The end of a season is always sad since we have to say goodbye to these series. Like all of my recent Akame ga Kill and Psycho Pass 2 reviews, I’ll review the finale of SAO 2 and then briefly go over my thoughts on the series as a whole.
Sword Art Online II Episode 24
I’m not usually one to get emotional, but something about LiSA’s music does it for me every time (Angel Beats ED song was emotional as well!). We all knew Yuuki wasn’t long for this world, but even with that in mind, her passing was definitely the highlight of the series.
Rather than go about their separate ways as they had originally planned, they decide to make the most of the time they have left. They already accomplished their original goal, so why not continue riding it out until the end? Now, instead of having that one memory, the Sleeping Knights have countless memories of the times they spent together.
Yuuki’s time has finally arrived and Asuna has to say her goodbyes. Yuuki leaves her with the Mother Rosario skill, as a memento. She’s not only been able to leave her mark on this world, but will also continue to fight alongside with Asuna on her adventures. After completing her final task, Yuuki is ready to part with the world. Something about seeing her in that state just struck me. Her voice had always been so energetic, but now her voice is beginning to break.
To Yuuki’s surprise, everyone that she’s met on her adventure has come to see her off. Thanks to Asuna, she’s able to pass on being surrounded by those who she has left an impact on. Being born into such a horrible situation, she often question whether it was fair for her to live. It’s depressing that a young girl has to question her existence, knowing that her life will end before being able to make an impact on others. Her last few months though have let her experience what it’s like to live.
In the end, hundreds of people came to send Yuuki off on to her next journey, with many more mourning her passing in the real world. Seeing such a huge turnout really let Yuuki know that she mattered to so many people. From helping her out, Asuna discovered how to live life to the fullest. Never be afraid of trying, since it’s better to be certain, rather than live a life of regret. Yuuki went around being friendly with everyone, leaving a lasting impact.
While the picnic scene was a nice way to end the series, I felt that the Akihiko namedrop was a bit out of place. It’s nice to have some tie in from the earlier parts of the series, but he hasn’t really been talked about for an entire season, yet allegedly, he has such a large involvement with this part of the story. Either way, it looks like their journey is far from over, and it’s nice to see Kirito acknowledge that him and Asuna are a pair.
Sword Art Online II Anime Review
While there were three arcs in this entire season, I’ll mainly go over my thoughts on GGO and Mother Rosario, since Excalibur felt like a side story.
Gun Gale Online
Starting off, I really enjoyed the change of pace. We’re finally back to a situation where being killed within a game could be the end of your life. The atmosphere of the GGO world was pretty distinct as well, giving off a grungy, underground sort of vibe. Sinon was a decent female lead, who showed a lot of character development as she overcame her past trauma.
What I didn’t like about this arc was how slow the pacing felt. Weeks went by, and very little had actually progressed. There would be constant retelling of events, within a different context.
Additionally, the villain was a huge turn off for me. Once again, we get a bad guy who is kind of evil for the sake of being evil. Sure he went through some psychological issues, shunning the real world, but being a virtually unknown character, it felt lackluster. Death Gun had all of this build up, only for one of them to escape, the other being detained, and the last one being another creepy guy. Their plans are foiled by the almighty Kirito, and that’s pretty much the end of that story (for now).
It’s also a shame that Sinon had so much screen time, only to be reduced to a side character, like the rest of Kirito’s harem. Like the other girls, once their little arc finishes, they kind of just sit around going about their daily lives.
I can see why this was such a highly rated part of SAO. With no real threat at hand, the characters really get a chance to shine through. Asuna, who like the other harem members, had been reduced to a cheerleader. Through Mother Rosario, she’s able to find herself and regain that confidence that she once had.
Yuuki’s character is a tragic one. Being sentenced to a life of pain and suffering from birth, she puts on a brave front and tries to make the most of her life. In her last moments, we see all of the insecurities and doubts that had been present the entire time. No matter how strong she appeared, she was still a fragile girl who had to deal with these types of thoughts in the back of her mind. Her death, while tragic, breathes life into the other characters. The other Sleeping Knights continue to live on in her place, while Asuna is able to understand herself better.
As most series, Sword Art Online II had its high notes and its low points. I’ll admit that it lost my interest mid way through the GGO arc, and the Excalibur quest. Mother Rosario started off a bit slow, but ended on a solid note for me. Normally, I wouldn’t care much for the characters, but spending the last few episodes fleshing out Yuuki and Asuna really drew a connection between these characters and myself. Aside from that, the music and animation were stellar yet again, and it was definitely a pleasure to watch.
Feel free to share your thoughts on Mother Rosario, or the rest of the series!