Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

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Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by Sidewinder » 2018-02-14 02:41am

Anime News Network wrote:Live-Action Sword Art Online Producer: Series Sold to Netflix, Will Have Asian Lead Actors

Skydance Television's Sword Art Online live-action series writer and executive producer Laeta Kalogridis (Altered Carbon) said in an interview with Collider posted on Tuesday that the series has been sold to Netflix, and that "Kirito and Asuna will be played by Asian actors."

Kalogridis made a similar comment to the Philippine Daily Inquirer in January. "I recently sold “SAO” (Sword Art Online) to Netflix," she said, "and part of the agreement was that Kitty Cat Asuna would remain Asian." (Note: Kalogridis most likely said "Kirito and Asuna.")

Kalogridis' full comment to Collider, in response to a question about what she would like to see in a live-action English version of Sword Art Online, is as follows:
Well, let's get the obvious bit out of the way, right away. SAO is an essentially Japanese property, in which Kirito and Asuna, who are the two leads, are Japanese. In the television show, Kirito and Asuna will be played by Asian actors. Whether or not that was the question underneath your question, it's not a conversation about whitewashing. When I sold it to Netflix, we were all on the same page. They are not interested in whitewashing it, and I am not interested in whitewashing it. In terms of the secondary characters, because the game is meant to be global, the way it's presented in the anime and in the light novels, there are secondary characters that clearly are from other parts of the world, like Klein and Agil. To me, it's very obvious when you watch it that you're meant to take that this game spans the globe, but Kirito and Asuna are very clearly located as kids from Japan, and Tokyo, if I'm not mistaken. That is what we will be doing because that is the story. They are, in my mind anyway, much like Major Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, defined in part by being seminal characters in an Asian piece of art. That's the first and biggest thing.
Kalogridis was signed on to write the script for the live-action Ghost in the Shell film in 2009, but did not write the final version of the script for the film that debuted last year. She also penned a script for the upcoming Alita: Battle Angel film.

Skydance announced the series adaptation of Reki Kawahara's Sword Art Online light novels in August 2016. Skydance Interactive is also planning a Sword Art Online virtual reality experience after the television series. Skydance Media CEO David Ellison said at the time of the announcement that the company is planning "a full-scale and wide-ranging set of live action franchise extensions across our business verticals."

Patrick Massett and John Zinman (Friday Night Lights executive producers, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider writers) are serving as showrunners on the series, and joined Kalogridis in writing the pilot script. Kalogridis, Massett, and Zinman are also executive producing along with Skydance's Marcy Ross, David Ellison, and Dana Goldberg.

Sources: Collider (Christina Radish, Dave Tumbore), Philippine Daily Inquirer (Rito P. Asilo)
FYI, 'Sword Art Online' is a novel-turned-anime about people trapped in an MMORPG (the titular 'Sword Art Online') because the designer of the VR headsets used to play the game, booby trapped the headsets so if you die in the game, you'll die in real life as the headsets literally fry your brain (the same thing happens if someone tries to remove the headset from your body). Considering how incompetently certain anime adaptations are handled (I'm looking at you, live-action 'Ghost in the Shell'), does anyone have any hope for this one?
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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by Vendetta » 2018-02-14 06:36am

Netflix' live action Death Note was terrible.

Sword Art Online is terrible.

Nothing good can come of this.

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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by Q99 » 2018-02-14 06:42am

Also, it's a game. Live action how?

That said, it has enough good parts I could see it improved (see: SAO Abridged), and hey, they're actually going to get Asian actors. Eh, I'll consider giving it a chance.

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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-02-14 10:41am

I predict total horror. Too much wrong with the story in the first place, and just not a good choice for a movie with what is right. And they'll never spend enough money on it.

I'm expecting Ready Player One to be pretty bad too, like actively painful dialogue kind of horrible bad, but hope I'm wrong on that one.
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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by Vendetta » 2018-02-14 12:58pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:
2018-02-14 10:41am
I'm expecting Ready Player One to be pretty bad too, like actively painful dialogue kind of horrible bad, but hope I'm wrong on that one.
I expect RPO to be a bit better than the book, because it probably won't be 40% lists.
Q99 wrote:
2018-02-14 06:42am
Also, it's a game. Live action how?
Like, live action. With actors and shit. You know?

The premise is "everyone is trapped in a complete virtual simulation with characters that look exactly like themselves", it's no different than filming anything else made up.

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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by TheFeniX » 2018-02-14 01:27pm

Vendetta wrote:
2018-02-14 06:36am
Netflix' live action Death Note was terrible.
Everytime I scroll past it, I'm like "maybe... another day." I've kept myself spoiler free for the most part, but I've heard it's not great. I'm wussing out because I really like Willem Dafoe, haven't seen him in anything in a few years, and I don't want to ruin it.
Sword Art Online is terrible.
I'm pretty jaded, but I don't think it's terrible. The abridged version is hilarious. I think it's just a novel premise, that dives into a lot of cliches since it seems to be targeted at young adults.

I will say the lack of reference to the Japanese MMO developers obsession with pinpoint dance movements during boss fights was a shame. The lack of references to what happens when you throw 10k normal ass people into some bullshit like that is a loss. Hell, they ignored a whole lot solely to focus on Kirito making SOA great again. Most of the stories aren't even all that personal, it's just "Kirito figures shit out because he's so smart." And nothing is gained, nothing is (generally) lost. Those stories can have value, if they are interesting.

So many episodes start out so poorly, I'm like "did I miss something?"

Like the Murder in Town shit, maybe other viewers are different, but I have a problem caring because little to nothing is shown about the people who hide in the towns. Their safety isn't on my mind and since the main characters are such badasses, you can't fear for their safety. It's just 23 minutes of shit happening.

And it's great the leads will be Japanese, but I still am shaking my head about this stuff. Like, people saying "We will get Chinese leads for Crouching Tiger" would have been met with an "um, ok?"

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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by orthranus » 2018-02-14 07:04pm

So sword art online is complete trash on its own. Live actions are complete trash on their own. Conclusion: two negatives will make a positive, SAO live action will be good.

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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by mr friendly guy » 2018-03-08 10:09am

As someone who is aware of what sword art online is but never watched it, why do people consider it crap?
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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by ray245 » 2018-03-08 10:27am

The main character is a massive mary sue.
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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by TheFeniX » 2018-03-08 10:37am

What Ray245 said. There's a problem with tension because he's so much better than you. NOTE: Characters like this CAN work, but not when presented like Kirito was in SAO. He does end up in some shit occasionally where Asuna has to bail him out, but it's generally under extremely contrived situations. But also that he's an enormous asshole.

Kirito's only weakness is that he's awkward around Asuna (girls in general because "Japan.") While I actually liked their lame romance, because I'm a sucker sometimes, she also puts up with all his shit and they fall in love.

And a lot of fan backlash also seems to come from the future arcs turning Asuna into a Plot Token. I don't know the details, but when I asked "you mean like Rikku in Bleach during the Soul Arc?" the answer was "exactly." Essentially, Ichigo in Bleach was the heavy lifter since this is DragonBall (Shonnen) but Rikku is capable and effective even though she spends most of the first arc depowered. Then in the second arc, they lock her in a tower and she laments like a captive princess.

Fans were noticeably miffed in both instances. I didn't catch Bleach till years later and even I was like "WTF? I like Rikku. Needs more Rikku."

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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by Vendetta » 2018-03-08 01:25pm

Kirito is so much of a classic mary sue that even the author thinks he overdid it.

Even the villain in the first arc thinks he is the best thing ever and gave him super awesome hero powers to be the main character of his MMO.

Also, in the second arc the villain is super rapey about Asuna who is completely incapable of having any agency in the plot and who basically disappears from the narrative until the last arc of season 2, despite largely being the only character who actually has challenges and any form of arc in the whole show.



Like at least the super OP main characters of all the other "trapped in an MMO" animes* aren't also antisocial loners who would get fucking nowhere in a real MMO and are actually in guilds and shit.

If you want to watch a show where the hero is super OP, watch One Punch Man because it actually uses that fact for humour and meaningful character stakes.

* I have yet to see anything to convince me that the entire genre isn't a trashfire. Nothing happens in Log Horizon and the only character in the first season who has any form of stakes is also the least likable, and Overlord had to spend an entire episode on exposition about the rules of a made up videogame to try and convince the audience that after nine episodes of boring invincible protagonist and 'please feel up my tits protagonist-kun' "humour" there were suddenly going to be some stakes.

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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by TheFeniX » 2018-03-08 03:20pm

Yea, OPM works so well because it's basically already an Abridged Comedy that still delivers in the action area and tackles the existential crisis Saitama is going though. Like Anime Demolition Man or GalaxyQuest. There's a lot of reasons to watch it, all of them stellar.

SOA is what happens when you just script the generic anime bullshit (or young kids/adults save the day) and script in that it's an MMO instead of Fantasy World X. One group of people watching doesn't care about MMO bullshit and the other group looks at what you're presenting and is like "MMOs don't work that way."

I mean fuck, a group of people who make a career out of robbing/killing other players can't even read someone's level before attacking? No, because we needed another "Kirito is awesome" scene.

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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by Bernkastel » 2018-03-08 04:13pm

My understanding is that the writer of the SAO light novels has admitted to having fantasised about being a high level player and having wrote SAO as his own power fantasy. The world of SAO exists so that the author self-insert can be the most amazing uber-player ever. So, the MMO is basically like a generic fantasy world for Kirito to be badass in, rather than like an MMO. That would involve systems that would get in the way of the power fantasy, like having teams and working with others be important beyond having people to be awed by how amazing Kirito is.

Then there's the already mentioned devolution of the main female lead, the harem/wacky anime "humour" and Asuna and another character getting tentacle molested. I also recall Kirito's sister being in love with him in the second arc.You know, while the regular female lead is stuck in a giant cage and gets molested.

Plus, one point of praise often given about the abridged series is that it did a better job at giving the antagonist a reason for why he did what he did. That reason was a comical chain of poor decisions. That makes more sense than what actual SAO gave.

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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by Formless » 2018-03-08 08:31pm

mr friendly guy wrote:
2018-03-08 10:09am
As someone who is aware of what sword art online is but never watched it, why do people consider it crap?
Oh, there are reasons. For instance, in the first arc of the show the two main leads declare their love for one another, and stay monogamous to eachother for the rest of the show. That's not a problem, of course, in fact many would say its refreshing even if their relationship comes off a bit bland. The problem is that the writer then resorts to the really annoying anime cliche of the Unwanted Harem (as in, the main character is ambivalent to the harem, not the audience, although in this case both reactions are applicable). Why? Because fanservice. Did I forget to mention that one of the women in the show that has a crush on him is his first cousin who is also his adopted sister? And that the animators love to show off her *cough* assets, even as the main character finds her incestuous feelings for him just as gross as most of the audience does?

I'm not even sure if that last part was the novelist's fault at all as I haven't read how this plot point was originally handled, but its definitely a problem in the anime's adaptation of the story.

That isn't even relevant until the second arc, though. You will also hear a lot of people decry the second season for ditching the Trapped In a Video Game aspects of the first two arcs because that is what drew them in... even though I personally consider it an improvement.

My hot take: the very premise of being trapped in a lethal VR game is almost un-salvageable. This makes most shows in the genre crap by default. And I don't say this without having thought about it at length.

Okay, first thing you need to know is that the entire premise is basically an extended version of the Star Trek malicious Holodeck cliche, only instead of being trapped in a holodeck everyone is trapped inside a Matrix-like gaming console that's hooked up to the internet. That in itself isn't a completely bad premise, but where problems begin peering through the facade is that whereas holodecks usually become lethal due to malfunction, this one was designed maliciously by a villain who appears in the first episode to explain the premise. Here's the problem, and it is a spoiler: at the end of the first arc, when asked up front why he did this, his only answer is infamously "I can't even remember anymore".

:banghead:

That is the most obvious copout I have ever heard, telling me the writer had no idea why any of this should be happening either. Its seriously one of the worst things about the series, as most people who are familiar with it can tell you. And it isn't as if I can't think of solutions, albeit with much difficulty. In the Abridged series (which is the greatest abridged series of all time, BTW) they fix this by having the villain admit that everything he did was to cover his own ass after he discovered a glitch that killed people for real and in a sleep deprived state he reacted in all the wrong ways. But its not completely foolproof as the writer reveals in dialogue ("why didn't you just claim some hackers did it and unlock the logout function?" "That's a very good point, and I wish I had thought of it sooner.").

Probably an even better motivation that I would use comes out in the second arc, where people are still trapped but we find out its so that the new villain can do mind control experiments on their brains. And people consider that to be the worst arc of the series! Mostly because its plotted badly and cemented the main hero as a Jesus figure within the show. I can also think of a third possibility, though this is SERIOUS spoilers:

Apparently the gaming console gets so much information about a user's brain that about 1 out of 1000 dead players can actually manifest partially or fully as a ghost, and the villain escapes law enforcement by essentially downloading his brain onto the internet. See, if the show were re-written so that this entire affair was a secret experiment in brain-uploading technology, I wouldn't have so many issues with it, but I do and I can't credit the original author with this idea even though its based on actual plot points he included. He never connected the dots in his own universe to realize this solution to the motivation issue with his villain.

But there are problems with how this premise plays out that transcend just the villain. In a normal Holodeck plot (The Matrix included) there are people on the outside of the holodeck trying to rescue the hostages on the inside. This does not happen in Sword Art Online. This would possibly be fine, except that the first arc of Sword Art Online takes place over two years. Lampshading this, when the characters finally win their freedom the main protagonist wakes up in a hospital bed, revealing that people on the outside knew what was happening and only provided palliative care while people were literally dying. The only safeguards the villain put in place to keep outsiders from intervening is a wi-fi protocol that automatically steals wi-fi from any unsecured network, a function that automatically kills the player if the console is disconnected from the internet for more than an hour, and another similar function that kills the player if the thing is unplugged from the wall for more than an hour (it has batteries, apparently). This simply is not good enough. What stops an outsider from physically accessing the hardware with a screwdriver and disconnect the battery pack? Or the motherboard? And if there is some mechanism that prevents a technician from doing that, I highly doubt there is a way of stopping EMP from shutting it down safely. The writer just doesn't have enough imagination if he thinks those three things were enough to prevent tampering with his death trap.

In fact, thinking about this lead me to the conclusion that actual holodecks are better for this kind of plot than Matrix style VR, because all you need to do to trap someone in or out of a holodeck is literally lock the door leading in and out. Simple.

Also, think again about the time span this takes place over. Two years. Two. Years. The device is a game console, built to the same standards as other consumer grade electronics. GPUs are no normally built for constant peak performance for that long. And with game consoles, you are lucky if they don't have a Red-Ring of Death fail state. I don't care if the story takes place in the year 2022 (which, by the way, is just four years from now) that is never going to not be implausible to me.

Also, what were the businessmen behind the game console and game servers doing all that time? Or Law enforcement? The show seemed to portray the villain as being totally in control of the game servers, so how come no one on either the business end or law enforcement managed to find the guy with all the cybersecurity tools they have at their disposal? Never answered. How did the villain manage to get deadly components and software backdoors into the final product without tipping off anyone in the company's engineering team that something fishy was about to happen? Never explained. And probably not explicable, for that matter. Its something you have to ignore in order to buy into the plot, but once realized the thought will never go away.

And let me just say that on a technical level the gaming console is just silly: the Nerve Gear supposedly uses microwave radiation in its brain-machine interface and it can kill people by increasing the output of microwaves until the user's brain is literally fried. Of course, microwaves do not work that way. The skull is opaque to almost all EM radiation except near-infrared. And it doesn't penetrate deeply or give near enough spatial resolution for what this thing is supposed to do. Seriously. If this thing actually existed, from my research, it would be easier to do it with high-frequency ultrasound, which has been used in actual brain-to-brain communication experiments. No one is quite sure why ultrasound can modulate brain activity, but it can and quite precisely considering it doesn't require you to drill holes in the skull. Now I understand that the writer had to come up with some sort of handwave because a lot of the neuromodulation tech that I would base such a machine on wasn't developed until after he wrote the novel, but it still irks me because we know so much about microwaves! Anyone with a microwave oven could figure out that the user's scalp would burn before their brain will. Unless they also believe cell phones are a radiation hazard...

And in the end, I don't think the story really needed to have a lethal premise to begin with. While that is where it gets its tension from, but there are so many more clever ways of doing it once you realize the potential of brain-machine and brain-to-brain interface technology. Like I said, the second arc's villain was doing mind control experiments (although one problem with that arc is that it is never capitalized on). Some of the plots from the first arc don't even care about whether the characters are trapped or not, they could be re-written with ease to fit into a story where people are just playing a VR video game and... that's it. They could have solved a lot of problems by ditching the kill-mechanism as the primary way the players were locked in by, lets say, having the machine give everyone narcolepsy if they actually log off, or actually make the machine addictive so that they wouldn't want to log off even if they knew they should. Death could play a role, but it would make more sense if they weren't also trapped and the deaths went unexplained for several episodes. If you went that route you could tie it into the motive (see my second, spoilery concept). Death as it is used in the first season comes off less like a dramatic necessity and more like a cheap trick to make people invested even though it isn't necessary at all to explore many of the ideas the writer wanted to play with. And it seems to me that the writer in the long run agreed, because all later seasons ditched the tenets of being a malicious Holodeck plot, and so all criticisms people have of those story arcs have to do with the remaining issues with the main character and plotting mistakes rather than fundamental premise issues.
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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-03-09 04:41am

Could the problems with it best summerized as the power level of the main character feeling unearned, which only serves to highlight the other issues with the plot and characters rather then masking them?
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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by Formless » 2018-03-09 05:49am

No, because you would still have the harem aspects in there, which is another kind of wish fulfillment fantasy, and all the more out of place when Kirito and Asuna's relationship is one of the main things the show has going for it (harems and One True Canon Couples just don't mix even for people who otherwise don't mind harems). I mean, the author did try to justify Kirito's skill level by saying he was a beta tester, but people just didn't buy that excuse given everything else that is problematic in the series and with his character. Notably, the Abridged series didn't make Kirito any less powerful, and its awesome. Why? Because first of all, his power is contextualized: the poor tactics of the minor characters is highlighted at every opportunity and the game is mocked as a buggy mess released by Bethesda as a glorified tech demo. Also, people react appropriately to his skill and level: Klein says he would love to have Kirito in his guild despite considering Kirito to be an insufferable asshole, the Midnight Black Cats recruit him specifically because he is a powerleveler, and so on. None of his skills are earned, and they even make him more anti-social than he already was in the show, implying in the first episode that he is the archetypical MMO griefer and using the tragedy of episode 3 to justify his stoic behavior for the rest of the show. But they give him a character arc, going from a-hole to hero because events slowly turn his mysanthropy into a begrudging respect for the courage the other players have in contrast with the villain's cowardice. As other people have said, you can have OP heroes in a story and make it work so long as they struggle with something else (like Saitama struggling with precisely the fact that his power level deeply bores him and risks overshadowing the heroism of others). The Abridged Kirito struggles with forming genuine human relationships; or in other words, he struggles with his own inner douchebag as personified by the villain. That is actually interesting to watch.

I don't think people would miss problems like the bad pacing or the many plot holes (e.g. the author doesn't know what master keys can and cannot do for instance) just by toning down Kirito to be more human in skill when the show is this deeply flawed. I say that the second season is just better (although there are still plotting issues and Kirito still feels as OP as ever), and its because it introduces characters that are much more likable and have real character arcs, and even real themes like how people cope with guilt and death. That's what this show is really missing in its first season. The characters don't feel very human and their situation isn't very well grounded. That's the larger problem.
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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by Q99 » 2018-03-16 04:59pm

I too *highly* recommend 'Sword Art Abridged Online,' on youtube, which has many of the cool bits of the original, plus smooths over some plotholes (like... giving the villain a motive! And playing with the heroes' loner-ness a bit).


Anyway, I think part of the hate of the original is because it's not the worst thing ever- it's not boring, it has characters you can remember, it's got a spark of several good ideas in there- it's one of those "I see enough good in it to hate that it's not great," things.

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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by TheFeniX » 2018-03-17 03:24am

Q99 wrote:
2018-03-16 04:59pm
Anyway, I think part of the hate of the original is because it's not the worst thing ever- it's not boring, it has characters you can remember, it's got a spark of several good ideas in there- it's one of those "I see enough good in it to hate that it's not great," things.
Well, it's kind of a teen romance anime and "super-kicking-rad-cool" protag wrapped up in a "gaming" tag with the whole MMO thing. There's not a lot of good or popular cartoons or anime based on a video game. Those that exist were/are usually cheap cash grabs with little worry about being good or not.

SOA, as you said, has the premise of "not being shit." Then it just becomes a lot about "not gaming" stuff. Or when it does, anyone who knows something about it would just kind of slap their head. SOA Abridged OTOH routinely understands the overlapping genres at work when the original creator seemingly didn't, instead just trying to create his expy and focus on making that expy awesome.

Like, Alien vs Predator 2: in a movie about said aliens killing each other, we waste a good 30 minutes on a "nerdy teen wins hot girl" romance line that ends with (Spoiler alert) the girl getting killed soon after, making the whole thing even more pointless.

Anyway, I'm drunk and ranting, but the show constantly had me asking shit like "how does that even work? How can the plot just end on that note?" and even though the answer is apparent (the writer(s) just did not care): it still made me angry. Like, I'll just rant about one thing: 10,000 isn't a lot of people. PKers, those who dedicate their lives to it, get well known even in hilariously large games like WoW. Now, imagine their antics actually REDUCED the player count per kill.

PKers would be a lot more than just a footnote brought out for some tension every once in a while. And this is an MMO, not some Fantasy setting with no way to really track people. A guy like Kirito, considering his skill-set, is honestly wasting his time soloing PvE content when he's essentially tailor made for anti-PKing. Other teams are clearing floors even without him, though he tends to pug a raid spot early on. However, when not acting like a dumbass, he's seems able to demolish other players with little issue.

And that's ignoring the lack of a push people have to deal with PKers. The bosses don't come out of dungeons to murder people in questing areas. But somehow, PKers are still a footnote. I've played on PvP servers. Entering contested areas is a wholly different feeling than solely PvE content. Now, imagine one death means your character gets deleted. That's bad enough, even worse when you consider one death means: you're actually dead.

Kirito would be... one scary motherfucker considering his antics. A solo player who still clears content? Um, what's to stop him from murder-rolling other players? They already don't like Beaters. How is he not ostracized even more? How are people still bothering to form raid groups when you can kill people you are partied with?

Once again, the writer's don't think about this. They just wanted an "angle." That angle was "murderous MMO." Which is fine, but also relegates SOA into blow-off territory when you work with a source and don't understand it. Especially when it seemingly takes itself so fucking seriously. Like NCIS having a scene where, to fight off a hacking attempt, two people use the same keyboard. Or, in another one, some girl is Queen Badass in 3-4 different MMOs. That's nearly impossible by itself for someone who has no job, much less someone who works full-time.

But the writers don't care. Because it's all "nerd shit" anyway. Most people would just roll with it even if they understood what was wrong. For me, I just go full stop and turn it off. SOA never made me go full-stop, it's just the more I think about it, the less I like the show. It didn't start out that great and each episode kept it going down and down. At the least, the production value is quite high and the show never nose-dives. It's just.... there.

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K. A. Pital
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Re: Netflix producing live-action 'Sword Art Online'

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-03-17 04:36am

If they end the story with the first season, it could be OK - as in, tolerable.

The rest of SAO is just pure rubbish.

But I guess it will just be rubbish, all of it.
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