Sword Art Online: Alicization-1.04 Departure

Departure is an episode full of plot developments. At the end of the previous episode, a fight was about to go down between a band of goblins and Kirito and Eugeo. Kirito uses his experience as a swordsman to take charge of the situation and devises a plan to take out the goblin leader. The ensuing fight conclusively proves that Kirito has retained all of his sword skills and is a master swordsman. I had a feeling this would happen, given the series' history of presenting Kirito as an overpowered individual.

The fight with the goblin leader also revealed one big difference between Underworld and the other VR worlds: in this world, if you get wounded, you bleed and feel pain. It seems like a small detail, but if you look back at the first episode of season one, it was established that players do not feel realistic pain, nor do they bleed (any injuries appeared as pixellated cuts).

Considering that seasons one and two operated with those rules, it was a tremendous shock to see Kirito bleed and fall to the ground in pain when his shoulder is sliced open. Kirito is shocked too, as he's rarely had to deal with this level of pain in a VR environment.

After the fight is over, something strange happens that I'm still trying to figure out. While Selka works to heal Eugeo's wounds, Kirito appears to have a vision of Alice, who appears to him as this golden figure of light. She tells Kirito that she'll be waiting for them both at the top of the Central Cathedral. I'm not sure how Alice is able to appear like that, but hopefully it will be explained in a later episode.

It appears that my suspicion about the Blue Rose Sword being used to chop down the Gigas Cedar was correct after all. Since the fight with the goblins increased their ability to wield the sword, Kirito and Eugeo make short work of the massive tree. Kirito also begins to train Eugeo in the art of sword fighting and I couldn't help but smile when Kirito named his style of fighting the "Aincrad" style (named after the castle in season one). I was briefly concerned that the village would take issue with the pair using a powerful sword to cut down the tree so quickly instead of an axe but it doesn't appear to have been a problem as it's not brought up.

Eugeo finishing his task of cutting down the tree sets a series of events into motion: he's allowed to choose his next Calling and declares that he will be a swordsman. This allows Kirito to finally begin his journey to the central city with Eugeo by his side, allowing the next phase of the story to begin. It will be interesting to see if Kirito can find any answers at the central city.

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