Sword Art Online: Alicization -War of Underworld- is a 2019-2020 television anime series based on the light novel of the same name written by Reki Kawahara. The anime was directed by Manabu Ono with music composed by Yuki Kajiura. A-1 Pictures animated the series and was first broadcast in Japan on October 2019 from the Autumn season followed by its second half in July 2020 from the Summer season.
“The final load test… The war between the Human Empire and the Dark Territory has engulfed Underworld entirely. The battle has shifted course with the Dark Territory army led by Gabriel, who seeks to capture Alice, the Priestess of Light, in their fight against Asuna and the Human Empire forces fighting to save Underworld.
As Kirito’s consciousness remains buried in a deep sleep, Gabriel, standing in as the Dark God Vecta, has recruited thousands of American players to log in to the Underworld to annihilate the Human Empire forces. In this great war, the stakes are not only the Underworld’s continued existence, but also the bottom-up artificial intelligence, the ultimate AI, and even the very future of mankind! Though he has yet to awaken, only one man holds the fate of this world: the Black Swordsman.”Plot Synopsis via Anime Limited, December 2021.
The Sword Art Online franchise has come a long way. We went through the Aincrad and Fairy Dance arcs with the first season, the Phantom Bullet, Calibur and Mother’s Rosario arcs with the second season, and then the Alicization arc with the third season. While the first two seasons were more of your usual ‘VRMMORPG’ and harem tropes, Sword Art Online: Alicization decided to go with having Kirito on his own without his companions interacting with AI who have their own identities plus a tone that is basically aimed for adults than teenagers, with things like blood and gore and some sexual violence. The first half’s infamous episode resulted in the season getting an 18 rating in the UK, though uncut, as a result.
That said the second half of Sword Art Online: Alicization, given the subtitle -War of Underworld-, adapts the light novel volumes 15 “Alicization Invading” to 18 “Alicization Lasting”. It’s more focused on action and is basically the franchise’s equivalent of Avengers: Endgame because literally everyone is here, except for characters from the spin-off series Alternative: Gun Gale Online. I’m honestly quite mixed with this season as a whole. There’s a lot to enjoy with the animation, battles and voice-work, but there’s something that rubs me the wrong way with the overall result of the show, especially with the second half’s second cour.
Making the Endgame comparison again, that film wasn’t the end of that franchise but was the end of a story saga so for that it made sense. Alicization to me, just feels shoe-horned in with the side characters being brought into the scene, and I think I would have preferred it if they didn’t show up (Asuna I have no issues with, as she had a much bigger role in the storyline). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad season, just not the best in the franchise in my opinion. I did hear that apparently Alicization was supposed to be the original end point of the series so I guess that makes perfect sense.
Aniplex of America have the English rights to the series and much like the first half, -War of Underworld- was also released in a complete series box set at a high SRP cost. Anime Limited and Madman were able to release the series with two part sets to lower the cost of buying the home video sets. Anime Limited have the UK & Ireland rights while Madman have Australia & New Zealand rights.
Also, despite the packaging stating this season is an 18, -War of Underworld- overall is rated 15.
Collector’s Edition Contents:
Because of shipping being problematic due to the holiday season, Anime Limited were able to get some units out for both parts of the series to those who had pre-ordered. So in other words, we have two collector’s edition part sets together in a single unboxing!
Part 1 includes a rigid box to house a digipack and 6 art cards, but also a larger outer box to house both collector’s edition sets just like the previous season did.
Part 2 includes a rigid box to house a digipack and a 44-page booklet that includes character illustrations, dictionary and credits. Much like the previous season, this is a modified version of the Aniplex of America booklet that keeps the core content but stretches the pages out and omits miscellaneous notes like OST details.
The artwork is free of any information or BBFC content and the info sheet covers the information and specification like previous Anime Limited releases. Both collector’s edition Blu-ray sets are limited to 1000 units, each with an SRP of £59.99. Unlike previous seasons, there is currently no standard edition DVD available, but a standard Blu-ray is expected to follow suit later down the line.
Both parts were ordered directly through Anime Limited’s online store for £31.50 each due to the Anime (Un)limited membership 10% discount.
- Rigid Box with digipack packaging with clean artwork
- Info sheet for specification and BBFC description
- Part 1:
- Outer Box to house both collector’s edition sets
- 6 Art Cards
- Part 2:
- 44-page Hardcover Booklet
Distributor: Anime Limited
Released: 20th December 2021 (Part 1), 20th December 2021 (Part 2)
The Anime Limited collector’s edition releases for Sword Art Online: Alicization -War of Underworld- includes all of the episodes from the series across four Blu-ray discs. Part 1 covers the first cour which were episodes 25 to 36, while Part 2 covers the second cour with episodes 37 to 47. Both parts had their discs authored & encoded by Madman, much like the previous UK releases of the franchise.
Audio options include Japanese with English subtitles and the Bang Zoom! Entertainment English dub. The white subtitles are unlockable during playback, and the regions are locked to Blu-ray players set to B.
|Audio||English Linear PCM 2.0|
Japanese Linear PCM 2.0
|Video||1080p High Definition Native format|
16:9 aspect ratio
|Discs||Part 1: 2 BD-50s|
Part 2: 2 BD-50s
Blu-ray On-Disc Extra Features:
- Episode 0 (24.5) “Reflection”
- Web Previews
- Japanese Promos
- Textless Opening “Resolution”
- Textless Closing “Unlasting”
- Episode 12.5 (36.5) “Reminiscence”
- Web Previews
- Japanese Promos
- Textless Opening “Anima”
- Textless Closing “I will”
Since the next Sword Art Online anime (Sword Art Online Progressive -Aria of a Starless Night-) is being distributed by Funimation, pretty much this currently marks the end of the road for Anime Limited handling any Sword Art Online titles, so below is a little collection of their sets. All 11 Sword Art Online collector’s editions have been unboxed on my blog so you can view them all here!
Sword Art Online: Alicization -War of Underworld- is available to order through multiple retailers in the United Kingdom & Ireland. The Part 1 collector’s edition and Part 2 collector’s edition are both available to order on Amazon.
(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.)