When the credits for the final episode rolled last weekend, I gave it a standing ovation. The last Anime to have garnered such a strong reaction was when I watched Clannad for the first time 4 years ago only that time I was moved to tears. by the way, the pictures above show the cast first in the real world and their virtual world equivalents. By the way yhat’s Sinon to the left of Leafa. She wears glasses in the real world and switches ALO after the events of the first half of the season. Her specialty in ALO is (unsurprisingly) Bows. Those who played the Playstation Network exclusive game SAO: Hollow Fragment for the Vita may recall Sinon makes a cameo appearance in Eincrad as one of Kirito’s possible partners but as her SAO2 Avatar with black hair.
Anyway, the first half of the season closes the door on a little unresolved matter involving a surviving member of Laughing Coffin, which was a notorious and feared PK Guild in SAO. In an intricate plot using real world counterpart, the player known as Death Gun would seemingly kill players at the same time as their in-game Avatars. In truth, it was actually two different people working together. The in-game person took out the Avatar while their real-world counterpart did the actual killings. Kirito entered BoB to lure out Death Gun and with Sinon’s help, stops him once and for all.
Sinon is one of the two new main characters of the season. Sinon went through a traumatic experience as a child and was forced to kill someone. As a result of that trauma Sinon became terrified of guns. In GGO she is able to overcome the trauma association and quickly rose through the ranks as a contender in the PvP circuits. After Death Gun is dealt with, Kirito tracks down one of the people present when Sinon was forced to kill someone as a child. The woman he introduces to Sinon was pregnant at the time and her actions saved the lives of two people that day. Having heard from one of the people whose lives she ended up saving, Sinon is able to overcome and move on with her life.
There is an intermission between the first half and the second half of the season. During the intermission Sinon rerolls on ALO so she can play with the new friends she made. Kirito and Co. raid a dungeon in search the legendary sword Excalibur. If the name sounds familiar, it’s the same sword Kirito summoned at the end of Season 1. This time it’s his for good!
In the second half of the season we meet the other main character, Asuna befriends a powerful swordsman named Yuuki Konno. Known as Zekken to other ALO players, she has never lost to anyone–not even Kirito. After sparring with Asuna, Yuuki asks her to help her guild The Sleeping Knights–more on why they go by this name in a moment–clear a dungeon before their guild disbands.
Yuuki’s guild goes by the name Sleeping Knights for a very special reason: Every single member of the guild is terminally ill. Due to their illnesses, they use a prototype version of the Nervegear Technology to dive 24/7. They can’t feel their body’s pain while diving so…yeah. Yuuki herself has AIDS and already lost her whole family to the disease. Since she spent her whole life in the hospital, the only worlds she’s ever known were virtual worlds.
Until she met Asuna, that is.
Because of her painful her affliction is, Yuuki Dives 24/7. The benefit of course being she is free of physical pain. The drawback, however is she can never leave the hospital. Asuna borrows a device Kirito had been developing for Yui and uses it to bring Yuuki to school. This way, Yuuki can see the world from her hospital room.
Asuna and Yuuki’s time together is short but sweet. The scene that stuck out for me was Yuuki’s final moments in the final episode. Thousands of players travel to the island where she and Asuna met to pay their respects. A fitting tribute to a special girl Asuna will never forget.
Overall, I give SAO2 an 8/10.
The intermission for Season 2 would’ve been netter if they spent at least half an episode on Sinon’s transition from GGO to ALO. I also felt killing off Yuuki was a bit over the top but not the sendoff itself. AIDS isn’t a death sentence anymore and based on the circumstances of how she got it (her mother was accidently given a blood transfusion with the AIDS virus while she was pregnant with her and her twin sister), she should’ve been cured by the time she’s introduced. That’s just me, though.
Now we’re at the million-dollar question of will there be an SAO3. I don’t think there will be but I’m sure the story will continue in Manga and Visual Novels. I certainly plan to write a Fanfic set after the events of SAO2 myself so…yeah.