In the year 2022, gamers rejoice as Sword Art Online – a VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) like no other – debuts, allowing players to take full advantage of the ultimate in gaming technology: NerveGear, a system that allows users to completely immerse themselves in a wholly realistic gaming experience. But when the game goes live, the elation of the players quickly turns to horror as they discover that, for all its amazing features, SAO is missing one of the most basic functions of any MMORPG – a log-out button. Now trapped in the virtual world of Aincrad, their bodies held captive by NerveGear in the real world, users are issued a chilling ultimatum: conquer all one hundred floors of Aincrad to regain your freedom. But in the warped world of SAO, “Game Over” means certain death – both virtual and real…
Like most light novels, there are some series that gets an manga adaptation and it allows the readers to visualize the story and characters. Sword Art Online: Aincrad manga has its ups and downs on this adaptation. The author and character design is still Reki Kawahara and abec, but the art on the characters is Tamako Nakamura. Personally, I did not find favor on the art. The characters look completely different than the anime versions. For example, Kirito in the manga looks like a very young boy and sometimes when I go through the pages he resembles like Xion from Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days.
In story wise, this manga is primary focused on the first volume of the light novel and only a bit from volume 2. The characters, Silica and Lisbeth are not included in this story and the only characters that made it in this story from volume 2 is Yui and Sachi (in a flashback). Also, with the details of Kirito being a solo player is entirely skipped and ignored, this is probably to due to the fact that this focus on volume 1 of the LN. Another moment missed was when Kirito meets Nishida during his honeymoon. This part was skipped.
With Nakamura doing the artwork on the characters, action scenes can also be a miss as well. There are times when reading this book, I have to read it again to see what happened. This occurred when Kirtio, Asuna, and Klein were up against Gleam Eyes. On the positive note, I really like how the manga follows the main story of the light novel. Yen Press released the book in both print and digital; however, the digital book is split into two books and the print is one bulk book (I paid $20 for this book at Barnes and Noble!).
Even though the artwork is a miss, I enjoyed this manga. I got to see how the manga look like from the light novel. I do feel that if the book was going to focus on the first volume of the LN, I don’t think it was necessary to include Yui; She seems to play as a filler. Would I recommend this, yes if you want to see the story as a manga as opposed to reading texts from LN but if don’t like art then you may not enjoy it as much. Personally, I give it a 3.5/5 stars. If you have questions, comment below.