Rating: Four out of five stars
I have so far loved what I have seen and read of the previous Sword Art Online installments, and this was no exception. I absolutely love that the secondary characters of the aforementioned installments had their time in the spotlight as primary characters! Silica, Liz, and Leafa as characters were fleshed out, finally having their change as protagonists.
For readers not familiar with the Sword Art Online saga, the story begins when characters become trapped in a video game, instantly being immersed in a world of literal life-and-death. Those who perish in the game die in the real world, and those who survived the original world live a life haunted by the memories. This particular manga installment takes place after the initial events, in a much safer game known as Alfheim Online, a world of fairies, cats, and angels.
Sword Art Online: Girls’ Ops is the first in its series: a spin-off that focuses on its female secondary characters. Silica was one of my favorite side characters in the show, so it was lovely seeing this little chibi shine in a leading role. She is concerned for a newcomer, Kuro, and feels the need to protect her in this harmless world. Turns out, it is not the world that is harmful, but the memories that the SAO survivors carry with them. As it turns out, the power of friendship saves the day!
I docked a star from a five-star rating because of fan-service and Kirito name dropping. The fan-service appeared during one of the many fights in which the opponent (slime monsters) shoot acidic poison at the characters, making their clothes disintegrate in convenient places. There is also another scene, when the characters are in the real world, in which they are undressing while getting ready for a PE class. The name dropping of Kirito (the main character in the SAO saga) was overdone, as the multiple references of him sounded as if he should have made an appearance. Some scenes did not pass the Bechdel test in this regard, as he was brought up often in a book that was supposed to feature the perspective of the girls. Though I understand why he was brought up, as it fit the plot.
Overall, I loved this book. I would recommend it to those who are already familiar with the previous events in the Sword Art Online storyline and those who like manga and don’t mind the right-to-left reading format.
As for the #ReadThemAllThon, between the multiple tweets and the points accrued, here is my updated trainer card: (With the Boulder Badge! *Strikes pose*)