Sword Art Online Abridged

The best abridged series I’ve seen.

NaNo begins once again, and I think this is a good note to start on. SAO Abridged isn’t just hilariously adapting a shitty anime into a string of jokes, it’s transforming it into something new and better. You would not think characterization would be the stand-out success of something like this, and yet, it is.

Farla's NaNoWriMon

96 Comments

  1. Socordya says:

    You would not think characterization would be the stand-out success of something like this, and yet, it is.

    Well, that and Don Fluffles. Who I am pretty sure is Mister.

    1. Farla says:

      Don’t be ridiculous, Don Fluffles is definitely a cat.

      1. illhousen says:

        I’m pretty sure all cats would behave like that under the circumstances.

      2. illhousen says:

        I’m pretty sure all cats would behave like that under the circumstances.

    2. illhousen says:

      We now also know to which version of Christianity Michael belongs and why everyone calls his organization Knights of the Sword rather than Knights of the Cross like he prefers.

  2. illhousen says:

    Oh, yeah, I second the rec. SAO Abridged is really good, especially in comparison with the original.

    One flaw I would note is that you should be familiar with the source material (be it through watching it or reading a watchthrough) to really appreciate it. While it can be taken on its own merits and hold up, a lot of jokes are built on contrast with the original poor handling of various issues (especially the most recent episode with the marriage), plus the team employs heavy editing, both overt (like Don Fluffles) and subtle (different facial expressions, adding death animation where in the original there were no death, etc.), and it’s just fun to compare the two.

    Unfortunately, “fun” really isn’t something that can be said about the source material.

    1. Farla says:

      I’m actually thinking it might stand alone well enough to be worth watching through in full (whenever it finishes) then checking out a Let’s Watch, given it seems like it’s preserving the general flow of the plot.

      1. illhousen says:

        Well, it does stand on its own well enough, it’s just much more funny when you know the original.

        Also, the first arc should be ending soon. There is two anime episodes to cover left, IIRC, though they may be split differently here since the first half of the next episodes is taken by a filler plot before it’s SKULLFUCKER PRIME time, and the episode after that is the end.

        The second half of the first SAO season is about an entirely different game and incest. Also, tentacle rape. That was the part that made even mainstream anime fans comment that the show is kinda problematic, so I’m looking forward to see how the abridged version would go.

        1. Farla says:

          Given how long it’s been between episodes, though, even if the abridged series wraps up in just one episode that’ll still take forever.

          1. illhousen says:

            Yeah, it’s one episode every three months or sometimes longer, so we may see the conclusion somewhere next summer.

  3. SpoonyViking says:

    I don’t really get the joke about Asuna being some kind of gaming idiot savant. Other than that, it really is fun.

    1. Muphrid says:
      In the original, she literally had never played a video game before.
      1. SpoonyViking says:

        Ah, I didn’t remember that. I only watched snippets of the anime, I mostly read a watchthrough.

        Heh. Ok, now that joke is funny. Thanks for explaining!

    2. Farla says:

      I actually liked it because (at least in this version where he isn’t saving her every time) it helps balance them out for him to be more experienced but her to be more naturally talented.

      1. SpoonyViking says:

        Oh, it’s not that I disliked it – I actually laughed at the “How do you eat this?!” gag -, but I didn’t get the reference behind it. Now that Muphrid explained it, the joke got 100% funnier for me.

        1. Nerem says:

          I was really glad they cut out all the scenes of her being a useless damsel in distress. Since SAO basically constantly undercut her supposed prowess every chance it got.

          1. Roarke says:

            What makes me sad is that they probably can’t do season 2, because she’s locked in a cage for 99% of it and in a hospital bed for the other 1%. She’s become so important to the abridged cast dynamic that I don’t see them pulling it off.

            1. illhousen says:

              Well, personally I’m curious how they’re going to do that rather than apprehensive. But yeah, ALO is the lowest point of the whole thing, and I’m not sure how to fix it visually even with creative editing. Deleting all scenes with Asuna and replacing the sister with her? Probably would mean each episode is going to take a year to make.

              Hm, actually, skipping over the start of ALO and having Kirito fall right into ALO just as SAO is destroyed could work. Like, we don’t see Rapeface McHairsniff doing his thing, we don’t see the birdcage, Kirito just falls into another game and kills his way through it.

              Such a move would lose the benefit of making fun of the original, though, but then again, the original sucks so hard, it’s not funny anymore.

              Reply
            2. Roarke says:

              Yeah, the original had just enough going for it that all you really need to do to fix the plot is make the characters likable. Kind of like what Farla said about Dresden Storm Front: it actually had a coherent plot, all it needed was a better Harry.

              With ALO, I don’t believe that’s possible, because, well, it’s fucking dumb, but also because it introduces a completely new cast except for Yui, brief Asuna interludes, and one Agil cameo. Those cast dynamics are uninteresting and staggeringly unimportant, and the whole thing is basically just fodder for Kirito to dick around in a new prettier world while ostensibly chasing after Asuna.

              If anyone could save it, it’s Yui, but I don’t even remember how many scenes she has.

              Reply
            3. Socordya says:

              I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea for them to just end the series there and move on to another project. If anything, it would avoid the usual abridged series fate of episodes being released at an exponentially slower rate as the creators obviously lose interest.

              Reply
            4. Farla says:

              Hm. Maybe instead of her being totally cut off, she could still be able to communicate? So we have her weighing in while various things happen, but only he can hear her, so we have him standing there vacantly or arguing with thin air.

              Reply
            5. Roarke says:

              @Socordya Yeah, I figure that’s the way to go. Doing ALO is just begging to overstay their welcome and/or burn themselves out on SAO in general. I don’t mind it ending with just the excellent first season.

              Reply
            6. illhousen says:

              @Farla, actually, I think Yui can be utilized for communication. She’s around in a compact form for some reason, so she may be responsible for connecting them together. And speaking in Asuna’s voice.

              @Socordya, @Roarke, well, ending it with SAO is certainly a valid option, but really, I’m (maybe somewhat morbidly) curious about how they’re going to do ALO and want to see it.

              Reply
            7. Roarke says:

              I thank the stars every day for my utter lack of curiosity.

              Reply
  4. GoldenFalls says:

    I love how things that happen have a reoccurring impact. Not only does it make the jokes funnier but it also makes the character progression seem more real.

  5. EdH says:
    It really does establishing character moments well, so you can pretty much know who they are from their first line.

    Now whenever bad fiction pops up, BRING OUT THE BOILING OIL

  6. Septentrion says:

    I’ve seen it but it’s still only 10 episodes. Konasuba is close to this.

  7. Roarke says:

    I’m… disgusted with how invested I got in this.

  8. Axel Grease says:
    Well, to you, all anime is shitty, because you can’t stand seeing women sexualized EVER.
    1. Farla says:

      This one still has the butt shots, if you’re concerned.

      1. Act says:

        I was particularly found of the flowly tunic that suddenly vacuum-sealed to Asuna’s ass when we saw her from behind.

        1. Farla says:

          It’s a shame they haven’t worked in a joke complaining about how the clothing physics was coded.

          1. Roarke says:

            Male/female costume divergence is so obvious, too, being an actual issue for most MMO’s. 

            1. illhousen says:

              What’s weird is that there was a perfect moment for it with that smith going pantsless on a snowy mountain.

              Reply
              1. Act says:

                I did like the crack about her not being dressed like a metalworker when Kirito first walks into her shop.

            2. Nerem says:

              I’m glad WoW got away from that for the most part. Like, they stopped making armor ‘sexier’ on women then on men (which was never super common admittedly but did happen). I did like how whenever men would wear something blatantly for women it was just… the same exact outfit on a guy. Even dresses.

              Reply
            3. Roarke says:

              Foolsss…. kill the one in the dressss….

              Reply
    2. Lol says:
      Wait, so you’re saying that all anime sexualizes women? Sounds like an ill-informed “hyperfeminist” position to me.
      1. Axel Grease says:
        No, I’m not saying that, I’m just saying that Farla would find some way to say it’s about sexualizing women
        1. Act says:

          I’m not going to waste energy fishing you out of the spam filter from now on, but feel free to continue raging incoherently in a way that is indistinguishable from copypasta.

        2. Lol says:
          Well, Farla manifestly doesn’t hate all anime since she’s recced several series right on this blog, so either she doesn’t say it all sexualizes women, or she likes some of it anyway.

          At least make your strawman internally consistent. The lack of logic itches.

    3. illhousen says:

      Dude, you really should pick your battles. SAO is not your average anime that happened to have some ill-advised fanservice. It’s so bad, mainstream anime fans called it bad, specifically due to its treatment of women and wish-fulfillment fantasy elements. SAO is to anime what Twilight is to literature, basically.

      1. Farla says:

        Hm. I’d say SAO is extremely prettily animated, while Twilight is written unreadably poorly, but I’d rank Twilight as doing better as wish-fulfillment, with SAO being more a matter of throwing every bit of otaku pandering they could think of at a wall and hoping some sticks.

        1. illhousen says:

          The animation and soundtrack are pretty good, yeah. Some fights are also well-choreographed, with the upcoming SKULLFUCKER PRIME being… ah… the prime example. So in that respect SAO is competent at least.

          As for wish-fulfillment aspects, it’s kinda hard to judge for me since I’ve experienced both works through the filter of commentary, but I can see Twilight being more of a personal personal dream Mayer had while SAO being more calculating in its pandering.

          1. Act says:

            I can see Twilight being more of a personal personal dream Mayer had while SAO being more calculating in its pandering.

            Bingo. This is why Breaking Dawn floundered so spectacularly — it was so hyperspecific. But apparently otaku never get tired of hearing this one story over and over, so as long as you’re vague and rote enough with it you’re going to have fans.

            1. Axel Grease says:
              Look, variations on a theme are interesting. That’s why we have things like genres, remixes, etc.
              Reply
            2. Act says:

              You don’t seem to know what “genre” means.

              Reply
        2. Socordya says:

          The animation is good in a technical sense, but soooo generic, especially when it comes to the characters. No style. You could basically copy and paste one of the character in most other animes and they wouldn’t look out of place.

          1. illhousen says:

            True. It was especially funny when the whole mirror thing in the first episode happened and Kirito turned from a generic shounen protagonist… into another type of generic shounen protagonist. Dramatic!

      2. Axel Grease says:
        I didn’t know that!
        1. Act says:

          But you’re RAEGing about it anyway because…?

  9. Act says:

    This is everything I ever wanted and more.

  10. Snarwin says:
    For anyone who enjoys seeing cool things made out of the crooked timber of SAO, you may also enjoy the fanfic Fairy Dance of Death.
    1. GoldenFalls says:

      I’ve read that and it was enjoyable to read through the first time but it didn’t leave enough of an impression for me to pick it back up each update. My go-to reworking of SAO is Fate Revelation Online which is a masterful crossover with Fate/stay night where Kayaba actually gets a motive and the plot wildly diverges.

      1. illhousen says:

        Wait, really? But FRO is so, so bad. On technical level, I mean. It’s just so stale and so in love with the whole [Important Noun] routine that it’s nigh-unreadable. I get that the author imitates your typical stilted style of LN translations, but, really, that’s not something anyone should do ever.

        1. GoldenFalls says:

          I agree that the writing is very stilted, but I tend to be more tolerant of different writing levels as long as none of my pet peeves are hit.

          Actually, I’d say it’s pretty good on a technical level. Things like improper comma usage, dialogue formatting, or overuse and misuse of “myriad” are my major pet peeves, and they don’t come up in the story. It’s more the style and quality of the writing that are an issue, and those are things that don’t bother me much.

          1. illhousen says:

            Mmm, yeah, saying “technical level” was a mistake on my part, I meant style.

            For what it’s worth, I did like what I’ve seen about the plot (I mean, Kayaba with an actual plan and end goal, that’s novel), but I just couldn’t bring myself to read more than a few chapters, it was that painful.

            Judging by chapter titles, the fic also seem to attempt to cover every floor in order, which is a questionable decision. SAO overuse of time-skips was bad, but the opposite turns the whole thing into a slog, and I’m not sure the author has enough interesting material to fill all of that.

            1. Muphrid says:
              It’s very interesting to me that a lot of fanfics seem to try to take the “Progressive” route with a twist: reinvent the scenario to some kind of AU, usually with “better” game mechanics.  Personally, that approach feels to me like missing the point completely.  We all know that the game Sword Art Online is fairly unrealistic compared to modern MMOs, or even viewed in the light of MMOs at the time Kawahara came up with the idea.  People who spend time writing fanfic fixing the mechanics primarily?  I think they’d be better served running a D&D campaign–actually making a game of some kind.

              But more to the point, doing every floor is also quite monotonous.  Who would think that every single floor would have a compelling story to tell?  Who wants to churn through 70+ stories just to get to the end?

              Reply
            2. GoldenFalls says:

              I can definitely understand putting it down for the writing. It’s happened to me before on other fics and it’s always incredibly frustrating. The author’s writing has improved, though he still uses brackets for key words/phrases. I’d recommend 14.2 and onward if you want to check it out again but skip most of the bad writing. 

              IDK if it’s actually going to go every floor. I’m worried about the speed of chapter releases in comparison to how much is planned, but not the actual content. I’ve read the planning forum and there’s nine arcs and they all seem really interesting and tie into each other. There’s such a large cast of interesting characters who all have different relations to the main plot and different character growth that it’s not really hard to come up with good content. Kayaba also shakes it up by patching the game to increase realism in ways that would help players deal with the Enforcers IRL

              Reply
            3. illhousen says:

              @Muphrid, to be fair, time-skips in the original were really bad and fucked up the pacing something fierce, so I see people covering every floor more as a backlash against it going way too far in the opposite direction.

              As for game mechanics, well, I don’t play MMOs, so I mostly don’t care. I’d say the one really major problem born out of it is the whole solo player deal. Somehow, Kirito manages to stay relevant despite the fact that he should be at a severe disadvantage compared to people who actually cooperate and have more of a safety margin, and ultimately it contributes to the whole power fantasy where Kirito is the only one who is ever allowed to accomplish anything and doesn’t need anyone.

              I think him joining a guild not because of shenanigans but because he reached a point where lone wolfing it doesn’t cut it could have been interesting. That way, he would have been forced to cooperate with other people and learn to get along with them if he wanted to matter at all, which could have led to some character development he desperately needed.

              On the other hand, sociopathic abridged “Shut up! Here I have power!” Kirito is amusing, so there is that.

              @GoldenFalls, well, I may give it another try at some point just to see how the plot develops, but probably not anytime soon.

              Reply
            4. GoldenFalls says:

              DISCLAIMER: I’m trying to reply to Muphrid but the indents make it look like I’m replying to illhousen and I can’t get it to switch. Sorry if this ends up on your post. :/

              The focus of the story is fixing the plot, not the mechanics. Characters actually have motives, character growth, and problems they have to overcome that make sense. The mechanics aren’t really focused on except as much as they reveal how Kayaba is trying to shape their magecraft learing, or to avoid plot holes.

              Also, it technically doesn’t cover every floor. By that I mean that it has skipped to boss fights or straight up skipped floors altogether, but it usually lingers on floors for a couple chapters. It would be a bad choice if it followed a formula like it seems you’re proprosing, where you have to include each floor for the sake of having it, but FRO’s actual structure is more a series of related scenes that each convey something relevant to the character growth or plot progression. The different floors are basically just how Kayaba interacts with the playerbase and vice versa, so we get to see how he reacts to developments like the formation of laughing coffin or Shirou being OP (which is actually adressed as a problem to game balance, not just wish fulfillment) and how the playbase is reacting to his subtle and not so subtle guidence as patches are released and environmental floors are revealed.

              My only real problem with the way FRO is paced is that it takes forever for chapters to come out and they don’t cover many floors, so I’m worried I’ll never see the story finished. But the chapters and arcs themselves are great IMO.

              Reply
            5. GoldenFalls says:

              Check back in five years when it might have reached the halfway point. :P

              Reply
            6. Muphrid says:
              @illhousen The timeskips in the original anime are an anime-only problem. Because the original first novel just covered Floors 74-75, it was fairly cohesive–or at least, its narrative trainwreck issues had little to do with skips.

              Why somebody thought it was a good idea for the anime to merge in a bunch of side stories to create such a skiptastic string of episodes is beyond me.

              @GoldenFalls: I’m not criticizing FRO for that in particular (not familiar with it).  It’s just something I’ve observed in some number of SAO fics in general. “It’s not realistic not to have archery; let’s reinvent the mechanics to make it work!” sort of thing.

              Reply
            7. illhousen says:

              I know, though I’d say it’s only marginally better since instead of random time-skips you have giant infodumps.

              Reply
  11. Nerem says:

    I still don’t get why they went all-in with SAO to animate it. Like, it was literally the dude’s amateur web novel he wrote before he wrote an actual novel (that is actually pretty interesting). Like, you can tell it is because of the weirdness of the characterization – especially since the original web novel started where the first half of season 1 ended. It begins with them married already and Sachi and all is basically ancient backstory and not something you actually see on screen. He later wrote a new novel that is basically what became the first anime, because he had to fill in WHY Asuna and Kirito became married, since in the original web novels it was also ancient news.

    1. Act says:

      They animated it because there was no way it wasn’t going to get huge. The original webnovel was everything brain-dead otaku love in their media: riduclous power fantasy about a total asshole, rape, swordfights… it was a smash hit before it was even put on the page.

      TBH the light novel was so bad I can’t imagine the author ever not being awful, so they might as well jump on this while the iron was hot.

    2. illhousen says:

      Mmm, what do you mean by first season in that context? The official season that covers both SAO and ALO or just SAO part? If the latter, yes. From what I’ve heard, the original web novel did cover the first floor, but it was, like, one scene or so followed by giant infodumps, and then it’s 75th floor (or close to it).

      The light novel expands the plot a bit, though Sachi is still lurking in the infodumps. Her story is only told in the second volume, which collects various side stories (typically about yet another girl falling for Kirito, of course).

      Now there is a third rewrite of the novel because I don’t know, called, hilariously, Progressive.

      0

      1. Nerem says:

        It’s been a long time since I read it, and hated it. But IIRC, it starts like near the end of the SAO part and basically ends right before the end of SAO? The light novel was ‘Oh someone wanted me to fill in everything I skipped’ thing. Either way, it wasn’t very good.

        EDIT: Gah, I totally forgot that it does start with them basically at the start when Kayaba tells them everything, and then skips. It’s been literally years.

         

        I have a friend who read it purely because he read their other work and liked it a lot, but ended up mostly slogging through SAO on pure willpower. (Accel World, which is basically the same basic concept of MMO stuff mattering, but without the endlessly contrived ‘if you die in the game you die for real’ deal that SAO has to keep bringing in.

        0

        1. illhousen says:

          Yeah, I know about Accel World. Rather reluctant to check it out since it seems like quite a few elements from SAO made their way into it, though I did hear it was better at least on technical merits.

          1. Act says:

            Wait, I didn’t know Accel World was the same dudebro. So he just decided to write the same story a second time?!

            1. Nerem says:

              The answer is ‘yes’. At least it’s a good deal better, even if that isn’t saying much.

              Technically its a far-future story, with the Nerv Gear in SAO being a more primitive version. I THINK that he back-filled a bunch of world-building details from SAO with Accel World-derived stuff.

              Reply
  12. illhousen says:

    New episode is up. Alas, they’ve decided to do the shitty arc and kept the plot premise, so it’s… not very good. I hope it improves later, but I’m apprehensive.

    1. Socordya says:

      Seems The Man already had it taken down.

    2. Septentrion says:

      I think that too much of a fraction of the villain’s time is spent being visibly rapey for SAOA to improvise a new premise.

      1. illhousen says:

        Skipping the shit out of it and moving to DEATH GUN was still an option.

        1
        1. Roarke says:

          Yeah I remember saying I either wanted them to stop doing SAO:A altogether, but I’d have been fine with skipping to DEATH GUN. That actually has potential. 

          1. illhousen says:

            Well, at least they’re also doing My Hero Academia Abridged, so there is that to look forward to.

            1. Act says:

              Is MHA that bad? I know nothing about it aside from the premise, which is at worse generic.

              SOA was partly so good because the original was so terrible. It’s hard to effectively parody mediocrity.

              Reply
            2. Roarke says:

              No, MHA is fairly decent in fact. I read quite a ways into the manga before stopping for reasons unrelated to its quality (more the update time). This is probably going to be a fairly affectionate parody. It probably won’t have the bite SAO:A did that makes us love it and I’m not terribly interested anyway.

              Reply
            3. illhousen says:

              MHA is pretty decent, as Roarke said. I feel it’s kinda overhyped, but overall it’s fun to watch a Japanese take on superhero mythos. I mean, they have a reverse weeaboo as the greatest hero in the world, wearing the American flag and giving silly American names to his attacks, that’s great (I also wonder how he would get along with Kinzo).

              It does have some… issues like that Minet character (or whatever’s his name is) or the BDSM-themed heroine, but I feel they’re not the kind SAOA team would actually deal with.

              Reply
        2. Septentrion says:

          I think that would have been breaking the Abridged Rules, and would have been a base-breaker.

          However, I don’t see how they can smoothly proceed from here. SAO in 5 Minutes got everything worthwhile from Elfhiem.

          1. illhousen says:

            I wasn’t aware there was Abridged Police monitoring creators for possibility of breaking the Abridged Rules.

            Now, yes, I understand the decision from a cynical point of view, to avoid disappointing the fans and all that, but, really, ALO arc is terrible in a way that’s very hard to make funny.

            Skipping it, on the other hand, could have been funny. Imagine the episode starting with Asuna’s voiceover recapping the events of the previous season, getting to the conclusion and then saying, “And nothing of note happened before then and now at all, and any of you say otherwise, I will kill you” while in the background we see a montage of more dubious shots from ALO arc.

            1. Roarke says:

              Solution: don’t call it ‘skipping’. Call it ‘abridging harder’.

              Reply
            2. SpoonyViking says:

              That would be a cop-out. Better for them to try and fail to make it funny than just skipping over it.

              Reply
  13. Septentrion says:

    Well, has anyone read “The Gamer” fics? They’re somewhat popular in many fandoms, although they haven’t infected Pokemon. Basically, a protagonist uniquely becomes a RPG character with stats in their setting, and then go on a power trip. I don’t know if anyone done this non-horribly, although I haven’t gone through many of these stories.

    1. illhousen says:

      I know those, and yes, they tend to be terrible. I have only so much tolerance for grinding in games I actually play, I don’t want to also read about them.

      Don’t think it relates to SAO, though. For all its numerous flaws, the presence of stats is actually justified here, and the story at least attempts to be about relation between reality and virtual reality, emotional impact of both and other such things. It fails, but I don’t think it can be attributed to it being about a MMORPG.

      1. Septentrion says:

        Log Horizon handles the MMORPG thing better, but the protagonist doesn’t have a sword or waifus.

        The Gamer fics don’t deviate from orginal comic, with most of them having the bullshit “gamer’s mind” power and after recovering from workouts after thirty minutes.

        It’s almost surprising no anime like that exists, although the concept might not be popular in Japan right now. Slap numbers over a typical training montage and you’ve basically got it down.

        1. CrazyEd says:

          There is literally a comic called The Gamer with that premise, so yeah.

          1. illhousen says:

            The Gamer is the source of those fics. Well, by now it’s a few steps removed because people just take the basic concept (RPG mechanics of some kind work for the protagonist and color the world for them) and run with it without using any other concepts from the original, but the comic is what codified the concept in modern incarnation. Before that, it was “life as a game,” which would usually start with the protagonist dying and discovering a “menu” suggesting to restart their life with various options for tweaking their stats and access to them during the “game” proper.

        2. illhousen says:

          Well, what I mean is that I don’t think the flaws of SAO and Gamer are the same. Gamer’s flaws originate in replacing plot with grinding, in paying more attention to stats than to characters and generally following RPG logic instead of logic logic.

          SAO occasionally goes there with “get your stats high enough, and you’re basically invincible,” but the truly major flaws of it lie in harem shit, the protagonist swinging between utterly bland and ridiculously edgy, fridging and other standard bad writing tropes that tend to overshadow specific flaws introduced by game setting. It also helps a bit that everyone else operates on the same logic.

          Basically, while the Gamer (and derivative fics that tend to amplify the flaws of the original) and SAO are both deeply flawed, they’re differently flawed, and what similarities there are between the two are mostly superficial.

          As for anime… Well, some franchises play around with the concepts. Grimgar makes vague nods towards RPG logic with characters belonging to distinct classes and learning codified class moves, for example. FSN, of course, uses stats and mostly to the detriment of the story. I’ve heard amateur light and web novels love the concept, but it’s not really my scene.

          1. GoldenFalls says:

            I don’t think focusing on stats ever works well from a story perspective. The webcomic Order of the Stick (IMO) pulls off the TRPG setting because it uses the game system more abstractly to build characters with limitations and strengths, the exact numbers only mattering for jokes. If it focused less on the character conflicts and more on stats, it would be a boring story. I think defined stats only really are an advantage for quest stories like A Hedge Maze is You or Marked for Death since they play out more like TRPG games and the stats allow for participants to weigh choices and take risks.

            1. illhousen says:

              Well, yes. Stats are fine for comedy like OotS because it’s based around the contrast between real life and game logic, but in a more serious story, even if they’re present for a valid reason (like in taking place in MMORPG), you generally want to deemphasize them, so you aren’t writing “He’s a lvl 90 paladin, which is a huge problem because we’re only lvl 20,” but rather “He’s massively stronger than us: he killed Sheeptar the Sheep King solo, while we needed a huge party, and even then seven people ended up dead.”

              It… works OK in quests, I guess, if only to give the players a better understanding of the protagonist’s capabilities, so they can make more informent calls, but I wouldn’t say stats are really necessary there unless the QM actually rolls a dice or uses some other impersonal resolution mechanic.

              It’s just that, well, the importance of stats is at worst a minor flaw in SAO compared to everything else, and I’d say the Gamer is actually worse when it comes to focusing on grinding and leveling up. Like, I’m fairly sure the first fifty chapters of the comic could be easily condensed into twenty or so if you just give the protagonist a more straightforward power and remove everything gamist.

              Reply
    2. Farla says:

      …oh, that’s what that one fic was! There was this unusually crappy self-insert fic where it was just three chapters of the character realizing he could make numbers go up from from doing pushups and such and that seemed to have no real connection to pokemon, but somehow had dozens of reviews per chapter.

      1. illhousen says:

        Yep, that sounds like a typical Gamer fic, alright. Did the SI consume any books to learn skills? That’s one of the prominent features of such fics as well.

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