A-1 PICTURES DID NOT DISAPPOINT!
This episode is by far the best one they have ever did for this arc. The animation, the voice acting, the fight choreography and camera angles. EVERYTHING IS BETTER THAN ITS LIGHT NOVEL VERSION. And that’s saying a lot because ever since season 1, A-1 never did properly adapted Sword Art Online except for some iconic fights scenes like the Gleam Eyes fight.
The scenes have been rearranged to fit the narrative in the anime. In the novel, it constantly switches back and forth between the battle on the Integrity Knights’ point of views and the dark army generals. But here, they favored the former, which is just perfect.
Of course, there are some slight alterations here in this episode. One major changes is the presence of Golgorosso, Eugeo’s mentor in the academy. As I’ve said in my previews SAO-A review, Golgorosso was completely written off in the novel after Eugeo and Kirito graduated. But here, he is present, especially in the battle. Originally, that scene where Deusolbert went berserk was because of an unnamed commander who is about to be killed. But here in the anime, they changed that scene so that unnamed commander is actually Golgorosso.
On a side note, Golgorosso got a speaking line at last. LMAO
The scene with the two loli knights is slightly altered. In the novel, they asked Sheyta for permission first before changing locations. But here in the anime, they did not even speak to her.
Now there are two minor details that they left out. First, the plains goblins. Notice how they created a smokescreen and did not even attack Eldrie’s unit? That’s because they never intend to attack in the first place. The order they were given was to “charge at the enemy”. Hence, they found a way to interpret that as simply “charging” not “attacking”. And they used that so they could escape, find a defenseless human settlement, and use that as their new base without caring for the war and whoever wins.
Next is Sigrosig, the blonde giant. The fight between him and Fanatio is damn good. It’s just that he was not properly portrayed here. In the novel, it was explained that the giants consider themselves as the strongest, with Sigrosig being number one. But when Fanatio used her Armament Control Art and nearly killed Sigrosig, his fluctlight was torn between two overriding commands: his fear of the female knight and the belief that he was the strongest. That caused him to go berserk as shown here. But what they did not properly adapted was his appearance. In here, he looked like he was glitching. In the novel, he was monstrous and engulfed in a red flame of rage, enhancing Fanatio’s own fear.
Another thing they cut was Dakira’s backstory. In the novel, it was revealed that, yes, she was a lesbian and was in love with Fanatio. But they glossed over that in this episode and made it look like she was simply admiring her superior as some sort of older sister. Personally, I don’t think this is a bad change since Reki simply wrote her as cannon fodder anyway.
One thing I found odd was the voices of the remaining three knights. In the novel, they were named like men. But here, they sounded like women. A most odd alteration indeed.
Overall, this is a 9.5/10 for me.