Sword Art Online: Alicization

Sword Art Online: Alicization

Sword Art Online: Alicization anime series cover art featuring Kirito, Alice, and Eugeo
Sword Art Online: Alicization

Overview

Sword Art Online: Alicization is the most recent season of the isekai series, Sword Art Online. It’s two cours long, and has a sequel scheduled for the end of 2019 titled, Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld.

I have a lot of problems with SAO: Alicization, which we’ll get into in a later section, but I think my biggest complaint is with those light novel readers who claimed this was the best arc of the series thus far. I’d actually argue that this is the worst entry in the series, and that’s saying a lot considering the previous two seasons included Alfheim Online.

So, what’s the general plot this time around? Kirito gets stabbed on the street for provoking a murderer and not realizing that he doesn’t have a sword. He’s then placed into a coma and his consciousness is connected to “the most realistic video game yet.”

There he makes two friends, Eugeo and Alice, but Alice breaks the laws of the world and is kidnapped by the government. Kirito and Eugeo then set off on a grand adventure to rescue Alice from her captors.

Except, their grand adventure never happens because as soon as they set out from Rulid Village there’s a two-year time skip and we meet back up with the boys in fantasy high school. Then, after being expelled for murdering their classmates, the pair have to fight their way through 100 floors of a tower to the final boss.

There’s also a magic system in this world known as the Sacred Arts. It’s pretty important for just about everything that happens in the series, but it’s never actually explained and makes no sense whatsoever. As far as I can tell, it’s just put in there to be used as an excuse for why things that don’t make sense are happening.

You have things that seem normal, like creating a light source using magic. And, then you have turning hundreds of people into swords, combining those swords into a sword robot, and then having Eugeo turn himself into a sword that can fly around and fight the sword robot.

Characters

The protagonist, Kirito, doesn’t really need an introduction at this point. The major differences regarding him in this season are that he now uses a wooden sword from a tree he chopped down with Eugeo, and his ability to get stronger just by saying he’s the strongest is actually a viable strategy this time.

Seriously, it was explicitly explained that you can get stronger in this world simply by believing that you’re now stronger. This means that someone with a god complex like Kirito is essentially invincible.

As for Eugeo, he’s kind of like what you would expect a normal protagonist to be like. He’s strong, but he actually had to work to become stronger and overcome his flaws. He also uses a legendary sword known as the Blue Rose Sword which has ice abilities.

Overall, Eugeo is just a much more interesting and engaging character than Kirito. I really wanted to see a bromance between them while they were adventuring together, but since we didn’t even get to see their adventures this wasn’t to be.

Kirito and Eugeo from the anime series Sword Art Online: Alicization
Kirito and Eugeo

Alice is the third of the main trio, and last character I’ll be going over in this section. She was originally from Rulid Village, like Eugeo and Kirito (sort of). However, when they were children she accidentally crossed the boundary into the dark territory, which is forbidden.

Because of that, she was whisked away as a child and brought up as an Integrity Knight in the capitol. Integrity Knights directly serve the leader of the Underworld, the Administrator, and have all their memories suppressed.

It seems pretty clear that Reki Kawahara was into the Fate series when he came up with Alice. She’s just a combination of Altria Pendragon and Jeanne d’Arc both visually and personality-wise.

Issues

So, what are some of the biggest issues with SAO: Alicization? My first complaint is that it isn’t the adventure series it advertised itself as, but I can live with that. Moving on, the magic system.

Magic systems are supposed to make a world more complex and dynamic. They aren’t supposed to be used so that your plot holes can be covered by saying that magic was involved. Further, the rules of the magic system change over time to reflect whatever plot hole currently needs to be covered up, which is part of the reason why it’s so confusing.

It’s been said before that although he writes about video games, Reki Kawahara has likely never played one. And this is still very clear in this season of SAO.

Yes, the whole system of people becoming stronger or gaining new abilities just because they believe they’ve gotten stronger or gained new abilities is stupid, but it’s only really used during the school section. The real flaw in the magic system comes at the end of the series when anything is fair game.

As I’ve already mentioned, there was a fight between a sword robot and Eugeo in the form of a flying sword. The Administrator also has her arms cut off by Kirito and then uses her hair to fight even though this wasn’t previously something that was possible.

Also, the Administrator is just always naked. Maybe she’s like Ekoda-chan and just doesn’t want to have to do as much laundry.

Aside from stupid things that have to do with magic, there’s also plenty of stupid non-magic things. For example, Kirito has some superhuman physical abilities. We also saw this in SAO -Ordinal Scale-, but it might be even more extreme this time around.

It’s hard for me to really put some of these scenes into words to use as examples, so instead I’ll just say go watch the scene of Kirito and Alice scaling the outside of the tower. Then, after watching that scene, I encourage you to try doing what Kirito does for yourself and see how it works out.

Then, there are the other issues which aren’t related to how the story was written, but instead how the anime was created. There are a lot of particle effects, to the point where it detracts from the visuals. And, all of the sounds in the series are bass-boosted.

I’m not sure who thought that two swords hitting each other should sound like that, but they should reevaluate their whole life. However, I will say that this whole bass-boosted sound thing isn’t exclusive to SAO: Alicization. I’ve noticed a decent amount of other anime doing this as well, and I just don’t get it.

Conclusion

Overall, Sword Art Online: Alicization is a 3/10. It has its decent parts, but that’s about it. I don’t think I’d say any part of the season was actually good.

But, I know there are still a lot of SAO fans out there who will defend this series, so let me know your thoughts down in the comments. Am I being too unfair (spoiler: I’m not), or did I raise some valid issues with this series? Also, are you looking forward to the next season of SAO: Alicization?

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