Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sniper and Swordsman Join Virtual Forces

Sword Art Online 5 & 6: Phantom Bullet pose a conundrum: Someone is using his avatar to kill other players online. But that’s impossible. If your avatar gets shot, why would you die in the real world?

Kirito, a young man with a mysterious past, is recruited to enter the game and find out what’s happening. He possesses incredible sword skills, to the point that he can use a photon sword to slice bullets headed his way. He encounters a sinister figure who was part of a group he battled in his past—a group that succeeded in killing people in real life. But the old virtual reality headsets have been replaced with new ones that cannot accidentally/on purpose electrocute players. So can this sinister figure really be killing people again?

Sword Art Online 5 

Sinon wields a sniper gun with great skill and confidence. She has the build of an ordinary girl, but she uses most of her points for strength and agility, so she can carry around the immense gun as if it weighed no more than a backpack. If she can just win the Bullet of Bullets championship, she may attain the confidence she needs to overcome a real-life trauma.

She encounters Kirito, whom she mistakes for a girl, since he got stuck in a delicate avatar with long hair. After a rather bitter confrontation over that, she decides to join forces with him, even though she is putting her life on the line. Can they stop the sinister figure before he kills again?

 Sword Art Online 6

Sword Art Online 5 & 6: Phantom Bullet are light novels, which means they are mostly text with a few illustrations. They are written with a future virtual reality so realistic, the writing does not get bogged down with technical details. The players walk, talk, run, and fight with no extraneous explanation of how the tech works.

I mainly read these two works to get familiar with how virtual reality is written nowadays. But I found these light novels to be interesting and satisfying. Towards the end things were a little repetitive, but don’t stop reading—there’s a good twist.

For those of you familiar with Sword Art Online, this occurs after the Aincrad story, but it’s not the Progressive series. (Are we clear?) And now the manga version is coming out in America, which naturally would be more than two volumes. And I first became interested through the anime, but I will not even begin to explain the numbering system for those. 

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