Welcome to GGO Alternative, where there’s no SAO crew involved. It’s also amazing how the final episode wraps it all up pretty well, so I hopped on to begin writing immediately.
Gun Gale Online Alternative starts off strong, with our main character, Kohi, or in-game-name LLENN, finds her place in the VR world. I find the battle that I liked the most still remains her first fight, when LLENN capitalized on her size and speed and strategic hiding, rather than Pitohui going on homocidal rampage and silly trucks ramming into each other. There has to be an extent to how silly the whole thing became at Episode 11, when the camera pans in on their determined faces as trucks raced each other ramming side by side. Hey, it’s not a racing anime!
Action-wise — rushing through open grasslands, anti-tank anti-M gun, urban combat, photon swords, and, occasional reference to Sinon’s Hecate and Kirito’s photon sword, check. In the last episode, the last battle felt like it lacked substantial strategy, especially when Fuka charged in without a plan. All for the sake of proving to LLENN that rather than sitting there and panicking it’s better to: やるだけはやる do what you can. Even with the possibility of failure. Even if Pitohui gets killed by someone else and commits suicide IRL. When the chance of failure is high, it’s natural to be afraid, but sometimes one gotta do what one’s gotta do. (Typical Shounen anime stuff)
One thing it does well is balance action and intervening dialogue. The way a battle royale allows for more than just fighting and thinking, it also allows for cooperation play and talking between teammates. Fuka’s exchanges with LLENN can be really funny, as well as the occasional odd player they encounter who’s rather interested in them.
All of these add to the Gun Gale Online Alternative, making it many times less dramatic and less overly-intense like SAO was. Nothing is really immensely at stake, it’s simply correcting Pitohui’s silly mindset that she should die in real life if she dies in game, because, it’s simply just a game.
Another theme that seems worth mentioning is the role of games in building friendships. Karen (LLENN) through this VR game, gets to know the gymnasium girls, meet Pitohui, meet M-san… and play the same game as her close friend, Miyu (Fuka). We see the gymnasium girls discussing a plan to defeat M. We see LLENN and gymnasium girls working together to attack Pitohui. We see M kissing fainted Pitohui on the lips in-game. (Ok, maybe not friendship) We see gymnasium girls at Karen’s house for a second time for sweets after Operation Sweets! It’s really a game that bonds everyone.
Nevertheless, it’s pretty unfortunate that its plot is really insubstantial. It can’t be that just cause Pitohui got mercilessly defeated by LLENN that she stops wanting the excitement of a life-or-death situation. This really brings me to that the entire 12 episodes seems to be a Karen-san focused anime, where she gets to know these interesting characters, sort of like a ‘what if a tall girl wished to play as a short girl character in Gun Gale Online?’ kind of question popped into the writer’s mind. It’s a lighthearted spin-off which by all natural means would never have gotten an anime adaptation if not for the attention that SAO receives. I think.
Still, I’m glad that Gun Gale Online Alternative got an anime adapatation, and despite it’s lack of enough plot, it does make it up well with sweet comedy almost like a glass of chilled lemonade on a hot summer’s day. It’s definitely a watch for non-serious anime watchers who want to relax with some action and comedy, but not so much worth any severe amount of hype.
With that said, what did you think of the anime? Did it live up to your expectations or was it a major disappointment? Which character did you like best?
- Gymnasium Girls
(Oops, most statisfying kick ever)