So fun you won’t want to log out! Nor will you be able to!
|Wooooooo! Hooooooo! Finally Sword Art Online has officially arrived and yeah as you can tell I am a bit excited for this series because I consider myself to be a huge fan of MMOs and of course video games in general. So can this series move past just being called a simple .hack\\SIGN clone? I have high hopes for it to do so! Anyway it is time to join Overcooled for our epic first impressions on Sword Art online episode one.|
|Like Fosh, I’m no stranger to playing MMOs for hours on end with my buddies. I’ve cut down on them recently, but I still have a special place for them in my heart. It’s no wonder that SAO had me hooked when I heard it took place in a game world. It combines my two dorky loves – anime and video games – into one beautiful, final product! That means I kill two birds with one stone, and you all know how fond I am of killing things (I’m pretty sure that’s what it means).|
Overcooled // I’ve been very careful to only check out shows that I really feel like I will enjoy this season because of my tight schedule (I won’t bother rattling my various real life duties off my to-do list) and SAO’s successful first episode makes me feel pretty damn good about my choices. This was a great start to the series that managed to fit in a lot of world-building, without tons of clunky jargon being thrown around. Accel World had no idea how to aptly explain the Burst Linker universe in a few minutes. SAO simply shows it, and thus avoids having 20 minutes dedicated to reading a game manual. Little things like seeing how players activate menus and view HP bars, touching force fields, and seeing monsters respawn tell us a lot about the world already. Of course, we do get a mini tutorial about how to fight and the technical aspects of the NerveGear system, but I found all of that to be really interesting. If we actually did develop an immersive MMO like this using a virtual reality helmet…it’d probably be exactly like this. Well, minus the part about microwaves frying our brains like eggs, I would hope.
Lesson 1: stick ‘em with the pointy end
Even if you’re not a gamer who gets a kick out of the video game setting, there’s still a lot for SAO to offer. For one thing – it’s gorgeous. It’s easy to forget this is a game, and just assume it’s a fantasy land brought to us courtesy of a huge animation budget. We got a small taste of action this week, and it’s equally well done. If A-1 keeps it up, then SAO could easily be one of the best-looking anime this season. Even killing a single-digit level wolf was exciting! Can you imagine when they have to start fighting bosses to progress? These battles have huge stakes, and should be pretty riveting to behold if done right.
I hope SAO isn’t shy about killing people off to make a point about how deadly this game is. I would love to see some characters die (and not offscreen! none of this implied death nonsense!) and observe how it affects morale. Another reason why I’m so hyped for this show is to see how frenzied people get when their lives are put on the line like this. I drink tears like wine, my friends, and I’m ready to get drunk off of Kirito’s sorrow. Kirito seems like a fairly average character, but there is a slight fragility to him. At first I had him pegged as the calm type who speaks frankly and tends to excel at everything, but there’s a little bit of vulnerability there too. Despite seeming aloof, he’s actually a bit sensitive and probably a deep thinker, which should give us some interesting inner thoughts on this 100 level massacre. He’s not TOO sensitive though. He’ll certainly be affected by what’s going on, but he’s tough enough to not be a whiner about it like a certain .hack//SIGN main character.
Intense battles that your very existence hinges on….at level 1
Now, before I hand things over to Fosh…I want to go on a sliiiightly
major tangent about the NerveGear and the future state of video games. You see, I would LOVE a virtual reality game like SAO. Wouldn’t you? Again, ignore the fact that you can’t log out and are being forced to run through a gauntlet of bosses. Just ignore that. Wouldn’t it be nice if a NerveGear were really plausible? I think this system is a little more believable than the .hack one where you move around in the game, but can also move your real life body. The NerveGear keeps your body still, so you don’t accidentally jump off of a bridge in real life while controlling your in-game character. This…might be possible. As a Neuroscience student who loves what she’s studying and applies it to everything, I have a theory for how this thing works. Stay with me if you’re game for a (potentially completely off) SCIENCE RAMBLE.
Brain being bombarded by microwaves? Cancer totally isn’t an issue.
The NerveGear works by inhibiting the motor functions of the body while keeping the mind active. This is something that can happen naturally by reducing the level of hypocretin/orexin neurotransmitters. Being in the game would mimic a cataplectic attack, which is triggered in people with cataplexy by strong emotions (or any sort of pronounced cortical arousal). People with cataplexy have incredibly low amounts of orexin – which is the neurotransmitter that makes sure you don’t fall over and become paralyzed when you experience cortical arousal. It may seem like a dumb idea that your body has a natural system to halt voluntary control of your muscles when you’re aroused, but this is actually used to make you stop moving during REM sleep. REM sleep is when you dream, and as you can imagine from all the crazy dreams you had running away from robots in your underwear while riding a giant Justin Bieber, your mind is in a high state of cortical arousal during this time. You do not want to moving while you’re dreaming.
In summary, cataplexy is when you get excited, and this triggers muscle atonia (i.e. keeling over like a tipped cow). You are unable to move at all, but you are still fully conscious. This is a more severe form of narcolepsy, because you are still awake, but you can’t move. So, Kirito will still be able to control his avatar with his mind, but he won’t have to worry about his body walking off into oblivion in real life. As for someone’s mind being able to control something, fellow aniblogger Joojoobees actually linked me to a article about a man being able to control a robot’s movements using his thoughts with a fairly simple cap on. It was in a Phi Brain post that this was brought up, so…yes…I do this sort of thing even for anime like Phi Brain. I probably enjoyed writing this more than you guys did reading it, but you’re not getting an apology from me! *backflips into the sunset*
Foshizzel // OH MY GOD! That was such a wonderful first episode because did you see the awesome artwork? Seriously Sword Art Online has some great looking background artwork! But honestly I think everyone already knew that A-1 Pictures were going to knock things out of the park in terms of great animation. They even brought in Shingo Adachi to do the lovely character designs from both seasons of Working, and Mirai Nikki but think I am really curious just to see how these somewhat moe-ish character designs work in terms of a fighting/action themed series! Who knows maybe we will all have our minds blown after we see some giant monster fights?
So what about that story huh? Akihoki Kayaba the original game creator of the game and creator of the Nerve Gear device removed the logout buttons from the game menu!? OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL DUDE? I guess he went mad with all that power or maybe he just wanted to become a god inside Sword Art Online? Either way that is some seriously messed up stuff to pull…NOT COOL BRO! NOT COOL AT ALL! So did anyone else burst out laughing when that “girl” in the pink outfit turned out to be a guy? Ahahahah that was so freaking hilarious! And it really is 100% true in the world of MMO gaming. After seeing that scene it made me wonder if the anime creators did their homework or maybe they have had similar experiences while playing games, but I think they can go through just about any online gaming message board and find all kinds of crazy stories to use for characters.
Besides the terror of being trapped in a video game world forever! There were a few random things that had my attention like the character Cline voiced by Hirata Hiroaki Which I always think of him as Tiger from Tiger and Bunny. Who knew that guy loved to play video games and running around as a super hero? I assume he will be one of the main characters in the story. We also haven’t met the main girl Asuna Yuuki yet! I can’t wait to see her fight and of course we have Keiko Ayano the token “loli-girl” because summer season is lacking those types of characters. So what did you enjoy about this first episode? The artwork? Interesting characters? I liked just about everything and I am really excited to see just how this series plays out because it has me addicted after one episode! SO BRING ON MORE SWORD ART ONLINE.