Annotated Anime: Sword Art Online II episode 6


Is Slow Art Online gaining speed?

Right when I was feeling comfortable with Sword Art Online II’s pacing, A-1 decides to speed things up a bit. One moment, the presentation’s going smooth, and all of a sudden, the show breezes through two battles before we get the chance to take in the action. Luckily, the episode's other parts were moving steadily, which means that the studio's increase in speed might not shorten the Phantom Bullet Arc's total episode count.

For a competition that's supposed to be a major event in the series, it’s kind of disappointing to see that qualification rounds are already over. While I wasn't expecting anything close to Dragon Ball or Yu Yu Hakusho tournament level pacing in SAO II, there’s something strange about having a show that’s taking its sweet time to present the story speed up on us all of the sudden-- especially when they’re supposed to make Kirito and Sinon shine during these showdowns.

It didn’t help that A-1 chose to animate Kirito with a side shot instead of a 3/4th or front shot during the first match. Because of this decision, the scene's angle made the guy’s slash animations look awkward. I understand that most shows tend to save the best moment for last, but of if a studio's going to have a tournament arc in a show, then they should try to animate each fight scene to the best of their abilities. Hell, even the episode’s main fight lost its charm when Kirito chose to be a “gentleman” at the end, since he disrespected his opponent’s wishes. While the guy was trying to be nice, this action shows that Kazuto doesn’t understand the concept of being a good sport. Due to these outcomes, the episode’s action segments were at their weakest this time around.

Even though the BoB’s qualification rounds were a big disappointment, the real treat was learning about Kirito’s experience with Laughing Coffin. While the flashback scene was most likely A-1’s attempt to fill in some of the holes that they made during SAO Season 1, it did a decent job at expanding on Kazuto's fear of the PK group. Compared to the rest of the episode’s scenes, this segment was the most fleshed out of the bunch, since it went well with the previous episode's ending; however, due to A-1's decision to not cover Kirito’s fear of the guild during Sword Art Online’s first season, it’ll be hard for most viewers to willingly accept this moment-- even if the scene was enjoyable.

Unfortunately, the episode handled Sinon’s sentiments towards Kirito poorly, as it felt a bit too sudden for the guy's scared state to affect her so badly. Sure, the story was trying to link both characters together in terms of past experiences, but there are better ways the team to handle this scenario. For example, having a fight between the two characters without the earlier scene would’ve been a perfect way for Sinon to pick up on Kirito’s emotions, if A-1 chose to have both characters go all out without any personal interference holding the two contenders back. Then both characters will get to experience a worthwhile battle, and the moment'll be more meaningful for the show's viewers. Hopefully, this'll be the last time that we see an interaction scene like one shown recently, since it could ruin the beauty behind the battles in later episodes.

While I’ve been enjoying SAO II as of now, this episode felt like it was the weakest one so far. Part of the segment's issues came from A-1 trying to fix the story elements related to the stuff they glossed over during the show’s first season, along the way how they handled certain interactions. Nonetheless, I doubt that this mishap will prevent the series from being enjoyable.

Speaking of underwhelming aspects, there were a few episodes in the show's first season that were weak, and that still didn’t stop most of SAO’s viewers from liking the series. That being said, there’s still a high chance that Sword Art Online II won’t end up as an underwhelming season for the series if the studio falters again. If anything, we’ll just have to wait and see if A-1 will regain their glow during the Bullet of Bullets' actual matches.

[You can watch Sword Art Online II at Crunchyroll and Daisuki]

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Salvador G Rodiles
Salvador G RodilesSenior Editor   gamer profile

Salvador's an average bystander who took his first steps towards a life-changing goal. During his journey, he's devising a way to balance his time with anime, manga, video games, and tokusatsu in... more + disclosures



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