SAO: Alicization Episode 8

SAO: Alicization Episode 8

Swordsman’s Pride

The main focus of this week’s Sword Art Online: Alicization episode was on the duel between Volo Levanteinn and Kirito. Last week, Kirito was challenged to this duel using real swords for getting mud on the elite disciple’s shirt. Because how else can you fix that?

After the duel is over, we then learn about the sacred arts via some flowers, and the episode ends with a look into the future, in which Kirito and Eugeo are now elite disciples themselves. This episode covers a lot, but the main thing I’ll be covering in this post is the power of imagination.

The Power of Imagination

I believe it was last week that we were introduced to the power of imagination, when it was explained that someone can become stronger simply by believing they are stronger. At the time, I mentioned how this was just a way to justify the poor writing of Kirito’s character, but it seems it goes beyond that.

Instead, I now see it as a way to justify the poor writing of the series as a whole, because this power of imagination affects everything there is in the Underworld. In this episode in particular, we see it used in two more unique ways, which are both interesting and stupid at the same time.

The first comes from the duel between Volo and Kirito. Volo’s family, the Levanteinns, pass down a belief that they have the ability to become stronger through having their swords absorb the blood of the strong. Because of this, Volo has been participating in one-point duels for his whole life.

What this means is that every time Volo draws blood from an opponent, he becomes stronger. However, this isn’t actually due to some special ability his family has. Instead, it’s all due to him believing that this is the case, hence the power of imagination.

Last time I discussed how believing oneself to be strong will make one strong, but this Levanteinn family ability shows that self-belief can be even more specialized than that. In theory, if you believe you can fly, you will be able to fly, or if you believe that eating cake will give you super strength, eating cake will give you super strength.

The limit of the power of imagination is imagination. This will become more important for the next way in which imagination is used.

But, while Volo’s sword skill is due to his self-belief, Kirito showcases a new skill in this fight which doesn’t appear to be related to something he believes in. During the duel, his sword magically grows longer and becomes a two-handed weapon. Why this happens isn’t clear, and there probably isn’t an actual reason, it’s just plot armor.

Volo Levanteinn vs. Kirito from the anime Sword Art Online: Alicization
Volo Levanteinn vs. Kirito

Sacred Arts

After the duel ends in a tie, some of the nobles who are Kirito’s classmates decide to take out their anger towards him by killing his friends, and by friends I mean flowers. Those flowers were the only friends Kirito has ever known, and now they’re gone.

Or are they?

At this point, we learn that the power of imagination isn’t restricted to one’s own physical attributes, but can also be directed at other people or objects. We’ve actually already seen this in the series before, it’s known as the sacred arts.

By believing and wishing for his beloved flowers to come back to life, Kirito is able to, with the help of the other flowers in the garden, resurrect his own flowers by using a powerful sacred art. So, this means that everyone can use sacred arts, but they just don’t know it.

But this brings up the question, what would a sacred art fight look like? Let’s say I wanted to use fire magic on Kirito; I would have to believe that Kirito is on fire. Meanwhile, to protect himself, Kirito would have to believe he’s not on fire. In the end, whoever believes hard enough wins.

Whether it’s using the sacred arts or simply building up physical abilities, the power of imagination is a force to be reckoned with. And, no matter which way imagination is used, I still stand by the fact that to be the most powerful person in the Underworld, you simply have to be the craziest.

If you have a god complex, you are a god.

But, there’s one more thing I want to bring up about the power of imagination before moving on. When Kirito revives his flowers, he uses the power of the other flowers around him to do so. This means that plants are able to use the power of imagination as well.

So, with this in mind, doesn’t that mean the Gigas Cedar was simply a tree that believed it was the biggest and strongest tree in the world? Too bad it didn’t use sacred arts to fight off Kirito and save itself from being cut down.

Elite Disciples

The school year at Hogwarts, or Swordcraft Academy, or whatever it’s called, finally comes to a close. Kirito gives his newly revived flowers to his mentor as a graduation present, and the next year rolls in, with him in the position of mentor this time around.

Both Kirito and Eugeo are now elite disciples, seats five and six to be exact. I can understand Eugeo not being in the top two, but how is Kirito not the number one seat? He fought the previous first seat and tied, and that was before he fully understood that all he has to do is believe in himself.

I’m kind of interested to see who seats one through four are, but at the same time I know I’ll just be disappointed when they’re revealed to be people whom Kirito could easily beat. At least Eugeo might get some character growth out of having to work his way up to the top.

As elite disciples, Kirito and Eugeo also have lower-classmen under them who basically just do chores it seems. They’re both girls, and I don’t remember their names because they were only around for the final couple minutes of the episode. Next time I’ll be sure to catch their names.

I was hoping that this year of the academy would fly by like the first, but now that I see exactly where the academy is located, I’m not so sure this will be the case. What I didn’t realize earlier was that Swordcraft Academy is actually located within Central City, Kirito and Eugeo’s final destination.

In fact, from their new dorms they can see the tower in which Alice is allegedly being held, which means that even once they graduate, there isn’t really any need for an adventure. There go all my hopes of a good adventure anime this season.

Goblin Slayer and JoJo’s Part 5 are both adventure anime, but I don’t really feel like the adventures are the main parts of those series, which I understand is strange to say about Goblin Slayer especially. I want something more like Made in Abyss in which the adventure is the focus.

Conclusion

What did you think of this week’s episode of Sword Art Online: Alicization? Do you think the power of imagination system is a good mechanic, or do you think it’s lazy and poor writing as I do? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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