Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 1 [First Impressions]
I wasn’t too excited as I dived into the first episode of Sword Art Online Alicization, “What more could SAO possibly offer?” But less than ten seconds into the episode, I was blown away by how gorgeous the show was. The light beams piercing through the leaves of a massive tree, shining on Kirito and Eugeo’s faces was stunning. The duel between the Integrity Knight and the Dark Knight had some great sakuga, and the episode was anything but ugly. It was downright perfect, movie quality.
But beyond the beauty of the show, there’s so much more that I didn’t expect at all. Perhaps the elephant in the episode is the fact that the first half revolves around a young Kirito. Long gone is the teenage Kirito we’ve been exposed to in both the original SAO and GunGale. At first I was foolish enough to think it a flashback of sorts, but the game menu shattered that assumption. It wasn’t some distant memory, but the next generation of full dive gear. A gear that goes far beyond the realm of what previous dive sets have accomplished, allowing you to live years in the game world without spending anywhere near that much time in reality. It’s a phenomenon akin to time dilation, and I’m very curious as to what they’ll do with the potential of the gear. I’ve heard many great things about Alicization, so I’m sure it’ll be something awesome!
Story wise, we’re given quite a lot over the forty seven minute long episode. The establishment of Alice and Eugeo as characters in the new dive gear, the “death” of Kirito as a cliffhanger, and of course the introduction of new GunGale antagonists.
Alice and Eugeo are friends of Kirito in the newest dive gear, and I’m unsure if they’re real players or just NPCs. Dive gear has evolved to the point that I honestly can’t even tell anymore, but nevertheless, the entire first sequence was emotional beyond what I thought possible. The sense of freedom and youth as Eugeo, Alice, and Kirito walk around their forest. The beauty of the White Dragon’s bones and lair, and the great duel between knights. But the strongest moment of the episode came as Alice was taken away by the dragon knight. In an emotional outburst, Kirito desperately tries to save Alice with his lowly axe, but is quickly overwhelmed by the power of the dragon knight. Eugeo stands on the sidelines, unable to move as his friend is taken away. If this is the standard for Alicization, I can see pretty easily why people consider this the best Sword Art Online has to offer.
Quickly transitioning from the fantasy world of the first half of the episode, SAO returns to GunGale in an action packed sequence featuring PKers. We meet some old friends like Klein, Lisbeth, Sinon, and Silica, reintroducing them with a flurry of bullets. Of course, GunGale wouldn’t be the same with the dream duo of Asuna and Kirito waving their photon blades around, and boy do they meet the challenge head on, running straight into hellfire.
During the sequence we’re introduced to our newest antagonists, a pair of GunGale players in charge of the PK team that attacks Sinon. Not much is revealed about them, besides the fact that they’re training their team for something big. I’m not sure how this will tie into the story of Alicization because they’re two separate games and systems. There’s a chance they don’t tie in together at all, but I doubt that.
The big shocker of the episode is the end, where an old friend returns to greet our boy Kirito. Laughing Coffin! I didn’t even remember that they’re still relevant, but apparently they are! The guy is also crazy enough to come after Kirito in real life, so there’s a lot of nuts in his head. The episode ends with Kirito collapsing to the ground, injected by something that’ll probably kill him. Of course, the natural progression of this would be to hook him into a deep dive machine and keep his consciousness alive! More time in game is always nice though, so I’m not complaining.
Overall, Sword Art Online blows it away with its first episode. It stretches a bit too long during Kirito’s explanation of the new dive system, but the rest of the episode is so actionpacked and interesting, that it didn’t even seem that bad. I have very hopes for this season, and I’ll be sure to stick with it the entire time!
Chance of Watching: 100%
Chance of Blogging: 85%