Sword Art Online chugs merrily along. I think the best way to describe this episode would be “inoffensive,” and, well, I guess I’m okay with that. This new conflict is pleasant enough, it’s nice to have some time away from Kirito, and the show isn’t doing anything to actively shoot itself in the foot. I’m approaching the point where I no longer have to actively concentrate to stumble across the finish line of my time with SAO – with only four episodes to go, from here on out, I can hopefully enter a controlled fall and just tumble my way to victory. I’m gonna make it. I’m almost home.
Oh fuck goddamnit Kirito what are you doi
Akatsuki’s Akihabara Adventure came to an end this week, with a final fight that I honestly found kinda underwhelming. It’s not like Log Horizon is usually that visually impressive, but they’ve been hyping this conflict all friggin’ season! It sucks to see even the most dramatic moments reduced to still frames and speed lines, particularly since the episode three weeks ago seemed to demonstrate that this new show staff actually can pull together an aesthetically compelling production when they want to. Ah well. Bring on the Shiroe raid, I suppose.
Look at this rabbit in my hand. See the rabbit? Surprise! It’s actually a turtle.
Pretty impressive, huh?
Alright, maybe that one didn’t work on you. How about this one. Look at this character – she’s just a mild-mannered high school student, right? Surprise! She’s actually an evil wizard.
Still nothing? Hm.
Okay, one more. Look at this upbeat, slice of life story. Got a good picture of it? Surprise! It’s actually a dystopian sci-fi drama.
Alright, you get the picture. Let’s talk about plot twists.
Shinichi found some new friends this week, and then set off to murder an old one. Parasyte’s pretty much just a smart thriller with very high-quality ingredients at the moment – its ideas are always simmering, but the base dynamics of its narrative and the way it keeps intelligently introducing new variables are what keep it engaging episode to episode. It’s a fine thing to see.
There was no Rage of Bahamut this week, but everything else kept up the year-saving tempo. KimiUso exchanged last week’s animation showcase for a more subdued but equally impressive character-focused episode, Shirobako gave us moe animation tsunderes, and Amagi pulled off another Haruhi-style triumph. But the real surprise this week was Sword Art Online – following on the heels of a fairly pointless filler arc and tedious exposition episode, SAO pulled out what was quite possibly its best episode of all time, and almost definitely its best fight of all time. Even if you don’t watch SAO, I might still recommend just checking out the second half of that episode if you enjoy fight scenes – the direction and animation were all kinds of impressive this time. You did good, Sword Art.
Anyway. Let’s run down the week!
So this episode was one part reasonable character drama in the real world, one part possibly the best fight scene SAO’s ever had. I figured last week’s exposition-fest meant the show was holding back, but damn. The show’s already inherently better when it’s not revolving around Kirito, but this episode really did bring its own strengths to the table - for once, I have basically nothing bad to say about it. I know the good times never really last, but I wouldn’t be watching friggin’ SAO if I weren’t eternally optimistic. Please hold together, Mother’s Rosario!
Training montage time! We’re still on the Akatsuki/Lenessia narrative, which is finally kicking into character-development overdrive. I felt Akatsuki’s stuff was a little overplayed this episode, but really liked the Lenessia bits… but this is me, so you really shouldn’t trust anything I say about Lenessia and Log Horizon. What with all the narrative-tidying the flavor text reveal managed this week, it’s looking like all the pieces are in place to wrap this story up next time. Bring on the fight scenes!
In other news, this guy’s shirt: