Just as the summer began, Anime Limited released the first half of Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online here in the UK. After a few months’ break (and now without the nice weather), the second and final part of the series has been released! Has it been worth waiting for? Let’s find out!
As we reunite with protagonist LLENN, we find her preparing to take part in her second Squad Jam. With her best friend Fukaziroh joining GGO, LLENN feels prepared to face off against Pitohui and save her life in the process. Viewers may remember that toward the end of the previous part it was revealed that Pitohui intends to commit suicide should she die in the Squad Jam, but if LLENN is the one to defeat her, then Pitohui must uphold their promise to meet in real life.
This arc has a lot at stake and LLENN, having won the previous Squad Jam, is attracting a great deal of attention this time around. Everyone wants to take her out so as not to die by her hands later and that gets in the way of LLENN’s goal to reach Pitohui. Meanwhile, Pitohui just wants to experience an unpredictable and crazy competition and even with a death wish, has no intention of going down without putting up a fight.
I must admit that with such a big gap between the two halves being released, I had forgotten a great deal of what was happening in SAO Alt. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the first episode of the set is the first to introduce Fukaziroh’s in-game appearance, leading me to wonder who she was for a while. After some time spent reading Wikipedia, I got the gist of what was happening but I think this break between releases has left a lasting negative impression on me.
Having not been a massive fan of the first half of the series, I certainly wasn’t as invested in this half, given how much I’d forgotten. However, the one thing this collection of episodes is great for is the action. With most of the character development and introductions over and done within Part 1, this time the series is focused on the action and I did enjoy that side of things. I appreciated that we jumped back into the series with another Squad Jam because that offers the aspects of the series I enjoy the most.
Animation studio 3Hz did a fantastic job with the battles, especially in the final match. The action is easy to follow but likewise captivating with an impeccable sense of when to linger on a scene and when to speed ahead to the next shot. Episode 11, in particular, is one not to be missed as the cast put everything on the line in what can only be classified as all-out war.
The voice cast this time around also continue to do a fantastic job, especially Yoko Hikasa who plays Pitohui. It’s no understatement that Pitohui appears very mentally unstable throughout the Squad Jam and Hikasa manages to capture and convey that feeling wonderfully. It was great fun hearing her performance.
As previously mentioned, this release comes to the UK thanks to Anime Limited and is available on Blu-ray as a collector’s edition. This set includes Episodes 7-10 with both their English Dub and Japanese audio and a selection of episode commentaries and trailers. The release also includes 3 art cards and a 28-page booklet.
While I didn’t end up being a massive fan of Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, I can certainly see why it gathered a solid fanbase. If you enjoyed the first half of this series then you’ll love this second half, but those who weren’t as keen won’t have their minds changed.