For a good year now I’ve wanted to take the time out of my schedule to watch Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online. Which I will simply refer to was GGO because I’m lazy, and Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online is a long ass title.
I think a large part of what kept me from watching the show until I finally sat down over the last week or so and watched it, was, probably, the ties it had to Sword Art Online itself. And don’t worry yourself, this isn’t going to become an SAO bashing article, nor anything of that sort. SAO was technically the first anime I watched before Clannad. This caused me to have a bit of a relapse when I watched GGO at first, hearing the references to the “Sword Art Online Incident”. Because yes, this show as you would expect, references SAO a decent amount. It is an SAO spin-off after all. But here’s why it’s different, at least for me.
I can relate to Karen.
And I’m sure you can too.
Karen has a complex about her height. She towers over others, and many times gets odd looks coming her way. She wants nothing more than to be a short and cute girl like the rest of the girls around her. She’s 183 centimeters tall which roughly translates to about six feet. Now that doesn’t mean you need to be just as tall to get the same effect. If you go overseas and you look different then the people within Japan, especially in the rural areas, you might catch some glances. This isn’t racist nor always meant in a poor way. But it still affects us, as it affects Karen. And at least for me, that’s how I relate to her.
Now before I go back into characters, there is one big problem I have with GGO.
It’s the SAOism of being overpowered and unbeatable. And it’s something that I think Digibro also less than softly put in his video on the show.
Karen until one time later in the series always finds a way to save the situation and to do some unearthly things. Even for within a video game. From hiding behind bodies. Which happened multiple times by the way. To hiding in a closed suitcase without moving whatsoever, for minutes on end. Air would technically have run out by the way producer, just saying.
Overall though, that was one of my few big problems with the show. I feel like if you can ignore that, it makes the show much more watchable.
Oh and now that think about it, one more thing. Having her P-90 speak to her, although being something I understand the point of doing, was a really really cringe-inducing thing to actually add in. And it was something I found myself skipping every time I saw it come up.
Now back to characters for another thing that I absolutely love about this show. Both the relationship between M and Pitohui, and Pitohui herself.
The reason I feel this way and can relate is that it really highlights both the way that relationships can differ between people, and work different ways for different people, as well as shows that sometimes people can be hiding more than you think. Especially online.
Pitohui and M’s relationship can be called anything but nuclear, other than the fact that they are man and woman. M is on Pitohui’s beckoning call. Doing anything and everything that Pitohui could ever want. And in the end, it is even revealed that his name is actually M or Masochist.
What I want to get into more than anything when it comes to these two topics though is Pitohui’s mental state. She is from what I’ve seen of and having dealt with the disorder myself, dealing with a major depressive disorder. A disorder that even more of us can relate to as well. Even before the SAO incident she was obsessed with death and missing out on the SAO death game, it made her obsession even worse, and caused her to break in the end. She then turned both GGO Squad Game tournaments into death games for her as well as M. Vowing to kill them both if they lost to anyone other than Karen.
I don’t want to make some sort of list to what happened in this anime or bore you with all the things and minute details that makes Pitohui such a relatable character for those suffering from depression. But if anything I do want to use it as well to point out the fact that not everyone on the internet, or really anyone you see, are doing all fine and dandy. These people have, many times, seen things and or done things you couldn’t even imagine. Thought thoughts that people would call them insane for, and even hurt themselves in near unrecoverable ways. I guess my point, in the end, would be: Pitohui represents the fact that you cannot and never will be able to judge a person by the cover they put on display.
So in the end what do I think of this anime? I would say that personally, it wasn’t the best I’ve ever watched. But if I could rewind and do it again I believe I would absolutely still watch this show. Was it cringe-inducing at times? Yes. Did it have an SAOism every now and then? Absolutely. But the amount of enjoyment I gained from this show still made me second guess if I was actually watching an SAO spin-off. I myself watched it a lot as well for the sake of the adorableness of Karen’s avatar. But then found myself falling in love with Pitohui and M as well. And for those reasons, among others. I proudly gave GGO a rating of 8/10
So tell me. Why did you watch Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online? And what did you think of it? And what did you rate it in the end?