An Attempt to Go Back to the Beginning
- Episodes : 24
- Genre : Action, Game, Adventure, Romance, Fantasy
- Airing Date : October 2018 – March 2019
- Producers : A-1 Pictures
Sword Art Online: Alicization Introduction and Story
Kirito is helping with an experiment to create a world of artificial life, one that he becomes trapped in when he is badly injured. The first resident he meets in this new world is Eugeo, a hopeful boy who wants to complete his life task so he can find his childhood friend Alice. Kirito and Eugeo become friends quickly, and upon completing Eugeo’s task together, the two set out to become knights and track down Alice. They soon discover that the world they are in is controlled by one of its earliest residents who has taken control of a central tower and wiped the memories of the knights serving under her. Kirito and Eugeo fight their way up the tower to this Administrator, trying to save Alice and help many of the knights they encounter along the way.
Sword Art Online: Alicization starts with Kirito encountering yet another virtual world he must save. This anime is reminiscent of previous arcs in the Sword Art Online series, though the animation is greatly improved and there are a few graphic scenes. Many of the episodes could be overlooked due to the repetitive nature of this franchise, but the final battle with Administrator and its result brought about a more emotional side to Sword Art Online, one that we had lost in series like Gun Gale Online.
Eugeo is one of the main characters and raised in Alicization, lending a unique perspective to the world he has grown up in, even as he begins to wish for change. Though he is often overshadowed by Kirito (like everyone ever in Sword Art Online), he has his own dreams and makes his own decisions, especially as he and Kirito begin nearing their end goal. Eugeo’s death at the end of this season was the most emotional part of the anime and showed his worth as a character as he sacrificed himself to help defeat Administrator.
2. Updated Animation Style
In Sword Art Online: Alicization, the series has vastly improved its animation style. Though the franchise has always had a dedication to fluid fight scenes and precise character design, we began to see far more detail starting in Ordinal Scale, which has found its way to Alicization as well. The updated animation helps us see the virtual world more as Kirito does. And since Sword Art Online is all about combat, we are able to see the new forms of magic and weaponry with an appreciation for their precise beauty as well!
3. Administrator as Main Villain
Though we are not introduced to Administrator until the second half of this season, we can already see the impact she has on the world through the Integrity Knights. It has been a while since Sword Art Online had a villain so detailed and well thought-out. Administrator is just as dangerous as the other creators Kirito has faced in the past since she has access to all information and has lost every element of her humanity in the process. The final fight against her is understandably frustrating at first as she has all the power and knowledge of this virtual world on her side.
1. Plot Issues
Many people were looking forward to the Alicization arc and the story it would bring to Sword Art Online. Unfortunately, this anime adaptation is rather badly paced. While the premise is interesting, moments with Asuna interacting with the researchers end up being mere exposition, reducing her to a useless side character once again. The biggest issue can be seen with the Integrity Knights who felt like just one boss after another rather than unique and compelling characters Kirito and Eugeo had to face.
2. Kirito Always Wins…
Sword Art Online has a habit of making Kirito an overpowered main character. Once again, Alicization has gone along with this idea, though Kirito does have a few more humbling moments. We understand that Kirito is the main character and therefore should continue the story; however, it feels as though Kirito is never in any real danger since he can never really lose–even when it seems he has lost, like when Eugeo defeats him as an Integrity Knight.
3. Weird Character Development
Despite the brand new world Kirito finds himself in, many of the characters go along with the usual tropes of isekai anime. The most annoying and jarring character ends up being Alice. Though we meet Alice as an Integrity Knight in the tower, her time talking with Kirito converts her over to his side far too quickly and she does nothing of importance for the rest of the season after that.
Sword Art Online: Alicization was a promising and gorgeous anime with a great addition to its main characters in Eugeo and to its villains in Administrator. However, the usual tropes and attitudes associated with the series as a whole brought it down some, making us enjoy the story and characters less as it went on.
Let us know your thoughts on Alicization in the comments below!