In the story of Sword Art Online Cosplay, a story like this would normally last about a month their time, or just be more detailed, long enough for the players to become inseparable friends, but not long enough to change who they are at their inner heart.
Seventeen episodes in and more than ten years have already passed since the start, several years spent living in a VR world. This allows for an in-depth look at the psychological implications of being in a virtual reality for so long that you start to wonder if the real world even exists. And if it does exist, should everyone still be trying to get back to it instead of giving up and starting to make new lives for themselves inside the game world.
But beyond discussions of reality, Sword Art Online also delves into the sociological issues of living in this virtual world. Some people trapped in the game are hardcore gamers while others, casual players or young children, they don’t have the experience or skills to be risking their lives in the still unbeaten dungeons. So do you, as a hardcore gamer, draft the whole lot and make them fight?
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Do you just leave them, of course including the children, to fend for themselves? As a non-fighter, can you really spend all your time leveling up a trade skill—trusting the hardcore gamers to get you back to reality? And with a return to the real world always there to motivate you, can you justify slacking off, falling in love, or training in the cooking skill? All these questions and more are addressed over the course of the story.
Because everyone is trapped inside the game, their knowledge of the virtual world is limited to what they learn in the game itself. So while everyone knows the basic rules of the world, no one knows the specifics other than the data collected in the beta test. This makes the world perfect for adventures from a wide range of genres.
Sometimes it’s a mystery; sometimes it’s a love story; sometimes criminal suspense; sometimes supernatural horror; and sometimes it’s a straight-up fantasy adventure. If there’s one overused cliché in anime, it’s that once two characters hook up, it’s the end of the story—like the relationship after that point is a given. Thankfully, Sword Art does not stick to the norm. Thus the plot explores a love story in Sword Art’s unique setting and brings definition to exactly what love is like in a virtual world.