Sword Art Online, Shingu, and Second Halves

Although I start each season watching about a dozen series, I ultimately end up completing only two or three.  This season, I’m watching Golden Time, Noragami and Nisekoi.  Three is about the most I can keep up with, even though I’d like to watch more.  So you can imagine how aggravated I feel when a series I’m enjoying ends up having a terrible second half.  I feel like I wasted a precious slot that I could have used for another series!

Even worse is when a series starts out so good that you think you may have found a new favorite.  This happened to me with Shingu.  I was totally charmed by the character design, tone, and music from the series, that I was almost ready to go purchase it.  Then the show devolved into a boring, generic sci-fi series.

shingu secret of the stellar wars
Oh, what might have been! (Art by ちゃん☆みり/Pixiv ID 2820537)

Another such show for me was Sword Art Online – and maybe it’s the best recent example for many.  I absolutely loved the first half.  Despite its issues, I was totally gripped.  But the second cour stunk to high heaven.  It did almost everything wrong.

Our lives are the same way.  The start doesn’t matter as much as the ending.  Even if we have a wonderful childhood, adolescence, and college experience, it’s all for naught if we ultimately end up living selfish, rotten lives.  What good was the start if our finish was so weak?

In the Christian life, the same can be said about how we start our born-again lives and how we continue them.  Look at Jesus’ parable of the sower:

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. (Matthew 13:3-8)

Jesus later explains that the bird-eaten seed represents those that don’t understand the message and have it snatched away; the rocky place seed are those that receive it with joy, but leave it in difficult times; those in the thorns are choked by the worries of this life; and of course, those in good soil are believers who grow in faith.

In my life, I’ve feel like I could have been the seed in all these different kinds of soil, but I hope that I’m now set deep in the good soil and that I remain there.  My first reaction to Christ is now just a moment in time; what I do from here on out is what counts.

Luckily, our God is a God of second (and third and fourth) chances.  I hope that if you haven’t already, you’ll take that opportunity and make the next season of your life a more Christ-centered one.  No matter what you’ve done, all is not lost.  After all, I think those of us who were first-cour Sword Art Online fans are going to be front and center to watch the upcoming second season.  And if the horrible AFLheim Online arc can be redeemed, certainly so can you.


7 thoughts on “Sword Art Online, Shingu, and Second Halves

  1. I recommend Hunter x Hunter (2011). This is one of the rarest breed that builds layer upon layer with new episodes/ arcs. Which is why at currently 120 episodes (and going), it doesn’t slow down like the usual Shonen Series, but become stronger as a series instead.

    I don’t remember if there is ever an anime series that I can wholeheartily recommend to mainstream audiences after reaching 3 digits episode count.

    No fillers. No significant animation quality dip (aside from 1 episode at episode 90s). 120×24 minutes well spent. 😀

      1. I don’t get with what you refer as 2nd half. Do you mean the ‘2nd half’ of Chimera Ant? I’ve been avoiding the manga so I won’t be spoiled, but from what I’ve heard the current HxH anime is not that long in catching up with the manga – it looks very probable that Madhouse will finish animating Chimera Ant arc and thus reaching its manga hiatus point several chapters later.

        1. The manga is currently at the halfway point of the story, in theory. Considering how long Togashi took just for the Chimera Ant arc, it would be unsurprising if the second half never actually gets written. Hence the joke that the second half of HxH is still a disappointment.

          There’s still a full, albeit short, arc afterwards, which they will probably do.

          1. Ah I see. I didn’t know if the current hiatus point is around halfway – hence I couldn’t follow the joke.

            Who knows, we’ll probably put man on Mars first before Togashi write anything. And where’s that supposedly new Sailor Moon series again? LoL

  2. I am reminded of St. Anthony of Egypt, the founder of monasticism. He apparently started every day with the attitude that he had done nothing yet for Christ, which apparently motivated him to produce as much good fruit as possible each day.

    I have noticed that Japanese have a great deal of trouble when it comes to end of a story much of the time. I just finished watching Shiki, which had a sagging middle lasting from episode 10 until episode 18. At least, it ended well.

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