Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online Review

GGO Alternative

Hiyo, everyone! Today, I’ll be covering a story in a franchise loved by many and bashed by perhaps even more! Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online takes place in the world of Gun Gale Online as seen at the beginning of SAO season 2, but the cast of characters is entirely new! No Kirito here! SAO Alt GGO (as I will be calling it for the rest of the review) evades several of the pitfalls of mainstream SAO. Since it will doubtlessly come up, I’ll start by saying I do like the existing SAO anime despite acknowledging that they are rather flawed. Personally, I just try to take as much enjoyment as I can from stories! But I would prefer to focus discussion to just SAO Alt GGO for this review, so for now, let’s just forget about the rest. Even if you hate normal SAO, you may enjoy this!

SAO Alt GGO is focused on Karen Kohiruimaki, a Japnese woman who is quite tall and has a complex about it. At the advice of her friend Miyu Shinohara, she decides to retreat into a virtual world to escape, and converts from game to game until she finds one where her randomly generated avatar happens to be short and cute, as she wishes she could be. Naturally, that VRMMO is Gun Gale Online. At first, she plays just for the escapism, but, as time goes on, she becomes fond of the game, advancing her character and meeting new people.

One of those is a quirky woman whose avatar is named Pitohui, a long-time veteran of GGO. She takes LLENN (Karen’s avatar) under her wing, and the two become friends and teammates. Pitohui, too, plays GGO to avoid real world problems. She says that, some day, she and LLENN will go all out against each other in GGO, and, if LLENN wins, the two will meet in real life – a prospect LLENN finds scarier than appealing, I think!

One day, Pitohui convinces LLENN to sign up for Squad Jam (SJ), a free-for-all tournament between teams of up to six players. Pitohui herself is unavailable that day, so she has LLENN partner with her friend M, an experienced man with a knack for strategy. Since LLENN’s own real life plans fall through on the day of the Squad Jam, she agrees to enter alongside M, as part of a team of a mere two players. Of course, I’m not going to tell you what happens after that! SAO Alt GGO is only twelve episodes long, so if you’re interested, you ought to check it out for yourself!

While I don’t intend to get into spoilers, one of the things I loved about this anime was how it showed how several VRMMO players were driven together in the world of GGO by their real life insecurities and problems. Karen/LLENN and Pitohui were both ultra relatable to me. It felt quite nice to explore virtual reality themes without intrusive fanservice.

It’s hard to go into too much detail without spoiling something, because the meat of SAO Alt GGO’s story occurs after the Squad Jam plays out. So, instead, I’ll just recommend that if you’re interested in virtual reality based anime, this one is worth checking out. If you liked the original SAO, you’ll probably like this too, and if you wanted to like SAO but found some of its flaws difficult to look past, you may find them absent or mitigated here. SAO Alt GGO is provides a lot of good action and an interesting story surrounding characters who feel capable without being too overpowered. As in normal SAO, the music is good, too!

I’d rate SAO Alt GGO 4.4/5. It got me hooked early on, and before I knew it, I had marathoned the series and waiting for a season two. xD

Have any of you watched Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online? If so, what did you think? Let’s try to avoid talking too much about normal SAO in the comments; I don’t want a flame war on my hands. That said, I’d love to hear your opinion on the VRMMO-centric genre of anime! Personally, I’d like to see more of it, so I welcome your recommendations! Hope ya have a wonderful week! Ciao!

Danganronpa 3 Review (Anime)

Danganronpa 3 Future Arc

Hiyo, everyone! Today, I’m gonna review Danganronpa 3, which is an anime, not to be confused with the game Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. Full disclosure – I am utterly obsessed with the Danganronpa franchise, so that may affect my opinions. =p

Since this anime is nothing new, and I absolutely cannot recommend watching it unless you’ve completed the preceding games (Danganrona: Trigger Happy Havoc, Super Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, and Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls) I’m going to assume most people reading this know what happens, so this review will be positively teeming with spoilers. If you’re invested enough in the games to have played the first three but haven’t yet watched this anime, I recommend it. It’s split into three arc: Future, Despair, and Hope. By the way, the correct watching order for the episodes is Future 1 > Despair 1 > Future 2 > Despair 2 > … >Future 11 > Despair 11 > Future 12 > Hope. It’s rather convoluted, I know. xD

Aaanyway, that said, I’m not going to explain the differences between the three sides of the anime, ’cause I presume that going forward, my readers already know! Instead, I’ll talk about the parts that really stood out to me, starting with the Future Arc.

We begin with your typical killing game, this one lacking much of the usual charming presence of Monokuma and using members of the hope-centric Future Foundation as participants. Honestly, we aren’t given much time to get attached to many of the new characters; emphasis is placed on the returning Makoto, Kyoko, and Aoi as well as Munakata and Sakuraka. The eventual twist that the “attackers” were all killing themselves due to brainwashing was a bit surprising, but the lack of anything resembling class trials made this killing game completely unlike the ones in Danganronpa 1 and 2. Instead, the focus was on character development for a select few.

Unsurprisingly, Kyoko alone was capable of solving the whole mystery. What wasn’t expected was her “death” via a rather devious forbidden action. It was sort of obvious she’d find some way to survive, but, even so, the assumed loss allowed for some good character development in Makoto. (I also enjoyed the few cute moments between the two.)

I’m not going to lie. My fav –

Actually… *Casts flame shield around herself.*

As I was saying, I’m not going to lie. My favorite part of the Future Arc was the inclusion of Monaca, who is also my favorite character in the franchise. xD Her newfound apathy is ultra relatable to me. She didn’t have all that much screen time, but what she did have was good, and expanded on the character discernible to the careful observer in Ultra Despair Girls. She was never actually all that invested in despair, just in finding a place for herself. In the end, Nagito convinced her that acting as an avatar of despair was not really right for her, so she decided she had no place in the world at all and left to become a space NEET! To the casual observer, that decision may seem incredibly random, but it’s actually pretty consistent with her character. I’m glad she didn’t die. But, since she’s my favorite, I hope we haven’t seen the last of her. xD

Let’s shift gears and talk about the Despair Arc a bit. It re-introduced us to all our favorite characters from Danganronpa 2, including the human version of Chiaki. That said, the real star was, unsurprisingly, Junko. Really, the whole arc is about how she took all sorts of things – many good, like class 77’s close friendship, and others bad, like the unethical Kamukura project – and twisted them all to the purposes of despair. In brutal fashion. Some of the parts that most stood out to me was the Student Council’s little killing game and Chiaki’s death. Junko was totally the star of the show.

Most of the members of class 77 were not really expanded upon as characters in Danganronpa 3. We did get to learn more about Chiaki, who is basically the protagonist of the Despair Arc, and we got to see Izuru in action, which was amusing in its own way. Mukuro’s portrayal was a bit… odd. But the story was otherwise rather predictable. Then there’s the whole brainwashing issue. Honestly, it was disappointing to see Junko rely so heavily on that despite the talent to inspire despair through setting up brutal situations she showed in the games. It would have been much more compelling if she had convinced class 77 to turn more naturally.

The brainwashing issue extends into the Hope Arc, which ties Future and Despair together. Mitarai’s goal to brainwash the world into ridding itself of negative emotions was kind of boring. Really, the final episode existed largely to give cameos to the post-Danganronpa 2 versions of class 77. They ended up being the ones to stop Mitarai and take all the blame for the Future Foundation’s killing game. I suppose the point was to show us hope in the form of the seeds Makoto planted by saving the former-Remnants finally bloom. Since Kyoko survived, none of the characters from previous games actually died. (The real-life version of Chiaki is technically a different person than the AI version.) That left the whole series feeling a bit meaningless. I guess Danganronpa has just made me a junkie for character death~

Anyway, despite Danganronpa 3’s many flaws, as a fangirl, I’m still gonna rate it 4.2/5. I found it quite entertaining. I really hope to see even more of the characters we’re become familiar with thus far.

Have you played or watched any Danganronpa stuff? If so, what do you like most about the series, and what did you think of my review? If not, why are you still reading this? xD I mean, I kinda of just spoiled the whole series, but I still recommend you check it out. =p Until next time, may your days be shining beacons of hope… or may they drag you into the depths of despair. Whichever you’d prefer. =p Buh-bye!