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Two for Two! Thank You, Toonami!

Sword Art Online: Alicization, Episode’s 8 and 9 Review/Recap

Two weeks ago, an issue with broadcasting led to the dubbed premiere of an episode of Sword Art Online: Alicization to freeze mid-broadcast. As such, they had to re-air the episode last week to make up for it. Which is why I had no review for it last week.

To make up for it (and possibly to fill out the time slot for Megalo Box), last night gave us a double dose of SAO: Alicization. So, I’m doing the same. It’s a good thing, too, since the plot’s split into these two episodes. TWO FOR TWO, PEOPLE! LINK START!

Recap

“Swordcraft Academy”

It’s been two years now since Kirito and Eugeo left Rulid Village. Together, they’ve journeyed to Centoria and entered the Swordcraft Academy, spending their days training to become swordsmen in order to join the Integrity Knights and find Alice. They’re both serving as apprentices to elite swordsmen, and, of course, Kirito’s mentor is a girl, Sortiliena Serlut

How many girls does this make, Kirito? Do I hear five?

Sortiliena’s the second-ranked student at the Academy, and she’s going to graduate once the semester ends. She’s been practicing with Kirito every day to get better, because she wants to beat the top student, Volo Levantein. Meanwhile, Kirito gets a brand new sword, forged from the branches of the Gigas Cedar.

They call it the Night Sky Sword. Or rather, they will.

Kirito’s so excited that he can’t wait to test it out. That turns out to be a bad idea, because he ends up getting dirt on the top student’s uniform.

As punishment for staining his uniform, but really just an excuse to fight him, Volo challenges Kirito to a duel for the entire Academy to bear witness to. Despite his mentor’s advice, Kirito refuses to back down from this challenge, and accepts the terms: first person to get a hit wins.

“Swordsman’s Pride”

The duel between Kirito and Volo is so epic, instead of saying anything, I’ll just show you what happens.

The main thing that Kirito take from this fight is the notion that in Underworld, people can use the power of their will and imagination to make things that would be otherwise impossible possible. Sort of like what he did when he beat Kayaba all those years ago.

Kirito’s pride at fighting the top student to a standstill is cut short, though, when its discovered two pompous noblemen students had wrecked his gift for
Sortiliena: a rare type of flower she loves that normally can’t be grown in the north

Wow. This is a d** move

Kirito gets really upset, not only because he can’t give his mentor her gift, but because he saw himself in the flowers: things living in a foreign land, just like him. Just when he starts crying, a voice tells him to use the power of his will and imagination to save the flowers

Thanks to that, Kirito is able to save his flowers. Not long afterwards,
Sortiliena beats Volo to graduate as the top student at Swordcraft Academy, with Kirito giving her his gift on her graduation day. Kirito and Eugeo thus advance to become Elite Disciples, meaning they’re the fifth and sixth top students in the academy, with valets of their own: Tiese Shtolienen and Ronye Arabel.

DO I HEAR SEVEN GIRLS?!?

Review

When I first saw these episodes last week, I thought that it was a nice treat to get two episodes of SAO in one night. After watching them again, I still think that. Though, to be honest, I think it seems silly for Kirito to have to be in a school about being a swordsman. He’s already one of the best swordsmen there is. Is what I used to think.

Watching him train at the Academy, though, made me realize that Kirito still has a lot left to learn about being a swordsman, especially in Underworld. The one thing that I really like about these two episodes, though, were the visuals in Volo and Kirito’s fight. The image of Volo’s ancestors using their will to strengthen his own sword was pretty cool to watch. I haven’t seen the rest of the show in sub form, but I hope that they do more of this stuff.

Granted, I am aware how corny the idea of using “imagination” to strengthen one’s attacks in Underworld sounds. If the Abridged series ever gets to it, they’ll probably make fun of it. I take it as a sign of how the will of a person can influence a virtual world. Someone with a good enough understanding of how a virtual reality works would pretty much become a god. Add on the will and creativity of the human condition, and that’s a recipe for something amazing to happen.

Wait…. this feels familiar. Am I thinking of what’s going to happen ahead of time? Ah, well.

Next week, we are going to deal with the inevitably controversial episode of the season. Buckle up, people. We’re going to need to steel ourselves.

I give “Swordcraft Academy” and “Swordsman’s Pride” 3.5/5 and 4/5, each.

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