What a mouthful of a title. Anyways, this can’t actually be worse than the main series, right? Well, I think that’ll depend on how dramatic it tries to be. SAO wasn’t bad simply because Kirito was an overpowered harem lead. It was bad because it took itself way too seriously. Its creator simply didn’t have the chops to pull off the serious topics that he wanted to tackle while also fellating his self-insert hero. But anyways, enough about Kirito and his tired shtick. Our pink-clad heroine is the new hotness!
— Ah, you say that, narrator, but the jackass main character ended up with a sword anyway.
— So this takes place in the same VR universe as those Sinon episodes from SAO 2. I remember that series stating early on that your avatar in GGO is completely randomized. Kirito apparently lucked out and got a rare model. I wonder if the same is still true here. What has remained true, however, is that if you get a cute avatar, you’re automatically the protagonist of the story.
— So not only is our heroine — her in-game name is LLENN (Ren?) — decked out in complete pink, she also has a cute and adorable avatar in a sea of ugly dudes. I actually don’t mind the pink outfit. C’mon, it’s a fucking game. It’s not an actual war where she would actually care about camouflage. If you know anything about MMO players — myself included — they like to wear some ugly ass gear just to amuse themselves. If you let me play a game in which everyone is dressed up in drab shades of camo green, you can bet your ass I’m going to be in all pink. Plus, her Oddjob-sized avatar makes her a difficult target to hit. She doesn’t need camo.
— Oh hey, the gun even has a name.
— LLENN sounds like a schoolgirl whereas her partner sounds like some gruff military veteran. I guess nobody uses their real life voices in these VR MMOs. You just don’t quite get the authentic online gaming experience if you’ve never had to listen to multiple nasally voices argue over some nerdy topic like whether or not Goku can defeat Superman.
— So far, this show is kiiiiiinda boring.
— Every so often, a scan goes off and this will reveal the location for every team leader. M, the girl’s partner, is basically using her as a decoy. He also appears to be the brains of their 2-man unit.
— LLENN’s location is eventually revealed, so a nearby team opens fire on her. She doesn’t react like a gamer, does she? I don’t care if the VR is realistic, because it’s still a game at the end of the day. This isn’t the first time she’s played this game. Hell, I’m sure that this isn’t the first time she’s been shot at either. Why is she actually scared?
— These guys don’t really behave like actual gamers either. They’re all grouped up together in one place, emptying all their bullets into one location like a bunch of adrenaline-addled idiots. Who plays like that? Nobody, man. Like shit, just a lob a grenade in their direction and they’re done for.
— But instead, a sniper from another team starts taking them out one by one. The rest of the sniper’s team moves in to clean up the rest of the stragglers.
— M notices that this third team has people rappelling quickly down a building. He then informs us that players can’t rappel this fast with just the in-game mechanics. As a result, these guys must know how to rappel in real life! Her partner then reasons that the enemy team must be comprised of actual soldiers! Oh lord.
— Again, LLENN has the only female avatar that we’ve seen thus far. Your avatar must be still be randomized, since the male-female divide would never be this extreme if players actually had a choice. I can’t imagine getting into an MMO in which I don’t have any control over my appearance, though.
— By the way, how come her team only has two people in it? Guess we won’t find out till next week’s episode.
— Welp, this looks terrible.
— We then get to watch a bunch of random nobodies take each other out. But again, I find myself incredibly bored. The action mostly consists of people just firing guns at each other, so it isn’t visually interesting to watch. And most of the chatter between our heroine and her partner has revolved around staring at maps, predicting the enemy teams’ movements, and discussing what they should do next. It’s so, so boring. That might be the show’s curse: LLENN’s exploits might not be as dumb as Kirito’s, but we’ll probably find it difficult to care about her at all. We’ll see, though. We still don’t know a damn thing about the person behind her avatar. It’s just that the first episode should ideally draw viewers in, but none of the action is remotely compelling.
— After most of the teams have been taken out, the pro team decides to move in on the girl and her partner. Supposedly, this is where our heroine shines. LLENN’s small size means that she has incredible speed and agility… which, again, makes me wonder why she acted like a complete newbie just earlier.
— The pro team follows the latest scan to the girl’s location, but they find nobody there. All of a sudden, our munchkin — hey, I’m just using their words — suddenly pops out of a tiny suitcase and mows them all down… with tears in her eyes. Okay then.
— So yeah, the girl’s diminutive size gives her a great advantage on the battlefield. Not only can she hide inside tiny objects like a suitcase, she can also shield herself completely behind other players’ dead avatars. This is why your friends don’t let you pick Oddjob when you go over to their house to play Goldeneye. So what are the downsides? Her avatar must have drawbacks, right? Otherwise, GGO doesn’t seem very balanced to me if you can just luck into a tiny avatar.
— The rest of the pro team opts to quit the match, because they’re only playing GGO in the first place in order to help them train. Since nobody in the real world can move as quickly as our heroine, there’s no point in them continuing to fight against her. Well, that’s convenient. I mean, can’t you just keep playing because… it’s fun? I mean, it is a game.
— We suddenly cut to the real world and watch a bunch of girls fangasm over our heroine’s latest exploits. They must be watching a recording, because we soon cut to someone who looks like a mom bringing drinks and snacks to her daughter’s sleepover. But in actuality, this lady — her name is Karen — is actually the player behind LLENN.
— Oh yeah, I remember hearing about this… our heroine is super insecure about her height. She’s six feet tall or something. Welp, we go from being traumatized by guns to being embarrassed over our height.
— Nevertheless, this isn’t a very great start for Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online. It’s just not very fun to watch. Maybe if I get to know Karen, I’ll care more about LLENN, but we’ll see.
At the end of the day I’m afraid that even when lightsabers in a game about guns were a ridiculous idea, that at least looked more entertaining than random technical blabbering for the majority of this episode.
I rather enjoyed this episode quite a bit.
There was no fanservice or bullshit (at least compared to regular SAO), and the episode itself gave the same vibe as a game of PUBG/Fortnite which I assume that’s what the anime was going for, and it succeeded, for better or for worse. Not to mention, there’s actual strategy involved here, a far cry from the fight scenes in SAO.
Still skeptical about this anime, but I hope future episodes have more action in them.
The main character is just your average moe kawaii girl, but she isn’t as annoying and cringe-inducing as Kirito so far. Yes, she is an adult woman behind her avatar, but as long as she act like your average moe kawaii girl, I’ll call her one. Heck, we don’t even know how she act as an adult. She could act in the real world just like how she act in the game.
It’s good to see that like in the old SAO, all non-main characters are still a bunch of middle-aged dude (Seriously, I’ve never played an Asian MMORPG where most people played middle-aged dude. Most players play as fey-like bishonen and bishojo. Sure, this one has FPS element, but so what? Asian online FPS games also have a shitload of bishonen and bishojo characters as well.) and the players don’t seem like they play a game or, you know, have fun (Seriously, they all treat this GGO like how duelists treat Yu-Gi-Oh. At least Yu-Gi-Oh have ancient Egyptian magic. What does this GGO have?)
Based on what I’ve watch so far, this SAO is still going to be as over-melodramatic and take itself way too seriously as the old one. At least there is no Kirito, but who knows? He could still appear later or Karen turn out to be as annoying and and cringe-inducing as Kirito in a completely new way. This first episode don’t give me much reason to believe she is going to be a good character.