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Recap / Sword Art Online Alicization Arc

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List of Volumes

  • "Alicization Beginning"
  • "Alicization Running"
  • "Alicization Turning"
  • "Alicization Rising"
  • "Alicization Dividing"
  • "Alicization Uniting"
  • "Alicization Invading"
  • "Alicization Exploding"
  • "Alicization Awakening"
  • "Alicization Lasting"

List of Episodes

  • "Underworld"
  • "The Demon Tree"
  • "The End Mountains"
  • "Departure"
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  • "Ocean Turtle"
  • "Project Alicization"
  • "Swordcraft Academy"
  • "Swordsman's Pride"
  • "Nobleman's Responsibilities"
  • "Taboo Index"
  • "Central Cathedral"
  • "The Sage of the Library"
  • "The Ruler and the Mediator"
  • "The Crimson Knight"
  • "The Relentless Knight"
  • "The Osmanthus Knight"
  • "Truce"
  • "The Legendary Hero"
  • "Recollection"
  • "The Seal of the Right Eye"
  • "Synthesise"
  • "The 32nd Knight"
  • "Titan of the Sword"
  • "Administrator"
  • "My Hero"

Plot Summary

TBA

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This arc provides examples of:

  • Action Duo: Initially Kirito and Eugeo had this dynamic, with Kirito being the Action Hero swordsman, accompanied by the inexperienced and cowardly Eugeo serving as the Action Survivor. However they later get upgraded to an Adventure Duo after Eugeo mans up and receives training. They later get upgraded to a Power Trio when Alice rejoins them.
  • Action Prologue:
    • The anime skips straight to Kirito being in the Underworld rather than explaining how he got there.
    • Sinon and the rest of the SAO gang are seen playing GGO and fighting against a squadron of PKers led by Subtilizer.
  • Adapted Out: The anime glosses over the year spent in Zakkaria along with the Tournament that Kirito and Eugeo took part in. Instead telling it in flashbacks in Episode 7.
  • The Ageless: Using System Commands, Quinella reversed her own aging and made herself effectively immortal, always retaining the appearance of her late teens.
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  • Amnesiac Hero: Kirito in an unusual example of this trope. While he does retain his memories of the real world, it's his prior times spent in the Underworld that he has no recollection. While trapped in the Underworld, Kirito decides it's simpler to just tell everyone that he has no memories period.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Quinella first loses her arm against Eugeo in sword form, and later both she and Kirito cut off one another's sword arms. Though Kirito still has one arm left to impale Quinella with.
  • Anatomy of the Soul: The arc goes very deeply into defining what a soul is. Based on SAO's "Quantum Brain Dynamics" theory, there are light particles that act as a quantum unit of mind called "Evanescent Photons", which exist within the microtubules of a nerve cell. These light particles exist in a state of indeterminism and fluctuate according to the probability theory. A collection of these particles form a Quantum Field, which have been dubbed "Fluctuating Lights" (or "Fluctlight" for short) which is what makes up the human consciousness, or in other words, the human soul.
  • Archer Archetype: Deusolbert Synthesis Seven uses the Conflagrant Flame Bow as his Weapon of Choice.
  • Arc Symbol: Flowers and trees are a reoccurring motif throughout this arc, with Eugeo and Alice’s swords both originating from flowers. While the Gigas Cedar was heavily featured at the start of the arc before Eugeo managed to cut it down, where inevitably part of it was used to forge Kirito’s sword.
  • Artificial Human: The Underworld residents are "bottom-up" AIs and are a great deal more sophisticated than standard "top-down" AIs, being cloned from the FluctLights or souls of newborns. As Kirito puts it, they are literally souls without bodies. FluctLights can also be given robot bodies, like how it is done with Alice.
  • Art Shift: The animation style featured is the same one used in Ordinal Scale which is a great deal more detailed than the traditional animation used in previous seasons.
  • Ascended Extra: In the light novels, most of the SAO gang like Lisbeth, Silica, and Klein went Out of Focus but they get featured here in anime only footage in the search for Kirito.
  • Awesome by Analysis: In this arc of the anime, Kirito's inner thoughts are heard during battle as he analyses the situation and plans his next move.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The ever kind-hearted and respectful Eugeo finally loses it when Humbert and Raios attempt to rape Ronye and Tiese, to which he rebels against the Taboo Index and attacks them.
  • Big Bad: Quinella for the first half of Alicization.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Kirito pulls one to save Eugeo from Raios when the latter tries to kill him for daring to defy the Taboo Index and keep them from raping Ronye and Tiese.
    • Episode 12. Cardinal is revealed to have been the voice guiding Kirito, and appears in person to save Kirito and Eugeo from the Integrity Knight by opening a portal for them to escape into the library.
  • Big Good: Cardinal is the pivotal force for good in the fight against Quinella, spending centuries observing for those with potential that she could recruit into her crusade.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Unlike the other Integrity Knights, Fizel and Linel pretended to be innocent little girls, before they got close enough so they can stab the boys and finally reveal their true identities.
  • Bloody Murder: When Eugeo's Blue Rose Sword snaps in half, he uses Incarnation to reforge the blade using how own blood so that Kirito can use it. The new sword is red in color and is christened the Red Rose Sword.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity:
    • Quinella went to a lot of trouble in her self-preservation, creating Brainwashed and Crazy Integrity Knights who are completely loyal to her, having erased the memories of their past lives. However, her one fatal mistake was to let the Integrity Knights keep the names from their previous lives, which allowed someone who knew their past to be able to remind them and trigger memories. This is what happened with Eldrie, as Eugeo was able to stimulate his memories.
    • Quinella presumes that Eugeo has become completely loyal to her even before Synthesis, so she removes his memory module to redo it. Unaware that Eugeo was ready to break free the second she gave him the chance.
  • Book-Ends: Johnny Black, the last surviving member of Laughing Coffin and the final member of Death Gun makes a return to ambush Kazuto, managing to inject him in the heart with a toxin.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: After Alice got taken by an Integrity Knight, it's revealed she hadn't been executed as originally claimed but had her mind altered into an Integrity Knight herself. This is also the case for all Integrity Knights.
  • The Bully: Raios and Humbert spend nearly every moment tormenting Kirito and Eugeo, constantly mocking the fact they aren't nobles and also destroying Kirito's beloved flower bed.
  • The Bus Came Back: Nurse Aki makes her first return since the Phantom Bullet arc, where she is seen at Rath caring for Kirito.
  • Call-Back:
    • In Episode 1:
      • Kazuto notices that Sinon no longer has panic attacks from making a finger gun, having finally overcome her phobia.
      • Shino is still visiting Shinkawa and mentions his condition is stabilizing.
      • Kazuto now has an implant to monitor his heart rather than having electrodes always stuck on him like he did in the Phantom Bullet arc.
      • When Asuna and Shino hear that Kirito is losing his memories in the Underworld, they immediately fear it is just like the Augma incident from Ordinal Scale.
    • Episode 5:
      • There is a flashback of the Assault Team's battle with the Laughing Coffin back in SAO, where Asuna is attacked by Johnny Black and Kirito gets in the way, before the scene then changes to the real life battle between the two from the end of Episode 1. Later in the episode, the same flashback is revisited and it's revealed Kirito had fought off Johnny Black to protect Asuna and knocked the psycho to the ground.
      • While Klein is driving the girls to find Kirito, "Longing" by YUNA, is heard playing on the radio.
      • The gang are also using Augmas again to interface with the virtual world on the go such as communicating with Yui.
      • Yui reminds Asuna of how Kirito searched for her back when she was trapped in Alfheim Online and never gave up, and now that their roles are reversed it's her turn to do the same!
      • The Teaser from the end of Mother's Rosario arc is revisited when Kirito mentioned the Medicuboid developer, Rinko Koujiro, was an associate of Kayaba. She appears in person with Asuna contacting her for help in infiltrating Rath.
      • Episode 14 shows flashbacks of Eugeo remembering the lessons in swordsmanship that Kirito taught him during their time at the Academy.
      • Episode 20 has Kirito seeing the Senators and remembering when they first appeared via a portal when he and Eugeo violated the Taboo Index to save Tiese and Ronye from being raped.
  • The Cameo: Episode 1 features cameos from Fatal Bullet characters.
    • Kureha and Zeliska are seen at the bar playing pool.
    • Itsuki and Kureha's names are seen on the 5th BoB rankings list.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • Kureha from Fatal Bullet is seen playing pool in a bar in Episode 1. As proof that it is her and not an Identical Stranger, her name is seen in a list of participants for the 5th BoB. The same list also shows Itsuki.
    • The SAO gang ended up playing Gun Gale Online together just like they did in Fatal Bullet, though their avatars look different to what they had in the games, with Kirito and Sinon using their canon avatars rather than having new ones like in FB. Asuna also uses a Photon Sword much like Kirito.
  • Chain Pain: Upon first escaping, Kirito and Eugeo use their high durability chains as weapons against Eldrie.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Heart Rate app that Asuna had on her phone to monitor Kirito's vital signs becomes very significant in finding Kirito's location. Yui is able to use its last know transmissions to track possible locations it has been, giving the gang a lead on Kirito's location.
  • Childhood Friends: Alice, Eugeo, and Kirito, who are young kids and close friends in the Underworld.
  • Child Prodigy: Alice is revealed to be one, having mastered all sorts of spells of the Sacred Arts at the age of ten and trained to become an Integrity Knight.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • Episode 1 has two of these. The first one occurs when Alice violates the taboo index and gets taken away by an Integrity Knight for execution, which is immediately followed by Kirito awakening in the real world with no memory of what happened. The second one occurs at the very end of the episode where Kazuto gets attacked by Johnny Black in the real world and is stabbed in the heart by a syringe containing a toxin.
    • Episode 3 ends with Eugeo and Kirito discovering Selka in the End Mountains having been captured by Goblins. The Goblins then notice the boys presence and move in to kill them, with Kirito noticing Eugeo has become paralyzed with fear and keeps calling his name to snap him out of this state.
    • Episode 7 ends with Kirito getting in trouble with Elite Disciple Volo Levantein who decides to punish Kirito with a sparring match.
    • Episode 10 ends with Eugeo and Kirito as criminals and to be apprehended by an Integrity Knight, with the Knight turning out to be Alice.
    • Episode 11 ends with Eugeo and Kirito escaping their prison in the Central Cathedral and being confronted by Integrity Knight Eldrie Synthesis Thirty-One.
    • Episode 19 ends with Eugeo coming across Quinella, who seduces and synthesizes him into becoming the Integrity Knight Eugeo Synthesis-Thirty Two.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The fact that the FluctLight who defied the Taboo Index was named Alice, the same name as the acronym of the project Rath sought to create, Project Alicization.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Upon seeing Johnny Black, Kazuto instantly reached behind his back for his sword. Only to find there isn't one there, to the delight of Johnny Black.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 9 and 10 are told entirely from Eugeo's POV and has him taking central stage.
  • Death of Personality: By the end of Alicization Uniting, the original young Alice Zuberg dies along with Eugeo, leaving only Alice Synthesis Thirty.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Quinella was completely caught off-guard when her attempts to take over a child's Fluctlight, led to Cardinal taking over said child and attacking her.
    • She's also completely caught off guard in Episode 21 after she restores Eugeo's memories; he not only resists her persuasion, but also manages to break through her barrier with his dagger despite her immunity to metal weapons.
  • Elemental Powers: Several Sacred Arts or System Commands involve generating elemental attacks.
  • Enemy Mine: When Kirito and Alice get blown off the tower and are left hanging on the outside, Kirito persuades Alice to work together to get back inside. Alice begrudgingly agrees but makes it clear she intends to slay him the instance they are safe from falling.
  • Exact Words: When Eugeo Synthesis Thirty-Two is sent to stop the rebels, Kirito and Alice, he imprisons them in ice rather than killing them, as he specifically states to Chudelkin that the Pontifiex's orders were to stop them and not kill them.
  • Existential Horror: As seen with Higa's FluctLight, any FL copied from a real person will be unable to process their status as a copy of the original which will lead them to lose all rationality and breakdown. For this reason Rath were forced to raise FLs cloned from newborns with no prior memories and experience.
  • Eye Scream: The Seal of the Right Eye is a security measure put in to ensure the Underworld residents behave. Whenever they think about defying authority, a System Code appears on their right eye causing immense pain along with the words "System Alert", and any further defying of it will cause the eyeball to burst as is what happened with Eugeo and Alice.
  • Foil:
    • Further parallels are painted between Kayaba and Kirito through Rinko's flashbacks. Kayaba was once a scrawny boy and a The Shut-In who immersed himself with the virtual world. The only difference is Kayaba let his ambition override his conscience.
    • Alice and Quinella. Both girls were prodigies when it came to the Sacred Arts, but Alice was born in a commoner village while Quinella was raised in nobility. Alice had a kind heart while Quinella grew up to be corrupt. Alice (after she breaks the Seal of the Right Eye, and hears out Kirito about her past) fights for the good of the world and its people, while Quinella is only concerned with maintaining an iron hard grip over it.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Deusolbert Synthesis-Seven was the Integrity Knight who took Alice away from Rulid Village at the age of eleven, but he had no memory of this when he met Eugeo and Kirito years later. This is because, Quinella had erased his memories of the incident, as Integrity Knights are made to believe they descended from the heavens and had no past, which would also include the creation of another Integrity Knight.
  • Fountain of Youth: During his early days in the Underworld, Kirito was regressed to the age of a child and had his memories of the real world erased.
  • Gratuitous English: "Sacred Arts" are given in the form of computer "System Commands" which are all spoken in English.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Eugeo in Sword-form gets shattered in half by Quinella, so when he reverts back, the real Eugeo is bisected in half at the torso.
  • Hand Blast: Certain Sacred Arts manifest themselves as blasts of elemental energy, which Sacred Art users can harness in combat.
  • Hate Sink: Raios and Humbert were already awful for being smug bullies who tormented Kirito and Eugeo, with Humbert abusing his own page into humiliating actions, but then they cross into irredeemable territory when they have Tiese and Ronye Bound and Gagged and attempt to rape them.
  • Have We Met?: After Kirito returns to the Underworld in Episode 2, neither he nor Eugeo remember each other, but both of them feel like there is something familiar about the other as if they knew one another in a different life.
  • Heroic Spirit: Invoked. Power in the Underworld is shaped by ones imagination and emotions, the stronger the drive one has, the more powerful their weapon and attacks become. Kirito thinking of his friends, and Eugeo thinking of Alice, allow them to tremendously ascend their power.
  • Heroic Willpower: The hold of the Seal of the Right Eye can be broken if one individual has enough willpower, which both Eugeo and Alice have done. Though at the cost of said eye.
  • History Repeats:
    • Kirito's female companion jumping in the path of a Big Bad's blade meant for Kirito, happens yet again this time with Alice. Kirito immediately gets flashes of Asuna doing the same thing back in SAO.
    • Followed shortly by, Kirito picking up the weapon of his fallen weapon of his comrade to go Dual Wielding, this time Eugeo's broken Blue Rose Sword, reformed with a red blade thanks to Eugeo using Incarnation to fix the blade with his blood. It is also this comrade's weapon that Kirito picks up that ultimately impales and kills the villain, just as Asuna's rapier had done to Heathcliff.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: It's Quinella's own attempts to take over a child's Fluctlight and store her excess memories, that led to Cardinal taking over said girl and orchestrating her defeat for centuries.
  • Hope Spot: The first episode seemed like the stuff that made up Sweet Dreams Fuel, of a young Kirito playing with Eugeo and Alice. Then Alice breaks the Taboo Index and gets taken away by an Integrity Knight for execution.
  • Human All Along: Integrity Knights are made to believe they descended from the heavens and have no past, but in reality they are humans with their memories altered so they are completely loyal to Quinella.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Kirito is able to use his past experience with the sword from his time in SAO to great effect in the Underworld. When Eugeo asks what the style was called, Kirito dubs it "Aincrad Style".
  • Immortality Seeker: Quinella. After achieving her first desire was to possess and rule, Quinella was soon made aware of her growing age and finite lifespan, so she utilized forbidden Sacred Arts. At the very end of her natural life, she restored her life to her prime and halted its natural decline, giving herself eternal youth.
  • Improbable Weapon User: While Eugeo and Kirito are locked in the Central Cathedral prison with nothing but their beds, water basins, and some really tough chains. Kirito comes up with the idea of using the two high durability chains to wear down each other's durability. Kirito then uses it as a makeshift weapon to break open the cell door and later as an actual weapon in the fight against Integrity Knight Eldrie.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia:
    • Kirito is unable to retain any memories of his time spent in the Underworld, also while he's in the Underworld his memories of the real world get blocked so he's essentially a true resident of the Underworld. This becomes a problem in Episode 2 when he enters the Underworld but is able to remember the real world.
    • It appears all of the Underworld residents have also had their memories wiped of Kirito since his last visit, as Eugeo does not remember him at all and his memories of their times spent with Alice only feature the two of them. Both Eugeo and Kirito regain their childhood memories in Eugeo's dying moments.
    • It's later revealed that all Integrity Knights have had the memories of their old lives blocked so they remain completely loyal to their cause, including Alice.
  • Literal Split Personality: Due to the unorthodox nature of Alice's Synthesis, the original Alice Zuberg gained a FluctLight of her own during the creation of Alice Synthesis Thirty and ended up residing within the memory crystal.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Sortiliena mentored Kirito who in turn mentors Ronye.
  • Master of Disguise: Asuna is able to successfully infiltrate Rath by disguising herself as Rinko's assistant, Mayumi Reynolds, using nothing but a wig, a pair of sunglasses, and speaking Gratuitous English.
  • Monster Clown: Chudelkin has the appearance of one and unlike the Integrity Knights he is unconditionally evil.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: After ruling for seventy years as an Immortal Rules, Quinella discovered that her FluctLight had reached its limit of stored memories, so the solution she came up with was overwrite a child's FluctLight with her own memories and FluctLight using the Synthesis Ritual. Though this would be her undoing as she ended up giving this girl power equal to her own and she would end up becoming Cardinal.
  • Neck Lift: Asuna pulls this on Kikuoka via the front of his shirt after the attack on Ocean Turtle causes a power surge that damages Kirito's FluctLight. It's even pointed out that she's a slight teenage girl whereas he is a grown man with a good 6" on her.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • Quinella's attempt to amend her overflowing memory by imprinting to another FluctLight was what allowed Cardinal to split off from her and seize control of another individual, the little girl who would come to be known as Cardinal and resist her.
    • Quinella deciding to redo Eugeo's Synthesis properly forced her to remove the module she had put on his head, thereby allowing Eugeo to break free of her control.]]
  • Oh, Crap!: When approaching Alice standing next to a tree, Kirito believed she didn't have her sword with her. Then he realizes the tree was her sword and it was already in Perfect Weapon Control form.
  • Out of Focus: Alice first appears in Alicization Beginning as a child but disappears after she gets taken by an Integrity Knight. Much of the early arc is dedicated to Kirito and Eugeo attempting to travel to Centoria to find her and she doesn't return until the end of Alicization Turning as an Integrity Knight herself.
  • Power of Friendship:
    • Kirito learns to channel this, due to the Underworld drawing on the power of imagination. Imagining all his friends, Kirito's sword uptakes that power, glows and momentarily grows longer.
    • In Episode 15, seeing Eugeo struggle against Integrity Knight Fanatio Synthesis Two, Kirito himself invokes this and tells Eugeo that he can't win with The Power of Hate and instead tells him to focus on his love for Alice.
    • This is what empowers Kirito in the final battle against Quinella, being urged on by Eugeo, who uses Incantation to recreate his broken Blue Rose Sword using his own blood. Kirito himself then uses Incantation to materialise his Black Swordsman outfit from SAO and duels Quinella evenly.
  • Power Trio: The ¡Three Amigos! variant is present between Alice, Eugeo, and Kirito, back when they were kids. It later makes a return once Alice allies with them and the three of them face off against Quinella together.
  • Product Placement: A poster for "Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet" is seen in GGO during Episode 1. Doubling as Breaking the Fourth Wall as that's a game based on the universe they live in featuring them.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kirito delivers one to Raios after pulling a Big Damn Heroes.
    Kirito: I don't care about your taboos and noble rights. Eugeo's my friend. And you are scum lower than the goblins from the land of darkness!
  • The Reveal:
    • Cardinal is an anthropomorphic interface of the Cardinal System program that runs the worlds of the Seed and the one who had been guiding Kirito.
    • The Taboo Index was created and enforced by Quinella as the System Administrator, not out of good will, but out of her own selfish motives of self-preservation.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Eugeo very nearly goes on one against Deusolbert Synthesis-Seven, after he realizes he was the one who took Alice away from the village all those years ago.
  • Rousing Speech: Yui gives one to Asuna in Episode 5, encouraging her not to give up hope on finding Kirito and that the two of them shared a bond which could never be severed.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Fanatio Synthesis Two is revealed to actually be a woman underneath her helm, and she hates how others do not fight seriously upon discovering her gender.
  • Satanic Archetype: Quinella. She rebelled against the Underworld's version of God in order to become one herself, setting herself up as one gifted by the gods before constructing a false faith in her own name, eventually succeeded in her goals, and ruled enforced by her specially-prepared laws and her Integrity Knights.
  • Saying Too Much: As Kirito is pretending to not recollect any memories from the real world out of convenience, there are several times he nearly blows his cover with his knowledge from there.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: An important part of Eugeo's growth as a character. Kirito teaches him that doing what was morally right is more important than upholding a rule, even if it was in direct defiance. When Humbert and Raios find a Loop Hole Abuse in the Taboo Index, Eugeo is put in a conflicting dilemma where he must either break the Taboo Index or save his and Kirito's valets. After an internal struggle, he finally rebels against the Taboo Index, at the cost of his eye and cuts off Humbert's arm to save Ronye.
  • Sempai/Kohai: All trainees of the Sword Academy become valet to a senior graduate who mentors them.
    • Kirito became kohai to Sortiliena Serlut's senpai.
    • Once Kirito and Eugeo become Elite Disciples, they in turn become senpais to Ronye and Tiese.
  • Ship Tease: Tiese as a low ranking noble would have an Arranged Marriage to another higher noble. However she didn't want a life like this and wanted to spend her days with Eugeo. She all but states her desire to marry Eugeo. Problem is Eugeo is only interested in finding Alice, but as to not crush the girl's spirits he does promise to return for her.
  • Shout-Out: A lot of Alice in Wonderland references are dropped, with most of them from Asuna. These include the name Rath and Underworld having a similar name to the place Alice visited.
  • The Slacker: While Kirito is a good student in the real world, in the Underworld he's notorious for being lazy and goofing off, which Eugeo always chastises him over.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil:
    • Quinella's creation of the Integrity Knights involve her taking the greatest warriors in the human realm and erasing the memories so they believe themselves to have descended from heaven and become fiercely loyal to her. They are nothing but puppets to carry out the Axion Church's will.
    • And it doesn't end there, it's revealed many of her subjects are all left as mindless slaves including the Elevating Platform girl and the Senators, who no longer have any individuality and are all made to unquestioningly carry out their orders like robots.
  • So Proud of You: Sortiliena tells Kirito this after he finishes his duel with Levantein and shows off his full strength.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: This is a specific skill in the Underworld to protect against attacks. Kirito names this attack "Spinning Shield" as a technique of the Aincrad style.
    • Kirito uses this in his fight against Deusolbert, spinning his sword at high speeds to block an Armament Control Art.
  • Stock Light-Novel Hero: Subverted. Ironically, despite this arc shifting the series closer to the Isekai genre, Kirito himself moves away from the usual cliches for this character archetype. He is a lot more underpowered than previous arcs as he has to gradually learn about the new world and work towards power, unlike previous arcs where he was often at his peak when he took on obstacles. Also the girls that join his Supporting Harem each arc has been largely absent and Kirito instead forms a Bash Brothers dynamic with Eugeo, then later a Power Trio with both him and Alice.
  • Student and Master Team: Kirito taught Eugeo in the art of the Aincrad Style, making him and Eugeo this on the battlefield. This gets brought up by Kirito when he fights his former student, Eugeo Synthesis Thirty-Two.
    Kirito: Eugeo you probably don't remember, but you learned your sword skills from me. As the master, I'm not ready to lose to my student just yet!
  • Swapped Roles:
    • Kirito and Asuna have traded places compared to the Fairy Dance arc. Now it's Kirito in a coma in the real world while his mind is trapped in a virtual world, facilitating Asuna to journey in and rescue him.
    • Kirito manages to make Alice see reason and help her to defy the Axion Church's conditioning, but at the same time Eugeo is brought to Quinella where he gets preyed upon and Synthesised into the most loyal Integrity Knight yet who obeys Quinella's will without the slightest questioning. It's ultimately averted when Quinella removes the synthesis block from his head, allowing Eugeo to finally remember his old memories.
  • Switching P.O.V.: This arc is told from two different perspectives. From Kirito trapped in the Underworld, and from Asuna looking for Kirito in the real world.
  • Time Skip:
    • Episode 7 skips two years of Underworld time so Kirito and Eugeo go from leaving the village to bring enrolled in Swordcraft Academy.
    • The end of Episode 8 has Kirito and Eugeo going from valets to their elite trainee mentors, to being mentors themselves to their own valets, Ronye and Tiese.
  • That Man Is Dead: Alice Synthesis Thirty considers herself and the Alice Zuberg to be different people and that she had stolen the body of the original Alice. This is revealed to be very literal, as the Synthesis used to create Alice Synthesis Thirty ended up making the young Alice Zuberg a separate individual, trapped in the memory crystal. It is this young Alice Zuberg who reunites with Eugeo and later dies along with him when he passes on.
  • There Was a Door: A bit of Running Gag is Kirito always enters and exits the Swordcraft dormitory using the window rather than the door.
  • Those Two Girls: Ronye and Tiese are inseparable and almost always seen together.
  • Trapped in Another World: In a very different way to Sword Art Online during the Aincrad arc. SAO was merely a fictional simulated game that couldn't be logged out of. Underworld is a very real world with real inhabitants who have always existed there, despite its foundations being a Virtual World. Kirito getting trapped there is much closer to the standard Isekai genre and having to learn about the way the world works from its residents.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Once their true natures are revealed, Fizel and Linel are able to talk very casually and cheerfully about killing, while holding sweet smiles on their faces. This whole demonstration thoroughly disturbs Eugeo.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Kirito and Eugeo are this in spades. They usually behave like typical Best Friends, but often will start giving each other hard times through insults and teasing.
  • Was Once a Man: Quinella, having essentially burned the fundamental command possessed by the Cardinal System onto her own Fluct Light, fusing her soul with Cardinal and effectively becoming the new god of the world. When she awakens from the process she was no longer human, no longer aging, requiring food or water, and with unparalleled power.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Kirito starts off as this, having all of his past experience with a sword but with his Object Control Authority being very low. Though it doesn't last as Kirito gains experience and slowly build towards being Strong and Skilled.
  • Wham Line: Eugeo demonstrates a Sacred Art with the incantation "System Call" which shocks Kirito.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?:
    • The debate is brought up over whether AIs made from Fluctlights counted as real humans with cognitive ability. Kikuoka seems to view them as being Expendable Clones to be used as tools of war, while Asuna argues they had rights and freedom just like any human did.
    • This debate is seen again between Quinella and Cardinal. Quinella is convinced that human units are nothing but data, but Cardinal insists that they are living, breathing, loving humans and that it doesn't matter if they exist in a simulation or in the real world.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Integrity Knight, Eldrie Synthesis Thirty-One, gains a lot of respect towards Kirito both for his bravdo and his skill.
    • Deusolbert follows suit, at first believing Eugeo and Kirito to resort to dirty tactics, but after trading blows with them and being defeated by their expertise swordsmanship, he too came to respect them. He praises the boys, asking what their techniques were and their names, and even giving a Face Death with Dignity moment as he bestows some valuable information about the Integrity Knights to the boys since he would be disgracefully discharged as an Integrity Knight.
    • Alice acknowledges Kirito's power after he's the first to withstand her sword, despite her overwhelming him.
    • Bercouli comes to greatly respect Eugeo not only for battling him, but with his triumphing through his Taking You with Me strategy, and once he sees Eugeo's heart is righteous even sides with him.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Kirito makes it clear to Fanatio Synthesis Two, that he had no intention of holding back because she was a woman, as he had lost plenty of battles against Swordswomen before. Fanatio acknowledges that Kirito is the first who attacked with the intent of actually slashing her after seeing her face.
    Kirito: I don't intend to hold back because you're a woman. I've lost plenty of battles to swordswomen!
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Time runs faster in the Underworld. In between Episode 5 and 8 where only a few days passed in the real world, two years have passed in the Underworld for Kirito and Eugeo.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After the battle in Centoria Cathedral ends, Alice returns to her home village, only to find that she's still being treated as a criminal, despite being unable to remember her crime of stepping into the Dark Territory, and her own father prohibits her from returning.
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