The Underworld isn’t what it used to be.
Immediately upon waking up, Kirito received a surprise phone call from Rinko. Alice has gone missing, though she was quickly found on his doorstep. Now, Alice didn’t run away without reason. As of late, Alice can’t shake her uncertainty in the world. Her future and her place within the real world continues to fill her with worries. Fortunately, Kirito quickly put her fears to bed. Alice is not only his hope, but a beacon of hope for the future. Her role will eventually change their worlds for the better. With Alice able to stand confidently once more, Rinko was given an update on the situation. In order to help sooth things over further, Alice was allowed to stay the day and night at Kirito’s house. During the middle of the night, Alice received a strange email from an unknown sender. Together with Kirito and Yui’s aid, they were able to decode the message. They’ve been given another way back into Underworld. The following day, Alice, Asuna, and Kirito dove back into an all too familiar setting. However, the Underworld they knew has changed greatly. The threats now span the stars.
The last few chapters and especially the later half of this episode were all about setting up the future. Now, our main trio here weren’t the only ones to make it back into Underworld. Star King Kirito has also found his way back home thanks to Kayaba’s help. I wouldn’t doubt for a moment we’ll one day see the final arc of SAO animated. While Unital Ring is still being written, there’s another segment of SAO that was recently green lit. We’ll soon be taking a step back to Aincrad with Sword Art Online: Progressive. You may already know the conclusion to that story, though there’s still plenty to expand on. Moreover, as you may or may not know, Anime Solution’s future is currently up in the air. I would happily review Progressive and Unital Ring once they air, but the website is in dire need of financial support. If you have the extra means, then I ask that you consider supporting Anime Solution. You may do so by clicking here or clicking on the donation tab at the top of the page. In any case, let’s get back to the review portion…
If you’ve made it this far into SAO, then you know what to expect. This is not some top of the line writing, but it’s entertaining without a doubt. You’ve got your twist and turns, plenty of action, and of course the waifus. Even with that said, I don’t believe A-1 Pictures did the greatest job of adapting the source material. Unless you’re really paying attention and researching outside the anime, then you’re going to get lost. Between A-1 skipping content, glossing over impactful moments, and legitimately weak explanations, there’s a lot of confusion floating around. While it’s normally understandable that not everything can fit into an anime adaptation, Alicization had the episode count to do it properly. Now, the biggest example of A-1 dropping the ball was during the first half. If you recall Charlotte, well her death was forgetful for the viewer. However, Kirito was balling his eyes out over this spider. Charlotte’s role was practically nonexistent in the anime, but the truth is she was there with Kirito for much of his journey. Speaking of the journey, a lot of that got cut out too. Regardless of these stumbles, the overall story of Alicization remained intact. Just know that you’re not getting all the fine details in the anime.
The saving grace of this adaptation is that the character art is always strong. It’s actually quite impressive that they pulled it off with so many episodes. Normally there’s several dipping points along the way, but everyone was looking spot on from start to finish. While the art may have been consistently great, I can’t say the same for the animation. The animation was somewhat of a mixed bag. On one hand, we had several tremendous fights. The goblin fight during the first half was an amazing first impression of things to come. Unfortunately, nothing really followed up on its greatness. The action and animation didn’t really start to get notable again until we hit War of Underworld. The crowning moment was without a doubt Bercouli versus Emperor Vector. Not only did that fight hold weight, it also struck hard emotionally. Moreover, it should be noted that A-1 went hard on panning shots. I know for a fact they don’t have to do this since I’m covering another show by A-1 right now. Yet for some odd reason we’re ending with well over 1,500 stitches. I can only assume they love sliding the character art around.
Normally, I’m head over heels for SAO. I truly want to give SAO more points, but how Alicization was adapted just missed the mark. Looking back at past seasons, what I enjoyed the most was the emotional impact of certain scenes. Kirito waking up in the hospital calling out to Asuna, and the passing of Konno Yuuki were tremendous moments for the anime. I believe Eugeo could’ve had the same impact, but truthfully they did Eugeo dirty in the first half. I will say they somewhat made up for it during War of Underworld. Honestly, outside of A-1 playing favorites with certain characters, War of Underworld was thoroughly enjoyable. Our hero was eventually back up on his feet, and of course surrounded by all your favorite heroines.
Before heading down to the media for one last time, I would like to thank everyone for stopping by for these reviews. It’s been an absolute pleasure to cover all of Sword Art Online: Alicization. Even through fighting off the DMCA bots, waiting out the delay, and just barely keeping the website online, I wouldn’t of had it any other way. This is now Anime Solution’s longest completed show, and I’m happy I got the chance to share it all with you. Anyhow, I reward Project Alicization with a solid 7. Enjoy a glimpse of things to come!
Kirito will return! Look forward to plenty more SAO in the future, and thank you for being a part of our second longest adventure here.