Have you already read the review of episode 8? You can find it Thu.
Through an episode mainly focused on Eugeo, with Alicization Ep 9 we are introduced to the next narrative arc of Alice's research, however discovering how imperfect the Underworld code of rules is.
Synopsis of Alicization Ep 9
From the first moment we see our two protagonists, Kirito and Eugeo, intent on developing their own fencing: the first, in fact, is going to express in more abstract and less technical words the main source of power of Underworld, explaining that what gives strength to one's abilities is a specific sensation or motivation.
In addition to proposing the examples of their now distant mentors, Sortiliena and Golgorosso, Kirito explains that Raios and Humbert are also subject to this phenomenon, through their presumption and strong belief that they are above others, due to their noble status.
This presumption subsequently leads Humbert to challenge Eugeo, who surprises the noble by willingly accepting the challenge to a duel. The brief exchange of blows ends in a tie, disturbing the two nobles a lot, who suggest that they intend to have their revenge on the country boy in their own way.
The following day Kirito, Eugeo and their two assistants, Ronye and Tiese, introduced in the previous episode, spend the rest day camping in the campus forest. At this juncture, Tiese reveals that she is a noble of low rank, explaining in detail how nobility works within Underworld and the rules that compete with it.
To this the girl adds a personal disturbance: the concern for Frenica, a page from Humbert, who according to the girl is forced by the nobleman to carry out inappropriate orders abusing her own authority, undisputed as decreed by the Taboo Index.
Kirito submits to the group a reflection on the function of the code of laws of the Church of Axiom: although the Index is able to prevent some illegal attitudes, it is far from dictating the morality of people, thus making it possible to perform an immoral or unacceptable act provided it is not technically illegal.
An ethical question
It is therefore necessary, according to the boy, to choose what has priority: the law of the Taboo Index or one's own ethics, sometimes the two should come into conflict. As admitted by Kirito, Humbert's actions are not technically illegal, and their noble status protects him, through the Index from any retaliation, but it is impossible for him to ignore how much the actions of the nobleman are wrong and regrettable, which is why who intends to confront Humbert about the matter.
This ethical dilemma brings Eugeo's capture of Alice back to Eugeo's mind, trying to apply Kirito's lesson in the direction of a more determined follow his convictions. So the two boys decide to speak face to face with Humbert and Raios, who with clever rhetoric try in a rather evident way to make the two launch a direct accusation of violation of the rules, which would be technically false, so that they can personally punish them as required by regulation.
Eugeo, furious, instinctively tries to grab his sword, then absent, letting us understand how the issue is becoming unbearable for the young man and the future direction of this constant rivalry.
Alicization Ep 9 ends with an intimate conversation between Eugeo and his page, Tiese, who submits to Eugeo the dilemma that afflicts the girl's future life: once her studies are concluded, she will have to marry a nobleman in an arranged marriage , however, fearing that the nobleman may be a person like Humbert or Raios.
In a rush of emotion, therefore, she begs Eugeo, who in the eyes of the girl is a much more upright and commendable person, to win the fencing tournament to acquire prestige and become a party for her, a victory that Eugeo, although moved by profound motivations different, he had intended to achieve from the beginning.
Alicization Ep 9 considerations
Compared to its literary counterpart, Alicization Ep 9 proves to be slightly slower in progressing the story but, through the finale that is the culmination of everything that preceded it, closes its adaptation appropriately.
Humbert and Raios continue to turn out to be very over the top, but Kirito poses the idea that this almost Cartoonesian arrogance is actually the source of strength of the two, which cynically could pass a trivial excuse that justifies their being unbearable, but that actually provides to reinforce the notion that the mental image plays a very important role in the control and magnitude of one's power in Underworld.
Tiese and Ronye are being introduced more substantially than last week, also allowing us to see someone outside of Kirito for the first time in the franchise to receive romantic attention, a further point of detachment from what was previously shown with a female cast, mainly , "Kiritocentric".
Limits of the law and fear for the future
Tiese's motivations in wanting Eugeo as a future husband are not particularly strong, but they are certainly more linked to a sense of pragmatism than romanticism, leaving the young apprentice to appear more dominated by panic towards her future who is not ready to take such a type of commitment, which makes sense in terms of both the character himself and the hypothetical age he would have.
Tiese's fears are founded on a problem brought to the surface in this episode: a situation of subordination to mixed sexes opens the door to physical, psychological and sexual abuse as demonstrated by Humbert himself in this episode.
The Taboo Index is therefore presented from a different perspective from that infallible and utopian law for a perfect society that Kikuoka had described, and more as a very fallacious guide and easily circumvented by technicalities and tricks. All this, with high probability, will have particularly strong consequences in future events, where it is possible that different characters may find themselves walking on the thread of the code infringement.
The growth of Eugeo and Kirito
Beyond a few scenes, mainly linked to the concept, as the title suggests, of "noble obligation", Alicization Ep 9 is mainly focused on Eugeo, which here is very reminiscent of a Kirito from the first season, with his trying to hone his skills , the doubts that grip him and the difficulties to follow his instincts.
In this sense, there is a strong contrast with Kirito who demonstrates his growth compared to the old series, now playing the part of the expert mentor perfectly summarized in his presentation of the phrase "Stay cool". Kirito's development is further enhanced by the scene in which Eugeo expresses his surprise in having lost his temper with the nobles before Kirito, which shows how much the cunning and rhetoric of the videogame evolved in him bringing him to face with mind lucid situations that previously would have led him to act rashly.
A final note of reflection always comes from Kirito and his speech: the phrase "Those who have power must use it for the good of those without power", with its motivating nature and the invitation to critical thinking in contrast with obedience blind as well as being undoubtedly motivating it shows concretely how Kikuoka's plan is actually working in an excellent way.
The purpose behind Kirito's inclusion in the Fulldive was, after all, to unleash a stimulus in the inhabitants of Underworld that would lead them to conflict with the Index of Taboos, about which undoubtedly the idea that "the best weapon of human is the ability to think and adapt to situations ”will contribute.
With its emotional but positive final note, Alicization Ep 9 therefore proves to be the calm before the storm, which will culminate with a more aggressive confrontation in the next episode.