Annotated Anime: Sword Art Online II episode 8


Fire when ready

It seems that A-1 might be in the clear right now. And to think that the BoB tournament was the key to helping Sword Art Online II move in the right direction. However, my main concern right now is that the Phantom Bullet Arc won't take up an entire season. Based on the direction the show is taking, this event might be the one to determine the storyline's actual length.

Despite A-1’s mediocre action scenes during the last few episodes, the team surprisingly did a fine job in animating the first major showdown in the Bullet of Bullets tournament. While episode 8's fight sequence was rather short, the way how the studio handled Pale Rider’s quick acrobatic reflexes gave the segment some life. This was thanks to their choice of using fast-paced frames and dynamic angles during the scene. All in all, SAO II’s action for the week were entertaining, since it managed to pull the show’s viewers into a heated battle.

Even though the Kirito-related drama wasn’t handled too well during SAO II’s past two episodes, the folks at A-1 were able to come up with a decent remedy to the situation. Honestly, it’s nice to see the previous conflicts were resolved through a simple conversation, since it shows that Kirito and Sinon are both willing to see this challenge through. That, and this method allowed for the characters' issues to get fixed without facing any obstacles that would extend the conflict (such as misunderstandings). Thanks to this decision, the episode managed to progress in a decent manner, as the story's elements ensured that the people who haven't read the source material could enjoy the segment as well.

One thing that set this episode apart from the previous two was that the scenes flowed smoothly throughout the entire segment. The show’s viewers were given a breather before things got real, and the exposition helped prepare everyone for the upcoming confrontation. In fact, there’s a good chance that A-1 has successfully restored Sword Art Online II's momentum. However, this doesn’t change the fact that the studio’s past decisions might cause the Phantom Bullet arc to transform into a 12 to 14-episode segment. If that happens to be the case, let’s hope that A-1 finds a balance in how they cover the next storyline, since it’d be unfortunate to see another SAO Arc that moves at an inconsistent pace.

Surprisingly, A-1 managed to pull off a saving throw when SAO II felt like it was in a dire state. There weren't any out-of-place elements in the story, and the main attraction lead to some enjoyable segments. On top of that, the build-up towards the big encounter acted as a great way to leave the show's viewers on the edge of their seats until the next chapter airs. If anything, this episode is a sign that the studio might regain their glow after all.

While SAO II’s pacing hasn't been steady, the pieces that the show has set for us will at least give us a chance to enjoy this arc before the plot changes later on. Who knows, Moé Kirito's performance could result in Sword Art Online II winning the award for the Best Anime of 2014. I kid.

[You can watch Sword Art Online II's tournament 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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