“Karen Kohiruimaki is a 183-centimeter-tall (6-foot-tall) college student who’s insecure her height and is bad at dealing with people in the real world. She enters the world of Gun Gale Online with her avatar, LLENN, who is less than 150 centimeters (5 feet) tall and wears all pink. She meets a beautiful, brown-skinned female player who goes by Pitohui. They hit it off, but one-day Pitohui pressures her to participate in “Squad Jam,” a team Battle Royale variation of the Bullet of Bullets tournament.” – Sword Art Online: Alternative (Manga)

Story:
Sword Art Online Alternative is a side story that takes place in the dangerous world of GGO, Gun Gale Online. We have a new main character, Karen as known as LLENN. Sword Art Online: Alternative’s story had a bit more consistency to it than the infamous original Sword Art Online that skipped several portions of Aincrad. While the story is more continuous, it lacks the tense atmosphere of the original where dying in the game meant dying in real life. Exploring the wasteland of Gun Gale Online was fun and all but I would’ve loved to see more in real life activities involving Karen and her friends.
Artwork & Animation:
While the use of guns does limit the amount of cool animation, there are still a good amount of well-animated fight scenes especially when LLENN is involved. The character designs stick to a similar style to the original anime.
Character(s):
Now that VRMMORPG’s aren’t death games anymore and people are free to use avatars that don’t look exactly like them, Sword Art Online Alternative features some bizarre characters. If you thought LLENN and Karen was a surprise, wait until you see everyone else! Overall, the character development wasn’t as good as it should’ve been. There is enough information to get a gist of what a character is about but the focus was so honed in on the Squad Jams that the development was swept to the side.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
Bringing back Eir Aoi to perform the opening theme was a great move to further connect Alternative to the original anime. One thing that I love about the soundtrack is Elsa Kanzaki’s few songs that show up in the anime. Giving Elsa a few songs that are full-length songs to perform give the story more depth than just GGO.
Enjoyment:
While I did enjoy Sword Art Online Alternative it wasn’t dynamic enough to make it a thrilling watch. Nonetheless, I would still love to see another season, the reveal at the end has me wishing wanting more Karen and Pitohui!
 
Overall: Score 8
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online is a great side story from the original Sword Art Online. With great animation and artwork similar to the original anime, it’s a must watch for die-hard SAO fans. Though the character development is minimal and the story too focused on the Squad Jams, all elements are still interesting enough to make a decent watch.
Best Girl: Karen Kohiruimaki / LLENN
Cute, timid, and tall in real life. Energetic, merciless, and short in GGO. You can’t say no when it’s the best of both worlds (pun intended). Although I would’ve preferred long-haired Karen, short-haired Karen is nice too.
This one deserves two…don’t tell the other posts…
What did you think of Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online? Let me know in the comments below!
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