First Look: Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

Alternative title(s): Not This Shit Again Online
Light Novel Adaptation by Studio 3Hz
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

In the world of Gun Gale Online, a college student insecure about her height plays as a tiny girl dressed in all pink. She aims to join the “Squad Jam”, a battle-royale style tournament.

Iro’s verdict: Weapons and Equipment OSP

For something carrying the Sword Art Online name, this wasn’t all that bad. It does drag a ton – weighed down by expository Light Novel Dialogue – but it’s mostly in service of highlighting the tactics involved in a battle-royale style game. Dropping us straight into the action is commendable as well, with just a quick bit explaining what the Squad Jam is before an entire episode of guns, shooting, and hiding in closets. I suppose this is exactly what I’d want from a SAO spinoff, taking only the setting and set dressing while ditching the utterly insufferable cast, but it certainly gives GGO a steeper hill to overcome its franchise connections. Still, 3Hz does good work, and I’m willing to give this another episode or two, which is more than any SAO product has earned since the start of the Glorio Era.

Zigg’s verdict: Boring Royale

This is better than mainline Sword Art Online, mainly due to the absence of the mighty and inviolable Kirito, but I still can’t say I enjoyed it very much. There’s the same niggling micro-focus on the rules and procedures of the setting, common to most light novels, rather than any sort of attempt to build a world organically or through natural exposition. The result is tons of clumsy, sludgy dialogue that tells us lots about the mechanics of the game but almost nothing about our main characters. Furthermore, while I’m not particularly offended by the rampant gun fetishism, it’s not interesting to me either and results in more time spent waffling over minutiae rather than pushing the dialogue forward. The final battle is neat and, as expected of 3Hz everythign looks nice and sharp, but even taking into account the leap in quality over the original, this is an average show at best.

Artemis’ verdict: Gun Fetish Online

Well that was… surprisingly okay. Possibly also boring as hell if you have zero interest in either guns or online/immersive combat competitions, as the series looks to be interested in showing plenty of detail there, but as far as the writing is concerned, it was actually relatively decent. Granted, the dialogue was a little awkward at times and I have no idea what I think of the characters themselves yet – we were thrown straight in on the action and stayed there for the entire episode bar a few seconds at the end – but the latter isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as there was nothing overly complex or difficult to follow in terms of plot. Those completely put off from Sword Art Online the first time around may still want to check this one out, as a) the series is obviously technically competent and b) we have an entirely new cast, so I’m not expecting even a token mention of Our Lord and Savior.

 

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