SAO: Alicization Episode 7

SAO: Alicization Episode 7

Swordcraft Academy

From the start I was hoping that Sword Art Online: Alicization was going to be an adventure story, but after this week’s episode I no longer believe that will be the case. An adventure would have really set this season of SAO apart from the rest, and would have been a great way to explore the world which has been built so far.

Unfortunately, it seems that we’ll instead be getting the same, standard SAO that we’ve always had. Kirito will have to get somewhere to beat someone and save the day without much going on in between. It also appears that the Underworld is set up to match Reki Kawahara’s writing style. What a coincidence.

Last week I found entertainment in the fact that we were explicitly told that Kirito would wake up from his coma simply because he’s the protagonist. This week we got another classic trope thrown at us as well, but it’s a bit more specific to SAO.

So, I mentioned that the Underworld is set up to match Reki Kawahara’s writing style, and by that I mean that he wrote the mechanics of this world to “make up for” his lack of actual storytelling ability. If you’ve watched any season of SAO before, you should know that he’s not the best at writing characters or plot to develop said characters.

For example, what does Kirito always do when he’s outmatched? He simply believes in himself even harder and wins. This is where the mechanics of the Underworld come into play. In this episode, Kirito explicitly explains that your strength in the Underworld is directly correlated to your belief in yourself.

Essentially, this gives Reki Kawahara an out for his bad writing. He can now write Kirito as a character who continuously gets stronger out of nowhere, like he always has, and then point to this mechanic and say, “see? It’s right there in the lore of the world.”

If anything, I’m impressed that he doesn’t even try to hide his poor writing anymore, he just accepts it as part of his series.

Kirito Goes to School

Enough about the poor writing in SAO, let’s move on to what happened in this week’s episode. We’ve suddenly jumped two years into the future, skipping any adventure Kirito and Eugeo might have had, and bypassing their entire first year at the Swordcraft Academy.

We catch up to our heroes with only a few days left in their first year, and it would seem that they’re already at the top of their class. Along with skipping over their adventure, we also skipped over a tournament arc in which they beat all of their classmates.

The academy which they’re now attending is specifically for training future Integrity Knights, and this seems to be something mainly reserved for the upper classes of society. As commoners, Kirito and Eugeo are looked down on by many of their peers, though their skills are acknowledged by some upperclassmen.

Both boys have been taken in by upperclassmen as their disciples, but since I don’t believe Eugeo’s mentor is of any importance, I’ll be skipping over him. As for Kirito, his mentor is Sortiliena Serlut, the second-ranked student of the graduating class.

Along with her sword, Sortiliena, or Liena for short, uses a whip. For some reason I feel like one of the Integrity Knights we saw earlier in the season used a whip as well, so perhaps her whip isn’t due to pure personal preference. She also wears all purple, because character color-coding is a thing.

Sortiliena Serlut from the anime Sword Art Online: Alicization
Sortiliena Serlut

Despite how powerful she apparently is, Liena has never defeated the top-ranked student of the graduating class, Uolo Levanteinn. However, as I already mentioned, the power system in the Underworld is completely based on how much you believe in yourself, so if she simply believes she can beat him, she probably will.

On the other hand, this means that if someone is a complete narcissist and doesn’t even recognize the possibility of their own defeat, like Kirito, they’re essentially immortal. Uolo Levanteinn is probably one such person considering he appears to be a minor antagonist.

Much like how Liena has never defeated Uolo Levanteinn, Kirito has never managed to defeat Liena over the entire year the two of them have been sparring together. At first glance, this would seem to imply that Kirito has more training to do before he’s able to be the strongest swordsman, but who are we kidding? This is SAO.

It turns out that Kirito could actually defeat Liena any time he wanted if they stopped using wooden sparring swords and actually used real swords. In fact, Kirito is so strong that even the legendary Blue Rose Sword isn’t strong enough to keep up with his skill.

Gigas Cedar Sword

Speaking of swords not being strong enough to keep up with Kirito’s skill, he commissioned a special sword forged from the tip of the Gigas Cedar. This piece of the Gigas Cedar is what Kirito was carrying on his back at the end of the previous episode.

One thing I don’t understand, however, is how this new sword can be more powerful than the Blue Rose Sword which was used to cut down the Gigas Cedar. I guess the Gigas Cedar would could be hardened slightly, but it’s not a metal so how much can it’s hardness really be increased?

After receiving his new sword for free from the weaponsmith, Kirito then needs to test it out right that second even though it’s forbidden to do any sort of training on the mandatory day of rest. During his practice, he accidentally gets mud on the shirt of Uolo Levanteinn, who then challenges him to a duel.

This duel will be using real swords, and won’t be following the standard duel rules of stopping short. Instead, the first opponent to draw blood wins, which obviously Kirito agrees to because he knows he can’t be defeated due to his special ability: Protagonist.

In the next episode, we’ll be getting the fight between Kirito and Uolo Levanteinn, but I’d caution against getting your expectations up for it. It will likely be a fairly short fight and the animation won’t be anything especially special compared to the rest of the series.

Conclusion

I know this post is shorter than most of my other recent ones, but I don’t feel like there’s anything else about this episode that I need to mention. It was a pretty standard episode overall and not much actually happened. Instead, it basically summarized everything we missed during the two-year time skip.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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