Food & Love Art Online

ソードーアートオンライン (Sword Art Online)

Sword Art Online gets a lot of hate, as in, a tonne of it. What I do not understand is why people even bother hating it. Why waste your time? I feel like people have never heard of the saying ‘any publicity is good publicity’. The farthest I go with my disdain for certain shows are 1) if they are brought up in conversation and 2) if my opinion is asked for. Even then I hold back that instinct to tear open boxes marked ‘garbage anime’, instead offering my dislike for a series. Never hate. Hate implies we were wronged somehow.

Anyway, the problem does not revolve entirely around the characters, as many people would lead you to believe, but I will leave that for another time. Kirito and Asuna are the only characters that show any progression. Both have their moments of brilliance, in their dialogue and actions. However, I believe one scene between Kirito and Klien set the stage early for the rest of the series to be perfect.

How well do you remember SAO? The scene I am thinking of was likely brushed aside immediately after watching it in episode one. Do you remember Kirito teaching Klien the basics of the game? Fairly forgettable to be honest, in terms of story and character progression it falls flat. Other than telling us that Kirito knows the bare bones of the combat system, he is still inexperienced. Do you remember Kirito asking Klien if he wanted to continue battling boars? How about Klien declining Kirito because he was hungry? No? That is it; the evidence lies in this scene. It sounds absurd, but bear with my ramblings for a quick second.

Kirito explains eating in the virtual world. When you eat it “tricks your body into believing you are full” without actually eating anything. A trick of the system to convince your body its sustenance requirements has been met. Huh. So does the system stop at the digestive system and other natural bodily functions or are emotions also affected? No, you cannot deceive yourself; you know what emotions you feel at all times… right? Well, I cannot say I am convinced.

This is a game, they live in a virtual reality where everything you see and touch does not exist. You may be thinking of one thing, but the computer could potentially interpret another. Who is to say the NerveGear is not tricking you into thinking you are happy?

That brings me to the emotional spectrum. Since the inside of the game is fake, their bodies and the food they eat are fake anything they feel should be, well, fake. In this case, I bring up love. It boils down to Asuna waking up to Kirito next to her on her bed in episode ten. She tells Kirito of her dream in where she awoke back in the real world to realize all her experiences she had in SAO were not real. Taking into consideration every interaction they experience is through virtual reality, they have been living in this game for almost two years. At some point it must have crossed their minds that absolutely everything about their new lives are fabricated and subsequently should believe nothing is real.

Every time they feel anything, whether happiness, sadness or anger the brainwaves are read and interpreted by the NerveGear. And again I will repeat, their brainwaves are read and interpreted by the NerveGear. Their minds are not physically in the game or connected in any way. Ignoring how on Earth this technology would even work, there could be faults in the system, someone might be feeling happiness, but the machine might read it as something completely different.

You know how you call up your bank and the automated voice asks you for the purpose of your call, you then tell the machine you want to “raise your credit limit” and it informs you it cannot understand the words that are coming out of your mouth? “I’m sorry, did you mean to cancel your credit card”? Imagine that, except during their time in SAO one in ten of all players tried to take a piss and ended up puking. I would find it hard to stay positive in a death game after that, eh?

Each person thinks differently, their brain could give off different signals/frequencies for different feelings. One person’s happiness could be interpreted as another’s sadness by the NerveGear. The easiest way to explain it is through music. Who knows the difference between analog and digital music? In the beginning of sound recording a sound would pass through a machine and the sound would vibrate a diaphragm, which was directly connected to a needle. These old machines looked a lot like record players. When the diaphragm picked up a sound it would vibrate the needle and etch the sound wave into whatever material you wished. That is why many believe vinyl sounds and feels more natural. Now, digital captures the sound and its vibrations and converts them into numbers. When played back the numbers are re-converted into sound.

The point is overloading can happen in digital music when too many sounds are put together. The sounds come back out muddled and distorted. Had anyone that worked on the NerveGear technology thought of the sheer weight of human emotions? These are not sounds to be interpreted by mere numbers; they are complex connections in the brain. Just imagine the stress this NerveGear faces each day with all the sporadic teenage emotions flying about. I am trying to say I do not think any of what happened in Sword Art Online was real. Just like Asuna’s dream both her and Kirito should have woken up and believed the whole two years to be a dream. I still very much enjoyed the progression of love I saw within this series, but I wish they could have taken the discussion of whether their online lives were real or not more seriously.




13 thoughts on “Food & Love Art Online

  1. I really enjoyed this post. Very well said and valid points. Although, I don’t believe the emotions are artificial. The reason I feel this way is because I believe that just because nothing material was really there doesn’t necessarily mean emotions like anger, love, and happiness are absent as well. The NerveGear is sort of like a middle man, I think you would still play a VR game with the same passion and emotions as a non-VR game. I agree that the emotions could be misinterpreted though.
    Just my opinion. 🙂❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading this reminds me of how anxiety kinda works, in that the more you think about it, the stronger the symptoms even if they were not what you were wanting. Does that make sense? I guess what I’m saying is that this idea that emotions could’ve been misread at times sounds very plausible in theory (if only we got a better and more frequent representation of this in the show). The setting, concept, and potential of science (mainly VR) is one of SAO’s strong suits, and like you say, I only wish the show pursued its strengths rather than fabricating these characters without development.
    Not that I’m trying to hog views or anything, but I left a small series of articles written about the pros of the second half – Fairy Dance. I can’t remember if you had read any or not, but here they are. Reading this just strongly reminded me of part IV in particular. Read some of it, all of it, none of it, what have you. Thanks for the interesting post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries my friend! It feels good when people comment on my stuff and add to a discussion! I am headed to work now, I read the intro, but I will definitely check it out! It is hard to find bloggers that defend the things they love. I look forward to it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Putting aside how, logically speaking, emotions that are felt in the virtual world, together with physical bodily processes would also pass through the Nervegear filter, I actually thought part of the message of the story was to focus on how a differentiation can and should be drawn between emotions and physical body processes. That even though everything may very well be fake and not genuinely felt by the real, physical body, emotions such as love are exceptions. Of course, it may very well depend on how one defines what is ‘real’ and ‘fake’ – its possible to argue that what is fact/truth is perception, so it doesn’t matter whether it is the ‘real’ body experiencing it or not – as long as consciousness, which can transcend metaphysical boundaries ‘experiences’ it it may very well be ‘real’. If I am not wrong, I believe there was a scene where Asuna said something along the lines of ‘what we felt was real’ and I think it was hinted that she had this initial fear of how things would change when they got back into the ‘real’ world but it was quickly dispelled by Kirito’s actions of continuing the same behaviour. (My memory is pretty hazy though.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see where you are coming from, but I just think consciousness is incredibly difficult to track, obviously more so than physical functions. I thought they just brushed it off -or didn’t really bring it up at all- too soon. They probably thought that tracking the mind is as easy as eating bread and cream in the virtual world. I wish the SAO author had taken some of Masamune Shiro’s (Ghost in the Shell) style, where the detail of how all the technology functions took priority. If they had gone into the technology a little I might not have had this problem. But thank you for your comment, it means a lot to me!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The moment you mention might be the one when she takes her mum into the house they bought. as memories of old blurred into the virtual lands. This was obviously later than the an initial moment.
      The Prior to that just when they were to find there ‘child’ They had a similar conversation together if I am not mistaken. (half the series just pass me by in a flash)

      I think even today we already have trouble with virtual reality even without the Nervegear we are separated and confused. Sometimes not even knowing what is real or not.
      The mind is easy deceived that we already know.
      Boundaries are in the end player or personal limits of identifying fake from real, that even happen today.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It might be good to add that later in the show after waking up the sort of processes that would take place after placing the gear on. The effect of the gear truly inputting images into the brain. While extracting the mind.

    The suggestion is than made that the Nervegear has means to control you make you feel, sense that what is not there. It adds to the effect you try to create with this post.

    And the scene with Klien i do remember, it was right before they were summoned to the square. Would be nice to see his side story -Off topic- Since the next time they would meet was when Klien had grown a lot as well.

    I enjoyed the show and still do. First parts anyway. Fairy dance was okay. and let us not mention last season.
    When haters spew their words Most just use the hear say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree 100%. I find that a lot of writers neglect to explain the technology that is being used. Even if it makes no sense I give major brownie points to people who create something new.

      I do still enjoy SAO, but it is getting to the point of a pure harem anime and it irks me to no end. They could be spending all time they use gawking at Kirito to progress the love between him and Asuna or explain anything involving the world. *sigh* We’ll see where this goes now. And thank you for your comment, it means a lot to me!


  5. I love this post you wrote. I am many of the few that actually like Sword Art Online. This was quite interesting because the virtual world felt “real” even though it wasn’t. However, the game did trick the players on food. Emotions, however, are complicated for the machines.

    Liked by 1 person

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