Preview: Sword Art Online Anime Series Has Real-World Consequences

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One of my favorite video game series of all time is .hack//G.U. Volumes 1-3. You were an MMO player trapped in a Virtual Reality MMO RPG that had real-world consequences. Now an anime series that introduces this very similar plot was released on Crunchyroll called Sword Art Online. If you die in the game, you also die in real-life.

The Plot

There’s a new Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online RPG which was created for users to get acquainted with Nerve Gear, a fully immersive virtual reality interface released to the public in early 2022. It’s a helmet that intercepts signals to and from the brain via the medulla oblongata therefore translating your five senses, thoughts and actions into virtual data. Once linked into the Nerve Gear, your conscious mind has no control over your physical body and you cannot received external stimuli. This was almost exactly like the user interface in .hack //G.U.  and their VR MMORPG was called The World.

The inventor of SAO is also the creator of the Nerve Gear, Kayaba Akihiko. Either knowingly or not, Kayaba’s inventions led to a trap for the first group of users of the game. On November 6, 2022, ten thousand people were taken hostage within SAO and became a death game for most. The story revolves around one player, Kirigaya Kazuto, aka Kirito, who was a beta-tester for SAO. He uses his experience to keep himself and others alive.

Survival

SAO is like most MMO games. You dungeon crawl, beat up monster and steal loot to get EXP and money for weapons and gear. All players exist in a 100-level tower. To defeat the game and return to the real world, you must conquer all levels and defeat the final boss. This is ultimately what Crunchyroll had to say overall about Sword Art Online and it’s implications:

Within the world of Sword Art Online, the advent of the Nerve Gear technology and the SAO VRMMORPG can be seen as the harbingers of a transhumanist, cyberpunk era, where technologies can allow humans to develop beyond the limits of their physical being, whether through extended life, or expanded physiological, psychological, and intellectual capabilities.

There are lots of dangers lurking in SAO to not be taken for granted. There are no save points or restarts. It’s just you and the fear of death. You also have to deal with PKers. Whether or not they know that if they PK another player the device will kill their victim probably has no effect on their psyche since they enjoy PK’ing. Another danger players have to deal with are limited resources and respawn locations. The servers are active with player activity and stack up necessary resources to help them either kill you or help you to survive. Being on a team is a plus.

Sword Art Online was a light novel series created by Reki Kawahara before it was adapted into a manga, anime series and a video game. The anime began airing on July 7, 2012 and later dates on other networks. Start watching Sword Art Online via Crunchyroll now!

Upcoming Videogames

Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment – PSP: Publisher: Namco Bandai

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment – PS Vita: Publisher: Namco Bandai

 

Watch the Trailer for the anime series