Before I start this review, let's all take this moment to bow our heads and close our eyes as we pray to the great and almighty Jesus-kun.
Oh Jesus-kun, let your humble servants be like thee oh Lord. Let us become OP, plot armored, self insert chick magnets so that we can build our own harem. Bless the harem oh Lord, that it be deemed worthy of your hax abilities, AMEN!
You know how you can tell if a story is retarded? When the only way it can continue is if your main character makes an extremely illogical decision, that anyone with common sense would normally refuse. "Escaped a game where you almost died and suffered psychological scars as a result? Well why not jump into another one :D !" ...The show has yet to get pass episode 1 and has already proven that a room full of monkeys could write a better script. But I won't completely kick SAO II in the balls, as they didn't repeat the crazy timeskips like before.
You know what you don't do with a 24 episode run? try to squeeze in 3 disjointed arcs into one. You thought the move from Sword Art to Alfheim in season 1 felt left field? Well the transition from Gun Gale to Alfheim takes the cake.
The mini mission arc in the middle isn't even worth mentioning, since the whole purpose was to simply make Jesus-kun more hax than he already was by giving him the legendary sword Excalibur (sorry Saber).
Then there's the final arc.. Which was a melodramatic story for the sake of getting the fans to cry a river. "Video games help make AIDS suck less".. now try saying that out loud without facepalming yourself into a coma.
As much as the SAO franchise make me grit my teeth, it should go without saying that they have great production value. This was no exception as they made a visual spectacle that is pleasing to the eyes. The vibrant color of the game world will keep even a person with ADD attentive. The cinematics are also top notch, as the fighting sequence will have you creaming your pants.
However I can't say the same for the character designs. If you take a still shot you'll realize every character shares the same face, which is beyond lazy... But hey, I guess God really did make everyone in his own image.
To add to the visuals, we're also given a score to match the mood. Each scene is matched with a musical theme that works in unison. The OP & ED are even good stand alone listens. The voice actors were also fine, but no stand outs come to mind. They did what was needed to carry the show, and that to the least deserves credit.
Most of the characters from Jesus-kun's harem don't even receive any roles other than being the sideline cheer squad for our MC. Even Klein, who started out promising in season 1, is degraded to comedic relief. The main antagonist from GGO, Darth Vade-... I mean Death Gun was, believe it or not, a good idea for this series. Through him they tried to give Jesus-kun an internal conflict via post traumatic stress disorder. They also tried this with Jesus-kun's new harem addition Shino.. Now notice how I said "TRIED" as nothing really changed after the following arc was over. Kirito remained the plot convenient God and Shino simply fell in line as another conquered piece of ass by our savior. The last character worth mentioning was Yuuki, who only survived the Harem God's clutches by succumbing to AIDs. Introduced in episode 19, we're only given 5 episodes to give a fuck... This is a text book example of forced drama, making Yuuki's existence to be nothing more than a token sympathy character, rather than an actual person. The only good thing to come out of this cast was Asuna, who finally got more screen time. Despite her "development" being brought on by forced drama it was better than having Jesus-kun bask in the limelight. Which in turn made SAO II slightly more tolerable than the season 1 trainwreck.
Despite its 5 page MLA format filled with problems, I enjoyed SAO II for what it was. They tried to develop a few of its characters. They tried to improve the shit story of season 1. And they tried to shine light on someone other than Jesus-kun. Although they failed in spectacular fashion, it was still fun watching it do so.
SAO II excels in the audiovisual department but once again repeated its past mistake of having borderline retarded characters and story. For those seeking to give SAO redemption with this continuation don't hold your breath as it still remains in cesspool quality territory. However If you're a fan of this series and have yet to watch it then by all means give it a go, as it does improve some flaws that were apparent with season 1.