In the world of guns and steel that is Gun Gale Online, LLENN has been a devoted, female solo player. She is obsessed with two things: donning herself entirely in pink and honing her skills with consistent game play. She soon discovers her love for hunting other players (a.k.a. PK), soon to be known as the “Pink Devil.” Meanwhile, LLENN meets a beautiful yet mysterious player, Pitohui, and the two click right away. Doing as she is told by Pitohui, she enters the Squad Jam group battle.
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There’s always a story within a story
What makes spinoff stories interesting? A spinoff story is having the ability to tell a story within a large existing story in which the principle is still there but with a new cast of characters and story. You might have seen spinoff stories before in video games and movies; a spinoff technically doesn’t have to be a sequel to a main story. For example, Star Wars is a popular franchise that has a really huge storyline, but there are many stories that exist within the world that doesn’t cover in the movies. Besides Episode movies, we have spinoff movies like Rogue One where it focuses on a diverse cast taking down the Empire between the stories of Episode 3 and 4, and we have Solo in which tells the story of a young Han Solo in the world of Star Wars. Even in kids genre, there is always a spinoff. The highly popular movie series Despicable Me has a prequel movie which focuses on Gru’s yellow minions called Minions. Last example would also be Seth Macfarlane’s cartoons like Family Guy and The Cleveland Show. The Cleveland Show is a spinoff show focused on Peter Griffon’s African American friend Cleveland Brown and his adventures in his hometown. In this review, I am going to talk about Sword Art Online Alternative and how is it different than the Sword Art Online main series. It’s up to you if you want to watch it or not.
Story – A girl in a giant battle arena
Taking place within the Sword Art Online (after the events of the first arc SAO II) world, we have the main character named Karen Kohiruimaki who lives a life in insecurity. The reason why she is uncomfortable is because she is tall and measures up to 6 ft and in comparison to others, she taller than any average citizen in Japan. Her friend Miyu Shinohara helps her out by requesting her to play some VR games in which she can be whatever size she wants to be. Out of the all the games tried, the one game that helped Karen is a game called Gun Gale Online. Once she logged in, she appeared as tiny and cute girl under the username as Llenn. While playing the game, she started getting a reputation for size and her incredible fast speed and her little semi-assault weapon P90 in which everyone calls her the Pink Devil, also because her avatar and her gun is colored pink. One day, while playing she comes across a female gamer named Pitohui who enjoys a good match in fighting. Pitohui invites Llenn to a battle royale tournament called Squad Jam and then promises if Llenn can kill Pitohui, she can chose the location on where to meet in person.
Characters – No Kirito, no Sinon, or no Asuna
The main character of the series is not Kirito this time and instead focuses on Karen Kohiruimaki and her avatar Llenn. Unlike Kirito, Llenn is a shy and adorable girl who just wants to have fun, but unfortunately has to deal with extreme situations such as being surrounded by enemies and trusting other gamers. Miyu Shinohara, her avatar is named Fukaziroh, is Llenn’s best friend and she is out going and loves to have fun online by blasting everything with her grenade launchers; she serves as the comedy relief. Pitohui is a sly gamer girl who loves to tease Llenn and has interest on her skills. She serves as the show’s antagonist and also a friend to Llenn. Also joining the adventure is tough and collective man named M who helps Llenn fight off enemy gamers and also serves Pitohui. He is very large but ironically, he is too tough to kill. Almost like Sinon in Sword Art Online, he is an expert sniper that can kill anyone without warning and he is equipped with heavy duty equipment which makes it harder for enemies to attack this giant.
Overall review: It’s a Sword Art Online story without “the SAO elements” and more moe and guns!
So what I did think about this anime? As a Sword Art Online fan, even though this anime didn’t have the characters I knew from the main series, it’s actually quite enjoyable. Unlike Sword Art Online, we didn’t have “life and death situations” like getting trapped in a game or getting killed by a serial killer. Sword Art Online Alternative instead gave us characters as the central focus. Llenn wasn’t like Kirito who was already a good gamer in the beginner and was chill when interacting, she was more like Silica where she was a beginner and was always filled with anxiety. In regards to characters, I did feel like some of these new characters resembled the previous Sword Art Online characters such as Fukaziroh acting more like Lisabeth and M being more of Agil. Nonetheless, these are new characters to the series and they both had a little charm to the show. Funny fact is that I thought the voice of M was Matt Mercer because of his tough tone voice, but he was actually played by Ray Chase who is well-known for voicing Noctis in Final Fantasy XV and Mitsurugi in Soul Calibur 6. The English Dub in this anime was pretty good in my opinion and I thought each actor fits the role of the characters. Even though this anime was a spinoff, I did like how it referred to the main Sword Art Online. The anime mentions Sinon and her sniper skills and even mentioned the epic fight with Kirito and Death Gun. In storywise, it is pretty simple story and easy to follow; however, unless you watched the first arc of SAO II. This anime does focus on Gun Gale Online so don’t expect to see anything like ALO or SAO or not even Alicization. If you wanted more Gun Gale Online action, this anime does a great job showing it off without having an over the top plot. Like most fans probably said this, this anime does have “cute” characters. Llenn is the highlight of the series based on her appearance and if you like cute girls shooting with guns, this is for you.
Conclusion: Is this better or worse than Sword Art Online?
Would I recommend this anime? I want to say yes, but that’s because I am Sword Art Online fan. You could technically watch this anime without having to watch the past Sword Art Online, but I would recommend watching the first part of SAO II to understand GGO. The new characters and story totally makes a difference and it changes the dynamic feel when comparing to the original series. I like to think of SAOA more of a fun series to watch without the drama and intense scenes. There were moments I was on the edge of my seat, but it was just gaming moments. If you get the main idea of the entire SAO world and story, you can just jump right into this one. If you are one of those people likes Sword Art Online or someone that doesn’t like the characters like Kirito or the over the top drama, you can watch this one instead. This show has gun action and cute and lovable characters.
What do you think of this anime? Comment down below your thoughts.