This is it, folks! The much awaited continuation of Sword Art Online: Alicization arc’s final cour!
AND WHAT AN EPISODE! There are so many things I’d like to cover here, so this will be a long review. First, the opening song and credits. The theme is okay and fits the visuals, though I still prefer ASCA’s Resister. The OP is a mix of nostalgia, symbolism, and spoilers, from Kirito’s current mental state and status of his Fluctligbt, to several callbacks to the previous arcs’ settings—Aincrad, Alfheim, and Glocken.
The symbolisms and what ifs are very poignant. In the first part of the opening, we see the residents of Underworld and what their life would be if they were not Fluctlights. There is also a tease to the final and greatest battle of the entire SAO series, and the final part is a direct callback to the first arc where everything began.
Now, for the episode itself.
Sinon’s scene is a perfect adaptation of its light novel counterpart. And dare I say it, even better than the LN. Her own pain at seeing Kirito in such a state, even her monologue is an exact copy of the one written in the novel. Asuna’s expression when she saw her friend being affectionate toward Kirito is slightly altered: in the novel, she was smiling bitterly in acceptance that she is not the only one who loves Kirito. But here in the anime, it was more of a pained acceptance and guilt.
Leafa’s scene. Oh my, there are a lot of things to say. First, it is also very spot on, even down to Lilipilin’s dialogue. Naturally, they cut off some unnecessary stuff like why Leafa hates brand new equipment. In the novel, it was explained that everytime she buys a brand new gadget or equipment, it will have factory defects. There’s also the scene where she willingly lets herself be taken as prisoner. In truth, she plans to fight Vector as her account possesses unlimited regeneration.
The… sucking scene. This is not the first time I will say this, but THE ANIME OUTDID THE SOURCE MATERIAL IN THIS PARTICULAR SCENE. The portrayal is more brutal and even more disgusting than the light novel. All of the tentacles entering Leafa, even to parts that were not even described in the LN, all of the scenes are much, much better. Even Lilpilin’s emotions and frustrations are portrayed perfectly.
Bercouli vs Vector. This is yet another perfect adaptation, right to every attack and dialogues. I honestly don’t have much to say regarding this scene because I will just be repeating myself.
Now, my only disappointment. Given the focus on Leafa’s and Bercouli’s scenes, one was sacrificed: Asuna’s desperate fight. In the novel, the fight was more brutal than what they showed here. Asuna was literally a barbeque by the end of the fight until Klein’s arrival, with spears sticking out of her body. I would have wanted to see that animated, but I can let that slide since this episode made up for that with the previous fight scenes.
Overall, this is an almost perfect adaptation. A 9/10 for me.