About This Item

Preview Image for Sword Art Online II, Part 4
Sword Art Online II, Part 4 (Blu-ray Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000174704
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 3/7/2016 14:48
View Changes

Other Reviews, etc
  • Log in to Add Reviews, Videos, Etc
  • Places to Buy

    Searching for products...

    Other Images

    Review for Sword Art Online II, Part 4

    8 / 10


    We come to the end of the second season of Sword Art Online, and it’s almost won me over. Certainly all of the online RPG based anime I have seen in the interim (Log Horizon, Accel World, No Game, No Life) have begun to break my defences down against this particular anime genre. While I tolerated the Aincrad arc, sneering at its occasional logical inconsistencies, and while I actively loathed the ALFheim arc of season 1, Season 2 with its Gun Gale arc really entertained me during the first two discs. Part 3 threw a roadblock in the path of my enjoyment with the unfulfilling Calibur arc, while the start of the Mother’s Rosario arc gave me worrying flashbacks to ALFheim. That’s just two episodes out of seven though, and I still have high hopes that Sword Art Online Season 2 finishes in style.

    Inline Image

    It’s been a year since the events of the first season, and Kirito and Asuna are building a relationship in the real world as well as the online world. Kirito’s also working towards an education and a career in virtual reality that will allow the three of them, Asuna, Kirito, and the AI from the games, Yui to be together. It all seems to be going so well. The dangerous Nerve Gear Interface technology that so threatened them in Aincrad, has been superseded by the more benign Amusphere technology, and virtual worlds and games continue to proliferate.

    Kirito and Asuna have achieved their dream. An update to the New Aincrad expansion to ALfheim Online has opened up Level 22 again, and that means that they’ve managed to reacquire their idyllic log cabin, and can once again while away their hours, with Yui completing their virtual family. It’s the perfect place to celebrate the new year, and for Asuna to get away from her family life, which is threatening to sour again. Then Asuna hears of a new player on Aincrad named Zekken, a master swordsman who is challenging all comers to a duel, with an Original Sword Skill for anyone that can defeat him. No one has defeated him as yet, not even Kirito. But there’s more to this challenge than meets the eye.

    Inline Image

    The first two episodes of the Mother’s Rosario arc were on the Part 3 Blu-ray, where we learned that Zekken was actually a girl named Yuuki, and the duels were a way for her to audition for a powerful warrior. She’s a member of a guild called The Sleeping Knights, and they want Asuna’s help in defeating the level boss, just one guild alone, so that they can get their names permanently etched on a monument.

    The concluding five episodes of Sword Art Online Season II are presented on this Blu-ray from All the Anime.

    20. The Sleeping Knights
    21. The Monument of Swordsmen
    22. The End of the Journey
    23. The Dream Begins
    24. Mother’s Rosario

    Inline Image


    Sword Art Online gets a 1.78:1 widescreen transfer at 1080p. All the Anime’s release of Season II matches the first in terms of picture quality, with a transfer that is clear, sharp, with strong colours, and smooth, flawless animation. There’s also minimal banding that I could see, even on the scene fades where it’s most likely to occur. Once again, the beauty of Sword Art Online comes in its animation, its world design. The characters are consistent with the first season, and the real world sequences are agreeable enough. We return to the aesthetic familiarity of ALfheim Online (with a hint of Aincrad) for the two arcs on this disc, so there’s little in the way of freshness and originality in the world design. But it’s still animated to the usual standards.

    The images in this review have been kindly supplied by All the Anime.

    Inline Image


    You have the choice between DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo English and Japanese, with optional translated subtitles and a signs only track. Watching an action packed show like Sword Art Online makes you wish that Japan would produce more 5.1 Surround tracks for their television shows, but surround sound isn’t a priority in a country where living space is at a premium. The stereo is good enough to bring across the show’s music, and offers the action enough space to give some degree of immersion. The dialogue is clear throughout, the subtitles timed accurately and free of error, and as usual I was happy enough to listen to the original language track. I gave the English dub a try and found it to be a solid effort though. One thing I noted was a determination that people’s mouths shouldn’t be obscured when they are speaking, so subtitles will switch to the top of the screen on several occasions during playback.

    Inline Image


    I just got the Blu-ray this time, and can’t comment on the DVD component of the release, let alone the packaging or physical extras.

    The Blu-ray disc presents its goodies with an animated menu. On this disc however, there is no pop-up menu to navigate or change options during playback. You’ll have to either escape to the main menu, or use the player remote to change audio and subtitles.

    On the disc you’ll find Special Animation “Sword Art Offline II” – Part 8 (16:55), and Part 9 (16:52), presented this time at 1080p resolution. These are the bonus animations, Flash style, which have chibi versions of the characters offering news reports and chat show segments about the episodes just past and they are a nice bit of fun.

    The Original Web previews lasts 2:01 and are presented in 1080p, as are the textless credits.

    Inline Image


    Those first two episodes of the Mother’s Rosario arc on the Part 3 disc put the fear of ALFheim into me. Once again I was presented with a meek Asuna, in direct contrast to her powerful and capable Aincrad arc character, being pushed around by her mother, allowing herself to be dictated to. The ALFheim arc took it to extremes, and my concern was that it would happen again in Mother’s Rosario. I didn’t need to worry, as the Mother’s Rosario arc turned out to be really quite good, and in some respects it’s the best of Sword Art Online so far.

    Inline Image

    What really makes it stand out for me is that it actually looks at the virtual reality online gaming idea from a real world perspective. Compared to other shows, and indeed other arcs in Sword Art Online, where it’s the game that is the thing, and the real world is a minor concern, in Mother’s Rosario we get a use for the technology that makes sense, and a story arc that really tugs at the heartstrings.

    It seems like just another RPG action story arc at first, with Yuuki and her guild of like-minded friends seeking a little help in conquering an end of level boss. They want to get their names on a ‘permanent’ monument in the game, and if a single guild defeats an end of level boss, then the members each get their names inscribed. The usual method is to have a group of guilds working together, in which case only the guild name is etched into the stone. Yuuki seeks Asuna’s help, and invites her to join the Sleeping Knights guild for the duration.

    Inline Image

    It’s all going so well, bonding, friendship and closeness, but there’s a finality to the way the guild are approaching this end of level boss quest that Asuna doesn’t pick up on, and during a celebration, Yuuki suddenly pulls back, logs out of the game, and vanishes. It’s when Asuna tries to find out what happened that the truth is revealed. It turns out that Yuuki and indeed all of the other members of the Sleeping Knights guild are terminally ill, and Yuuki’s part of a medical trial that is using the Amusphere technology to give the functionally disabled a meaningful and virtually free existence. Given that the Amusphere technology feeds directly into the brain, bypassing the senses means that it can also be used to help those ‘locked in’, and it turns out that Yuuki has spent the past three years in immersion. Getting her name on the monument was her way of making a permanent impact on the world, but she also wants to spare Asuna the pain of getting close and eventually losing her. Yet when Asuna finds her, she isn’t ready to let go so easily.

    Inline Image

    I have to say that at this point, the Mother’s Rosario arc doesn’t let up on the angst and the schmaltz; it does whatever it can to elicit those heartfelt tears, so much so that its manipulations seem deliberately contrived. And it doesn’t matter, because it works. The situation is such that you can’t help but be moved, even when you can feel the writer’s fist repeatedly punching you in the gut. What makes this arc really work for me is that Asuna grows as a character, learning from Yuuki’s example to stand up for herself, to fight for what she believes in. It’s that moment in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where Cameron, after killing the Ferrari, realises that he has to have a quiet talk with his father. Here it’s Asuna finding out how to communicate with her intransigent mother.

    Inline Image

    For the first time in one of these virtual online RPG anime shows, the online and the real world mesh in a believable way to deliver a touching and emotionally realistic storyline, and that makes it one of the strongest arcs of Sword Art Online yet. It’s let down only by the ham-fisted writing delivering the sentiment with obvious overkill, but not enough to make this arc any less watchable. Sword Art Online II finishes on enough of a high to make me hope for a Sword Art Online III, and I never would have thought I’d say that after the first season!

    Your Opinions and Comments

    Be the first to post a comment!