Sword Art Online: Alicization Review/Recap, Episode 4
Remember how I had said that Sword Art Online: Alicization was going to be a slow burn? Well, a slow-moving story can be worth it as long as the payoff is worth it. As this episode of Sword Art Online shows, the payoff comes in the form of epic fight scenes. Say what you will about SAO, the fight scenes are always awesome.
We pick up where the last episode left off: a horde of goblins about to fight Kirito and Eugeo, and Eugeo scared out of his mind. Given everything that Kirito’s been through, this is like another day at the office.
Kirito then comes up with a plan: he fights the boss, while Eugeo deals with the small fry. The fight that follows lives up to the standards that the show sets.
Quick note: unlike previous VRMMO’s, Underworld is meant to be as close to our world as possible. That means when people get cut with swords, they bleed. When they get their arms cut off, they bleed a lot. Just like that goblin leader when Kirito cuts his arm off.
Another quick note: pain is very much a thing in Underworld, and Kirito’s at a disadvantage here. He’s been playing VRMMO’s for so long, he hasn’t experienced pain in a while. When that goblin slashes Kirito across the chest, he is in agony.
Fortunately, Eugeo finally finds his courage and distracts the head goblin, but is mortally wounded in the process. Enraged, Kirito manages to decapitate the guy. The rest of the goblins quickly retreat.
After freeing Selka, she then leads Kiritio in performing an incredibly risky sacred art : transfer their life into Eugeo to keep him from dying. It manages to work, but just before Kirito passes out, he hears a voice. It’s Alice, telling him that she’s waiting for him and Eugeo at the top of the central cathedral in the capital of Centoria.
A few days later, Eugeo and Kirito are back on their feet, and Kirito tries out Blue Rose again. He leveled up from that fight before, so now he can use the sword. And it takes a chunk of life out of the Gigas Cedar!
Eugeo then begs Kirito to train him as a swordsman so he can bring back Alice, and he readily agrees. He also dubs his sword style “Aincrad Style”.
One training montage later, Eugeo can handle Blue Rose like a pro, and just like that, that giant tree’s chopped down. The whole village celebrates! And, in a convenient plot device, Eugeo is now free to choose a new sacred task. He goes with the swordsman, and so Kirito and Eugeo depart for Centoria to become master swordsmen and bring back Alice.
As I said before, the fights in Sword Art Online, however brief they may be at times, can be worth the wait. I’ve read the light novels, so trust me when I say that this was just a warm-up. The second half of the season is going to have some Dragonball Z level fighting.
It was a good warm-up, though. The choreography was good, the pacing and animation met the standards the show has set, and the music was on point. You know it’s going to be good when they start using a remix of swordland.
On that note, though, I do have something I want to discuss: are they overusing swordland? I know that it’s one of the best songs in the show’s soundtrack; it always has. When you hear it, it conveys a purpose, letting the audience know that this fight is going to be good. But it seems like they are using it a little too often now. When they were healing Eugeo, I swear I could hear a soft instrumental remix of it playing.
I like the song, but don’t rely on it exclusively or else its going to get really old really fast.
Also, Selka, why would you go into the mountains on your own? I get that you were trying to prove to yourself that you’re not Alice, but trying to do what got her in trouble isn’t going to help that argument. At least she admits tbat she’ll find her own way of surpassing Alice through the Sacred Arts. She’s got latent talent, so I’ll give her that.
The only other gripe I have about this episode is that they missed a few scenes that were in the light novel. They say the goblins were supposed to fight amongst themselves to determine a new leader, but we never see that. Also, I remember reading that Eugeo announces he’s going to be a swordsman, that jerk guard fights him for it. He doesn’t even show up here. I think it was a wasted chance to see a jerk get clobbered. I don’t even remember his name at this point.
Actually, according to the wiki, there was a lot of creative liberty taken with this episode. There are a lot of differences for each of the previous episodes that I never even knew. Them’s the breaks for not reading the first half of the arc.
So, in the end, this episode was at least 40% action, and 60% dialogue and moving the plot forward. Since this is just the first fight, though, I will give it a pass. I just hope that the fights continue to get better as time goes on.