Sword Art Online: Alicization- War of Underworld Episode 42 Review/Recap
Okay, I’ll admit it. At first, it was fun seeing Sword Art Online not revolve around Kirito. War of Underworld gave the rest of the cast a chance to shine and grow as characters. But eventually, you’ve got to have your main hero take center-stage. Otherwise, the story’s going to get real dull. This week, though, our prayers are finally answered. Kirito the Black Swordsman not only makes his return, but we also see just how scarred he’s been by the events of the series.
No, seriously, that guy needs some therapy after this. He’s got some serious PTSD and Survivor’s Guilt.
In Underworld, PoH continues his sadistic killing spree, with his sheer malice corrupting almost all of the foreign players. As Asuna desperately tries to defeat him, PoH explains that the only reason he’s doing this is to wake Kirito up. Ever since he failed to kill him, PoH’s seen him as the incorruptible Batman to his Joker, and wants nothing more than to break him. Despite being at her limit, though, Asuna is spurred on by the memory of her friend Yuki. Gaining a second wind, Asuna unleashes her strongest attack, Mother’s Rosario, that comes close to defeating PoH.
Unfortunately, PoH’s weapon hasn’t the ability to get stronger when it attacks other players. As a result, it absorbs all the death that’s gone on around it, making PoH more powerful than ever, and leaving most of the foreign players under his thrall.
Inside Kirito’s mind, the young man relives every traumatic experience he’s had since he played SAO. From the deaths of the Moonlit Black Cats to Eugeo’s death, the pain nearly overwhelms him. Even with the support of Asuna, Sugu, and Sinon, he comes close to killing himself. However, a miracle occurs. A fragment of Eugeo’s fluctlight appears in his mind and reminds him that he’s not alone. He’s got the memories of those he lost in his heart, and so many left who are waiting for him. Remembering his will to fight, Kirito heals the damage done to his mind. As a result, he awakens from his coma, and uses Eugeo’s Secret Art to freeze all the enemy players save for PoH. PoH, he saves for himself to face.
PoH is so screwed.
To paraphrase General Pepper from the Star Fox series, “It’s about time you showed up, Kirito! You’re the only hope for our world!” That was basically how I reacted when I finally saw Kirito stand up and fight after all this time. It can be fun to give the other heroes and secondary characters time in the spotlight, but there are threats that only the hero can defeat. That’s why they’re the hero.
Having said that, there are two things I think need to be discussed: the animation and what we saw in Kirito’s mind. The level of detail they put into the fight sequence between Asuna and PoH and Kirito’s return is high-tier levels of animation. The kind of things that anime fans drool about being able to see. I don’t exactly get why Asuna suddenly sprouted angel wings, but who cares? It looks awesome!
With the series so close to the end, I hope that the remaining episodes keep up this top-tier animation. It’s part of why I enjoyed SAO in the first place.
Kirito’s Mental Scars
The second noteworthy thing about this episode is how puts all the trauma Kirito’s gone through front and center. A lot of people tend to see him as this cool, level-headed guy who doesn’t let things faze him…on the outside. On the inside, we see just how badly his time in SAO messed him up.
First, there’s the memory of the Moonlit Black Cats’ death, and how he blames himself for keeping his level a secret. Then the fact that he had to kill three people, even if it was in self-defense. Everyone else may have forgiven him, but he hasn’t forgiven himself for it. Furthermore, it’s revealed that even after leaving SAO, he still felt guilty for killing other players in-game. Even if they didn’t die in real life or if they deserved it like Sugou and Death Gun. In other words, he never truly left the death game, and watching Eugeo die finally broke him mentally.
I just felt so bad seeing Kirito go through that, thinking that he didn’t deserve to live after everything. The worst part, though, is that this stuff happens to people in real life. Fortunately, Kirito had loved ones to remind him that he can forgive himself and move on. Not everyone has that fortune in real life.
The Real Fight Begins
Now that Kirito is back in the game, I think we know what’s going to happen to PoH and Gabriel. They are going to get their butts kicked all the way to hell where they belong. And with Kirito having reached a new level of power, it’s going to look amazing to watch. The Black Swordsman is about to join the fight!
I Give “Memories” a 4.5/5
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