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Tutorial, Part 2

Sword Art Online: Alicization, Episode 3, Review/Recap

Hey, everyone, it’s me, J! Now that Kirito went through the introductory cutscenes, it’s time for him to start learning how to play the game. I know this isn’t actually a video game, but I wanted to stick with the “setup to a JRPG” I mentioned last time. LINK, START!

Recap

As dawn begins to break, Kirito begins his second day in Underworld… at 5:30 in the morning. The nun introduced in the last episode, Selka, nearly has to tear the sheets off of him. He then wakes up to an image of his cousin/little sister, Suguha.

Kirito joins Eugeo as he continues with his (pointless) job of chopping the Gigas Cedar. Once he’s done with his morning work, Eugeo talks more about Alice, and reveals that Selka’s actually Alice’s little sister. Alice’s sacred task was to study the Sacred Arts, which are really the world’s system commands. The Underworlders just think they’re magic.

Alice was apparently a prodigy at the Sacred Arts, the best the village (Rulid Village). She even found a Sacred Art to stop a person’s life from decreasing. Eugeo then mentions the creators of the Taboo Index, the Axiom Church, located in Centoria.

Suddenly, Kirito hits upon a bright idea of finding something stronger to chop down that stupid tree. Eugeo gets his most prized possession: the Blue Rose Sword. It was left behind by a famous hero after he slew a white dragon in a cave near the village; the same cave Kirito, Eugeo, and Alice went to in the first episode. A few years later, Eugeo went back and got it.

Kirito immediately tries to use the sword to chop the dumb tree down. He ends up flat on his back, but he was able to make a dent. If they want to use the sword right, they need to master it first. The problem is, they lack the authority to use it.

Simply put, System Authority’s like a level in Underworld. In order to wield the Blue Rose, Kirito and Eugeo need to raise their System Authority to match the sword.

That night, Kirito thinks over the Taboo Index and the Axiom Church. Right now, the Index’s the only thing keeping Eugeo from getting Kirito to Centoria. He then talks with Selka about Alice, and just how important she was to her and Eugeo.

Eugeo can’t stand the fact that Alice was taken away and he couldn’t do anything about it, which is why he seems so sad all the time. Kirito then tells Selka why Alice was taken by the Integrity Knight.

The next morning, Selka is nowhere to be found. Before they could figure it out, I knew what it meant: Selka had gone to the cave the three went. Thats when they find her being held by a group of Goblins. They’re quickly spotted, and the last thing we see is Eugeo paralyzed by fear.

Review

Continuing with the whole “JRPG” thing from last episode, I would say that this episode would be the part where the player character (that’s Kirito) begins the tutorials and starts being able to move around and do what he wants. There’s still plenty of cutscenes, but they’re for the purpose of explaining the mechanics of the game; in this case, Underworld. After basic movement’s done, they move on to the combat tutorial, which is what the next episode will be about.

Speaking of combat, it may be because I’ve watched Goblin Slayer, but the design of the goblins in this show feels similiar. The main difference between the two is that the goblins in Underworld are more intelligent. They’re capable of speech and rationality, which makes even more dangerous. The fact that they’ve captured Selka is proof of that. Forgot to mention that part.

Once again, this series is progressing slowly and focus on exposition. I get that that’s important to a story, but leaning on it too much can cause it to suffer as a result. That’s bad. I just hope this show doesn’t do that as much. I’d give this episode a passing grade of 70/100. It passes, but barely. Might have done better if they grouped this and the last episode together. Or not.

Next episode, we should finally see some much-needed action. I’m looking forward to it: the fights in Sword Art Online are usually very entertaining.

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