ANIME MONDAY: Sword Art Online – “Bonds” Review

Previously on Sword Art Online:

Kirito has finally Asuna but he has no way to reach her without taking on the Grand Quest. After dying in his first attempt, he is rescued by Leafa and it their real identities are accidentally revealed to one another. In the real world Kazuto tries to talk to Sugu but things grow awkward when she confesses to him and shuts him out of her room. Spoilers Ahead!

Kazuto sits outside of Sugu’s room and begins to lament the choices he’s made regarding their entire relationship, looking to smooth things over he tells her he will wait for her in Arun. After the two have a heart to heart fight Kirito once again aims to take on the Grand Quest, this time with Leafa & Recon at his side. Things look dire for the group inside the tree until Alicia & Sakuya arrive with reinforcements, Kirito succeeds in making through but is trapped when the gate at the top won’t open.

A direct continuation from last week, this episode does have some emotional bits in it, but most of it is conveyed through it’s action scenes.

Kazuto & Suguha’s relationship with one another is explored as he regrets on some of the choices he made when they were growing up. He knew from a young age that they were cousins so he began to isolate himself as he didn’t know how he fit in with the rest of the family, which is how he became interested in games. However, he soon wishes to reconnect with his family after being trapped in SAO for two years (this isht will wake you up).

The way the two make amends is kind of par for the course in these type of stories as they fight each other in game and both throw the fight to give the other a free shot which allows them to reconcile. Even though I still have some reservations about the two as a couple, this scene is pretty heart warming and boasts some nice shots.

Like this one

The second assault on Grand Quest is more controlled than the first as Kirito leads the assault while Leafa & Recon heal him from the back. The situation gets dire as Recon sacrifices himself to open a hole in the enemy’s defense and the attacks keep coming at Kirito & Leafa, although the Slyphs and Cait Sith’s come in with a nice save (the Cait Sith’s even ride dragons).

Kirito manages to break through and reach the gate but it is revealed by Yui that players were never meant to open it in the first place. Meaning that the whole reason for players to finish ALO was a complete farce. Initially distraught, Kirito remembers the Macguffin, I mean key card Asuna dropped to him and opens the gate, teleporting him & Yui to an unknown destination.

“Bonds” is an all around satisfying episode that sets up the final two episodes well enough. The second assault on the tree proves much more successful and the fight scenes and animation are very well done. The quest continues next week as Kirito & Asuna are finally reunited.

Author’s Note: Did you watch the premiere of SAO this past saturday on Toonami? Let us know if you did as well as your thoughts below.