Aniplex Online Fest 2021 Announces Hosts, Special Guests, and Additional Programming

Aniplex Online Fest 2021 kicks off July 4th weekend with a bang on July 3, 2021 (PDT) with hosts Sally Amaki of idol group 22/7 and Maxwell Powers on YouTube. The online event has announced the special guests that will appear in the programs, including Natsuki Hanae (voice actor of Tanjiro Kamado) and Satoshi Hino (voice actor of Kyojuro Rengoku) for Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (voice actor of Kirito) and Haruka Tomatsu (voice actress of Asuna) for Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night, and Kenji Akabane and Minami Tanaka for Fate/Grand Order ANIME PROJECT. The Puella Magi Madoka Magica 10th Anniversary Project x Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story program will feature Aoi Yūki (voice actress of Madoka Kaname), Eri Kitamura (voice actress of Sayaka Miki), Momo Asakura (voice actress of Iroha Tamaki), Sora Amamiya (voice actress of Yachiyo Nanami), and more.

Aniplex Online Fest 2021 will also present a special program highlighting upcoming shows from Aniplex, including the highly anticipated The Honor at Magic High School, 86 EIGHTY-SIX, The Case Study of Vanitas, VISUAL PRISON, Ranking of Kings, BUILD_DIVIDE -#000000- CODE BLACK, and The Idaten Deities Know Only Peace.

In addition to performances from anime musical acts Aimer, ClariS, LiSA, ReoNa, and SawanoHiroyuki[nZk], the online event will feature an DJ performance from DJ Kazu.

For more information on Aniplex Online Fest 2021, visit: https://Aniplex-online-fest.com/en/

Aniplex of America Announces Aniplex Online Fest 2021

Aniplex of America has announced Aniplex Online Fest 2021, which is scheduled to stream on YouTube on July 3, 2021 from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Musical acts and programming featuring the company’s biggest properties will be featured, including the likes of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Sword Art Online the Movie -Progressive- Aria of a Starless Night, Fate/Grand Order ANIME PROJECT, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica 10th Anniversary Project x Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story.

More information is available at the official website for Aniplex Online Fest 2021.

Source: Crunchyroll

Sword Art Online Panel Announced for Virtual Crunchyroll Expo

Crunchyroll has announced that there will be a Sword Art Online panels at its 20212 Virtual Crunchyroll Expo.

The panel, which is titled “Link Start with Bryce & Cherami,” will have these two English voice actors for Sword Art Online answering questions about what it was like working on the show. Submissions for fan questions are open from now until June 7, 2021.

If you want to submit a question for Bryce Papenbrook and Cherami Leigh, all you have to do is comment on an article at Crunchyroll.

The virtual Crunchyroll Expo is scheduled to take place August 5-7, 2021. Registration for the event is open at expo.crunchyroll.com.

Source: Crunchyroll

Sword Art Online: Project Alicization Manga to End on June 11, 2021

The 29th chapter of Kōtarō Yamada’s Sword Art Online: Project Alicization manga has announced that the manga will end in its 30th chapter on June 11, 2021.

The story of the manga is described as:

Deep in an unfamiliar forest, Kirito awakens with sensations far too convincing for a virtual world… with memories of a life he doesn’t remember living. A boy and a girl… and a name that sticks in his mind: Alice.

Yamada launched the Sword Art Online: Project Alicization manga in Kadokawa’s Dengeki Bunko Magazine in August 2016. Yen Press publishes the manga in English.

Source: ANN

Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night Anime Film to Premiere in Japan in Autumn 2021

It has been revealed that the Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night anime film, which is re-telling of the Aincrad arc, will be released to Japanese theaters in Autumn 2021.

Ayako Kawano is directing the film, with Kento Toya returning from Sword Art Online Alicization as the character designer. Yuki Kajiura is also returning to provide the music for the anime film. The animation will be produced at A-1 Pictures.

Source: Crunchyroll

Aniplex of America Announces Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld Complete Blu-ray Set

Aniplex of America has announced the next home video release of the Sword Art Online: Alicization series, with the Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld Complete Blu-ray Set coming June 22, 2021. The complete Blu-ray set comes with six Blu-ray discs and includes all 23 episodes plus two recap episodes in both English and Japanese audio, housed in a stunning box featuring art by abec. The set also includes bonus content such as trailers, commercials, textless openings and endings, as well as audio commentary by Japanese cast and staff members, along with a special booklet and an original soundtrack CD by composer Yuki Kajiura. The Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld Complete Blu-ray Set is now available for pre-order at Right Stuf Anime.

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld is the final chapter of the Alicization arc, the longest and most glorious battle of the Sword Art Online series. Featuring animation production by A-1 Pictures, the series chronicles the events leading up to the final, epic battle between the Human Empire and the Dark Territory. While Sword Art Online: Alicization focuses on Kirito and beloved newcomer Eugeo’s journey through the Underworld to defeat the evil Pontifex, War of Underworld follows Alice, who rediscovers her will to be a knight, as she cares for Kirito, who has lost his soul. Joined by familiar friends from the Sword Art Online series, the fate of Underworld and the future of mankind rest on the still-slumbering Black Swordsman, Kirito.

The War of Underworld arc premiered in October 2019, with the English dub airing on Adult Swim’s Toonami in January 2020. Aniplex of America released the Sword Art Online: Alicization Complete Blu-ray Set on April 21, 2020, available now on Right Stuf.

All episodes of Season One and Two of Sword Art Online: Alicization are streaming now on Hulu, Crunchyroll, and FUNimation, while Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld is streaming on HIDIVE.

For more information, please visit the official website at: sao-alicization.com

Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld Complete Blu-ray Set includes:

Disc Specs

Spoken Languages: English & Japanese
Subtitles: English
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 HD Widescreen 1920x1080p
Episodes: 1-23 + 2 recap episodes
Number of Discs: 6 Blu-ray Discs
Total Run Time: Approx. 610 minutes
Rating: 16 UP

Bonus Contents

  • Trailers and Commercials
  • Textless Openings and Endings
  • Audio Commentaries for 1 & 23 by Japanese cast and staff

*Bonus content subject to change
*Bonus content includes English subtitles

Bonus Materials & Package

  • Box art by abec (Character Design Concept)
  • Special booklet
  • Original Soundtrack CD by Yuki Kajiura

*Bonus materials subject to change

Retailer Link: https://www.rightstufanime.com/Sword-Art-Online-Alicization-War-of-Underworld-Box-Set-Blu-ray

About Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld:

“And so the grand finale of the Alicization arc begins…”

The final load test… The war between the Human Empire and the Dark Territory has engulfed Underworld entirely. The battle has shifted course with the Dark Territory army led by Gabriel, who seeks to capture Alice, the Priestess of Light, in their fight against Asuna and the Human Empire forces fighting to save Underworld.

As Kirito’s consciousness remains buried in a deep sleep, Gabriel, standing in as the Dark God Vecta, has recruited thousands of American players to log in to the Underworld to annihilate the Human Empire forces.

In this great war, the stakes are not only the Underworld’s continued existence, but also the bottom-up artificial intelligence, the ultimate AI, and even the very future of mankind!

Though he has yet to awaken, only one man holds the fate of this world: the Black Swordsman.

Toonami to Premiere the Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld Part 2 Anime on November 7, 2020

The official Twitter account of Aniplex of America and the official Facebook account for Adult Swim’s Toonami programming block have announced that the Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld Part 2 anime will premiere on the block at 12:30 a.m. EST on November 7, 2020 (effectively November 8, 2020).

The full lineup for November 7, 2020 includes:

  • 12:00 a.m. – Dragon Ball Super
  • 12:30 a.m. – Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld Part 2
  • 01:00 a.m. – Fire Force Season 2
  • 01:30 a.m. – Assassination Classroom
  • 02:00 a.m. – Gemusetto: Death Beat(s)
  • 02:30 a.m. – Naruto Shippūden
  • 03:00 a.m. – Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld Part 2, the anime’s “Final Season,” premiered on July 11, 2020, and the series ended on September 19, 2020.

Source: ANN

Yen Press Announces Sword Art Online Platinum Collector’s Box Set

Yen Press, LLC has announced the acquisition of the Sword Art Online Platinum Collector’s Edition, a deluxe limited edition box set of the iconic Sword Art Online light novel series written by Reki Kawahara with illustrations by abec.

Spanning 20 volumes of Sword Art Online, this special boxed set includes exclusive prints and a poster featuring gorgeous art by abec. With two beautiful collector’s edition volumes, this boxed set is an absolute must-have for fans of the series.

For nearly a decade, Sword Art Online has been one of the most beloved franchises in the world of light novels, manga and anime. This deluxe box set appeals greatly to passionate fans of the series as well as collectors of limited edition offerings, such as the Spice and Wolf Anniversary Collector’s Edition and the PandoraBox: Limited PandoraHearts Collection previously released by Yen Press.

Sword Art Online Platinum Collector’s Edition is on sale December 22, 2020. Pre-orders are available now on YenPress.com.

Anime Spotlight: Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld

Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld is an anime series based on a light novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec. The anime is produced by A-1 Pictures and is directed by Manabu Ono. The first part of the series aired on Japanese television from October 12-December 28, 2019. The second half aired on Japanese television from July 11-September 19, 2020. As of this writing, Aniplex of America holds the North American license for Sword Art Online: Alicization.

Early on in this series, I felt like these episodes had a better grasp of pacing and story momentum than Sword Art Online Alicization did. In my reviews for these episodes, I kept commenting that this is the type of storytelling and pacing that the first series should have had.

It was an interesting plot point to see that Kirito had become mute and emotionless after the ending of Sword Art Online: Alicization. In fact, this plot point is there from the beginning of this series and lasts through a good portion of the second half of Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld. But when Kirito finally snaps out of this, that’s when it felt like the pacing of the story started being rushed. It was giving me flashbacks to the rushed ending that Sword Art Online Alicization had.

One thing that this series had going for it was the fact that were getting a lot more intercutting between the events of Underworld and what was simultaneously going on in the real world. Of course, considering the plot of this series, the storytelling had to change in this manner. We have some “baddies” in the real world who have infiltrated Ocean Turtle… hired Americans who have a mission to steal Alice. Two of the “baddies” dive into Underworld with superaccounts for characters in the Dark Territory. They decide to use these accounts to encourage the inhabitants of the Dark Territory to launch a war against the humans and others in Underworld. This actually makes up a good portion of the story of this series, hence the addition of “War of Underworld” to the title.

The two main “baddies,” Gabriel and Vassago, are both rather messed up individuals. There wasn’t going to be any redemption for these villains, that’s for sure. They were definitely the kind of villains that you “love to hate.”

This series also allowed Kirito’s and Asuna’s friends, who had been all but sidelined in Sword Art Online: Alicization, to play an important role and become involved with the events taking place in Underworld. We also get to see more of the characters from Rath who are on Ocean Turtle and how they have to deal with the invaders.

The first half of Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld was very strong, and it felt like it had been quite the improvement over the previous series, which I had been disappointed in by the time it ended. The second half of this series had started out strong, but after Kirito came out of his catatonic state, it felt like the story was being rushed again. And I wasn’t satisfied with how this series ended. The ending felt vague, and I found myself wondering why I spent time watching all 47 episodes (between Sword Art Online: Alicization and Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld) if this was the ending it was going to bring me to. The endings for the previous series of Sword Art Online didn’t leave me feeling so underwhelmed. Will I watch anything more from the Sword Art Online franchise in the future? Probably. However, I’ll be going in with lowered expectations.

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Sword Art Online Alicization War of Underworld Part 2: Episode 11 – “New World”

The episode opens with Kirito getting a call from Rinko that Alice has disappeared from Rath. Suddenly, his doorbell rings, and there’s a deliveryman with a large package. It was pretty easy to guess that Alice had mailed herself from Rath headquarters to Kirito’s house. At first, Alice is rather angry with Kirito and she lets out all of the emotions she’s been feeling. Kirito finds the words to calm her down.

A lot of the episode shows Kirito interacting with Alice at his house. First, there’s a scene in the training hall, and we see they have a sparring match. It’s pretty short, though, because they both break their wooden swords, and Alice manages to get a headbutt in with her metal head. Ouch, that had to hurt. But they end up in an awkward position of Alice being on top of Kirito. I bet Asuna would’ve been ticked if she’d seen that.

We also get a scene of Kirito, Alice, and Suguha talking at the dinner table with Kirito’s parents. I remember seeing the mom in previous series, but I don’t recall seeing the dad prior to this. I could be misremembering, though. Kirito gets a talk from his parents, with the dad emphasizing Kirito’s future. Kirito announces his intentions to change his focus when he’s out of high school, which includes studying at a college in Japan and getting what he needs in order to work at Rath. This makes Alice happy, of course, because that would allow the two of them to be near each other. We see that while Kirito’s parents want him to think about his future, they’re also proud of him for how he’s saved both game worlds and the real world. His dad even knows Kirito’s nickname of “The Black Swordsman.” It was amusing to see Kirito’s reaction when his dad referred to him by that nickname.

Alice receives a message that she shares with Kirito. They determine it’s a code to reveal an IP address. Kirito believes it’s the IP address that will allow them to return to Underworld. Rinko believes this is Heathcliff’s doing, and she sends Kirito, Alice, and Asuna back to Underworld with that IP address. What they find there surprises them… and me. They end up in outer space, and are looking down at the planet that Underworld inhabits. A lot has changed since we last saw it. The descendants of Kirito and Eugeo’s pages are now flying fighter jets in order to fight against space monsters. While there is a gap of generations, these two girls look eerily similar to the pages. It must be something in the DNA, but they recognize Kirito and Alice. Yeah, I guess it was interesting to see this, but at the same time, I was kind of like, “Uhhh… what?” I know 200 years had progressed, but goodness! I was not expecting to see fighter jets.

To be honest, though, this episode is kind of a letdown. The ending was quite vague. Yes, it was leaving open the idea that there can be adventures in the future with these characters, but still. At least the previous Sword Art Online series didn’t have such unsatisfying and vague conclusions. And we still have the major loose end of Vassago’s whereabouts. I’m sure that if the story continues at some point, he will likely reappear as a villain. But this ending, though. It’s like, “I followed this series all the way through, even though the pacing was awkward in the first series, and this is the conclusion we get?” Can you tell I’m disappointed with this ending?

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