Well, I admit this was enjoyable while it lasted. I’ll tell you this, the best way to enjoy SAO is to have no expectations of this anime.
The thing about SAO is that I had expectations that it will live up to the humongous hype it generated before it aired, only to be crushed by how it became a total gamer and otaku pandering anime after episode 4. While the anime did dash my expectations, not all is bad about SAO. I really like how the anime draw parallels from most of the online games we MMORPG players played, it certainly captured the intense feel of 40 people raiding a single powerful boss and I like how some of the monsters in the anime adopt the WoW provoking system, that is they will also attack healers if they heal too much. I also liked the leveling up of mundane skills such as cooking and listening will gain you nifty advantages back in the first season. The cool fighting scenes are a sight to behold. I also loved the OP themes of this anime.
I can pay no heed how Kirito is the Gary Stu of all gamers and is the dream of every male otaku gamers out there I can ignore that Asuna is supposed to be strong capable gamer girl, but has to rely on Kirito in times of dire trouble as to pander to its audience but the only thing I can’t get past this anime is that the anime is just too perfect. I just had trouble holding up my suspension of disbelief a few times while watching this anime. One occassion is when Kirito is fighting that Fire General dude, his casting that illusion that bought him time looked like a skill than a spell when it should have been an actual spell. I know that that battle looked like what it was because for the sake of making it look cool which is great, but in MMORPG game standards, it would have required Kirito to stop moving for a least 3-4 seconds to cast that illusion mist taking into consideration his l337 gaming skillz, which could be enough time for his opponent to get a hit in and interrupt his casting. What I’m saying is that the anime has sacrificed some of the realism in the video game mechanics to make that scene look cool. SAO light novel die hards might slam the anime for skipping few important events in the LN, but I really could care less about it.
SAO had the potential to become a great anime but became nothing more than a total glorification of the male nerd gamer otaku, but despite the train wreck it became it is still very much enjoyable as long as you won’t nitpick that the anime skipped a certain event in the light novel. Overall, this anime is an okay watch but not the best anime of 2012.