Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris Producer: Sexual Assault Scene Will Not Be Shown Directly in Game

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris game producer Yōsuke Futami confirmed with Anime News Network that the game will not directly depict the controversial sexual assault scene shown in the TV anime's 10th episode. The anime's depiction is widely considered the most graphic and violent episode of the series to date. Futami stated that although the context around the scene is highly important for the plot and character development and will be depicted faithfully in the game, the actual act of sexual assault will not be shown visually. The aftermath of the scene is teased in Bandai Namco Entertainment's new trailer for the game, which was unveiled at Tokyo Game Show on Saturday.

Sword Art Online original creator Reki Kawahara commented on the sexual assault scene after it was shown in the anime in December. He apologized to the voice actors of Ronie and Tiese for putting them through such an intense experience and remarked that the anime's depiction is more extreme than the original novels. He also explained that the use of sexual assault as a plot device came from his early influences as an author and tweeted: "Nowadays I would prefer to express catharsis through other means. If it was an absolutely necessary scene for the story, I would write it, but I would prefer to do that in a book that isn't a light novel."

The 10th episode of Sword Art Online: Alicization had additional content edits on United States-based streaming services Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu. However, Aniplex's France-based streaming platform Wakanim did not. While both versions feature black bars over violent and sexual scenes, as per normal for anime broadcast in Japan, the version on the U.S. services had some changes to a scene of attempted rape. Some cuts of animation in this scene were removed, and some were zoomed in so that less is visible. Funimation confirmed with ANN that its version originated from the licensor, Aniplex. Crunchyroll declined to comment on this specific issue, but said it does not censor content directly from licensors.

The game staff also clarified how the game's story relates to the anime's story. The game follows the same basic storyline as the Sword Art Online: Alicization anime. However, it does not follow the same route as the Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld anime arc that will premiere in October. Instead, it will branch off at that point into its own game route. The staff consulted with Reki Kawahara, who wanted a game that depicts the original storyline, at least in the first half. The game will also feature an original character Medina, who will appear before the game's overall story branches off from the anime.

The game will release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam. Bandai Namco Entertainment America describes the game, which will be the first in which "players will be able to faithfully follow the events of the anime series":

Play as series protagonist, Kirito, and become immersed in the “Underworld,” a mysterious virtual world set in the anime series' Alicization arc. Featuring epic battles, stunning JRPG visuals, and an expansive world to explore; Kirito's journey through the latest Sword Art Online game is ready to begin.

Following the events of the Sword Art Online: Alicization anime series, Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris finds Kirito in a mysterious but familiar virtual world, “Underworld,” where A.I.s behave like humans. As players take control of Kirito, they will relive heart-pounding scenes from the series through intense combat. Players will also encounter fan favorite characters including Eugeo, Alice, Administrator, and many more. A wide world awaits Kirito and his friends in this exciting adaptation to the Sword Art Online: Alicization series.

Sword Art Online: Alicization premiered in Japan in October 2018. The series is adapting the entire "Alicization Arc" of Reki Kawahara's original novels and will air for four cours, or four quarters of a year. The first two cours aired from October to March, and the second two cours, titled Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld, will premiere in October.

Source: Bandai Namco Entertainment Pre-Tokyo Game Show Showcase Q&A

Disclosure: Bandai Namco Rights Marketing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Bandai Namco Holdings Inc., is a non-controlling, minority shareholder in Anime News Network Inc.

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