|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Sword Art Online: Alicization
(11 episodes watched):|
'Why in the world is Kirito now a child, and apparently a child within a peaceful and idyllic world?' I asked myself as I watched the 47-minute first episode of Alicization. It seemed boring; for a while the impression I got was that him and some friends solving problems like how to preserve food with pre-industrial revolution technology might be the main theme. Major character Alice seems to have been transplanted there from Alice in Wonderland, hence the title. Eventually (I wish it hadn't taken so long) it becomes clear that this is an experience Kirito was having while attached to a new virtual reality system. The twist is that this system, STL, is incredibly realistic and apparently it disconnects you from your memory so that you don't remember much afterwards (and presumably forget that this is just virtual reality while you are in the midst of it). It's easy to see how that would be a tricky business and people might be traumatized by experiences that never actually happened. I didn't completely grasp the role played by one's 'soul' in this. Back in the real world (and more conventional video gaming) Kirito has run ins with old enemies from seasons one and two of SAO. The fact that he now has a device that monitors his health implanted within him obviously wouldn't have been mentioned if it won't be important at some point in the story. My guess is that there's a conspiracy afoot to do something nefarious with STL, and it will be up to Kirito and friends to get to the root of it; and that he will run into his former friend Alice as an opponent at some point. So, for all its length episode one didn't make the premise all that clear; it struck me as neither brilliant nor terrible, and I will have to reserve judgment for now. But I must admit that I was glad to see another season of SAO, since they are generally of above average quality.
In episode two Kirito finds himself back in the game where Alice was arrested, but six years have passed. Also, he retains his real world memories, but for some reason can't log out. He runs into Eugeo, who apparently doesn't remember him; either he has forgotten, or a reset has been done, and the same scenario is playing out but without Kirito until now. It's confusing, but for the most part I find myself enjoying this SAO sequel which has a fairly clear ultimate goal which Kirito and Eugeo want to accomplish, namely to find Alice. They are confident that she is still alive, in spite of everyone being told six years ago that she would be executed.
In episodes five and six Azuka and the others conduct a real world investigation into just what is going on after Kirito is mysteriously moved from his original hospital to an unknown location. As is often the case, the details of the explanation were confusing, especially since I have yet to buy this notion that computer software can read a person's soul. But the basic explanation made sense and the story remains interesting and entertaining. In episode seven we switch back to Kirito and Eugeo's story. We now have an idea why Kirito is here though how the adventure he is undergoing will fix his problem remains unclear. He's aware that he's in a virtual reality, but cannot remember how he wound up there or much of what his real world life is like. Two years have passed in this VR (but that's OK because time moves at a somewhat faster rate there than in the real world). The two boys are now students at a swordsmanship academy, having earned scholarships via their unique 'Aincrad' style. They get into disputes and duels with asshole aristocrats at the school, but I don't see how these have anything to do with their goal of finding out what happened to Alice. We are already 3/4 of the way through a season, yet haven't learned a thing about what became of her back in episode one. At the end of episode ten she finally turns up; but she has no memory of either Eugeo or Kirito. Perhaps she has been brainwashed. But I can't help feeling that we have lost track of the main theme. Alice has been away for so long, and now feels so distant, that I don't feel all that great a need for her to be 'saved'. I guess the plot of this show is supposed to be about seeking an explanation for why several different characters have experienced memory loss of one sort or another; but it is confusing and I have little idea whether the answer will make any sense.
Last updated Saturday, December 29 2018. Created Wednesday, October 10 2018.