Sword Art Online – Emotional Attachment Through Repeated Exposure

Sword Art Online cover image, from Crunchyroll

Sword Art Online is a series that had occupied an important part of my psyche for a while, and even now I think of it often and fondly. It was the right show at the right time for me, though I suspect any time it’d have come out in the past few years would’ve been the right time. It’s not without its blemishes, but it’s still one of my all-time favourite shows.
It also helped that the concept was something that had immediately drawn me in – “MMO, the players are stuck within, and if they die inside the game they die in reality.” I probably expected it to be a lot more “Lord of the Flies” than Shonen kick-assery, but I liked it, it had a lot of heart moments as well.
EDIT: This is something I meant to write in but forgot – I watch anime in large part in order to feel, this is why I watch anime. As such, the story is often secondary to how much the show makes me care, so long as the story isn’t broken so much I can’t stomach things any longer.

When I’ve began watching the show, it had about 15 episodes out. I’ve watched them, rapt with admiration for the show. And then, about episode 9 I’ve caught myself thinking, “Wait, in a couple of hours I’ll catch up to where the show currently is, and what will I do then? How will I wait one week at a time for an episode?!” and indeed, I’ve been in nearly physical agony at times, thinking of the show, undergoing withdrawal as I was waiting for the next episode to come out.

But, I did not just wait for the next episode to come out, as I will go over in a future article, I’ve rewatched episodes, I’ve rewatched sequences that were fraught with emotional impact in the show, for me, and those scenes did not only keep my attachment for the characters, but it reinforced it, and made me think of the way emotional attachment can form, and how we can grow to like characters more.

(This is a “Things I Like” post, and as such covers more my thoughts, and is less focused as an actual bona fide review. There will be a medium amount of spoilers in this post. I will also talk a bit of things happening in the Light Novels but not yet covered in the anime, but only with regards to pacing and emotional manipulation – not story content.)

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