This anime series is one amazing narrative that weaves a story in a future only slightly beyond us now.  In that future nothing much has really changed (probably because it’s not far in the future)except that video games have reached that level of virtual reality that we all dreamed it would eventually. The console, helmet or whatever on which you play is called Nerve Gear.  It’s a helmet that you put on which basically transmits your brain into the virtual world.  The name of the game itself is Sword Art Online and that’s where the action starts out but the story will be moving both online and offline.

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The premise of the story is awesome.  Basically, people ran out to by the new awesome game, Sword Art Online.  They run back home, log into the game via the Nerve Gear and start to enjoy this expansive virtual MMORPG.  They play and enjoy and then suddenly they find that they are unable to log out.  Then they are summoned to the main stage by the creator of the game where they listen to what’s actually going on.  The creator of the game wanted to play god and so trapped the players inside his virtual creation where they are unable to leave without clearing all of the games 100 levels of dungeons.  Also, if you die in the game then you die in real life and if anyone on the outside tries to physically remove the Nerve Gear from your head in an attempt to log you out of the game then you die.

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The story is really well done through the first season.  Some people have complaints about the second season but whatever.  The first season is supremely good and can stand alone.  The thing that really sets this anime series apart is just how thoughtfully the creator delved into the issues that the players would face being stuck in a game.  They have to deal with the dangers of the game, the fear of death from both the game and their actual bodies slowly suffering from atrophy in the real word. They have to manage their need for companionship and teamwork to defeat the bosses while also understanding that to stay alive they must compete for resources and skills in the game.  Crazy yet what I find very realistic things happen within the context of the story.  I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to be a spoiler.  Just enjoy.  It’s worth it.  I promise you that you will be addicted.