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The Return of Alice the Knight

Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld, Episode 26 Review/Recap

After a quiet prologue to show us what’s happened to Underworld, SAO begins to ramp up once more. The war between the Humans and the Dark Territory’s on the horizon, and the latter’s already make the opening salvos. Rulid Village is under attack by the Dark Territory, and the only one who can stop them is Alice? Although, can Alice regain her warrior spirit, though, and what’s happening in the real world?

LINK START!

Recap

Alice the Knight Returns at Last

Alice races on her dragon Amayori to Rulid Village, finding that her worst fears have been realized. A vanguard of goblins and other beings from the Dark Territory are invading Rulid. In addition, the greedy Master-At-Arms refuses to let anyone evacuate. Enraged and inspired by Kirito’s resolve to help even in his state, Alice reveals her status as an Integrity Knight and orders everyone to retreat. Afterwards, she proceeeds to drive back the invaders on her own. However, knowing that war’s inevitable, Alice chooses to return to the capital with Kirito to prepare for the upcoming conflict.

Asuna's Wrath
DO NOT try and let Kirito get hurt in Asuna’s presence. She will end you!

Meanwhile in the real world, the Ocean Turtle’s under attack by an unknown assault team. It doesn’t take long for RATH to figure out their objective: to get inside the Fluctlight Cubes and acquire Alice for themselves. Much to Asuna’s fury, the only person in any position to stop the enemy is Kirito, and he’s in a coma within a coma. However, Asuna refuses to stand any longer and demands that Kikouka do something as she comes up with her own idea.

Review

I considered the first half of this episode to be a warm-up for the war that’s coming to Underworld. More importantly, I consider it an important moment in Alice’s character development. We’ve seen her go from a proud knight blindly following the Axiom Church to someone broken by the loss of her childhood friends. Add on the revelation that everything she was told was a lie, and she lost her resolve to fight. In this episode, though, we see her regain that fire she had as she takes up a new cause. This time, though, its worth fighting for. Additionally, I thought the restoration of her eye, while not explained very well, was a symbolic rebirth for her.

As for the second half, though, it represents the shortcomings of adapting a light novel. Exposition dumps are necessary to move the plot along, but I think the show didn’t need to spend so much time explaining it. The long and short is: Kirito’s self-loathing over losing Eugeo+power surge= frying his mind and sense of self. As for who these intruders are, it’s clear they’re working for another government that doesn’t want Japan to create a bottom-up AI. We also got a big reveal in a post-credits scene of the assault team’s leader. Remember this guy, because he’s going to be one of Kirito’s biggest enemies.

Alice's Abhorrent Admirer
Behold, the face of evil.

The main draw to the real world remains Asuna. She’s running out of patience and, by the looks of things, is ready to dive into Underworld to find Kirito herself. Considering how strong-willed she and Alice are, there would be sparks flying if they met.

Buckle up, people, because things are going to get really crazy from this point on. Crazy even by SAO standards.

I Give “Raids” a 3/5

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