronic elements to amp up the show, suspenseful numbers and more. The overall OST is a great work from Yuki, but I've also seen better from her.
I'll happily say that SAO II certainly made an improvement from SAO. The Asada, the new female protagonist, is pretty interesting compared to the copy and paste Asuna from SAO. She provides something more fresh to the show, then just gets shoved into the harem circle in the second half. Also, Asuna also gets a chance to shine more with her own little arc in the second half of the show, something I didnt expect and thoroughly quite enjoyed. The pros pretty much took the flaws from SAO and improved upon it, surprisingly. But of course, there are flaws which incredibly hinders the show. The first episode which initiates the GGO arc was pretty much forced while feeling almost bland. The MMO mechanics mentioned in GGO are very unrealistic and dont represent MMOs in general at all. They randomly pick your avatar and have a mechanic where you predict where a gun will shoot you. MMOs now focus on customization and have incredibly improved upon it, and that GGO game mechanic somewhat ruins the game by...well predicting where you'll get shot, which is pretty imbalanced. Another flaw, which is something that irked me a bit, is the obligation of including of the group of girls that are his friends in. It's overall awkward, knowing that they're most likely envious of Asuna's relationship with Kirito, and adds onto the known fact that Kirito is a bland main character that is a "playa." Overall, the show made great improvements, but it also had or it added flaws that balanced out the improvements, but did make slight improvements. I enjoyed the show just as much as SAO and surely recommend anyone who hasnt seen SAO, for those who are unsure of the 2nd season and for those who have waited for SAO II. Have a good day and Merry Christmas.