RogerBW's Blog

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online 03 July 2018

2018 SF, 12 episodes: AniDB, in the same setting as Sword Art Online but sharing no characters with it. People come to the virtual reality game for various reasons, and most of them find what they're looking for.

I found the Phantom Bullet arc of Sword Art Online II the most interesting of that series, mostly for its setting – a modern tactical combat game rather than the computer-RPG-fantasy of the original series – and that's what this series is all about. But we get a new protagonist, Kohi, who has a complex about being too tall; so when she gets into VR games, she flips through them until she gets a random avatar that's short and cute.

Which is the origin of Llenn, the Pink Killer Munchkin – who of course has a massive natural talent for this shooting game. After the flashback of episodes 2-3, the main narrative is a pair of team battle royale tournaments with a variety of quirky rules; but really, when your main winning tactic is "move really fast and burn off an entire magazine from your pink FN P90 against a single enemy", this clearly isn't one of those realistic combat games.

It's not by any means the world-shaking quest of original Sword Art Online, but it's fun in a way that too many series forget to be. And the original light novels for this spinoff were written by the author of Kino no Tabi (Kino's Journey); OK, this isn't up to the standard of that, but it's a lot better than one might expect for a side-story of an anime series that's already gone through two full seasons and a variety of spin-offs. There's an attempt to raise the stakes in the second battle that rings a little false, and if you can't guess who the Crazy Combat Chick is in the real world you really weren't paying attention, but overall this is an enjoyable short series.

No word on renewal; the story arc is complete in these twelve episodes.

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