First, let me say that I was addicted to the MMO RPG genre of gaming for a couple years. I tried to live, breathe, and eat the MMO RPG genre…namely World of Warcraft. It gave me an escape from reality and I could do things that aren’t possible in the real world. The social aspect of the genre also gave me the interaction with people that I looked for, sans the physical contact. So in short, I am intimately familiar with the MMO RPG genre. Not just in passing.
With that said, this anime gripped me into its clutches from the very first episode. Sword Art Online’s story is based on a teenage boy’s travels and experience within the Virtual Reality MMO RPG of the same title. The addition of the Virtual Reality is what really caught my imagination. Instead of sitting in front of a computer screen with a keyboard and mouse at hand, they use what looks like a helmet that transmits and receives the game information. This is how the game gets the Virtual Reality part and engages all 5 of a players’ senses. Where the regular MMO RPG stops are seeing and hearing, the VRMMORPG gives you the feeling, smells, and tastes of the world you’re playing in. They’re able to SMELL and TASTE the food they eat!
The above two are the main characters, Kirito (real name, Kirigaya Kazuto) and Asuna (real name, Yuuki Asuna). Their interactions and eventual love for each other is what really drives the story along. Without giving too much away (NO spoilers here), their battling side by side and romance gives this story its heart. Regardless if you’re an MMORPG’er or not, this series is a MUST WATCH! I will say that the episodes only cover about half of the Manga that’s already published. Needless to say, if they produce more than 25 episodes, I will be watching those!