Digibro Killed SAO

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Event: Digibro Killed SAO
Date(s): June 2014 – ?
Fandom: Sword Art Online, Anime Fandom
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Digibro Killed SAO is the controversy surrounding opinions on the anime Sword Art Online and the possibility that youtuber Digibro's analysis video about the show caused the downfall of opinion around it, particularly in the anime review community on Youtube.


  • 2001- Reki Kawahara writes the first volume of the web novel that would later become Sword Art Online.
  • April 8, 2009- The first volume of Sword Art Online is published in print.
  • 2012- Sword Art Online becomes the best-selling light novel series of the year.
  • July 7, 2012- The first episode of the SAO anime airs in Japan.
  • June 3, 2014- Anime Youtuber Digibro publishes her video essay Sword Art Online- An Analytical Diatribe.
  • January 20, 2017- Anime Youtuber The Pedantic Romantic publishes a two-part video essay titled Sword Art Online- How Digibro Killed An Anime.

SAO's Release and Initial Reactions

The anime for Sword Art Online was released in 2012.[1] At the time of its release, the anime was very highly praised. Kotaku reviewer Richard Eisenbeis described it as "the smartest anime I've seen in years"[2] and Anime News Network reviewer Rebecca Silverman described the show as "a solid piece of entertainment" and ultimately gave the series a B in her review.[3]

Sword Art Online - An Analytical Diatribe

Influential Anituber Digibro published "Sword Art Online - An Analytical Diatribe" on June 3, 2014, about a month before the anime's second season was to premiere. Digibro frames this hour-long audio essay (since Digibro's audio is put over her playing TERRA Online and not over demonstrations of his speech means its not a video essay) by claiming this is a response to audience questions about her opinions on the series. Her main critiques of the story's bending to make the protagonist Kirito seem so awesome and the way it shorts its female lead, Asuna, especially in the show's second half, became the standard criticism of the show in the anime community. Digibro's critiques of the story structure following the theoretically rushed original web novels, although a large part of the video, were less picked up by the community in further reviews.

Although Digibro ends this essay by claiming a future unwillingness to watch further seasons of SAO, she also later made critique videos for the further SAO seasons.


Digibro's video essay had a largely positive response, with 24 thousand likes as of April 2022. The highest-rated comments are also largely positive toward the video's message.

Other SAO Reviews

Anime Youtuber Mother's Basement has also become widely known for his critique of SAO. his first video on the topic, published in 2016, goes into critiquing the show's opening themes. He would publish further videos critiquing various aspects of the series. Notable is his second video, which, unlike Digibro, argues that the series started out "okay"[4] but truly "got bad" with the death of Yui, a scene which contained numerous plot holes and destroyed the show's "underlying sense of dread"- which Mother's Basement attributes as the main reason the early parts of SAO were so compelling.

Sword Art Online - How Digibro Killed An Anime

Anituber PedanticRomantic released "Sword Art Online - How Digibro Killed An Anime (Part 1)" and "Sword Art Online - How Digibro Killed An Anime (Finale)" on January 20, 2017 and February 15, 2017 respectively. In these videos, PedRom gives a thorough breakdown of Anitube's response to SAO, with Digibro's video as a turning point in the discourse and how it led to SAO critiques being viewed as annoyingly common on Anitube. PedRom is very sympathetic towards Digibro and interested in how people's perceptions of SAO seemed to have shifted after Digibro's video.