Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld ?
Sometimes the most important thing a person can do is to be an inspiration to others who might not otherwise find the courage to act. That is exactly how Kirito gets slightly involved in the action for this episode: once again his slight movements spur an Integrity Knight to confidence and action. It would be a little ridiculous if it wasn't something that was desperately needed at the time, to the point that someone really needs to make a video parodying it.
But this episode isn't about Kirito. The first half instead focuses on Renly, the youngest of the full Integrity Knights. (The novel lists him as age 15.) Flashbacks show that he accidentally killed a friend in a match, and that trauma unsettled him enough that he could not achieve the Perfect Weapon Control expected of an Integrity. In a setting where self-image is everything, that is fully believable. Though unfrozen, he hasn't had the time or interactions necessary to overcome his sense of worthlessness, so he's cowering in the supply tents, afraid, until Ronie and Tiese being endangered again – and Kirito jerking like he wants to protect them - force him to finally collect himself and take action. He may still be unconvincing in his newfound boldness, but those thrown whirling blades are no joke. Neither is the over-the-top way he takes out the goblin chieftain. I'm not buying that he would pull off the trick of having the vertically severed halves of the goblin's body falling forward to either side of him without getting a speck of blood on him, but whatever. As graphic violence goes, it was cool enough to be worth the multi-angle shot.
This episode also shows why Bercouli was not on the front line himself; he was exploiting his own Perfect Weapon Control to set up a trap for anticipated flying minions. While maybe not as impressive a scene as Renly's, it still had its own dramatic cool factor. Then Alice trumps both of them by revealing the full extent of what she was up to. We knew she was gathering the lingering energy of the dead as well as sucking the ambient energy out of the ravine – making for a nasty surprise for the Dark Mages! – and we knew that she was crafting a sphere, but here we get the explanation for how it actually worked: it was a mirrored ball with Light Elements endlessly bouncing around inside to generate an immense amount of energy. The blast when it is finally released does not disappoint.
Among other random thoughts, I'm still having a tough time accepting the one demi-human race as ogres when they still look much more like werewolves. They look to have been mostly eliminated, however, so that won't be an issue anymore. I also find it a little curious that all of the Dark Mages are youngish-looking women; where are the male casters and the veterans, or is the Dark World such a dog-eat-dog setting that only the youngest and fittest survive? Alice's musing over how human and demi-human souls look the same gives her greater insight into the world but also places a heavier burden on her, as now she knows that she is going to be slaughtering people in fighting the enemy. The episode also had some neat artistic choices that were easy to miss, such as a view of the night sky while Alice was contemplating the split between being born on each side of the dividing mountains; the sky was similarly split into slightly lighter and darker parts. And let's not forget another cameo by the sharp-tongued Integrity Knight girls and their all-too-casual mention of dealing with enemies.
For all of the big blows which have landed so far, the battle is far from done. Round 3 is next.
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