Sword Art Online II takes place for a part in a new game, Gun Gale Online. Kirito transfers to that game to uncover a new mystery of people dying in real life after being shot by a mysterious person, Death Gun. Here is our full Sword Art Online II Review.
The season was aired in the Summer 2014 anime season. Sword Art Online II was animated by A-1 Pictures and based on the light novel of the same name. A-1 Pictures is also known for anime like Kaguya-sama, 86, Fairy Tail, and Persona 3.
At the start of the anime, Kirito is still with his friends from SAO in Alfheim, he goes to school with his friends in the real world as well and are in general together pretty often. Kirito however gets called upon to go back to a life-and-death situation, but this time in a new VRMMO called Gun Gale Online.
Here he quickly meets Sinon, a sniper who is probably the best sniper in the game but she only helps him out because she thinks Kirito is a new girl player. Why does Kirito look like a girl you may ask? I have absolutely no clue, but I did kinda like his character design, but I did quickly forget about it only for it to never really be brought up again after he outed himself right before the BoB tournament qualifiers.
Something happens however, he meets someone who he never thought he would see again, a member of the Laughing Coffin, the player killer guild from SAO. This person is also the person that Kirito came to the game for, Death Gun. Sinon and Kirito qualify for the main BoB tournament and there they confront Death Gun and try to uncover the truth about the IRL deaths that have been happening.
You might think that sounds pretty cool right? Well, the idea is there, but the execution of it isn’t that great, and kinda felt like it got dragged out and fixed pretty quickly at the same time. It’s slow… really slow, they spend 3 full episodes just sitting in a cave talking, and while he is only there for 14 episodes minus the few introduction episodes, so the actual things happening were just so quick while the rest got so much unnecessary time.
Kirito gets a brand new sword… in the gun world. The sword was epic, it was a lightsaber, but having the same lightsaber sounds as Star Wars and the sword kinda looking the same felt kind of cringy. It was basically a carbon copy of a Star Wars one, I wish they made it more into an actual sword made out of lasers instead of what we actually got.
The villain was kinda predictable and could have been better in my opinion, or at least more of a surprise or a bigger call back to season 1. The villain of the first 14 episodes gets semi-spoiled by the game Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet, while not really saying who is it, the game pointed it out before the events even happened and after watching these first 14 episodes, I see the game in an even more negative light then I already did.
Just like Season 1, Episode 14 felt like the real ending of the 2nd season in my opinion, it was kinda wrapped up and I would have given this season a solid 3/4, but unlike the 1st season, the ALFheim part of the season kinda saved the season this time, but it, of course, did have its own issues.
the 2nd part of Sword Art Online takes us back to ALFheim where we get 2 arcs, 1 really short arc from about 3 episodes focused on getting a sword Kirito only used 1 time and a 2nd arc that took about 7 episodes but had a more meaningful ending and really saved this season.
the story from episodes 15 to 17 is actually pretty good, felt like a lite version of a bigger story or expansion. something game-changing gets kinda teased that doesn’t even happen in the end. This wasn’t that big of a problem but I do with the world would have changed at least a little bit for the crew to have to explore. But at least we got the house back that Asuna and Kirito had in SAO.
In this 1st arc, it seems like they forgot the flying mechanic and rely on a monster to fly on. This isn’t that big of a deal because it did push the story forward, but it did feel a bit weird having them being called fairies all the time and then not even flying, but they do get to fly again a few episodes later. Also, it’s kinda weird that Klein is into NPCs, I got a small taste of it in the Fatal Bullets game, but here again, he goes after an NPC that seems to be a trap, but him wanting to get her number actually did save them in the long run, so I can’t be that mad about it.
One of the best things in season 2 are the returning characters of SAO, I kinda missed them last season and it for sure was a blast seeing them again, it did kinda come at a price, because there are so many of them, Agil kinda got sidelined and in the 2nd arc in ALFhein, the newly introduced Sinon just kinda disappears sadly and don’t get any attention.
The introduction episode of “Zekken” in the 2nd arc took a bit long for my liking, they just kept repeating how strong he was for almost a whole episode. The nice thing in that episode was that Asuna got her house back, but that didn’t change how dragged out that episode felt. The episode after is just as bad, having more than half of the episode just Asuna and her mom having a disagreement with the other 5 minutes being a short but cool battle between “Zekken” and Asuna.
I don’t really care much about Yuuki’s guild, they don’t feel unique and look like a generic group of side characters you see in any fantasy anime. But Yuuki herself and the other mage girl are pretty cool. This did get better near the end, but even the anime itself didn’t seem to care much about the other people because they did only end up focusing on Yuuki and Si-eun
Yuuki’s story is sad and depressing, but in a good emotional way, but it does feel a little bit dragged out again. The ending of the season was amazing and very emotional. Usually, I barely feel anything, but the way SAO handled it was amazing and made even me tear up a little bit. This arc was the saving grace of season 2 of Sword Art Online but also the main reason I didn’t end up writing about the ALFheim part of the story in more detail, it’s best to experience this yourself, even tho everything is dragged out.
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