This was actually really good. Thew best episode of Sword Art Online since the first, and the creators are starting to use the build-up provided by the earlier episodes. Due to showing these episodes first, at least we did get a good feeling of who the characters are, rather than jumping right in and this episode made really good use of that. I just have to ask one thing here:
Kirito, for god’s sake stick with Asuna. Become a couple. I really liked that part in this episode, however it will become rather pointless if he’s going to be flirting with another girl next episode. I mean, he can still interact with them and all, but I’d hate to see more and more girls falling in love with him. just focus on his relationship with Asuna. The problem with these earlier episodes was that they showed Kirito developing a relationship with a girl, then moving on to the next, and then to the next… and it just wasn’t written well enough to make all of them count. With more time given to Asuna however, they did a very good job of showing the relationship between them develop.
One thing I missed here was a look into the mindset of that one commander who just showed up from out of nowhere on a place he had no business being on. Him just charging into battle seemed very out of character based on the description that was given of him just a minute earlier. He would have been completely dead by now if he always acted like in this episode.
Oh, and Yuki Kajiura came with a background tune that sounds actually different from her previous works. It’s still choirs and strings like her trademarks, but the choirs were very different from the ones she used in the past few years, and just that touch gives these songs a very different atmosphere that to be honest, fits this show much better.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)