Dec 20, 2014
Vene (All reviews)
It came, almost like if it has been created for one purpose: polarize the public opinion, and yet the same scenario from back then take place, to be or not to be.... mediocre? I guess the answer was already given in that first season, I'll just throw it here, if we're watching this sequel we already know what to expect, there won't be a glorious comeback, we're watching the wrong franchise otherwise, SAO II is the same old SAO after all.. and for those who understand this basic concept, it might be entertaining somehow, I won't hide that fact, just make sure to leave the common sense and critic spirit in the next room before you close the door, that it's.

SAO II inherited everything from it's predecessor, specially the bad traits that characterized the first season, traits that were a lot more in highlights this time since we had already experienced them, we live for the second time those faults that made infamous the first season, we could almost say it's practically a déjà vu. Such traits are numerous, we could generalize and call the amount of the bad traits: The SAO Formula, a pattern of events presented since Aincrad, proposed again in Fairy Dance, and finally in this last installment, Phantom Bullet. Being able to determinate such pattern is not something difficult, we could summarize and say: "Kirito came, Kirito saw, Kirito conquered", but since this is a review let's analyze a bit better this concept.

Phantom Bullet takes place a year and half later the SAO incident, Kirito, now living the normal high school life, is approached again by Seijiro Kikuoka, some guy from the Government, who informs him that a series of mysterious murders were happening, where?, obviously inside another Virtual Game. After the previous fantasy themed arcs, this time we have a characterized cyberpunk environment, a huge breath of fresh air, which provides in the only campus SAO distinguish itself, whiteout failing miserably, the Setting (I'll talk about this later). Gun Gale Online, the virtual reality game where a mysterious avatar called Death Gun seems to have the power to "kill" the players inside the game. After a remarkable phrase by our protagonist: "There's no way that someone can be killed inside a game!", almost like if his memories from the SAO incident were erased, he decides to find the culprit by entering this new world, Kirito goes to investigate!.

This is when The SAO Formula emerge completely, in correspondence like the previous arcs, Kirito is assisted by a new female character, in a new game, in a game where you could die in the real world, with an overly pathetic character as villain (Yup, a complete new environment!), but leaving aside those utterly obvious facts, the thing I disliked the most was the absence of simple Logic. If in the first season were remarkable deus ex machinas and bad developed scenes, in SAO II we have the complete absence of logic reasoning.

(Now I'll write some phrases with the interrogation point just to emphasize better my point of view)

Leaving Kirito completely alone during the investigation phase?, Laughing Coffin members that should have been arrested for murder after the SAO incident?, a guarantee security for those, possible, Death Gun's targets by placing some cops inside their house?... no? what about tracing somehow the IP?... for god's sake we're already in a future where Virtual Reality exist and the police can't really trace a player inside a game? and their only savior is a 17 years old kid?, c'mon!.

This season is characterized by Stupidity itself, there are no words able to justify the overly idiotic events occurred, because if there were for the previous season, this time there aren't. And we have yet to talk about how ended Phantom Bullet, the cherry in this cake!, the climax... but that would be spoiler so I won't, I'll just say instead: "ASADA-SAN, ASADA-SAN, ASADA-SAN!!!", you'll understand later and when you reach that part, drop a laugh in my honor.

In a similar mode as the previous arcs, the plot focuses only on Kirito and the new girl (The SAO Formula in action again!), ASSada Shino, while leaving aside the others characters that were once important in the previous arcs, reducing their screen time to only a few scenes. That means we don't get any Asuna or Suguha, already side characters, or how I like to say: "They became part of Kirito's party", and once they join it, the characters loses their personality completely becoming a side character, part of Kirito's harem. Unlike the previous season, the characters psyche is analyzed a bit more deeply and the result is... pretty lame. Actions scenes are replaced with boring dialogues between Kirito and Sinon sharing their experiences with Death and how they dealt with them. Actually I like this kind of approach in the characters but with Kirito?... God no, it doesn't feel right in SAO, it doesn't fit the anime. Cool actions scenes with great soundtrack fits more the show, but that wasn't delivered, in part. The only thing that won't miss in this sequel, in every scene, is Sinon's compact ass, we got a picture of it in every possible angle.

In this second installment Phantom Bullet isn't the only material adapted from the Light Novel, there's also some arcs we could consider as fillers but they aren't, they're present in the Light Novel. Only from SAO we could expect actual canon material to have that unique air that fillers have, anyway these two arcs are Caliber and Mother's Rosario. While the attempt of Excaliber is to light the mood before the heavy drama oriented Mother's Rosario, the result we get it's the exposure of The SAO Formula, yes again. Caliber focuses in Kirito's party, Sinon, already part of his harem, with the special participation of the other girls, Asuna & Company, aid Kirito to complete an ALO Quest. Meanwhile Mother's Rosario focuses on Asuna and her meet with a mysterious girl named Yuuki, drama development is guaranteed.

Like previously commented, SAO II inherited everything from the previous season, also those things worth to be praised, the Animation, the Setting and Soundtracks. Extremely fluid animation followed through the actions scenes meanwhile -not the best Yuki Kajiura recycled work- harmonized the environment. The Setting is something I really liked from the SAO franchise, it's detailed and somehow it drags you inside, Fantasy and Fairy tale like from the previous arcs and now GGO's cyberpunk, it's notable the effort done to create this, I tip my hat. OPs & EDs singles managed to be catchy but a lot less compared to the previous season, anyway "Courage" by Haruka Tomatsu is worth an illegal download at least.

Overall I wouldn't consider it a total waste of time, this show is watchable, I won't say it's a pile of crap or rage about it, I mean, if you're watching SAO II you already know how this was going to be, so I'll just express my expected disappointment with a big "Meehhh" and end this review right here.