Sword Art Online II: Part 2 of 4 is here, and with it the conclusion to the Phantom Bullet story arc. All the Anime continue their release of the second series with their dual format Collector’s Edition and Standard Edition DVD. Both editions contain episodes 8-14 and the recap episode 14.5 “Debriefing”; the Collector’s Edition though does include a number of exclusive extras over the Standard DVD. Although seeing a later release than originally scheduled for, it’s certainly a good way to end the year.
“Kirito is now certain that Death Gun is also a survivor of SAO. And to make things worse, he is most likely an ex-member of the murder guild, Laughing Coffin. As the final tournament of Bullet of Bullets begins, Kirito and Sinon agree to join forces until they identify which player is Death Gun.
Through the battles, Sinon learns that Kirito also suffers from traumatic memories from the past. But as Sinon sees Kirito trying to overcome them, she too tries to be strong. As BoB reaches its last stage, Kirito suspects that Death Gun may have one or more accomplices in the real world, and they may be targeting Shino Asada as their next target!” – All the Anime
I personally loved the Phantom Bullet story arc in the light novels and seeing it played out on-screen was fantastic. Although we add to Kirito’s ever-increasing harem with Sinon, she is, without doubt, one of the best characters in the series. Her emotional backstory really lends itself well to her current personality of being strong but also a very fragile girl. Not many of the other characters have this, while most may have all been a part of the death game SAO, they didn’t go through it alone; Sinon throughout most of her life has.
While I thought the adaptation was spot on through the Phantom Bullet arc, I did feel that it lost a little of the tension that the light novels brought. I think that Sinon’s story overshadowed Kirito’s struggles somewhat, whereas I feel in the novels both are perfectly balanced. Sinon’s story is more important to this arc; that’s for sure seeing, as she is the new character but Kirito’s struggle with his past in SAO and the “Red Players” could have been given a bit more attention. This is probably more of an issue in part 2 due to part 1 not getting to the meat of the story quicker which left little time to give it more attention.
The world of Gun Gale Online was a nice change of pace from all the fantasy settings we’ve seen up till now but sadly it doesn’t last. With the finale of the Phantom Bullet arc so does our time in this awesome but grim looking warzone. This release definitely showed off more of the world of GGO and it looks fantastic if I was looking to play a VRMMO then I’d happily spend a lot of time here. Death Gun and Kirito’s final showdown was nothing short of epic, the dark setting made the purple blade of Kirito’s sword and Death Gun’s red eyes really vibrant and visually brilliant.
The Collector’s Edition of Sword Art Online II: Part 2, as with part 1, comes housed in a digipack holding the discs, plus a booklet containing information translated from the original Japanese release. Extras included on disc in the Collector’s Edition consist of Special Animation Sword Art Offline II Parts 3-5 and Original Web Previews, which are exclusive to the Blu-ray disc. Both Blu-ray and DVD of the Collector’s Edition also include Textless Ending and Episode 14.5 “Debriefing”, as does the Standard Edition DVD. Summary episodes are generally passed over by viewers as they only serve to recap events that people have already seen without bringing anything new to the table. However it’s still a welcome addition to any extras section and will be appreciated by those who want a complete set, and to add it to their MyAnimeList.