On a hot summer day, Kazuto (Kirito) takes Suguha (Leafa) to his school, to meet Asuna, Keiko (Silica), and Rika (Lisbeth). Their mission: teach Suguha how to swim. Kazuto, however, has a prior commitment to see Seijiro Kikuoka, an officer with the Virtual Reality Section of the Department of General Affairs. Kikuoka wants to go over Kazuto’s recollection of his time in SAO and ALO, to resolve some unanswered questions.
Later in ALO, Kirito and the girls (along with Klein and Agil), embark on an underwater quest to show Yui her very first whale. But the deeper down they go, the more mysterious the quest becomes…
*SPOILER WARNING* If you have not watched all the episodes of Sword Art Online 1, then do not read this review. This anime special takes place after the first Sword Art Online and before Sword Art Online II and it will have spoilers.
I remember the time where Crunchyoll announced the news that this special anime was going to be simulcasted all over the world on December 31, 2013 and I just got done watching the last episode of Sword Art Online. I was excited to see everyone again that I had to see it. Now that the English Dub DVD is released, I happily watched it again and now I am ready to give you the review. I will also try to be unbiased considering that I am a fan of SAO.
If you are a fan of either English or Japanese Dub, I can safely say that the actors are still here. Taking place after the first half of Sword Art Online and before SAOII, you would think that Kazuto and his friends will do something amazing after being trapped in a game for 2 years and saving Asuna from ALfeim Online. Well… sort of at the end. This anime is pretty much a summation of all 25 episodes with a bonus episode, this may not appeal to some viewers. 75% is about all the episodes told through experience and 25% is about helping Yui finding a whale. For example, Kazuto tells Seijiro Kikuoka about the experiences and moments while trapped in Aincrad such as meeting with Moonlit Black Cats to introducing his skill and to fighting with Heathcliff. While waiting for his return, the girls uses the school swimming pool (also teaching Suguha to swim). The girls, Asuna, Rika, and Keiko each tell their stories on how they met Kazuto in the game and learn about Yui. But wait there is more! The next section is about the Fairy Dance and Suguha tells her experience with meeting with the player “Kirito”.
The last part of the anime involves the group, including Klein and Agil, on a quest to finding a whale for Yui to see. During the quest, we see Leafa doing her best to conquer her fear of underwater and being the strongest within the group.
Remember I said that this special is just a summary of everything in the Sword Art Online anime? You might be wondering why did this happen. I believe that this is a good thing they did this. Reason being is because I believe that the creators wanted the fans to reflect and remember the Sword Art Online experience and prepare for the upcoming story. This anime was released on December 31, 2013 and what better way to start the new year is to remember the good and bad times of SAO. If you watched it online on the day it was streamed, what did you feel? Happy? Feeling Nostalgic? I felt both of these feelings while watching this.
This special is great way to remember to feel the moments from watching the anime; it is fast and easy to catch up. We do have some funny moments with the girls when they were playing the pool and it is really nice to hear their stories. When watching this, stay after the credits because this connects to SAOII. If you want to buy, the DVD and Blu-Ray is available at Rightstuf. DVD is worth $29.98 and Blu-Ray is $49.98.
Thanks for the memories Sword Art Online!