In this article we return to talk about Alicization. If you are not familiar with the series, we recommend that you retrieve the reviews of the other episodes on this one link.
As we discover more about how the forces of the Dark Territory are organized and how Gabriel intends to use them, let's take a first look at the past and the true nature of man who plays the role of the Vector Emperor, in what is perhaps the most fold grim never undertaken by the series
Alicization: Blood and terror
While Miller dives for the first time in Underworld, the vision of a young female figure recalls his childhood, showing off the first signs of his obsession with the concept of soul.
Entered in the guise of the Emperor Vector, Miller summons the tribes of the Dark Territory giving us the opportunity to observe their population and organization: orcs, goblins, giants, ogres and humans, divided into guilds by the most violent and ruthless professions such as witches, assassins and dark knights, appear before the Emperor and his right arm, controlled by Vassago, ready to listen to the words of their sovereign.
And in no uncertain terms Gabriel, completely entered the part of the Emperor, shows off his acting skills by reciting a monologue capable of raising the morale of his troops by inciting them to the massacre of the Human Empire, acclaiming death, destruction and conquest once the eastern gate.
As we discovered in the last episode, however, not all the inhabitants of the Dark Territory want events to take this path, however the Emperor will prove to be a difficult wall to break down, and the most passionate pacifisms will, unfortunately, have a short life before its overwhelming power.
Sword Art Online has never been lacking in genuinely evil and amoral people in its host of antagonists, however no Kayaba, Sugou, Death Gun or Quinella they hold, not even considering the antagonists of Ordinal Scale, represent the danger that turns out to be Gabriel Miller nor do they come close to being monsters at his level.
His mannerism and his conduct are so different from the previous antagonists that not only do they save him from the criticism reserved to all SAO's enemies to date, namely that of being extremely caricatured, but perhaps make him the first true psychopath of the series and given his position and what his victory could entail, this makes him the first truly genuinely dangerous individual in the series, where the other antagonists maintained the position of opponents on a relatively small scale.
Gabriel is in fact apathetic, almost mechanical in violating and annihilating his victims: for him killing is an action like many others, and we see the first signs of imbalance in the flashback on his childhood to which this episode submits us: since he was a child, in fact Gabriel reveals himself to be extremely curious about the function of living creatures and, specifically, about the role of the soul in the great mechanism of life.
If on the one hand this curiosity and this attention to details of the animal kingdom are certainly a sign of a very acute intelligence and perception, however, everything becomes quickly disturbing when the child begins to kill insects in search of their soul.
But the act of crushing the head of an insect is certainly not as disturbing as the murder of one's childhood friend, at an early age, piercing her brain through the ear with an awl in an attempt to see her soul, an event of to which the adaptation spares us the more detailed details in the Light Novel, which explains how the young Gabriel planned the act in detail, attracting his friend to an isolated place and staging all the preparations necessary to get away with it .
Even worse is the euphoric and joyful reaction that Gabriel has following the act, a sign indicative of how potentially dangerous it can be as an antagonist.
We soon discover, inter alia, how this obsession and mania for the soul did not abandon Miller 's deviated mind, showing us the cold, calculated and military facade with which we have known it to completely melt in a disturbing euphoria, almost orgasmic, in reaction to the murder of Lipia who, after hearing the intentions of the Emperor, tries his assassination in vain.
Miller 's intentions and the reasons for his acceptance of the assignment that US national security has entrusted to him are therefore now clear, albeit disturbing, and it is equally clear that, if he were to manage to acquire Alice, whom he himself defines as "the perfect soul ”, Will have no intention of delivering it to his customers, wishing for reasons that have nothing to do with the control of automated drones, and being willing to eliminate an unknown number of human souls in order to satisfy his obsessive desire.
Se Gabriel is at the center of the episode, however, is not the only interesting part of the events shown here by the adaptation: in the previous episode we had expressed pleasantly surprised by the characters of Vixur and Lipia as they staged a position drastically different from what we one might expect from the inhabitants of the Dark Territory.
It is therefore undeniable a bit of disappointment in seeing their journey end as early in the series as the narrative cue for an interesting subplot was well present with good potential.
Despite this, Vixur does not abandon the series without first leaving a memorable moment by giving us an exhibition of how much the power of the Incarnation, whose nature we already know from the previous season, can actually extend.
The power of the imagination is in fact the most devastating of all Underworld, something that we had already tasted in previous battles, but that had never reached levels of destruction such as those implemented by Vixur.
The knight, in fact, after the Emperor shows off the head of Lipia as a trophy to be admired to all his troops as a warning for anyone who tries to usurp his throne, is unable to hold back his anger in seeing the loved in that state and prepares to attack Miller, but is stopped by the poison of a murderer.
It is here that Vixur makes use of the Incarnation to activate his own power even when he is dying, a surprising power that unfortunately the adaptation does not find time to explain in detail, but which thanks to the paper version we find to be able to directly target the Fluctlight of those who come into contact with his tornado, an attack that annihilates the soul of the target rather than his body, a power that in this adaptation is interpreted visually by showing us what happens in the real world to the Light Cube.
Vixur's latest assault eliminates two commanders of the Dark Territory forces, but if on the one hand it shows us how much power an individual can express through the Underworld system, it also shows us how powerful and dangerous Miller can be within it: it is in fact the infinite abyss of emptiness, devoid of love and appreciation for the life that turns out to be the soul of Miller, a soul that Vixur describes as at the same time alive and dead, to stop the assault of the knight by absorbing the last essences .
This scene, in any case, is indicative of how much the Incarnation in this part of history will have an even more significant weight than previously seen.
From a technical point of view this episode shows, for the first time, the side in this scene: if on the one hand the transformation of Vixur is visually impressive, in fact, the design of some members of the crowd and the reuse of some scenes represent flaws in an otherwise excellent episode in its adaptation of the content of the original material and in not holding back in the cruder scenes, which largely compensate for the lack of action scenes.
The scene after the closing credits returns to Alice, and shows us with despair what we knew was inevitable: the collapse of the eastern gate of the Human Empire, with all Vector's troops ready to march towards the passage and begin their invasion . This, combined with the title of the next episode "The night before the battle", suggests that we are finally going to get into the action of this season.
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