Sword Art Online: Alicization
Sword Art Online: Alicization is the third season and an adaptation of volumes 9 through 14 with War of Underworld being an adaptation of volumes 15 through 18 of Reki Kawahara's Sword Art Online light novel series.
Kirito awakens in a vast, fantastical forest filled with towering trees. In his search for clues to the truth of his surroundings, he encounters a young boy who seems to know him. He ought to be a simple NPC, but the depth of his emotions seem no different than a human. As they search for the boy's parents, Kirito finds a peculiar memory returning to him. A memory from his own childhood, of this boy and a girl, too, with golden hair, and a name he should have never forgotten—Alice.
Why It Stays Cool
- It gives fresh and new ideas for the Sword Art Online franchise.
- It's a huge improvement and fixes the main problems the previous seasons had:
- Cliched characters.
- Overuse of Deus ex-machina.
- Scenes that contain shock value.
- Kirito being too overpowered.
- This season itself has much darker and more mature themes.
- It introduced two new likable characters:
- Eugeo, a kindhearted, considerate and soft spoken person who thought about the needs of others as well as his own, and has been Kirito's friend since childhood.
- Alice, a determined, hard worker that aimed to master the Sacred Arts. Even if she no longer have memories of both Kirito and Eugeo, she gives up everything to fight for them. Especially when Kirito was in a coma, she took care of him.
- Even the side characters can also be just as likable and charming, such as Bercouli.
- Kirito starts to have major development, better characterization and good chemistry with both of his childhood friends, Eugeo and Alice as the series progresses and gives his character more depth, rather than just being an overpowered player with no relatable trait.
- Quinella/Administrator, Gabriel Miller and Vassago Cassals/PoH are threatening villains, while the three of them aren't very likable, but they aren't as mediocre either.
- It uses the art style and animation from the Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale art style, so hence, it is much cleaner and more detailed than the last two seasons.
- Fight scenes and choreography are still just as impressive.
- Soundtrack is still just as fun to listen to.
- Great intros and outros, such as "ADAMAS", and "Unlasting" by LiSA, as well as "Anima" and "Forget-me-not" by ReoNa.
- Both English and Japanese voice acting hasn't changed, which is great.
- The second half of War of Underworld finally revealed another villain behind the mysterious "Code 871", which was appeared on the right eye of everyone, including Eugeo and Alice, who resides in the Underworld, known as "The Seal of the Right Eye".
- The final battle between Kirito and Gabriel Miller is epic!
- Funny and unexpected scene where Alice literally ships herself (like fit inside a box) to Kirito's house.
- It may be brief, but it feels good to see Yuuki again after season two, and Eiji and Yunna from Ordinal Scale movie.
- The themes in the anime do have the vibes and feel of Game of Thrones, the Fate series, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it can feel really entertaining and creative, especially if you liked the three franchises mentioned above.
- While there are still uninteresting side characters (Sortiliena, or the other Integrity Knights for example), scenes that contain shock value, and deus ex machina present, they don't tend to overstay their welcome fortunately.
- Leafa/Terraria being sexually assaulted serves no purpose to the plot, unlike Tiese and Ronie sharing the same conflict that led to have one.
- Like Black Clover, it has some problems like portraying nobles (Except for Kirito and Eugeo) like spoiled rich brats who showed on respect to the fellow nobles, as well as the tendency to look down on those who are inferior to them.
- It has very unlikeable characters, with Raios Antinous, and Humbert Zizek (Kirito and Eugeo's rivals) being the worst offenders.
- To add insult to injuring, both Kirito and Eugeo had to deal with the consequences of their actions because of them, when Eugeo had to break the seal of the Taboo Index, in order to stop Raios and Humbert from assaulting their friends, Ronie and Tiese, in rage. Then, Kirito comes to his aid and accidentally sliced the arms of Raios Antinous, when he tried to kill Eugeo. This unfortunately led Kirito and Eugeo to being wanted criminals, which is not only cruel, but very mean spirited, since Raios and Humbert should've been the one who gets punished for their crimes, not Eugeo and Kirito.
- Plot Holes: Most of these are due to its rushed production.
- In Episode 5, Kikuoka is present at the hospital where Kirito is taken to after he's attacked, and presents Mrs. Kirigaya with the paperwork for his treatment. Then at the end of the episode when Asuna meets him on the Ocean Turtle, he remarks how he's been stuck at sea for over a month. This is because he really was stuck on the Turtle the whole time in the light novel, and never met Mrs. Kirigaya at the hospital.
- In Episode 6, there's an anime-original scene where Asuna meets with Silica, Liz, Sinon, and Leafa in Alfheim and talks about Project Alicization with them. Which brings up the question of why in the world would the JSDF personnel on the Ocean Turtle ever allow her to disclose information about an extremely classified black project to a bunch of kids over a presumably unsecured connection. Even more questionable is Sinon knowing about the Ocean Turtle and that it's under attack beforehand.
- The latter half of War of Underworld's anime creates a major plot hole as compared to the light novels. Starting in Episode 39, when Chinese and South Korean players unwittingly enter Underworld, they are easily manipulated by Vassago because he is the only person who can speak Japanese, Mandarin, and Korean. The only person in the good guys who can come close is Siune, who is bilingual in Korean and Japanese. But because the anime uses Translation Convention and makes it so that everyone seemingly speaks and understands Japanese in Underworld, it ends up making the Chinese and South Koreans look really foolish to be blindly following the orders of someone so obviously evil. The anime awkwardly attempts to fix this by giving Vassago an Incarnation ability to seemingly speak directly into the minds of his audience, an ability that he never had in the source material, and which further snowballs into another plot hole, as one can ask why doesn't he use this ability on the Japanese players and Underworlders as well.
- Episode 41 gives us a massive anime-original battle scene with Eiji and Yuuna vs. Vassago. Except the problem is that Eiji uses Incarnation to turn himself into his original "Nautilus" appearance from Aincrad... but he's supposed to be using an Amusphere to dive into Underworld. Incarnation can only be used by a real-world person if he or she is using a Soul Translator to dive. This is on top of the question of just how in the world can Yuuna, an AI, even be in Underworld in the first place. Reki Kawahara attempted to address this on his episodic Twitter commentary: Yuuna was able to be in SAO because she's locked to Eiji's ALO account as a Navigation Pixie, similar to how Pina was able to come into Underworld as part of Silica's account (that was also an anime-original element). And also vaguely insinuated that what Eiji did in the episode was not "true" Incarnation, but was more of the "proto-Incarnation" that we have seen Kirito & Asuna use before in the SAO death game.
- Minor one. Shino strikes Kyouji with a portable stereo. Not ten seconds later, it's back on the table where she grabbed it from. Considering a minor focus was made on the stereo when she went for it, you'd think they'd have paid a little more attention to its magical return to the table.
- The subplot containing Asuna watching over Kirito, then spoke with whoever's responsible for Project Alicization in the real world doesn't seem very exciting. Not helping that most of the members of Rath can spout exposition.
- Some parts aren't explained very well, like how the Fluctlights work.
- In the first half of Alicization, most of the characters like Asuna, Suguha, Sinon, Lisbeth and Klein are shoved in the background and became irrelevant to the main story. This was fixed in the second half where they all return to help fight in the underworld.
- During War of Underworld, Kirito becomes sidelined as he falls into a coma after his fight with Administrator. Alice and Asuna both take the role as the leading protagonists. He does return halfway during the battle in the underworld.
- The trailer for War of Underworld season two already spoiled Kirito's return, but thankfully it didn't spoil the final battle against Gabriel Miller.
- It received a 7.64 in MyAnimeList.com.
- Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld Part 2 was originally set to be released on April 26, 2020, but has been delayed and been moved to July 12, 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- YUNA, one of the characters from Ordinal Scale makes a cameo in the first opening.