‘Sword Art Online: Alicization‘ is the third season of the SAO franchise from A-1 Pictures and is directed by Manabu Ono. It is based on the isekai light novels from Reki Kawahara. Released in 2018, it was dubbed by Aniplex.
After Kirito (Bryce Papenbrook) and Asuna (Cherami Leigh) help Sinon (Michelle Ruff) win a round in Gun Gale Online, he reveals that he is participating in an experimental Full-Dive technology known as “Soul Translator”, or STL that will take VR to the next level. He is attacked by an old foe and finds himself stuck in the world of Underworld, a medieval land bordering the “Dark Territory” where a horde of monsters await. He meets Eugeo (Brandon Winckler) and though disoriented at first, Kirito uses his experience from Aincrad to adapt and rise in the ranks of the knights. He encounters Alice Zuberg (Kayli Mills) a powerful knight and one that Eugeo fell in love with when they were kids, though she does not remember him. After saving two girls from being harmed, the two become wanted by the Administrator known as Quinella (Maureen Price) who rules the VR with an iron fist.
The story is interesting, the new world is eye-catching, and watching the evolution of Kirito while being thrust back into a VR trap was interesting. Despite the similarities to the first season, they did a good job of keeping it fresh. I also really liked Alice. She was a cool character and I thought the battles she was in were animated pretty well.
I did not like two aspects of it. While I liked the new characters, I did not like how some of the main characters like Asuna, Sinon, and Klein were barely given cameos. I would have liked to have seen how they reacted to what was going on.
Also, the violence was WAY too gory. There were two moments where we are treated to eyes literally exploding. That was not fun. Though they are saved, I did not like an episode where two girls are kidnapped and almost assaulted by two jerks. I was just glad they got their comeuppance. While previous seasons relied on deeper themes and cunning villains, this season seemed to rely on shock more than substance.
That is not to say that it is bad, but I do hope the next season brings in some of the excellent writing and character development more so in the future.
Check out the trailer below:
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong bloody violence, Disturbing themes, Some foul language, Sexuality
This review is based on the dub.
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