Sword Art Online Volume 2

“Computers are stupid. They can only give you answers.” – Pablo Picasso

For many the first edition of Sword Art Online was rather slow. The episodes themselves were primarily individual stories and thus there was no real indication of where the plot was going.

Luckily, this second collection more than makes up for the faults of the first. Here we finally see the plot moving forward, current characters developing, and new ones introduced, as you will see from the front cover of this collection.

Part 2 of Sword Art Online contains episodes 8-14. It starts off with Kirito managing to discover some the meat of an S-class animal. Upon learning that Asuna has maxed out her cooking skills in the game, he gives Asuna the meat to cook. Kirito and Asuna thus decide to train together, to the displeasure of Asuna’s escort.

Later on, Kirito is forced to battle with the head of Asuna’s guild, a battle which will see him forced into the Knights of the Blood Oath if he loses. However, as the story progresses, Kirito and Asuna begin to fall in love with each other. The relationship grows and grows, and while taking a break from the fighting, they travel through a wood in which they discover a young girl with no memory at all except for her name, Yui. Yui later adopts Kirito and Asuna as her parents, but where has her memory gone? Indeed, can Kirito solve the entire mystery of Sword Art Online?

The main reason Part 2 is better than Part 1 is pretty much obvious: the focus is on the main story. There are no more side stories in this section. Here it is primarily about Kirito and Asuna, their relationship, them becoming closer, being made even closer due to Yui, and ultimately trying to escape from the game, saving their lives. It is a good story too. Without wishing to give too much of the plot away, many questions are answered and there is plenty of emotion: both happy and sad.

Admittedly some questions do not seem to be answered. The review of the first part on this website asked how people’s bodies were being maintained in the outside world. While there are glimpses of the outside world near the end of this collection, it does not explain how people were being kept alive, although one or two things might give a clue. But it is best not to reveal what these might be.

Concerning extras, other than textless opening and closing, the only extras are clips of the online series “Sword Art Offline”.

8 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. His debut book, CLAMPdown, about the manga collective CLAMP, is available now. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

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