The penultimate episode of this arc has exceeded my expectations despite altering and removing some minor scenes. It may not have any big epic battles, but the portrayal of every scene is just as good as any, especially those involving the more poignant scenes. The emotions are real during the last five minutes, and combined with the ED song, we can feel Kirito’s anguish over Eugeo’s memories.
Perhaps my two personal favorites here are how they portrayed a 200-year-old Kirito, and showing a brief glimpse of him and Asuna’s married life.
The first one with 200-year-old Kirito is equally bone-chilling and intriguing. Thanks to Yoshitsugu Matsouka’s excellent voice acting, he portrayed a matured and older Kirito perfectly that was ten times better than what the novel portrayed. This Kirito is no longer the same person we know; his voice, his mannerism and way of speaking. This is a king who definitely saw and experienced everything in 200 years, and who probably won’t hesitate to kill if it will save the Underworld.
The second one is a brief 10-second scene of Asuna and Kirito talking in what looked like a room in the Central Cathedral. This life was only briefly mentioned in the novel, but here they actually showed it. And I must say, it is quite a good consolation for removing the reunion kiss, though not a better substitute.
Now they actually removed one slightly major scene in this adaptation. In the novel, after Kikouka has left, Kirito and Asuna dived in together in ALO using the same bed, which could have added more to their sweet scenes together. They were supposed to meet up for a party with the whole gang, and they were met by Yui who is acting more lively, hinting at her slow transformation to a Bottom-Down AI similar to a Fluctlight. This scene is actually tied to the episode’s post-credits scene. In the anime, Alice can be seen talking to herself about withering away. But in the novel, she directly told it to Kirito via a call.
Regardless of this minor flaw, the penultimate episode of Sword Art Online: War of Underworld is near perfect and deserves a 9/10.