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Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of the Underworld Episodes #01 – 06 Anime Review

7 min read
The fans of the Sword Art Online light novels have been telling me for years that this is the best arc of the series.
© 2017 Reki Kawahara / Kadokawa / SAO-A Project

What They Say:
The battle with the Administrator has been won, but the forces of darkness will not wait for Kirito and Alice to recover before invading the Underworld. Unless the pair can rally, the world will experience destruction of unimaginable scale.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Months have gone by since the Administrator was defeated. Alice is living with Kirito in a cabin just outside of Rulid Village. They’re keeping a low profile since people are undoubtedly looking for them. Alice spends her days taking care of Kirito since, well, he’s a vegetable now. His Fluctlight was damaged that badly. Every now and then, he reaches out for his and Eugeo’s swords from his wheelchair. Holding them probably gives him peace. It’s quite sad to see Kirito in such a state. On a happier note, Alice is reunited with her younger sister. Selka stops by every day and it’s nice to see the sisters bonding. It’s a shame that Alice isn’t allowed to stay in the village. I guess they think she’s still a criminal or something? They clearly didn’t get the memo that she’s an Integrity Knight. That’s okay though as she’s trying to keep that a secret anyway. Although, it’s certainly not nice that a lot of the villagers are jerks to her. They’ll get theirs someday.

It seems their day of reckoning may be closer than you’d think! Rulid is under attack by orcs and goblins. It’s actually Kirito who notifies Alice of this. Even though he’s a vegetable, it seems that he can still sense danger. After noticing the smoke coming from the village, Alice gears up and flies over there on her dragon. The villagers are doing their best to fight off the monsters but they’re just not capable of defeating them. The smart thing to do would be to run and Alice tries to get everyone to evacuate. No one listens to her though. Come on people, now’s not the time to be stubborn! Eventually, she’s forced to reveal that she’s an Integrity Knight which finally gets everyone’s attention. Oh, so now they listen to her, huh? Alice easily disposes of all the monsters and the village is saved. Be grateful you villagers!

This attack by the denizens of the Dark Territory isn’t a good sign. Alice decides that she should return to the Integrity Knights and report about this incident. Thus, she and Kirito bid adieu to Rulid Village. Speaking of the Integrity Knights, they’ve been hard at work rebuilding their ranks. Bercouli and the rest are making sure that they’re ready for the inevitable invasion from the Dark Territory. Alice and Kirito eventually arrive at one of their camps. Alice is noticeably concerned for Kirito’s safety, as she should be. Did you know that Eldrie visited Alice back in Rulid Village and begged her to kill Kirito? Yeah, that actually happened. Of course, she refused but her nerves must have been on edge ever since then. Eldrie needs to take a chill pill. Anyway, Alice agrees to lend her strength for the upcoming battle. That’s great news for the Integrity Knights because they could certainly use all the help they can get. But who will watch Kirito while she’s fighting!? Luckily for her, Ronye and Tiese arrive at the camp. They are saddened to learn that Eugeo has passed away and that Kirito is in a comatose state. They start sobbing and blaming themselves but Alice comforts them. Alice decides to leave Kirito in their hands and they’re happy to oblige. Ronye in particular really cares about Kirito. Man, vegetable Kirito still getting the ladies, haha.

Back in the real world, Gabriel Miller and his crew are attempting to gain access to the control system but it’s proving difficult. Forcing their way in wouldn’t be a good idea. However, they do discover that a final load test is about to occur and that the border between the Human Empire and Dark Territory is about to collapse. They can’t log in with any of the high-level human accounts. They’re all locked. At best, they can only log into an ordinary citizen’s account in the Human Empire. On the other hand, they can dive into the Underworld with high-level Dark Territory accounts which is convenient. I guess they never accounted for someone wanting to use the Dark Territory accounts? Sure, whatever. Vassago logs in as a Dark Knight while Gabriel logs in as the Dark Emperor Vecta. Not too shabby! As Dark Emperor Vecta, Gabriel plans to annihilate all of the humans in search of Alice. That seems a little bit extreme but okay. Gabriel is a crazy dude.

I’d actually like to elaborate more on Gabriel. The guy is batsh!t crazy. He’s had an obsession with souls ever since he was a child. One day, he jammed a long needle into the ear of his childhood friend. Seriously, what the hell!? When she died, he saw a ball of light leave her body before disappearing into the sky. Yeah, he murdered his childhood friend. That’s pretty messed up. It comes as no surprise then that he wants to just murder all of the humans as Dark Emperor Vecta. Heck, he may secretly want to kill everyone in the real world as well. Who knows? There are actually some in the Dark Territory who don’t wish to fight with the humans. They actually want to make peace with them but that seems impossible now with the appearance of this Dark Emperor. A woman named Lipia tries to seduce and kill Gabriel but he quickly eliminates her. The next day, he shows off her decapitated head for everyone in the Dark Territory to behold. Yikes, that’s brutal. This is what happens when you go against him. Lipia’s lover, Sashta, is boiling with rage and tries to kill the Dark Emperor but is immediately incinerated. Everyone in the Underworld army recognizes Vecta’s overwhelming power and pledge their allegiance to him. They’re going to go kill some humans!

The destined day finally arrives. The border between the Human Empire and the Dark Territory collapses. It’s time for an all-out battle! I can only describe the ensuing large scale battle as a spectacle for the eyes. Sword Art Online does a beautiful job animating the fights and this one is no different. These visually stunning fights are one of the reasons I keep coming back for more. Deusolbert, Fanatio, and Eldrie are the Integrity Knights on the frontlines and they’re soon assaulted by a wave of giants and goblins. At first, things are going smoothly for the human side as they easily take care of the incoming waves. Deusolbert is mowing through goblins with his bow. Fanatio is slicing up the giants. As time goes by, the enemy numbers start proving to be a challenge for them and they start infiltrating their ranks. Fanatio stops moving all of a sudden and it seems like she’s about to be killed by the chief of the giants. At the last second, Dakira sacrifices herself to save her Lady. An enraged Fanatio slices the giant chief in half and mourns her death. Elsewhere, Deusolbert has run out of arrows and the goblin force is closing in on his unit. His men protect him from the oncoming goblin onslaught and buy him some time. He gets the ingenious idea to use his sword like an arrow. Deusolbert shoots it at the goblin chief and burns him to ash. That was awesome. Two chiefs down, only eight more to go! Although, you also can’t forget Vassago and Dark Emperor Vecta. Above the battlefield, Alice is gathering up power in a big ball of energy. The battle is only beginning!

Sometime during all of this, Asuna decides to log in and save both Kirito and Alice. Sadly, we never see her again after that. But…but…I wanted to see Asuna kicking some ass. Where the hell did she go!?

In Summary:
The fans of the Sword Art Online light novels have been telling me for years that this is the best arc of the series. And you know what? I don’t see it, yet. This season started off a bit slow but it has picked up drastically in the last few episodes. I am a sucker for beautifully animated fights and SAO continues to deliver in that department. I can’t wait to see what the upcoming fights have in store for us! That being said, my favorite arc of the series is still Mother’s Rosario with Aincrad following close behind it. Honestly, I would really love it if War of the Underworld ends up entertaining me as much as those two arcs did. I really would. Here’s to hoping that it does! Also, where the heck are you Asuna!?

Grade: B- (average for all six episodes together)

Streamed By: Crunchyroll, VRV, Funimation

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