「アリシゼーション計画」 (Arishizeeshon Keikaku)
“Project Alicization”

It was only a matter of time until it happened. Who would of thought it’d be this week though?

For those of you who didn’t get my subtle jab at the STL and fluctlight technology being used to create technology for the military, there’s the explanation for you. For those of you who caught my drift, am I the only one who’s surprised that it’s taken this long for something related to the military to finally come into play? Seeing just how much full dive technology has progressed throughout the various SAO seasons, I was actually beginning to get a little concerned just how little this technology was being used for. That said, maybe I should have saw it coming with SAO:Alternative giving us a taste of the JDF utilizing GGO for field training.

In any case, let’s get back to the topic at hand — the idea of copying and artificially creating fluctlights. Starting with the former, it’s a little crazy to think that the technology to literally copy a person’s soul now exists in the world of SAO. Using Higa’s copy as an example, can you imagine how many ethical questions arise when you’re talking about toying with the very essence of what makes someone themselves? I don’t know if that scene sparked anything inside of you, but as someone who’s read a lot of science fiction involving clones, the whole scene made me remember just how well those novels ask the question, “Just what makes you, you?” Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) it looks like the show won’t be diving into that direction and instead is going for the latter with the focus on bottom-up artificial intelligence. An idea that in concept sounds interesting, but still runs into the same ethical questions except with the added bonus of trying to somehow teach technology that it’s okay to break the rules. Rules like whether or not it’s okay to kill someone when the baseline is that you shouldn’t.

Besides that, it looks like we’re just about ready to dive back into the Underworld and see just how much progress Kirito and Eugeo have made since we last saw them. With all the key players literally in the same place, I can’t wait to see just what happens as the story progresses. If I could ask for something specific though, I’d love to see Asuna (or Yui) somehow make their way into the Underworld just so that we could have one more real life presence in there with Kirito. In any case, I’ll catch you guys next week. See you then!




      1. In the LN, all of Asuna’s means of communication to the outside world were cut off the second she walked in the facility. She was essentially trapped there without being able to contact any of her friends. IDK why the anime pulled this out of their asses, may be to give Liz and Silica more screentime, but in the LN, Asuna was the one informed of Project Alicization.

    1. Yeah, this threw me for a bit. Oh hey, super-secret military facility working on potentially the weapon of the future, but yeah, sure, go blab it to your friends in your little video game. There’s only so much suspension of disbelief I can do!

      1. It would’ve been one thing to see Yui ninja her way past a ton of security to let everyone know that Kirito and Asuna were okay, but this was a pretty big stretch. Secret government sects usually frown upon highschoolers telling their friends about murderbots in development.

    2. To be fair, in the novel…

      Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Reminds me of Westworld S2, when the robo-copy of late tycoon James Delos kept breaking down over and over, because it couldn’t accept its existence. Only to be brought back again and again by his son in law, from young Jimmi Simpson to old Ed Harris.

      And then abandoned to wander about broken and insane in a secret Westworld research facility.

  1. I found the fluctlights and soul-copying reminiscent of HBO’s Westworld TV series, which also involved AI/robots being created for ulterior purposes of certain groups, and soul-copying into robot bodies as pseudo-immortality.

    However, Kikouka and Rath (IMO) come off at least somewhat noble in their intentions in making fluctlights for revolutionizing Japan’s national defenses for a greater good, despite the ethics involved. (Plus they don’t have a malevolent Anthony Hopkins-type professor figure eloquently mocking Kikouka over fluctlight ethics…yet.)

    Delos Inc of Westworld had no ethics at all, seeing only the money coming in from creating AI/robots as subservient sex/violence outlets; and potential sales of robo-immortality for its customer base of egoistic rich people. Plus nearly all Delos folk came off as a-holes the higher up the corporate ladder.

  2. I nominate this episode for Most Expository Episode Ever.

    As with others, I found the gossiping afterwards amongst Asuna and her little friends to be ludicrous and implausible.

    The show this got me thinking of was the old Star Trek Next Gen episode with the nano-machines (IIRC).

    1. The gossiping didn’t exist in the novels; as mentioned Asuna’s cut off from outside communication in the LNs.
      Likely the anime staff put it in just to show off Sinon and co. to appease that part of the SAO fanbase.

  3. Putting the sociopath Kikuoka aside for a second, can we talk about how dumb Higa sounds? Did part of his dialogue get cut or something? Because Koko Hekmatyar is about to jump the multiverse and shove a gun down this hypocrite/manchild’s throat. Your friend was killed in war, so you’re helping to develop a system that will make war even more brutal and create a whole slew of new victims… Did I miss something, or is that as dumb as it sounds? Or are they actually going to give the whole world killer robots and delude themselves to the point where they can pretend that’ll somehow stop human casualties in war?

    I always knew Kikouka wasn’t exactly sane, but this just put him straight on Kayaba’s level of nuts.

    1. Well, at least reduce the casualties. He even said that it was a kinda childish motive, but he is there anyway.

      If war was fought by murderbots, the rules can change to reach an end without much bloodshed, or so I’d like to think.

    2. @Aex The road to hell IS paved with good intentions, as they say. For Kikouka, I’d wager his focus was never on socio-ethical implications from developing AI soldiers and how it would affect other nations; but on improving Japan’s national security and the JSDF’s defensive abilities. He’s not evil, just strongly rooted in what he believes is necessary to do his duty, even if he’s got to compromise whatever ethics he believes in.

  4. Was I the only one who got concerned when Kikuoka said that Alice’s fluctlight was already “fixed” by the Axiom Church? Because that sounds awfully like a case of changed personalities/memory wipe if I’ve ever heard of one.

    And I can be thinking too far ahead but, if the Axiom Church can use admin levels of system comands as Kikuoka seems to be implying, maybe someone there already knows that they’re in a simulation, and that seem ominous to say the least.

    I quite liked this episode, info dump and all. This arc is showing the true potential that SAO has. Maybe if they make a remake of OG Aincrad with those Progressive novels it may be just the necessary for people to stop hating the series.

    1. It might allow others to give it a new chance, but there is going to be sections of people who are done with it due to how the Aincrad and Fairy Dance arcs went. For them, they gave it a shot, it failed, they won’t rescind that judgment.

      Dorian S.
  5. Sword Art Online is no longer an anime about VR games the concept has left that atmosphere a long time ago and this episode proves it. I think VR Games like SAO, ALO, GGO were nothing more than a Launch site allowing VR to reach a greater purpose than to build a realm and have fun in the world.

    Had this tech STL and fluctlight technology been created during ALO my favorite character Konno Yuuki didn’t have to die. That being said this Episode and the technology is infringing on human rights and how do one value artificial consciousness.

    Also this nurse is a trouble maker (-_^):


  6. I wouldn’t want to see Asuna or the cast make their way to the Underworld anytime soon. I’d like it to stay as a isekai-ish story for a little longer with Kirito adventuring in a new world with his new bestie Eugeo while learning more about the secrets of the world and whatnot. But the difference between SAO and other stuck-in-game stories is how it links to the present world, so I’m sure we’ll see them eventually.

    1. This was always going to be a one sided love Rinko to Kayaba and Kayaba to his VR…no worries if Rinko keeps giving sneak peeks of her apples I am sure someone will give her attention.

    2. She just wants to do the right thing after the man she thought she knew did something incredibly dark gray (if not dark as Kirito and Asuna put it otherwise).

      Honestly, I must admit that one of the things I dislike about SAOis the sympathetic treatment that Kayaba receives several times.

      In the end, Kayaba is directly responsible for the deaths of over 3,000 thousand people, almost 4,000, a lot of them minors. To put it into perspective, the 9/11 attacks killed fewer people. Heck, he’s done more evil than all the other villains of the show combined. He also had the gall to pretend to be one of them and see them fight and die while never risking any danger himself.

      Yet because of his fascinating personality, his visionary dreams, his personal connection with Kirito and the fact that his villainy feels impersonal (not off-screen, however; every time we saw a character die in Aincrad, it was his doing), his sociopathy is usually handwaved, forgotten or even excused. It’s quite disturbing, and a blatant case of Protagonist-Centered Morality, I say.

      1. Sympathy to Kayaba perhaps but you can’t deny his VR spawned new inventions that can enrich the populice as well as keep love one from truely dying. Though I would have loved it for my favorite character not to be killed off but oh well.

      2. @RenaSayers
        Of all the technologies that came from Kayaba, I’d only count the Medicuboid as a plus for the world, and neither that nor the games compensate the deaths of thousands. In fact, it could be argued that SAO is unintentionally proving that VR isn’t worth it and no one involved should be trusted with anything:

        -As I said, Kayaba used the technology to kill thousands of innocents.

        -As seen in this episode, Rinko, key in the development of the Medicuboid, was complicit in aiding Kayaba during his mass killing spree.

        -Sugou kidnapped the minds of hundreds of players to research emotion-manipulation technologies.

        -Now we know that the Japanese government is not above kidnapping minors to use VR for military research.

      3. To be fair, Rinko didn’t know of his mass killing spree up until she saw the news. She even sought to kill him herself…. if not for Kayaba implying to stop her from robbing herself of her innocence same way he did his. To become a direct murderer like him. Though it is true that, because she couldn’t kill him, she effectively became complicit, which means it was either some loss of innocence or a major loss of innocence. And that is just another sin Kayaba committed. The medicuboid I believe is her start of redemption. It’d be interesting to see where it goes from here.

      4. @yoloalchemist
        She became an accomplice after watching the news; as the episode shows, by the time she started taking care of him she knew he was a mass murderer.

        The episode presents it as a dramatic conundrum: “it was either to kill him or to let him go”, so that Rinko could be excused. But the argument is as false as the implanted bomb that let her get away scot-free. Why didn’t she hand him to the authorities instead? She looked for him in the first place precisely because he had become public enemy number one.

        That false conundrum is similar to the false equivalence that Asuna uses to excuse Rinko: “Kirito and I committed crimes, Kayaba and you committed crimes; it’s all the same, we have to live with it”. As I said, Protagonist-Centered Morality. Make Rinko confess the truth in public and let’s see if the parents of the dead children would be as forgiving as Asuna.

      5. @Mistic
        You’re describing the situation as if Rinko had criminal intent. She never had any. Admittedly, she was too weak to do anything against him due to her emotions, but she was never a willing participant in his psychotic endeavors. He knew that, which is why I believe he implanted that false bomb in order for the authorities to spare her. I never presented any argument about whether or not she should be forgiven. Even she felt incredibly guilty in front of both Kirito and Asuna. All I’m saying is that there is a clear and distinct difference between her and Kayaba. She deserves a chance at redemption, he does not.

      6. @yoloalchemist
        Of course she had criminal intent. Not at first, when she found him, but as she herself explained, she spent the next two years taking care of his body and keeping his location secret. Two years, despite knowing full well that he was murdering people and that the authorities were desperately looking for him. The moment she started doing that after the initial shock, it made her a willing accomplice. Aiding and abetting is a crime too, and that’s just the most obvious of the potential charges.

        And it’s a crime in the setting too. The novel specifies she was arrested, and the only reason she’s not in jail is because of the bomb. But now we’re told that the bomb was fake. And that she knew it in advance.

        True, her crimes are not as serious as Kayaba’s, not by a very large margin (although the same could be said of Sugou, ironically enough), and she feels guilty and apologizes to Asuna. But the story acts as if her personal drama and Asuna’s forgiveness are enough to overlook her criminal responsibilities (if the arc ends with her publicly confessing the truth and accepting her sentence instead of going back to her nice job overseas as if nothing happened, I’ll eat my words). As I said, that’s Protagonist-Centered Morality, which leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

      7. @Mistic
        If the novel specified she was arrested, the anime certainly didn’t. And it should’ve done it to make this more obvious, unless I missed something. Looks I’ll have to check the episode again to see what you said about her. And at least the protagonist-centered morality here isn’t exaggerated so as to blatantly say their actions are “not bad at all”. So I disagree with your notion that the story is attempting to overlook her crimes. This episode is all the proof of otherwise. The story is attempting to redeem Rinko by making her help Kirito and Asuna in his crisis. Whether or not it succeeds with that endeavor remains to be seen.

      8. @yoloalchemist
        Yeah, I think it’s a detail that could have been incldued. On the other hand, she mentioning that she had the bomb so that she “wouldn’t be charged with any crimes” already implies the important part: yes, the authorities would have condemned her as an accomplice without it.

        As for the Character-Centered Morality in this episode, sorry, I think I’ve been unclear of what I was trying to say. It’s mostly because of:

        -Asuna saying that neither she nor Kirito blame her for what she did, and that she doesn’t even hold a grudge against Kayabe. Although she admits his crimes aren’t something that “can ever be forgiven”, all in all, her experience can be considered “the best days” of her life. She acknowledges that it’s selfish, but, as with other things Kayaba in SAO, there’s no alternative voice to say “Well, for me it was hell on earth, and I’d certainly blame this woman here for allowing my best friends to die”.

        -Asuna talking as if their experiences were equivalent. “Just as the commander did something wrong, so have I, and Kirito too. And Ms. Rinko, you’ve also done something wrong. But it’s not as if we can make amends, even if we’re punished for it. It could be that we’ll never see the day we’re forgiven. Even still, we have to continue to face what we’ve done”. Not only are their crimes not equivalent in the slightest, it explicitely excuses that Rinko has neither made amends (until now) nor faced punishment for her actions (which she actively evaded despite knowing she deserved it) under the umbrella of “forgiveness may be impossible for all of us”.

        -Finally, you yourself bring up the last point: the nagging feeling that Rinko’s redemption arc is tied to her helping Asuna and Kirito. Which is good and nice, but there are thousands of other victims out there (in fact, her part in the development of the Medicuboid is actually more redeeming). If the arc ends with Rinko being considered “redeemed” and free to go unchallenged because she helped the protagonists and they forgive her in the end, that would be the nail in the coffin. But, as I said, if the series challenges that in the end, I’ll eat my words.

        Add the false dichotomy presented beforehand (why is the choice between killing him or aiding him? why couldn’t she just call the police?) and SAO’s track record (already in the first series many people pointed out that Kayaba’s and Sugou’s treatment was widely different and depending on how they acted around the protagonists, not their actual crimes), and I couldn’t help leaving the episode with a very bad feeling.

    1. Well, with the reveal that Alice has been reset and the revelation that the Axiom Church has access to admin level system commands, I for one would argue the real world stuff is just as important to understand what goes on within Underworld.

      1. And it would have been nice to have learned all of that organically as they told the story instead of having it all exposited in our faces. Now there’s not going to be any surprise when Alice ends up acting weird when they finally run into her or when the church leaders are over powered.

      2. @qwert
        I’d say it was a good thing. Now we have to wonder how they got their admin powers which is a mystery all its own, and there’s still the mystery of how to fight against them eventually for Kirito to find out. After all, that’s something even Kikouka doesn’t know. Nothing has been lost with this exposition IMO.

    2. I sorta feel the same, but I also realize that this is important info that they are dumping on us. In my mind, the longer they’re out in the real world, the more likely they’ll screw up everything and the series will go downhill, or I’ll have to sit through more GGO stuff. It’s not unfounded, but it’s also not entirely fair. I’m trying to take it a bit at a time. I was utterly disgusted and disturbed (in a good way this time) with the copy Higa scene. The implications it made, the fact that they photocopied baby brains and used them to play The Sims on fast forward, and that everyone is all like “That’s totes OK. and completely fine. No need to pause for ethics.” is…..concerning.

      The Walker
  7. I think that it was probably this arc that really sparked my interest in VR and programming/AI. All that work going on really made me feel like this was just playing God….at what cost? Being on the cutting edge of all that is…..astounding to say the least.

    I’m a little dismayed at how they handled the information exposition. In some ways, I felt that the novel did a better job of it due to the different method (which really felt like it had more weight to it), but it’s nothing to really nitpick about. That information leak to the girls really felt a bit out of place.

    I’m surprised that Asuna didn’t really have a realization about Kazuto (or at least it was cut for time). I’m not sure if it was discussed in episode 1 but….
    Show Spoiler ▼

    I think that the missing point really should have been made, but it’s kind of obvious if you think about it, though to be fair, I haven’t seen episode 1, so I don’t know what’s been told in that episode, so perhaps it’s not so obvious.

  8. Also to add on….I always kind of saw Kikouka as being like Kisuke Urahara…always knowing more information than the others, and always lurking in the background in one way or the other. Maybe the best way to label him is…chaotic good? Or perhaps chaotic neutral?

  9. https://taptaptaptaptap.net/sao-qna-yui-asuna/

    Yui’s hobby is to penetrate firewalls, answer by the SAO author:
    Q. What are your hobbies?
    A. Firewall penetration.

    The reason Eugeo hesitated in the first episode:
    The Seal works by inducing great pain onto a human’s right eye whenever they even attempt to think about questioning or breaking any rules that they believe have authority, to dissuade them from questioning or acting out against an imposed rule. If a person continues to think about the rules and even decides to attempt to break them, the Seal paralyzes their body, with the words “SYSTEM ALERT” (in English) appearing on their right eye (Eugeo’s case seemed to also have “CODE 871” appended to the System Alert), thus preventing them from continuing to take action.

    Project Alicization background:
    With the end of the Cold War Era and subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, the people became less tolerant of soldier deaths. However, countries with large militaries, especially the United States of America, were unwilling to abandon their military-industrial complex, thus necessitating unmanned weapons to replace soldiers. However, due to Japan’s market not being capable of sustaining domestic production of weapons from scratch as a result of export prohibitions, Japan was forced to either import or co-develop weapons with America. Despite this mutual cooperation, America claimed the cutting-edge technology for itself, while the weapons sold to Japan lacked key features, such as control software for fighter jets. Thus, feeling anxious about relying on Americans for their core defensive capabilities, some military officers and technicians decided to create a technology that would entirely belong to Japan.


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