Sword Art Online: Alicization is a 2018 television anime series based on the light novel of the same name written by Reki Kawahara. It was adapted by studio A-1 Pictures and directed by Manabu Ono. Aniplex published the series and was first broadcast in Japan on October 2018 as part of the Autumn season.
“Kirito and Eugeo’s battle to save Alice is well underway, but there’s still a long way to go as they climb the many floors of the Cathedral to rescue their long-lost friend. With the combined skills of the powerful Integrity Knights standing in their way, this intrepid duo will require all of their amassed abilities to survive and progress.
On this journey, Kirito will uncover all manner of truths about Underworld and the Administrator which presides over it, while unbeknownst to him events in the real-world threaten his physical existence – and those of others close to him – in alarming fashion…”Plot Synopsis via Anime Limited, December 2020
A few months ago, Sword Art Online: Alicization was released on Blu-ray in the UK for the first time from distributor Anime Limited with its first half, and now the second half of that season (or “Part 1” of the Alicization story arc) has arrived. Sword Art Online has been around for a while and while you could argue it’s not an isekai series, it did help make the idea of being trapped in a video game become more popular, even if .hack did that before years prior.
Sword Art Online: Alicization adapts the Alicization story arc but only from the light novel volume 9 “Alicization Beginning” to 14 “Alicization Uniting”. In addition, Kirito is the only main character who has a bigger role than Asuna and the others as the story also feels like a proper Isekai due to how it develops. Asuna and the others do make an appearance but for the most part that doesn’t happen until the season after that.
What makes Sword Art Online: Alicization different to the previous seasons is that the world Kirito visits is a lot different in tone. The violence in this Underworld setting is stronger than Aincrad or even Gun Gale Online. I previously mentioned that there were scenes of sexual violence in the first half, well this second half is more action-oriented but there’s still a naked villain on the loose. This second half is rated 15, but I expect “Part 2” aka War of Underworld to potentially earn an 18 due to its gore and violence being detailed and over-the-top in parts.
Aniplex of America have the English rights to the series and released it as a big complete series box set which surprised everyone, however the price itself is pretty insane. As such, Anime Limited and Madman have decided to release the series in two parts to lower the cost. Anime Limited have the UK & Ireland rights while Madman have Australia & New Zealand rights.
I should note that there are some pretty major spoilers for the series within the photos below so proceed with caution.
Collector’s Edition Contents:
Anime Limited loves providing collector’s edition releases for their catalogue and Sword Art Online: Alicization follows a similar design to the previous Sword Art Online releases from the distributor. Part 1, which is already out of print due to the Amazon price mishap taking most of the stock, came with a couple art cards and digipack inside a box with an outer box to house both parts.
Part 2 on the other hand comes with a 44 page booklet but fits inside the rigid box with the digipack. This box can then be slotted into the outer box. As I mentioned in my Part 1 unboxing, the gloss effect does ruin the design but it’s nowhere near as messy as Sword Art Online II was, but I still prefer the look of SAO Alternative: Gun Gale Online which was half and half.
Going back to the discussion of the booklet. This is basically a tweaked version of the Aniplex of America 30 page booklet as AL’s booklet is a different size. The general content is carried over but will omit stuff like the OST page which is only relevant to the Aniplex release.
Like Part 1, the artwork is free of any information or BBFC content and the info sheet covers the information and specification like previous Anime Limited releases. The collector’s edition Blu-ray has 1000 units printed for an SRP of £59.99. A regular DVD version is available with the Blu-ray standard edition planned if the set sells out sooner (last time I said it would not be possible but I guess because Aniplex released it as one set while Anime Ltd is two sets, it allowed for standard Blu-rays to be available sooner).
Don’t worry, I ordered this through Anime Limited’s webstore as part of their early bird offering of £34.99 (which as I have Screen Anime, goes down to £31.50).
- Rigid Box with digipack packaging and clean artwork
- Info sheet for specification and BBFC description
- 44-page booklet
Distributor: Anime Limited
Released: 21st December 2020
Sword Art Online: Alicization Part 2 covers episodes 14 to 24 across two Blu-ray discs. The encode and authoring were done by Madman. The audio options available for the series include Japanese with English subtitles and the Bang Zoom! English dub.
The white subtitles are unlockable during playback, and the regions are locked to B for Blu-ray.
|Audio||English Linear PCM 2.0|
Japanese Linear PCM 2.0
|Video||1080p High Definition Native format|
16:9 aspect ratio
Blu-ray On-Disc Extra Features:
- Episode 18.5: Recollection
- Web Previews
- War of Underworld Trailer
- Clean Opening “Resister” Versions 1 & 2
- Clean Closing “Forget-me-not”
Here’s a quick comparison of the UK collector’s edition Blu-ray parts for Sword Art Online: Alicization for those interested.
Sword Art Online: Alicization Part 2 is available to order through multiple retailers across the United Kingdom. You can order the collector’s edition on Amazon UK.
(Disclaimer: Amazon links are also included when available. They are affiliated so if you decide to order them, I’ll earn a small percentage if they ship which will help me with any hauls or small bills.)