"Watch Alicization, it's SO much better".
Literally equally bad as the other seasons and movie.
Should have noticed that before, since the creator wrote the movie while he was writing this arc, and the movie is also terrible.
But no, I'm a complete fucking idiot, and decided to waste my time.
So now I'm wasting my time writing this. Enjoy the ride if you can.
Some scenes could be enjoyed as a comedy. They are absolutely hilarious, but these don't happen that often.
Reminder: if I don’t go into exaggerated detail, I have no argument and I’m a baiter; expect this to be very long.
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR EPISODES 1-10.
So Kirito is in this high tech virtual reality.
It starts off with blonde Kirito and kiddie Kirito cutting down a tree. This tree is literally the villain of the first arc, by the way. Then, Alice goes there and gives them food. That’s her personality: She cooks food, and is kind of responsible, I guess (So Asuna after the first arc, basically). [Kiddie] Kirito’s personality is slightly more childish, but mostly the same from the original. Blonde Kirito, aka Eugeo, is the same but slightly more responsible and more shy. There aren’t many things that distinguish their personalities apart.
Anyway, we get into a boring exposition dump (Just like in any other SAO season) that takes around 7 minutes. Conveniently, they explain the dragon, the good/bad guys, Alice’s backstory, his dad and what happens when you go to the evil land: things that literally happen and are explained again in the next 2-10 minutes. They were already aware of these things before. Why are they explaining these things if they already know? This is just a problem throughout SAO entirely. The writer doesn’t know how to deliver information to the viewer.
So something, something, they want to go for some ice somewhere, and it could be in some cave apparently. They go in a cave where the [dead] dragon is, grab some ice and realize they are lost. They go through a random entrance of many and it’s the evil land.
Then they see two good/bad guys fighting. “So the guy in dark clothes is from the dark organization”- the kids say. The bad guy falls and points at the kids. Alice runs to him, even though he’s the bad guy and that’s the evil land, falls, and her fingertips touch the evil land. It’s so over-dramatic that it’s comical. If they made it less dramatic, I would have taken it seriously.
Next day, the good guy goes for Alice to arrest her in some kinky handcuffs. They also explain again that the mayor is Alice’s dad, by the way. Kirito tries to stop him, but the other guy is too powerful. Eugeo also tries it but is stopped by an “Alert System” he has implanted. Why didn’t those work when they were getting close to the evil land? Even though they over explain most things, I’m still left with questions.
Kirito wakes up from the virtual thing, then goes to GGO. Mostly uninteresting choreography. Also, weird to see Kirito in the girl skin while everybody else has a model that is exactly like in real life. Another plot-hole, I see.
So, Sinon asks Kirito [and Asuna] to go the bar another day to ask him something/talk. Why don’t they stay there to talk? Oh, right! Because then he couldn’t die.
So they go to the bar and there is ANOTHER exposition dump. It goes on for 4 minutes, then Asuna interrupts, then it goes on for another 7 minutes. They aren’t even explaining necessary plot points, they are just wasting my time here.
Then, Kirito and Asuna go outside, mention more stuff and the last bad guy from GGO appears, with an injection of poison, somehow (they forgot that plot point from GGO). And the moment where Kirito tries to grab his sword is hysterical. How could the show screw up the tone so badly? This is comparable to the homing bullet in GGO.
Bad guy runs towards him, Kirito pushes Asuna, grabs the umbrella, and instead of Kirito going for the chest (because the bad guy wouldn’t have reached him that way and stopped) he goes for the leg and gets injected in the heart. Hilarious. Also, I noticed that when Kirito stabbed the bad guy, a knife effect was heard. Great sound design!
Episodes 2-6 are very boring (Tree is the bad guy until episode 4). They barely even advance on episode 4; little development that won't pay off happens, and nothing interesting happens.
Some things I will mention however:
1.- Kirito still instantly trying to grab his sword is hilarious.
2.- The part where Kirito is scared because of his bleeding arm? He just uses it later like nothing happened (it's later explained, but the explanation is so ridiculous OMG).
3.- When Eugeo gets hurt in the goblin fight, Kirito talks to him for a minute straight when there is a giant, expert, pissed off goblin right there behind him. It ruins the tension.
4.- The scene where Alice appears behind Kirito is ridiculous. No explanation could mask how stupid and convenient it was. It's just there to explain where Alice is EXACTLY.
5.- "This tree is incredibly powerful, even the Rose Sword doesn't do much damage"
"Now it's instantly easy!"
6.- Why did Kirito need Eugeo to go to the capital with him? He could have went with literally anybody else after they finshed their easier calling. Wanting him because he's "familiar" is a terrible excuse.
7.- Eugeo's training with the sword is skipped over, just like any moment when Kirito "trained".
8.- The security for The Ocean Turtle was really weak.
9.- Asuna is still ruined (she was somewhat healed in season 2, but got fucked up again in Ordinal Scale). She hates the guy that made the AI for war, but doesn't hate the guy that killed thousands of people "because she could spend some time with Kirito" and "her selfish needs".
10.- The characters just mention confidential stuff to their friends like if it didn't even matter.
11.- The SCI-FI in this is completely stupid and overwritten (guys the souls/fluctlights are tubes of light or some shit. Very necessary info, according to the show).
Episode 7 really shows how all the problems from the first two seasons are still present.
Time skip… Fuck me.
Literally one of the main problems of SAO is now necessary. Why bother for character development? Or good pacing? “But in the novels-“. I’m criticizing the show, not the novels. And the novels also has time skips, right?
We are told literally everything that happened in those two years in the form of exposition. Why even care about showing a story when we could just have a character on screen explaining the entire thing for 50+ episodes? This is so bad.
And then we are force-fed EVEN MORE exposition. This is a more insulting version of exposition, however. Not only are the things mentioned stuff we and the characters already knew about, but they even mention the most basic things imaginable. “If you are low-level you can only do simple spells, but if you level-up you can do more complicated spells”. This is another main problem from the first two seasons. The show acts like the audience is mentally challenged,
“If you believe in yourself, your power will amplify many times, to the point where you could rewrite the laws of the world”… People lied to me. The show hasn’t gotten any better, it’s just as bad as ever. People actually defend this. Wow.
I don’t care if another shitty show made by the same creator is related to this concept (Accel World), it’s still the most stupid thing I’ve ever seen in any show.
We get a fight with no tension. The choreography is pretty bad, too; only one character is shown on screen receiving/giving hits at a time, and the red lines feel very out of place overall. Animation is good, as usual.
When the fight finishes, we get some dick-sucking for Kirito in the form of words. “You have shown me that my sword-fighting isn’t perfect (even though I’ve been training since I was little and you haven’t shown me anything specifically but let’s just ignore that). You haven’t shown you’re true potential. BLEH BLEH BLEH”. Just like the first two seasons…
Nothing happens for a while, but then two of the most cliché characters show up, and clichés are unbearable to me. They also piss me off because they are completely unnecessary characters.
OVERDRAMATIC BREAD EATING.
Now Kirito shows some flowers he’s planting for Liena in the garden.
Then he gets a sword that was being worked on for a long time and wasted more resources than usual for free, just because he can hold it: Literally.
Then he trains with the sword and accidentally gets dirt on Uolo Levanteinn: the biggest cliché character so far. “Hey you got dirt on my shirt, nOw We hAvE tO dUEl”. And Kirito agrees to his conditions that “could kill him” because he is as cocky as ever and he will not get hurt because the plot still needs him.
Now for episode 8.
We get what is essentially a recap before the fight, but in the moment that Liena grabs Kirito’s shoulders, her mouth is very out of place for 15 seconds.
This fight has the shittiest choreography in the entire show. Uolo screams, and Kirito can see what Uolo feels? Not very well explained, but hilarious nonetheless. Uolo slowly swings his sword forward, and instead of dodging it he attempts to parry it three times (which means clearly enough time to dodge but whatever). Kirito imagines all the bland characters he’s met, and that gives him enough power to stop it. Has he never done that before? Because he could beat Liena if he wanted to. Why has he never used the power of imagination before? Or did he use it before and the show just forgot? Confusing as hell.
After some more laughable choreography, the battle is stopped. Why even make it a cliff-hanger? This was disappointing and short as hell.
Didn’t Kirito win though? “First blood”, right?
Also, most background characters looked so uncanny/goofy during this battle.
Then we get into 2 minutes of exposition for Liena.
Also, Gorgolosso doesn’t do anything for episodes 7-8.
After the exposition scene, Kirito goes outside and meets the two cliché characters. One of them gives Kirito one of the flowers he planted, all ruined. I can’t feel anything for the flowers if they were introduced one episode before and this was their only part in the story. Also, the flowers suddenly bursting was funny.
Kirito crying over flowers?
Then some Deus Ex-Machina voice comes and says “Yo, you gotta imagine stuff, something, something, don’t give up”. Kirito explains what he was just explained and the flowers are restored. Yay, I guess. We spent 6 minutes in the garden, somehow.
Another battle with nice animation and terrible choreography happens. We don’t even see swords hitting until the last blow. Liena just had to believe in herself to win. This sentence is stupid.
Kirito gives Liena the flowers.
We are introduced to two bland waifus that act the exact same way, and the episode ends.
This Episode feels very long and stretched out. Some users mentioned that it’s because after the last scene of this episode a lot of important things happened, and they didn’t want to end it on a cliff-hanger. But in that case, why didn’t they animate a little bit more of the content that was cut off? That would have evened things out without one part feeling too rushed and another feeling too slow.
Apparently the two evil cliché guys are actually #1/#2 there. But Eugeo without any imagination training could easily go against the second best guy, and most likely even win if the fight wasn’t stopped. This makes no sense.
Then, Kirito and Eugeo are invited by the two bland waifus that were introduced last episode. The one that isn’t as bland anymore is Tiese, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Kirito and Eugeo are told that one of the evil cliché guys are forcing a character to inappropriate acts. And this somehow relates to Eugeo? Were they planning on Eugeo knowing somehow? What if they didn’t tell him? They are the most cartoonish evil cliché guys I’ve seen. And somehow the things that they are doing aren’t recognized by the Taboo Index? You’d expect sexually suggestive acts to be priority if you can stop people from doing something before the act. This is just a cheap way to introduce the fact that some things aren’t picked up by the Taboo Index, mirroring laws and morals of the real world.
Then Kirito monologues the most basic and obvious things of laws/morals, and the characters act like it enlightened them and it changed their lives? The information was some of the most obvious things ever! Come on!
“Stay cool” was terribly foreshadowed. Kirito tells Eugeo to use it to say goodbye, but only on very important events. But why did Kirito say it before? Why not just say “Say ‘Stay Cool’ only when I’m ABOUT TO DIE” or something like that, if you’re going to have bad writing anyway?
Then they confront the evil cliché guys. They were planning on provoking Eugeo and Kirito, but one of them still breaks their cool occasionally for some tame shit. Weird.
At last, the final scene, where Tiese gets to shine, but in a terrible/fucked up way. The actual dialogue is the best in SAO, but the implications might be the worst. Tiese asked Eugeo for a future marriage proposal, to which Eugeo said yes, but he actually wants Alice, so Tiese will [most likely] be cucked later. Fuck this Soap Opera.
Episode 10. The worst episode of the entire series so far.
So little actually happens in this episode.
They talk so much and it's so unnecessary. Do they have to mention 3 fucking times that their arms are bleeding out loud?
Eugeo basically gets NTR'd for a while. This is exactly why the Fairy Dance Arc got so much shit talk, yet the fans are going crazy over this episode. SAO fans are weird.
Everything was so exaggerated: The bad guys' personalities that are so smug the entire time, the faces from a comedy scene, the goddamn tongues, the gymnastic jump to get to the bed, the blood went like a sprinkler, everything. I cannot take this seriously. I couldn't stop laughing.
Why was Alice facing the other way? Cheap effect that doesn't even work prevails over logic again!
Fans were hyping this episode so much yet it's the embodiment of why this show is bad.
Things I like:
1.- The few seconds that Klein was on screen, especially when he's talking. His VA alone shows a lot more personality than the rest of the show.
2.- Animation and OST. Obviously.
There is this argument going around that the first episodes are bad but after those it gets good. I cannot comprehend this argument, no matter how much I try.
Why would the first episodes be garbage and then it turns out to be instantly good? The first episodes of the show are still a part of the show (a big shocker, I know).
Watch it if you enjoy it, but in my opinion: Still garbage; always garbage.
Covers as much ground as it can, but doesn't go in depth with anything it introduces. Lots of pointless content and irrelevant characters. Dreadful, pseudo-intellectual dialogue. Wine is often being drank when these conversations are had. Various things being shown from multiple different perspectives, or rather; realities. Hardly any plot advancement because showing a million different things is prioritized above all else. Good moments are scarce and typically enjoyable only because they suck so bad, but in most cases, the thing is just idiotic in a highly boring way and that's the end of this story. No, I didn't accidentally post my 'Legend of the
Galactic Heroes' review under wrong entry, but am actually talking about Sword Art Online: Alicization. Show which I was supposed to watch ironically and laugh whenever anything happens, but the problem is that so often nothing happens.
[Setup - Basically sums up episode 1]
The story start off with wood chopping and sandwich making scenes. Fair enough, Kirito trains and the newest harem addition shows how she contains many essential "ideal female" characteristics, such as being able to make sandwiches and knowing how to read because she is smart. Well, I didn't laugh there, but the mary sue factors seemed quite potentially lol-worthy, and that was just the beginning so whatever, I watched more.
So anyway, these three kids (they are kids now and there is 3 of them, and I still don't know who the third is, 2nd: Alice) go in this cave where some dragon used to dwell and they steal some ice from him Iunno what the fuck is happening, but they get lost and eventually end up in this place called dalukuu dellidoly (dark territory in English), and apparently crossing the border there is not simply illegal but super illegal. Just so happens to be this Alice girl is also showing how she is bit of a klutz -- which is another ideal female characteristics if someone doesn't know -- and falls down so her 3 finger tips cross the border and gets sentenced to death/is kidnapped. Lucky for them the 3rd kid awakens his Sharingan this very moment and not all hope is lost.
After this we teleport back into season 2 of Sword Art Online (I guess) because Kirito is now an adult female or a man with ridiculously long hair in this one and there are lolies with guns and evil people wearing masks all around. This part was pretty fun because Kirito and his/hers buddies use light sabers and there is another dude here who has sharingan, I wonder who on earth he might be and how these things are relevant. This is me trying to connect the dots and at the same time my facial expression when watching it ._.
At this point I had almost dropped the series. I was like "holy shit, I swear this episode is at least 50 minutes long and never ends." but then I noticed it is actually a double episode and literally 50 minutes long. That didn't really help, tho, since I was only 20 minutes in.. but I wasn't technically wrong, so I continued.
15 minutes later I came back to reality and realized I had been watching a scene where Kirito and harem have this really important conversation about some LED lights placed in the human soul or something, and lots of smart science stuff about some nerdy shit / someone trying to explain something regarding another thing, but it was basically about time functioning differently inside virtual reality, mind teleportation and finally confirmed this whole thing was actually inspired by Alice in Wonderland, which I had accidentally taken as a meme for years.... Neat.
Well, at least this was followed with some cringe-ass confession scene which was concluded with a terribly animated kiss just to remind viewers that lots of deep love to be found here, after which some random dude attacks Kirito who then wakes up in the alternative kids world which seen in the beginning and is like "oh yeah, this is the nerdy science shit virtual WORLD I just had a 15 minute dialogue about." How convenient, chaotically random and still didn't make me laugh because too boring, and more like offensively bad than lol-worthy. At least his body in real world paralyzed or something which is kinda cool and also happened in season 1, technically.. boy I wonder if he can ever turn back normal..
We have NPC's - just like in many/any other video games, and just like in many cyberpunk series: they are becoming self-aware, influenced by feelings and questioning their purpose in life. The vanity, the thought-provoking content and emotional depth create us a narrative that is about as fun to watch as it is intelligent.
So far, the entire main plotline in this alternative world is practically incredibly slowly moving rescue arc that keeps on introducing new content and side tracks with episodic cliffhangers instead of trying to master or advance anything it already has going on. Pretty much half of the damn thing is slice of life or sol-like filler that serves no real purpose in the series, other than to make it more lengthy. And so far, the main plotline in the real world is basically also a slowly moving rescue arc that keeps on introducing new content and side tracks..... Well, I guess point delivered: some similarities exist among the plots. Great.
In terms of directing or whatever we want to call it, scenes change with so little continuity and start playing out so randomly that it becomes highly noticeable: it stands out. This thing hasn't been build on very solid basis or structured in a passable manner. This level of story telling and directing would not be praised were this a new franchise. For example, even though the main storyline seems to be going nowhere, the series still has lots of content and is overall rather creating the illusion of fast pace and eventful story while really nothing happens.
Perhaps my favorite part of the writing so far has been Alice's astral projection just teleporting inside Kirito's brain because I am not sure if that was actually foreshadowing regarding the nerdy technology shite or just her being used as a plot device to allow the story advance. By allowing it to advance, I don't mean it actually advanced because things like chopping trees are prioritized over such things. This is the part that offered at least some lulz. The melodrama is also incredible because after Kirito was attacked he became some type of vegetable in the real world and lots of girls are real worried and crying. Such pathetic, try-hard shit-writing it's hard not to laugh when the thing is essentially worse written than average fanfiction. I just wish this was the main side of the story. Maybe later episodes will turn this thing into some sort of Sword Art Online 0, a story about depressed Asuna. #not_a_reference I dream.
'The Devil is a Part-Timer', anime from 2013, anyone? So this time around Kirito has a nice little side job, making Jesus a Part-Timer, too. Hah! Kirito is being Kirito here. The difference being that this time around he is not the most flawless being from day one, which is kinda cool I guess, especially when considering how the training side of this thing has been among the strongest parts of the series thus far. Still sucks, tho.
His name is Eugeo! The third kid I mean. His role in the series is pretty much solely to tell Kirito some lore, fill him with information regarding the world and say out loud how impossible and things are and how amazing Kirito can be. Occasionally he also does some incredibly stupid decisions and fucks everything uppa. I am not going to spoil how badly, but I did laugh there.
Alice's sister is pretty cute so I guess that's something + that carrying scene [by Kirito, naturally] was flawless in every way. She is especially good when considering most grills from this franchise were never even worth that much. Too bad she ain't a main character. As a whole, the cast surely isn't among reasons to follow this masterpiece, but it's still kinda worth it for the papa swag factor and council of neko-eared harem girls disgusting about issues. It's truly fascinating to see how 5 fanservice figures and Kirito's "daughter" have meetings and make plans. "We totally matter and can do things."
The more episodes there are, the more characters whose names I didn't even bother memorizing there are. That kind of amazing stuff going on here. I don't find mentioning anything about them to be worth of anyone's time, so I won't. Originally I planned also to write a section about the dialogue, but then I remembered I already said in the opening paragraph all that needs to be said about it. [Dreadful, pseudo-intellectual dialogue]. It also does amazing job making me not to like any characters because it is just that nauseating.
Not the worst A-1 character design, but those CGI goblins are on another shitness level completely. The animation can be pretty rough and far from fluid. Cheap stuff, but also making me more confident that hiatus/split cours won't occur. The character movements are often awkward as well and again, CGI exists. From its color pallet and backdrops the thing also looks like other SAO series. The voice acting is meeting the same standards with earlier seasons as well. In terms of songs, big names in the making of OP and ED, as usual. BGM-wise, not much of it is present. Dialogue is the main thing that is being heard hear [fuck me, I know], occasionally some uber quiet "menu music" plays at the same time, or alternative terrible emotional song that convey feelings similarly as fart jokes deliver luls. Some based wobsie wob songs are present during action, but they surely could be better -- like everything else in the series...
I am glad I didn't choose a career as a timberman. I am not entirely sure why I am still watching this. I rarely drop anime series these days, but this one is definitely getting closer and closer of getting onto that list.
From invincible action heroes to divinely powered chosen ones,
from arbitrary powerup masters to "willpower over logic" crusaders,
from technobabble technicians to omniscient pseudo-strategists,
from plot-powered self-inserts to absurdly popular harem leads.
Perfect in every conceivable way... except in terms of actually being well-written or compelling. And therein lies the problem with so many of them. Being overpowered is one thing, but they suffer from something far worse: being boring. They simply come across as bland and generic.
And I am not referring to the fact that they crush their opponents with ease. What I am saying is that their personality, motivations and dialogue tend to be
dull. It is not just about the characters themselves though. It is rather that the way the narratives are written, these characters are not challenged to question their values or develop their wit in any significant way. They are not allowed to truly think.
But don't just take my word for it. Let's hear it from the man himself:
"A human being's greatest power is to think. It's more powerful than any great sword or secret move."
‒ Kirigaya Kazuto
You know what? Kirito is right. This is precisely the main problem here. In Sword Art Online, the narrative too often focuses on swords and secret moves (read: plot-based powerups) over actual thought.
And he must have first-hand experience. After all, Kirito is the patron saint of overpowered characters, and you probably know why. He is the best swordsman in the land by a wide margin. He obtains arbitrary powerups whenever the plot demands it. He has saved the day from random villains. He has won the affection of many girls for poorly established reasons. He knows random technical details that nobody else seems to. He might not be the absolute worst offender on the anime scene, but he is perhaps the most notorious, due to the runaway popularity of the franchise.
But the true measure of a character is not his list of combat achievements but his personality, wit, moral struggle, perhaps even ideology.
Kirito tends to selflessly save the day and help everyone. His antagonists are either comically evil or their motives are vague, incomprehensible, or otherwise poorly established. This is done so that we never have to question Kirito's moral superiority. He is the good guy, the hero, the shining knight. To enforce this, everybody seems to like him to an implausible degree, except for the aforementioned comically evil antagonists. Consider what this does to the narrative. Because most of Kirito's friends and associates adore him, there is little meaningful conflict between them, and meaningful conflict is at the heart of good narratives.
And note that we are supposed to take all of this unironically. We are supposed to relate to a nigh-perfect protagonist who never has to struggle with any moral dilemmas of any kind because he is always placed in a position in which the antagonists are over-the-top evil or their motives are incomprehensible.
And the emphasis is on "placed." We don't usually get to see different sides of Kirito ‒ aside from his role as a heroic savior ‒ precisely because he is always placed in situations in which he is inclined to become a heroic savior. As I mentioned, he is facing sub-par villains, and he is also provided with the convenient opportunity to defeat them. This is precisely why he comes across as bland. At least, he has so far in the franchise.
So what does Alicization do to change this? Maybe a little. The premise is a little less black-and-white than some of the previous iterations and presents some moral ambiguity, but it is still fairly clear which of the characters are intended as antagonistic. The narrative also reverts to old patterns in this respect sometimes. I'll get back to this later.
There is also another notable issue. It seems as though the author sat down and figured, "Hmm, you know what this show needs? More exposition infodumps."
...which the show was never lacking in the first place and which does nothing to resolve the actual problems with the franchise.
1) First, it is time for the glorious infodumps.
To put it bluntly, this show comes with encyclopedic lists of technical details. So have fun with rants about Fluctlights, Stacia Windows, the Gigas Cedar, the High-Norkian Style, and the Light Quantum Gate Crystal. There is no shortage of these infodumps, and soon enough you notice that another episode is gone just like that.
As an example, here is a quote from Kirito himself.
"Where do you think the human soul is located? [...] The brain is more or less a clump of brain cells, right? So where among the brain cells does the soul exist? All cells, including brain cells, are supported by a structural network. Apparently, they're called microtubules. Tubes. In other words, hollow pipes. And there's something sealed inside those hollow pipes. [...] Light. Light. A fluctuating light photon. And that's what comprises the human soul, according to Rath."
Is that how it works? Given the context of the story, I am going to be generous and assume that "soul" is a metaphor for memories, personality and other mental qualities that comprise a human being. This may be giving the author too much credit. Perhaps he really is referring to souls in a literal sense. Who knows?
Kirito calls these lights Fluctlights. The thing is, they don't seem to contribute anything substantial that would not already be conveyed by memories or other mental qualities. Every reference to Fluctlights could be replaced by words like "memory" or "mind."
e.g. "Artificial Fluctlight" -> "Artificial intelligence"
It would get the relevant meaning across even without the imaginary technology. If your dialogue begins to sound like like an engineering booklet when a simple existing description would have sufficed, you are doing it wrong.
Incidentally, it seems that one of the main points the show is getting at is the fact that people are who they are because of their memories. A fair point but one that has already been overused in speculative fiction. If you want to take that route, you need to beef up your analysis and related dialogue.
Now, don't get me wrong. I can enjoy world-building, but you should not flood the viewer with arbitrary facts for the sake of itself. The details of the world should be constructed so that they support the underlying themes of the narrative. The world-building should actually pay off. For instance, do we need to spend several minutes on the origins of a legendary blade when it has nothing of substance to contribute? In comparison, when the show explains basic facts about their society, the information is actually quite a bit more helpful.
That is not the worst of it though. It is not only about the sheer quantity of the exposition but the way in which it is told. There is a right way and a wrong way to provide this information. You should do it naturally, in a manner that actual people might use.
Listen to this dialogue.
"Who would've thought that after [insert event here], we'd actually [insert event here]? Sometimes I think I'm dreaming."
"Come on now. It's already been a year since [insert event here]."
How convenient. The characters are recapping the events out loud just when the audience needs the info. They go on for a while, listing various facts about their new pastimes and acquaintances. It is all screaming "This is exposition!"
Kirito comes across as a kind of Mr. Exposition sometimes, now more than ever. He is all about providing lists of random facts. He lists descriptions of things to the viewer without thinking deeply into their implications. And, incidentally, the other characters do very much the same, often even more so. Just listing facts all day, every day.
All those lines could have been spent on other things. They could undergo some inner struggle every now and then. There might even be interesting moral conflict. Or how about examining their relationships with other people? But nope. While those other aspects receive some attention, they are usually pushed to the side in favor of further infodumps. Character interaction is really bogged down by this. If you have people acting as though they are reading straight out of an encyclopedia, they become difficult to relate to.
Character backstories are sometimes treated in the same way. On one occasion, an important character is introduced by delivering an 8-minute flashback infodump on their backstory before ever meeting them. They have never even been mentioned before. You can probably see the problem here. Can't we at least wait until the character has been introduced normally?
Also, the 8-minute flashback in question is narrated by another person throughout. Why? As I was saying, the flashback should wait, but if we must go forward with it, at least show it from the perspective of the relevant character. Show, don't tell.
2) Furthermore, too much time and effort is spent on fight scenes that ‒ while visually fine ‒ contribute little to the narrative and are resolved in a fairly arbitrary manner.
When this is taking place, the dialogue also becomes very centered on explaining the flow of the battle and little else. One episode was almost entirely about swords. Swords clashing repeatedly with simple choreography (mostly people pushing their swords against each other), with the majority of the dialogue focused on swords, swordsmanship and all things related to the weapons in question. This is related to section 1) because much of this is yet another subset of unnecessary technobabble and infodumping.
Now, if you are a diehard sword fan, this may be acceptable. (Or not if you don't like their portrayal of swordsmanship, and I can't really blame you.) But what if you are not into swords that much? I mean, the technical details. You'll have to sit through endless infodumping on the subject. Sure, the word "sword" is right there in the name of the franchise, but come on now. Twenty minutes of non-stop ranting about swords is a bit too much. You know, even fight scenes could be used for character development, moral struggle, etc., but that would take a different approach to dialogue and inner thoughts. Or at least try to be wittier about it. Don't just list the sword techniques in a bland manner.
So what determines the winner of a sword fight? Finely tuned tactics? No, of course not. In this world, the best way to power up your sword is... strength of will. Yes. You can pretty much beat anyone if you infuse your sword with your imagination, emotion and various reasons to fight. Along with it, various names of sword styles will be mentioned, but they do not seem to affect the outcome in any consistent way, nor are they used tactically in any way that would generate interest.
As a result, the battles easily devolve into showdowns of plot power. The winner is the one favored by the narrative. This is far from rare in shows that involve action scenes or various powerups, so this should not come as a surprise, but that does not mean that we should let it slide.
3) And now for another fan favorite: over-the-top evil villains.
Here's another quote from Kirito:
"That attitude your father taught you, Tiese, in Eng... no, in sacred terms, it's called 'noble obligation.' Nobles, that is, those with power must use it for the sake of the powerless. Let's see, you could also call it pride. And that pride is more important than any law or regulation. After all, there are things that you shouldn't do, even if it's not forbidden by law. And on the other hand, there might be things you should do, even if they are forbidden by law."
This is a bit better than what we would usually expect of Sword Art Online. It is also relevant to the premise and underlying themes. You see, this time the author has come up with an eerie medieval rural dystopia ruled by a dogmatic church. If this sounds familiar, you may have seen one in any number of JRPGs or fantasy in general. Which isn't necessarily a bad idea if done right.
You could use this line of thought to demonstrate why dystopian dogmatic churches are, well, dystopian and dogmatic. There is also some shady manuevering going on in the real world. Maybe it could be applied to that.
Well, at least in theory. Guess what kind of evil action Kirito is referring to? As is tradition in Sword Art Online, the evil action is... sexually harassing a girl.
Yes. You heard it right. Out of all possible evil deeds out there, the author went with sexually harassing a girl. Again. Or rather beyond mere harassment and in an absurdly over-the-top way as well. If this sounds familiar, you must have been watching Sword Art Online because this keeps happening like clockwork. When the author wants to designate a character as evil or antagonistic, this is his go-to trope. The villains tend to commit sexual harassment or attempted rape, as if they wouldn't be evil enough otherwise.
The author does this because he doesn't want the audience to have the slightest doubt over who is good and who evil here. So the villains just have to go for the same old sexual harassment or attempted rape. It would not have to be this way. There are other morally questionable things in the world, but nope. Can't write about those. Is the author legally obligated to write about sexual harassment and attempted rape, or does he not know that other topics exist?
So what is Alicization supposed to be?
A straight-up heroic fantasy?
A technobabble infodump?
"We are who we are because of our memories."
...Is that really all? This is not enough. Instead of original or inspired, Alicization comes across as bland. Yes, there is a fantasy world out there, arguably fleshed out by the infodumps, but that isn't enough. You also need to do something interesting with the world. The narrative needs more substance.
Remember when I quoted Kirito earlier on the superiority of thought over swords? He said so in the context of applying critical thought to law and morality. Fine. So give him a proper chance to think about it in detail and apply it in an interesting way. Instead, he (and sadly us, the viewers) are subjected to endless lists of arbitrary facts that are meaningless on their own. Or we get to witness action scenes which are resolved by plot power or used as platforms for even more infodumping.
For all the talk about human souls, it is precisely what the narrative is lacking. Where is the humanity?
For those of you who are unaware, SAO is the ISEKAI that brought the genre to immense popularity. While respecting that it is some what of a pioneer, the story tends to drag on unnecessarily and almost constantly views it's audience as unintelligent by walking everyone by the hand through plot points rather than allowing us to infer what is happening through context. It's SAO, so not watching doesn't make sense, but keeping it as a lower priority view for this season is recommended.
While the art is enjoyable and clean, they've left out other potentially visceral aspects. The story and characters are nothing
new, though aren't they expected to be, and the sound is underwhelming. Not pair the vivid enough visuals with similarly heavy sounds seems like some sort of crime. Episodes keep leaving potential on the table to the point that they cause annoyance. I can see more enthusiastic fans of the genre being irritated during viewing. Passive viewing is simply the most probable way to watch this series, which isn't that surprise, but is a little disappointing.
So I decided to torture myself by watching another season of SAO, after being so disappointed that i dropped the second season halfway in (the end of the GGO arc), but I'm glad to say that this season exceeded my expectations.
The story has improved significantly and has an added element of mystery that is actually compelling. My only complaints being that there is quite a bit of exposition that could be done in a more interesting way and the second one being a bit with the direction that there may be occasions where the imagery may be slightly unrelated to the dialogue and a lot
of visual focus may fall on insignificant details, but it's much better than in the previous seasons (that's me nitpicking a bit, but that's usually kinda what separates masterpieces from other works).
The artwork is great, the artstyle is nice and polished and the occasional use of cgi only adds to the visual effects and it's used smartly to add more tension to fight scenes and overcome the limitations of 2D animation.
Another thing I'm happy that Kirito's character stopped being the center of the universe and has stepped back a bit (SPOILER ALERT) has taken a bit the role of a mentor and a guiding figure(END OF SPOILER). Overall his character has much more dimension showing that the writing has improved. THE KIRITO FANCLUB has finally more personality beyond just "OH MY GOD KIRITO IS SO COOL!!!1!" and it's established in just a few scenes.
Also praise whoever decided to tone down the fanservice to just 1 second of an awkward position in 1 episode out of 4.
So far I'm really enjoying it and i really hope it doesn't go downhill from here, cause it's going in a good direction
Here we go, i saw a lot of negative comments about this series' start.
Of all seasons, I think Sword Art Alicization is one of the best series of sao, I didn't like the second part of the the first season (Fairy Dance) and all of the second season too much (the movie was cool though).
Story 9/10 the story takes place in a AR world not in VR anymore,really nice to see the difference beetwen the augmented reality and the virtual reality (I don't want to write about the story cause i think i will spoiler something).
Art 10/10 aniplex never makes mistakes. The art is very
beautiful like the other sao.
Sound 9/10 I think 9/10 because the ending song is not good as the opening but i believe the second ending will be cool like all the openings/endings of this series.
Character 9/10 We see few new character as Eugeo,Alice, Ronye and Tiese don't worry we still have kirito,asuna,klein and the others.
Enjoyment 10/10 I was wainting for the series,after I watched the movie I was a bit scared that it could be like the sao II but thanks to aniplex it wasn't ,Alicization is really good like the first part of the first season or even better.
Overall 9.4/10 since i can choose only 9 or 10 i will give it a 10 cause after i watched 10 episodes I really like it and I'm sure it will become better.
As someone who is coming in attached to Sword Art Online because of the Aincrad Arc, who was let down by the Fairy Tale Arc, who felt GGO and the rest of SAO II was satisfactory, Alicization has done nothing but exceed my expectations. From the start, the world that was created around Kirito, Eugeo, and Alice was one that had me mesmerized. This was the world building that I saw glimpses of in the Aincrad arc, that I wish I had seen more of. From the details of the cove, to how the town looked, I was instantly drawn to this world. Although it
might have seemed kind of filler to individuals, the second half of the first episode, I can assure you, is integral to much later on in the story. Additionally, I understand that many people had problems with the cut-down time lapse of Kirito and Eugeo making their way to the capital, but honestly, plot-wise, this was easily the best choice for them to cut down budget wise. Additionally, say what you will, I believe that Episode 10 was built up to incredibly well from the previous episodes. The two minor antagonists, were essentially built around the character development of the world itself; they were individuals who used the Taboo Index to their advantage in order to carry out their ill desires, their human desires. I believe that the scene (I won't explain in detail) was extremely graphic, but in a way that was critical to the plot unlike Sugou and the Fairy Tale arc. I believe that the producers did an amazing job in truly building up the suspense and violence in such a scene, and that this scene was critical in furthering the plot development regarding Fluctlight behaviour. I would say that scene was more powerful than anything I've watched previously, and as someone who's seen shows like Goblin Slayer, trust me, this scene is messed up. Nonetheless, I believe it was executed extremely well by the show producers, and I can only look forward to see what's coming in store. Additionally, I believe the art animation, although choppy in some areas, is that fantasy vibe that captures Alicization well. You want the epic sword fights that you signed up for from the Aincrad arc? You'll get plenty of it. You want to hear the best soundtracks from the previous seasons come out remade, with a whole added kick? Done. You want to see Kirito start anew in a world where he isn't totally broken, and has to actually learn how to use the system and develop like a normal protagonist would? It's done. Sick of harem and fanservice? It's cut down immensely in this season. You want actual side characters that are constantly developed and not just shadows in the background? Eugeo, and later Alice are clear cut examples of that. Paying attention to every detail in the show rewards the viewer well, and it'll only continue to do so in the future episodes. I'm excited to see what the best arc of Sword Art Online has to bring, and I believe that this arc has redeemed the series from what has been an abysmal past season. If you liked the Aincrad Arc, and put up with everything after, you'll be rewarded for your loyalty to this series with Alicization. A 52 episode season isn't something that we get often in this day and age, and from the looks of the first 10 episodes, I can't help but get excited for the episodes to come.
This Sword Art Online name is no stranger to our ears, starting from video games and even animation. SAO itself now has two franchises, namely SAO produced by A1-pictures / original and "Gun Gale Online" produced by studio 3hz. After six The year since the first release of the anime this series has taken many people's attention not only in Japan but throughout the world and their popularity can be said to be the same as Naruto or One Piece. The fifth project from A1-Pictures studio adapted the advanced chapter "Alicization" in all chapters Online sword art such as progressive and others, this is the
longest of all the chapters and from the news I heard the alicization series was appointed as an anime which will have 52 episodes / at least 4 seasons.
Tells about Kirigaya Kazuto he is a hero who stopped Sword Art Online game which is a deadly game made by Kayaba Akihiko, after completing the SAO game Kirito lived his life casually he was also with his lover Asuna who was saved by him. But that happiness was not always Kirito to meet a former member of Player Killer from Sword Art Online he wanted to avenge the death of those who were in the player killer organization by killing Kirito, but Kirito was saved but he had to struggle to maintain the performance of his brain by entering the "Alicization" program designed by the STL company there Kirito became a village person who had two friends.
The storyline in this series is very long and moves very slowly, it makes some viewers bored with some very predictable clip-parts, in the first episode they are very good at packing several clips into a story that can be said to be a masterpiece but not always it happens right in the middle they lost it all.
Unlimited Budget Works is not just a name for ufotable studios. A1-pictures are also not inferior to ufotable studios, they crossed the line within themselves to devote all their abilities to this project and the results they could compete with very stunning graphic designs. Their CGI but A1-pictures can match them, regardless of how much money they use to make this series, which is clearly not a small amount of money left in this series, there are some CGI effects that we rarely encounter in other series and I'm sure they are working very hard to For the design of the characters I gave a negative value to this series, basically they designed the same characters by changing a number of looks like their colors and hairstyles to create new characters.
For the part of their voice that is very good seen from the quality of their voices in stark contrast to the characters they play to match it they must adjust the character they want to play especially the voice actor / seiyuu must fit in the role of character age, age is an important right in quality the voice of the voice must be made as closely as possible to the age of the character they are playing like Kirito who is seventeen years old while the age of the voice actor himself is not like that especially the voice actor also acts as another character in other series as well. This series has at least 4 seasons which means has four different opening and closing themes, the first theme "Adamaz" which was performed by LiSA was very good as always she was very passionate in singing high-pitched songs, in this series we came to the two voices we will discuss later.
In this series we have two new characters, Eugeo and Alice, they are childhood friends of Kirito in the world who are being developed by the STL company. For the voices themselves the studio has been thinking carefully about this which was designated to fill the voice of Eugeo's character and Alice is Shimazaki Nobunaga and Kayano Ai. I rarely hear Shinmazaki Nobunaga's name so I will jump to discuss this one voice, but for Kayano Ai you must have heard her voice in some interesting anime series from Kayano Ai that she can adjust the sound quota with The characters they will play. Back in the discussion of characters in this series who played protagonists are still the same, namely Kirito and Asuna, while for playing antagonists it has not been shown but for the time being I assume that the one who set up the "integrity knight" is an antagonist.
As a fan of manga and novels I really like the adaptation of the Sword Art Online series. They are very solid in adapting this series. The presentation of the action scenes they offer is very cool and full of surprises too. After the release of ordinal scale films I thought they had stopped to adapt the Sword Art Online series. because they have made a lot of profits in this business, but after I got the news that A1-pictures will adapt the advanced series Sword Art Online, which is alicization. For the continuation of this series, it is still in the working stage, hopefully in the future they can improve their performance in adapting this series.
so i decided to watch s3 after i watched the movie which i liked...s2 was a disaster and i thought that i never would watch any other sao related movies or series BUT i watched the movie and surprisingly liked it...so i thought about it and decided to watch SAO S3 and give this season a try and its not bad at all :D
STORY 7/10 :the story is a good one tbh...after s2's nonsense this story is actually what sao needs :D kirito is experiencing a new kind of game where he can separate his soul and thoughts from the real world....and in the new
game world he meets this guy Eugeo...they have a female friend named alice who was kidnapped due to the violation of rules and they decide to save her in a long journey :D
i find the story quit interesting to be honest...but i think it would have turned into a really better story if they would have given it a little more thoughts :D
ART 10/10 :i always loved sao's art..cute and charming *~*
SOUND 10/10 :i actually love the soundtracks....op and ed are great...the inst OSTs are perfect too...i never imagined that i would like the soundtracks of this season :D
CHARACTER 7/10 : so here we go...
kirito is much more stable than before...i mean what was that crapy s2 :/ just delete it already...i hated him after s2...here he became a character that i am a little more interested in :D :D asuna is back to her senses after the movie thats for sure :D
sinon is not a important character here thank god really -_- i don't care about her anymore so please let me keep this i don't care thing for her...please -_-
Eugeo a new character with an innocent personality and fighting spirit...he learns how to use a sword from kirito and he can actually fight like him somehow :D i like him...he is my favorite character in SAO s3 :D
and alice...we don't know so much about her...just that she is kirito and Eugeo's childhood friend in the game with a special healing ability :D
ENJOYMENT 8/10 :i enjoyed the most of sao s3's episodes not all of them but i didn't expect it to be enjoyable at all so 8 is a decent number for this :D
OVERALL 8/10 :so i'm actually enjoying this anime wo0ow...i never would have thought that this would happen...so if you liked SAO'S MOVIE be aware that you will like SAO's s3 too...give it a try :D
and for those who wants to know...the story is something new really...its a different season from S1 & S2 :) those who didn't like those two seasons might like this one idk :))
so here we are watching kirito does his gaming adventure again with a new MALE friend thank god :D Enjoy~~
This season of Sao so far is on par with the first half of the first season and its fix problem that people have with the previous season such as lacking world-building(I heard from the light reader that the world building is present in some arc).My complaint so far for this season is that the studio who are adapting this arc didn't include some character monologue such as Asuna, and it was her who solve where Kirito is in book 10. I really hate how the studio included anime-original scene during episode 5-6 subplot where they have every girl in kirito harem there having a
discussion about Rath project and Kirito condition. So far, this season is better than alt-ggo.
pro:world-building and addition of 2 news character name Alice and Eugeo
Con: Didn't give Asuna(best girl) justice in episode 5-6 subplot. When comparing her from the book material to the anime, Asuna from the book is way better than her counterpart in the anime.
Light novel Asuna> Anime Asuna
Idk why, but the art is kinda throwing me off than the ordinal scale movie
I recommended you to go to the Gamerturk youtube channel on youtube who do very well to explain where the anime didn't include.
As a TL;DR, if you absolutely hate SAO, you're still probably going to hate this. Its improved but still has some of it's issues.
If you think parts of SAO were good and others (*cough* ALO) were bad, this season is as good or better than the Aincrad arc.
The story and premise for this season were overall very interesting and helped build an incredibly interesting situation. I have a few issues with the story (mainly the IRL portion), but overall its 8/10, pretty good. As a light novel reader, I understand the anime had to gloss over some things, but overall I think they are
keeping a good balance of plot development and speed.
The art, sound, and animation are 10/10 as always with A1 Pictures. This anime is beautiful and well made.
Now as to why this particular season is arguably the strongest in SAO. Simply put, it has a lot more content and many characters that even Kirito has to respect. Things are darker, there's blood and gore. There's also many characters that are incredibly influential. As always, characters are rather static but some of them do change and grow; they're important.
That can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. This arc is based off of roughly 10 light novels as opposed to the usual 2. Not every single episode is filled to the brim with action; there's dialogue and character development. Rest assured though, there are plenty of epic fights in this show, especially in the upcoming episodes. People will complain that its too fast or too slow, just know that it has a lot to cover and that there are fast and slow parts.
Overall, As a LN reader so far I'm loving this season. There's plenty or things to look forward to and what's already there is very well executed. If you absolutely hate SAO this probably won't change your mind, but its a good story with fun to watch fights and a plot that explores what its like to be human; definitely an improvement from previous arcs. I'm slightly biased as this is the only series I can stand reading ahead, but I highly suggest you watch this.
I'm really sad that people give it a bad review because of the other seasons. This one is entirely different and better.
Alicization is clearly the best anime of 2018. The plot is good and you always want the next episode to know the rest. The characters are well written and they may be OP, but it doesn't matter. The story isn't filled by fights but when there's one, it still is good.
The music is amazing, nothing else to say about that.
THE DRAWINGS ARE AWESOME !!! I really liked SNK for the drawings and SAO managed to do even better than them.
Overall, I enjoyed this anime
more than any other. I hope it will last more than just one season.
(I'm sorry if there are some errors with my english)
**There are NO spoilers in this review**
Want to know why this is the best season? Read on...
-Note that it has 50 episodes and not 25 like previous seasons. It is a SINGLE story for the whole season.
-It starts slow, with a lot of focus on world building.
-It deals with aspects such as: what it means to be a human, should we treat any sentient life just like we would treat a human etc. It is quite fascinating.
-Should we apply ethics in scientific research and what are its implications?
-The story is very engaging, initially focusing on mystery and later shows real action.
-There is pain and blood in the fights. It makes it more engaging and makes you root for the characters. Later on story gets even more darker without resorting to plain bloodshed.
-The concept behind the underworld is a pseudo-science, just like concepts behind the previous seasons. But it is explained to the viewer in too much detail. So people who expect all out action in the initial episodes will be disappointed.
-Unlike popular opinion, the adaptation is in fact more rushed than the previous seasons. Previous seasons adapt around 2 volumes of LN per 12 episodes, but this season adapts 3 volumes for the same length of episodes. But as the story itself is slower paced it doesn't become a problem for the most part.
- SAO is well known for its animation and this season is even better in this regard.
- The colors used are eye popping and beautiful.
- The rare use of CGI looks really good, only bested by ufotable and production I.G
- The action sequences use actual movement and very less stills are used.
- The character designs in a few scenes are off and look different and in one particular scene, comical.
- There was a scene where blood disappeared from someone's shirt after few minutes of bleeding.
- In many action sequences, the frame of animation focuses only on one character. It makes the viewer unable to follow the fights well. This was a problem in previous seasons as well.
- Done by Yuki Kajiura. Need I say more?
The soundtrack only shines during action sequences. I felt the soundtracks used during SOL moments bland so far.
- All the three main characters get good character development at different points of the story.
- This season includes characters monologues whenever they are important. It allows sympathising with the characters and with their motivations more.
- There are two main villains in this season. (No, not the ones from episode ten). One of them is very interesting and is well developed.
- The supporting characters get less character development, similiar to previous seasons.
- The second "main villain" while not a bad character, is lacking and plain in terms of character.
- Many people may not like minor villains from episode ten. They have a purpose, but lack any depth.
I am a LN reader and I know exactly how this adaption is going to turn out. This season is the most enjoyable season among all the seasons due to the points I mentioned. The whole story is well thought out and planned for 50 episodes, which is rare for anime in recent years. So I recommend everyone who liked Aincrad arc to watch this. I will update with a full review once this season ends.
I'm going to get the good out of the way as quickly as possible. On a technical standpoint, the show looks and sounds good. the action scenes err of the side of over dramatic, but are still pretty solid all in all. If they had a decent story to work with, this could be great.
However, as usual with this series, all the mistakes have been made in the writer's room. They have a real opportunity to power down Kirito and make him vulnerable. Do they? Of course not! So is there ever any real tension for any of the fights?
Nope! Lord god Kirito will save the day with his trump card power, deus ex machina! Asuna is a badass, so lets stick her in the control room out of the way. Can they make it a whole season without sexually assaulting a female character? Nah! They decide to go two for one this time. They do a poor job developing new characters. The world building is messy at best. The crap that goes on in the real world is barely more realistic than what goes on in the MMO. This is a lazy, disjointed mess of a story.
I realize the screenwriters are trying to be true to the source material. However, this source material is bad. SAO, as a whole, is a perfect example of doing everything you can to try to elevate bad material, and still failing because no matter how pretty it is presented, a bad story is a bad story. People see through this shine and see all muck and mire beneath it.
If you want to be able to follow the online bashing another season will get, go ahead an watch it. But at this point, I seriously doubt anything could change.
SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR THE PAST FEW SEASONS AS WELL AS THIS ONE.
This review covers the newest season of SAO. I briefly mention other seasons.
This season has been one of my favourite from the SAO franchise however, I do have one problem with it.
-I don't like the fact that another sexual assault scene is in the new season. There were two in the fairy arc and another in the gungale arc. I wasn't shocked to see it as it has happened multiple times before thus it doesn't really bring a shock factor anymore so I don't really understand why it has to be in there. I
also find these scenes (especially this seasons)are very long winded which adds to the problem.
That said, the soundtrack and animation are really great and I do like the new characters they've added.
Obviously it's not perfect but I do think it's an entertaining watch. I would add more but the season is not finished yet.
First first off, this is like the third time I am posting this because "I didn't watch enough episodes before."
Okay, so first off, let me tell you that I have been an SAO fan for a while, as it will always have a social place in my heart, so if you take my review with a grain of salt that's fine.
STORY - 9
So far, the plot looks enticing, and with A-1 Pictures giving SAO Alicization 4 cours instead of 1 or 2, I don't suspect nearly as many plot jumps to happen as there were in SAO season 1. The working principles of the new
VR device, the Soul Translator (was in the trailer, not a spoiler), do open up a lot of potholes, however, but so did the concept of the Nervegear. I mean, microwaves?! As we are now 10 episodes in, I see that the story is flowing very nicely, and everything feels well-paced. Episode 10 was a shocker, and it's bumped my story grade up to 9.
ART - 10
The animation in the entirety of the SAO series as well as other animations by A-1 is always very good. Originally, I thought A-1 could only hold the first episode's animation quality for one or two episodes, but boy, was I wrong. This season is rivaling even Ordinal Scale's quality! On a WEEKLY basis, mind you! Maybe they can keep this up for a year (or longer, if the cours are split), and maybe they can't, but even still, I don't expect anything to look worse than an 8/10 by the end.
SOUND - 9
Likewise with the animations, the music in SAO is top notch. Somewhere in the middle of the first episode, it did sound kind of funny when Kirito waved his photon sword in front of the camera (almost like a fart, maybe it's just me), but other than that, I didn't notice any anomalies. As for the soundtrack, it does not disappoint, and fits relatively well with the scenes shown, even if a lot of the soundtrack is reused from previous seasons. After episode one, the soundtrack has been staying solid as well, and so have the sound effects.
CHARACTER - 8
Okay, so to a lot of people, the characters were the worst point of SAO, so I will try and be impartial here. During the first episode, I did not know which characters would get more time in the spotlight, but it still seemed as though Kirito was OP as always in VR, and Asuna was all over him. No, seriously. I nearly died laughing when she showed Sinon the thing about the heartrate, mainly because of her expression at that point. Bit creepy, but the reasoning behind it is cute, I guess. After three more episodes, I can already tell this will top even the Aincrad arc. For one, Kirito is not unbearably OP, and we get to see his struggles. To not spoil anything, I will just tell you to watch the series yourself. As of episode 10, I can say that characters are developing well, and everything is going great! Antagonists are EXTREMELY hate-able!
ENJOYMENT - 10
Like I said, SAO has always had a special place in my heart, and the first ten episodes have not changed that. If they have, they have made me like it even more! This season is sure to be great, and these first ten episodes (the first one being 47 minutes) definitely did not disappoint. I found myself waiting every week, wanting to know what would happen next. Even if you dislike SAO, I am literally urging you to try this new season out to, at the very least, neutralize negative feelings towards it.
OVERALL - 9
TL;DR - Definitely worth a watch, even if you are not an SAO fan. If you have not watched the previous seasons, you will definitely be lost for some parts, so watch them first.
i like to start by saying this is not your typical SAO
its not a kirito Harlem anymore. kirito not being the op MC that he trends out to be (season's half episode in at least not yet i'm sure it's just time being), New characters are not just there to make kirito look good on the other hand you could say some compete for his MC spotlight.
and most of all it's not just an online VR game anymore, Introduced Acton with all blood and gore (you know beheading and stuff). it's quite refreshing.
(fyi i mean these features with respect to the series
up until now)
Overall i'd say it's more mature and entertaining SAO with a solid story line.
if you follow the series or enjoy any previous SAO be sure not to miss this.
i'm sure you're going to enjoy it.
The makers of SAO have corrected their former mistakes and managed to put out a good quality anime for once. The main issue with the previous series was pacing; many events were too rushed and not given enough build up to achieve the desired impact on the story.
In the first series they tried to cram too many events into such a short series, it would have been much better if they had used the full 25 episodes to showcase the events of SAO rather than doing a 1/2 split between SAO and ALO arcs.
One example that readily comes to mind is the moonlit black
cats arc. They were given 1 episode and attempted to use that time to play the emotional game by killing them all off at the end. It didn't work very well because the viewers didn't see enough of these characters to really feel anything for them. No emotional buildup means no emotional climax.
All in all, much better pacing. Looking forward to seeing what comes next.
This review assumes that you have watched the previous two seasons of Sword Art Online and possibly the Ordinal Scale movie, which canonically takes place in between Mother's Rosario and Alicization - as retconned by Reki Kawahara the author of SAO himself. This review is also more suited to those who have watched the twelve episodes of Alicization that have aired so far and NOT those who are only about to begin watching the anime.
I'm reviewing this as someone who has read the entire fan-translated Alicization arc and is a fan of the SAO franchise. I feel like I
need to preface this, my first SAO anime review, by saying that I get the people who are on the other side of the spectrum - that is, the people who hate SAO. However I won't go into full detail and instead only give my short opinion, that people hate SAO like they hate any other popular entertainment or media franchise. Because more people know about its existence, the more chances it has to garner haters as well as fans. Simple as that.
To those people though, the Sword Art Online: Alicization arc might just be enough to tip you to the other side, or at least turn your opinion on this franchise into an uncertain neutrality. Having said that, I will try to make this review as inclusive as possible - to fellow fans like me and to the passionate haters.
Let me begin right away: Alicization has a beautiful concept, it really does. The idea of a virtual world indistinguishable from the real physical world has long been teased in the former arcs. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that the eight light novel volumes that preceded it (or the two 25-episode seasons for anime-only people) were merely setting up for Alicization. In simplest terms, Alicization is the climax of the Sword Art Online story.
But the idea of a climax that takes ten(!) light novel volumes and reportedly fifty or so episodes in animation to tell does not really seem promising.
Reki Kawahara, the author of SAO, still suffers from his introducing-shit-out-of-nowhere syndrome. Granted we haven't really seen this yet on this first cour of the Alicization anime, but trust me when I say it will get worse as we go on. Also, he still relies on infodumping literally the entire plot/premise instead of letting the characters find out through natural interaction and discovery. And of course the infamous episode ten, where he proves yet again that the only way he can write remotely villainous "villains" is by making creepy aristocrat perverts who are like that because why the hell not? "I have money and influence and I'll use them to swing my dick at you!" Sure, you can chalk this out to the fact that Alicization was written in the 2000's when this villain archetype was a lot more common, but that's no excuse for lazy writing. As I was reading the light novels I fell asleep multiple times, with the fascination of this amazing concept and philosophy of virtual worlds the author created being the only thing that carried me to finish reading the arc. Yeah, I'm a fucking nerd.
In short, Reki Kawahara knows how to write great ideas. Conceptualize. He just needs improvement at telling stories. For evidence of that look no further than episode six.
Right! So I've got all the mainly negative stuff out of the way! I have also digressed too much, so let's go to purely this first cour that A-1 pictures has graciously gifted us. I'll be using criteria points to make things easier. A numerical value for each criteria is at the end of this review.
Alicization will appeal to anyone who's even remotely interested in the idea of living in another world, getting a chance to be in a place where no knows who you are - where you can start anew. In this sense, Alicization should probably already appeal to a lot of people. Right from the onset of the first episode we are greeted with unfamiliar scenery with the only familiar thing being Kirito himself, who we all know lives, breathes, and interacts in a real physical world much like ours. However he acts as if he has been living in this new world all along, complete with memories, clothing conforming to the fashion in that world, and even close friends - and that's something I really loved about the introduction and that they took an entire episode worth of screen time for it. For a moment there, SAO was able to apply one of the golden rules of good story-writing - show, don't (only) tell. Both in LN and anime, I was genuinely interested in all three of the young characters and their interactions as humans living in a next-level virtual world, no matter how brief that time lasted.
To any sci-fi fan out there, the idea - concept, behind the virtual world itself is something truly fascinating, and in my opinion the most noteworthy achievement of this anime so far. Quantum physics is involved heavily and do you know why I think it was done good? Because I don't freakin' understand it! Even now I still don't get how the Soul Translator truly works - especially when it involves vague and touchy subjects like the 'soul', and that's fine. No one really understands quantum shit at first!
Alicization deals with heavy stuff like law and order and if there ever is a time when an individual can justifiably break it. To overcome limits set by societal standards and rules, to make it sound more positive.
And of course we still get our usual beautifully-drawn and animated sword fights and action scenes. Nothing new here.
[Plot and Setting]
The plot in the outside world is nothing special. Kirito suffers a life-threatening condition during a normal day walking home with Asuna in the real world and his only hope of recovery might be in the revolutionary STL technology which he has been doing test runs for. Unfortunately, Megane-kun the enigmatic JSDF secretary is in charge and as we all know he has been interested in Kirito since the SAO incident. He takes him away... to the middle of the freaking ocean! Asuna then of course uses her usual Mary Sue shit in an attempt to bring back her one true love who, for all intents and purposes, can be considered kidnapped. How nice it must be to be rich and influential.
The real deal is in the Underworld. At first it seems like the ideal fantasy world, a peaceful quiet place where one can live without fear of dying due to evil monsters and wars and shit. To enhance that sense of safety further, ultimate warriors with the highest skills in both swordfighting and magic known as Integrity Knights patrol the lands regularly, in case the people need to remind themselves just how.. safe they are. As long as they live quietly. As long as they obey. To say any more would be spoilers, so I leave only this quote (paraphrased) from an anime, "If someone always follows the right path without ever failing, is that really what's best for them?" Just what is the price to pay, if there is any, for the perfect state of peace and progress the Underworld has achieved?
The Underworld itself is one of the better fantasy worlds I have seen in any media. Then again, I am biased towards anything that involves high fantasy and/or new worlds, so I'm not really the best judge for the setting of Alicization.
[Character and Story Development]
Kirito is Kirito. He is Jesus-kun. Chick magnet. Edgy, but with just the right sense of morals and values. However in Alicization his OP-ness has taken a direct hit! Or so it seems at the beginning. But it is clear that he can no longer, and does not - at least immediately, roflstomp people like he did in Aincrad, Alfheim, or that lightsaber bullshit in GGO. His way of thinking and approach into fights can be said to have grown more careful, more mature, and more refined. Although that could be because the pain he feels in the Underworld is essentially 1:1, unlike previous VR worlds with pain receptor settings.
Now, Eugeo is a character I have mixed feelings for. He's absolutely well-written, but only in the context of Kirito and as his faithful travelling companion, close friend, and fellow budding swordsman. When Kirito is taken out of the context he's a character with nearly zero redeeming qualities and nothing interesting about him at all. The seal of the right eye, System Alert Code:871, is a good way to make him feel even more artificial. Which is funny because you know, he is really artificial. It doesn't help his case when Reki Kawahara decided to pull the shit-out-of-nowhere card with him one too many a time. I really want to like Eugeo, but he feels more like a plot device than a real human. Which is funny because, yeah . .
Alice, ah yes the beautiful Alice. Part of why I like Alice so much is the idea, the drama - the romance, that comes from naming an entire part of a long story after her! Alicization. A word made by combining 'Alice' and the suffix '-tion'. Does that mean this arc emphasizes the state or quality of Alice, as what "Alicization" would imply? But I digress. Alice is our lead female. A headstrong, kind, smart, beautiful youth - one of the two friends Kirito makes in his first dives into the Underworld. Comes back ten episodes later as the even more beautiful but now cold and hard as steel Integrity Knight Alice Synthesis Thirty. The part of the story that turns Alice from a plot point to a well-written, interesting and dynamic character hasn't really aired yet, so there's not much I can say about her right now.
SAO's supporting cast is hit and miss and Alicization continues this trend. Asuna is the chick determined to bring back Kirito, in what is nearly a reversal of their roles from the Alfheim Online (Fairy Dance) arc. Kirito's other friends barely get any screen time aside from Sinon in the first episode. The team in charge of the STL technology are nothing to write home about either aside from Megane-kun with his usual mysterious megane tendencies. On the other hand, the supporting cast in the Underworld is absolutely fantastic! Liena-senpai is one of the most beautiful anime girls I have seen in a long time, and of course Tiese and Ronie are best valets!
Now let's talk about the story, or rather how it will develop from here on, and this will be quick as the arc is only about one-fourth done as of this writing. Alicization will be the biggest story SAO has ever told, dwarfing everything before it in size, importance, amount of characters, consequences, and implications going into the future. It will also attempt to explain some of the unsolved mysteries such as how way back in SAO Kirito was able to come back to life to defeat Kayaba (and Asuna overcoming that paralysis) with what seemed like complete and utter plot armor at that point. Now that last bit is important as a significant part of how the STL works is directly connected to the answer Kirito comes to. Alicization will be darker and more edgy going forward but definitely has more lessons to teach.
[Animation and Art]
The SAO anime was already known for having top-tier art and animation but Alicization ups the game even more. Every minute is movie quality on par with the level of Ordinal Scale. If you've watched that movie, then you know how ridiculously slick it looks. Perhaps the most important visual aspect - the sword fights and the sparks and dust from the action scenes, are also done accurately which I really appreciate in my fantasy-type anime, thank you very much. It's clear that A-1 are really taking this project seriously and it shows in every smooth fluid frame of animation and the attention to detail. I have nothing more to say but that I am looking forward to the Blu-Ray release of Alicization as I just know it will look gorgeous when polished and treated further.
The Yuki Kajiura brand of quality anime OST graces SAO yet again, perhaps at the best possible time as it is now telling the climax of its story.
Not to mention LiSA is back! And damn, she hasn't lost her magic touch at all. If anything, she only got better. ADAMAS is such a hype-inducing OP and is pretty related to Alicization, more specifically to Eugeo imo. The ED is yet again Eugeo-focused and is a bit more toned down and melodramatic, but with the same magnitude of feeling as the energetic and upbeat OP.
[Production and Replay Value]
A-1 are really upping the standards for production with Alicization. Ofc anime production quality in general has been only getting better through the years as competition continues to increase but even in Fall 2018, a season packed with lots of decent shows with similarly high production value, Sword Art Online Alicization manages to snuggle comfortably into the top through not only its popularity but also with consistently movie-budget quality levels of animation and art, the lethal Yuki Kajiura-LiSA combination (also seen in Fate/Zero for reference), a captivating virtual world with good concept, and an overall improved main character in Kirito. Regrettably, the only thing holding it back is the actual storytelling in its source material, but I have faith that A-1 will do the best adaptation they can going forward.
No replay value yet as the anime is only about one-fourth done through the arc.
[Summary of Sword Art Online: Alicization's elements]
Plot and Setting: 6/10
Character Development: 9/10
Story Development: 7/10
Animation and Art: 9/10
Production value: 9/10
The best: Animation and art, soundtrack, production value, character development
The good: Story development, premise
The bad: Plot and setting, the storytelling technique of the author
That's it! I might update this review once the entire Alicization arc has been adapted. Let's hope A1-sama does not falter all the way!
Nice to see Kirito again, back in his harem-self. A little less harem-y so that's a plus. Still too much unrealistic shock factors. The story is a little different, but not too much, but nothing original. Artwork and animation are well done as normal. Not as good as the original SAO. The sound is unoriginal and not as good as before. I enjoy Kiritos character, for the most part, kind of boring, and the new side character is not bad. The side characters that are supposed to be the snobbish royalty were overdone and too crazy; they were lazily written.
The world that Kirito enters is
god awful. What kind of stupid laws says you can rape anyone of a lower class.