This episode begins where the previous episode left off, with Kirito and Eugeo encountering two young girls on the stairway leading to the top of the Central Cathedral. Let’s just say that the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” applies here. They turn out to be girls who know how to use swords, and they get close to the two of them and stab them. Fortunately, all they did was to use the swords to inject a paralyzing poison into both of our main characters.
We get more exposition as the girls are dragging Kirito and Eugeo up the stairs to the 50th floor. But it turns out this exposition is important, At the 50th floor, they find a high ranking Integrity Knight, and the two girls begin taunting the knight. But Kirito surprises everyone when he can move. It turns out that while Kirito had Eugeo talking with the girls, claiming that he’s no good with kids, that he was hiding the fact that he was reciting an anti-poison spell of some kind. In his explanation, Kirito mentions why he suspected the girls of lying, but I never heard an explanation as to how he knew the girls had poison and were going to attack them with it. This just felt a little too convenient, you know? This was definitely the one part of the episode where I had hard time using my “willing suspension of disbelief.”
But we do get a pretty impressive fight between Kirito and the Integrity Knight, which helps makes up for the mini exposition dump we got earlier in the episode. During the fight, Kirito manages to unmask something about the Integrity Knight that had been kept a secret. Eugeo manages to help to some extent during the fight after Kirito has given him an antidote for the poison that he found on the girls, but again, it’s Kirito who ends up being the hero. Yes, he needed Eugeo’s assistance, but it’s ultimately Kirito who actually makes progress. The episode ended on a cliffhanger, though, so I’m sure the next episode is going to pick back up where this one left off.
I hope that at some point, Eugeo can finally truly do something heroic on his own. Yes, his main purpose in the story is to be Kirito’s sidekick, but it would be nice to see some development for Eugeo which allows him the chance to truly evolve as a character.
Why am I starting to get the feeling that this cour of Sword Art Online: Alicization is going to be primarily focusing on Kirito and Eugeo as they climb up to the top of the Central Cathedral? I’m just envisioning 12-13 episodes of fighting Integrity Knights, with little to no progression on the actual plot. Perhaps we’ll get some more exposition, likely as info dumps as we’ve already seen happen with this series. I also have the feeling, especially from the images that appear in the new opening credits, that we won’t be seeing Asuna or the real world at all during this cour of Sword Art Online: Alicization.
The one problem I have with looking at this series is the fact that I don’t have familiarity with the original source material, so it’s hard for me to judge the effectiveness of the pacing of the story. Is this series following the original light novel rather closely, or is the anime creative crew doing everything they can to stretch the story out in order to cover four cours?
Hopefully I’m wrong on some of my predictions when it comes to the second cour of Sword Art Online: Alicization. At this point, I’ve already made it through one cour, so I’m committed to seeing this series all the way through. I just hope the story starts doing more to help keep my interest as I continue watching the series.
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