This is the 5th installment in the light novel series. To be honest, this is a nice change of pace from the previous volume. I won’t say it goes back to the roots of what made SAO good but it definitely keeps you interested all the way through. It’s around 200 pages with some good illustrations as well.
Now… I have mixed feelings about the anime and like most book snobs, I believe the light novels are leaps and bounds better than the anime. The main reason I have found that the light novel is superior is because there are things that are gone more in depth about the characters that are not translated to the anime. The anime tends to make the characters less interesting and lacking, that was my biggest complaint about the anime. There is too much focus on Kirito. He is not the only one who gets/deserves development!
Okay, that’s enough complaining. This arc is centered around Kirito getting a mission to check out this player who supposedly is killing players of a popular VRMMORPG, Gun Gail Online (GGO). This player known by the name “Death Gun” takes out a pistol of the same name and has the power to shoot someone with this gun and kill them in real life. Kirito decided to take the mission and transfer his ALO avatar (much to disappointment of Asuna) into GGO temporarily to gather information. His avatar in GGO is very feminine which I find very comical, the badass main character of the story in a game filled with greasy gun nuts and he is a pink dress away from being a magical girl. I love it!
The other main character of this volume is Shinon (Shino Asada outside of GGO). She is a badass with an anti-material sniper rifle. She is one of the top players in the game. She is known for her cold demeanor and deadly sniping ability. Meanwhile in the real world she is a fragile high school girl with some traumatic emotional scares from when she was little. She plays Gun Gail Online because she wants to face her fears and become stronger than she is now. She is a very interesting character and I’m so glad to have a girl character with more depth and development. I hope the next volume adds to her development and solidifies her more than the anime did.
After finally getting around to read this, it reminds me why I enjoyed SAO so much in the first place. While I think the light novel volumes are far superior than the anime, I can’t fully be mad at it. Since I watched the anime before I started reading the light novel, I went into it knowing the main parts of the plot. I have to say having that bit of knowledge made it easier to understand certain things and visualize what was going on a lot more. Therefore making this a lot more enjoyable to read.
Ultimately, this volume is a hype volume. Not much happens, there is a lot of world building and character development, not a lot of action was in this volume (though when it was there, it was pretty sweet). I am looking forward to reading the next volume. It looks about double the size of this volume so it should be good and answer a lot of questions I have about this plot. The novel is good for what it is. If the next volume can capitalize on what it has started this volume, it should be a very good arc. Then again it could crash and burn like it has in the past.
So, with this very mixed review on what this is and isn’t, I give Sword Art online volume 5 a 7 out of 10. I plan on doing reviews of the previous volumes as well. I will do those once I get around to revisiting them again (I read the first volume almost two years ago).
I hope everyone enjoyed! Have a wonderful day!