Like many Otaku we have been eagerly awaiting the return of Sword Art Online, and Season 2 kicked off with a bang literally. The new story arc is called the “Phantom Bullet” arc, and introduces a new character and an old all too familiar scenario. Sword Art Online II takes place roughly one year after the end of the last Season with Kirito and Asuna still together as a couple, both IRL and Online. Kirito is asked by Kikuoka Seijiro of the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Virtual Division, to investigate a strange incident that occurred in and VRMMORPG called Gun Gale Online (GGO).
Because Kirito unleashed the “Seed” he feels responsible for anything out of the ordinary that may be happening in VRMMO since he made it all possible. Since the code is open source, anyone can create a virtual world, making it very difficult to police things from the outside. Two players recently died in real life while logged into GGO and all the evidence seems to point to a player called Death Gun. Kirito is asked to go into GGO and find out what is really happening. He reluctantly agrees. Kirito also talks with Asuna about the expansion of VR capabilities, which leads to an easter egg about Accel World, since it shares a universe with SAO but comes much later in the timeline.
Meanwhile we are introduced to Sinon, one of the top players in GGO, and a professional online gamer.
The pacing in this episode was enjoyable. I liked seeing Asuna’s new avatar for ALO, and it balanced the story with action at the same time. What I don’t like is I feel the show opening, shown at the end of this episode felt spoiler heavy. We are practically given Death Gun’s identity outright whereas before it wouldn’t have been obvious and they also spoil a few other things if you pay too much attention. The visuals and music are great and they have improved the quality of the animation somewhat. Overall it was a very enjoyable episode and a good start for the series. I will rate it a 8/10.
Founding Member of Anime Arsenal. Outlaw Rave writes reviews for Anime and Manga primarily as well as reviews of AMVs while also doing most of the photohop editing and composites for the site as well as original Anime Music Videos. Favorite Anime(s): Escaflowne, Sword Art Online, Gundam 00, Cowboy Beebop, Fate Stay/Nite, Fate Zero, Air TV, Attack on Titan, Mirai Nikki, Hellsing Ultimate.