Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online to Get a Blu-ray Release in 2019

Aniplex of America will be releasing the Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online anime on Blu-ray beginning in March 2019. Based on the light novel by military and gun fanatic Keiichi Sigsawa, who also authored Kino’s Journey and served as a gun consultant for Sword Art Online II, the series premiered in April 2018 followed by the English dub in November 2018. Produced by Studio 3Hz, the show features the work of Yoshio Kozakai serving as both character designer and chief animation director with Masayuki Sakoi as director and Yosuke Kuroda as the screenwriter. The entire series will be released as two Blu-ray volumes each containing a deluxe booklet and postcard set along with the textless opening and ending as well as an option to watch episodes with the audio commentary by the Japanese cast and creators. Pre-orders are open now at Right Stuf Anime for both Blu-ray volumes with Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Blu-ray Volume 1 coming out March 26, 2019 and Volume 2 scheduled for release on May 21, 2019.

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, or GGO for short, has been lauded for featuring many strong female characters including the main character Karen Kohirumaki, a devoted solo player who goes by the alias LLENN in the virtual shooting game Gun Gale Online. In a piece featured on Polygon, Alyse Stanley writes, “the series posits, through gunplay action, that media featuring strong women doesn’t have to be beholden to a particular theme or look, that this entertainment should be as varied as the women watching it.” GGO has won numerous online fan polls including Anime Trending’s favorite action/adventure anime, top ending theme song, and best female character of the spring 2018 anime season. The series was also featured in Thrillist’s “The Best Anime of 2018” list noting that “while we still have a protagonist pulling off the impossible to succeed, [LLENN’s] wild pirouettes and ridiculous strategies are thrilling to experience on a moment-to-moment basis.”

Both Japanese voice actress Tomori Kusunoki and English voice actress Reba Buhr for Karen were tasked with providing three different voices for Karen in the real world, her avatar LLENN in the virtual world and her iconic weapon in the game the P-90, which is lovingly named “P-chan” in the series. Yōko Hikasa, Kazuyuki Okitsu, and Chinatsu Akasaki also lend their talents on the Japanese version, while Allegra Clark, Ray Chase, and Faye Mata are featured in the English dub.

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Blu-ray Vol. 1 includes:

Disc Specs

Spoken Languages: English & Japanese

Subtitles: English

Aspect ratio: 16:9 HD Widescreen

Episodes: #1-6 and #5.5 (bonus episode)

Number of Discs: 2 Blu-ray Discs

Total Run Time: Approx. 164 minutes

Rating: 13 UP

Bonus Contents

Bonus Episode #5.5 Refrain

Audio Commentary by Japanese creators & cast

Textless Opening and Ending

* Bonus contents subject to change.

* Bonus contents include subtitles

Bonus Materials & Special Package

Exclusive Bushiroad’s Weiß Schwarz card**

Deluxe Booklet

Postcard Set

*Bonus contents subject to change.

**While supplies last.

Product number and UPC bar code:

Title

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Blu-ray Vol.1

Street Date

3/26/2019

SKU #

AOA-12901

UPC

816546021900

SRP

$ 89.98

Store price

$ 69.98

Product URL: https://www.rightstufanime.com/Sword-Art-Online-Alternative-Gun-Gale-Online-Blu-ray-Volume-1

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Blu-ray Vol. 2 includes:

Disc Specs

Spoken Languages: English & Japanese

Subtitles: English

Aspect ratio: 16:9 HD Widescreen

Episodes: #7-12

Number of Discs: 2 Blu-ray Discs

Total Run Time: Approx. 164 minutes

Rating: 13 UP

Bonus Contents

Audio Commentary by Japanese creators & cast

* Bonus contents subject to change.

* Bonus contents include subtitles

Bonus Materials & Special Package

Exclusive Bushiroad’s Weiß Schwarz card**

Deluxe Booklet

Postcard Set

*Bonus contents subject to change.

**While supplies last

Product number and UPC bar code:

Title

Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Blu-ray Vol.2

Street Date

5/21/2019

SKU #

AOA-12902

UPC

816546021917

SRP

$ 74.98

Store price

$ 59.98

Product URL: https://www.rightstufanime.com/Sword-Art-Online-Alternative-Gun-Gale-Online-Blu-ray-Volume-2

Sword Art Online: Alicization: Episode 14 – “The Crimson Knight”

With Episode 14, the second cour of Sword Art Online: Alicization begins. We get both a new opening credit sequence and a new ending sequence. The songs are good, but the visuals for both only include footage of characters in the game world. So this is leading me to believe that the second cour will be focusing exclusively on Kirito and Eugeo as they go on their quest to find Administrator in order to confront her.

The episode itself begins with Kirito and Eugeo reaching the room where their confiscated swords are being stored. Right as they’re about to leave the room, they are suddenly attacked by Integrity Knight Deusolbert Synthesis Seven, who wears red armor (hence the episode title, “The Crimson Knight”).

We finally get one of the longest action sequences that this series has provided in a while. Not only that, Eugeo finally seems to find his “inner protagonist power” and is the one who ultimately takes the Integrity Knight down. But right before hitting this important plot point, there’s a brief break in the action where Eugeo has a flashback of something Kirito told him. But this sudden flashback provides Eugeo what he needs in order to overtake the knight, who had seemed to be indestructible.

But after the action ends, we return to… discussions. I didn’t mind the conversation with the Integrity Knight so much, because he did impart an important warning that is relevant to Kirito and Eugeo’s current quest. Right at the end of the episode, they start talking about how they’re going to handle the next obstacle that the Integrity Knight warned them about, and they are interrupted by the arrival of two mysterious young girls. I believe we saw a fleeting image of these two girls in the new opening credit sequence, so I believe they’re going to play some kind of a role in the upcoming episodes.

This episode of Sword Art Online: Alicization finally provided some much needed action after how exposition heavy the previous few episodes had been. There was still some exposition to be sure, but at least the amount of action this time outweighed the time spent on providing information. Hopefully future episodes of the series can at least maintain this kind of a balance between action and exposition. And I’m also hoping that the pacing of the storytelling can pick up to some degree, even though I know we still have two more cours in addition to this one.

Sword Art Online: Alicization: Episode 13 – “Ruler and Mediator”

Episode 13 continues the exposition about Administrator and Cardinal that began in Episode 12. Unfortunately, this was another episode that, even though it provided important information, it was kind of boring because of how the information was presented. More time was spent on conversations between characters than on action.

But I will give credit for one flashback sequence, which shows how Administrator created Cardinal. There was an exciting battle between the two of them, as well as the action of Cardinal occupying the Central Library and sealing it off from the rest of the world. There was also a sweet scene between Kirito and Cardinal that I liked in this episode.

But, sadly, this episode suffers from the same issues that Episode 12 did. Both episodes were heavy on exposition, but light on action sequences. I’m really hoping the ratio between exposition and action will start titling a little more toward the action side as the second cour gets underway. I’m suspecting that the point of this first cour was to establish the world and the story, but I wish it didn’t take 13 episodes in order to get this done. Perhaps this is the same pacing as the original source material, but I can’t say one way or the other since I’m not familiar with it.

With the way the episode ended, with the ending credits and music going while the last scene was on the screen, tells me that Episode 13 was meant to be the last episode of the first cour of Sword Art Online: Alicization.

Right near the end of the episode, Cardinal gives Kirito and Eugeo a task to undertake, and I suspect that this will be the driving force for the second cour of the series. All I know is that something needs to happen to start shaking this series up, because I had to keep from falling asleep while watching this episode.

Sword Art Online: Alicization: Episode 12 – “The Sage of the Library”

The episode picks up exactly where the last one left off, with Kirito and Eugeo about to take on an Integrity Knight named Eldrie Synthesis Thirty-One. There was actually an interesting battle going on here. But it was too bad that Eugeo, who looked like he was actually going to get an impressive hit in on the knight, ended up getting blocked and ultimately thrown into a nearby fountain.

However, Eugeo gets an important part to play when he realizes that he recognizes who this Integrity Knight really is. With this revelation, the audience, along with Kirito and Eugeo, start figuring out how an Integrity Knight forgets their past and their true identity. With this revelation, it’s basically confirmed that the Integrity Knight who looks like Alice is indeed Alice. But with this revelation, Kirito and Eugeo have broken the Taboo Index yet again, and are forced to flee when another Integrity Knight appears.

The two of them are saved by the Sage of the Library who is referenced in the title of the episode. Her name is Cardinal. After Eugeo is sent away to a nearby restroom to dry off and take care of himself after being in the fountain, Cardinal starts explaining things to Kirito and that she realizes that he is a human from the outside world who is in the game world. Cardinal oversees the library, which is full of fake history that was created by the pontifix of the Axiom Church, who goes by the name of Administrator.

The rest of the episode is very exposition heavy. The beginning part of the exposition reveals information that Asuna learned in an earlier episode out in the real world, but Cardinal’s explanation goes into a lot more detail about what happened in the game world and how it has become the way it is. While we get some of this in Asuna’s explanation, Cardinal’s is told from the point of view from someone actually inside the game world.

From the explanation and the footage, we learn that Administrator is the bluish-purple haired girl we see in the opening credits. It’s also revealed that she wants to rule over this game world, and refuses to allow anyone to be higher ranked than her. She created the Taboo Index as a way to protect her rule over the world.

While I appreciate the exposition because it helps me to better understand the story and what’s going on, it once again bogged down the pacing of the episode. After having a more boring episode, we now have one that starts out interesting and has action going on but then becomes bogged down by exposition in the second half.

I don’t know if the pacing issue comes from the original source material, or if it was introduced by those who are behind producing the anime. However, I really hope that the pacing starts to pick up since this series is supposed to last for a full year. If it continues going at the pace it’s been at this season, it’s going to make for a very long year of viewing.

Sword Art Online: Alicization: Episode 11 – “Central Cathedral”

This ended up being an episode that was focused more on exposition than on action. I could say there was some action right at the very beginning, when Alice takes Eugeo and Kirito into custody for violating the Taboo Index, and right near the end, when the two of them escape from their cell and encounter and Integrity Knight. Outside of that, there emphasis was more on “info dumping” or characters talking things out.

The “info dumping” primarily happened in the brief section of the episode that takes place in the real world at Ocean Turtle, where Asuna is watching over Kirito. She wishes she could dive into the Underground and save him. But the “info dumping” happens when Asuna encounters a robot and learns from Higa and Suguha about this robot, as well as another one that we don’t get to see. These robots are actually have some kind of a tie-in with the Alicization project, but neither one is ready for the role it’s supposed to play.

There was also a scene on Ocean Turtle where Asuna passes by two male scientists, and reacts to one of them as if she somehow recognizes him or something. But this remains a mystery to the viewer, because when Suguha asks what’s wrong, Asuna says it’s nothing. There must be something important here that I either am not remembering from earlier in the series, or it’s something that will be explained later. Even though we got a couple of scenes with Asuna, it’s disappointing that she really didn’t get to do anything. I really hope she will become more important to the story as the series progresses.

And in the game world, Kirito and Eugeo spend time talking about Alice and theorizing over why she seems to not remember Eugeo before they escape. And even after they successfully escape from the cell, they spend some more time talking about things, especially after a notice a bunch of roses (which don’t seem to be common in the world the game is set in).

But with the way the episode ends, it appears there’s a set up for some action to start off the next episode. The Integrity Knight that Eugeo and Kirito encounter is ready to mete out punishment, but these two obviously aren’t going to take the punishment withou a fight. I expect that a fight will be taking place at the beginning of the next episode, but who knows how much time it will end up taking in the episode?

Hopefully next week’s episode will be more exciting. While the information that’s imparted is important, and the theories being brought up need to be addressed, this episode as a whole was on the boring side. Boring is not a word I normally use in connection with Sword Art Online, but this week’s episode needs to have that word attached to it.

12 Days of Anime: Day 2

2018 was a great year for me personally when it came to anime, because five anime series I had followed in the past continued with new episodes this year.

It started in January 2018, with the debut of Yowamushi Pedal: Glory Line, the fourth anime season for the Yowamushi Pedal franchise. We got to see more of the 42nd Inter-High, as well as get character development for Yuto and Kishigami. The only downer for this season was the fact that it ended right at the beginning of the third day of the Inter-High. But even with that slight disappointment, it was overall a good season for the anime.

There were no continuations for me to start watching in Spring 2018, but I suddenly had two anime continuation simulcasts for Summer 2018. The first of the two that I started watching was Free! -Dive to the Future-. Even though I hadn’t seen the anime film that led up to this point, I was still able to follow what was going on through flashbacks. I enjoyed most of the season, especially the character development for some of the main characters, but I felt the ending was on the rushed side.

Summer 2018 also brought Attack on Titan Season 3, which picks up exactly where the previous season had left off. Unfortunately, the audience was not provided a recap of what had happened in the previous season in order to remember how we had gotten to this point. Having read this portion of the manga, though, I was able to piece together what had happened. And since I have read the portion of the manga that this season covers, I can say that the pacing was tightened up a bit, which helped to make the anime telling a little more exciting. However, it seemed everyone was caught off-guard when this season ended, because it was already known that there were going to be more episodes for the season and it had been assumed that all of the episodes were going to air in two consecutive seasons. Oh well. The series will continue in Spring 2019, so just a few more months of waiting to see how the anime will adapt the next section of the manga.

The Fall 2018 simulcast season has brought us Sword Art Online: Alicization. At the time I’m writing this, I have seen eight episodes of this season. All I can say is that a lot of the focus is on Kirito and what’s happening in the game world that he’s in. We had a couple of episodes featuring Asuna in the real world, but that the episodes featuring her have been a little on the dryer side. Hopefully in the future, when there are episodes that focus on her in the real world, that she’ll get a little more in the way of action.

October 2018 also saw Netflix release the entirety of The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of the Commandments on their streaming service. This picks up exactly where The Seven Deadly Sins ended, except it reveals the fact that the final scene of the first series is actually from a dream that Elizabeth has. The series focuses on the revival of the Ten Commandments, but we also get character development for Gowther and Diane. It was an interesting season, although I came to feel that The Ten Commandments are overpowered. While yes, they need to be powerful adversaries, I felt that they were too powerful. But the character development and character stories are engaging enough that it does help to offset the overpowered villains. The story doesn’t end at the end of this series, though, so hopefully there will be another season in the works at some point.

Sword Art Online: Alicization: Episode 10 – “Taboo Index”

When the episode opened with a disclaimer about depiction of violence and sexual assault, I knew that shit was going to get real. However, I didn’t realize just how much until I actually saw what happened in the episode.

In the previous episode, it had been hinted at that Humbert had been ordering his page, Frenica, to questionable situations that were skirting toward the sexual side. So the idea that a sexual assault could take place here wasn’t out of the question, but exactly how it happens, as well as the amount of violence that takes place in the episode overall, was more than I had anticipated.

When Kirito and Eugeo’s pages, Tiese and Ronie, are late arriving for their cleaning duties, Kirito goes out in search of them. After he leaves, Frenica arrives and tells Eugeo about a request that Humbert had made of her. She had confided to Tiese and Ronie about it, and they had gone to confront Humbert and his roommate, Raios. Eugeo makes the sudden realization of what Humbert and Raios’ revenge plan really is, and goes off to confront them.

What he discovers is horrifying: the two girls are tied up in their bedroom. And it gets worse, because Humbert and Raios begin to sexually assault the two girls in front of Eugeo. After some hesitation, he finally finds the courage to take on the two snooty noblemen, even though what he does is a violation of the Taboo Index. He manages to chop off one of Humbert’s arms. But, Eugeo’s left eye seems to suddenly destroy itself after flashing an error message, which leaves him weakened. But as it looks liek Raios is about to kill Eugeo, Kirito arrives and saves the day. The battle Kirito has with Raios is rather violent and bloody, and ends with Raios’ death. The way his death is depicted, though, throws off Kirito and the others, since they don’t realize that they’re in a game world.

There’s a major surprise right at the end of the episode for Eugeo. And to be honest, I’m surprised that this reveal was made at this point, rather than a couple of episodes from now. All I can figure is that this character is going to play a very important role going forward, and that they need to be introduced now.

The episode as a whole, though, was very intense. So intense, that it was a little uncomfortable to watch. Even though I was uncomfortable, I knew that this was realistically how the story had to be portrayed in regards to the characters of Humbert and Raios. Thank you, Crunchyroll, for putting the disclaimer in, so I could try to prepare myself mentally ahead of time. I guess they learned their lesson after the reaction they got after people watched the first episode of Goblin Slayer and were negatively affected because they didn’t have any kind of warning ahead of time of this type of content being in the episode.