Annotated Anime: Sword Art Online II episode 9


X marks the spot

As Sword Art Online II begins to imply that the Phantom Bullet Arc is coming to a close, things are starting to get intense around these parts. In the midst of this event, A-1 has fully recovered from their injuries, so that they can get ready to load up the big cannons. Since there are many important at play during these major moments, let's hope that the team hits their main target.

While SAO II seemed like it was setting up for a big confrontation during the last episode, the events that came from this recent chapter felt like we were entering the eye of the hurricane. Sure, there wasn’t a huge fight this time around, but the current events gave us an idea on how Kirito and Sinon are going to handle the Death Gun situation. Even though this action caused the show to feature a ton of exploration scenes, the exposition served as a fine way to prepare us for the Phantom Bullet Arc’s upcoming climax. At the same time, the balance between the traveling and conversation segments surprisingly worked well for the show in terms of building the episode's momentum.

One aspect that made this episode enjoyable was how Sinon’s trauma came into play, since the moment helped intensify the episode when "you-know-who" showed up. In terms of progression, the key pieces used in the scene managed to act as a fine way to challenge the Sinon in an environment that she used to think was safe. On top of that, the crows shown in the episode were a decent way to prepare Sword Art Online II's viewers for the bad omen that would hinder the group's plan-- despite the fact that the coloring style used on the main bird made it feel like it was out of place in the scene. Either way, A-1 did their best to adapt Sinon's character into the anime's story, which made the build-up towards this moment worthwhile when the scene caused us to worry about her current situation.

Just like the previous episodes, A-1 execution in how they animated the action scenes was enjoyable, despite it being another short battle. This was mostly thanks to Sinon's finishing blow, since the way how the enemy was killed gave felt painful. I mean, it’s not too often that you see someone get shot in half. If anything, the main touch that helped the last shot stand out was A-1’s decision to make the body twist after the attack’s impact. Hopefully, this a sign that we’ll see some interesting deaths when things get intense again, since it’s best to end things with a bang.

If there was one complaint to be had about this scene, it would involve the angles that A-1 chose when Kirito went into his reflective stance. While they chose the right shots during the scene, there was something weird about the way how A-1 handled the parts where the frame would zoom out on Kazuto. Once again, the show’s animation team missed the opportunity to make the segment dynamic. At least it was better than Kirito's battle during episode 6.

Despite A-1’s ups and downs during the show’s production, Sword Art Online II is starting to pick up again. This time around, the major moments between Kirito and Sinon helped open the path for what might be the final confrontation in the series. In fact, the episode’s final scene worked great as a means to get SAO II’s viewers interested in the situation's outcome.

Based on the episode's current events, I think its safe to say that A-1 has the strength to give this arc a good ending. Since the show left us at an intense cliffhanger, I'm certain that the arc's climax is going to be a wild ride. Also, Asuna’s action might play a big role towards the end. If not, then SAO II is probably setting up for the Arc that’ll take Phantom Bullet’s place during the show's next half.

[You can team up with 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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