Sword Art Online Alicization – Season 1

Sword Art Online Alicization – Season 1

After what happening in Gun Gale OnlineKazuto is later recruited to assist in testing an experimental FullDive machine, Soul Translator (STL), which has an interface that is far more realistic and complex than the previous machine he had played to help develop an artificial intelligence for the Ministry of Defense (MOD) named A.L.I.C.E. He tests the STL by entering a virtual reality cyberspace created with The Seed package, named UnderWorld (UW). In the UW, the flow of time proceeds a thousand times faster than in the real world, and Kirito’s memories of what happens inside are restricted. However, Black injures Kazuto with suxamethonium chloride. The MOD recovers Kazuto and places him back into the STL to preserve his mind while attempts are made to save him.

This time around, Kirito finds himself in a mysterious fantasy world with no real recollection on how he got there and with no option to ‘log out’. That’s where he meets Eugeo, a woodcutter, tasked with chopping down the Gigas Cedar, a colossal tree.

Kirito finds himself in a completely different world with a whole different set of rules. Having no idea how he got there or how to get back, he has no alternative but to try and blend in and forge his way in this new land. This time he doesn’t have Yui to provide him with information and neither does he have Sinon, Asuna, Leafa, and Liz for backup.

One of the biggest focuses of this arc is the Soul Translator, which is the device that’s used to bring Kirito into the world of Alicization, and we get some more information on the gear and technology that enables people to move into new worlds. To connect with someone’s soul in order to access their memories is quite insidious, and not only has moral implications but also ones about personal growth and understanding of the self. We start to realise that there are bigger machinations at play here and there’s more that Kirito has to deal with than just the workings of this new world.

For me, this season of Sword Art Online has been a bit light on the action. It was a bit of a slow burner at first, going over the same areas as other seasons – adjusting to the land, getting weapons, honing sword skills, the usual rigmarole. It’s something we have to go through whilst we wait for the bigger picture to form around it. Finally, Eugeo and Kirito become swordsmen at an academy and finally some fighting begins.

After Eugeo manages to break the Taboo Index to protect his and Kirito’s page do things look like they’re starting to unravel. They finally meet up with Alice, they’re long lost childhood friend, and discover that she is an Integrity Knight with no knowledge of them. After the two swordsmen escape their imprisonment does the real reality behind this world begin to surface – physical restrictions and mind control to keep everything running smoothly. And when the Cardinal appears and reveals to them the true powers of the Administrator, Kirito knows that something must be done.

I have enjoyed seeing Kirito out of his element, without his usual support party. However, their removal does sort of make him into more of a Mary Sue than usual. Despite being new to this world, he knows the right way to defeat elite swordsmen, to escape prisons and to literally change a person’s destiny. Is there not a world that Kirito can single-handedly implode? I would have liked to have seen him struggle to adjust a bit more rather than seemingly integrate himself into another civilisation.

Despite this, Sword Art Online Alicization is an enjoyable watch despite it, in my opinion, being one of the weaker stories in the franchise. It takes a while to get itself started, perhaps dwelling a little too long on exposition when they have a potentially information-heavy part of the story to get through, but once it gets going it settles into an easy progression. How to see more explanation behind the world of Alicization as the plot moves forward.