The next season of the hit anime ‘Sword Art Online’ was produced by A-1 Pictures and directed by Tomohiko Itō. Based on the light novels written by Reki Kawahara, it follows the aftermath of the first story arc and where the characters are ending up.
Kirito aka Kazuto Kirigaya (Bryce Papenbrook) is awake in the real world after having been trapped in the virtual reality game “Sword Art Online.” He continually visits his beloved Asuna Yuuki (Cherami Leigh) in the hospital only to be told she is engaged to the much older Nobuyuki Sugō (Todd Haberkorn). Though he is having trouble adjusting, his sister Suguha (Cassandra Lee Morris) tries to help him. A tip from Andrew Mills (Patrick Seitz), known as Agil, leads Kazuto to the video game “Alfheim.” Using his old “Nerve Gear,” he dives in and meets Leafa, who is a sister, unbeknown to either of them. In the game, he accidentally unlocks Yui (Stephanie Sheh), his childlike AI. The two of them search for a way to find Asuna, who is being held in a tower by the game’s most powerful player Oberon.
There are folks who do not like this portion of the series. They are wrong. I think this arc makes folks uncomfortable because whereas the “Aincrad” villain had some twisted perception of virtual reality, Oberon obsesses over Asuna and is only interested in using the game for power. He is evil on a totally different level, a human one and that can make viewers uneasy. However, I think the story had depth and did a good job of presenting a new kind of villainy.
As for the animation, it is still epic. This one introduced the concept of allowing characters to fly and it looked pretty cool. They explain the reason why in the second episode of the arc, but Alfeim does look a bit too similar to Aincrad.
It was also interesting seeing Kirito interact with his sister, not knowing who she is. Their friendship evolves as they search for Asuna, though Leafa is unaware that it is a goal. There were some complaints that Kirito is a bit of a Mary Sue, but I do not see that. For me, it seems he uses his experience and knowledge from his time trapped by the Nerve Gear to find a better way to win. As you can tell, I enjoyed this arc a great deal and cannot wait to see what is next for the anime.
I had trouble finding a full trailer for this arc, but I finally found a promo for the DVD release:
This review is based on the dub.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Brief sexual content, Some minor foul language, Violence, Disturbing themes
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This article has been updated from a previous version.