Sword Art Online by Reki Kawahara

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A series of light graphic novels centered around the launch of a virtual reality video game that traps the first 10,000 players inside using the NerveGear – a headset that stimulates the five senses of its users. In this show, if you die in the game, you die in real life as well. It’s set in the near future and explores topics of mortality and relationships inside combat zones as well as the concept of owning your own destiny. The show is currently in hiatus after releasing two seasons and a movie despite more volumes of the novel being published. While the show has a modern take on gender roles with female characters being portrayed as strong and equally capable as the male characters, it does deal with social values and identity issues with women feeling pressured to establish their own household and the show also tends to fall under the ‘harem’ stereotypes where all the females want the central male character. 3168716-1305742188-3500_

In its second season, the show turns more somber still and contemplates the validity of becoming so heavily reliant on technology and all the implications that come with the advancement of gaming and the escapism apparent in humanity.

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