This episode has surpassed all other episodes, even the one from last week.
The scope, the emotional scenes, even the soundtrack used is simply amazing. This is almost a perfect copy of the same scenes from the novel itself, though there is at least one scene that was slightly altered which made it even better.
The scene involved Eldrie’s final moments. Now there are two parts here that were altered: 1) in the novel, Eldrie saw a bright blue flash from Kirito’s tent as he flew by to intercept the curse worms. This flash is none other than the lingering consciousness of Eugeo residing in the blue rose sword, giving Eldrie a boost of confidence. 2) That part where Eldrie’s life dropped to negative 50k was instantaneous in the novel, but here they changed to look as if he broke even his own limit.
In this episode, these two scenes were combined and altered. Instead of being killed instantly, Eldrie managed to hold off to his own life even at 0, and it’s thanks to Eugeo who gave him a “push”, hence why we briefly saw a spiritual hand during Eldrie’s last charge.
Two things they didn’t covered here, however, were Eldrie and Ruripirin/Lilipilin’s backstory: first, Eldrie was initially cold toward an even colder Alice until he saw her crying in front of the grave of Amayori’s and Takiguri’s(the two sibling dragons) mother. This caused Eldrie to change his opinion of Alice, seeing a different and warm side that she never showed.
Second, the Orc leader hated humans simply because humans hate their appearance. This caused an inferiority complex to the whole race, even though by Orc standards, Lilipilin is the most handsome. BUT, skipping this one is not necessarily bad because they could simply show his backstory in a later episode like they did with Gabriel/Vector. And I’m almost sure they will show it when a certain blonde Sylph shows up. 😉
There’s just one thing I didn’t like in this episode. Well, not exactly hate it. I just have a different image in mind when I read the novel version.
That was the portrayal of the curse worms. When I read the novel, I imagined them as a black writhing mass of really long and terrifying worms. Think of those that usually writhes around Sakura Matou’s body in Fate/Stay Night. That’s how I imagined them, not like the cloud of swirling multicolored beam that the anime portrayed. But whatever. It’s not really a bad portrayal per se.
One last thing that the anime didn’t fully explained, unlike the novel: the curse worms are programmed to chase the object with the highest Life in their sights, in this case the Integrity Knights. If the knights split up, so will the worms. But because of Eldrie’s incarnation, he managed to lure ALL worms to himself alone.
Overall, a 9.5/10 for me.