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Why Alicization is the Best Sword Art Online Arc


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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:35 pm Reply with quote
I would agree it was the best until "THE FINAL SEASON". This last part has been a complete mess and full of bad writing left and right. Amazing animation. But almost every episodespoiler[ it's like X character is gonna die, then Y Character saves them last second. (Sometimes it's a magical powerup after being spoken to by a character that died)..repeat 5 times an episode.] . Very dull.
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Scalfin



Joined: 18 May 2008
Posts: 240
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:54 pm Reply with quote
Kougeru wrote:
I would agree it was the best until "THE FINAL SEASON". This last part has been a complete mess and full of bad writing left and right. Amazing animation. But almost every episodespoiler[ it's like X character is gonna die, then Y Character saves them last second. (Sometimes it's a magical powerup after being spoken to by a character that died)..repeat 5 times an episode.] . Very dull.


SAO seems to have a big problem with endings. Even the first arc was good until it was completely derailed. It went Kirito is relatively normal -> Kirito loses significant friends and becomes detached from humanity as a method of emotional self-defense -> Kirito learns to work in productive team-ups -> Kirito learns to form a partnership -> Kirito actually forms an emotional bond with someone -> Kirito becomes emotionally invested in someone, forms a family, and actually keeps himself together through a loss in this family -> Kirito learns to work with a group (guild) -> Kirito actually joins and acts as a part of the group -> [strike] Kirito accepts leadership and responsibility in the group -> Kirito participates in a civilizational effort (an onmi-guild campaign to finally clear the game) [/strike] fudge you, Kirito 1v1's the evil web developer.
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Kisuke525



Joined: 05 Nov 2019
Posts: 190
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:59 pm Reply with quote
Fantastic work Kim! It's very nice to see someone showing the series some respect! As you said SAO isn't perfect "what really is lol" but it's still a pretty great series. I will ALWAYS greatly prefer the novels because imo they really are just a lot better, but I would never say the anime isn't worth watching. I do think that the anime is more enjoyable if you have read the novels though. If you read then watch you get all of the important information and extra world and character depth and then get to take that with you as you see the world come to life.

I can't wait to see more of Unital Ring and hopefully when its anime adaptation comes A1 does a better job because while the war has been enjoyable "especially the action scenes" the cuts and changes have been pretty annoying and I see a lot of anime only people being very confused. I try to help explain things when I can, but nothing beats reading the books yourself.

I hope Alicization has convinced at least some people to give the novels a shot, because they are pretty great.
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12skippy21



Joined: 25 Nov 2008
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Location: York, England
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:07 pm Reply with quote
The best SAO arc is actually the YouTube abridged series by Something Witty Entertainment followed by the Mother Rosario arc.

I agree with Kougero, take the latest episode, Asuna had a sweet fight scene but only Kirito is allowed to beat key villains so of course she still lost. Too much the Kirito show for my taste.
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Kisuke525



Joined: 05 Nov 2019
Posts: 190
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:07 pm Reply with quote
Kougeru wrote:
I would agree it was the best until "THE FINAL SEASON". This last part has been a complete mess and full of bad writing left and right. Amazing animation. But almost every episodespoiler[ it's like X character is gonna die, then Y Character saves them last second. (Sometimes it's a magical powerup after being spoken to by a character that died)..repeat 5 times an episode.] . Very dull.


What exactly are you referring to in the spoiler tagged part of your comment? I can think of a couple of instances, but definitely not as much as you say and they have been properly explained. Confusion may be coming from a cut though, so forgive me if I'm wrong about it being properly explained in the anime.
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egozi14



Joined: 26 Nov 2009
Posts: 62
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:24 pm Reply with quote
SAO is a "forbidden love" I've had since the first season,

While I've lost every bit of respect for the author over the years (not just because of the anime and no, not cause I agree with self justic w... oh wait ANN took their side long ago and will filter that word, my bad~)

I still coming back to see the series and enjoying it, but not from the perspective of the first part of Se1 anymore and definitely not cause of its VR genre since at this point I can just call it some Isekai world with a lost identity,

The author started one hell of amazing work imo and at some point start changing things again and again while throwing away all of the iron rules we learned at the beginning, the idea about life and death can't really be taken seriously for me anymore when you know they won't really die in the game after Se1, the moral lessons we learned in Se1 about how in a way we are the chara we playing at was thrown outside the window, the concept of VR was replaced with Mambo Jambo (especially in Se3), the writing went south as if the creator dk what he wants from himself anymore and just trying new things while know anything he will do may be an hit cause it's "SAO",

And the last straw was when he took the side of self justic w... (whoops can't say that word here) back when all of the noise (about his bad repetitive script) was on and when he visited the US

A writer SHOULDN'T be limited by what other people thinks and tells him to do, and shouldn't try to appeal to everyone in the world if he really like his work, unless all he wants is for the series to be poplar and milk what he can from it.


I can list may more things but I'm too lazy for that, at the end of the day I do keep watching the series and enjoying it, but for a moment I'm not tricking myself that it's a masterpiece nor forgot how it looked like at the beginning before the series lost its own identity


Last edited by egozi14 on Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:28 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Kisuke525



Joined: 05 Nov 2019
Posts: 190
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:25 pm Reply with quote
12skippy21 wrote:
The best SAO arc is actually the YouTube abridged series by Something Witty Entertainment followed by the Mother Rosario arc.

I agree with Kougero, take the latest episode, Asuna had a sweet fight scene but only Kirito is allowed to beat key villains so of course she still lost. Too much the Kirito show for my taste.


Definitely can't agree with abridged being the best lol. Too much of the stuff in it only works if the viewer understands as little about the series as the as the people who made abridged.

I do kinda agree with the Asuna thing though. However, I wouldn't completely say she lost. spoiler[ PoH is hanging on by a thread only really still alive thanks to the ability of his weapon and it being amped by his Incarnation. If Asuna wasn't so worn out from the constant fighting and use of her Stacia account ability she probably could have finished him off. However, I think that would have been a bad move though. Kirito and PoH "Laughing Coffin as a whole really" have too much history together, so I think that this needs to be done by Kirito, so he can finally move on.]
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Zerreth



Joined: 16 Mar 2006
Posts: 172
Location: E6
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:41 pm Reply with quote
Kisuke525 wrote:

What exactly are you referring to in the spoiler tagged part of your comment? I can think of a couple of instances, but definitely not as much as you say and they have been properly explained. Confusion may be coming from a cut though, so forgive me if I'm wrong about it being properly explained in the anime.


Cut content should not matter. People shouldn't have to run a reference guide alongside the anime and attempting to fill in the broken parts with external exposition is a poor excuse to mask that the adaptation is not working.

I'm going to have to disagree with the article's point that Alicization is functioning "without Kirito" because while he has no active participation, he seems to still be overwhelmingly affecting the story and trying to remind viewers who this story is actually about.

From Bercoulli test cutting Alice at the camp to Renly suddenly overcoming his life-long inferiority complex in a matter of seconds, Kirito has an outrageous influence that soured my opinion as the story continued on.

Mother's Rosario was an example that proved the world can move without Kirito as all he did was keep Asuna's ambition from falling through and helped push her and Yuuki's story. Alicization is not that. It most definitely has more numerous stronger characters whose thoughts don't completely revolve around Kirito, but that's the problem: Their thoughts still revolve around Kirito.
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Kisuke525



Joined: 05 Nov 2019
Posts: 190
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:47 pm Reply with quote
egozi14 wrote:
SAO is a "forbidden love" I've had since the first season,

While I've lost every bit of respect for the author over the years (not just because of the anime and no, not cause I agree with self justic w... oh wait ANN took their side long ago and will filter that word, my bad~)

I still coming back to see the series and enjoying it, but not from the perspective of the first part of Se1 anymore and definitely not cause of its VR genre since at this point I can just call it some Isekai world with a lost identity,

The author started one hell of amazing work imo and at some point start changing things again and again while throwing away all of the iron rules we learned at the beginning, the idea about life and death can't really be taken seriously for me anymore when you know they won't really die in the game after Se1, the moral lessons we learned in Se1 about how in a way we are the chara we playing at was thrown outside the window, the concept of VR was replaced in Mmmbo Jambo (especially in Se3), the writing went south as if the creator dk what he wants from himself anymore and just trying new things while know anything he will do may be an hit cause it's "SAO",

And the last straw was when he took the side of self justic w... (whoops can't say that word here) back when all of the noise (about his bad repetitive script) was on and when he visited the US

A writer SHOULDN'T be limited by what other people thinks and tells him to do, and shouldn't try to appeal to everyone in the world if he really like his work, unless all he wants is for the series to be poplar and milk what he can from it.


I can list may more things but I'm too lazy for that, at the end of the day I do keep watching the series and enjoying it, but for a moment I'm not tricking myself that it's a masterpiece nor forgot how it looked like at the beginning before the series lost its own identity


I don't understand so much of this... First off Reki Kawahara did not bow to anyone. He writes the same way he has since first starting Accel World "well his writing has improved since then" that interview he had means nothing. I hate when writers do what you're saying and I can assure Reki is fine.

The concept of VR has never been replaced every arc explores it in a new way. The effect VR has on the world and its people is what SAO has been about since the beginning and that has yet to change.

I feel like I'm responding to a troll post... If I am... oh well.

Zerreth wrote:
Kisuke525 wrote:

What exactly are you referring to in the spoiler tagged part of your comment? I can think of a couple of instances, but definitely not as much as you say and they have been properly explained. Confusion may be coming from a cut though, so forgive me if I'm wrong about it being properly explained in the anime.


Cut content should not matter. People shouldn't have to run a reference guide alongside the anime and attempting to fill in the broken parts with external exposition is a poor excuse to mask that the adaptation is not working.

I'm going to have to disagree with the article's point that Alicization is functioning "without Kirito" because while he has no active participation, he seems to still be overwhelmingly affecting the story and trying to remind viewers who this story is actually about.

From Bercoulli test cutting Alice at the camp to Renly suddenly overcoming his life-long inferiority complex in a matter of seconds, Kirito has an outrageous influence that soured my opinion as the story continued on.

Mother's Rosario was an example that proved the world can move without Kirito as all he did was keep Asuna's ambition from falling through and helped push her and Yuuki's story. Alicization is not that. It most definitely has more numerous stronger characters whose thoughts don't completely revolve around Kirito, but that's the problem: Their thoughts still revolve around Kirito.


Oh I completely agree with your first point. People should not have to run a reference guide while watching the anime. I have always considered the adaptation to be a failure If I ever said otherwise I apologize. I try to explain things to people in an attempt to make it more enjoyable for them, but it dosen't seem to work a lot of the time "still gonna try though", but I have never thought that an explanation given by me or someone else makes up for the adaptation's failures.

Based on what you say explanations won't help you enjoy the story more sadly Sad so I won't really bother, but I do wanna say that Renly did not have a life long inferiority complex. He got it from that duel with his friend and was frozen almost immediately after it. That's one of the reasons why he had never seen any real combat.
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Skerlly Fc



Joined: 18 Aug 2016
Posts: 75
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 2:52 pm Reply with quote
Kisuke525 wrote:
The concept of VR has never been replaced every arc explores it in a new way. The effect VR has on the world and its people is what SAO has been about since the beginning and that has yet to change.


I think the comment was referring to the fact that the series sold itself from the beginning as having the VR concept to be an important part of the series, but it never explored it. Why? Because the series turns the "transporting the mind conscious of any person to the virtual world" thingy, into something similar to an isekai series. Up until Alicization, you can series that the series is less sci-fi and more high fantasy with barely any credible sci-fi.
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Kuzu



Joined: 13 Sep 2019
Posts: 50
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:30 pm Reply with quote
I agree that the best part of this arc was the first half when it was just Kirito and Eugeo broing it up. It somewhat dragged, and still had a lot of...SAO's unintentionally funny moments (I will never take that rape scene seriously, I'm sorry) it was overall much more consistent and down to earth with itself.

War of the Underworld just...isn't as interesting, I'm sorry. Even with Kirito gone, the characters it focuses on I don't find as interesting. I liked most of the Integrity Knights, but with the exception of Bercoulli, Alice, and the one with that really cool ass sword who hooks up with the red skinned underworld commander, I can't really remember anything stand out from them. And despite Kirito being gone, he still somehow manages to be front and center as almost everybody has something to say about him, to the point where all of his love interests talk about nothing but him when they're all in the same place.

And despite the arc being named after her, Alice sure doesn't get a whole lot of time to be fleshed out or do much on her own. It's even worse because she's technically two characters. The Alice we're introduced to stops being a character the moment she's arrested in the beginning, and just serves as motivation for Eugeo, to the point where her last, non-flashback appearance was when her and Eugeo died. Alice-Synthesis 32 takes over after that, but she doesn't show up until halfway into the first half and while there's a brief moment between her and Kirito (because of course, but I'll let this slide because it was a good moment) she just kind of takes a backseat once the fight against the Administrator starts while Kirito and Eugeo do most of the heavy lifting. When War of the Underworld starts, she's a macguffin and once Vecta shows up, she's promptly knocked unconscious so they can rescue her. Oh and she's yet another love rival for Kirito even though him and Asuna are in a relationship, because females in this show are not allowed to exist outside of competing for Kirito's affecton, if they aren't already in a relationship.

Eugeo was indeed this arc's breakout character; not only was he a well developed character, with solid motivations and goals, he's the only character who can actually interact with Kirito as an equal rather than the "hero and subordinate" relationship he kind of has with his harem (and Klein). In fact, Eugeo is such a good character that he inadvertently makes Kirito a better character by proxy. The cynical part of me wants to say that he died just so Kirito doesn't have to share the spotlight with anyone else, but he completed his character arc and I'd rather not see him default into the subordinate role that others have fell into. He got to leave the series on his own terms and his presence is still felt even if he's not actually there.

The production values of this arc have indeed been the best they've ever been in the series and I commend the directors and animators for bringing these fights to life. Things feel much more fluid and impactful than prior seasons. I don't have much of an eye for animation and storyboarding, but at the very I can see that the staff are pulling out all of the stops for this series and if nothing else, it's a gem to watch.


This is indeed the best SAO has been...which still only makes it average in my eyes, but it's a significant improvement over prior seasons, so I'll this arc that much.
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Birriaman



Joined: 24 Jul 2015
Posts: 73
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 5:52 pm Reply with quote
12skippy21 wrote:
The best SAO arc is actually the YouTube abridged series by Something Witty Entertainment followed by the Mother Rosario arc.

I agree with Kougero, take the latest episode, Asuna had a sweet fight scene but only Kirito is allowed to beat key villains so of course she still lost. Too much the Kirito show for my taste.


Ugh, nasty and mean. And I agree completely. I think one of the reasons so many people like the Alicization anime is because it’s definitey the “best arc”. But come on, the standard set by Kawahara in the previous seasons was pretty low to start with. And then you have Mother’s Rosario, which aside from the eyerolling AIDS plot device (let’s be honest here, the only reason why it was used in the story was because at the time of writing it was a global enough disease that any Japanese teenager would at least know what it was; she could just as easily have had cancer, but since that’s a plot device in most anime where a character dies... I guess this was Kawahara trying to be original and modern. If it had been written today Yuuki would have died to COVID most likely), it is definitely the best arc, but even the author of this review doesn’t consider it a proper arc but a side story. What does that tell you about the rest of series as a whole then?
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Yuvelir



Joined: 06 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:14 pm Reply with quote
Alicization can't be the best arc when Mother's Rosario exists!
Even moreso when War of the Underworld also exists. This second part of the second part of the third major arc gets all the blame but I'll say the ifrst half of WotU wasn't particularly good either. It mostly focused on giving cool scenes to characters that we really didn't know that well or cared about, and that kinda get in the way of the narrative.
IMO the most interesting part of WotU was the Dark Territory, its people, their society, how they could eventually coexist and so on, but the season quickly forgot about most of that and burned through them as fodder for the Cool Knights Cool Scenes and for all we know just a couple of orcs and a handful of pugilists are left. They or their lives don't seem to matter anymore, and instead the focus was completely put on the histrionic villains and their legion of fools. It's all so messy.

The first half was pretty good though. But the War is just so narratively terrible that it drags the whole arc below Aincrad IMO.

Skerlly Fc wrote:
Up until Alicization, you can series that the series is less sci-fi and more high fantasy with barely any credible sci-fi.

The GGO part was fair, since it was mostly trying to solve a mystery in two fronts and so both "worlds" interconnected.
Alicization however is SAO at its most isekai lol. Not even Aincrad was such so much.

Kuzu wrote:
In fact, Eugeo is such a good character that he inadvertently makes Kirito a better character by proxy. The cynical part of me wants to say that he died just so Kirito doesn't have to share the spotlight with anyone else, but he completed his character arc and I'd rather not see him default into the subordinate role that others have fell into.

It's a shame how poorly used Kirito is. He's a lovely dork and really shines in the presence of equals and superiors. But because the narrative is so obsessed with painting him as the cool Greek hero, the Chosen One, he gets stuck in a role and mood that hamper his personality.
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Birriaman



Joined: 24 Jul 2015
Posts: 73
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:24 pm Reply with quote
Yuvelir wrote:
Alicization can't be the best arc when Mother's Rosario exists!


Truer words have never been spoken in this thread. Also, just to be fair, I myself tend to bunch up everything involving Alice into “Alicization”, WotU is just another part in that major arc, so as a whole the entire arc is brought down by the weaker segments.
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CrowLia



Joined: 24 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:34 pm Reply with quote
Kuzu wrote:
The cynical part of me wants to say that he died just so Kirito doesn't have to share the spotlight with anyone else,


Honestly that was my read, full stop, and this is seconded by the issue you brought up with the two Alices. A male character that stands equal to Kirito can not exist just like a main female character who doesn't love Kirito can't (even the bloody spider had a crush on him for crying at loud). So both Eugeo and the original Alice had to die.

I also can't really get behind the idea that this arc functions without Kirito when characters spend 70% of their screen time thinking of him or talking about him. He motivates their actions at all times. Heck PoH's entire motivation -which has been at the center of the last what, six episodes?- is to torture Kirito. The reason all the JP players convert to Underworld is to help Kirito. This second part of the war so far has been directed and written specifically to create anticipation about Kirito's impending return, it's the core point of narrative tension.
Like someone else mentioned, the titular character of this arc -Alice- hasn't even appeared on screen for like four? episodes and the only thing she's done this cour is watch Bercoulli die.
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