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Trapped inside a virtual reality game, with only death certain, the gamers have to work their way through the game, with only the winner allowed to leave...
Sword Art Online: Part 2 (2012) is an anime show with an intriguing premise which never really pushes itself far enough to be unmissable. The show was based on a light novel and directed by Tomohiko Ito with music by Yuki Kajiura. The single disc contains episodes eight to fourteen of this twenty-five episode show.
By this point in the plot the gamers have been stuck in the game for the best part of two years, with many of them seemingly settling down and forgetting that when one person wins, everybody else dies, not just in the game, but in the real world.
The disc opens with a very forgettable episode, based mostly around cooking, which is ok if you have purchased disc one, but very confusing if you start here. The show could have been anything that the creators could have imagined, so it’s a real shame that all they could imagine was to splice a power-up combat game with elements of a soap opera.
The overall story follows that of an RPG and there is a certain irony that even the main character states that there are few things more boring than watching someone else play an RPG and yet this is what we are provided with in the form of an anime show. There are some twists and turns in the narrative, but not enough for you to feel that you are doing anything other than watching someone else’s game.
The show has both an English and Japanese 2.0 audio track with subtitles. There are a couple of extras in the form of Web Clips for Eps 9 – 11 (13 min, 26 sec) and 13-14 (15 min, 21 sec) these are in the form of comedic news programs which reiterate what has happened in the episodes, you also get the textless opening and closing sequences.
The show will no doubt have its fans, but personally it left me feeling cold. On the plus side this second disc does show the end of the game, so maybe the show may well redeem itself once back in the real world.