After a long wait well beyond expectations due to the unfortunate circumstances that occurred during the year, the final block of episodes of Sword Art Online: War of Underworld finally returns, resuming where the twelfth episode, without sparing a bit of local mind.
The final episode of the previous part of history had left us abruptly with the arrival of Sinon through the account of Solus, the goddess of the Sun, to the rescue of Asuna and the troops of the Human Empire now cornering against Vector's forces , who in the meantime had managed to capture Alice by fleeing pursued by Bercouli.
The opening of this second part does not go particularly into unresolved issues, giving only a slight hint of progression in the events, choosing to fill the gaps of the closure of the previous season and, at the same time, to recapitulate the situation which has remained dormant for many months. .
Of the four key scenes of the episode, in fact, the meeting between Asuna, Sinon and Kirito is aimed at reminding us, in a redundant way, of the current situation of Kirito, that not even the presence of Sinon seems to be able to move, resulting more an almost superfluous stretch the duration of the episode that a substantial content.
More concrete is instead the arrival of Leafa, for some reason ended up far from the battlefield and found by Lillipin, lord of the Orcs, taken aback both by the presence of the girl (entered in Underworld as the goddess Terraria) and by kindness and humanity that this reserves for him, resulting in an almost comical interaction interrupted by the return of DIL. Here A-1 makes a questionable as well as bizarre choice to subject Leafa to a sexual abuse that leaves us banned, a difficult choice to understand when the original Volume 17 does not describe in any way what is shown in the anime, focusing on Leafa's refusal to kill at the expense of the circumstances and on the Lillipin which exceeds the system limits in order to stop DIL. Although Kawahara is no stranger to using these gimmicks to communicate how bad a character is (we have already demonstrated this in the past), it is unusual to see how the time the author did not do the animated adaptation deliberately chooses to distort the scene without any constructive reason by showing a perceptibly out of place and inappropriate section.
The central scene of the episode is, undoubtedly more than the definitive end of DIL, the confrontation between Bercouli and Vector, which sets the stage for both characters' abilities and which is unfortunately relegated to a portion of an episode when he would have deserved an episode in order to be transposed in a dignified way. Despite this, this brief and intense duel not only proves Bercouli's experience and ability, but strongly reiterates Miller 's danger by revealing how Vector's power is to directly attack Underworld's fluctlights, a power against which not even Bercouli, for the moment, he seems to be able to do something.
Even the last key scene, which sees Asuna confronting the US players giving bottom of all his strength, is adapted here in an approximate and superficial way at the expense of the excellent animations and the excellent sound feedback, a constant quality throughout the adaptation of Alicization, and is directed more to close the episode with a cliffhanger (the arrival of reinforcements by SAO and ALO in favor of the Empire) than to stage what is a considerably more substantial section of Volume 17.
If some declines had already been identified in the last episode of last season, this first episode confirms some weaknesses of adaptation: everything is transposed in a hurry, cutting substantial parts of the original work to insert more key scenes in a single episode where a the most ideal choice could have been to stage the sections of Leafa and Asuna more accurately, sparing us the reunion of Sinon and Kirito in such an elongated way and dedicating the following episode to Bercouli.
All this is done in a big disservice to what is one of the most solid volumes of the Novel series, and we hope that the next episode, titled "The Limit of Infinity", brings the adaptation back to the initial levels of Alicization: War. of Underworld leaving this opening as an occasional slip-up due to its uncomfortable positioning within the series' seasonal format.