Inquiring Minds Want To Know #29 – What anime/manga do you feel receives more criticism/hate than it actually deserves?

Inquiring Minds Want to Know - Ichigo

Okay, I’ve changed where I’m running the survey momentarily just to try a different service and see which one is more manageable. For now, if you want to ask me a question there’s a link in the sidebar or you go straight to the survey. The old link will still work and I’ll still check there for questions. I’m just trying something a bit different because some people were having trouble with the other survey.

Question:ย What anime/manga do you feel receives more criticism/hate than it actually deserves? From anon.

Sword Art Online Episode 1

I’ve never made any attempt to hide the fact that I am an SAO fan. I’ve seriously been considering a rewatch and reviewing it episode by episode (much as I have started with Yuri on Ice, but for this one I didn’t have the blog or streaming services when it first came out). While I will happily admit to many flaws in Sword Art Online, and the increasingly diminishing returns of further arcs, the Aincrad Arc remains one of my very favourite narratives to watch.

Clear purpose, evolving characters (go on, tell me Kirito doesn’t develop as a character in this first arc, I can already hear the screams), fantastic action, skipping over the grinding and just cutting to the points that make a pivotal difference to either the characters or the quest… A real sense of danger as their actions and choices matter and one mistake could be their last… The soundtrack… Okay, fan-girling big time.

What I like most about the first arc of SAO is it is accessible. I have many friends who aren’t super into anime but they don’t mind games or action so Sword Art Online is an easy sell to get them to try an anime. I’ve only had one person out of perhaps ten who have watched it with me end up not enjoying it. Most of the others have not only binged watched the whole arc but have then asked me what other anime I would recommend.

Why does it get so much hate? Well apparently it is popular to hate on SAO. Apparently it gives you credit as a ‘real’ fan or someone who watches ‘real anime’. Again, I’m not going to proclaim it a perfect work of art and I’m pretty critical of every arc after the first myself. But statements like it is the ‘worst anime ever’, a ‘steaming pile of…’, or that Kirito is a ‘Gary Stu’ who never changes just make me wonder if the person watched the show in the first place or just someone else’s review of it and whether they’ve watched all that much anime.

It isn’t that I don’t think people should criticise Sword Art Online. I just wish the criticisms were grounded on actual observation rather than just going with the flow of hyperbole that anything connected to Sword Art Online must be some fanboy’s delusions of grandeur on crack. I do not understand how people can say Kirito doesn’t change. Watch episode 1 again. Skip forward to episode 10. Do you see the difference? If not, try again, and this time actually pay attention to his attitude to himself and others. That development occurs, incrementally over the first arc.

Admittedly, that’s where it plateaus and part of the trouble with Sword Art Online is the concept is really a one arc story. Everything that came after that is just forcing more problems on characters who’ve already had their drama play out and the characters aren’t really getting anywhere after that point nor is the sense of danger or excitement still present.

So yes, easy question to answer though I suspect I might get some more interesting comments than normal on this one.

That said, it isn’t though Sword Art Online is alone in being the flavour of the month to hate on. Diabolik Lovers finds itself targeted quite regularly, and I’ll be honest and admit I’ll happily tear that to pieces any day of the week. Fans of it probably aren’t thrilled by the negativity, though I think vampire sexual and emotional abuse is probably a little harder to justify than what might be classified a slightly bland power fantasy. Just my opinion.

Sword Art Online - Episode 4

Alright, over to you. Do you think Sword Art Online gets more criticism than it deserves? Is there another series that you feel is needlessly bashed around by critics just because it is cool to do so? Just remember, play nice.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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16 thoughts on “Inquiring Minds Want To Know #29 – What anime/manga do you feel receives more criticism/hate than it actually deserves?

  1. SAO, season 1 at least, I think is just alright. I think people bash it too much to the point where any newcomers that watch it won’t actually think its as bad as people making it out to be. I’m apparently in the rare camp that didn’t like Aincrad, but liked the Alfheim arc. This mostly being how Suguha, and her feelings for Kirito were handled pretty well I feel. So whenever Suguha, and Kirito interacted I felt there was more of connection there, and a more interesting dynamic playing out than Kirito had with Asuna which did nothing for me. I don’t like Asuna as a character since I feel there’s not a whole lot to her, even after that one arc in season 2.

    One anime I think gets too much hate is School Days. I understand people not liking it, but oh my, some people take it to another level labeling it the worst anime ever made. I mean, if that’s the worst anime anyone has ever seen I envy them because I’ve seen my fair share of the bottom of the barrel animes. Much like SAO, it’s also a popular series to pick on.

    1. It almost becomes trendy to bash some shows and it’s fine if people genuinely don’t like that and discuss it reasonably but School Days is a good example of one where hyperbole and rumour seem to sub in for actual reviewing or discussing.
      On that note, you may be one of the first people I have ever heard say that they liked Alfheim more than Aincrad. Interesting.

  2. I think this is one of those instance where people tend to mistake their own opinion or tastes as fact. I’m not a huge SAO fan but I won’t slag it off since it clearly does something right. Do I understand its success? Not really, but then again I’m not a gamer so it has no hook for me personally invest in, but it is successful for a reason so why not let the fans enjoy their show?

    Therefore, to answer your question, I suppose the real answer is that I resent people who jump on a successful property BECAUSE it is successful and is an easy answer for people when asked “What is your favourite anime?”

    AOT, Studio Ghibli, Ghost In The Shell, Naruto… all get the snooty hate treatment from so-called “fans” because they feel the need to elitist about what is already a niche entertainment genre here in the west thus spoil it for the rest of us.

    If they genuinely can’t connect with something then fine, horses for courses, as they say, but there is no need to be a twat about it just to make yourself feel superior to those who do enjoy something. And if you enjoy something more obscure, more power to you, but there is often a reason why it is obscure and that doesn’t necessarily equate to being “better” either.

    Sorry for the rant…. ๐Ÿ™

    1. Fully understand the rant and agree with “why not let the fans enjoy their show”.
      Pop Team Epic is probably one from this year that had a lot of positive reviews about how funny it was and the like. I didn’t even make it through the whole first episode because it absolutely did not appeal to me. Am I going to jump up and down and tell people their taste sucks because they happened to like it? Not really. I’m aware that most comedy doesn’t work for me and that there are plenty of people who would enjoy that style of humour even if that isn’t for me.

  3. I watched Aincrad, and I LOVED it. I cried during the Yui episode, as well as the Moonlit Black Cats I still think being the darkest episode SAO has ever done, and it was GOOD.

    However, Alfheim was just offensively trashy to me. Asuna the strong female lead who was only beaten by the game’s creator in the last season? Damsel in Distress who spends the entire season caged, and is turned into almost rape fuel.

    Weird incest subplot with the cousin that wasn’t done very well?

    Tons of unimportant minor characters that are barely interesting despite always being there?

    SAO never really had any good villains per se (to me, Aincrad’s real villain was the game itself), but Alfheim’s villain was so boring and generic evil scumbag, that exists solely as a stupid hate sink.

    I gave up on SAO in the first few episodes of Alfheim thanks to that. I heard GGO was better, but still not as good.

    I really wish that instead of going to Alfheim, the series had instead fleshed out Aincrad more and gave it a better send-off than the rushjob we got.

    1. I agree. SAO should have just been Aincrad and when the story was done, they should have just let it be done. While I don’t hate the other arcs, I don’t think they add anything of value to the franchise and they actually end up showcasing some of the worst aspects of the story rather than building on its strengths. Besides, it was such a clear plot. Escape the killer game. It had an end point.
      Oh well, we can’t always get everything we want.

      1. Yes, agree entirely, that’s why I’m enjoying the Sword Art Online Progressive light novels, the basic story line of Aincrad and survival is being fleshed out nicely

    2. Skipping GGO is not a bad thing at all. But skipping Mother’s Rosario is a crime against Man and Nature. Go ahead, watch it.

      Truly SAO’s finest hour, if it were a standalone anime we’d be talking about it for the next decade.

  4. I liked the first arc of SAO but the rest ruined the series for me. I’m still going to watch season 3 when that comes out at the end of the year because it might miraculously save the series

  5. Woohooo!!! Okay Iโ€™m sorry Iโ€™m trying to keep my enthusiasm in check here…calm down, calm down. Oh God, who am I kidding: I loved this post!! As you know I am a huge Sword Art Online fan and every time I see people bashing it, I feel as if there is the small dagger that is driven through my heart.
    Kiritio not developing as a character? Exactly as you said: he did…and quite a lot too. (Which is why it for me was very interesting to seem in the recent movie, as I found him to be different as the usual Kirito as well). I have been thinking of doing a rewatch of Sword Art Online myself as well (especially since I just now have aquired the full first season on dvd. Time as usual is a factor, but I do plan it somewhere this year for I want to really write a post about one of my favorite all time series.
    It will be very interesting to see what your comment section is going to look like (lol ). But here on this side is a very happy fan! Link start….๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    1. I fully respect that some people won’t like SAO, but I really can’t stand the mindless bashing the show gets. Particularly claims of worst anime ever. I really think this post made my decision for me and after I finish my Yuri on Ice rewatch I’ll probably do a rewatch and episode reviews of the first arc of SAO. I don’t know that I’ll go past Aincrad though.

      1. I totally agree. Itโ€™s almost as if itโ€™s a trend to say the series is bad, without any foundation. I always respect other peopleโ€™s opinions as well, but if itโ€™s just mindless saying โ€œ worst anime ever …that almost feels like…โ€ worst anime ever because everyone else says soโ€ .
        Well. If you do plan on that rewatch I will totally watch a long with you. Perfect reason for me to start watching it again! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

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