Previously on SAO:
Kirito finally rescued Asuna and stopped Sugou’s plans. With Asuna now free from the virtual world, Kirito races to the hospital to see her. Spoilers Ahead!
Kazuto arrives at the hospital but on his way he is stopped by none other than Sugou. Disfigured due to the trauma he suffered at the boys hands in ALO, Sugou tries to kill Kazuto with a knife. Kazuto relying on how his skills from the games easily dispatches Sugou and races inside the hospital where he & Asuna finally meet each other. Months later Kazuto, Asuna, & Suguha meet up with the friends they made in SAO & ALO and Kazuto uses the gift given to him by Kayaba.
Now despite my hang ups with episode 24 and the ALO arc as a whole, episode 25 is a decent conclusion to Sword Art Online.
The mini fight between Sugou and Kazuto was interesting in the sense that Kazuto turned it around but it also showed Sugou’s failing as an antagonist. I’m not saying he had to be a criminal mastermind but there was really nothing about him that made you believe he would succeed in the end. Kayaba had this air of mystery to him that made it hard to tell what he was thinking and what his plans turly were, while Sugou just wanted to be better than Kayaba and violate teenage girls; although it was nice to see him get his ass kicked in two worlds.
The meeting of Kauto & Asuna is very touching as this is the first time they’ve seen each other in the real world (well it’s actually the time ASUNA has seen him since he visited her in the hospital) and it goes about how one would expect. They introduce one another (which was kinda cute) and they kiss. There is also a nice symbolic scene where their SAO avatars smile at them from outside the window and walk off holding hands, which the snow falling outside all the more beautiful.
The next part of the episode further concludes the story and follows up on the Seed that Kayaba gave Kazuto inside of ALO. Kazuto & Asuna now attend a school populated by people who were trapped in SAO & ALO and have started their relationship somewhat. We even get to see Lisbeth & Silica in the school’s cafeteria, with Lisbeth jealously watching the two together (someone still has feelings for our hero). Later the pair & Suguha go to Agil’s bar where Lisbeth, Silica, Klein’s group, and others they met in SAO are celebrating Kazuto completing both games. It is here where the seed comes into play.
Kayaba uploaded his consciousness into the virtual and gave Kazuto the “Seed” which was a package program that allowed anyone with a good enough server to create their own virtual world to live and play in. This was a pretty nice idea seeing as how we get small glimpses at some of the other worlds and players can even upload their avatars from other games. The group meets up in ALO (now owned by a new company for obvious reasons) where Kirito & Leafa have one last heart to heart before Kirito reveals to her that he had Castle Aincrad put inside the game, determined to complete the game fully this time.
“The World Seed” is a pretty good ending to a decent series. It wraps up the ambient plot points, leaving things ambiguous for a second season while still having a satisfying enough standalone ending. The interaction between the players after the games was nice and the animation & music was great. The adventure has ended as we say goodbye to Sword Art Online.
Author’s Note: Be sure to check out newly dubbed episodes of Sword Art Online every Saturday at 2 am Eastern, 1 am Central on Toonami!