Sword Art Online is back and this season is adapting the longest arc of the series yet, the Alicization arc which spans 10 light novels.

The setup

Kirito is gravely injured by remnants of the Death Gun incident (go watch season 2) and the only way to ensure his survival is the new full dive technology being developed by the US military organisation, Rath. A machine with the power to digitalize a person’s soul or the complete state of their brain at any given moment, and write back to a person’s brain. It can also accelerate one’s consisiousness, so one may experience much more time in virtual reality than is occuring in the real world.

Kirito awakens in Underworld, the VR world that is connected to the new full dive technology and encounters Eugeo, a boy who has been given the task to fell a giant tree under the name the Gigas Cidar.

Impressions

It’s a great adaption so far, and the anime is being given the budget and time to do the novels justice. It is going to get 4 cours (4 quarters of episodes) and that should be more than enough to adapt the Alicization arc.

It’s a little bit of a technological jump to go straight to digitalizing and creating artificial brains, and hence virtual humans but it makes for a decent setup.

The taboo index remains an interesting concept. The taboo index is a set of rules and morals imposed on the citizens of Underworld by the chuch, the equivalent of the bible if it were enforced. Given how real life humans break rules so easily (relatively), it’s amazing that these virtual humans have so much trouble with it. It would seem its a ‘magical’ restriction placed on them by the church but I am unsure as of yet. Rath claimed to not know why the virtual humans had difficulty breaking the rules, after all.

It’s also nice to see Asana back in action. :)

I am not too fond of the willpower impacting the world thing. It was an issue in previous arcs (Fairy Dance) however where it made even less sense, so I guess I should have expected it.

Where to watch

Sword Art Online is streaming on Crunchyroll and Animelab.

Rating: 4 out of 5 cups