Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld Part 2
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 3 of
Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld Part 2 ?
Despite the death of Bercouli, things were generally looking up for the good guys at the end of last episode. Naturally, that means that this is the episode where things start to go south again—both literally and figuratively.
The literal part of that involves Sinon encouraging Alice to continue towards the World End Alter while she stays to stand against an expected return by the player inhabiting Vecta. (This is also, I think, the first place in the anime where Sinon directly admits that she “likes” Kirito.) Significantly, this scene plays without musical backing until its conclusion, giving it the somber feel that it should have. The figurative part of that begins with Klein's ID of who Vassago actually is. All signs had pointed towards him being a former member of Aincrad's death guild, Laughing Coffin (and in fact a Laughing Coffin emblem is visible in the opener), but that proves to be an understatement: he's PoH, the notorious leader of Laughing Coffin, who appeared briefly in episode 6 of the first series but was never captured or killed during the later combined guild raid on Laughing Coffin's base.
It's not just him presenting a new threat, either; he apparently arranged for some messages to be posted on Chinese and Korean boards suggesting that Japanese players had hacked an American beta test, hence drawing in a whole new crowd of reinforcements. Who he targeted here is significant, not just because they're from other countries but also because Korean MMO players have long been at odds with Japanese players. (Or at least they were at the time the source material was originally written.) Hence they would be naturally inclined to regard the Japanese players as the enemy. I question the time frame involved, but at least a couple of the players—one implied to be Korean, the other Chinese—are shown being skeptical here, and that should be important as the scenario progresses.
Meanwhile, things are not going well on the Sheyta/Iskahn front, with both being worn down to their fighting capability limit. Still, I tremendously like how Sheyta is being handled here, with her realization that she had to try to cut everything until she found the one thing she did not want to cut: Iskahn. Their debate over whether their theoretical child would be the greatest pugilist ever or the greatest knight ever was quite cute, but their situation looks bad. Sinon is also facing a massive new challenge in the form of Gabriel arriving back on the scene as Subtilizer; the visual presentation of his return is more impressive in visual form than the source material description.
Things are about to take a turn for the worse on the Ocean Turtle as well. Though the Rath ploy to distract the enemy works, the mole—as expected, the man who accompanies Higa into the access shaft—shows his true colors at the end by pulling a gun on Higa. That leaves danger on all fronts for the good guys.
In adaptation terms, this episode adapts most of pages 142-180 from novel 17; a couple of brief scenes that were skipped over will presumably be shunted to the beginning of next episode, since they would work better as a lead-in to the upcoming scenes. Otherwise the adaptation is very accurate to the source. The visual presentation here was pretty strong throughout, and seeing some of the minor secondary characters from previous arcs get their chance to shine in the action scenes is a further nice touch. The only question now is how much worse is it going to have to get before Kirito finally re-emerges?
Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld Part 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll, HIDIVE, Hulu, and Funimation .
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