Anime Review · DVD Review

Sword Art Online Part 3

Headline: Masterpiece

5/5 Stars

Originally posted June 24, 2014

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful

Continuing from my reviews of Parts 1 and 2, the third part of Sword Art Online raises the stakes to a whole new level (no pun intended). Least of all because the series now takes place in both the real world and a new online game, Part 3 gives out completely different feelings to the ones I had whilst watching the first half of the series. Although there is no longer the threat of dying in the real world if you die in the game, some players now face a fate that’s far worse than death: their minds and memories could be altered and experimented on. There is uncomfortable tension as Asuna’s mind is held prisoner in the game and she is forced to play queen to her captor – who is a king in the game, and a sick, twisted man in real life, who Asuna has always despised, and who wants to take advantage of her in every way he can whilst her body is unconscious in the real world. After becoming such a loveable character in the first half of the series, and everything she was built up to be with Kirito, it just makes everything that happens to her in the second half feel so wrong. There are even times when her situation gets so bad that it’s literally unbearable to watch. Strangely enough though, this gives the second half of the series more intensity. It makes Asuna’s predicament more desperate, the villain more intimidating, and Kirito’s mission to save her more important. It’s like the classic hero saves the damsel story, but with much more depth to it – though I don’t like the idea of Asuna as a damsel. Plus, with old and new characters – including one unlikely ally for Kirito – the series stays fresh and you always want to keep watching until the nightmares are resolved.

Sword Art Online Part 3 was my first attempt at being more descriptive with my reviews. However, as you’ll see, it wasn’t a very good one.
Like Part 2, I made the mistake of not beginning the review with a brief description of the series and instead mentioned it carried on from my other two reviews. I realise now that an opening like this would bother most readers, since not all of them would’ve read parts 1 and 2 on Amazon; they might think they’d have to find and read them if anything in Part 3 was to make any sense. (Not an easy thing to do considering the sheer scale of the website.) Also, the opening line was made worse by a badly-timed joke about levels, which I doubt anybody would get if they didn’t know Sword Art Online was centred around an online game.
As for the rest of the review, I tried talking about the different elements presented in this volume (e.g. characters, plot points and emotions). However, I didn’t explain them in enough detail and the descriptions went all over the place. I think part of the problem was not presenting them in the right context. This is why it’s important to include a series brief; I understood what I was saying because I’d seen the episodes, but readers who hadn’t would need more than just one- or two-sentences explanations. What I should’ve done was focus on each of the elements individually and explained, in detail, how they affected my opinion of the series. I also could’ve mentioned why the second half of the series might’ve worked better if they’d continued the first half’s story arc – it already had pacing problems and the story definitely could’ve been drawn out over the whole series or even multiple seasons.
To be fair, when I reviewed Part 3, I didn’t think the episodes had much to offer and I was saving all my good comments for the last part. But I know now it’s important for individual reviews to work on their own, even if they’re part of a sequence – not every reader will read every part.
It’s no wonder why the only person who voted on this review said it wasn’t useful.

Let me know what you thought of this review in the comments below. Also, see my reviews of Sword Art Online Parts 1, 2 and 4.

(Image courtesy of http://www.mcmbuzz.com/2014/02/21/sword-art-online-part-3-dvd-review/)

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