Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online – First Impressions

As many of the longer-term readers of my blog are probably aware, i’m not the world’s biggest fan of Sword Art Online (the anime). While season 1 was good, successive seasons only got worse, compounding on the series’ lack of consistency, bad character writing, lazy story progression, and generally flawed world. Each season past the first just made these flaws more and more obvious, slowly making me dislike a series that I had once enjoyed.

For this reason, I went into SAO Alternative a bit apprehensively. Though written by a different author, it’s still the world of SAO, and like a bad brand name, gave me a bad first impression. Thankfully though, from what i’ve seen so far, this show may end up turning things around.

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Camouflage done correctly

First off, Aincrad is gone. That flawed, inconsistent world is nowhere to be seen, along with all the main characters from the original series. In their place, we have the character LLENN, a tiny girl who wears nothing but pink (including her gun). LLENN is not only adorable, but already seems like a far more interesting character than Kirito, so much so that the series doesn’t need to rely on the fear of “dying in real life”, instead giving us a very real and down-to-earth “gaming” experience.

The war game showcased in the first episode reminds me largely of the popular game PUBG. While i’m not such a huge fan of that game, the instant connection in my brain shows just how well the show has done already in making GGO feel like a real game, something that Aincrad never quite managed to do.

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Nice ‘I’m being shot at’ face

I don’t mean to be ragging on the original series so much, but I feel it’s the best way of showcasing what this new show is doing correctly, and impressing me. Combined with the gorgeous visuals, slick animation, and great audio, with a stellar soundtrack including an OP by freaking Eir Aoi (who, by the way, is amazing), and very accurate and well-done gun SFX.

All-in-all, I think this show is gonna be a great watch this season, and I don’t see it leaving my list anytime soon. Things could change later down the line, but for now, that’s how my opinion stands. What are you guys thoughts abut this show so far? Do you agree with my opinion? Let me know down in the comments, and thanks for reading!

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6 thoughts on “Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online – First Impressions

  1. I probably have the opposite reaction given I loved SAO. I liked Aincrad and I liked the clear objective of escaping the game and not dying. This alternative hasn’t given me an objective and other than LLENN liking pink and being cute it hasn’t given me much of a reason to care about her. I’m more or less done with it and I’m not going to do any more episode reviews though I will watch another episode or two just to see if it picks up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. see I actually enjoyed the Aincrad arc of the anime. it’s after that, when they went to alfheim/returned to aincrad that i started having real issues with the show. I guess as a pretty big online gamer myself, the realism of this look at GGO feels more realistic than previous seasons allowed

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think I am too worried about the realism of the games as much as I am with the story being presented. Because the first episode of Alternative does feel very much like watching people playing an online shooter, but I really don’t like watching other people play games. So it didn’t really appeal.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good point. Gaming streamers/youtubers are super popular nowadays, and I think this show really plays off that, being the first show i’ve really seen that accurately captures that vibe. Interesting way to both draw in new audiences and make others dislike it, I think

        Liked by 1 person

      3. There’s definitely an appeal here but I think a lot of what people liked about the original SAO is missing. Which really is why rather than a spin-off I feel this would have been better as its own entity. It isn’t as though there aren’t plenty of other stories about being inside a game-world.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Well it is written by a different author (Keiichi Sigsawa), so the storytelling is quite noticeably different from what we are familiar with (Reki Kawahara).

        There’s definitely gonna be people who aren’t a fan of the show because it’s a very different narrative voice. So far, it definitely lacks that awesome tension that we got through most of the Aincrad arc of SAO, and doesn’t have nearly as strong of a start, either.

        Liked by 2 people

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