I know that most seasonal anime fans out there are looking forward to this series and I guess all the expectations that are being thrown to Sword Art Online didn't go to waste. This opening episode definitely lived up to the expectations with that easy to understand story line and that really beautiful art and animation.
When I first saw this without reading the synopsis or anything, I thought that this will be an anime based on an MMORPG but no, it's not. Rather, it's based on the light novel of the same name by the author who brought us Accel World (which I still have yet to watch), Kawahara Reki. I've only played an MMORPG once and never again did I decided to go back there. It's not that I don't want to, it's just that I personally think it's a rather useless wasting of time. AND for the record, I've also played a 2D MMORPG - Adventure Quest Worlds (LOL). I can't believe I wasted my time playing senseless stuff.
ANYWAY, what is Sword Art Online (SAO) about? As obvious as it seems, it's about getting stuck in an MMORPG and the only way out is finishing it. That's about it. If they die in the game, they also die in real life. This opening episode basically goes over with all (I think) the details the players need throughout the game. It's pretty interesting, really. Now I understand why anime fans are eagerly looking forward to this show the most. In another note, this show pretty much standout for me because this season doesn't really offer much interesting series.
Going over to the characters, we were only introduced to two of them. First off, the main hero of this show, Kirigaya Kazuto or 'Kirito' (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) is a pretty good main character. He was one of the few beta tester of the game has got to be one of the few people who easily digested the fact that the game just turned into a freak show reality of life and death. The second character introduced in the game is Klein (Hirata Hiroaki) who asked Kirito to teach him how to fight. Unlike Kirito, Klein plays with his friends which became the reason why he didn't join Kirito although he knows a lot about the game being a beta tester. I'd really like to see the two of them together since they will look like a pretty good duo :3
As I have mentioned earlier, Sword Art Online doesn't only have that simple story line but it also have that outstanding art and animation that I don’t even know how to describe. It's probably too good for words @.@ A-1 Pictures being the one behind this amazing animation is definitely no surprise. One pretty good example is when Kirito attacked a monster. It's flawless and beautiful. As for the art itself, the character designs are pretty standard. While looking at the image at MAL, it just makes me think that they are pretty generic most especially the female characters. Disregarding that, I really want to commend A-1 Pictures for the wonderful background art. Seriously, I always look at the background art at every anime I watch. AND this one is one of the most beautiful one I've seen.
In an overall look on this episode, it did a great job in introducing the game in which the story will focus on. As of now, I love everything about this anime - the art, music, characters and the story. This is definitely a must to watch this season :3