Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 10
Yikes. That is the only word I could use to describe this episode. Yikes.
I knew something was brewing from all the tension established by the previous episodes, but I never knew it’d explode into something as brutal as this. Raios and Humbert were complete jerks, and before this episode I would’ve been satisfied with them just getting their butts kicked. However, their actions in this episode crossed the line on so many levels that I’m honestly not even feeling the least bit sorry for them. Instead, I feel nothing but regret that they took Kirito and Eugeo down with them. Yikes.
The majority of the episode takes place in Raios and Humbert’s room, where a distinct hue of red overwhelms the color palette. The use of atmosphere and color scheme in this episode is superb, with the red hue adding a level of intensity to the conflict and malice to Raios and Humbert themselves. Even Raios’ sword shines red, and the only other colors we’re exposed to are the blades of both Eugeo and Kirito themselves. Eugeo’s gorgeous blue pushes back the red for the few seconds it is in use, while Kirito’s green overwhelms the red haze completely. When everything is over and the next day begins, the atmosphere returns to normal since the problems of yesterday are essentially resolved. It’s truly an excellent use of color and definitely adds to the impact of the episode. Eugeo’s rebellion is more defined, Raios and Humbert’s disgusting behavior is more accentuated, and the new dawn feels fresh.
The main conflict of the episode stems from Raios and Humbert abusing the powers granted to them as higher ranked nobles. Unfitting of the first and second seats, they use their noble heritage to fulfill their lust and sate their petty egos. While the rather disturbing scene may remind viewers of Nobuyuki Sugou from the the Alfheim arc, I found myself much more disgusted in this episode than I was back then. It isn’t necessarily because it was worse behavior showcased in this episode, but because I found myself much more invested in the politics and characters of the world. The situation wasn’t something that could be cleanly resolved by Kirito or Eugeo saving the day, it was destined to be a lose-lose from the moment Raios set his eyes on the two. The only thing stopping Eugeo from killing Raios was the taboo index that governs their world, making even the smallest acts of rebellion physically taxing.
The anguish in Eugeo from the scene he was witnessing was extremely well done, from the facial animations to the voice acting. It was also a wonderful show of character as he continued to stand up against the pressure trying to push him back down. Through the Taboo Index, it’s as if he’s been conditioned to never break a law. In a way it reminds me of cantus from Shinsekai Yori. Nevertheless, this helplessness in the face of despair is something Eugeo has felt before with Alice. The difference this time is that he powers through the system alert in his eye, which literally causes his eyeball to explode! That was not the response I expected, but the glorious sword swing of desperation as blood gushes out of his eye was a spectacular show of anger. This wasn’t the same Eugeo from many years ago that let Alice be taken without resistance, this was the Eugeo after meeting Kirito.
Eugeo saves the girls from their fate, but gives Raios the justification he needs to kill Eugeo right then and there. Little did he know, that Kirito is the master of dramatic timing. Now, I expected Kirito to kick Raios’ butt and leave him begging for his life, but perhaps this episode is the perfect example of how Alicization isn’t on the same playing field as former seasons. Instead, Kirito cleanly cuts Raios’ arms off entirely, covering the screen in black censorship and blood spurts. It’s graphic, it’s brutal, it’s exactly what they deserved.
The most interesting part of the episode was Raios’ death, which was not as simple as bleeding out. In fact, it was almost as disturbing as the fluctlight implosion we were exposed to earlier in the series. In a sporadic, almost glitchy way, Raios implodes under the pressure of choosing between the Taboo Index and Humbert’s life. If my interpretation is correct, Humbert would die if he removed his own bandage, and maybe that would be against the taboo index? I believe we’ll get more of an explanation in the next episode, but that’s the best guess I have for now.
As expected, the giant floating head appears and reports the two for breaking the Taboo Index. Thanks to Kirito’s quick thinking, they cover the ears of their disciples. I can’t even imagine the feelings of Tiese and Ronie. Not only were they first hand subjected to the cruelties of their own laws, their beloved mentors are now criminals for saving them. It’s just a painful reality, and something only they may know. It’s unlikely the real truth is ever revealed, as the word of a noble is probably far stronger than anyone else’s. I am however, very interested as to how these two will grow beyond this experience. Will they return as characters in the future and repay the debts they owe to Eugeo or Kirito? I sure hope so. I also found it quite nice that Azurika healed Eugeo’s eye with the sacred arts, and commended them for breaking the rules she never could. This is almost definitely a sentiment shared among many in Alicization, and I’ll be interested to see if these feelings of discontent ever come to fruition.
The final bombshell dropped on us viewers is the reveal of Alice. No longer the young girl from episode one, she is instead a full blown Integrity Knight in shining armor. Eugeo craps his pants as expected, and will no likely go through an emotional revolution in the next episode. However, Alice’s reaction seems to indicate she either doesn’t care for Eugeo anymore, or she doesn’t have her memories. I may be jumping the gun since she only reacted for like two seconds, but I feel like either one of those possibilities could act as a strong fuel for the next arc.
Overall, the episode is quite the surprising one, and leaves me hungry for more!
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