363rd G-View: Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

It is that time again doods and peeps. Newcomers will surely ask “What time is it?”. Why it is “OG reviews a spinoff, starring a girl/woman, of a (usually) popular series he (usually) has zero interest in”  time. You know. Spinoffs like Soul Eater NOT!, Hidan no Aria AA, DanMachi Gaiden: Sword Oratoria and Hina Logi: From Luck & Logic to name a few. In this installment of that unofficial G-View segment we will be taking a look at the spinoff of arguably the Meduca Meguca of the Isekai sci-fi/fantasy subgenre, Sword Art Online. This is Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online.

Gun Gale Online Cover.jpg

Genres: Action, Sci-fi

Themes: Battle Royale, Online Multiplayer, Shooter, Yuri.

Number of episodes: 12

G-Rating: 8/10

Objectionable Content: Very brutal violence.

Plot Summary: Karen Kohiruimaki is a 183-centimeter-tall (6-foot-tall) college student who’s insecure about her height, and is bad at dealing with people in the real world. She enters the world of Gun Gale Online with her avatar, LLENN, who is less than 150 centimeters (5 feet) tall and wears all pink. She meets a beautiful, brown-skinned female player who goes by Pitohui. They hit it off, but one day Pitohui pressures her to participate in “Squad Jam,” a team Battle Royale variation of the Bullet of Bullets tournament.

Like most other female led spinoffs it is not necessary to have seen Sword Art Online to follow the events of Gun Gale Online. It is its own thing despite being set in the same world. Also like other spinoffs do not come into this show expecting a similar or identical viewing experience to that of the main show. Gun Gale Online does its own thing while using elements from the main show like referencing events or featuring cameos and Easter Eggs here and there.

Before I got the ultimate persuasion to pick up this show there was one moment that made me go “I am definitely checking this out when I am in the mood”.

Confused LLENN.jpg

This face is GLORIOUS.

When LLENN made this face. Not the reason she made this expression, just the expression itself. It was fantastic. So Gun Gale Online, or GGO for short. If I could describe my thoughts on the show in one word it would be “fun”. This show was so much fun to watch most of the time, especially online. Offline was…okay. Allow me to elaborate.

LLENN in action.jpg

LLENN in action.

The main draw of the show are the Battle Royale style team battle events called Squad Jam. There are also times players go on monster hunts or grinding for experience points, which are fun little scenes, but the real treat comes from the team battles. Think of them as more intense battles than the ones found in Upotte!! (more fun than Upotte) Stella Women’s Academy C3 and Sabagebu!. Much more. Viewers will get both long and short range combat that is more akin to Doom 2016 than Call of Duty, which is a good thing. Speaking of Doom 2016, the battles can get quite brutal. so brutal in fact the digital blood is a combination of pixels and early 2000’s game blood, meaning viewers should expect visceral combat rivaling that of “Moepocalypse” shows. Oh and for viewers who did not quite enjoy the CG combat in Toji no Miko I can at least assure the fights here are (for the most part) far less CG-tastic…at least I hope so. Too used to this stuff to let it bother me personally.

Speaking of animation GGO is set in a post-apocalyptic environment meaning expect a lot of gray, dark yellow, dark blue, dark green and brown everywhere. Still the characters, the colorful ones anyway, are nice to look at and even bless viewers with different shapes and sizes which is very nice. So while the setting is intentionally not pretty it is still presented in a nice way. As mentioned above I felt the action scenes were fantastic. The soundtrack had some rock hard beats here and there and the OP and ED are pretty good.

Another thing to keep in mind is that similar to Mouretsu Pirates‘ earlier episodes there are “Tutorial Episodes”. There is some action to be found in these episodes but the main focus of them is to explain the rules of GGO and prepare everyone for what is to come.

Having sun the praises of he online parts of the show let us next talk about the “offline”/real world parts. As the plot summary said Karen grew up in an environment that seemed to not be welcoming to big hotties like her. From an outsider’s perspective she is a tall and beautiful young adult woman but because many of the people around her, especially girls, were short I guess she felt out of place. I cannot say for sure. Maybe it is something girls and women go through. I like all kinds of ladies so…Anyway her time in GGO forever changed her life. Viewers will have to see for themselves whether it was for the better or worse.


Fukaziroh. My second favorite character alongside LLENN.

Most of the female characters are cool online and offline but for most of them their online counterparts are more interesting, except Fukaziroh, who like LLENN is fun to watch both on and offline. There are also some male teams who, while nothing special, were also fun to watch strategizing or go all gung ho and stuff. A familiar theme in media involving people playing video games is the desire for them to do so for the sake of escapism (meaning the real world sucks and they want to get away for a while). That is the same here but for some characters their motivations are different such as improving teamwork, letting off some steam or finding new friends.

LLENN and Pitohui.jpg

LLENN and Pitohui.

And now we come to Pitohui…hoo boy…Let me see. Umm, without spoiling anything let us just say that as I watched the show I was reminded of Vivid Strike! (one of the few spinoffs whose main series I also enjoyed) and even a little bit of Stella Women’s Academy C3. I do not mean the stories told are identical, I mean their end goals are. Put simply Pitohui is kind of character worth of writing an editorial…but not really. Just think of her as a very, VERY loose cannon and because of that she is my third favorite character. Watching Pitohui go all out…WAS…A…HOOT! So good. It also helps she is quite the looker.

Lastly we have M. I will make this brief. M’s story was done better in a Western comic. He started off fun, quickly became “Yeah I could care less about this guy” and by the epilogue I was laughing at him. He did not entirely suck because like everyone else he was (mostly) cool in battle but I ended up not caring about him.

For readers wondering, the show is set 10% offline, 10% Tutorials and 80% online.

Normally this would be the part I talk about the Yuri but this time I will only say this: Viewers who are patient and have an EXTREMELY OPEN MIND (really, REALLY OPEN MIND!)…will be rewarded. Super picky people who NEED their Yuri to be presented in a certain way need not bother. Oh and there is a neat little bonus near the end of the 3rd quarter. This person “surrenders”.

Overall Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online was a blast to watch. The main draw of the show is the action packed and super intense battles. While the offline parts of the story are not as fun to watch they have their moments and are not total wastes of times (except M’s story). I would go so far as say I enjoyed this show more than Sabagebu! But that is just me. Recommended to people who enjoy “shooter” anime. As for SAO fans, again do not expect a similar experience going into this show. It is a fun spinoff that features elements from the main series but is still enjoyable as a standalone show, provided the viewer is into shows featuring/starring mostly ladies. No wait. Viewers are reading THIS GGO review here precisely because they enjoy shows with female leads. Anyway you get my point.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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45 Responses to 363rd G-View: Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online

  1. Shinryu says:

    One of my favourites, if not my favourite, of the season. It was just a fun watch from beginning to end. I also loved how it poked as many holes as possible in the many, many other self-serious shows that share a similar setting (and a similar name). It is sort of funny to read the reactions of some viewers to this one, though. Some (many?) people seem to have expected it to be deep and full of engrossing story when in reality that never seemed to be the case. It was just about a fun time with great characters. An easy recommend.

    Liked by 4 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Deep? Must have been SAO diehards. Eh. The deepest thing about it was Pito’s backstory and her nihilism. Maybe the stuff I brought up about escapism and why others go online also…but that’s about it. I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rory says:

    I pretty much agree with everything you said here: the show shines brightest during the online battles. I too had a blast watching this show, and that has convinced me to pick up the light novels and manga.
    Mentioning Sabagebu! has got me wanting to see LLENN battle it out with Momoka.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Jack Cactus says:

    I have peeps recommended me this show since I’m an avid gun nut, gamer and a yuri fan but some personal skepticism kept me away from the show. However, since the show made its way up to YuriNation, I might give it a watch.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. KZO says:

    I’m not sure if you need that much of an open mind. It was always clear the love M feels was always one-sided, he was never gonna get loved back.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. perlen297 says:

    Still can’t get over the last episode’s surprise, it certainly caught me off guard.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Error says:

    OG Sensei, for a very big yuri/girls only fan like me, do you recommend to watch this series? (my mind is open like a crater, i can see “behind the scenes”, if you know what i’m talking about 🙂 )

    Liked by 2 people

    • Error says:

      Oh, i missed the main reason : i’m hate the SAO series. (unlike with the Log Horizon, that was very good from my perspective)

      Liked by 1 person

      • OG-Man says:

        I think you’re good with just watching GGO. The main SAO series I have no idea. I only said the stuff about fans because most of these spinoffs have similar elements but are ultimately different from the main shows they’re from.


      • I hate broccoli. But it’s actually pretty good with cheese.

        The original series’ self-important and pompous tenor is gone and this one is just a fun shoot-em-up in the same world. If it’s the setting itself you hate, then I guess that’s that. If it’s just empty-self-projection protagonist Kirito you hate, then you might want to give this show a chance.

        Liked by 3 people

      • OG-Man says:

        That helps. Thanks dood.


      • This show basically takes as many jokes and jabs at the main SAO series as it can, and actually uses the setting and plot elements well (and even does some fun surprises with some things). Compared to SAO itself, this is written incredibly well, shall we say.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Mauron says:

    This was a fun little adventure, and I’ll be picking up the light novels soon.

    Even before the surprise, or the other little event earlier on, I was rooting for a thing along those lines.

    M’s backstory was unexpected, but quite amusing. Other than that, he wasn’t very interesting.

    This will probably encourage me to play the AW vs SAO game soon. I’ve been sitting on that for a while now.

    Liked by 4 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Thankfully we all got what we hoped for.

      Got a good laugh out of me. As you said though he was “blah”.

      Oh yeah. I heard about that game. The only SAO game that caught my interest was the one inspired by GGO, to no one’s surprise.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. B-M says:

    It was pretty solid; some good action, some good laughs, a hilarious over-the-top attitude employed throughout. I enjoyed it quite a bit but then the last episode happened and wew okay that happened and yay

    tl;dr, you aren’t even exaggerating with that yuri tag!

    One thing that got me good – the tutorial episode was incredible. Probably my favourite episode of the show.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Good stuff with a very welcome surprise at the end.

      I know.

      There were several. Which one do you mean? Oh. The very first one with that GLORIOUS instructor…Yeeeeeessssss.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. OtakuGamerGirlT says:

    Great show without a doubt. You know I’m a huge SAO fan and always will be, but I enjoyed this just as much, as it stands on its own and is equally as enjoyable. Pito was my favorite character for reasons you already know, followed by Fuka and then Llenn. I agree that the best parts of the show were online, but offline had its moments too. I especially found the entire last half of the finale before the big “surprise” to be the most entertaining offline segment. Once we were blessed with that “surprise”, I was just elated.

    Now, when I refer to the surprise, I think everyone understands I’m not talking about Pito being Elsa. That was obvious from like episode 3. However, that kiss was NOT expected by me at all and although I’d been shipping the two, I honestly didn’t expect more then some subtext. So, to see Elsa kiss Karen and admit to liking her with no fucks given, that was pretty sweet. I wouldn’t worry about Goushi either, as his love is clearly unrequited and he seems to be perfectly fine with that as long as he can remain in Elsa’s shadow. I also must give an appreciative nod to the girl who was the real MVP in sacrificing herself to save Llenn and become the bisexual icon of the show. That was awesome.

    Overall, I thought GGO was a wonderful spin-off and did justice to the SAO theme without trying to match it and I’ll admit in some ways it was better, namely in the action. I’m an SAO diehard, but I still loved this anime, so any other SAO fans that have issues, well…they can get over it. This isn’t a threat to us in the slightest, but rather a gift in my opinion. I’ll still be looking forward to the next installment of SAO in the fall as well. I really would love a second season of GGO though too and I have a good feeling that we just might get it.

    P.S.- The gymnastics girls were adorable.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OtakuGamerGirlT says:

      Oh, and one more thing I forgot to mention, Llenn is freaking psycho too! I mean she literally ripped her rival’s neck with her teeth and killed her, right after sweet talking her. The fact that she doesn’t even realize it is hilarious too. No wonder Pito admitted to be creeped out by her. But, that just goes to show they are a perfect match for each other.

      Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Yes the show had plenty to offer and as you said the last few offline moments were the best.

      Oh I’m sure the people who paid attention know full well Elza’s heart belongs to Karen who I’m sure will accept her destined role as Elza’s life partner in no time. Just issued that warning for silly willies out there wanting to cause trouble for no good reason.

      Oh yes, That other bisexual babe was a true heroine worthy of adulation.

      Good luck with SAO 3. I’ll be joining you in hoping for a GGO 2.

      Both their online personas and true selves were great.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. I did not watch the last few episodes but that yuri ending looked like it came out of nowhere. I am not a fan of yuri spin-offs from het series but it was a great show with nice battles and a big/little lovable female protagonist.


  11. I actually really enjoyed this one too, for pretty much all the reasons you stated. It was actually written really cleverly at parts, and I liked all the jabs at a certain other show and such a lot.

    And getting actual openly Bi characters in anime is a huge plus every time it happens.

    I already had my suspicions about Pito’s true identity the moment Elza Kanzaki’s name was repeated more than once and when we got M’s explanation of why Pito was in danger, so it’s nice to see I wasn’t wrong. Still, I wasn’t expecting the 2nd surprise until I was mildly spoiled about it the day before. Karen could actually potentially be someone to manage to keep Elza in one place for a while perhaps, considering she’s capable of refusing her too, and even beating her up in-game if she gets uppity…

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      If I had seen the show I’d recognize said jabs other than the one in the final battle.

      Two delightfully bi cuties. Oh yes indeed.

      Yes there were many clues hinting at her being Pito. The 2nd surprise…trumped…(I am so sorry) the first one by a mile.

      Soon Karen will embrace her newly assigned purpose in life as Elza’s life partner.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Cannibal says:

    Really enjoyed it except for the last couple episodes. The game breaking plot armor and the terrible contradicting game mechanics that made me hate SAO creeped their way in near the end of GGO.

    Llenn is fun but Fuka overshadowed her almost every time. Fuka deserves her own spin off of this spin off.


  13. adren says:

    define “surrenders”


  14. MarkS00N says:

    Regarding the yuri-het mix of the show (even though there are so few in the way of Het, thanks 3hz!) reminds me of 2000s to early 10s anime, where you have the like of Mai-HiME or Nanoha (or other anime with female lead) where you aren’t really sure whether it will end in yuri or het, and if the final moment ends in yuri, you take it as a win. This attitude of inability to bear a few het moment felt really alien to me and I personally think a hallmark of new yuri fan that born in current SoL age, where you have a wealth of options if you want a male free anime to watch, unlike when I began to watch anime (no-male policy means no-anime to watch most of the seasons).

    On one hand this dread me, because how toxic the discussion can be. It is one thing to unable to tolerate het, it is another to bash people who like the show that is not 100% yuri content.

    On the other hand, this delight me, because we live in a time unprecedented before in yuri history. Not only 2018 will have text yuri anime from beginning (with Citrus in Winter) to end (with YagaKimi in Fall), but since spring 2016 (with Sailor Moon Crystal), every seasons have at least one kiss scene between two girls (romantic or otherwise).

    If years of constant SoL anime (which most of the time limited to subtext) each season gives birth to new yuri fans, I wonder what kind of yuri fan that going to appear after years of constant text yuri anime.

    On the anime itself, as I’ve said in early part of my rant, it really reminds me of 2000s anime. I can’t say much why (aside from how erratic it is in regards of sexuality, newer anime usually would strictly go either for het, yaoi, or yuri (implied or explicit), instead of multiple orientation like this one) but I find as an action anime, it felt more similar to Canaan than say Re:CREATORS.

    I like the contrast between the online-offline personality (especially the contrast between Psycho LLENN and shy Karen). I like how intense the relationship between LLENN and Pito (even without the kiss, I like how they interact). It is one of my top anime in Spring 2018 (Wixoss and Toji no Miko are other series).

    With this, Flip Flappers, Princess Principal, and Sora no Method, 3hz quickly become my favorite anime studio. Can’t wait for their future project!

    Side note, I haven’t seen it being mentioned elsewhere, but Fuka reminds me of Harumi from Citrus. The hair cut, the attitude, and he role as MC’s best friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Nice to see you are more fair about yuri sharing the spotlight with people of other sexual preferences or possible male competition.

      I did mention on Twitter how Fuka belongs in the same group as Harumin and Mikawachi.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ioni says:

    It’s me or the last episode song really sound like a confession.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Giack31 says:

    Therewere some pretty meh moments like the talking gun and the final battle of SJ1 but on the whole it was pretty good anime.
    I didn’t not expect the kiss at the end. Good job 3hz

    Liked by 1 person

  17. yurimylove says:

    my little PKer can’t be this cute!


  18. Nick says:

    Really sorry for being late on this. I know I said I was going to comment but that was at least a week ago. Once again very sorry.

    So here we are again, back in the SAO world with a new set of characters in a familiar setting. Honestly I really enjoyed this entry in the SAO series. While I do like the main crew, it was a refreshing break to see another group of people battle it out in their own game, especially with the whole battle royale thing being so popular right now. I think that played a big part in why I liked this show so much, the battle royale aspect. True I’m more of a Fortnite player and this show came across as more PUBG, but still it’s a last man/team standing situation and the similarities are there.

    LLENN was a great character both in game and out. I was really surprised to see just how cute Karen is irl and I think I really like her short hair look she had for the majority of the show.

    Another point I liked about this show was the art. Studio 3hz is killing it these days with last year’s Princess Principal, GGO this year and of course the much hyped Black Fox in the future, but yeah this show looked so good. From the details on the guns, to each explosion in the heat of the battle, Studio 3hz really deserves the credit for making a great looking show.

    And I think one final thing I should mention is that kiss at the end. Totally wasn’t expecting that and huge props to them for actually having that happen. I didn’t think we’d get a yuri end like that as most shows have some cop out and never confirm much, but hey they just said f*ck it and went for the kiss. That was really great.

    All in all I’d totally love to see more of LLENN’s adventures both in game and out, so hopefully this show does well enough and gets another season in the future. Also if Studio 3hz can return to animate it I’d be more than happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. OG-Man says:

    Not a problem Sir Nickolas. Thank you for taking the time to drop by.

    I don’t play Battle Royale games. I watched the show because the spotlight was on the ladies, as it should be. That’s usually the case in these spinoffs.

    Yup. LLENN is adorable and Karen is “cutractive”. Same goes for her bestie. Her former nemesis I would say is the opposite, cute offline and sexy online.

    Flip Flappers also belongs in that list of great Studio 3Hz shows but you haven’t seen it. They’re also a yuri friendly studio so heck yes I would want them to work on a possible second season.


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