Anime Reporter logs back in to Sword Art Online for the astounding second instalment (episodes 8-14) of the series.
When last we encountered SOA, (here, in case you’d forgotten), our loveable and capable protagonist Kirito was making great strides in the MMORPG that bares the same name as the anime and the episodes gave an overview of life within the game for all the people trapped inside over great stretches of time, leapfrogging over weeks or months between episodes. Parts two takes place two years after the beginning of the series and covers a period of just a few weeks within the game, with storylines following on more or less directly from episode to episode.
Whereas the previous episodes showed Kirito’s interactions and relationships with any number of other players, the episodes in this segment play up his relationship with Asuna, ( voiced by Haruka Tomatsu from Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic in Japanese and Blue Exorcist’s Cherami Leigh in English), a skilled and versatile player that Kirito encountered very early on in the series. While Kirito has found it preferable to play the game alone, Asuna has ever been a guild member and at first this is a major source of conflict for the two though they do manage to reconcile their differences and form a strong partnership.
While this arc is undoubtedly more focused on characterisation and less on action than the previous segment, the episodes manage to keep the balance in a way which should appeal to fans of either aspect.
The animation remains as impressive as ever with scenes, monsters and battles standing out in terms of detail and originality. In some of the more high stakes battles, the musical score and inner monologue are used masterfully, managing to create some genuinely tense and driven scenes.
In many ways, Part 2 is the perfect companion to the initial seven episodes, which dealt with setting the scene and populating the virtual world with developed and varied characters. Now that characters have had time to grow accustomed to their situation and make enough progress to see a great range of powers and abilities, Part 2 swoops in neatly to tell the story of what happens when the virtual world has become real life for so many of the players. Each episode is thought-provoking and entertaining and conveys a very strong feeling of progression both for the protagonists and for the world they live in.
Sword Art Online part 2 is available on DVD from Manga entertainment, for more information you should check out the official Twitter page (Manga Entertainment),
and the Sword Art Online Website
and of course, don’t forget to stick around Anime Reporter for more updates and reviews including of course, Sword Art Online part 3. (Trust us, after the way Part 2 ends, you will want to know what happens next.)
Sword Art Online Part 2 is the perfect follow up to Part 1’s sterling world building and takes the tale into a more intimate and masterfully told arc.
78% – Next Gen storytelling. If you haven’t seen Part 1, watch both. If you’ve already seen part 1, you have no excuses for not pressing on!