Gun Gale Online

Gun Gale Online

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online anime cover art featuring LLENN, Fuka, Pito, and M
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Cover Art

Overview

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, or just Gun Gale Online for short, or GGO as I’ll be referring to it from here on out, is a spin-off story of Sword Art Online (SAO) which takes place in the game Gun Gale Online from the second season of SAO.

Now, before you decide that this is a bad anime simply because it’s part of the SAO franchise, let me say that Kirito, along with the rest of the SAO characters, is not in this series. More importantly, however, Reki Kawahara is not the author of GGO so the story is much better.

That said, although the story is much better, it’s still set in the same universe as SAO and isn’t without problems of its own.

I actually liked some of the references to the original SAO plot such as when Sinon is mentioned. Little things like that made this feel like part of the same world instead of just a new story heavily based off the events of SAO season 2.


Characters

LLENN, or Karen as she’s known in the real world, is the series’ protagonist. In real life she’s a giant of a woman who towers over other girls her age, online, however, she’s a “cute,” short, chibi-like girl who dresses in all pink.

Although online games didn’t originally appeal to her, she started to be interested in them after learning that she could play as an avatar which looked nothing like her actual appearance. She finally settled on Gun Gale Online after the character she rolled was exactly the type she was looking for.

Ignoring how stupid it is that character appearance in an online game like this is randomly selected for the player, I liked how the characters, especially the female ones, actually wore real clothing. LLENN actually wears a paramilitary uniform (albeit a pink one by choice), not some revealing outfit which makes no sense in the context of the game.

P-chan is a pseudo-character of the series and so I’ll briefly mention her here as well. This is the name LLENN has given to her pink P-90 SMG. All you really need to know is that P-chan is “best girl” and occasionally becomes sentient.

Fuka, short for Fukaziroh, is LLENN’s best friend from real life. Her actual name is Miyu, but that’s not really important. She’s a diehard gamer who decides to give Gun Gale Online a try in order to help LLENN out in the second Squad Jam (a battle royale competition).

While LLENN uses her trusty P-90, P-chan, Fuka dual wields a pair of MGL-140 grenade launchers which she named Migita and Hidariko. Since they look identical, the name of each one depends on what hand it’s in at the time.

Fuka is probably my favorite character of the series. Out of all the characters, she’s the one who treats Gun Gale Online the most like an actual game and just wants to have fun, which is something I like to do as well.

Pito, short for Pitohui, is LLENN’s friend and rival within Gun Gale Online. Her real identity is supposed to be a mystery until the final episode of the series, but I was able to accurately guess it within two or three episodes, basically right after she was introduced.

If you want to know more about my prediction of her true identity, check out my Spring 2018 Week 13 review, but keep in mind that it contains spoilers.

Pito is a jack of all trades, who also appears to be a master of all trades. She can use just about every weapon in the Gun Gale Online arsenal with lethal consequences and is one of the most feared players around. Unfortunately she reminds me of Kirito which isn’t a good thing.

The final character I’ll mention is M. M knows Pito in real life and is both enamored by and afraid of her. He tends to act like a role player when playing Gun Gale Online and plays the part of a sniper with a deployable shield.

LLENN and P-chan from the anime Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
LLENN and P-chan

Conclusion

When the show began, I assumed it was just hopping on the battle royale game bandwagon since that’s exactly what the Squad Jam competitions in the anime are, but then I remembered the Gun Gale Online portion of SAO was a battle royale too, so I can’t hold that against GGO.

GGO was a pretty good anime, and so I rated it as a 6/10. I don’t feel like I’d ever watch it again, and the final twist about Pito’s identity was way too predictable which is part of the reason why I didn’t rate it any higher. I also feel like I’ve been rating anime lower recently, but who knows.

Basically, if you liked SAO, and are into military style shooter games, you’d probably like this series as well. If anime about games aren’t your thing, I wouldn’t recommend this series because it doesn’t really have anything else going for it.

Finally, I didn’t originally think there would be a second season, but apparently there’s more of this spin-off written than we see in the anime, so a second season may come in the future. As long as Fuka is still around I think I’d probably check it out.

The OP for Gun Gale Online is available here.

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