Kirito vs Alice Zuberg



Alice is an incredible fighter and one of the strongest Integrity Knights out there. With a single swing of her blade she can bring most opponents to their knees. Even Kirito had to comment that her sword felt extremely heavy. While their match would have been close to a standstill for a while, Kirito has obtained abilities even beyond her limit. I don’t really think there’s a whole lot she could do to stop an opponent of his caliber. At this point Kirito has really mastered the sword at a level where no one can reach. Mix that in with his superior physical stats and there isn’t a whole lot that Alice can do here. Kirito wins.

Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale Review


It’s time to look at the manga based on the Sword Art Online movie. It’s always fun to read manga based on previous media to see if it’ll follow things 100% or change things up. Other times you have to worry about the quality of artwork since they typicallydon’t put quite as much effort into it compared to brand new manga. Fortunately this one was definitely in a good position and really gave a satisfying recap of the events. I think the movie is still the definitive way to experience this story but the manga is a solid alternative. It’s reasonably long so you really feel like they kept everything in.

The plot begins with Asuna and friends trying to get Kirito to play the Ordinal Scale game. He’s not a big fan of it since Kirito has always preferred VR to AR. The main difference is that in VR it’s all in your head while in AR you have to actually move around and perform the actions. I guess it’s like thinking about Pokemon Go which is AR vs one of those VR Megaman games. It all depends on your preference. Once both styles are perfected I’d definitely say that I’ll prefer VR no question. Still, AR is a lot of fun too and since you actually feel the action it should benefit some genres more than others. A racing game would definitely feel exhilarating although I wonder how they will be able to handle the recoil effects. In my mind AR will always be more dangerous than VR.

Back to the plot though, Kirito isn’t particularly impressed with the game. He’s just not buying into the hype at all. He’s forced to take it more seriously though when Asuna is defeated in a battle and loses her memories. It seems that a man by the name of Eiji is behind this. He wants to take the memories of all the SAO survivors and aims to do it through this game. Kirito will have to take him down but while he may be the world’s greatest gamer, he’s not exactly known for being super fit. He’ll train with Suguha a bit and then go back in the ring. Time’s not on Kirito’s side but there’s no person more reliable to have your back.

Pretty much everyone gets a little something to do here which is always nice. Klein may have gotten stomped but we briefly got to see how his team was able to fight and do well in SAO. Klein, Leafa, Lizbeth, and the others also get to come in. None of them have particularly big roles though except for maybe Sinon who was able to back Kirito up when everyone was out of commission and landed a good hit on the final boss. She’s definitely more of a fighter than most of Kirito’s crew so it’s certainly not very surprising. Her gun skills also make her a very good partner to have since Kirito likes to get up close so this way she has his back.

Asuna looks good here as well. She’s definitely ready to re-enter the fray despite being in a pretty tough spot with her memories gone. The film really tests her courage a lot and she always passes with flying colors. I was also glad she remembered Yuuki’s final combo move and used it to great effect. It works as a very solid power up to be sure. Then you have Kirito who is pretty awesome as always. He may not take things too seriously at first but that’s because there’s no danger. How do you get back into the groove of things for a game with no stakes when you’re used to fighting for your life? Well, that certainly changes once Asuna is in trouble. After that Kirito just takes care of work and puts everyone down. He’s definitely one of the greatest main characters out there and continues to improve with each arc.

As for the villains, I’d say that mileage will vary on this. Eiji is a pretty solid one. At least he has good motivations which makes sense and he can fight. He regrets his inaction in the past which caused his best friend to die so now he’s working on fixing things. This fix would murder a lot of people in the present so it shouldn’t be forgotten that tihs guy is a big villain. He’s not a hero by any stretch of the imagination. The guy is just looking out for himself and at the end of the day that’s really all there is to it. He has a cool design and solid fighting skills. At the end of the day when you mix that together with his character motivation then that’s why I will end up giving him some props. He made for a good foil to Kirito since they were both fighting for the person most important to them.

Yuna is a fun character. She may not really know or agree with what is going on for the most part but she does her best to have fun. There are effectively two Yunas at this point anyway. You’ll see the context of that once you watch the movie or read the manga. I definitely have no qualms with her and in the past she definitely appeared to be a very selfless fighter who always did her best to continue improving her abilities. She may not have been a great fighter but she never let that stop her from doing the right thing and helping where she could.

There’s also a scientist villain but he’s not nearly as memorable as Kayaba. Here’s my problem with the guy, based on how we just need the memories to fulfill his goal, wouldn’t it have been possible to do so without straight up murdering everyone? With how advanced the Sci-Fi mechanics are here, I find it hard to believe that he couldn’t just do that very easily. Maybe it would take longer and he just didn’t want to risk it. Usually I would also question if this was even possible or if it would work but based on the fact that her soul is clearly still around, I think there would be a great shot at success. She just hasn’t moved on yet and that’s a very good sign for the plan. It’s too bad that the plan will basically eliminate the game though since that’s the second controversy in a row related to online gaming in Sword Art Online.

As I mentioned earlier, the art is excellent here. The fight scenes are very detailed and the character designs are on point. You can tell that a good amount of effort went into every bit of the adaption. You could easily not even know that this was a movie first and just assume that it was a really solid spinoff story. The quality is certainly there so I wouldn’t blame you. It’s a few volumes long so it definitely works well as a mini series. It’s 100% accurate to the movie so the experience should be very similar.

Overall, Just like how the movie was pretty close to being perfect I would say the same for the manga. The story itself is just very compelling. Kirito and Asuna have always made for very solid partners and this story shows how nothing will be able to keep them apart. They both do their best to stay strong around each other and keep on pressing forward. Whether you’ve seen the original Sword Art Online or not you should be able to quickly tell what’s going on here and get invested into the story. It never gets slow and there is quite a lot of action. Being able to see the final boss of the original SAO for the first time is also great and all of the guest stars at the end make this feel like a great wrap up to the series. The War of Underworld would ultimately go on to pass it with how huge the cast got, but at the time this really couldn’t be beat.

Overall 9/10

Sword Art Online Progressive Review


It’s time to take a look at one of the more well known Sword Art Online spinoffs. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Progressive over the years and how it brought the series back to its peak. Being back in Aincrad from Arc 1 was definitely pretty cool since I did think that those had the best stories. Unfortunately the manga takes the easy out of adding in a bunch of fanservice during the second half of the series which does ultimately hold this title back. It’s a shame since it had started out pretty well. Apparently the manga adds quite a bit and changes the story/personalities as well so it’ll be interesting to see how the novels stack up. That said, if you’re a mega SAO fan then you’ll probably still want to check this one out.

Mainly this series is adapting Arc 1 all over again but doing it very slowly. The castle has 100 floors and the only way to beat the game is to clear them all. Naturally in the main series they weren’t quite able to go through all of the floors so the goal of this manga is to show them to us one by one. As a result, after the 7 volumes of this series the heroes are still only up to volume 3. That’s a pretty good amount of pacing I’d say. We’ll see if they can continue to use up so much time. It’s fun though and helps make the series more about the fantasy setting and slice of life aspects. We still get fights of course, but Progressive is more about the character interactions.

We see Kirito start out as the loner he always was with Asuna being a bit of a newbie to the game world. Gradually she grows more experienced and he learns what it is like to be in a team. It makes for a pretty good dynamic between the two of them. We see them train up and gradually improve their abilities. While there isn’t much of an ongoing plot for the most part, the final 3 volumes give us a mini arc of sorts that was completely not in the original story. It’s a quest arc. Basically Kirito and Asuna run into a group of elves who are duking it out. They are given the option of joining either the light or dark factions. Kirito lets Asuna pick and she decides to help the Dark Elves. They help the leader (Kizmel) take down her opponent.

The full quest is a bit on the longer side. They have to help her deliver a key, find the traitor and take down the opposing army. The tricky thing is that some other players have taken the light side and of course if they die in the game they die in real life. This means that the heroes are going to have to tread carefully here. You’ve also got a shady Sword Art Online player who wants to challenge Kirito and possibly eliminate him from the world. It’s nice to see Kirito going all out here and it makes for a pretty nice fight. It’s probably the most intense battle in the series with a lot of back and forth with good swordplay. Kirito rarely finds a challenge for himself so this guy did pretty good in managing to match him.

As for Kizmel, she’s a pretty solid character. It’s a shame that the series uses her for fanservice almost constantly. The series throws in multiple bath scenes which is pretty forced. She’s portrayed as a big sister figure to Kirito and Asuna. She is pretty advanced for an A.I. as well since she can understand human phrases and adapts rather well. It further shows just how advanced Sword Art Online was as a game in this universe. The A.I. systems were already pretty adaptive and this is only arc 1. Her skills were also far above Kirito and Asuna’s at the time. It makes sense since they are still in the opening floors I suppose. At this point nobody really had a whole lot of levels yet and this is the kind of quest where you are mainly playing as support.

It’s also interesting to see a time where Heathcliff had not yet formed his own group. At this point there are only two main attacking squads and neither of them are particularly helpful. They have numbers but not a whole lot of power. This was one of the more interesting points in the game because it’s fun to see Kirito and Asuna teaming up and clearing a bunch of quests on their own. It shows that they really don’t need the army and are prepared to handle everything on their own. If you were ever trapped in a game it does make sense to train a lot solo or in a small party rather than joining an army. It would be a lot harder to level up with so many people around.

Really the series is at its best when it’s letting the characters just enjoy the SAO environment. Learning new skills and having fun in the world is what the arc is all about. While Kirito and Asuna are both great characters, the supporting cast is a bit weaker so you don’t really want the focus to be on them. I could never really get behind the rest of the characters but fortunately each arc would add at least one good character so the series as a whole has a solid cast. It’s part of why Kizmel was a good addition here since she’s easily one of the better characters. I was also glad that she could fight at such a high level. Arc 1 will definitely always be nostalgic.

I was also glad that Asuna got a pretty powerful rapier here. It helped close the gap with Kirito and for a while near the end she was the power hitter. It’s what makes them such a dangerous combo. Asuna can land hits with lightning speed and then Kirito finishes the job with a crispy combo. As they said, it’s almost unfair for the rest of the players who are still struggling with the basics. Still, they’ll learn the ropes eventually. You just can’t hope to match up against the main characters. I wouldn’t mind if the series took some queues from the games and started adding in future characters. The series would have to completely be known as an AU after that, but I think it would be worth it.

The art is pretty solid and definitely one of the best for SAO. It has a pretty simple design set up like an online manga or Bleach. This allows the character designs to be pretty smooth and we also get a lot of great fight scenes. It’s all very clear and lets you read through the adventures with ease. You can clear all of the volumes in no time at all. At 7 volumes the series is a reasonable length although I always think you should aim to be at least 10 volumes long. That’s when you know that you’ve made it to the big leagues.

Overall, Sword Art Online Progressive is a series that is a lot of fun but does get bogged down by the fanservice. To an extent you can certainly block it out, but the series goes pretty overboard with how often it occurs. After a point it can’t help but lower the score of the adventure. It’s a shame that SAO tends to fall into this trap because the series is so awesome otherwise. Where else are you going to get a main character quite like Kirito? It’s really tough to match a guy like that. From what I’ve heard you are better off reading the novels for this part of the franchise. The original adaption of the first arc is also better as it plays the concept pretty straight even if the art isn’t that good. I’m ready for the sequel though and hopefully that one will fix some of these issues. After all there are still plenty of floors left to conquer and I want to see them all!

Overall 5/10

3 Characters who are stuck in bad titles

I think it’s time we look at a rather tragic situation for a character. One of the saddest things is when you’ve got an amazing character who is stuck in a bad anime, manga, or film. It’s like having a player who is stuck on a bad sports team or a great video game locked behind a console nobody bought. There are likely many times this has happened, but in general there aren’t too many that would immediately come to mind. For the definition of “bad” in this context I’m talking about series that I’ve given a 4 or lower.

1. Gray Fullbuster

Who better to start this off than a character from Fairy Tail? Fairy Tail is one of those series that should have been nothing short of amazing. The art is absolutely top notch and the fights are great. It has some of the most epic scenes out there and the franchise has really done a good job of spreading out over the years with various spinoffs and prequels. Alas, a character cannot hold an entire franchise up on his own. Gray is awesome, but you can’t fully appreciate how many great scenes he has because then you’d have to watch Fairy Tail.

He’s got a very tragic backstory involving an ice demon and has done a great job of trying to get past that. He’s always grown up being a noble main character and is willing to throw his life away multiple times in the series to stop the threat on his own. He’s got an ice spell that sacrifices his life in order to stop an enemy. This attack may have even stopped Zeref if Natsu hadn’t stepped in. Even his comic relief subplot of always losing his shirt may be a subconscious method of trying to remember the good ole days with Lyon and his master.

Gray functions as the rival in Fairy Tail as well as a secondary main character of sorts. He’s managed to keep up with Natsu throughout the series to the point where they are at similar levels of power even by the end. He saved Natsu when up against Mad Geer as well in what was probably his most impressive scene. I would also rank that as one of the all time best “Someone steps in to save the main character” scenes in a series. The one liner about reminding Natsu to keep track of his scarf made the whole thing even more epic.

Aside from being an excellent fighter Gray is also a smart character. He’s the first one to figure out that something is up during Fairy Tail Gaiden’s mystery story with Gajeel and in general he simply doesn’t fall for tricks. He doesn’t have the weakness of being motion sick like the Dragon Slayers and this makes him a well rounded fighter. Even his romance plot is better than 90% of other romance plots. I’m still not a fan of most romance in general and I’ll probably do an editorial someday about what makes for a good romance, but his is actually pretty sound.

In short, Gray’s just an incredible character and it’s a shame that he couldn’t have been in a better series. This guy should be spoken about in the same sentence as Sasuke or Vegeta but he’ll always be relegated to B status at best simply because he’s stuck here. At least he’s a great silver lining for if you ever check out Fairy Tail, but it’s not like I could actually recommend the series just because of Gray.

2. Eren Jeager

Attack on Titan is a very popular series, but one that I ultimately had to give a thumbs down. It goes too far in being ultra violent and making everyone out to be so unlikable and evil that there is nobody to root for by the end. Still, that doesn’t stop one character from making a name for himself and ultimately overcoming all of this. That would be Eren, the main character. He’s an excellent lead who really hits the right balance of being impulsive and calculating. His whole life was turned upside down when his town was attacked by titans and he’s sworn to take revenge against them his whole life. Once he becomes old enough Eren gains the abilities of a Titan Shifter and begins his revenge. He starts out as a pure hearted hero who eventually goes down a gray road to the point where he isn’t much better than some of the villains. Eren’s always been about revenge so it’s not like things have really changed all that much for him, but revenge seems to be his only motivation now.

Part of what makes Eren great is his quick actions. He doesn’t buy into the various justifications that the villains give even when the others characters begin to crack. One good example of this is when the Colossal and Armored Titans begin to explain why they are going around murdering everyone. Eren doesn’t believe a word of it and calls them out for just being mass murderers. Eren says it how it is and doesn’t worry about appearances.

In combat Eren is quick to adapt and learns how to fight the Armored Titan mid-fight. He also did well against the Female Titan. He makes up for his lack of experience with pure fighting technique. He didn’t start out as an ace fighter or anything like that, but didn’t stop until this became the case. That’s why he’s such a great character. We actually see Eren training with the others and his gradual improvement over the series. It’s really something to see how far he has gone from the original days. The character is almost unrecognizable upon first glance, but on closer inspection you can see the same fire in his eyes.

He’s easily the highlight of the series and whenever he appears you know something cool is going to happen. I think part of what makes him work so well is that he actually has the power to back up his plans. He’s not going to just go along with the corrupt government any longer than he has to. Once the time skip happens then all bets are off and we see Eren truly unchained.

3. Kirito

Let’s be honest here, Kirito is one of the main reasons why I made this editorial. He’s one of the greatest characters of all time and yet he is stuck in Sword Art Online. SAO has a cool premise and the first arc of the anime is one of the most complete sagas out there. Alas, after that things went downhill a bit with almost every arc having something wrong with it. Kirito shines as a beacon of hope in even the worst of arcs, but imagine what he could really do in a better series?

Kirito started out as your average teen who just loved video games a lot. Once he gets stuck in the world of Sword Art he does his best to get back while keeping as many people alive as possible. Kirito prefers being a solo act and that’s how he is for the first two arcs of the series. Eventually he becomes more of a team player in Gun Gale and that leads up to Alicization where he has a tremendous amount of character development. In that series he is now portrayed as the mature adult who has been through a thing or two. He teaches Eugeo how to be a good fighter as well as how to be a good person. He instills a lot of great life lessons like fighting for your goal and not letting it turn into hate or a vendetta against the villains.

Kirito is a master swordsman in all combat styles, but he’s also a super genius and picks up on things very quickly. What never wavers is his unshakable confidence. He’ll jump in to help anyone at any time while always keeping a cool head. Kirito is the kind of guy that you always want to have in your corner. He’ll figure out a way to win and if it doesn’t exist yet then he’ll invent a way for it to work. He’s always been a very outside the box kind of fellow at it is. There’s no shortage of amazing Kirito scenes in the Sword Art Online series. You always know that no matter what happens he will be around to help. One such scene is when he takes on an entire platoon by himself. I can’t really picture anyone else in the series being able to do something like that.

Kirito really embodies what it is to be a perfect character. He’s a really nice guy who will always do his best to help his friends get through a tough spot. He’s got an awesome uniform and is always up for a fight. As long as you try your best you should always be able to get through a situation and Kirito shows how dedication really does make a difference.

So, those are 3 characters who are quite awesome, but just so happen to be stuck in titles that will never really be able to hit the big time for me. It’s too bad, but at least those titles do have a cool character to help them. It’s way better to even just have one good character then to be a title with no solid characters to back it up. These 3 are all stars who would be top 5 in any title and that’s definitely an impressive feat.

Asia Argento vs Kirito




Asia Argento has returned, but I don’t think that she will be able to take down Kirito here. Kirito is a master swordsman and it is a title that he had to earn as he went through his many battles. Asia Argento is skilled with abilities of her own, but she is primarily a healer not a fighter. She won’t be able to cope with Kirito’s onslaught of quick attacks and he will slowly but steadily drive her into a corner. Kirito wins.

Ralph vs Kirito




This is a tribute to the film: Ralph Breaks The Internet. Ralph may have finally learned how to fix things in the first film, but he lasted long enough to lose sight of his goals. He isn’t nearly as determined or powerful as Kirito and that will ultimately be his downfall here. He doesn’t have enough speed to keep up with the swordsman either so there’s just nothing he can do. Kirito wins.

Newt Scamander vs Kirito




This is a tribute to the second Fantastic Beasts film. Newt Scamander may know some basic spells, but he isn’t particularly quick witted and doesn’t have the reaction times needed to even begin to challenge Kirito’s techniques. Kirito would be able to dash in and end this match before Newt can fire off a single spell. The best spells in the book are meaningless if you can’t hit your target. Kirito wins.

Devlin vs Kirito




It’s time for Kirito to show why swords are all he needs to take the win. Devlin is a fairly confident agent who talks a big game, but at the end of the day he never really seems ready for a fight. He isn’t exactly decisive and the guy always appears to be outmatched. I don’t think Kirito will have any trouble at all taking him down in a fight here. Kirito’s defeated far more imposing opponents in his day and has the clear edge in speed and strength. Kirito wins.

Lara Croft vs Kirito



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This is a tribute to the recent Tomb Raider film. While the movie was fairly good, Lara was a little lacking as a protagonist. She simply wasn’t the tough adventurer that I was expecting and didn’t rack up as high of a body count as you would expect. I’m sure she’ll be ready for the sequel but meanwhile Kirito is always ready! That swordsman doesn’t hold back which is definitely bad news for her! Kirito wins.

Sword Art Online: Integral Factor Review


Sword Art Online has always been known for having video games where the plot seems like a bit of a backdrop. Sometimes nothing actually happens until the very end as the characters just hang out and have a lot of fun. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and I have enjoyed the last SAO games to an extent. At the very least the gameplay is always a lot of fun. However, that’s the catch. If the plot isn’t too engaging then you need the gameplay to be top notch and I’m afraid that this one just didn’t quite make it that far. Part of me feels like I needed to give it more of a chance, but considering how long I’ve had the game I think it is just that the gameplay didn’t pop out enough. It could have done better.

The premise of the game is what if Arc 1 happened, but you were around to save everybody. While Kirito is usually known as the hero of this world, what if you were the one actually responsible for saving it? You play as a bland character with no real name who shows up one day. Naturally there is a new heroine as well and since she isn’t used to fighting games like this one she is counting on you to lead the way. So far…that’s really all that’s happened. I made it up to somewhere around the halfway point of episode 1, but the game refuses to progress. The task master keeps sending you into the forests to grab a bunch of plants and potions over and over again. Rather than sending you to get all of them at once he is doing it one at a time. By the 10th trip back and forth you will be wondering what the point of all this was. I just want to go ahead and fight the boss. The current mission I’m on is to grab more plants.

I’m fine with a slow boiling plot but the missions should at least feel slightly relevant. These just don’t make any sense and usually a mobile game should try to suck you in at first. You need to start off with some big events and then tone it down and throw in the filler missions to buy time. This game just didn’t have the balance right and the story is the main reason why I finished so quickly. It just wasn’t even trying.

Then we have the gameplay which fortunately was on point. This part is actually the most impressive bit. The screen adds a little control pad onto it that is actually interactive. Meaning that for once you can actually move around and fight in 3D. The gameplay is the same as your average beat em up which is something that I didn’t really expect to see on the mobile side of things. It’s pretty impressive and that’s the highlight of the game. In terms of pure gameplay it is probably the best mobile game to date. It helps take away the repetitious nature of the game a bit. I have heard that the gameplay gets repetitive though and since there are only 1-2 attacks I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case. Still, at the moment it hadn’t had that affect.

The animation looks really stunning for the main menu, but in game it’s a little less impressive. I’ve heard that the game also diverges a little further from the actual arc as characters like Leafa show up. Essentially think of this as an alternate version of the arc where all of Kirito’s friends from the future also got to appear. That should make clearing the game a whole lot easier right? Unfortunately the game doesn’t really have a soundtrack. Just another element that hurts this game quite a bit.

As with Dragon Ball Legends there are a lot of features here that I don’t really understand but the game doesn’t even try to spell them out for you. It’s like a big mystery, but one that the game doesn’t want to help you out with. I didn’t really try to get into all of that stuff. I figure that I’ll still be strong enough to beat whatever bosses go my way right? The Story Mode is really the only mode to play here, but you can choose to fight the levels with online players helping you out or doing it offline. I’ve heard tat it gets near impossible to do it all solo by the end so we’ll see if that’s true. (If I ever go back)

The campaign seems like it’s quite long and the game has a ton of replay value so you don’t have to worry about a lack of content here. Really, the only issue is whether the game will hold your attention long enough for it to matter. See, mobile games are good for short sessions on the go or when you don’t have time for a normal game. Online Mobile games already destroy the first part and if they are too intricate with long levels than it beats the second one as well. This game is unfortunately in both categories as I believe even when playing solo you need an internet connection. There’s also not much that you can do in a short play through. This game would have ironically been a lot better as a full fledged SAO game. Not to mention that the plot would be perfect for it as well.

Overall, I do applaud how ambitious the game is when it comes to the gameplay. The way it is set up this game could last for quite a while. Still, it just isn’t interesting enough to play when there are so many other options on the field. Perhaps that will change and I still have it downloaded so perhaps I will check it out at some point when I have less games to juggle, but that will be a long ways away. If this sounds like it’s up your ally then check it out, but my recommendation isn’t quite as confident as for most of the other games. This one just isn’t on quite the same level.

Overall 6/10