Sword Art Online (SAO) has always been the most powerful fantasy RPG show to have moved me, with Hai to Gensou no Grimgar falling short despite it being in a class of its own. Needless to say my love and obsession for the series and its genre runs deep. And yet, I’ve never taken the time to write about it even though I’ve always felt strongly toward the show. But the reason for this is pretty straightforward — my feelings toward SAO are much stronger than what I believe my writing is capable of. Therefore, deciding to write a review of Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld was not an easy decision, but I definitely do not plan to slack off in writing a review of one of my favourite series.
- Title: Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld
- Genres: Action, Fantasy, Game, Adventure, Romance
- Studios: A-1 Pictures
- Episodes: 12 – 24min (Completed)
- Date: 13 October 2019 — 29 December 2019
- Source: Light Novel
Underworld presents a tragic story in the ever-enchanting world of Sword Art Online, where the lines between the virtual and reality are constantly being blurred. By forcefully comparing the real person and the non-player characters (NPC) created to live in virtual realities, the story questions the differences between us and them. What makes us so different from them? Is it not just our corporeal bodies? So how then can we judge a person to be illegitimate if they experience and share everything that a real person is capable of feeling? This very idea is what creates the context behind the gripping story of the anime, and sets the premise for the ensuing War of Underworld.
One of the highlights of Underworld is its spectacular animation designs and awe-inspiring effects. I’ve always been drawn to the magical and enchanting fantasy world of Sword Art Online, so being able to witness such a wonderful visual spectacle from an already enchanting world was utterly pleasing and gratifying. Visuals play an extremely important role in creating a world of the fantastical, and thankfully Underworld made sure to awe with its fantastic visuals. From the breathtaking colours of every special move to the magnificent allure of the beautiful landscapes, the anime successfully captures the essence of a world of fantasy and repeatedly exhibits them for the viewers.
Underworld does a good job in adding depth to the various characters, with the narrative giving ample time for the story to develop the relevant characters before any battle begins. As more characters were given depth, we get to see the various motives and values that drive the various individuals in the anime. Thus, the eventual war that takes place becomes all the more exciting and meaningful. It’s obvious that Kirito’s inability to battle allowed the others to shine more, which was great. But the story made sure to keep his presence in the anime significant and relevant despite being absent, and I find that to be intelligently executed. With more time to understand these NPCs, the story once again does a good job to reiterate that they’re not all that different from the people of the real world.
Action has to be one of the best selling points in the anime. Most of the action were glorified due to the added depth of the characters, allowing us to understand their person, but at the same time the battles were almost always stylish and fancy. The atmosphere of a battle would always be exciting with the various sounds and colours and the spectacular skills of the involved parties. Essentially, the action in War of Underworld was a spectacle of epic proportions.
But that isn’t to say that it was all perfect. With war being the main focus of the anime, it was a bit disappointing that battles were often heavily favoured to the “good” guys all because the Emperor was being a scumbag even to his people and also refused to participate. Only the dark side had ended up suffering massive casualties, despite their superior numbers. Even the level 70 dark knight account (by a character who’s name I forgot) had ended up being completely useless. In the end, it felt all too convenient, which lessened the thrill from the consequences of what a war is supposed to be like — catastrophic. While this did give us more reason to empathise and care for the people from the dark territory, it also dampened the thrill from the danger that war was supposed to entail.
I’ll have to admit, compared to Alicization, Underworld felt way too easy especially considering it involved a great war. But nevertheless, it was definitely a marvellous sequel that deserves an even better conclusion. With its exciting action, characters that gained our heartfelt sympathy and an irresistible world of fantasy, I thoroughly enjoyed my time watching the series and am definitely looking forward to devouring the next cour of this series.
It’s a pity that my language and writing skills aren’t even close to where I want it to be, but I do hope that I at least managed to deliver the gist of the feelings I have for this series.
Thanks for reading! What did you think of the anime? Did you miss Kirito and Eugeo as much as I did?