“Jesus shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead; and his kingdom shall have no end."
I used to be an atheist until I watched Sword Art Online: Alicization: War of Underworld Part 2. History has proven Jesus was a real man, but the second coming of Christ was merely a myth to me. I never truly believed Christ would return from the heavens to liberate us… until now. Reki Kawahara has created the final chapter of the Bible. This tale rivals Shakespeare, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and The Odyssea. It is the most spectacular writing I have seen in the
entire franchise, maybe even of all time. War of Underworld Part 1 began this mythological story. Kirito, the holy spirit, was trapped within the vessel of a sleeping man. The fake news viciously scrutinized Kirito, causing him to fall into a coma. These blind fools, Youtubers, and MAL reviewers howled like banshees of how Kirito was overpowered, lacking any personality, and every girl illogically fell in love with him. But Kirito overcame these haters in a triumphant return that will go down in history as the most epic piece of fiction ever created.
Sword Art Online has gained a massively negative reputation for popularizing the isekai harem power fantasy genre. Alicization: War of Underworld 2 sought to rebrand the franchise as a deep and mature survival thriller with philosophical themes, emotional character arcs, and commentary on the future of artificial intelligence. Alicization attempted to accomplish these goals, but it missed the mark. Part one was wasted on a virtual war between one-dimensional characters. It wasn’t worth caring about any of them because they were artificial intelligence. Their deaths are meaningless. There is no tension when no one can die. The AI soldiers are not real, and the nameless gamers only risk losing their in-game avatars. Why are there no police trying to save the people trapped within the game, you ask? Because the whole show works on video game logic!
(Read my review of Part 1 for more information)
Part 2 does nothing to raise the stakes. Characters from prior seasons hack their way into the video game, but they are wrapped head to toe in plot armor. What do you do when all your characters suck? Just add the old ones! With the power of deus ex machinas, every human gamer is granted superpowers. The first part focused on the one-dimensional inhabitants of the underworld. In this season, they are useless. SAO momentarily cared about humanizing these computerized soldiers. There was potential it could’ve had deep themes. But who cares about that boring shit? They threw all of that away to make room for epic battles and technobabble! Part two is surface-level action shlock for the fans who crave shock value but are not willing to seek out something deeper, or better written. Around 30% of this season takes place in the real world. And it’s all dead air. It focuses on forgettable characters monitoring the game with convoluted motives. Who cares about pseudo-scientific explanations of things that never needed to be explained? Everyone gains new abilities and weapons at random. If they’re in danger, the show will remind us they have a secret weapon or a ghost will come to rescue them. Yes, ghosts. No joke, there are characters who DON’T die after they’re killed. It’s never explained why. There’s no logic. There’s no point in explaining how the main characters get SOME powers when you can just show how they got them and how they work. But SAO is a Very Deep anime for intellectuals, so it must make sense! Now and then, we get a long-winded explanation that no one asked for. Seven years and SAO still hasn’t learned what “Show don’t tell,” means. Go back to an elementary school English class! The scientist people use technological terminology to sound smart. Fluctlights, STL, Self-image. It’s all made up bullshit! This is so intelligent! All this with some techno music in the background makes a great baby's first sci-fi show. They aimed for the Matrix but landed closer to Transformers. I don’t care about the pseudo-scientific reasons for why Leafa gets a gigantic sword. Most of the time, new powers are thrown in at will. Stop pretending like any of this makes sense! Does anyone watch SAO for the boring exposition dumps? No, they don’t. It’s just to save the animation budget.
From a critical standpoint, SAO is utter nonsense. There’s one narrative thread that ties every piece of this rancid rotting carcass of an anime together. Wish fulfillment. This is an otaku's wet dream. Beginning with the first plot point, Kirito is waking up. The best character development he’s had four seasons was becoming a vegetable. Without our God-tier main character, there was some threat of danger. Unfortunately, we need our overpowered pussy slaying MC back. Kirito is, and always has been, a hollow placeholder for all of the men in the audience to project their personalities onto—with none of his own. Once his harem entered the game and told him how much they loved him, he began to wake up. Seriously, this is what happened. One by one the girls say they love him and they cry because he’s a vegetable. Time after time, Kirito’s harem uses the power of stroking his ego to make him more powerful than God himself. Unfortunately, every girl loves Kirito. They each have their own story, but it will never be told. There’s more to know about them. In season 2, the Mother’s Rosario arc showed us Asuna could get her own story. It emphasized her friendship, rather than romance. She wasn’t overpowered. Even though it was rushed, there were actual stakes. When she’s with Kirito, she becomes a lobotomized puppet, just like all the other girls. After the girls join his harem, their personalities cease to exist. They become vacuous waifu-bait. Another cell is added to the prison–Kirito’s harem. They are no longer people with lives and goals. They are Kirito’s cheerleaders, existing to love him, to massage his ego, and to provide fan service.
In a good story, the heroes work for their powers. In SAO they are given powers. There is no tension because Kirito is so powerful, but how does his harem fare alone? While Kirito is in a vegetative state, psychopathic villains from past arcs return to torment his harem. Of course, when they feel hopeless they pray to Kirito for hope. Jesus is to Christians what Kirito is to his harem. The moment they say his name they get motivated to keep fighting. In many scenes, his girls hold each other, say how much they love Kirito, cry, and then they're filled with hope. He is the only source of hope in the entire world, despite still being a vegetable. When Kirito’s around, his harem becomes even more pathetic. They know they’re useless compared to him. Rather than helping him fight, they stand by and watch. Usually praying for his safety and help. Kirito summons ghosts, he freezes armies, and he creates healing rain. Why? Because he’s God! Even though he’s asleep, EVERYONE still relies on him. This must be female empowerment!
The women are treated as motivation for the audience to hate the villains rather than actual characters, and their pain is used to make Kirito seem godly. They’re tortured in violent gore porn scenes meant to evoke emotion, but it just bored me. Gore and rape don’t equal maturity. It’s like watching a kid’s show trying desperately to be taken seriously. Sinon and Leafa in particular are characters who embody the women as a commodity during this season. I’m going to paint you a picture, please skip to the last paragraph if sexual assault triggers you. Leafa falls from the sky in her first appearance of this season. The camera pans down her legs and her cleavage is exposed. Moments later, an evil woman with large breasts appears out of nowhere. She sexually assaults Leafa with tentacles. She cries, yells, and is choked, meanwhile the scantily clad dressed woman laughs sadistically. She is plenty capable of killing her captor, which she says clearly. Yet she chooses to endure the pain because she doesn’t want to kill anyone. Meanwhile, alluring woodwind instruments play in the background and the woman continues torturing her. I am not describing fetishistic hentai. This is a five-minute-long scene from the first episode of War of Underworld 2. I felt nothing but disgust with the show’s staff and cringe. I’m so sorry for the artists who had to animate this vile shit. I will speak directly to the fans just once: If you see someone who’s upset by the sexual assault, do not try to defend it. Even Reki Kawahara regrets writing it. Again, torture porn does not equal maturity! The anime insists on masquerading as something smarter than the average light novel adaptation. There’s nothing intelligent about making every villain a molester.
Every major villain is a one-dimensional molester with no depth. Making your villains do horrible things without challenging their ideals is awful writing. Molestation is used as a cheap way to make the villains evil. Their one motivation is being crazy molesters. This is a lazy way to get the audience to hate them. People only care about seeing Kirito kill the assholes, not because they want him to challenge their beliefs. Ridiculous plot armor everywhere. None of the victories feel deserved. Sinon is saved by Kirito’s necklace twice, Asuna is saved by her dead friend Yuuki, Alice’s Uncle gets a random power to win a fight. Kirito saves Sinon from a rapist without even being there. His necklace saves her from being smooched by a bad guy. The female characters are portrayed as weak, cowardly, and unable to succeed without the support of someone—usually a man. This is just sad.
In 2013, Sword Art Online popularized power fantasy harem isekai anime. After four seasons, it has continued to make the same mistakes. “SAO is good now,” Are you joking? It has only gotten worse. This is normally the part where I’d praise the art for being outstanding. It’s without a doubt the best of the entire franchise, but what does it matter? No amount of glitter and gold will make this piece of shit beautiful. Since SAO opened the floodgates, we’ve been blessed with titles such as Kenga no Mago, Arifureta, Master of Ragnarok, Isekai Cheat Magician, Isekai wa Smartphone tomo ni, Death March and so many more mind-numbingly generic anime. Thank you SAO. Thank you for fucking up a generation of anime.
Thank you Lord Kirito! Hail the Father, Hail Kirito! Hail the Son, Hail Kirito! Hail the Holy Spirit, HAIL KIRITO!
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Synonyms: Sword Art Online: Alicization 3rd Season, Sword Art Online III 3rd Season, SAO Alicization 3rd Season, Sword Art Online 3 3rd Season, SAO 3 3rd Season, SAO III 3rd Season, Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld - The Last Season
Japanese: ソードアート・オンライン アリシゼーション War of Underworld
English: Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld Part 2
German: Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld Teil 2
French: Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld Partie 2
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 12, 2020 to Sep 20, 2020
Premiered: Summer 2020
Broadcast: Sundays at 00:00 (JST)
Licensors: Aniplex of America
Studios: A-1 Pictures
Source: Light novel
Theme: Video GameVideo Game
Duration: 24 min. per ep.
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
Score: 7.461 (scored by 302458302,458 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.