Sword Art Online Vol. 6 | Light Novel Review

Light novel review of Sword Art Online Volume 6, Part 2 of the Phantom Bullet storyline, by Reki Kawahara.
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From the back cover;

In an effort to discover the truth behind Death Gun, Kirito has entered the Bullet of Bullets tournament in Gun Gale Online. Both he and Sinon the sniper girl have made it to the finals, and the reality of what they discover is stranger than anything they could’ve prepared for. As Sinon is forced to face her own past, lives are on the line once again, and Kirito struggles to connect Death Gun to events in the original SAO game–but can Death Gun’s bizarre rampage be stopped in time?


Sword Art Online, Volume 4 | Light Novel Review

Review of Reki Kawahara’s light novel, Sword Art Online Volume 4, Part 2 of the Fairy Dance storyline.

From the Back Cover:

Kirito plunges into a suspicious new VRMMORPG called ALfheim Online to rescue Asuna, who never returned from Sword Art OnlineALO offers many features to entertain players in the wake ofSAO: ultra-high-end graphics, action-heavy gameplay, a choice of fairy races, and a next-generation flight engine. Playing as a spriggan, Kirito heads for the location of Asuna’s prison–the top of the World Tree, the final destination of every player in the game! Along the way, Kirito nearly falls to a plot hatched by the enemy salamanders, just barely surviving the ordeal with the help of a sylph named Leafa and his Navigation Pixie, Yui. But just as Kirito and Leafa make it to the foot of the World Tree, the end of their quest in sight, each realizes the other has a very big secret…

 

Sword Art Online Volume 3 | Light Novel Review

Review of Volume 3 in Reki Kawahara’s light novel series, Sword Art Online, Fairy Dance.

From the Back Cover:

Kirito has escaped Sword Art Online, the forbidden VRMMORPG of death, and returned to reality. He heads off to find his game partner and lover, Asuna Yuuki. But Asuna never made it back from the nightmare. Lost and desperate, Kirito’s only clue to her virtual whereabouts is a mysterious screenshot of Asuna as a fairy trapped in a giant birdcage. His conclusion: She must be trapped within the new, high-powered VRMMORPG, ALfheim Online. Now Kirito must plunge into the world of ALO, where players are fairies who fly gracefully through the air!

Sword Art Online Volume 1 | Light Novel Review

Book review for Sword Art Online Volume 1: Aincrad. This is the official English translation of the Japanese Light novel by Reki Kawahara.

From the Back Cover:

In the year 2022, gamers rejoice as Sword Art Online – a VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) like no other – debuts, allowing players to take full advantage of the ultimate in gaming technology: NerveGear, a system that allows users to completely immerse themselves in a wholly realistic gaming experience. But when the game goes live, the elation of the players quickly turns to horror as they discover that, for all its amazing features, SAO is missing one of the most basic functions of any MMORPG – a log-out button. Now trapped in the virtual world of Aincrad, their bodies held captive by NerveGear in the real world, users are issued a chilling ultimatum: conquer all one hundred floors of Aincrad to regain your freedom. But in the warped world of SAO, “game over” means certain death – both virtual and real…

Anime I’m Currently Watching – Log Horizon

Since MMORPGs (Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games) became a thing, anime has had series asking the question, What happens when the game becomes far more than a game?

_hackSIGNAn older series to pose this question was the multimedia project .Hack//Sign, which incorporated an anime, manga, and video game series all at the same time. In the anime, a single character finds they are unable to log off. The story revolves around this mysterious player and the deeper mysteries surrounding the game’s origin and purpose.

5fe886f3daa6485efecf1ea6dc5207931343265548_fullMore recently, a series to have huge success, was Sword Art Online. In this series, players interacted with the game via a virtual reality helmet. The creator of the game goes a bit batsh!t crazy and traps all the players inside the game. If they die in the game, they die in real life. If someone disconnects them from the game in real life, they will also die. The only way to escape is to win the game by defeating the ninety-nine floors of the main dungeon.

I really enjoyed Sword Art. So when I heard a similar series had been released, called Log Horizon, I had to check it out.

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Initially my impression was that Log Horizon was just another Sword Art clone. In the anime, players of a MMORPG called Ender’s Tale find themselves waking up in the game world. This occurs just after a new update is added to the game.

Several episodes in, I realized though Log Horizon started from a similar place, it had something much different to say.

In Sword Art, the players have a goal, right from day one. They know why they are stuck, they know the basic rules of how they are stuck, and they know what they must do to escape. The series focuses on the characters as they level up, find allies, and face off against challenging odds to win the game.

In Log Horizon, the situation is very different.

The players have no idea how they ended up in the game world. In fact, unlike Sword Art where players played the game at all times as they though were truly “living” it, Elder’s Tale was a more traditional game where players sat at their computer and manipulated a character on screen.

So the players waking up “living” in the game world is far stranger and more disorienting.

Log Horizon also deals with the hopelessness and despondency people face when their life has no goal or purpose. Unlike Sword Art, even if you die in Log Horizon, you revive just as normal. So even death lacks a consequence or meaning.

Log Horizon is much more about politics, morals, and how to build a new society with order and rules when you’re starting point is pure chaos.

I’m a little halfway through the series and loving it! Though the character designs are a little drab and/or cliche, the actual characters themselves are cool and the story is engaging. I especially appreciate how they keep comparing how things worked in the game, compared to how they operate now it’s a living world. There’s a lot of thought given to the mechanics and back story of Elder’s Tale and it gives added depth to the series. I almost wish Elder’s Tale was a real game!

So if you dig the whole genre of characters trapped in an RPG, check out Log Horizon and share your thoughts.

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