Sword Art Online: Alicization – Episode 4 “Departure”

Kirito and Eugeo’s adventures in Rulid come to a bloody, fast-paced and satisfying conclusion in the SAO Alicization arc’s fourth episode, “Departure”.

Last week’s episode left us with the tantalizing prospect of some much-needed action as Kirito and Eugeo travel north to rescue Selka from a vicious tribe of goblins, and the result was worth the wait. As Kirito quickly races into battle, Eugeo continues to struggle with both his fear and questioning his ability to exert violence on a fellow living being. It’s another reminder that Eugeo is not a full human being, but an artificial fluctlight created by humans, making his eventual breakthrough all the more impressive.

Meanwhile, Kirito handles himself well at first – there are indeed sword skills in the Underworld – but runs into trouble when confronting the goblin tribe’s leader. He takes a slash across the shoulder and learns…the pain is real. The Underworld is not your typical VR world where an injury is registered more like the prick of a needle – I’m curious to see how this detail will be utilized moving forward. It’s an interesting parallel, Kirito being reminded that he’s a mortal human with Eugeo breaking through his AI limitations to fight and sacrifice himself for those he cares for.

After the goblin leader is decapitated and the remainder of the tribe heads back to the Dark Territory, Selka uses a risky high-level sacred art to save Eugeo’s life. In the midst of Selka’s healing process, Kirito hears none other than the voice of Alice in his

Alice’s spirit speaks to Kirito and reveals where he and Eugeo can find her. (Photo courtesy of A-1 Pictures)

head, saying that she’s currently in Centoria at the top floor of the Axiom Church, waiting for him and Eugeo. It’s unclear how this happened or why she spoke to Kirito specifically, but it drives home the reminder that Kirito “grew up” with Alice and Eugeo as childhood best friends.

Returning to Rulid, Kirito and Eugeo discover they can wield the Blue Rose Sword with ease and use it to finally fell the mighty Gigas Cedar. Eugeo, having completed his calling, is allowed to choose his new journey and decides to travel south and train to be a swordsman. In a nice throwback to SAO’s first arc, Eugeo asks Kirito what his sword style is called and is told it’s…The Aincrad Style.

On the whole, “Departure” sees all of Eugeo, Selka and Kirito make positive steps forward in their personal journeys while progressing the larger picture and revealing more new details about the Underworld. While we still haven’t seen Asuna and the gang or Rath since the season premiere, the action-oriented conclusion to Kirito’s time in Rulid is more than enough to make up for it. A few final thoughts and questions:

1. SAO has always worked within the gray areas between the real world and VR, but Alicization is already pushing it a step further by making us question where the line is between human and AI, soul and fluctlight. How much will this mirror our own world in 10, 20 years?

2. During the goblin battle, Eugeo’s childhood memories are suddenly triggered as he remembers Kirito being alongside him and Alice all those years, which we know to be the truth. Eugeo himself laughs it off, and it’s unclear if Kirito made the connection as well. How will Kirito react when he realizes he has spent years – technically longer than he has known Asuna and his real-world friends – with Alice and Eugeo?

3. We’ve only scratched the surface with Selka’s character, but her personal struggles and desire to connect with the sister she lost so early in life make her both likable and memorable. I hope this isn’t the last we see of her. 

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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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