I love to watch anime, always have.

I was immediately drawn in by the plotline. Sword Art Online is about the journey of self-discovery that a group of people experience when a virtual reality massive multiplayer online game or VRMMO for short goes horribly wrong. The creator basically traps everyone inside the VR world unless they beat the game or die. Along the way friendships are made and betrayed, , alliances form and people either win or die.

If this setup seems farfetched, you might be surprised. The big electronics expos like CES have been showing off lots of VR experiences the last couple of years. If you want to geek out on some VR of 2016 there is plenty to look at. That being said, it’s still lightyears from the ‘Full-Dive’ experience in the SAO anime. Ever since the debut of Everquest and similar titles in the early 2000’s and the eventual rise of World of Warcraft to dominate the social roleplaying experience, the experience has never lived up to the dream.

Sword Art Online is the dream that so many games have attempted to be. The series is well written, with individual characters with their own goals and codes of conduct. There are aspects of social gaming that it touches on that are real world issues for many gamers. The way the characters deal with loot dispersal and player killers are representative of the experience but deliver it in a way that is both entertaining and touching. While it pulled me in and caught me sober, once I smoked while watching, things got excellent.

The Blue Dream I smoked during the first 10 episodes really helped me get into the story. The lighthearted moments made me actually laugh and I felt twinges of fear or anger at characters for their reasoning and actions. I was able to suspend disbelief with even the throw away characters. It’s hard to get that kind of emotional response from me. I was thoroughly impressed with the caliber of character development and social awareness that the show brought out. The way they portray combat and grouping is also something that touches home.

Even though SAO is a great show, it’s not perfect. It conforms to some stereotypes like making all the women fall head over heels for the male lead. There are plenty of blushing moments and behavior I wouldn’t suggest for a small child but it shies away from going into the R spectrum. The topics it delves into are deep and complex so there is a tendency to oversimplify situations but I feel the creators delivered a great product. It makes me want to play.

If you are into anime, gaming or just want to see why people would want to strap a brick to their face and sit in a corner forever, check it out. It may just inspire you to go out and get a VR headset yourself in the hopes of experiencing the magic within. It also might terrify you into never touching one of those death machines. In either case, I think loading some sativa dominant cannabis like Blue Dream and Netflixing it up with Sword Art Online would be a good plan. Check it out and let me know what you think below. Thanks for reading.