First Impression: Sword Art Online Alicization (Season 3)

A new world. A new deep dive. A new virtual reality. And this time, Kirito is a child. Together with his friends, Eugeo and Alice, he explores a cave in a mountain that borders the world between humans and darkness, and what the group discovers, and who they see, will have a drastic impact upon their lives. But what’s the connection between this fantasy world and reality, where Kirito continues to play GGO with his friends, but can’t remember the events of this deep dive (which he does as part of a new part-time job)? And what dangers await Kirito in true reality, outside of the virtual environment?

A 45-minute episode of Sword Art Online feels a bit of overkill, but after completing the episode, it does seem necessary, since it is split between the two halves it seems the season will jump between. The first half of the episode drops us into this new world, and it is both the weakest and strongest part of the episode. Virtually all of that time is spent as an info drop, presenting us information about this new world that is loosely based on Alice in Wonderland (the “Alice” character is meant to look like Disney’s version). The scriptwriting here is weak—no surprise out of this series—and it gets weaker in the second half, which brings us back to the familiar, with a bookend that also drops a lot of information. Here’s where the writing really stinks. We’re given the SAO version of midichlorians, it seems, as Kirito explains the science behind the soul (see the featured image). All that said, I’m gonna check out the next episode. Why? It’s not because I love the franchise (I haven’t enjoyed it all that much since the very first cour), but because the ED revealed some awesome character designs and art direction that have me wondering if the new world in this season is going to be worth the watch.

Oh, and that ending was quite something, too.

NegativePrimes: My reaction was similar. Weak opening scene? Check. Too much info dump? Yup. Felt like midichlorians? You got it. However, it did improve later on. I will be following this one not just because, hey, it’s SAO (and yes, I’m a fan; not gonna hide my light under a bushel basket). The primary attraction to me is that episode one is very explicit–explicit, that is, about philosophy. The first major philosophical question it pulls out is metaphysical, namely “What is the nature of the soul?” The initial answer is typical modern/materialist stuff, which leads me to suspect non-typical answers will be brought up later. After all, what good writer tips his hand completely at the outset? I’ll be very interested to see if SAO Alicization can break the philosophical mould.

The second theme comes when Kirito says he’s going to fight against the philosophy of the original creator of SAO. What that philosophy is, and how Kirito will respond, have yet to be worked out at length. And I want to see how it will work out.

Sword Art Online: Alicization can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

3 thoughts on “First Impression: Sword Art Online Alicization (Season 3)

  1. The very beginning felt strange, with tje unknown world and feeling of just having to go with the kid part out of no where. I like how they proved it was actually a drive with the kids eye tho.
    I wasn’t a biggest fan of the whole gang being in ggo, I mainly enjoy their presence but I can’t take them seriously if they are all happy and jittery while trying to kill other players. Thats why I enjoyed GGO and GGO alternative, because there was fear, fear that someone may truly die. (I know it cant always be like that but they all are sao survivers…)
    The part with shiro (real world Sinon), I liked but when Asuna came into play she just felt like a over protective mother.
    The ending scenes when they were talking about their future is when I sat on the edge of my chair actually.
    This showed how the events kirito has gone through led him to grow to want to be in this field. Which is actually interesting because you see his motive for the actions he is taking. I really hope they go somewhere with this after the very end part, not like what happened in ggo’s ending.
    Lastly the opening I loved it! The cynmitography near the last 30 seconds showed what the future will be of the characters and it gave me a tiny speck of hope this can get good.

    1. I’m totally with you in regard to the opening (and the closing, too). And yeah, I thought the weakest part was when the whole gang was together. That was fanservice—exciting for a lot of SAO fans, I think, but it was unnecessary and in fact detracted from the episode.

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