The anime that everyone loves to hate and hates to love has returned for its third season! Sword Art Online is back with its all-new Alicization arc. A lot of light novel readers have been waiting patiently for this arc but the question is whether or not the first episode, which was an hour long, by the way, lived up to the hype and expectation.
We open up in the middle of a forest with Kirito and another character by the name of Eugeo. They’re attempting to chop down a tree that is said it is unable to be felled. A girl by the name of Alice shows up with lunch and Kirito wonders why it spoils so fast in the heat. They decide to find some ice to preserve their food but the only way to find ice is in the ice cave within End Mountains, which is guarded by a silver dragon. They venture there and find the ice but they also find the dragon slain… a feat that not even the legendary hero could pull off.
Gathering the ice, they attempt to exit the cave but take the wrong path, ended up on the verge of the dark zone. Alice is compelled by one of the Dark Knights but trips and falls. Just her fingertips touch the dark zone and that is enough to break the laws of the land which is governed by the Taboo System. Alice is charged with breaking this system and is sentenced to be executed. Kirito wakes up from his VR Dive and we’re brought into the world of Gun Gale Online next.
Here, Kirito, Asuna, Klein, Silica, Sinon, and Lisbeth are all participating in some PvP against a team that is there for real-life military exercises. After the match, Sinon wants to meet Kirito and Asuna at Agil’s Dicey Café. When they meet up, Kirito tells them about his part-time job… testing the latest full dive technology but the problem is that they wipe his memory of the tests each time he wakes up so he can’t tell them about the game world. The Death Gun incident is brought up and it’s stated that one of the accomplices is still on the run… ominous foreshadowing much?
On the way home from the café, Kirito says he wants to go study in America and invites Asuna to come along with him to which she agrees. At that moment, the real-life handler of Johnny Black of Laughing Coffin shows up (about that ominous foreshadowing…). Kirito tries to fight him off with his umbrella but Johnny ends up stabbing Kirito into the shoulder with the same drug Death Gun used to kill his opponents in real life. Kirito falls limp to the ground but not before stabbing Johnny in the leg with the point of the umbrella. Our first episode comes to an end.
It started off a bit confusing but it made sense once we got to the back half of the episode. I had completely forgotten all about the announcement that episode one would be an hour long but I’m glad it was because I felt the episode was pretty awesome. It established the new world that’s being created, which is being left as a mystery for now and furthers the story from the previous Gun Gale Online arc. This is actually the first time we’ve had a direct continuation of a previous arc in Sword Art Online. Sure, the Aincrad arc constantly gets mentioned and Laughing Coffin was a carryover from that in the GGO arc but that didn’t feel like a complete carry over like this story does. It just feels more consistent than what we’re used to.
OP and ED Thoughts
No ending song as the opening served as week one’s ending. Can LiSA make a bad song? Seriously because “ADAMAS” hit it on all cylinders. Very rarely do I hear a song for the first time and immediately want the full version. Heck, even “Ryuusei” by Eir Aoi took me a few listens before I wanted that in my ears 24/7. I don’t I have ever disliked a song by LiSA yet and I’ve listened to everything she’s done from her days back in Girls Dead Monster, throughout anime, as well as her solo non-anime albums. Add “ADAMAS” to the list of songs that I just absolutely love by her!
YES – No matter what I say, Sword Art Online will continue to divide the community. When an anime becomes mainstream, this is typically the result. People are going to hate it because it’s not a perfect adaptation, or the studio will cut some corners here or there. Sometimes people hate a show just because it’s popular and they want to feel like they are the coolest kid on the short bus. I simply watch something and if I like it, I watch it. If I think it’s good enough for other people to watch, I recommend it. Simple as that. I like Sword Art Online, I highly enjoyed the first episode of Season 3, so therefore I recommend it to anyone who wants to watch it. If SAO isn’t your thing, simply move along. Nothing to see here.