Second Chances: Sword Art Online And The Fairy Dance Arc

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14 thoughts on “Second Chances: Sword Art Online And The Fairy Dance Arc

  1. Is it Sword Art Online today and did somebody forget to tell me lol (this is the second post I saw today of Sword Art Online).You raise some fair points. I am a real big fan of this Anime (just check out my post about merchandise and you pretty much get the picture 😂), so always enjoy reading new posts on this Anime. I agree with the unfair treatment of women. I hated the scenes you are talking about pretty much as much as you did, and though they just went a bit too far. That said, I did like the story arc for it though. (But I am at times a bit biased on this show to be honest 😂😂)

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    1. It may be SAO day. I’ve never been kept in the loop on these things, and only end up at parties by accident, as well, so anything is possible.

      Having just re-watched Fairy Dance with a bit more of an open mind, I can say that there is a lot of good in there. It’s just easier to remember the bad, which I have come to suspect is a lot of why Fairy Dance gets such a bad rap. We tend to remember unpleasant things far easier than good things as human beings, so the downsides stand out more when we think about it a few months down the road.

      That said, strictly from a writing standpoint, the only way to have Kirito return to a virtual world in any believable way, was to do something terrible to Asuna. She really was the only reason he’d put himself back in that environment. That it went too far isn’t really even a debate, I don’t think, but then again, there’s only so much you can do with Asuna while she’s basically trapped. Most of it, I suspect, was just done to try and keep up the sense of real danger, while still having her be active in the story.

      Sometimes, there’s just no good way to deal with a thing once you’ve created it. Ask Dr. Frankenstein. He knows all about it.

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      1. Haha, yes good old Doc Frank, I think he has very many regrets indeed. I will be sure to ask me when I have my next annual meeting with The Mummy,Dracula and the Doc 😂 In all seriousness, you are right about that being the only reason for him to return. No sane person would otherwise go back (unless you have some kind of Deathwish)

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    2. Honestly, I’ve thought about it a lot since yesterday, and there was another option. I’m not surprised it didn’t occur to Kawahara at the time, though. I’ve got the benefit of distance, time, and no pressure on my side to think about it.

      The better story would have been having Kirito and Asuna choose to enter Alfhiem to face the trauma of Aincrad, and overcome it. A similar idea was explored in the Gun Gale arc, so it would have worked, I think, as a more personal story.

      We got what we got, though, so second guessing is pointless, really.

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      1. Ooh, that really is an interesting premise indeed. Well who knows, there is a new movie coming out soon, and even a Live action series (although I am not sure if I should be excited about that last bit), so who knows what kind of direction this show might head off to next 😀

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  2. I would like to be humble but I’m super excited that I got a mention here. Thanks a lot for the link as well!

    Few people actively re-evaluate their opinion when they’ve made up their mind about it once before, and even fewer go on to write this much about what they discovered afterward. I’m glad you decided to do this. Not because I have any great love for Fairy Dance or SAO in general, but because we got a good article out of it that addresses a lot of points that I neglected in my own review. Great work!

    By the way, I did finish SAO2 five days ago. That last arc saves SAO as a series for me, even if Kawahara didn’t write it. It’s better than Gun Gale by leagues, but even that arc has some merits. Looking forward to reading what you have to say about it if you do end up doing another post 😀

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    1. Fair is fair. You gave me a lot to think about, and I decided to re-watch the arc with a more open mind. I saw it a really different way, and frankly, it was very different than I remember it being. As I said to Raistlin up above, I think most people tend to remember things they didn’t like or enjoy a lot more vividly than the things they did. So, the bad parts stuck out in my mind a lot clearer, and I forgot a lot of the good points.

      Yue was a lot less annoying than I recalled her being, just as an example. So, yeah, I’m always willing to change what I think based on solid arguments, and you made enough that I felt giving the arc a second chance was worth my time.

      Still don’t like how Asuna was handled, but as a writer, I can also see more clearly now that there wasn’t a lot of other options. While I don’t think the whole tentacle thing was necessary, most of the rest I can sort of understand the reasoning behind more clearly now than I could the last time I watched it.

      Mind you, a lot of it is because I’ve recently painted myself into a corner with a female character of my own, and now have no choice but to allow some terrible things to happen to her so the entire story doesn’t fall apart. I think Kawahara found himself in a similar position. It was either do terrible things, or have the entire story break.

      That is actually a thing that happens to writers sometimes. It’s never fun, and I’ve spent the better part of the last year and half trying to find a way around it. I can’t, so it would be hypocritical of me to give him crap for finding himself in the same boat.

      That said, I may well tackle Gun Gale here soon. There was a lot about it that I liked, and there was still a lot wrong, but overall, I think the merits outweigh the negatives. Excalibur is a thing that’s there, and is neither good nor bad. Mother’s Rosario, though, yes, does totally make everything that came before worth the trip.

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  3. I hope you do a write up on Gun Gale, it will be interesting to see your thoughts.
    I still can’t get over Asuna being locked in a cage. She was such a great character and they literally made her the prize at the top of the world tree and that was all kinds of wrong. I’m still a big SAO fan but Fairy Dance will always be the low point of the series for me.

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    1. You aren’t the first person to express interest in me taking on the Gun Gale arc, so odds are, I will. Both here and elsewhere, I’ve had a few people ask me if I will.

      While I certainly didn’t like seeing Asuna put in that position, either, at the same time, I kinda think Kawahara couldn’t think of any other way to make it believable that Kirito would go back into a virtual world. Considering he’d never planned to write a sequel series, when Aincrad ended, creating a compelling reason for any of the SAO survivors to go back in required something extreme. As unfortunate as it is, Asuna is about the only thing Kirito cared about enough to put himself back in that kind of a situation for.

      So, from the writing standpoint, I get it. I don’t like it, or pretty much anything that happened to her, but I do get how Kawahara had more or less painted himself in a corner on that front.

      Personally, I think he could have found a better way to do it, but then again, I don’t know what kind of time constraints he was under to just get it written, either. That’s the other side of the problem when you are suddenly tasked with writing a sequel to something that was never suppose to have a sequel. Publishers wants it yesterday, and you are stuck with just making it all up as you go and hoping you don’t screw up too badly in the process.

      Of course, the Gun Gale arc is just as bad. While Asuna isn’t in a cage, at least, she is more or less left out of everything that happens, which is nuts. I mean, Lightning Flash Asuna in a world where reflexes matter. Leaving her out was as bad as putting her in the cage to me.

      Yeah, I’m gonna write about Gun Gale.

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      1. Yeah, actually they really should have just stopped after Aincrad because it doesn’t make sense that any of those characters would ever go near a virutal world again. Plus, the end of SAO was just kind of perfect and story ending.
        Oh well, it isn’t the first show to have an unnecessary sequel.

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    2. Trust me, publishers never know when to stop. If a thing is making money, they will come up with the most absurd reasons to keep it going. In fairness, that kind of is their business, but sometimes, you need to know when a thing is done. In my view, SAO would have been better had they stepped back, fleshed out the Aincrad arc, and let it stand on its own.

      If that did well, then find a reason to have Kirito and Asuna both go back into a virtual world for a solid reason, like facing their fears and overcoming the nightmares that still plagued them. Make the new story arc about that, about the two of them, facing the trauma of Aincrad together. Of course, it’s easy to second guess.

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      1. Yes, very easy to look at something and think how you could do it better after the fact.
        Besides, for all my complaints about Fairy Dance, I still love SAO so it isn’t a complete trainwreck no matter what I say about it.

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    3. Nah, it’s not a complete train wreck, there’s just some cars that are pretty wobbly. Asuna’s arc in Fairy Dance is definitely one of them.

      Like I said, I can get how we ended up with it, even if I disagree with it, but it is still one of the low points of the show. While Fairy Dance had some great high points, and did do a lot of good things, that was not one of them.

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