For better or worse, sword art online is one of the most well-known and successful anime franchises of the last decade. Although theoretically not an isekai, it can definitely be seen as the source of the current moment of that genre within anime as a whole. Despite this success, or perhaps because of it, ODS it has quite a few critics and enemies, most of whom aren’t exactly unwarranted in their taunting.
Oddly enough, the sequel to the original movie Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale it was much better received, both by fans and critics of the series. This is mainly because it addresses many of the anime series’ problems, fixing them despite the shorter runtime. Its status as an improvement over the source material was reflected in the quality of the show’s next season, cementing the film’s superiority.
Why is Sword Art Online so hated by anime fans?
It’s an old adage that anything popular enough will eventually get hated, and that’s definitely the case with sword art online. Ever since the anime launched the franchise to stardom, it has drawn a host of haters. Much of the criticism stems from the fact that despite the show’s popularity, its quality is sorely lacking in certain areas. While it’s more of an isekai-adjacent series than a true isekai, all the usual criticisms of that genre still apply. The protagonist Kirito is incredibly overpowered, with nothing really challenging him. This is only made worse by his rice-thin personality, making the series almost impossible to invest emotionally.
Even the fight scenes are affected by this, as Kirito’s power level takes away all the tension. The public must hope that he pulls some completely random technique out of thin air and wins the day. The fight scenes aren’t great due to inconsistent animation and poor choreography, turning what could be a spectacle into a chore to watch. This is made worse by the fact that none of the other characters are particularly well developed, and most are just as flat as Kirito or just there to bolster his ego. Given that very little is done well outside of being a power fantasy, it is not surprising that sword art online it’s so nasty. What is surprising though is how the first film in the series makes everything so much better.
Ordinal Scale fixed many of the problems of the initial series of Sword Art Online
Released in 2017, Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale was a ODS original film written by series creator Reki Kawahara. Although it was not based on any part of the original light novels, it is canon with the anime and takes place between the second and third seasons. While the show can be heavily criticized, the movie was pretty well received, mostly for doing things the show never did. The relationship between Kirito and Asuna is further fleshed out and in focus, with the villains getting a surprising amount of characterization as well. This is in stark contrast to the show, where the enemies are often just minor obstacles for Kirito to overcome. The same goes for the supporting characters, who are generally much more fleshed out.
Most importantly, the fight scenes are really intense and exciting, no doubt due to the characters being more vivid and alive. There’s also the fact that the film uses augmented reality and not virtual reality, which ups the stakes by essentially placing the action in the “real world.” The result is a movie that is so much more than the sum of its parts and so much better overall than the previous TV show. The third season of sword art online it reflects some of these changes and is generally considered better than its two predecessors. That increase in quality began with ordinal scalewhich even most haters will admit was a huge step up in the quality of the franchise.