Redeeming the abysmal second half of the first season of Sword Art Online could be tough, but there’s enough potential in Sword Art Online II to excuse one for getting their hopes up.
The amiable Kirito is back, and he’s enjoying his quiet life in the real world after spending two years conquering virtual reality MMOs that grabbed a permanent hold on their players and their players’ lives. But now there’s a new game on the web and rumours are swirling about a mysterious character who shoots skilled players inside the game and stops their hearts in real life — and apparently, Kirito is the only person qualified to investigate the rumours.
Even though an average person might avoid video games like the Plague after going through what Kirito did in Sword Art Online’s first season, his altruistic personality looks like it’ll force him to solve another video game mystery and save some more lives while he’s at it.
This time, prettily animated guns will probably steal the spotlight from the magic and swords of the previous story arcs (unless you count a lightsaber-lookalike being brandished during the ending theme,) but as far as old characters go, along side some new faces, several of them are set to make a return in Sword Art Online II, including Asuna. She’s just as brazenly doting towards Kirito as she was before, so be warned if you took issue with her frustrating character motivations in the past.
Problem characters aside, there are still dozens of holes to be poked in the logic of Sword Art Online’s world, but if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief and stomach some goofy romances, you might get something out of the show’s still-novel trapped-in-a-video-game premise.
Sword Art Online II is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Check out this header post for more Summer 2014 anime previews and for more on why I’m taking a stab at them in the first place.