ANIME MONDAY: Sword Art Online – “The End of The World” Review

Previously on SAO:

Kirito & Asuna continued to enjoy their life on the 22nd floor, but are soon called back into action by Heathcliff, who needs their help to take down the boss on floor 75. Spoilers Ahead.

The battle against the Skull Reaper continues on the 75th floor. Eventually the allied forces manage to subdue the beast but sustain heavy losses with a total of 14 players being killed during the course of the battle. As the group takes a minute to regain their bearings, Kirito notices something odd and attacks Heathcliff without warning. When it is shown that the K.o.B leader is an “immortal object”, Kirito reveals to everyone that Heathcliff is in fact, Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of SAO and the cause of them being trapped in the game.

This episode is filled with both action and drama as it closes out the first half of SAO. Starting off with the defeat of the Skull Reaper that shows a couple more players dropping before the final body count is tallied. You can see the despair on some of the players faces after surviving the battle. Most of them are concerned because they still have 25 more floors to climb before they are able to clear the game. this all becomes moot however when Heathcliff is revealed to be Kayaba. How Kirito found out is sort of up in the air, he does recall back to episode 10 when the two had their duel, stating that Heathcliff moved entirely too fast when he landed his finishing blow. Kayaba himself agreeing saying that Kirito moved so fast that he had to hack the game and slow the boy down in order to attack him.

That in itself is the huge focus of the episode. Kayaba and his reasons for doing what he did in the game, after his identity is deduced he tells the group that the reveal was actually going to come when they reached floor 100 but since Kirito spoiled it he gave it up; he does however paralyze everyone except Kirito and gives the boy a chance to defeat him in battle thus clearing the game and logging everyone out. The battle between the two is pretty well animated and is very fast, but it is clear from the onset it is a one sided one. As Kayaba has his “ultimate defense” and is obviously familiar with the games mechanics, allowing him to easily dodge Kirito’s dual sword attacks.


The bond between Kirito and his friends is also showcased, especially with Asuna. Klein & Agil beg him not to face Kayaba for fear of him dying, but Asuna puts her faith in him which allows him to fight Kayaba. There is also a moment after the battle where Kirito & Asuna talk to Kayaba about why he did what he did, giving some nice insight to his character. Finally, Kirito & Asuna have a very touching moment at the end of the episode as they watch Aincrad crumble when the game is cleared, revealing their real names to one another as they are logged out.

“The End of The World” is a very fitting title for the end of this arc. With plenty of reveals and heart breaking as well as heart touching moments to keep you invested until the end. The animation is crisp and the drama is very real. Next week, with the fight for survival now over, Kirito tries to readjust to the real world.