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About Digital Art / Hobbyist Christina Marie LaceyFemale/United States Groups :icondarna-central: Darna-Central
 
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Christina Marie Lacey
Artist | Hobbyist | Digital Art
United States
I DON'T TAKE REQUESTS! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I DON'T TAKE REQUESTS!!!

I don't do Commissions. My art isn't good enough to ask for money.

I don't do Art-Trades because anything I want drawn I can draw myself.

I don't do Requests because I got tired of getting fanservice/OC requests.

Valor Girl support stamp by Scintillant-H

Other people's art were starting to taking more of my time, when I wanted to do pictures of my own. SO I've stopped doing art for other people -- for the most part.

:iconban-re: :iconnikki-tan: :iconpewternatural: :iconyurispacepirate: :iconjanec09: :icondaredevinho: :iconixisnyx: Check out some of my friend's pages

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:iconthe-raven-club: :iconpervysisters: :iconteentitanstower: :iconkawaii-world: :iconthe-cho-chang-group: :iconcassandra-cain:
Interests
After I wrote and posted my story Mythical Mirage Online, I got a lot of "This is similar to Sword Art Online!" comments.  Part of that is my fault, as my cover art is SAO influenced, but also the story.  MMO was based on a number of things and SAO is only one of them.  (If I were to compare it to an anime, it's probably more closer to .hack//sign.)  That being said, people have wanted to know what I thought of SAO since I wrote a similar-style story.  So might as well get into it.

Introduction:

For me Sword Art Online had an interested premise, but weak follow through.  The pacing is inconsistent and the tone is everywhere.  It also has a problem with characters as there aren't really any except for standard anime tropes.  Later on in the series we do get three really interesting characters and some cool ideas, but that's after sitting through a lot of shit.  Overall the anime is average, maybe below average.  It's not bad, but it's not any good either.  It's the idea behind it that's keeps it going, which that in itself is a lift from other animes/mangas who've pulled the "trapped in a game" before.  What SAO did differently was change the stakes making the viewer want to come back for more.  

The show has four story arcs (currently in the US) so I'll only be talking about those.  The manga/light novels and aired things in Japan I won't be going on about.  As I'll be talking about individual story arcs, I'll have to say spoilers.  BUT given you're reading this, you've probably already seen the damn show and just want to know why I think it's below average.  So let's get into it... again.


First Arc:

The premise for the first arc centers around Kirito and a number of other gamers who are trying out SAO for the first time.  They are neural linked to the game, and experience it sort of like Virtual Reality.  So you can see where this is going.  The game developer pretty much traps them all inside the Fantasy RPG and states that if they die here, they die in real life.  Also they can escape the game, but only by beating it.  

So far, so good.  The series premise has a similar hook that other animes have used, but have the death twist.  This makes you really want to keep watching.  Unfortunately after this, the show then proceeds to meander.  Kirito is basically the only character that is a main character for the longest time, and most of the opening shows are just one-shot episodes where he randomly runs into various people and solves problems like Michael Landon in Highway to Heaven.  This shows the views two things:  first, it establishes that in-between each episode a good chunk of time passes; second it shows that people are dying and how various players are dealing with their prison situation.  

During these one-off opening shows, we meet Asuna, who will be an important "character" later.  I stress that Asuna is only a character in that she's a pretty girl who we're meant to like.  At this point, she has no personality other than plucky girl who falls for our hero for... reasons.  And this is the start of the first arc's problems.  We don't get to know anyone, other than Kirito, and even he's left somewhat blank so the audience can put themselves in his shoes.  Sooo we basically have no one who we can relate to.  Also, the time jumps become an issue.  Relationships form off-camera between people and we as an audience are just told things happened other than seeing it.  So, Asuna, this pivotal person to the first arc's conclusion, we are told falls for Kirito based on things we never see. Once you realize that this shows main focus will be their love throughout the various arcs, it's really quite bullshit.

So the first arc keeps going like this.  One-shots of bullshit, nothing really meaning anything.  Then you'll have a story here or there that say "Kirito and Asuna are a couple now" or "Kirito joined a fighters guild so has friends now".  That sort of thing.  While all this is happening, the doom looming over them gets lessened as we get another "this happened" subplot.  They basically stop "the story" all together to have a few episodes of Kirito and Asuna buying a house and finding girl to be their daughter (who's really just Aura a .hack character).  You'd think this would be a moment were we can get to know our two love birds, right?  Nope.  Just random nonsense, then back to the death prison plot.  So that happened...

The story finally decides to get a point at the end when Kirito defeats the game, freeing everyone.  It's cool and all, but since everything was so anti-climatic leading up to this point, the show just feels "it's over now."  You're feeling like you missed an episode or two.  It just kinda ends.  That being said, it stops on the cliffhanger of the now awaken Kirito hobbling out of his hospital bed in search of the real Asuna, who may or may not be dead.  Seriously, wtf.

Second Arc

The only reason you tuned in the watch this was to see what happened with Kirito and Asuna's reunion, because the first arc gave you nothing else to care about.  Basically you felt cheated at not seeing them reunite after the question was left in the air if Asuna actually survived the final battle.  What you get in return for coming back for more is probably the worst this show ever got.  

Basically, Asuna is still in the game, but not SAO anymore, but in another MMO that's based off of Fairyland version of Final Fantasy, ALfheim Online.  And get used to this game world, because it IS SAO for now on.  This boring uninspiring game world is your new back drop.  In real life Asuna in a coma, so the mission now is for Kirito to create an account for the Fairy Dance game and save Asuna.  

This might seem like it's not so bad until you see what's become of Asuna.  So the only character the viewer cared about in the first arc is now trapped in a prison, dressed in slave-girl clothes, and is constantly being threatened by rape from her jailer.  Great.  He's a creepy man on the outside world who wants to marry into Asuna'a rich family so he can take over some company or some random BS.  So yeah.  Now rape is constantly in the back of your mind here.  And make no bones about it, this bad guy is the scummiest of villains ever, constantly sexually assaulting her short of actually physically raping her.  (And I'm not even sure if he didn't actually do it...we just didn't see it) He licks and gropes her constantly, making you as the viewer squirm.  So this show has gone from barely there romance to rape.  Fantastic.

While that's going on, you're going "Kirito, hurry your ass up and save Asuna."  But the show, once again known for it's tonal issues, decides that Kirito's end of things will be more like "whimsical adventure".  Fuck you.  He meets this character named Leafa, and for the first half or more of the show, they basically are screwing around having adventures in ALfheim.  Keep in mind that while they are having light-hearted moments, this is intercut with Asuna being tentacle groped.  So yeah, fuck you.  Any care at all of the new fun tone of the show is immediately killed with all of this.  I have NO idea what the show-runners were thinking.

So Leafa is the series first character.  I mean that in the best way possible.  She is the first person in this whole mess that actually has a defined character and an arc.  Turns out she's Suguha, Kirito's sister in the real world.  The audience is told this pretty early on, though the show forgets it did this and tries to keep it a "mystery" on who Leafa is.  Anyone with a brain knows it from episode one.  Leafa develops a crush on Kirito, and even though you have "it's incest" screaming in your head, you're left with another feeling of "but they have so much chemistry together".  Well they do... because we actually see them interact.  Remember how in the first arc we are told that Kirito and Asuna are perfect together instead of shown it?  Well, when we see Leafa and Kirito getting close here, it feels genuine.  So now you have both rape and incest vibes going on here and you just want to stab yourself.

Once the story is resolved here, it's just a big breath of "Thank you, it's over."  Kirito physically beats the rapey bad guy in the real world, frees Asuna, but also gets this master online key-thingy that makes him God-Mode of all online SAO type games (Like he wasn't before).  The series ends with Asuna in physical therapy but overall safe.  Suguha has to give up on Kirito because for obvious reasons, so the real "romance" of the arc was completely pointless.  Get used to that.  80% of SAO is pointless.

Third Arc

Gun Gale is the only time SAO was good.  There, I said it.  Basically a series of murders are happening in a new game called Gun Gale (ran on SAO programs), where people playing are killed in the game but are dying in the real world.  They don't think it's the same as before, but they aren't ruling it out.  Since Kirito is the George Washington of sorting these problems out, the developers reach out to him to figure this mess out.  So it's back into the digital world.  What makes this arc good is that it has a set-up, a purpose, and a point.  The whole thing is a mystery and every episode is devoted to that or a secondary character's growth, a girl named Sinon.

Sinon is a girl who expected a traumatic gun-related event in her life and is using the shooter mmo as a way to try to get over her fears.  She gets pulled into the murder-mystery when she befriends Kirito who is just started out and needs someone to help him figure out how things work.  The two story-lines work perfectly, and Kirito and Sinon develop a strong bond and relationship together.  As such, it highlights once again why the handling of Asuna and Kirito's initial romance was done so poorly, as any new girl he meets you immediately want him to hook up with.  

The third arc does have it's flaws.  For instance, you can forget about Leafa being a character anymore.  While she isn't playing Gun Gale, she's still in the real world during Kirito's investigation.  After the 2nd arc she joins the cast of nobodies who hang around and do nothing.  Everyone you've seen up until this point is just waiting for Kirito to solve the mystery while offering nothing in assistance.  So there are literally scenes of the one-shot girls you saw two arcs ago watching TV together with Asuna, while Kirito is figuring this out.  

Also, for unknown reasons, Kirito's "randomly generated character creator" in Gun Gale made him a lady-boy.  Why?  No reason.  No I mean it, they never explain why and it effects the plot barely.  I'm not talking that they just made his character model a girl, no, they say he's a boy but looks like a girl.  Sooooo what the fuck is going on?  No explanation. Look, I don't mind gender-bending, but usually when writers do that there is a reason, even if it's for a joke.  This had no reason whatsoever.  Sinon would have helped him regardless of Kirito's gender.  So thanks SAO2, I'm glad you got your gender-bender cliche in there somehow... (even though you have a show about MMOs and you could have really played with that)

Sinon by far is the best character the show ever had.  Combined with her backstory, her personality, her motivation, and completely character growth, SAO2 accidentally stumbled on a real character.  The intercut between what's going on in the game world and real world really make things dramatic, especially once the mystery is solved and you're in the climax.  A fight occurs where the real Kirito has to find the real Sinon to help save her from the real murderer is nail biting.  It's so scary because you're not sure if he'll even make it in time.

All-in-all, this is a good arc, and the series would never get any better.  And this is coming from me, who generally dislikes shooter games.

Fourth Arc

And then we come to the Asuna/Yuuki arc.  Ugh.  Let me first point out that this arc, in-and-of-itself, isn't that bad.  But after Gun Gale stumbled on a great storyline the last time, this is what we come back too.  So for reasons unknown, SAO2 finally decides it's high time they give Asuna a character... three arcs too late.  But before that, we have a series of one-off adventures in ALfheim Online where the gang is just questing for rare objects.  The first thing they do it immediately kill any hopes that Sinon will be an important character again, like they did to Leafa in the last arc.  The unimportant nobodies from the first arc suddenly are partying with Kirito and Asuna and apparently are characters now.  It's a complete waste of time and doesn't showcase anything that's to come in the arc proper.  All we get is Kirito getting a rare item because he wasn't God-Mode enough.

The real story begins after several episodes of this nonsense.  After all this time, we are told that Asuna is from a well off family and now that the SAO incident is over and Asuna is recovered, her mother wants her to transfer to a real school and basically dump Kirito.  So right away we already know what's going to happen.  Regardless of forced chemistry, we know that Asuna is not dumping Kirito because she survived two years in a death prison and has a virtual daughter (Yui) with him.  So any tension on this point is completely gone.  This is the major issue of this arc and already it's moot.

Still, the story wants to make you believe this is an agonizing issue for Asuna, so in order for her to figure things out, she goes on ALfheim Online and befriends some low-level party for... reasons.  While clearing her head on these issues with her mother, she meets Yuuki, a spunky lovable girl who always spouts off life-advice while always being cute.  Yeah, she's dying with cancer in the real world.  The thing is, like Asuna's nonissue, we spot this from a mile away too.  So basically everything the latter half of this arc is completely pointless.  We're just biding our time, waiting for Yuuki to eat it and for the death to spur Asuna to stand up to her mother.  And it does.  Don't get me wrong, the show gives Yuuki no bad qualities and makes you love her... but you KNOW she's dead.  So sad as it is, you're not really hit by it like the show wants you too.  However, the memorial all the ALfheim players give her IS touching and ALMOST got me.

The arc ends with everything being the status quo, making the whole fourth arc completely, and utterly pointless.  Asuna doesn't really grow as a character, and even though we learn about her mother issues, it wasn't like it wasn't hinted at before.  Soooo yeah, pointless.

Conclusions

As I said before, Sword Art Online isn't a bad anime, but isn't good either.  I always liked the idea of going to another world (game world or not) and having adventures.  My favorite book series as a kid was Chronicles of Narnia, which is basically the same concept.  My first anime I really loved with El-Hazard: The Magnificent World.  Hell, you can even say things like Harry Potter is close to this genre.  So the idea of people going into a game and having adventures (as a casual gamer like myself) is really appealing.  Unfortunately it's everything else that's the problem.  We have bland characters, practically no story, boring game worlds, enraging rape subplots, and a lead character who's definitely a Gary-Stu.  It's a show I want to like more than I do.  I love elements of it.  I love Gun Gale's simple mystery story combined with the engaging character arc of Sinon.  I like adventures in game-land.  Hell, the light hearted stuff on ALfheim with Leafa and Kirito would have been fine without the rape shit.  I really love the artstyle and music.  But the series is just a mess. I'd say it was complete garbage if I didn't like elements of it.  It did aid in me writing Mythical Mirage Online (even if my plot and SAO's isn't anything alike), so I can't hate it.  

My ranking is below average, but I can't fault anyone who feels different.  Let me know what you think in the comments... or don't.
  • Listening to: Fate - So Hyang
  • Reading: Wonder Woman: The War Years
  • Watching: Yes or No?
  • Playing: Tales of Zestiria/ Dragon Age II
  • Eating: Popcorn
  • Drinking: Cherry Coke

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Apparently I'm not a core member anymore... I thought I had like 3 months left?  
Why does CBS/Paramount hate their own fans?
Does anyone else find the notification popups distracting?  I just keep getting bombarded by them!
Thank you to all the well-wishers I've received on my Birthday. I might have responded to your comment personally, BUT just in case I missed someone: Thanks!
Olivia Munn was so good in X-Men: Apocalypse! I always wanted her to shut up, stand there, and look pretty on Attack of the Show!, and boy did Bryan Singer deliver!

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:iconpewternatural:
pewternatural Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
comicsalliance.com/history-sta…
thought you might be interested in this, it's a history of Trek comics.
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:iconpewternatural:
pewternatural Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news…

Ron Halford is the greatest metal vocalist ever and he showed up at a Baby Metal concert to play along side them. Unfortunately Rob doesn't lip synch and it's pretty obvious that he doesn't know how to do it well. Still it must be nice to get one of the most respected people in the genre to on stage with you.
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:iconpewternatural:
pewternatural Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I actually saw someone who looks like Mei from Dark x Light. She was working in a Chinese restaurant I order from. She had the same angled bod hair cut, had dark eye liner under her eyes, and I think she had dark finger nail polish. I almost did a double take, I didn't want to stare at her, since i'm creepy enough without leering. It was funny though first thing I thought was she looks like Mei, she just needs a leather jacket.
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:iconglee-chan:
Glee-chan Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Let's go back and make her wear one!
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:iconpewternatural:
pewternatural Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Get her to cosplay Mei, that would be interesting.
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