Sword Art Online: Part 2
Released On: 27th January 2014
Published By: Manga Entertainment
Produced By: A-1 Pictures
“It’s been 2 years since the players of Sword Art Online have been trapped in this life-or-death adventure. As Kirito and Asuna get closer, Asuna starts to want distance from the Knights of the Blood, but her wish does not come easy. Kirito challenges Heathcliff to a duel to win Asuna’s freedom but is no match for him and Kirito ends up joining the Knights of the Blood himself. The Assault Team launches an attack on the 75th floor boss, but they find the Skull Reaper to be an extremely tough foe! Meanwhile, Kirito begins to feel suspicious of Heathcliff’s actions…” -Manga Entertainment UK.
Sword Art Online is a TV anime series directed by Tomohiko Ito at the anime studio A-1 Pictures and ran for a total of 25 episodes between July 7 and December 22 2012. The series is based upon an original light novel series by Reki Kawahara that started its serialisation in 2009. The series has received numerous manga adaptations, games, a film, and is planned to received a second anime season.
The first part of the anime series has been previously reviewed by another member of the team and can be found here. The series as a whole has been featured in our ‘Have You Seen?’ series and can be found here. Since I’m picking up from what was previously said, I’ll try to keep the two reviews consistent. However, it will be mainly my own opinion. So continue reading to see what I thought of these episodes.
The story continues from where it ended with Kirito and Asuna planning to explore a dungeon on the 74th floor. However, Asuna’s escort Kuradeel does not agree with this and thus Kirito is challenged to a duel with the promise of leaving the two alone if Kirito wins. After a fierce battle Kuradeel is relieved of duty and sent back to headquarters by the vice-commander Asuna.
Thus the two head off and start exploring the dungeon where they soon discover the floor boss ‘Gleam Eyes’. The Aincrad Liberation force soon shows up and starts to battle the boss. However, they are overpowered and their numbers dwindle. Kirito is forced to step in and use his special two handed ability. Will Kirito win? and will he and Asuna be able to make it out of Aincrad alive?
I didn’t want to go in to too much detail regarding this part of Sword Art Online, mainly because it is the concluding section of the Sword Art Online game section and a lot of stuff actually happens within these episodes. Since a lot of story is crammed into this section it does feel a bit rushed at parts, especially considering between episodes 7 and 8 it skips from floor 48 to floor 74. Which cuts out a lot of potential story development and opportunity.
However, what we was given was good nonetheless. This part included a lot more human emotion, what with Kirito and Asuna meeting Yui and taking her under their wing so to speak. It felt like it was going at a different pace to the rest of the anime as the characters were able to enjoy life without focusing on the fact that they are stuck in a video game and it is that aspect that I really enjoyed.
There is a hell of a lot of twists and turns as the story draws to its conclusion and it is definitely worth watching to see the conclusion.
The characters are pretty much the same as they were in the initial part of the anime. In terms of how good they are as characters, well they are pretty average. They are definitely not my favourite bunch of characters, but they serve their purpose and to an extent compliment the story and its progression quite well. This part does see the addition of a new character, which does change how the main two characters act.
Kirito is still our lead character and he is still the one paving the way to freedom. He is still strong willed, wise and helpful to those in need. Along with this signs of a relationship developing between Asuna and Kirito do come to fruition. Despite all of these positive aspects and his relationship development with Asuna he still feels a bit lacking. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but I think that the way he is portrayed is his major downfall. The anime showcases him as a humble member of the game, however we all know he is the most overpowered player ever to grace a video game. If he just embraced the fact that he was powerful and didn’t hide it from everyone I think a lot more people would respect him for it and they would of probably left Aincrad by now.
Asuna. Well Asuna despite being the male fan favourite (for obvious reasons), she is still annoying. Asuna is a tssundere and I love tsundere characters, yet Asuna just annoys me in the way she acts. During this collection she does warm up to Kirito and neglects her guild duties as Vice-Commander of the Knights of the Blood guild to spend time with him, which is a bit of a redeeming factor for me.
The newest character addition is Yui. She sort of brings out the best in both Kirito and Asuna as they decide to take care of her as if she was their daughter so to speak. The two main characters showcase a side of their personality that is previously unseen when around Yui, which is something that I like about her. As a character she is pleasant and is enjoyable on screen, she does come across as quite weak but a hidden secret does balance it out.
Artwork, Animation, and Audio
In terms of production values, this anime is superb. A-1 Pictures really outdid themselves when it comes to the artwork and animation of this anime. The characters look amazing and so do the boss enemies. These two combined with some superb and well designed backdrops and settings make this anime visually appealing.
The animation carries on this standard with its fluid battles that are both awe inspiring and elegant. No frame is out of place as the battle progresses. The same standard of animation is kept throughout so the whole viewing experience was amazing.
The soundtrack for this anime was spectacular. The opening song and ending song of the anime are so memorable and are some personal favourites. In fact when I listen to the opening by LiSA I actually want to go back and re-watch the show, it has that much of an effect on me. The overall score of the anime was also very good, especially during the boss battles where it complimented and made the experience that more engaging.
Its really hard to do a review of a release that only includes a few episodes. The anime as a whole is worth watching if you get chance, but whether it is worth buying the part 2 collection I’m going to have to say no. Its a pretty hefty amount that you’ll have to spend to get all 4 collections and it would be wiser to wait and see if they release it as a whole. Which I hope they do as I hate this split part collection releases.
If you do not wish to pay the extortionate price for the series, you can watch it on Crunchyroll for free, or subscribe for high quality.