Sword Art Online II: Part 3 primarily focuses on the Excalibur arc, a collection of episodes that go back to the joys of harmless MMO’s, and it’s great fun.
The Excalibur arc sees Kirito and his friends all partake in a quest to find the legendary sword Excalibur before anybody else can claim it, and in doing so to be the first party to complete the quest. With no risk of dying or any other dark undertones, it’s refreshing to see a quest that’s a fun game through and through, complete with spectacular action, laughs and entertaining character interactions. Some might say that this arc is filler as it’s only a handful of episodes long and doesn’t contribute to the overall story like the other arcs in Sword Art Online II do, but it’s nice to kick back and relax with the characters you love that are doing the things that made them enamoured by MMO’s in the first place. I love the Sword Art Online cast and this arc is a delight to watch. We’re also introduced to the Mother’s Rosario arc and Yuuki, an upbeat new character who will surely earn your affections as you learn more about her.
A-1 Pictures are responsible for some of the most stunning anime around (have you seen Tsuritama?!) and Sword Art Online II is no different – this anime is absolutely beautiful with plenty of colour, slick and fluid action, and a little fan-service which doesn’t overstay its welcome. A-1 Pictures get to play around with a snowy area and explosive, large-scale battles which are breathtaking and a feast for your eyes – Sword Art Online is visually one of the best shows I’ve seen and regardless of your thoughts about the plot and characters, it’s undeniable that Sword Art Online is a gorgeous show.
The English dub is top-notch with Erica Mendez joining the cast as Yuuki, and Bryce Papenbrook, Cherami Leigh, Michelle Ruff and the other returning voice-talent reprising their roles as Kirito, Asuna, Sinon and the rest of their respective characters. Of course, if English isn’t your preferred choice of audio, you can select the Japanese voiceover with English subtitles. The new OP and ED’s for this arc make for a pleasant listen and although I’m already familiar with them as a big fan, I’ve yet to get bored of hearing them or seeing the visuals. The OST overall is great Sword Art Online has some outstanding music, and it’s clear that A-1 Pictures are respecting the original work and giving the anime a high budget.
Excalibur is an arc I appreciate for getting back to the basics with the characters enjoying MMO’s solely as games, and it’s a good opportunity to see the group of close friends playing without a care in the world. Mother’s Rosario is the last arc of the season, with the next release being the final release of Sword Art Online II, and as someone who has seen it before I’m very much looking forward to watching it again. Anime Limited’s releases only get better and better, and I look forward to owning the whole set so that I can sit down and watch the show in its entirety once again with its full English dub. If you’re a fan already then you’re going to love this release, and you can buy it now.
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