Brand New World, Same Old Kirito
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Action, Game, Adventure, Romance, Fantasy
- Airing Date : October 2018 – ongoing
- Studios : A-1 Pictures
Sword Art Online: Alicization Introduction and Story
Kirito and his friends are back once again for another dive into the virtual gaming world! This time, Kirito is helping with a project known as Alicization, testing the limits of the human soul. When an accident causes Kirito’s brain to sustain serious damage, he vanishes from the hospital, sending Asuna Yuuki and his other friends on a search that will lead them halfway across the world. In the meantime, Kirito wakes up in the virtual world he has been working in, unable to return to reality. He soon finds himself on a quest with his new friend Eugeo, to retrieve an old friend of theirs from a mysterious fate…
1. Animation Quality
Once again, A-1 Pictures has done a great job with the Sword Art series, getting consecutively better with each arc they work on. The characters are crisply drawn and their movements are fluid, making them realistic despite many of them being nothing more than virtual characters! The virtual world that Kirito and Eugeo travel in is beautiful, with the background scenery done far better than any other in the Sword Art franchise. While there is a certain episode including more graphic content than any of the past arcs, the rest of the action scenes are executed perfectly, bringing back the updated style we saw displayed in Ordinal Scale.
2. The Music is a Perfect Accent to the Action
Sword Art Online has been consistently good in the music department, and the Alicization arc is no different! The music coincides with whatever is happening in the anime and adds tension, despair, or sadness when it needs to. The same themes from the older arcs come back into play here and there, reminding the viewer of the good moments in Sword Art. And with LiSA’s opening and ending themes once again capturing the feeling of the anime perfectly, the Alicization arc is a delight for your ears throughout each episode!
3. Promising Setting
You may have thought we’d seen it all when it comes to virtual settings in Sword Art Online, but the world that Kirito and Eugeo find themselves in is actually unique enough to be interesting. Most of the characters in this world are AI souls, grown in the world until they developed into their own little civilization. The arc is moving in a direction of discussing not only morality through the eyes of these new people, but also the idea of creating life and playing god. As we learn more about how the world works in the new virtual game, we are all the more interested in its history!
1. It’s the Same Story - Again
Sword Art Online is plagued by its original Aincrad arc, so that even when the story seems to have brand new ideas, they are really just a copy of the same story. Kirito wins every fight he participates in, being just as overpowered as usual. Alice, who seems as if she could be a really interesting and strong female character, is merely the damsel in distress and device for Eugeo to start his journey, much like Asuna became as the first arc ended. We are interested in this brave new world Kirito has found—but not if it is going to be exactly like all the other Sword Art story plots.
2. No Real Character Development
You would think with how long some of these characters have been around that they would finally learn something or grow—but you would be wrong. Kirito is the same bland protagonist who wins at everything he does and preaches his heroic ideals to others. Meanwhile, Asuna and the other characters from Kirito’s earlier adventures merely serve as the background exposition so that viewers will know what is going on. The only character who has any real change is Eugeo, who manages to overcome his programmed thoughts to fight for justice; yet even then, he seems to go right back to how he was before, letting Kirito take the lead yet again.
3. Slow and Lengthy Exposition
While there are parts of the Sword Art series that could have done with more explanation, the Alicization arc has more than enough exposition for all of them! The moments where Asuna is learning about the project seem to drag on. This arc has a few interesting parts, but everything seems slow and weighed down by the overall pacing. Despite skipping over most of Eugeo and Kirito’s journey to the capital, everything about the anime seems to have slowed down considerably, even the characters’ urgency to complete their quest.
The first cours of Sword Art Online: Alicization is probably the best of the series in visual and musical terms. The story starts out interesting enough, but the characters never change and neither does the plot, making this just another anime in which we see Kirito win all his battles. We hope that the second cours will improve upon these issues.
What did you think of Sword Art Online: Alicization? Let us know in the comments!