Sword Art Online’s third season is finally upon us. The alicization arc has been long awaited by people like me, who have read the entire arc via the light novels. To put it in prospective, the first two seasons of the show was covered in books 1 – 9; alicization is books 10 – 18. So, there is a lot of content.
The series does a bit of a reset on the story in the beginning. We have some back story of kid Kirito playing with two other kids, Eugeo and Alice. This, we find out, is him testing out a new full dive technology that is indistinguishable from real life. After being attacked by the third perp of the death gun incident, he is rushed to the hospital. The next thing he knows, Kirito awakes in the virtual world, known as the Underworld.
Things slowly get explained as Kirito puts his problem solving skills to the test on the inside, and Asuna flashes some detective skills on the outside. The real question is, what is the Underworld, and why does it exist? You find out, eventually, as well as the beginning of corruption within the Underworld.
So far, how does it compare to the light novels?
Pretty good, actually.
The first few episodes of the show do a great job of following the light novels nearly perfectly. All of the important building parts are present, and it’s truly amazing seeing the characters I read about come to life in animation.
Now there are some parts that get cut out, that I don’t really agree with. Through the first six episodes, I counted two major scenes that should of been included, that weren’t. These scenes were major for character development; one for Kirito, and the other for Eugeo. The more important scene was for Eugeo, since he is a newer character and we can always use some more building.
Then episode 7 happened.
Episode 7 threw the nice pacing to the wind and rushed through about a half a book’s worth of material, which I do not like. We get a flashback that covers Kirito and Eugeo’s journey to becoming students at Swordcraft Academy, but it was really much deeper than just a flashback. They also rush Kirito and his mentor’s relationship, which is very sad, especially since she comes back later, and it would’ve helped to develop their relationship further.
All in all, I am very satisfied with how the anime is playing out. In the end, the book is almost always better than the anime or movie, so I can’t complain too much. The animation is absolutely gorgeous, and I’m enjoying seeing the story reveal itself before my eyes.