Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld Part 2
Episode 4

by Theron Martin,

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Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld Part 2 ?

Note: This episode is listed as episode 16 on both Crunchyroll and HIDIVE and as episode 40 on Funimation.

An old adage states, “it's always darkest before the dawn.” Put in terms of heroic fiction, that might translate to, “it's always darkest before the hero arises again.” The events in Underworld are nearing that point but don't quite make it there by the end of this episode, which means that one more will be needed to finish the adaptation of volume 17 of the original novels. It's going to be a bumpy ride for a little while longer, folks.

To be specific, this episode adapts pages 180-208, with a bit of carry-over of content skipped last episode. It does not quite cover this content in order, instead reordering events a bit; those changes have no real consequence on the story, however, since events are transpiring in five main venues. (Technically six, if you also count Ichiemon's decoy maneuver.) On the northern front in Underworld, things are at least temporarily looking up, as Leafa leads Lilpilin and his orcs in a rescue of the Iskahn, Sheyta, and the pugilists. Leafa's decision to tank the fight is understandable, though I suspect costly given the numbers involved here. On the southern front in Underworld, Sinon has the beginning of her rematch with Subtilizer, and a token from Kirito is what protects her from Gabriel's use of Incarnation to attempt soul drain. Given what's happened to her in the past, I can see that scene making some a bit uncomfortable. At least Sinon pulls out of it and summons her Hecate from GGO to push the battle forward.

The meatier part is the battle in between in the old temple. Moonphase and Xie Xie are getting increasingly suspicious about the circumstances, and they become even more so when Siune (from the Sleeping Knights) tries to speak to the Korean players. An important detail that gets lost here in the translation from novel form is that Siune addresses the newcomers in Korean (she is half-Korean herself, something suggested by her real name but never explicitly stated in animated content), which is why some of them even listen to her in the first place. However, PoH knows how to manipulate people; he wasn't the leader of Laughing Coffin for nothing. The startling revelation here, which he drops on Asuna as she loses her will to fight and as the Japanese players get defeated, is that he set up his own guild by leaking its base's location to the top players, all because he wanted to make some of the leading players into murderers. Yeah, he's an evil bastard about on Sugou's level.

The Sugou comparison is even more apt because his name pops up again this episode. We knew that Yanai, the guy who went down the shaft with Higa, was the traitor, but it's even worse than that; he is behind Code 871 (thankfully, the subtitles explain the connection to his name) and was essentially Administrator's conspirator on the outside, so much of what went wrong in Underworld was directly or indirectly his fault. He was also one of Sugou's henchman. The anime version deviates from the original novel by even suggesting that Yanai was the tentacle monster who caught Asuna during her escape attempt back in episode 21 of the first series; the novel never established this, but it is a reasonable extrapolation. (Besides, when the adaptation wants to emphasize that a character is an evil prick, it never does a half-assed job of it.) Interestingly, Yanai also claims that he got off by pinning the blame on “a co-worker.” Episode 25 of the first series mentions that Suguo confessed after one of his employees was interrogated. Coincidence?

Most of the circumstances for Kirito's return are now in places. He just needs one final push.

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Sword Art Online: Alicization War of Underworld Part 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll, HIDIVE, Hulu, and Funimation .


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