First Listen: The music of Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld Part 2<span class="wtr-time-wrap block after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">5</span> min read</span>

We’re at the point where the protagonist of the soap opera finally wakes up from his comatose state and saves the world. No spoiler alert, no warm ups, no… nothing.

The Opening Theme. Sword Art… nani? “ANIMA” by ReoNa

Discover more on ReoNa’s official YouTube channel.

Truth is that this could be an opening for any other contemporary shounen anime. It’s nothing special. This franchise succeeded in doing one thing well: predispose the viewers from its OP and ED tie-ups that they’re listening to Sword Art Online related music. Where has its character gone?

female, container, black top, black long sleeve jacket, holds right hand up high
Singer, cosplayer, ReoNa (source)

Sure, it’s refreshing to incorporate exciting new elements, rather than repeating the classic dramatic approach. However, “ANIMA” does not resemble SAO in the slightest. Still, though, it’s good both as an SAO OP as well as a shounen OP. That being said, I find it more engaging to listen to this one rather than any other from the series. Fine, with the possible exception of the very first one.

Find ReoNa here:
Official Website // Twitter // Instagram // YouTube

OST first impressions. by Kajiura Yuki

woman, smiles, standing, black grand piano, slightly leans on it
Lyricist, composer, arranger, producer, Kajiura Yuki (source)

Not sure there is much to say about the soundtrack. There are some recognizable tracks from the previous seasons as well as some new ones. I’m not really fond of SAO as a whole and the use of music doesn’t help with that either. It definitely does its best to keep us hooked but if there isn’t much going on visually, what can the music do, deshou [isn’t that so]?

Right, right. I just stopped writing a bit just to look at this famous/infamous hentai scene from episode 1, where gyaru-chan is sucking Leafa’s life force. It’s just so bad. So bad. What was the director’s deal? Was the track composed specifically for that scene? What happened? SAO Alicization War of Underworld had a good OST with quite a few interesting tracks. What was up with the music here? It just doesn’t make sense. It raised so many questions, I almost broke into laughter. Yes, I realize it’s not the most thoughtful thing to say but honestly, why woodwind with a middle eastern inspired melody and phrasing? In what way can this anticlimactic track help improve the scene? And yes, it is so bad. I wouldn’t mind listening to the soundtrack on its own. However, I’m not sure how positive of an impression it will leave me when combined with the visuals. I have the slight suspicion that the visuals undermine the soundtrack’s worth. To clarify: I’m not saying that SAO has bad animation or bad character design; what I’m saying is that I don’t feel that the image and the sound work well together. And now for my finale. The soundtrack is overshadowed by the sound effects… and the sound effects are questionable and at times plain bad.

Find Kajiura Yuki here:
Official Website // Twitter // Twitter (staff) // Facebook

The Ending Theme. There’s the character I was looking for. “I will…” by Aoi Eir

Discover more on Aoi Eir’s official YouTube channel.

Right here. Here’s the character I was talking about earlier. It’s exactly what the anime is about and frankly, it’s what I dislike. No, I don’t have anything against Aoi Eir. Au contraire, I think of her as one of the artists who evolved noticeably since the beginning of her career.

woman, slouching, tilts head, short straight dark hair blue-purple background
Singer, Aoi Eir (source)

As a song, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I like it and no, it has nothing to do with my negative predisposition against SAO. It’s just a tune that’s not to my liking. That being said, it’s good for two reasons: you’ll be able to remember it after listening to it a couple of times and the quality of its production shows.

Find Aoi Eir here:
Official Website // Twitter // Facebook // YouTube

Generally speaking…

I know that Sword Art Online has a loyal following and I know that many choose to hate on it just for the hype. But let’s try to be fair, shall we? Many fanboys and fangirls are all over SAO because it was probably their first anime. And that works the same way first crushes work. Same principle. SAO is hard to let go, especially now that the Alicization arc is coming to an end.

TL;DR

  • Good OP but lacks in character.
  • Fair OST that is overshadowed by a bunch of mediocre sound effects and questionable directing
  • Okay ED but not to my liking.

Score

6/10★


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