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Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld Anime Cover

Score: 7.82/10

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld [DUB]

Eng Title : Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld

Alt Title : Sword Art Online: Alicization 2nd Season, Sword Art Online III 2nd Season, SAO Alicization 2nd Season, Sword Art Online 3 2nd Season, SAO 3 2nd Season, SAO III 2nd Season

JP Title : ソードアート・オンライン アリシゼーション War of Underworld

Year : 2019

Genre : Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Game, Romance

Season : Fall 2019

Status : Complete

Rating : PG-13 - Teens 13 or older

Episodes : 12/12

Duration : 23 min. per ep.

Studios : A-1 Pictures

Synopsis

Despite the defeat of Quinella—the pontifex of the Axiom Church—things have not seemed to calm down yet. Upon contacting the real world, Kazuto "Kirito" Kirigaya finds out that the Ocean Turtle—a mega-float controlled by Rath—was raided. Due to a sudden short-circuit caused by the raiders, Kirito's fluctlight is damaged, leaving him comatose. Feeling insecure about the people at the Axiom Church, Alice brings the unconscious Kirito back to their hometown—Rulid Village, disregarding her banishment due to an unabsolved crime. Now, Alice is living an ordinary and peaceful life close by the village, wishing for Kirito to wake up. However, tragedy strikes when Alice notices that the Dark Territory has already started to invade the Human Empire. Reassuming her previous alias, Alice Synthesis Thirty, she promises to defeat the Dark Territory in order to defend the world that Kirito and Eugeo worked so hard to protect. [Written by MAL Rewrite]

After taking two seasons off, the adaptation of Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld / Sword Art Online: Alicization 2nd Season arc now continues as it delves into the second half of the massive arc, which constitutes an adaptation of novels 15-18. Even though the basic flavor of the franchise is present, this is (for the next cour at least) going to be a very different series than it was in the first half, or really, in any previous installment. That’s because, for better or worse, Kirito is no longer the focal point character. For the moment that duty instead falls to Alice.

To be sure, Kirito is still present and having a big impact on things. After all, even though he’s so out of it that he can’t vocalize beyond the occasional gasp, he is still the motivation for most of what happens in this first episode. (Notably, Crunchyroll is listing this as “War of the Underworld” episode 1, while HIDIVE lists it as season 2 episode 1 and Funimation lists it as episode 25.) While Alice doesn’t exactly show that she’s in love with Kirito, she clearly feels a great bond and strong responsibility towards him, even more so because she know that she’s the only person who fully understands exactly what Kirito did for this world and how much it cost him.

The way that this and other factors isolate Alice from everyone except Selka and her dragon is the foundation of Alice’s character in this part of the story, and the anime adaptation does a superb job of capturing that – possibly even better than the source material. This is not the bold and proud Integrity Knight that we saw in the latter stages of the first half, but rather merely a girl who is trying to live, just as Kirito and Eugeo had hoped for her, but also seeking something new to believe in. That she has not taken care of her right eye, even though she undoubtedly has the power to do so, is also a detail laden with potential meaning. A form of self-punishment perhaps, or maybe a reminder that she had broken free of the systems control? A bit of both, I think. Regardless, even though Alice was great with her shining pride, showing this aspect of her provides a lot more depth to her characterization. It also shows that she is as capable as Asuna is of carrying the story in Kirito’s comparative absence.

The adaptation choices made here are also interesting. Director Manabu Ono and his staff decided to skip the first chapter of novel 15 and instead start this part of the arc at the point where Alice becomes the focus. This was absolutely the correct decision, as it maintains a firm connection to what happened before and allows for the firm reestablishment of the arc’s namesake character. The title of the next episode indicate that the story will continue into the raid on Rulid, so presumably it will come back and pick up the content that was skipped over (which introduces this part of the arc’s main villain) at a later point; with 23 episodes to adapt just four novels, I can’t see the series skipping content sufficient to constitute most of an episode on its own. There are a couple of other adjustments on minor details, including playing out one scene that was summarized in the novel, but the only change of any significance is an omission that Alice was planning to relocate after Eldrie’s visit, and in the grand scheme of thing that’s still a negligible change.

The technical merits seem to be on the same level as the first half, including an amazing cabin design for Alice and Kirito’s dwelling, some vibrant color work on the autumnal trees, and effective musical choices. Together they do an excellent job at conveying the various emotions present here: warmth, fear, frustration, and melancholy. Overall, this is a strong establishment episode for the next part of the story and about the best adaptation that could be hoped for of the relevant source material. You can also Sword Art Online: Alicization 2nd Season anime watch and download free.

Sword Art Online finally delivered. After years of mediocrity that’s polarized opinions: one faction in support of the apparently “different take” of Sword Art Online while the other pointing out the definite flaws in the series, one of the most popular anime franchises has lived up to the hype. I was a part of the latter faction for much of the time since the series blasted its way to popularity in 2012. And there were reasons for this: the series started off okay in the first half of Sword Art Online, but then fell off as it used sexualization to evoke tension and rushed through stuff quicker than its viewers could comprehend, in the second half of the season. The second season didn’t improve much on any of these aspects. In fact, it may have gotten worse. Sword Art Online: Alicization did start off promisingly, building up characters and the new world that Kirito was thrown into, but the same old issues plagued this season towards its end as well. There goes another season, and there goes another opportunity for Sword Art Online to improve itself. I was on the verge of giving up on the series as whole, but decided to give Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld a try. And to my pleasant surprise, this season did not disappoint. From start to finish, it had me excited for each episode, and finally there was some polished character development. It added on to the world that SAO Alicization had developed and enhanced the existing elements in supreme fashion. The issues afflicting the series as a whole were minimized, if not totally eliminated in case of some. The story continues where Alicization left off with Kirito being paralyzed following the events that had occurred. Tripped by guilt and inspired by Kirito, Alice makes it her duty to protect him and find every way possible to restore him to a conscious state. To this end, she’s abandoned her post as an integrity knight, and started living in a remote place with Kirito. On the other side of the world though, things begin to get heated up as an unknown organization is targeting Rath’s ship in order to gain access to Project Alicization. Because Kirito has been paralyzed, he’s not an active presence in the season. The main character of this season is most definitely Alice, and she carries the mantle of being the central character quite exceptionally. She’s developed a soft side, which we didn’t see too much of in the last season. And what lets her change is the fact that she’d been able to defeat the seal of the left eye. That’s the same thing that prevents Integrity Knights from going against the Pontifex. But with the Pontifex defeated, the other Integrity Knights too, have elements added to their characters. They aren’t the stale fighting robots that they were in the last season, and it’s been shown how circumstances have changed them. Having to fight the Dark Territory as a whole, they show different sides to their characters. The great thing about the way the characters have been handled this season is that all of their development is done in a realistic manner which makes their development actually believable and not just a switch in personality. The art quality is superb as is the animation. The fights have a lot of flair to them, and the effects have been done to perfection. As always, another new season of Sword Art Online brings more great soundtracks. One thing that’s always been good and never a cause for complaint throughout the many seasons and movies of Sword Art Online has been the soundtrack. Well, I guess the composer is Yuki Kajiura after all, and anything other than the best OST would be a disappointment when there’s her name involved. Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld just felt right. Finally, everything clicked for SAO this time, from story to characters to execution. Sword Art Online never had production issues, but managed to astonishingly fail in all of the other facets. This season just shows the immense amount of potential the idea has. There’s so much freedom in the way the story can be handled, and at times in the earlier seasons, Sword Art Online took this liberty to the extremes, never finding that sweet spot. War of the Underworld, though, found it and showed us the heights it can achieve. Let’s just hope this was a turning point, and the numerous following seasons maintain, or even exceed this quality. Because they definitely can.

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