「時の彼方」 (Toki no Kanata)
“Beyond Time”

So what do the evil Americans do, now that their captain is dead, and existing mission rendered impossible? If they can’t have Alice, then nobody can have her. They attach an explosive to the Ocean Turtle’s nuclear fission reactor, hoping to take the whole ship down. This episode became a race against time for the Japanese side, to defuse the explosive in the engine room.

Subtilizer’s Final Awakening

First off I would like to talk about Subtilizer’s awakening scene. I generally liked the idea behind it. That Gabriel wakes up – sees his lifeless body in corporeal form, then is dragged down to hell by his murder victims. We also are left to wonder whether real hell exists in Sword Art Online, that technology can serve to defy, or whether this is a delirious episode in Gabriel Miller’s imagination. However, I wasn’t too sure about the execution. I wanted to see Subtilizer’s development as a character. They did a poor job of expressing his fear. And I wish they’d made Alicia creepier. That would have made the sensation of horror a lot more tangible.

Kayaba Ex Machina

Where to start. The only reasonable explanation is that Kayaba’s consciousness has been digitally stored this entire time. But I would have appreciated some hints and indications, or some more dedicated explanations, because this really came out of left field with timing that was way too convenient. I really wasn’t a fan of this plot device. Especially the style in which it played out. I can get on board with souls surpassing human limitations in a realm that’s essentially a lucid dream. But applying incarnation to the real world is nonsensical. In the context of completely broken machinery with no power supply, robo willpower was enough to get him across the finish line. You’re telling me if a dead laptop was inhabited by AI, it could revive through its internal willpower? No fucking way.

While we get confirmation that Subtilizer is most certainly dead, they never check Vassago – whose body vanished from the STL. What does this mean? Giving it some thought, the Japanese technicians hadn’t fully disengaged Kirito or Asuna from the STL before the Americans escaped. So that would suggest Vassago disengaged during the acceleration – damaging what’s left of his soul. Meaning we could have zombie Vassago haunting Kirito. Or someone stole his lifeless body under the American’s nose for their own purpose. But if not the Japanese, who could have done it? Potentially that’s how Kayaba Akihiko escaped the engine room. He uploaded his consciousness through the STL into Vassago’s body. Though it wouldn’t explain why Niemon’s cybernetic body disappeared too. Now that Kayaba’s been reintroduced to the story, I’m very skeptical that he’s died here – especially with two bodies missing. No doubt he’s still alive – and now I’m left wondering what his future relevance to SAO’s story will be.

Concluding Thoughts

Not my favourite episode of Alicization War of Underworld Part 2. That’s for sure. But it does tie off many loose ends and puts an affirmative stopper on the American threat. And I can also respect that the SDF members stayed on the ship to save Kirito and Asuna, instead of searching for an emergency submarine to escape. From here on out, I would like to see how Alice is brought into the real world. Will she remain hidden as a secret? Or will she be revealed to the world? Considering the believable lack of empathy expressed by many human players during their time in the Underworld, and the twisted political interests at large, I do not think the world is ready for Alice. Yet I would be fascinated to see how Reki writes out a global reaction all the same. Also, I hope we’ll be able to get some snapshots and montages regarding the 200 years that Kirito and Asuna are going to spend in the Underworld. One thing’s for certain – we can expect new doujins about 200 years of glop.

Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading my post – and see you next week!


  1. I suggest re-watching Alicization from beginning to now that’s what i did and i caught lots of foreshadowing, setups and explanations that people either didn’t listen to cause they were in “talk/boring/filler” episodes or forgot cause of how long between cours. I now am seeing the beauty of the entire Alicization/War of Underworld storyline.

    The Kayaba thing seems out of left field but there were several hints throughout that he was involved with the Project. (Also stuff the anime cuts out that the LN does explain).

    1. To be fair the anime cut a good amount of things(Nothing really major though). Such as Kirito being unconcious when found by Alice but was “awakened” arbeit in a catatonic state by her attempts to heal him.

      Alice was pretty worried when she discovered Kirito looking pretty dead after his fluctlight was borked. I know she has been pretty Stoic at times, but you’d have to hand it to her for caring enough to try and fix Kirito in that state.

  2. @what his future relevance to SAO’s story

    Keep in mind that the series ended officially with the web novel a long time ago and was only recently within the past few years picked back up for new original material. Any sort of plot threads you may want answered could eventually be answered or expanded in the Unital Ring arc which is three story volumes & one side story volume in.

    I’m wondering if they will announce a Sword Art Online movie to cover the two volume Moon Cradle side story arc after the final episode airs.

    It wouldn’t make sense to start a new season with side story material set in Underworld when Unital Ring is a brand new game & story.

  3. When I thought nothing could be worse of the previous episode, here we get Robo Kayaba!
    And he works without batteries!!!!
    What’s next? I am starting to fear what’s coming in the remaining episodes.
    Please stop this madness.

      1. Like it was said in the article, I can understand willpower on human, but on Robot it makes no sense, once it’s broken it’s broken.
        Gabriel death scene was something out of a cheap horror movie.
        After dead robot coming to life, we also get dead persons coming to life.
        A psycho man/robot who killed hundreds of kids is treated like a hero.
        I don’t think there need to be more to define this episode as horrible, but I am sure there is and I am glad I already forgot.

        1. did you miss the part where it said backup batteries kicked in, also Kayaba did what Kirito did to him back at the end of Aincrad

          that’s your opinion about Gabriel’s death wont say more than that

          i hear the Vassago stuff is hint for later on same with the missing robot so im holding off for that for now.

          They say over and over they don’t nor can forgive Kayaba for what he did, but maybe he is trying to start repenting for his crimes.

  4. Robo-resurrection and dragged to hell scenes I could’ve done without. I understand the emotional impact they were going for with them and that part mostly worked, but both had no place in the “real” part of the SAO world.


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