I don’t know that I’ve mentioned this before, but I really like Kirito as a character. He’s like the little brother I always wanted but never had, and I love watching him struggle to overcome things and then overcoming them. He gets a lot of criticism online, but for me, Kirito is always just someone I enjoy hanging out with and Sword Art Online as a whole is something that I just enjoy returning to even if I do pick at some of the follow up arcs.
The reason I bring that up is because episode 4 of Alicization showcases what I like most about Kirito. He isn’t original or unique, not a bad boy, or smoking hot, or any of the usual draws for a character. Kirito is the ordinary nice guy who actually takes action and isn’t a push over, and I love him for it.
With the goblins advancing on Kirito and Eugeo and Eugeo frozen in utter panic, Kirito takes the time to get Eugeo out of it and gives him some clear direction. He isn’t using Eugeo as cannon fodder, or leaving him to hide behind the crystals while he goes rambo on the goblins. Kirito makes a clear assessment about what Eugeo can do and makes sure Eugeo is moving again.
Then Kirito goes to town on the goblins. Now, I love the way sword fights have been animated in SAO since the beginning and while it could definitely be seen as messy animation, I find it quite invigorating to watch and so this sequence was quite the treat and given we haven’t seen anything resembling action since episode 1 it was a nice delight. I felt a little bad for the goblin leader because literally as soon as Kirito decided to win the fight it was all over for him because Kirito is still wrapped up in plot armour that is pretty much impenetrable, but the goblin leader did at least make a good showing of it.
And that actually leads to my one criticism of the sequence. Kirito takes a strike to the arm that for once actually makes him feel the real pain of getting hit with a sharp and heavy object. None of the Aincrad little red line on the skin but keep on running. We actually see blood dripping down his sleeve and onto his hand.
And then it is gone.
Like it never even happened.
Now, I don’t exactly want Kirito to be rolling around on the cave floor in pain but given they are the ones that made the big deal about him feeling pain and then showing us the blood, there could at least be some kind of residual impact, you know like a blood stain on his sleeve, for the remainder of the fight. But no. Magically healing clothes as well as shoulders in this sequence.
Having spent a long time on Kirito this episode I should probably point out that the second half of this episode is very much about Eugeo. Eugeo making his choice, standing up, getting knocked down, standing back up and then finally freeing himself from his calling and earning the right to choose his new destiny. It is a nice character arc more or less dumped into about seven minutes of screen time making it feel just a little bit cheap even as it is exactly what the story needs to really get moving.
Sword Art Online Alicization remains this weird mix of things I love about Sword Art Online as well as some old problems perpetuated and some new problems thrown in. The big issue though is pacing. While I appreciate the large episode count means we can spend time on set up, I just keep thinking how Eugeo’s progress here got really short changed and yet last week we kind of sat around waiting for nothing to happen.
Despite that, I had a lot of fun this week and that’s what really does continue to work for this series. Fans of the series are at this point fans of the series and for me as long as this puts the characters I like on screen and gives them something even mildly interesting to do I’ll probably still happily watch. And a fight with a horde of goblins before knocking down a demon tree was more than mildly interesting so I had a great time.
11 thoughts on “Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 4: Kirito Is Back”
‘He somehow ignores the shoulder cut like it’s not there’
And they finally head to the capital!
*spoiler* although the arc doesn’t end after Kirito saves Alice in the central cathedral.
Sword Art Online was popular: That means it’s shit.
The golden of anything when it gets really popular, really fast.
Wait, people actually like Kirito unironically? I thought he was the source of everything that was wrong with SAO and Isekais in general, allegedly.
Yes, it’s all been downhill since SAO. Not just anime, too: I’m sure Trump is somehow the result of SAO…
Shocking, I know, that an anime that was really popular (despite the hate) and has spawned multiple sequels has a main character that some people actually like.
Well…three guesses what I thought of the episode? 🤔🤔 I highly enjoyed it of course. I agree with the things you said about Kirito, not counting the Major (sorry no one will ever take the number one spot of the Major) he is probably my favorite anime character.
It was a little bit strange with that wound Kirito received. It wasn’t just a fleshwound, it definitely looked more serious than that. What I find even more interesting is the fact that this doesn’t feel like a game world. Yes we have the displays and all that, but the enemies are really bleeding, and don’t just disappear, and even Kirito stated that he never experienced pain like that before.
Maybe we will get an explanation as to why his wound suddenly disappeared. Maybe someone is pulling the strings in the real world…a fact that we haven’t even seen adressed any more since episode 1. But..that said…I’m loving it so far, and yes there are pacing issues and all, but I just love this show so much, that I simply forgive them. Definitely looking forward to what will be coming up next 😊
I think that was actually a mess up by the anime, sadly. In the light novel his wound didn’t magically disappear lol. However I really liked how the anime didn’t just completely skip over how Kirito actually felt pain. In the LN, Kirito literally froze up in fear for a bit after actually getting hit, which was really something Kirito had never particularly done before.
Yeah, it could have been a mess up. It’s a pretty big mess up though, that I do have to say. But oh well: it’s forgiven.
I really have to get back to reading the light novels, so far I have only read one of them 😅😅
It is a new dimension in a ‘game’ for Kirito to deal with. He’s faced fear of death but actually feeling pain is a bit of a new experience, if we don’t count his showdown with his encounter with Sugou at the end of Fairy Dance where he messed around with some of the filters and let Kirito feel pain in game.
Yes, we do have plenty of time for explanations and hopefully we’ll get to them, but it was just strange. Still, really fun episode and I’m also looking forward to whatever will come next.