SAO Alicization: Falling short of Hype

SAO Alicization got me more excited than I had been for SAO for some time. As the season went on my interest was still peaked. Somewhere along the way it started to fall apart for me. The closer we got to the finale the less interested I had become. Its the combination of the characters making poor decisions and the fact that the closer I got to the conclusion of the show not much was done differently from SAO of the past. What I had expected originally was a new take or spin on what Sword Art Online was, like opening a new book in a favorite series, but what was delivered was nothing more or less than a spin on things we had already explored in the past, essentially an update to existing thoughts and theories in the SAO universe.

First things first, its become clear that things that were happening outside of the world where Kirito is trapped for the time being are completely irrelevant and unimportant to what is going on inside of the world. Why did we even have Asuna chase Kirito down in a far fetched and ridiculous manner? Now that we are on the floating sea platform none of the characters from the real world have popped into the show for the last several episodes.

And thinking on it why hasn’t anyone intervened from the outside world to help Kirito in any way? Guess the experiment is too juicy for the creators to stop watching. They certainly have to be munching on popcorn watching their world unfold. If anything they should congratulate Administrator for becoming the first fluchtlight capable of sacrificing anyone or anything for her designs and becoming an AI capable of murder and war. If that has been done mission success. Shut it down and export Administrator.

Maybe the engineers are having second thoughts watching Kirito. After watching him maybe they have learned to value human life like he does. After all Kirito fought for all the gamers trapped in SAO. Which brings me full circle to the point we already seen as an SAO audience that humans aren’t toys or just fodder to feed ego. Humans are real and struggle whether they exist as a digital medium or whether they are fluchtlights. And I guess if that is where they are making the connection that fluchtlights are humans then I got to hand it to SAO. Thanks for being the same thing as the first SAO. Really thinking outside of the box on that one. Its basically re wrapping the original box. If we change the setting then no one will notice that we have already explored and engaged in the concepts of the first SAO. I could give it leniency and say that if the fluchtlight intelligence was human in origin then its human after all. It doesn’t change the fact that the concept has already actually been explored, adding an addendum to the previous SAO series.

Speaking of rehashed work, Alicization touches on the delicate subject of sexual assault and rape. Just like in the second half of SAO when Kirito travels to Alfheim to save Asuna from being forced to be the bride of a man that has power in her father’s company, Kirito also saves the fluchtlights in this world from the horrible crime of sexual assault. Both situations show that men with power either in the real world or the world of Alicization can victimize women whenever they want as a display of their power. Of course Kirito steps in to prevent that from happening in both situations. He saves Asuna, and he saves the girls in Alicization. However in the world of Alicization he is thrown into prison for defying authority, even though he clearly makes the morally right choice. I can give it to Alicization for adding that following the rules for the sake of following the rules can be wrong if the rules are used for morally wrong choices. Still this is a theme previously explored in SAO.

Alicization in a nutshell can be thought of as an update of existing SAO theories already explored in the series past. Unlike series where a concept or idea that the protagonist has is put to the test and we watch the main character grow in light of that idea, SAO Alicization falls flat. We don’t learn much from what we already knew previously, human life is precious and that sexual assault is a grave moral transgression. The series had a chance to grow and expand in new directions, which was my original expectation, but it was more of the same SAO I have seen before. I can still recommend the watch, but add that you shouldn’t expect anything new.