For the most part, Episode 3 of Sword Art Online: Alicization focused on world building and exposition rather than on action.
Kirito spends more time with Eugeo as he works at trying to chop down the Gigas Cedar. Since this is Eugeo’s calling, he won’t leave. Kirito wants to get to the central city to get more answers, but he really needs Eugeo’s help in order to get there. Eugeo brings the sword that was found when Alice, Eugeo, and Kirito went to the End Mountains six years earlier. The episode spends some time focusing on the sword, and how even Kirito with his swordsmanship abilities still isn’t able to wield it well yet. In the process, Kirito pieces together what some of the information that appears on the status screens is. Eugeo also mentions in passing that rumors have been spreading about goblins attacking anf abducting people.
It’s also revealed that Selka, the girl at the church where Kirito is staying, is Alice’s younger sister. She shares her concerns about Eugeo with Kirito, and it seems that Selka really cares about Eugeo. We also learn that Selka was never told why her sister was taken by the Integrity Knights. Kirito reveals the truth to her, and this is what finally gets some action going in the episode.
When Selka disappears the next day, Kirito realizes that she must have gone to the End Mountains. Eugeo and Kirito follow her trail, and they find her… and she has been captured by the goblins. The episode ends with Eugeo standing in fear as the goblins start to approach. With this final scene, the stage is set for the next episode to have some action.
I know that this series is just getting started, but it does feel like it’s starting off a little on the slow side, especially for a franchise that’s already as established as Sword Art Online is. Of course, there’s a good chance that the story is being told this way if the anime is following the storytelling and pacing of the light novels. And since it’s already been stated that Sword Art Online: Alicization will be airing for an entire year, so they feel they have the time to build the world and provide exposition. I just hope that the actual action and plot start picking up the pace a little, because I’m not sure how much longer the series can afford to go at this pace without potentially boring viewers. The series isn’t bad, but it just needs to start doing more than just spending most of its time providing exposition.
Here’s hoping that the next episode will actually have some action, as well as some kind of important plot progression.