In this article we return to talk about Alicization. If you are not familiar with the series, we recommend you to retrieve the reviews of the other episodes to this link.
Time is running out for Kirito and Asuna, forced to hurry to exit the Underworld before being eternally trapped (from their point of view) within the simulation.
To hinder this last effort will think about the most terrible of the opponents of this narrative arc, the real final boss.

Alicization: End?

In the last episode, we were told that the Underworld time acceleration sequence was inadvertently started beyond the limits that human Fluctlights can bear, which would equate one minute in the real world to a decade in the simulation.
This event triggered a real race against time for Kirito and Asuna, connected directly by Ocean Turtle and therefore forced to a manual logout.

Not wanting to abandon Alice to her fate, this leaves Kirito with only two alternatives: either eliminate Subtilizer or take enough time for Alice to cross the logout gate within the acceleration activation.
This plan will prove to be no small feat, given the powers of the Incarnation System, which Gabriel will use to their full potential to manifest the darker and dirtier side of his serial killer soul.
The difference is evident here: as disgusting as Vassago was, we saw how he was at least partially a product of his environment, circumstances and past, developing a repulsion and hatred towards the Japanese that might not have existed if he had a different life.
On the other hand Gabriel has always been a real monster, with a murder behind him already at an early age, and this is what makes him appropriate to be the final boss.
In fact, the scenario does not concern the attempt to redeem someone who has taken a wrong path in life: the one against Gabriel is a real fight against the purest and innate evil of man, a clash of positions rather than skills, which will test on both sides the strength of the Incarnation System, on the one hand with a grotesque and distorted transformation while on the other through Kirito's trademark, the Sword Skill Starbust Stream.

Throughout the franchise Kirito has succeeded only twice to defeat an opponent without any kind of external help: the first was against the Christmas boss of Aincrad, in the third episode of the first season, while the second was against Eiji in Ordinal Scale: the final battles of Sword Art Online are always decided gives fundamental aids in critical points.
Not even Subtilizer is an exception to this trend, since the advantage that his evil nature will give him over Kirito will require the intervention, again, of the residual data of Eugeo and the resources of all Underworld, extracted thanks to the Night Sky Sword.

Sword Art Online Alicization - Night Sky Sword (Sword Kirito) HD wallpaper download

In thematic concordance with the previous episodes, therefore, it is the connections that Kirito formed during his journey that have the greatest impact on events, with an interesting reversal of the normal negative association with the spread of darkness to evil and fear in a pleasant starry night sky, able to comfort with a sense of peace all the inhabitants of the Underworld regardless of their direct knowledge of Kirito.

The battle, due to its strongly metaphorical and narrative nature, fails to express its maximum potential in animated form, exactly as it was for the clash with Vassago: there is no lack of dynamic and emphatic moments, but some narrative cuts (especially in the epilogue of the duel) leave an aftertaste of incompleteness for the climax of what was the main villain of this narrative arc.

However, the next episode has the possibility of recovering, as has often happened, the cuts made here and relocating them in moments more suitable for the transmission medium of the adaptation, which gives space to a welcome touch in quickly showing the main human participants of the war. of Underworld outside the virtual world, automatically disconnected from the acceleration sequence.

The portion of Alicization dedicated to Underworld ends with something that shouldn't leave anyone surprised: with Kirito running out of time to go out, it was to be expected that Asuna would give up following him after "delivering" Alice, even if it meant staying. stuck in a simulation for 200 years (it's not the first time, after all, that the couple has accepted the possibility of perpetually staying inside a virtual reality).
However, there are still several things in the making in Ocean Turtle, and it is probably to these that “Beyond Time”, the next episode of the series, will be dedicated.
We are, after all, only halfway through Volume 18.