aincradknightnatlis asked:

I've been wondering this for a while: What about the SAO anime is so different from the light novels? I know it has more of a description of Aincrad and how the NerveGear works, but I haven't really seen that much of a difference in the story, character development, and conversations(I'm currently only about halfway through Vol. 1). I've always been confused at how a couple of viewers have said, "The light novels are great, but the anime wasn't that good". What are the huge differences?

ispookycell answered:


The Sword Art Online anime is decent but I don’t think it really give justice to the light novels. First and foremost, a lot of crucial details are left out in the adaptation. I never understood why the anime left the part where Kayaba explained how everyone will be given 2 hours of disconnection time so that their body in the real world can be moved to a hospital. They only mentioned this 12 or 13 episodes later. This caused a lot of people to think SAO had a huge plot hole while in fact, it was already covered since the very start in the LN.

The light novels also contain more character development. Especially for Kirito. As a solo, he thinks a lot to himself. There are many monologues going on in his head that the anime never bothered adapting. This becomes prominent in later volumes. Especially Red-Nosed Reindeer side story. Another thing is the lack of explanation in the anime. Things happen in SAO, however the anime never really explain them. Now I get that it’s impossible for the anime to cover every thing. But explanation around the mechanism of SAO game is greatly toned down in the anime.

The anime is doing a faithful adaptation overall. As in it doesn’t deviate much from the storyline or plot. However, when a lot of the important details are left unsaid, the plot becomes weak to exterior attacks. People will say things like this or that didn’t make sense but in fact it was explained in the light novel. There are many side stories that were greatly changed or toned down in the anime. Episode 2 was an adaptation of “Aria in the Starless Night”. The first chapter of the first Progressive volume. That episode crammed so much in that they cut out 2/3 of the original work. The side story “Murder Case in the Area” was also toned down in the anime (ep 5 & 6). It cut out pretty much all of Asuna’s earliest hint of liking Kirito such as how she dressed up for him or was extremely worried for him to the point of surprising Kirito himself. The mystery was also toned down compared to the LN version. The anime also skipped a whole chapter during the Fairy Dance arc. Therefore, many people have no idea who Tonkii is. The chapter wasn’t too important but it was pretty much one of the best chapter out of the entire arc… lol Then the added fanservice in the Phantom Bullet arc made some of the supposed tension filled scenes lose their seriousness. I’m upset at the part in episode 11 when they zoomed into Sinon’s butt and made it look like Kirito was staring at it. It was a forcefully adding thing which never occurred in the light novel. So many people I knew just shook their head at it or made plenty fun of it.

People who read the light novels will agree that the anime does follow the original story really closely. But everyone will also agree that the light novels are superior compared to the anime. The amount of information and facts in the light novels that were left out of the anime can make a big difference. On the other hand, it’s pretty obvious that there’s no way an adaptation can match the original work. So I might be criticizing it a bit too harshly. However, the anime isn’t really helping me to not criticize it when they mess up scenes I have been looking forward to.

I’m not sure if you know this but I wrote an anime to LN comparison for all 25 episodes of season 1 which you can read here. Just click on one of the episode icon to read the comparison of the specific episode. Aside from episode 1’s comparison, all the others are pretty long and detailed. I remember the good old days when SAO season 1 aired and how I had to deal with clueless people on a weekly basis saying how some things didn’t make sense in the anime but were 100% explained in the light novels. By all means, I still love the anime a lot. But I just prefer the light novels more.