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AKA: ソードアート・オンライン Extra Edition
Genre: Sci-fi fantasy adventure / romance / comedy
Length: Television special, 101 minutes
Distributor: Currently streaming on crunchyroll
Content Rating: 15+ (high amount of fan service, violence, suggestive themes)
Related Series: Sword Art Online
Also Recommended: Sword Art Online
Notes: This TV special takes place right after the first Sword Art Online season's events, itself based on the light novel series by Reki Kawahara.
Rating: Three StarsThree StarsThree Stars

Sword Art Online Extra Edition

Synopsis

Sometime after the events of the Alfheim Online arc, Kirito is forced to talk to Kikouka Seijirou about the events that happened during Sword Art Online concerning Akihiko Kayaba, and the later events in Alfhiem Online with Nobuyuki Sugou.

Meanwhile, Asuna, Keiko, and Rika try to teach Suguha how to swim in preparation for a quest. Asuna, Keiko, and Rika also tell Suguha how they all met Kirito. Afterwards everyone goes to Alfheim Online to go on said quest, where Yui hopes to see a whale.


Review

Note: This review contains massive spoilers for Sword Art Online. If you have not seen the entire first season, you might want to stop reading this review now.

More of a New Year Eve's present than anything, Sword Art Online Extra Edition is two-thirds clip show (the special burns through nearly all of the first season's plot) and one-third filler episode / male pandering, what with the entire female cast spending more than nearly half of the special's new animation in swimsuits.

Though I suppose calling Sword Art Online Extra Edition a clip show is less accurate. The first 80 minutes feel more like a fan-made recap on YouTube, with a few new minutes of new material animated in on the occasion. It goes through every major plot point in season one: Kirito entering Sword Art Online, Kirito and Asuna getting married and adopting Yui, Kirito defeating Heathcliff and then talking to Akihiko Kayaba, the meeting of creepy bastard Nobuyuki Sugou, Kirito entering Alfheim Online and meeting Leafa/Suguha, and all the way up to the defeat of Sugou.

The little new material in-between the clip show involves Suguha at the swimming pool with Sword Art Online's other female characters. And while a good chunk of the "jokes" during these scenes is how ridicuolousy busty Suguha is, I actually kind of liked this swimming sub-plot. Maybe it's because the series finally remembers there are female characters NOT named Asuna or Suguha again. Risa and Keiko finally return, and while they aren't hilarious and don't really add that much, it's nice for A-1 Pictures to at least acknowledge them again. The swimming sub-plot in a way was like a gathering of friends on a dull summer day, where everyone just chills out at the pool. I can see some Sword Art Online fans enjoying these scenes alone just for that.

It's nearly 80 minutes in before we finally begin the first 100% new material. We finally see Kirito and company finally going on their underwater quest hinted in the very beginning of the episode. The underwater aspect adds a refreshing change of pace from the original series' grass and sky-based battles in ALO, and even the enemies are new. It's about as exciting as you can expect from a filler episode. There's even some cool underwater fighting scenes, but sadly these are very brief.

How much you're going to get out of Sword Art Online Extra Edition depends on how long it's been since you've seen the original Sword Art Online. If you just saw the series a few months ago, you're not missing much other than the girls in swimsuits until the last 20 minutes. If you haven't seen the series in a long time like me, you might benefit from the remembrance of the series' plot before season 2 kicks into high gear, as well as enjoy the new material.

For those who haven't seen Sword Art Online in a while, this is a nice recap with about 30 minutes of new material for the patient. If you were expecting brand-new material, skip forward to the last 20 minutes for a cute filler episode, but not much more.Tim Jones

Recommended Audience: Since this is a recap of the original series somewhat, I'm going to copy-paste from Carlos review; While several characters die, the deaths are shown in the context of the video game. That being said, the real-world ramifications of the video-game character deaths lend more psychological impact to the action. There's also a decent amount of fan service with Suguha's segment early in the special, especially taken notice of how she's the most endowed girl in the series. Teenagers and up.



Version(s) Viewed: Crunchyroll.com stream, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Sword Art Online Extra Edition © 2013 Reki Kawahara / ASCII Media Works / SAO Project
 
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