Now let's be honest. The first half of the first season was good. Then it all went to shit, i picked it up being real hight right where i lefted off and bam... Plot keeps getting more bland and tasteless. It would have been fine if they ended it at episode 12 with "Ok, game's dangerous. Helmets confiscated, game banned. Kirito meets Asuna years later married, pregnant and completely forgot about a loser dude who only plays videogames. End."
I could never get behind the concept of SAO. I dont know if it was suspension of disbelief or what, but I couldnt 'get into' the whole universe or shake the initial 'so this is an anime about playing WoW' judgement. The second they said 'beater' at the end of the second episode I dropped it.
TBF, I think SAO could be interpreted as a deconstruction and partial reconstruction of extreme escapism. I've never seen it myself, but I know from friends and The Abridged Series that several of his newfound friends die within the first dozen or so episodes. But Kirito lives, and through his exploits he (presumably) not only liberates his fellow players from the confines of the game, but ends up with the girl of his dreams, met through the simulation.
That said though, I feel as if the overarching romance plot was the biggest disservice to SAO as a series. Yeah, I get it: Most people who're gonna watch this are virgin highschoolers who want nothing more than a badass MC and a cute chick to hook up with. But the concept itself is brimming with potential. Drop Asuna and Kirito, and you've got fertile grounds for examining if and how order arises from complete anarchy, how different people cope with life in a lawless and unforgiving world, and how people act online when nobody's looking. (On that note, I feel as if the baddie's enforcement that everyone look like their real selves was another great disservice to the concept of the show. To quote Oscar Wilde: "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.")
But no. Instead what we got was a decent love story in a half-assed virtual world featuring two-bit characters aimed at appeasing horny teenagers. The act of wasting this much potential oughta be a crime.
Shoot man, I feel like I shoulda written a review. But then I'd hafta actually watch this drek. Sadly, wasting potential seems to be a bad habit of this author; I watched an adaptation of his previous series, Accel World, and it made me want to chuck the jewel case across the room for how just how little he actually did with the characters. In a similar vein though, I hear Log Horizon is leagues better, so I'd totes check that out if you're lookin' to scratch SAO's itch.