Sword Art Online Tells It Like It Is…

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MMORPG anime Sword Art Online’s brutal honesty in depicting the gender and looks of the players behind their virtual avatars has turned more than a few heads, as has the realisation that it is really an anime about creepy otaku pretending to be cute girls online…

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The actual anime is being reasonably well received in spite of the fact that almost all the cute girls are actually men (it remains to be seen whether it takes things a step further and has a few episodes devoted to camping rare mobs for hours only to have them stolen by Chinese gold farmers or worse still killing rats for days only to lose everything in a server rollback):

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Leave a Comment

220 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    nothing in SAO tells us “how it is”. Thats the joke. Nobody is sitting in an mmorpg pretending to be “married”. Even adopting a child. Nobody in a mmorpg is as strong as kirito. For a good reason. This is how people who had never played one would imagine a mmorpg. Never played it but hate games and the youth. Comming to the conclusion you must be trash playing it, must be trash watching the show. Return to be a working slave!

  • Pretending to be a girl is a wonderful thing. And are people really who they look like, or who they really are inside, who they see themselves as, and what their mind is? Transsexuals feel that they are really girls or guys inside, if that’s what they see themselves as, that’s what I see them as, too. I feel shallow, because I care about what people look like a little. But I don’t care so much about what people look like, that I would care about what they look like more than their avatar or who they see themselves as. I’m glad that technology allows for people to be a cute girl if that’s what they want to be. If someone wants to be a cute girl, I want to reach a technology where they can feel that way. And I will see them as a cute girl, too.

    What about the Singularity? People will not only will people be able to sink their mind into a virtual world and be a different gender or sex. There will be days with cybernetic body replacements. People will be able to ditch their “creepy otaku body” for a “cute girl”. And then what will you say, Sankaku? “Creepy otaku mascarade as cute girls in cybernetic bodies when in reality they were creepy otaku. Now have fully functioning vaginas.”

    Even if they fully replace their bodies with a cybernetic “cute girl”, complete with a functioning vagina, and everything, will you still see them as “creepy men”?

  • Anonymous says:

    I think I’m the only one looking at this with intrigue towards the sleek user menus demonstrated in the game world. I’d love it if I found an MMO with such style, simplicity, and ease-of-use as is found in this.

  • Anonymous says:

    As a general rule I always use female avatars when gaming. But I don’t hide the fact that I’m a guy. The basic logic behind this is as follows; I’m not gonna look at a dude’s pixel and polygon ass for 70+ hours of gameplay. Nuff said.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow how many times was this concept not attempted in past shows?

    Record of Lodoss War anymore? Anime ate off the whole J-RPG action scenario before developing into different franchises.

    Generic show is generic. PASS.

  • Anonymous says:

    I play World of Warcraft, I’ll admit, but I determine my character’s sex by their race. If I think I can make them look more cool than cute, I play a male (dwarves, orcs, etc.). If I could make them look more cute, I play a female (elves, humans, etc.). Too many other games are MADE to look too cutesy imo, so it’s kind of a waste of time to make a character look badass when he still looks like a cross-dressing pettanko.

  • Anonymous says:

    im also a person who tends to use Female Characters on MMORPG but when its an FPS/Sports or anythgame that does not let me see my character id go with Male

    even though im using Female characters i always say im Male and i just like looking at Female avatars including mine

  • Anonymous says:

    I used to be in a guild where the girls playing as guy characters outnumbered the guys playing as girls lol.
    It’s just about what you would rather look at as people said before.

  • Anonymous says:

    well, not like i never played a girl before. gotta admit even if i was a male character in game, ppl seem to come on to me. it’s wierd….. even if i played as a male, they misunderstand me as a female.

    • Anonymous says:

      – There will be plenty of action.

      – Male Lead Character does not appear to be an annoying whiny brat and looks to be competent.

      – Female Lead Character does not appear to be an annoying whiny brat and looks to be competent.

      – Talks about an scenario that is reasonably feasible with our level of technology. (We already have those Head-mounted Displays (those date back to the late ’80s and early ’90s, and those trace back to helmet-mounted displays from the mid ’70s.), and chips have been developed which can allow a paralyzed/disabled person to move a cursor around a monitor (See research by Professor John Donoghue).)

      And as opposed to Microwaves, one could think of WIFI instead.

      – The Light Novels are rather popular as well.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’d hate this. I’m playing male characters so I’d be left the fuck alone by annoying creeps and other idiots who don’t understand that I’m there to play the game.
    This would make me scream in terror and run away from those people as fast as possible since I couldn’t hide anymore.
    I doubt I’d be the only one.

  • Anonymous says:

    Not entirely true, most non Asian male gamers I encounter in MMORPG still prefer manly avatar for their main chr, although many wouldn’t mind creating alts of the female gender just to fool around

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m surprised there wasn’t a “launch-issue” joke thrown in there somewhere. The fact that all 10000 gamers logged-in to a virtual reality world at the same time with no error 37 should be something worth commenting on.

    tl;dr ….fuck you, Blizzard…XD

  • And that is why i don’t play online games, real girls are outside, or playing coop games alongside their boyfriends…………….

    better chances are to find a filipino transexual in the real world that a fine girl in the online one.

  • After watching the first episode the intentions of the main villain was very much you can’t log out or die in the game try as you must you will die in reality.The only way to leave this game is reach 100 levels and beat the final Boss but you have to do it as your true self.

  • Anonymous says:

    Now I wonder, what if someone physically modifies the head equipment and sets up a dummy emulator to nullify the microwave component and reroute it to something else like dev/null? The only thing you’ll suffer from is a banned account.

    It would need a ctscan to find boobytraps in the equipment and neutralize them prior to modding.

  • Anonymous says:

    What brutal honesty? Just showing dudes pretending to be girls doesn’t make it “brutally honest”. In fact, outside of gender-swapped players, the avatars didn’t seem to be that different from their real-life looks.

    You want brutally honest? Drop the silly anime-ified instant bromance between the main characters. The MC should have told the newb to “uninstall,” not patiently wasted his first few hours in the virtual world he’s been dying to play for months teaching a newb the basics that a tutorial should have taught him anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh I don’t know. It rather depends on the player.

      I’ve been in a bunch of Closed Beta’s, and have taught newbies the ropes during Live at times.

      Just rather depends upon my mood.

      Now that you might not have the patience, that’s your call to make, but it’s not unrealistic by any means.

      Now like Kirito, I tend to prefer solo’ing, but I also know that for some content, you’re going to need a group. And while you can always PUG, sometimes it helps if you’ve created some good will ahead of time.

      You never know when you may have to cash it in.

      • Anonymous says:

        Of course, but it’s hardly the norm to just randomly meet someone from a closed beta, annoy them, and expect to get anything but the cold shoulder. Much less the instant bromance.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well, we do have to keep cultural differences in mind.

          The whole begging for knowledge thing seems to be more accepted in Asian society, if I’m not mistaken. You see it with various Martial Arts flicks as well, with the soon to be student begging the Master to teach them their way.

          As for it being a random meeting, well, I’d chalk it up to Klein being somewhat more observant than the rest. He just happened to notice someone who was moving about as if it were second nature, as opposed to everyone else who was still moving about gingerly.

          Stands to reason then, that said player is experienced, and the only way to get such experience is by having been a Beta Tester.

          For our own type of MMOs, the equivalent would be if someone were asking questions in General, like say at what level one can buy a mount and where, and getting pretty detailed answers by someone, even though the game has just been released on that very day, so folks shouldn’t have that info yet..

          Stands to reason then, that said player answering has been part of the beta group then. That too would be a random encounter of sorts.

          So it really didn’t bother me that much. Such things do happen in my experience.

          Same thing with the bromance, we know that they spent quite some time training, as the sun was still high in the sky when they started and it was setting when they discovered the whole can’t log out for pizza thing and the subsequent port to the city.

          Sometimes you just click with people, just as sometimes you almost instantly rub each other the wrong way. (Later can be a pain in a PUG, and yeah I’ve been through that as well. Nothing like trying to heal or tank, when you got some yahoo who likes pulling too many enemies at once, even though the previous batch hasn’t been killed yet or doesn’t watch his/her aggro.)

          I know that in my case, if I do decide to take someone under my wing, I expect them to actually listen to what I’m saying and not rush off half-cocked and expect me to bail them out.

          The whole teach a man how to fish vs giving them a fish thing. Bailing their backside out is just giving them a fish, my intention is to teach them how to fish.

          Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. In the cases that it doesn’t. Well, that’s what my ignore list is for, as I don’t like having my time wasted by folks expecting me to give them EZ-mode.

  • Anonymous says:

    “The actual anime is being reasonably well received in spite of the fact that almost all the cute girls are actually men”

    even though its mostly men yet kirito manage to create a harem nice~

  • Anonymous says:

    It only showed one trap character actually. And when it forced all the other players to appear like they did in real life, they were all relatively thin. I wouldnt say it tells it like it is entirely. Also, there wont be any more trap characters because the real life appearance change is permanent o:

  • Anonymous says:

    My favorite anime (by far) this season, I have really high expectations of this one 🙂

    The light novels were also very interesting. And I hope one day we share the same experience (accept for the dying part)

  • Anonymous says:

    “it remains to be seen whether it takes things a step further and has a few episodes devoted to camping rare mobs for hours only to have them stolen by Chinese gold farmers or worse still killing rats for days only to lose everything in a server rollback”

    Artefact never does his homework before posting news, as usual… There’s no server rollback in SAO. And the gold farmers are usually members of high ranking guilds trying to make ends meet for their guild to clear the game…

    • Anonymous says:

      Actual female players who suddenly had the previous avatar exchanged for their actual appearance and they’re kinda spooked by it.

      Especially in light of them being in the middle of a crowd of guys, who’ve just been handed a death sentence essentially.

      It’s like a set-up for those incidents in Tahrir Square in Egypt with those female reporters.

      So experiencing a certain amount of trepidation is warranted.

  • Anonymous says:

    >brutal honesty in depicting the gender and looks of the players
    >no one is obese or has a neckbeard

    nothing wrong with looking like that and not all players look like that but “brutal honesty” is something different than this

        • Anonymous says:

          Just means that he probably has a foreigner in his family tree somewhere.

          Anon of 05:05 does make a valid point, even if he’s made it far too absolute for my own taste.

          Facial hair does seem to be a rarity in Asians, and I’m talking as someone with some roots in S.E. Asia myself.

          I’d have to say a possible genetic influence through either Indian/Pakistani, Arab or even Persian traders. Said influence then spreading through China/Mongolia into other nations like Japan.

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s not about the looks. If you are a girl in virtual reality you can touch your boobs! You are practically a guy in a cute girls body. That’s awesome and I can totally understand why they would do this!

  • Anonymous says:

    And?

    If you’re hitting on a “girl” avatar in an MMO, it’s almost certainly a guy. Well, there are exceptions of course. But then again, it’s a bad idea to go flirting in MMOs.

  • Anonymous says:

    Unconfirmed spoiler so don’t read this:

    Asuna, the perfect girl, never looked into the mirror in her inventory since she waited to see what happened to everyone else, then decided not to look, as far as the spoiler thread mentioned, this means she doesn’t look like that in reality.

    I don’t think there was a picture though, of what she actually looks like.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ya know, even though anime is basically dominated by teen drama, doesn’t mean that its necessarily a bad thing. Besides, its been working all the way up to now so why should it change?

    Also, its not the teen drama aspect that needs to change, its the plot, character development, and the ability to evoke our “willing suspense of disbelieve” that needs to improve. Lately, anime’s been lacking in general.

    We need another instant classic and no one knows how to write one anymore.

    ~blackINK

    • Anonymous says:

      “instant classic”? what are you babbling about?
      do you really think “classics” can be built or “instantly” set as one? you’re as bad as the guys at 9gag pushing up forced memes then
      a classic is any piece of work sublime enough to be remembered by the next generations

  • Anonymous says:

    “it remains to be seen whether it takes things a step further and has a few episodes devoted to camping rare mobs for hours only to have them stolen by Chinese gold farmers or worse still killing rats for days only to lose everything in a server rollback.”

    Respectfully, Artefact, watch the first episode of the show. The very premise of the show kinda makes these things not possible.

    – Initial wave of the game only made 10k in copies available.

    – Once logged in, you’re logged in. No way to log out, someone tries to remove the gear from your body, you die, and the account ends up locked.

    – You die in the game, you die in real life.

    – Trying to disrupt the server, would lead to everyone’s brain automatically getting fried. So no rollbacks.

    Heck, in the first month 2000 of the players ended up dead.

    So goldsellers and rollbacks are not an issue at all.
    Merely surviving, whether it be against PKs or the Mobs of the game, that’ll be hard enough.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not fully sure what you’re trying to say with that sentence, but if it’s something along the lines of me not getting the joke.

        Humor is subjective, so while you may find it amusing, doesn’t mean that others agree.

        To me it read more like sarcasm, rather than a regular joke. Now sarcasm is fine, if warranted, however in this case the storyline doesn’t make it applicable.

        Now making a crack about Dog Days 2 and how the main character makes the various females his “bitches”. Now that would be sarcasm being applied correctly, as it is shaping up into a tad of a harem show, and I’m saying this despite the fact that I rather like the show.

        It also adds in another pun, considering that some of the females are dog based, thus the term bitches would be accurate as well.

        One could always go for the standard he’s stroking his pussies as well, considering that some of the ladies are cat based.

        And even a crack about how some of them just love nuts would be applicable, considering the new bunch are squirrel based.

        So you see, in one case sarcasm is applicable, in the other it’s not.

  • Yep. Guys pretending to be girls online. A dream come true for a lot of sad people. And a consolation for people who can’t get a girlfriend hah. Everyone on the internet is 17 duh.
    The series looks like it may be good though let’s see. I hope the main character stays single minded to hurry and beat the game. But I know there going to throw a useless woman damsel in distress type in there eventually whos going to slow down most of the process. Then probably in the end do one thing really useful. We’ll see.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, the lady in question will be nearly as good as he himself is.

      So she won’t be slowing him down, on the contrary between the two of them they’re a nearly unstoppable team.

      Course it took Kirito nearly two months of closed beta even just to get to level 8 of the dungeon, so having someone watch his back and give as good as he does. It’ll make things a lot easier. 😛

  • Anonymous says:

    Does anyone remember when this site was about news? Now it seems more about latching onto the tiny details of stories that allow the authors to insult whichever nation or people the article deals with. Oh, and using the word “pussy” whenever someone even so much as thinks of a cat.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you ever considered that this is actually “news”? It’s the stupid, ugly and hilarious side of news. People on this site are geeks. In one or another way. Of course they throw insults at random stuff. That’s how geekdom works. I’m a consumer of arious Japanese media, yet, i generally dislike much about Japanese society. It’s good to find places to talk about that. Even if it’s just “trolling”.

      • Anonymous says:

        Strange as it may seem, I think it’s interesting to see that side of Japanese culture, many topics are controversial and ends up in discussions. I regret the most certain intolerance and total lack of education on the part of some users in some cases does not contribute anything to the topic just bad words.
        In the case of traps in MMORPG, many use the female avatar to ask for items, escape predators, and not just psychological issues ..

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s all well and good, but when they report that “it is really an anime about creepy otaku pretending to be cute girls online” based on a single rather short scene it becomes obvious that they don’t really care to convey any real news or information.

        I understand it’s hard to come up with stories when there are none, people no doubt have fits when there aren’t enough updates, I just feel like the constant looking down on everyone is getting tiresome.

  • Gold farmers, like we haven’t seen enough of them. This anime might be good BUT if it’s trying to be like .hack// or something better than it, then I really see no point watching it. There’s one thing I don’t like and it’s knock-offs.

  • Anonymous says:

    Seriously, unlike dot hack that actually had some subtly and depth, this shit is just straight in your face “haha im an evil overlord (in a video game) and im gonna make play or you die in real life!” (because of a device that was KNOWN to be dangerous and still used by the common populace) Dot hack wasnt a masterpiece, but it was still a ton better than this.

    • .hack fans who keep gloating about how they like cock riding the .hack franchise need to stfu. No one else but you 15 year old morons like that old shit. It was a fun ride when we were 15, not anymore. Now please gtfo.

    • Anonymous says:

      So you are only reading the Sankaku article and not actually watching the show. You must be new here not to know that Sankaku tends to downplay story in favor of everything else in its articles (the story in this case being that they die if they are killed in game or if they have their Nervegears taken off, and they can’t escape until they clear the game

  • Anonymous says:

    I was hoping they didn’t reveal the real genders or appearances. It was fun to watch, but they kinda “burned” the joke in one pun.

    It would have had much more potential if all females during the whole series had a big chance of actually being guys.

    I guess they made it this way so the moe loving fans can worship the female characters without worrying, but I think is not worth it, and they really wasted a lot of potential in that first episode.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lag. Lag. Lag. Delay. Rubberbanding. Disconnection.

      If VR ever becomes viable in a game, it would take a shytload more years to make it viable in a MMO. Too much data. Some dood moving his fingers will result in tens of mega/gigabytes being transferred.

    • As it stands now we just don’t have the knowledge to build an MMORPG with an interface like Sword Online or .Hack. Perhaps if there was a joint effort towards such a thing, you might be lucky enough to see something like it within your lifetime. However, as it stands now, quite unlikely.

    • Anonymous says:

      Somewhere in the next 100 to 200 years or when ever they full understand how the inner functions of the brain works. There’s still so much they just don’t know about the brain.

      • Anonymous says:

        Linking the brain’s sensory input and motion control outputs to a machine would be highly invasive. Don’t expect it to happen until we start extracting the brains and putting them into hybrid bodies. 200 is an understatement.

      • Anonymous says:

        even if you say that we can already translate signals being sent from the brain accurately. We had computers that run on chip implants and cybernetic limbs for years now(don’t get excited, real ones can’t practically be better than flesh and blood throwing cars)

  • 1st rule of the internet:
    There are no women on the internet.
    If there are, then it’s just some sick guy imposing as a female.

    Also, “crossing field” by LiSA is fucking awesome.
    SAO’s going to be the summer highlight for me, and fuck that Type-B otaku anime shit.
    (I’m looking at you, Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru!.)

  • Anonymous says:

    I bet all the trolls and users throwing thrash talks will be blown away by how awesome SAO by the end of 3rd eps. It is at least three times better than .Hack

    Then again, animation quality and drawing style had improved since .Hack

    It is expected that it will do better than it. But this… Storyline and intricacy is still way better than .Hack

    Take it from someone who had watched it, and read enough of the novel to know what he is talking about. Hack has too much unexplainable stuff within the game. SAO has a lot of logical explanation.

    As to talking about chinese farmer and gold farming…. the author of the posting never read anything about the light novel, hence the dumb comment.

    SAO acts like a closed game system, which render gold farming as good as useless, because there is no gold to be traded for real life money as all players are trapped in the same game, no connection to outside the game at all. Also, the chance of getting killed while gold farming is real. In fact, in later part of the book, some 2000 players stayed in starting city and living with pittance instead of braving the danger to increase their level and have better living condition in the upper floors of the 100 floor dungeon.

    I am of opinion Kirito is definitely better MC than Haseo. Haseo was sort of.. lame duck persona. But, I am biased here!

    The bet is on people, trollers and thrash talkers will bow to SAO before the end of the season! HAHAH!!