Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 8 Review
Sword Art Online fans from the Aincrad arc are well aware of Kirito’s game breaking moment that for some shattered any kind of ability to suspend disbelief. For me, the moment where Kirito resolved not to die, not yet, because he hadn’t ended the game and overcame the mechanics of the game through sheer willpower was glorious. Sure, it feeds into the idea that Sword Art Online is strictly a wish fulfilment power fantasy, but what is wrong with that? Isn’t sending the message that you shouldn’t give up on those things that are non-negotiable, that you should strive to succeed in the face of all odds, and that you have more strength than you know actually kind of a good thing?
Admittedly, it won’t sell for everyone and the more cynical and jaded will find it all a bit trite. In a different context, so would I. But I was watching a fantasy about teenagers getting trapped inside a virtual world that could kill them, and so there was sufficient removal from reality in the first place that I could just kind of get behind the message and the character and really fall in love with his resilience as he managed to avenge Asuna and release all the surviving players from the game. Go Kirito. Power fantasy, wish fulfilment, whatever, I could absolutely get behind it because the anime had carried me to that moment.
Now you might be wondering why I’m spending so much time discussing Aincrad when I’m meant to be reviewing episode 8 of Alicization. The point is, that this idea of imagination and belief, of overcoming preconceived limits, has returned in the Alicization arc and it has never been more prominent or pertinent to the game and the characters. It is almost as if the core idea that wanted to be explored in Aincrad as now been placed front and centre in this story. There’s no need to waste time selling us on the idea of people living inside a game or on virtual realities in general. We already had discussions about whether virtual reality experiences are as valuable as real ones and whether relationships in game translate as real relationships.
And while all these ideas are still in Alicization, and I’m certain the idea of whether or not copied souls and AI’s have rights is coming, Alicization, building on everything that has come before, can cut straight to Kirito himself and his strength and confidence in himself and whether or not he believes he can actually beat these characters/souls in this game. We also see the source of Kirito’s strength as he reflects on all of those who have helped him over the past games and those he has met in the current game with no distinction between ‘real’ people and ‘AIs’ or even ‘copied souls’. For Kirito they are all important and valuable parts of his experience and he values them equally and will defend them equally. Whether you like the execution of this moment or not (and it was a little heavy handed as most things tend to get in SAO), it is a powerful moment and one that ultimately is a delight to watch as it draws those prior experiences and ideas to the forefront yet again but applies them to this new context.
Where this episode was less capable was in the petty bullying and rivalry going on by the bit players, even if this did lead to Kirito starting to get an understanding of how he could use the power of imagination for more than just hitting things with a sword. I will actually be quite disappointed if that development doesn’t go anywhere and if Kirito doesn’t expand on the potential applications that it has opened up.
All and all, Sword Art Online Alicization continues to be Sword Art Online. It has the good and some of the not so great, but if you’ve come this far on the journey, Alicization is pretty much holding the course and slowly bringing new ideas into the fray so for me it continues to be a pretty fun series to watch.
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SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET
6 thoughts on “How Does Kirito’s Belief In Himself Cause Success?”
Go Kirito indeed 😊😊 I saw the episode this morning before heading off to work, pretty much right after waking up. As monday isn’t the best day of the week for me in the first place (really is there anyone on this planet that does like this day 😂) I was grinning pretty much all the time throughout this episode. Yes, Kirito again did the impossible, and for some people it might even seem far fetched. But …that’s just who he is, and I loved it. Whether it was the swordfight, or the bringing back to life of the flowers (seriously I almost had a Tom Hanks Wilson moment from Castaway when I saw the destruction of them), both were just incredible moments to me.
With the exception of one episode, so far I have truly been enjoying this arc immensely and I can’t wait to see where it will take us. I have the feeling Kirito might become even more powerful than he has ever been, but we just have to wait and see 😊 Great post by the way! 😉
I’m with you on the ‘Wilson’ moment. It was really good to see that Kirito is struggling with being away from the real world even if he isn’t letting it show all the time as he’s getting on with what he needs to get on with. The flowers being destroyed being the thing that brings out that emotional side really worked and I could really get behind that scene because it felt so real. I continue to really enjoy Kirito as a character and this episode was really fun. Like you, other than the episode where everyone just talked at us continuously, I’ve enjoyed this. Really hoping Asuna gets a better episode soon though.
Asuna does need to get into the action. I’m really wondering if she will eventually also appear in the world that Kirito is in right now. I hope that at some point she does (honestly it would suprise me if she didn’t) but I guess we will have to see.
Kirito is, and always will be a very cool character to me as well. Let’s hope the series will continue on the path it is on right now 😊😊
It’s so pleasant to read a review of this, or anything SAO, that isn’t a rant but actually a balanced reading of it.
They are hard to come by. Though other than a very small group of fans who seem to think any criticism of SAO is some kind of crime, most people I know who like SAO are perfectly willing to admit it has flaws even while pointing out they still love it. It’s too bad so many of them won’t say a word online about SAO one way or the other because they don’t want to deal with the extreme views that seem to come out around this anime.