I agree completely. SIGN got down every character so perfectly that any follow-up animes like it weren't needed. Literally every character has a realistic and believable reason for using The World for escapism. Lots of symbolism too! Like how Tsukasa's guardian (and by that extent Morganna) was like a stand-in for his anxieties (which had a perfect explanation through glances into his real life trauma) and how they would both hurt people around him when he didn't mean to, and how even after taming it people are still scared of him because it's like a facade of normality.Adhemas wrote:@Falions
I think Reki got better at writing over the years which is why I clearly prefer AW over SAO, but yeah.
I read the SAO LNs as well and it didn't really got better. My favorite part was actually Mother's Rosario which was (probably not coincidentally) the only part with Asuna as main character and no harem pandering. The new arc Alicization is just as bad as the former stuff: tons of females fascinated by the main character, over powered protags (especially the main heroine, who loves Kirito as well), evil female side characters with big titts and all male characters aside of the main character are either evil, dying, unimportant or hot for one of the females who, of course, has only eyes for Kirito, even in his vegetable state. And the main villain is a crazy male psychopath who wants the main heroine again, just like with Alfheim Online or GGO.
I have to admit that the other trapped-in-a-game series aren't much better either. It's almost always about an overly perfect hero and tons of cute and loyal girls. I just hope that .hack's main plot will never pander to those fanbases. Maybe some spin-offs here and there to attract attention, but not the main thing. .hack was always very progressive and unusual. SIGN alone thematised more human problems or characteristics than most of the other anime I've seen in all those years together.
I am really worried about the future of it all too, if New World is any indication. One thing I also really liked about SIGN was its abundance of female characters as you pointed out, but how every single one of them was a developed, mature human being who all received proper treatment. It was even better when the big twist came out that Tsukasa was a girl in real life, because it further pushed that fact of well-written female characters. It was very Gainax-like in its execution, as is most of SIGN. It was like the Evangelion of MMO anime before there was any MMO anime to critique!