Hey guys! Yeah, I’m participating in the 12 Days of Anime – an aniblogger project where bloggers put out one post reminiscing on some anime-related moment or memory from the year on each day leading up to our day of pagan tree worship and reverence to our god, consumerism. Considering I already put out basically a post a day, this may not be the most intelligent of choices, but I don’t think anyone’s ever accused me of making many of those. I’ll probably alternating these more or less between personal moments of stuff I either worked on, did, or failed to do and straight-up Perfect Moments in Anime, so look forward to a broad scattering of posts over the next couple weeks. Today I’m starting off with one of my many not-so-bright ideas – going on a journey with Sword Art Online.
Bobduh Makes Bad Decisions: Sword Art Online
I mean, it didn’t seem like that bad of an idea at the time. I like writing occasional snarky pieces, I like writing things people enjoy reading, and people seem to enjoy snark about Sword Art Online. Plus, like Clannad, it’s just one of those Big Shows that’s hard to really tiptoe around – you don’t want to be the one guy who hasn’t seen Sword Art, right? And it’s not like I was just going to be ripping into the thing – I’m very against negativity for its own sake, and would surely be able to find plenty of stuff to meaningfully critique in a show that controversial, right?
…yeah, things turned out… questionably, with Sword Art Online. There was certainly interesting stuff to critique – but it was mainly in how the show reflected an incredibly myopic and almost proto-GamerGate worldview. Sword Art Online’s best elements are, bizarrely, things like its random fishing competitions, or the times when it actually stops being about goddamn videogames all the time. Many tears were shed over this show, many fingers bloodied as they detailed its crimes.
And yet, in spite of that, I have to say I’m kind of fond of the show. It certainly could be stockholm syndrome – I remember a couple Bad Weeks where I had to write up something like four episodes apiece in order to finish it in time for season two, and as proud as I am of stuff like Hardboiled Kirito and Kirito, God-Savior of Eden, I still can’t mentally justify spending that much creative energy on something like SAO. But honestly, the show wants to be good. It’s the puppy chewing on your shoe – sure, it’s fundamentally an escapist power fantasy, but the writer’s being earnest, and the production team do their damnedest to drag it out of the mud. I hadn’t really planned on becoming one of the world’s foremost experts on Sword Art Online this year, and I’ll be pretty annoyed if this show ends up being My Legacy, but I can’t say I’m unhappy about the choices I made. Here’s looking at you, SAO.
Now please stop making that face.