Sword Art Online: Alicization: Episode 23 – “Administrator”

With the way this episode didn’t have the usual opening theme song, and instead ran the credits during the opening scene, I assumed that this was going to be the final episode. But nope, it turns out that this is the penultimate episode.

The theme of this episode is: sacrifice. Both Cardinal and Eugeo make sacrifices in order to move the story along. While I was glad to finally see Eugeo do something important to try to save the day, it was a little disappointing that he became a martyr by doing so.

Another theme of this episode: Administrator is a psychotic bitch. Yes, we knew she was psychotic and that she could be a bitch, but this episode showed just how much of a combination she has of both of these traits. Yikes!

Near the end of the episode, Kirito has an epiphany, when he once again has someone jump in front of him while he’s kneeling on the ground so they can try to save his life. At least Kirito finally realized that he could get up and fight, and was able to save Alice from becoming yet another sacrifice.

This episode ends with Kirito preparing to fight against Administrator one-on-one. So I hope this means that the next episode will be action-packed.

It’s too bad that Sword Art Online: Alicization finally found its pacing with the last couple of episodes of the series. After the slow start for most of the series, and then the overly fast paced episode a couple of weeks ago, it’s been very uneven in its pacing. But I wonder if I’ll be satisfied with how this story ends, and I assume that ending will take place in the next episode. I can’t see Kirito and Administrator’s fight taking more than one episode.

Adult Swim to Re-Air an Episode of Sword Art Online: Alicization After Error

Adult Swim’s Toonami block has announced that it will re-air the sixth episode of the Sword Art Online: Alicization anime on March 23, 2019 at 12:30 a.m., after its airing of the episode on March 16, 2019 had an error during airing, with the video supposedly being frozen.

The block will air the seventh and eighth episodes of the anime back-to-back on March 30, 2019 from 12:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Sword Art Online: Alicization premiered on the block on February 9, 2019 with a one-hour premiere.

Source: ANN

Sword Art Online: Alicization: Episode 22 – “Titan of the Sword”

This episode starts with Chudelkin using an art to create this flame monster that seems like it’s supposed to be pretty powerful. Alice holds this thing off so Kirito and Eugeo can go after the real Chudelkin. Unfortunately, instead of being an interesting battle with a powerful monster, the real Chudelkin is defeated pretty quickly and the monster disappears when he dies. As Administrator even quips, “Well, that was a boring show.” Considering how this series has gone so far, this line ends up coming across as true and unintentionally funny.

Then we spend a lot of the episode seeing both Alice and Kirito arguing with Administrator. And then Administrator decides to show off by creating a powerful Sword Golem. At first, it appears that this could be an epic fight. It cuts down Alice and Kirito pretty quickly, and it comes down to Eugeo. But all of a sudden, he hears a voice telling him to use the dagger Cardinal gave him and insert it into the floor next to him. A spider named Charlotte, who apparently has been on Kirito’s collar, enlarges in size and sacrifices herself so Eugeo can use the dagger. A doorway appears, and Cardinal comes out of it. She heals Alice and Kirito, and at the end of the episode, Cardinal turns her attention to Administrator. It looks as if the show is gearing up for some kind of showdown between Cardinal and Administrator in the next episode. Let’s see how this gets messed up. 😛

But by the end of the episode, Cardinal was really feeling like a “deus ex machina” to me. And I’m afraid she will continue this role into the next episode, and will somehow defeat Administrator a lot quicker than the time that it really should take. With both of the battles in this episode, there was hardly time for any tension to build before the enemy was defeated. To me, this makes for unsatisfactory viewing. It just feels like that when adapting the light novels for the anime, the writers messed up on the pacing early on, and then found themselves having to rush through the sections that should have been longer because they’re more interesting and would have provided the tension and action that helps to keep the viewer invested in what’s going on.

Right now, I’m going into next week’s episode without very low expectations. I really hope that the writers will be able to exceed my low expectations by a large margin. But we’ll just have to wait and see.

Sword Art Online: Alicization: Episode 21 – “The 32nd Knight”

This episode opens right where the previous episode ended, with Kirito and Eugeo clashing swords. This fight seemed disappointingly short. But this is due, in part, to Kirito starting to jog Eugeo’s memory.

When Eugeo goes to see Administrator, she decides to fiddle with the module. But when the module is out and Eugeo can speak, he is able to betray Administrator. Sadly, the sword that Cardinal gave to Eugeo and Kirito to take down Administrator doesn’t work because Administrator has made it so metal can’t damage her body. Darn. But knowing there are a few episodes left, I knew that there’s no way Eugeo could have succeeded here. Also, some new footage was inserted into the opening credits, and it’s clear that Administrator is going to be important in one of the remaining episodes.

Kirito and Alice join in, because it turns out Eugeo hadn’t completely followed Prime Sentor Chudelkin’s orders. Speaking of Chudelkin, that guy is quite a perv. But near the end of the episode, we see there’s more to this jester-looking guy than there appears on the surface. He’s going to be the next battle that Kirito, Eugeo, and Alice are going to have to fight.

With how the story is progressing now, it appears these remaining episodes will focus on battles with Chudelkin and the final boss, Administrator. Finally, this series is getting interesting to watch. Sadly, it took almost two entire cours for it to get to this point. And if the assumption that Sword Art Online: Alicization will be taking a break during the Spring 2019 season, then the series is hitting its stride right when its about to take a break. While I say it’s “hitting its stride,” I also admit that these last few episodes are starting to feel rushed in comparison to most of the episodes that preceded them. There’s definitely a pacing issue with the series, and that’s a little frustrating to me.

Hopefully the next episode will continue to keep the momentum going, but at the same time, not feel quite as rushed.

Sword Art Online: Alicization: Episode 20 – “Synthesis”

Most of this episode focuses on Kirito and Alice, with Kirito trying to figure out where Eugeo is. Using a command to search for Eugeo’s sword, Kirito discovers that it’s right below them. This leads them to the bath, where Bercouli was turned to stone by Prime Senator Chudelkin. Of course, seeing Bercouli in this state is devastating to Alice, since he served as her mentor. But even though Bercouli has been turned to stone, he’s still able to talk to both her and to Kirito, and they learn that Eugeo was taken away by Chudelkin.

As they go to find Chudelkin, Alice gives Kirito some exposition on the senate and their function. Fortunately, it was kept to a short amount of exposition before they reached their destination. But the truth behind the senate is revealed, and we get to see a confrontation scene between Alice, Kirito, and Chudeklin.

Chudelkin is such an ass. He already came across as annoying for the brief time we saw him a few episodes back, but now that he’s gotten more screen time, he’s a truly despicable creature. Unfortunately, it seems that traditional methods, such as running a sword through him, won’t get rid of him.

The episode ends with Alice and Kirito encountering Eugeo… who has now been turned into an Integrity Knight. But for some reason, he has somehow acquired rare abilities and is fully synthesized in such a short amount of time. Alice brings this point home a few times with her dialogue. As of right now, though, there’s no explanation as to why Eugeo was able to be synthesized so quickly and be so powerful. If they try to claim it’s because the depth of his wanting love is so deep (especially the part about only wanting the love of his mother for himself), I swear I will probably scream. That whole concept came out of nowhere in the previous episode to begin with. If this was going to be such a major plot point, it should have been reinforced early on, especially while he and Kirito were still in Rulid.

But I will give this episode credit for one thing. This episode has the done the best job of progressing the plot since who knows when. Exposition was only given when needed, and it was generally kept on the brief side (especially in comparison to some of the more recent episodes that were made up almost entirely of exposition). All I can say is, it’s about damn time that the story truly started progressing.

I find it interesting that this plot development of Eugeo being turned into an Integrity Knight is happening at this point, especially since it’s starting to look as if Sword Art Online: Alicization will be taking a break for the Spring 2019 anime season. If this is the case, what exactly is going to serve as the cliffhanger before the series comes back? I would have thought first encountering Eugeo as an Integrity Knight would have been the most appropriate place for a cliffhanger. But we still have, what, about three or four weeks left for the Winter 2019 season? Please don’t tell me that the fight between Kirito and Eugeo is going to last for the remaining episodes of this simulcast season.

Sword Art Online: Alicization: Episode 19 – “The Seal of the Right Eye”

This episode begins by backtracking to when Kirito says he’ll tell Alice about her past, and her saying that if she detects anything false in what he says, she’ll strike him down. From here, we basically get a few lines of dialogue that condense down what we saw in the recap episode last week. So what was the point of the recap episode, if the same thing was accomplished through a few lines of dialogue? Why am I not surprised that the recap episode truly was a waste of time?

But then we get a very lengthy scene of Kirito and Alice talking. But by the end of it, Alice tries defying her orders, so we get the action of her right eye having the same error message that Eugeo had when he struck down Raios.

For the last roughly 10 minutes of the episode, we focus on Eugeo. He wakes up in the top room of the Cathedral, where Administrator sleeps. Unfortunately, Eugeo hesitates when he has a chance to take down Administrator, and she wakes up and begins manipulating him with lies. I had a bad feeling a couple of episodes ago that something bad was going to happen to Eugeo, and sure enough, I was right. And between how this episode ended and the title for the next episode, it seems my worst fear could very well be realized. With all the progression Eugeo has made as a character over this season, this development is rather disappointing. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the ideas that Administrator uses to manipulate Eugeo seem to come out of nowhere. It’s an interesting plot development, to be sure, but something about the execution of this development just rings a little wrong to me.

Well, all I can say at this point is that it will be interesting to see how this plot development with Eugeo will continue. Will it be something I can come to accept, or will this become a potential stumbling block toward my enjoyment of the series?

Sword Art Online: Alicization: Episode 18.5 – “Recollection”

The ending of the last episode hinted that Kirito would be telling Alice about her past. Sure enough, that’s exactly what we end up getting here… a recap episode covering the previous episodes of this series. This series has been heavier on the exposition side than usual, so adding a recap episode on top of that is a little grueling. Yes, it makes sense for Kirito to be telling Alice about her past and hoping that she’ll accept what he tells her. However, devoting a whole recap episode to this just feels a little excessive.

Overall, though, the recap focused on events that Kirito either witnessed himself directly, or became involved in partway through (such as the attempted rape of the pages). Surprisingly, Crunchyroll didn’t include the disclaimer that was put onto the episode that this scene originally came from. Maybe it was thought that viewers watching this recap would already be familiar with the episode and that the disclaimer wasn’t necessary?

The only time the cheated on what was shown, though, happened right at the end. There’s footage of Eugeo’s battle in the previous episode (which Kirito wasn’t aware of going on), with Kirito’s voice-over dialogue saying something to the effect that he’s sure Eugeo is still inside the tower and fighting in order to save Alice.

For the opening credits, the first opening theme song was used. For the footage, about roughly half of it came from the first opening and the remainder of the footage comes from the current opening. For the ending credits, I believe it was the first ending theme, but the footage used at the side of the credits is all from what was seen in the real world while the story in the game world is taking place. I guess it was felt that the real world side had to be acknowledged, but it obviously couldn’t be part of the actual episode, since Kirito wouldn’t have witnessed most of it.

While it makes sense to place a recap episode here, it’s still a recap episode. It’s all footage that the viewer has seen before, with some additional voice-over narration by Kirito to explain why this footage is showing up while he’s talking to Alice. Unfortunately, I tend to get bored with recap episodes, since it’s all material I’ve already seen.

At least the story should be continuing with the next episode, and hopefully it’ll have a decent mix of action and exposition.