Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Episode 5 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Episode 5.

What’s the show? Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, Episode 5.

We left the last episode on something of a cliffhanger! What happens here? Well it’s more or less resolved in a few brief minutes, namely that the reason M pulled a gun and tried to kill LLENN was because he was left a note by Pito saying that if he died in the game she would “murder” him in real life. So his plan was to kill LLENN making him the leader, at which point he would resign, having made it past an hour in-game as per request but not died as per her stipulation.

She’s crazy and I love it.

Right… Yeah, it’s kinda dumb, which I think is the best way to describe this episode on the whole ‘kinda dumb’. Which is annoying for me to even say because there’s so much about this episode that’s really good, like really really good!

Oh? Like what exactly? Well, at this point in the Squad Jam there’s only two teams left: LLENN & M and a six member team with some impressive skills. And you know what’s the best thing about this other team, they’re an all-female team!

Heh.

But there’s some things about this episode you’re not too keen on, yeah? Well, I fully accept that the “rules” of this VR game are still somewhat malleable, but there’s some things in this episode that truly stretch the credibility of the narrative. Namely, how lucky LLENN gets in her various encounters with the enemy team. I know they set up that her “passive” is the fact that she’s very lucky. But seriously, she gets shot point blank upward of 10 times during this episode and avoids taking as much as a scrape from any of these shots because the plot says so.

Didn’t realise LLENN could ‘bullet time’, but it was a cool scene.

Oh, so she’s got that ‘plot armor’? More or less, and it’s annoying because a smarter writer could have written around these zero point confrontations without resulting to nearly jumping the shark as so many of these encounters ended up being!

So what was good about the episode? Well it was great to see the disillusionment of their pairing and seeing LLENN working on her own and formulate plans without the ever-present additions from the crazy-tactical M. Also—and this should come as no surprise to those who’ve read the previous reviews—but I really enjoyed the quiet but significant scenes outside the game. It was exactly what I wanted!

This scene was so good!

What happened? Well, in the real world Karen, after having narrowly secured victory in the Squad Jam, is confronted by a group of six middle-schoolers whom she’s passed by on numerous occasions in her daily life. They stop her and confess the fact that they’ve often commented on her height and how envious they of her ‘model-esque physique’ which prompts their leader to reveal their true identity. Namely these petite middle-school girls are the 6 strong team that almost took LLENN and M down in the ‘Squad Jam’!

I want more of these girls’ adventures! Slice of life, activate!

Cool, I guess? It is cool, I’m glad there’s so many female gamers being represented in this anime.

And that they’re all cute girls in real life? Well, yeah, I mean it’s an anime what do you expect?

True enough, so still happy with the anime even with the aforementioned issues? Yeah, I mean the issues are annoying but they don’t spoil the experience, it’s just for a show that prizes how tactical it is having such sudden implausibilities in the action feels a bit cheap. It’s still a fun show and the characters are great, here’s hoping for more scenes in the real world in future episodes!

P-Chan’s alive! But not for long… *sad face* R.I.P P-Chan.

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Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Episode 4 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Episode 4.

What’s the show? Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, Episode 4.

How are things progressing? Well, we pick up events roughly where Episode 1 ended in the middle of the Squad Jam. So with all the back tracking taken care of (for now) the “story” progresses in earnest.

And is it still good? I mean, sure, it’s pretty good. If I had to pick I’d say this is the worst episode of the series so far, but only because there’s not nearly enough character development, which I felt was the strongest episode of 2 & 3, plus having zero in real life scenes and nothing but a minor training flashback to include Pito in the episode means it’s just LLENN and M, which while fine, does make the episode feel a bit slower than it probably should. Especially given all the action in the episode.

Get low!

Lots of action then? Yeah a decent amount, it’s well animated and is easy to follow which is the best thing I can say about it, otherwise it’s pretty uninspired. Though M’s sniping abilities are certainly impressive, though to be honest don’t make for particularly interesting battles.

Now we know what was in his ridiculously huge backpack, sniper armour!

Oh, sounds like you don’t have much positive to say about the show? In a way that’s true, I’m still really enjoying the show, but given the way they’ve decided to tell the narrative a more focused—and therefore less varied—episode is inevitable. I don’t usually like to compare shows to other shows but I watch these two shows back-to-back each week so it’s bound to be on my mind. PERSONA 5 the Animation has the opposite problem of this show, while that show is trying to squeeze in as much story and character moments as it can, this show likes to take it’s time which can be good and can be bad. It’s like the Yuru Camp of this season… okay maybe that’s an exaggeration but you see what I mean!

She’s so cute she even apologises for finishing off mortally wounded foes!

So what does this mean going forward? I don’t know, nothing really. It had a slower week, but it’s bound to pick up. Especially given the cliffhanger of an ending we were given!

Oh? Do tell… Well after narrowly escaping the last remaining team on the map, retreating to lick their wounds, M reads a note he was keeping with himself that he was instructed by ‘someone’ to read at 15:00 o’clock. After reading the note to himself, he pulls a gun on LLENN and says she has to die!

I’m suddenly reminded of that terrible James Bond movie ‘Die Another Day’.

What?! Shocking! I know! The scene continues after the credits with LLENN managing to get the jump on the suddenly traitorous M, holding him at gun-point at which time he breaks down sobbing and begging for her not to kill him, much to her confusion. So naturally the question is, what did the note say (other than apparently to kill LLENN at 3:00pm) who wrote the note and for what purpose! So many questions! All I know is I can’t wait ’til next week!

Good question!

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Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Episode 3 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Episode 3.

What’s the show? Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, Episode 3.

‘Adventures in VR shooters with cute girls’? That’s the one!

So what did you want to talk about? So I kinda had an epiphany about this show while watching the 3rd episode, I was trying to think why so many people were having issues with the fact the show seems plot-lite but why I was loving that fact about the show and then it struck me. This isn’t an action series, or a military series, or a science fiction series or whatever genre MAL categorises it as, to me at least it’s a slice of life series.

Is there something in your eye?

Explain! Okay, well we’re 3 episodes in now and so far the most pressing plot points we’ve addressed has been, Karen (our tall girl protagonist) not being able to find an avatar in a VR game that is short and cute enough for her to play as, to find pink in-game gear and guns and being able to get concert tickets to her favourite artist. Sure I’m simplifying a lot but these issues present themselves at the forefront of the narrative, minor as they may seem to the outsider.

It’s hard being a tall girl in Japan.

I see your point, but it’s only 3 episodes in. A plot may in fact eventuate later down the road. A plot within the VR game perhaps, we’re heading toward the start/conclusion of the ‘Squad Jam’ which comprised the bulk of the first episode. And yes there will be action and tactics and what not but ultimately the only plot that matters in this story is that of Karen in the real world, about her getting better about dealing with social situations due to her tall height and presumably meeting up with her in-game friends in real life. And that’s 100% slice of life to me.

If you can eat in VR and apparently taste it, can you drink alcohol in VR and actually get drunk?

Well now that’s squared away, what do you have to say about this episode specifically? I loved it, obviously. As great as LLENN is as a character, the in real life Karen is even better. I’m totally into the friendship between LLENN and Pito in game and I desperately want to see what happens when/if they meet in reality! Also, we get a proper introduction to M and the interesting tidbit that he knows Pito in real life! Still fingers crossed that the muscular and intimidating dude is actually a cute girl in reality!

Do you ever smile?

So I take it the show is still recommended? Very much so, but I think if you haven’t jumped on board yet or are curious to know what kind of show this is, I think it’s perhaps a good idea to evaluate it from the slice of life perspective. You might not agree with that appraisal specifically but I think if you go in expecting something like that (and of course assuming you like slice of life anime to begin with) you might enjoy it a lot more!

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Episode 2 – Anime QandA Review

An Anime QandA review for Gun Gale Online Episode 2.

What’s the show? Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, Episode 2.

So how are things in episode 2? Episode 1 ended with the show revealing the IRL identity of the diminutive LLENN. Who despite being a cute and very short girl in the game, is in fact in reality a very tall (but still cute) girl. It continues from there, or rather it flashes back to how LLENN—real name Karen—got into VR games in the first place, you see she uses it as an escape from her ‘tall girl’ lifestyle and all the hangups associated with being a ‘tall girl’ in Japan.

You keep saying ‘tall girl’, how tall is she? 183cm, or 6 feet for our readers in the US (and other countries using the imperial system).

No need to stare, dude!

That’s pretty tall. Indeed, especially for a girl living in Japan, we get to see a bit of her daily interactions with people who kind of stare up at her in awe which causes her a lot of anxiety and discomfort. And so after trying many games—which assign random in-game character avatars—she finally finds herself in the body of a short (under 150cm) cute girl in the violent, action packed game of Gun Gale Online!

I think she’s cuter before but whatever! As long as she’s happy!

Is being ‘tall’ that big of a deal though? It doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s a big deal because it’s her hang-up and she has to deal with it, it might seem minor to the outsider but if you have enough empathy you shouldn’t have a problem sympathising with her plight.

Her irl friend is a cool character too! More of her please!

Fair enough. And from there? From there we get to see LLENN go through the tutorial, with the genuinely amusing drill sergeant character as she learns the basics of the game and gunplay and then after gaining notoriety for her prowess in PvP in the desert levels (where her trademark pink outfit blends in with the similarly coloured sands—or maybe it’s the sky that’s pink?). She meets Pitohui, a fellow female gamer who she quickly forms a strong friendship with.

I think we have different ideas about what’s fun, but hey! More power to you!

Not many other women in this game then? Apparently not, Pito mentions that she’s sick of getting hit on by men in the game and she’s glad to see another girl, which I don’t know if that means not many women play this game or not many women play with female avatars.

So what’s their relationship like? As much as I enjoyed all the stuff before we met Pito, which helps build the world and LLENN’s connection to it, the scenes with Pito are just great, I love the fact that this is a show about a violent shooter that has such a strong emphasis on female friendship. I’m so glad this isn’t a harem.

Are-are you giving me the finger?

I thought you liked harem’s? I do, I just didn’t want one here, online harem’s while a bit more realistic than irl harem’s really don’t have appeal to me, at least in terms of watching one.

Fair enough, anything else to add? Oh, don’t wiki this show, massive spoiler about Pito’s irl identity just right out there in the character description.

Paradise. Well except for the looming threat of being shot at any moment.

Thanks for the heads up, I suppose. So still a show worth watching? Has your opinion changed from last week? I was enjoying the show for what it was in the first episode, but this episode was so much better, it’s turning into exactly the kind of show I was hoping it would and I can’t wait for the next one!

Tutorial lady talk dirty to me plz.