Sword Art Online: Alicization – Episode 14 “The Crimson Knight”

Eugeo takes center stage this week, grappling between execution and mercy as he and Kirito begin their infiltration of the Axiom Church. 

One of the best aspects of SAO’s Alicization arc is that, for once, Kirito is not a standard overpowered protagonist, nor can he use simple tricks to quickly game the system to his benefit. He is simply another person living in this virtual world who must train hard to build his skills, immerse himself in the culture, and figure out the quirks of the Underworld. That said, due to his previous trials in both the real and virtual worlds, the one thing he holds that many others don’t is experience, both in life and in battle, which allows him to provide important guidance for Eugeo in “The Crimson Knight”.

As they quickly retrieve their swords inside the Central Cathedral, Kirito and Eugeo are attacked by integrity knight Deusolbert Synthesis Seven, the same knight whom they previously escaped in the courtyard thanks to Cardinal. Unfortunately, the battle itself is so short that it disappoints in comparison with the novel. Deusolbert only uses one real attack – his perfect weapon control, which is basically a set of powered-up fire arrows – and then had no idea how to defend against a combination attack from two opponents. You never remotely fear for our heroes’ safety, and as a result the intensity never reaches any serious height.

The simplicity of the battle contrasts with the heart of the episode: Eugeo’s painful internal struggle with his anger. Deusolbert is the integrity knight who arrested and took Alice away eight years ago, and now as he concedes defeat, he compliments both swordsmen and asks them to give him an honorable death. Eugeo, angered past the point of mercy, wants to behead the integrity knight despite learning that he has no memory of arresting young Alice. It’s an emotional standoff that nearly ends in the darkest possible manner before Kirito steps in: “You should never murder a defenseless person.” It’s a well-written and well-performed sequence that easily outshines the episode’s earlier action-oriented half.

Seeing Deusolbert’s respect for his opponents and shame of his (unremembered) past actions is a fascinating new detail. Although Administrator constantly erases the integrity knights’ memories to render them free of any emotion, they still maintain some semblance of their original personality. That said, Eugeo was unable to break through to Alice’s memory when she arrested him and Kirito – possibly because she has fewer life memories in the first place due to her younger age. Regardless,

The episode concludes as Eugeo & Kirito encounter a couple of young girls…surely not integrity knights? (Photo courtesy of A-1 Pictures)

the fact that no integrity knight has fully regained their memory yet is a sign of the scale of their task moving forward.

The episode features some great animation sequences, particularly the battle and its skill moves’ aftereffects. But the real highlight is the performance of Brandon Winckler, the English actor behind Eugeo. He delivers some highly charged emotional moments with devastating conviction as Eugeo struggles whether to murder his defeated opponent, and there’s a near-animalistic scream as he finally releases eight years of pent-up anger at the knight who took his best friend away.

All’s well that ends well, with Eugeo learning a valuable lesson in mercy and compassion from a position of power and near-overflowing anger. It’s a full-circle development for a character who is typically known for the former, but required the guidance of his friend when faced with the latter.

Sword Art Online: Alicization is currently airing in North America every Saturday at 12:30 am EST/11:30 pm CST on Toonami.

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Author: Joe Ballard View all posts by

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