One of Mother's Basement's latest videos on SAO criticized Alicization's first two cours, and while I'd say it's slightly better than his average vid, yet again, a lot of what he says is flat out wrong or purposefully misinterpreted.
Why'd I type all this out?
Even today, a lot of people seem to believe that MB is a reliable source when it comes to SAO, and those who disagree are just making stuff up without any evidence. Ergo, there's a need for evidence, and boy is there a boatload of that...
Bonus: MB claims that he's going treat the anime fairer in this video and onwards.
Kind of a sub criticism since the evidence is strewn across his entire video,and thus is strewn across my rebuttal (I'll mark each separate instance with an *).
Even if you ignore the fact that he never should have been half the ass he was in previous videos (Actual quotes: "Pretty much everyone over the age of 12 agrees that SAO is a bad anime", "Some people seem to be under the impression that SAO's OP's are actually good" etc, etc) he really hasn't changed right now either. There are plenty of instances where he's needlessly rude or vitriolic towards the anime. Hell, within the very title he describes SAO as a "Dumpster fire". Aren't there a 100 different ways that he could have said the same thing without being so inflammatory? Then again, maybe that's because being inflammatory and attracting the attention of mindless SAO haters isn't something he wants to avoid.
Besides, the apparent apology seems very suspect to me considering that he did the exact same thing many SAO videos earlier, talking about how he'd look at the series in a more generous lens and even try reading the LN. Right before proceeding to make multiple videos bashing SAO with the same level of untruths and inaccuracy. Hmm. This definitely isn't the exact same sentiment repackaged.
But in all honesty, it seems to me that this isn't a legitimate change of heart from him, but rather some calculated decision he made in order to net more views. Even in the past, there are many times where it seemed to me that he didn't really believe what he was saying, but rather, he was willing to twist the truth and make SAO look bad if he thought it would benefit him. Take his video on SAO's OPs for example. In other OP analyses videos (and he has a lot of them) he goes through every detail with a fine toothed comb, and yet for the SAO OP's he misses out on so many points that even a random SAO viewer could probably notice. Likely reason? He saw that SAO had much symbolism, but decided to go with insults because that'd be more popular with the viewers. And it was.
I find it difficult to believe that the guy who talked about how blood personality theory connected to the character of Hero-Killer Stain, and made an entire video on a bag of chips from Death Note is so blind that when he sees Asuna in Crossing Field huddling within a blanket in a dark room as another version of her strides across the screen, all he can say is "This shows that Asuna has a sensitive side". That sounds like the kind of vague and terrible analysis I'd make in a rushed Lit paper forgotten about until the night before it was due back in middle school. That's what makes me think it's the same calculated decision here. "People are getting tired of me repetitively complaining about SAO? Alright, I'll pretend to be different to switch things up and get their interest."
Yui destroys all dramatic tension within the show
Not true at all. Let's look at the primary goal/source of dramatic tension each arc vs What Yui does in that arc
Aincrad-Clearing all 100 floors/defeating Kayaba |
Saves Asuna and Kirito once
Fairy Dance-Saving Asuna|
Provides info & advice, gets through the World Tree barrier thanks to Asuna
Phantom Bullet- Stopping Death Gun|
Turning on a TV
Mother's Rosario- Beating a floor boss with just the SK guild |
Helping Kirito stall the enemy guild while the Sleeping Knights challenge the floor boss
Alicization- Defeating Quinella and the Axiom Church | Is able to partially help in finding Kirito.
Saying that there's a single arc where Yui destroys all dramatic tension is simply wrong, and saying that this is the case for every single arc is complete nonsense.
Fluctlights are pure pseudoscience
The underlying concept of Fluctlights is based on real life research by experts in the field of Quantum Physics from decades ago, and some of the mentioned aspects like "Microtubules" and "Photons in the brain" are perfectly real as well. It seems rather unfair that Reki Kawahara did actual research and work on the topic only for a random youtuber with no background in the field to claim that it's made up fiction, and to even mock it in his twitter* continuously as BS comparable to Midichlorians in terms of ridiculousness. Hell, all you have to do is just google "Photons in the brain" and you'll find a relevant article, like this
. But of course using a search bar and entering a few words is too much effort for the guy.
The fact that Rath attempts to create bottom-up AI, when we've already seen top-down AI like Yui show an ability to learn must be some sort of plot hole
This complaint is pure presumption stemming from a lack of info to back it up. The very first Alicization LN mentions how Yui, despite being (to Kirito's knowledge) the highest standard of AI to exist as a result of how she monitored and learned from the actions and psychological states of thousands of players back in Aincrad, still isn't perfectly human, and can have difficulty reacting to situations she has no experience with, "showing an AI-like expression" on her face in such scenarios. The second LN goes a bit more in depth, and mentions how as a top-down AI, Yui essentially knows how to act as a result of being in a certain situation, and learning that they should react in a certain manner. Bottom Up AI like the Artificial Fluctlights however, know to act human in a completely natural manner.
Granted, these are explained in more detail in the LN, and MB admits at the end that there are some differences in the LN that might explain or remedy the flaws he mentioned. However, this seems very disingenuous* considering how ready he is to delve into LN material as long as it supports one of his criticisms, but then look the other way when it goes against his criticisms.
And even then, it's not as if we see any evidence supporting the opposite. This is all speculation from what we don't know by MB, which makes for a very weak critique.
Even if top-down AI aren't as advanced as bottom-up AI, why would you want the latter for something as simple as "going places and shooting things"?
Why would a military want to have state of the art tech, when they can simply settle for something mediocre? Of course Rath would their AI soldiers to be as intelligent, and as adaptable as possible. Additionally, just like a nuclear arms race, there's a good chance that an AI race would be sparked, where both, if not all sides (consisting of major countries) would be competing for the superior, most developed AI that they could use to outwit the other side in a future war. There's no way that Rath would want to fall behind with inferior technology.
And saying that all you need for an effective soldier is someone who can "go places and shoot things" seems rather flippantly rude to actual soldiers- you might as well say "all you need to be a pro gamer is the ability to press a bunch of buttons". There are clearly many other such things that you need to account for:
-Strategies and tactics to use in combat
-Ethical protocols when dealing with enemy troops, civilians, POW's
-How to react in unexpected situations (eg: an ambush/surprise attacks, equipment failing, guns jamming)
etc. Considering the danger that Articial Fluctlight's can produce (eg: a Skynet type incident), it doesn't make sense that the Taboo Index is seen as a problem
Mother's Basement is severely exaggerating the threat that those of the Underworld pose. AF's have hacking capabilities comparable to the average human, if not worse, considering that they don't even know basic IT, and lack the intrinsic system manipulating abilities of an AI like Yui. Your chances of Skynet are next to 0.
The most that Quinella-an exceptional, one in a million case of a AF who knew the Sacred Arts system better than anyone else in her world-could achieve (in terms of influencing the outside world) after hundreds of years and a helping hand from the other side was simply a means to transfer herself out of the Underworld. What could a random Artificial Fluctlight like, say Alice do, when they lack all those advantages and are under greater surveillance (a single person within a single machine, as opposed to thousands of people within a huge world, as well as being far easier to observe (since it is unlikely that Rath would continue using Fluctlight Acceleration after the AF were extracted, and thus they could quickly intervene if they noticed something sketchy going on)).
What MB ignores is that the AF escaping the Underworld and wreaking havoc is extremely unlikely. Imagine that tomorrow you realised that you were living in a simulation. Could you escape it? No, because that's not physically possible. Same for the AF, assuming that the Sacred Arts system was removed, something that Cardinal stated was certainly possible.
Even if the AF used the robot shells they controlled to, say, attack RATH, there can still obviously be fail-safes (like your basic kill switch) present, and the members of RATH surveying their actions. And though many movies and books circumvent this issue by having the AI hack or disable their failsafe, again, that's far beyond the capabilities of an AF.
It doesn't make sense that Rath wouldn't use the Integrity Knights as soldiers, since they've been shown to be capable of injuring and potentially even killing others who've been labelled enemies.
Firstly, the main 'advantage' to using the Knights that MB stated was already debunked one point ago.
Secondly, the way that they are limited means that they lack the ingenuity and ability to improvise when faced with an unexpected situation. Let's take Alice as an example: fighting on her own turf, she managed to almost defeat Kirito and withstand Eugeo's Enhance Armament. But put her in combat in a situation where she has no experience at all, like balancing precariously on the side of the Axiom Church while fighting winged monsters, and she freezes. Then, put her back to a (relatively) normal fighting terrain (the terrace from where she and Kirito stood) and she's at ease again. In the LN, Kirito even states this:
("In general, the people of the Underworld tended to react poorly towards situation beyond their expectations or common sense. Their adaptability towards «originally impossible circumstances» was especially low...
Rath has been aiming to create AI where their main advantage is how adaptable they are (Hence the A in A.L.I.C.E), so why would they settle for an AI which is clearly not at its full potential even after investing undoubtedly a *lot* of money and time into the project and even obtaining official government endorsement.
Thirdly, the Integrity Knights are capable of combat only in the explicit conditions of their own world. Just like an ordinary Underworld citizen, they're still bound to their own laws and restrictions.If they were extracted to the real world, and told to follow a new system of rules and ethics, they'd likely be frozen and incapable of fighting. And since they have been raised and trained to believe that their sole duty is to protect their own land, how would they react to orders telling them to protect a completely different one?
If Rath tried using the Integrity Knights, they'd be settling for Artificial Fluctlights that were clearly not at the standards they aimed for, were barely less of a risk, and might not even be functional at all.
It doesn't make sense that Eugeo thinks Kirito wouldn't want to replace Alice S30 with Alice Zuberg, nor is Kirito ever shown expressing such thoughts.
Eugeo and Kirito know each other very well after their years together. After Eugeo sees Alice S30 expressing a true compassionate personality of her own when they re-unite at the top floor of the Axiom Church, it's not too big of a stretch for Eugeo to realise that Kirito, the same guy who would sacrifice Cardinal's dagger and their ticket to defeat Quinella just to save the life of an enemy who tried to kill him (Fanatio), would probably be unwilling to sacrifice S30.
And with Kirito it's clear that he was against Alice S30 giving up her life. It's not said verbally, but it's pretty damn obvious from the expression Kirito gives when Alice S30 says "After all, I must return what I've stolen, right (in reference to her body)", that is he isn't comfortable with what she plans to do. This is even obvious when you consider Kirito's approach to Cardinal's plan to 'save' the Underworld. He'll go along with it for now because there aren't any other options, but he'll still keep searching for another way.
Kirito's tearful scene makes no sense and is just meant to quickly introduce Incarnation
Homesickness is believable when you haven't seen your family and friends in two years, and Kirito has repressed negative emotions before, only for a catalytic event to draw them out (Phantom Bullet). It seems rather hypocritical to shun a character for seemingly having no character development, and then to shun him for having it.
And while Incarnation is introduced in this scene, that doesn't lessen the validity of what had previously happened. One of the aspects of Kawahara's writing that I enjoy is how certain points in SAO have more than one role in the story
eg: The LN only scene where Cardinal mentions how to create those high priority daggers she had to cut her hair and convert them into blades fulfills two objectives. 1) It introduces us to the idea of converting objects into weapons and gives some background information. 2) Adds to Cardinal's character on how she often pretends to lack humanity, but subconsciously shows glimpses of it.
Or when Kirito and Alice are outside the Axiom Church after defeating the minions and Alice remarks on Kirito's hunger: 1) Shows a difference in personality between Alice and Kirito, where the latter is (generally) more childish and carefree 2) Sets up a point of humor with Alice's stomach rumbling 3) Reminds us of how skilled Alice is at Sacred Arts 4) Sets up Kirito accidentally revealing her past.
Every single battles is way too predictable in their usage of the environment
This is simply wrong, and probably one of the worst complaints in his entire video if you consider not only how inaccurate it is, but also how big of an issue he claims it to be. The only instances with involvement of the environment are: Eugeo vs Bercouli, Alice vs Kirito, and Quinella when she summons the Sword Golem (though even then, with the latter two it's quite a stretch).
On the other hand, other fights like (*takes deep breath*) the GGO fight
, Vs Goblins
, Zakkaria Fight 1, Zakkaria Fight 2, Vs Sortiliena ,Vs Levantein ,Sortiliena Vs Levantein ,Eugeo Vs Humbert, Kirito Vs Raios, Cardinal Vs Quinella, Vs Eldrie
, Vs Deuselbert, Vs Fanatio, Vs Minions, Kirito Vs Eugeo, Eugeo vs Quinella, Vs Chudelkein, Vs Sword Titan, Eugeo (sword form) vs Sword Titan and Quinella, Kirito vs Quinella
have no such usage.
In other words, even after looking at it very
liberally, 87.5% of the battles showcase no usage of the environment.
That is extremely different from MB's statement of "In basically every room where Kirito and Eugeo have to fight someone, there are two or three objects or structures or substances in the immediate vicinity that without fail are utilised in the fight
". What he's claiming isn't just completely and utterly wrong, but again, he seriously exaggerates how big of an issue that non-existent problem is.
Let me repeat that. In a season with plenty of battles, MB criticises all of them for supposedly having a problem to a huge extent, when in reality that problem doesn't exist at all.
MB also says that Fanatio's fight counts because Kirito used the surrounding pillars for cover from Fanatio's beams of light... but that makes me wonder whether he was even paying attention to the fight. At no point at all in the entire fight (and I re-watched it all just to be sure) did Kirito use the pillars to block her rays. He did jump away from her Release Recollection at one point, landing near the pillars, but clearly wasn't using them for cover, since he gets blasted through the shoulder seconds later whilst in that exact position. And even if MB somehow mis-remembered this scene so that in his mind, Kirito did use that pillar for the cover, it would still be just ~20 seconds in a ~10 minute fight, and certainly no 'ultimate trump card move' like he implies.
And about him making it sound a lot worse than it is: from those three examples I mentioned, only one of them would properly classify as "two or three conveniently placed items that are utilised". Alice v Kirito only involved the collapsing wall (barely counts at all), and with Eugeo vs Bercouli, there honestly wasn't any environmental factor involved aside from the pool of water, (and even then Eugeo could have pulled off his win without that pool, since the majority of his strategy relied on just his Perfect Armament Art). Thinking realistically, the only places where the pool would have helped would be in knocking Bercouli off his balance and freezing the area around them. Even if the entire room was flat and dry, Bercouli could have been knocked down and frozen- it'd have just been a bit harder.
MB mentions the Sword Titan's creation as being another example of every room having something that ends up factoring into the fight. But as a complaint, this makes 0 sense. Aside from the environment not factoring into the battle at all, but merely into the ST's creation, why would the crystals in the ceiling and swords on the wall be a bad thing? This is Quinella's ultimate weapon- why would you expect her to leave it lying around anywhere but
her room? One might as well complain about how awfully convenient it is that Fanatio had her sword in the exact moment that she fought Kirito. Geoff essentially complains about how an antagonist keeps the keys to her secret weapon near herself.
He also claims that this 'predictability' means that "when I tell you that Eugeo with his magic ice sword fights a samurai dude in a room full of water, that's all I have to say for you to form a more or less complete picture of that fight in your mind
", and to be honest, I'm just dumbfounded.
Does he really expect that someone hearing "Eugeo fights a samurai (though not really) in a room full of water
" would instantly realise "Bercouli has the power to launch strikes that remain in that same spot even after time has passed, which catches Eugeo off guard and flings him in a bloodied state into the pool. To counter this Eugeo uses his Enhance armament to send an icy wave roaring towards Bercouli, which is destroyed by a single blow from Bercouli's sword. Eugeo uses the time he bought to clear the gap between them and tricks Bercouli into the two of them clashing their swords together, only to reveal that Eugeo simply used an icicle as a fake blade. He then tackles Bercouli and takes advantage of the icy floor so that Bercouli loses his footing and tumbles into the pool, where Eugeo launches a quick sacred art to break the ice that held his real blade to the ceiling from earlier, catches his sword and then uses his release recollection art to freeze the entire pool. Bercouli tries to resist using his raw strength, only for Eugeo to use the second aspect of his art- icy flowers that drain life, with the goal of sapping both their health until Bercouli (who had less health due to his greater age) had his life fall to the point of defeat
It's a very wordy block of text, but that's the point. There's so much that you don't get by hearing just a single line from MB, despite his nonsensical claim.
And if you say you can get all of that, or even most of that, from just that single sentence by MB, I'd say you're either a liar or a psychic.
The Perfect Weapon Control is only a gimmick introduced because the fights would be "tedious" otherwise
Firstly, it's worth noting that there's a sort of hostility in MB's words here*. Instead of treating the Perfect Weapon Control Art as, say, a means of adding a new twist to the fights and making them more interesting for viewers, he treats it as if it's some sort of crutch to compensate for how incompetent the fights would otherwise be, and looks at it from a solely negative perspective. With that sort of biased logic, you could say that any anime with good animation must be the studio's attempt to compensate for the lackluster content and plot. I highly doubt he'd act in such a rude and judgmental manner if this were any other series.
Secondly, it's clear that the Perfect Weapon Control Art isn't just there as a gimmick for the fights: it sets up the main climax of the second cour, after all. The Sword Titan is created using the Perfect Weapon Art, where the blade's memories were unleashed to strengthen it and use it as a living weapon.
So in the case of the Sword Titan, which consisted of multiple humans in the past, it gained the ability to move and act like an organism, as well a fast HP regeneration rate. I doubt that with all those factors coming together, you can truly say that the PWC art still had no other purpose or meaning. Without it, the Sword Titan, a major factor in the endgame of Alicization's first half, would not exist at all.
Charlotte is an AI like Yui, so it doesn't make sense that Kirito is surprised by Charlotte's compassion.
Charlotte is stated as being the equivalent of an ordinary game's NPC. While an NPC does have a basic AI controlling its decisions, it cannot compare at all to Yui, a state-of-the-art AI designed to mentally counsel humans and thereby from those interactions, grow more human herself as well over the course of two years (and with a core program alone which contains 3 Terabytes).
Alice is purely a Saber knock off
This strikes me as quite a presumptuous and rude claim from someone doesn't even bother to give any evidence as to why Alice is apparently a rip-off of Saber before accusing Kawahara of plagiarism.
Firstly, just because they share a few superficial similarities doesn't mean one's a rip-off of the other.
Glasses from One Punch Man and Gohan from Dragon Ball Z are both non-MC physical fighters who look very similar (when the latter is wearing his tracksuit). But this doesn't mean that ONE decided to rip-off DBZ.
Todoroki from BNHA and Zuko from ATLA are both teenage boys who start off with a sub antagonistic role, have issues with a father who tried to force his legacy onto them, fire powers, a mother who disappeared when they were young and a large scar running across their face, centered on their eye. But Kohei Horikoshi himself has stated that this was not purposeful. In other words, he didn't decide to rip-off another series either.
And besides, as someone who's watched every episode of Alicization as well as their LN counterparts, and has seen every main continuity Fate adaptation (Zero, Stay/Night, UBW, Heaven's Feel), Alice and Saber strike me as clearly separate, distinguishable characters.
Eugeo never reunites with Alice and experiences closure to his arc
He does. He re-unites with the Alice he knew, after working together to take down the Sword Titan and then sacrificing themselves together. It's not the happy ending that Eugeo originally envisioned, but he knows that the world they care about will be safe, and he can be together with Alice- at least in death.
MB also seems to confuse Alice S30 with Alice Zuberg here, by complaining about how S30 and Eugeo never connect. But, put simply... why? To Eugeo, Alice S30 is nothing more than a stranger in his childhood friend's body, seeing as how there's a separate memory fragment storing Zuberg's entire personality and soul. What do you say to someone who has your closest childhood friend's body, but is a completely separate person? Nothing was directly said between the two, because nothing needed to be said. Eugeo and Alice S30 respected each other as fighters against Quinella's tyranny, but there was no way that Eugeo expected her to be the same as the Alice he knew.
Kirito and Eugeo are assholes for trying to trying to control Alice's body (yes, this is a real criticism)
Without context, this argument might seem somewhat legitimate, but with context it's absolutely not. Alice S30 had decided that she only came into being through unnatural means and at the cost of Zuberg's ownership over her body, and thus it was her duty to return her body, even if she 'died' as a result.
Early on, Eugeo was willing to do this as well, because it hadn't registered for him that she had a personality aside from a mindless knight fighting against the Axiom Church's enemies (similar to how Eugeo S32 was). Kirito, after realising that S30 was her own person, didn't want such a thing to happen- he wanted to find another way. So, according to Mother's Basement, Eugeo is an asshole for trying to remove a soul he didn't believe existed from the body of someone who was more than willing to accommodate, and Kirito is an asshole for... trying to save Alice's life?? This is flabbergastingly stupid.
He might as well say that suicide prevention groups are assholes for trying to control other people's bodies.
Eugeo is an asshole for purposefully taking Alice Zuberg's soul away from S30
This is factually false, and Alice died due to damage to her memory fragment. Even if they didn't directly state it, and it somehow didn't occur to MB after the seeing the vessel that contained her shatter, the fact that she embraces Eugeo with open arms, and later on walks to her death with a content expression on her face, should probably
have tipped him off to the idea that she wasn't forced to die by him at all. It's not as if Eugeo suddenly felt lonely and decided to yank Alice's soul to deletion as well.
Besides, MB strays from his own logic here. Zuberg made the conscious decision to sacrifice herself and work together with Eugeo, but for some reason what Zuberg does with herself is unfair to S30? What happened to it being her body? MB acts like he's playing the role of the noble voice who speaks for S30, but Alice Synthesis 30 herself said that she regarded Zuberg to be the 'true' Alice. So then if something is done involving her (Zuberg's) memories, then why is it unfair to S30?
Quinella's death showed bad writing
Controversial & unorthodox ≠ bad. Her death held meaning
if you paid attention. And I've heard some people, MB included, who try the very lazy route of presenting the situation with as little context as possible and in the worst possible light, and thus say that it is so weird that it must be bad-Ermahgerd, a flaming clown humped (not really) the naked antagonist to death!
(He's also done similarly in the past with ALO, like greatly exaggerating Suguha's feelings towards Kirito for shock value and mindless bashing)*.
But by that very premise, a lot of anime would automatically be considered terrible. I don't watch JoJo's Bizzare Adventures, but to my knowledge, it has a major villain who's defining feature and motive for crime is that he has a fetish for cutting off women's hands and chatting them (the hands) up, after first getting a boner from seeing Mona Lisa's bare hands. He's also considered one of the series' best villains. There are many other such examples in anime to prove my point.
Chudelkein humped Quinella to death
Not only was the jester holding on to her for less than half a minute, it's worth noting that he was on fire! And he's not immune to its aftereffects, as evidenced by how his first instance using the flame sacred arts ended up completely searing the flesh around his eyes. ("It would feel just a little warm when thermal elements were brought forth several centimeters from your fingers, but he would never get out unscathed when maintaining ones that large right before his eyeballs. The skin around his eyes started sizzling at once").
Similarly, when his face started breaking down into the rough shape of a skull as he grasped Quinella, it wasn't just a shift in art style- his face was literally being melted down. I highly doubt his crotch would be in working condition for what MB implies. Besides, even aside from that, we never even saw him humping Quinella. Why would one just jump to conclusions like that?
Fanatio's complex doesn't make sense (why would she care about a Dark Knights words, why don't other female Integrity Knights act in such a way, why does this belief persist when the leader of their world is a woman) and only exists to keep the fight from getting repetitive
Who's to say that an enemy's words would have no effect on her? The fact that Fanatio's an Integrity Knight who has very little contact with other humans aside from her own fellow knights (as Alice stated, Integrity Knights are prohibited with mingling with citizens except in the line of duty) means it's very possible that her own experience with an enemy who looked down on her could lead to her own personal complex. If Fanatio fought a Dark knight who acted in a sexist manner, then can could very well leave a mark on her mind. And the way that other female knights like Alice don't feel this way can simply be because
- They haven't had such an experience
- Different people react differently to the same/similar situation.
Take the character of Death Gatling from One Punch Man for example. In a hierarchical hero system, he holds a grudge against the Hero Association because of how A Class heroes (like him) are often treated as much less important than those of the S Class. He believes in this to such an extent that he actively avoided bringing S Class back-up to the fight against Garou when he clearly needed it. But there are many other heroes in A class, and nobody other than him is shown having that same bone to pick with the HA. That's for the same reason that not every woman in the Underworld feels the same way as Fanatio.
And the fact that the Pontifex is a woman isn't necessarily some immediate fix to her complex. Misogny was a thing in the Victorian Era, for example, where the ruler of Britain was a woman. Did the entire country just go "Wait, a second, our leader is female! In that case, let's immediately abolish sexist laws and give women suffrage and equal rights and whatnot"? Answer: No they didn't.
And her complex has a pretty clear reason for existing within the story. It's to do with Eugeo's character development. At the point within the story where he met Fanatio, he's angry. Partially just at himself for being what he considers to be a monster (in a world where simply injuring someone is a grave crime, he has committed what he considers tantamount to murder), but he's angry at the Integrity Knights as well. His faith in the system has crumbled, to the point where he sees them as the church's mindless puppets, who'd whisk away a little girl and tie her in chains for falling a centimeter further than she should have, but then fail to even safeguard Rulid from the threat of murderous goblins. Once Eugeo has seen the Axiom Church as the enemy, he's automatically inclined to take that idea to the extreme. But Fanatio challenges that belief. "Humans... Yeah... you're right. I understood that much when I fought them. She's human; that's why she was so strong.” When Eugeo muttered that, Kirito let out a slight laugh and agreed. “Those guys might say that they're absolute good, and they might be absolute evil in your eyes, but they're living humans just like us."
Fanatio's complex is what shows Kirito and especially Eugeo that she is her own person, in spite of any preconceived notions that the latter had. Insecurity and anger at something so personal and simple makes her undeniably human, and proves that she is more than a soulless, hollow puppet. If it wasn't for that, Eugeo would've gone the entire fight without reaching that conclusion.
Incarnation is a retcon for when Kirito brought himself back to life in S1
While they are based on related concepts, Incarnation is in no way a retcon. The rough concept from S1 was since the Nervegear picked up signals from your brain, a temporary emotional burst could allow you to momentarily defy the system (like surviving for a little longer when he should have died, or breaking through a paralysis effect, as Asuna did). True Incarnation from Alicization comes from how the Underworld in particular operates, making True Incarnation something unique to it.
A retcon is something which changes the established canon. How does the Underworld having such a system alter the previously established worldbuilding of Aincrad? The very reason why Incarnation exists in the Underworld is because it runs on a different system from Aincrad after all.
The only reason why things turned out as they did in the episodes leading up to Ep 24 was because of Kawahara's need to keep Kirito as a self-insert for the audience to project themselves onto Kirito in MB's mind
: Flawless self-insert for the audience who never fails at anything in this arc Kirito in reality
: Gets stabbed and almost killed by the Sword Titan in a matter of seconds, watches as Cardinal, Charlotte and Eugeo die in front of him due to his own powerlessness, loses his right arm and spends the next six months and many episodes as a vegetative, half-alive cripple.
Logically speaking, it doesn't make sense that Kirito couldn't save Eugeo, considering that he was capable of hacking SAO to save Yui, has an open access panel right there on the top floor and has even seen the entire command list after it was shown to him by Cardinal.
Kirito couldn't save Eugeo with Sacred Arts learnt from the list because:
-As Quinella stated, there weren't enough spatial resources to heal major injuries anymore within the room.
-It's unlikely that Kirito could've learned the complex Sacred Arts that Cardinal showed him because of how advanced sacred arts are long and difficult to memorise, he had more important things for Cardinal to fill him in on, he had to memorise the long complex Perfect Weapon Control Art command etc.
-And even aside from that, it's unlikely that Kirito had the system authority to use such high ranking spells.
And again, Kirito never hacked into the system in SAO. Not only did Reki Kawahara clear this misconception up in a public tweet from around the same time the episode aired, he mentioned it in an Alicization novel as well. "To be specific, I simply accessed the SAO's program space from a system console, searched for the files that made up Yui, compressed them, and set that as an object; carrying it out in the few tens of seconds before Cardinal [Aincrad's Cardinal System] detected my system intervention and quarantined it, however, was probably a true miracle in itself." -Alicization Rising
You can't get much more thorough than that, providing an explanation within the source material as well as in a public word of god statement. Not to mention how old that tweet is. MB is literally spreading untruths from 7 years ago, that the author himself has personally and publicly debunked.
So, Kirito couldn't save Eugeo using the access panel because:
-It's unlikely that Kirito had the skills to do so. In Yui's case, he could simply use the pre-existing function to convert an NPC into an in-game item. Not only is there no evidence to imply that such a funtion exists in Alicization, it's not as if Kirito knew Eugeo's file name to search him up and convert him. The rules were completely different this time.
-There's no evidence to imply that the access panel could even do such a thing.
There's no excuse that Eldrie and Deuselbert don't have more character development and focus
Eldrie had a grand total of about 6 minutes of screentime (disregarding the period in which he was immobilized by the Piety Module), and even then about half of that was taken up by his fight with Kirito and Eugeo.
Deuselbert had about 16 minutes of screentime, but about 90% of it was taken up by his fight, and that the character development focus during those 16 minutes was on Eugeo.
Besides, there's a narrative purpose to the two of them not being too developed and distinctive from your idea of a classic, benevolent(ish) knight. In terms of Eugeo's development, he still held the idea that the Integrity Knights were to blame for his pain, and that they were soulless beings who simply served the church. When he met Fanatio, that idea was challenged by the emotions she expressed. If both Eldrie and Deuselbert had dramatic and detailed backstories, it would ruin that order.
Bercouli has no character aside from being an "old, confident knight who's loyal to the church but is starting to have his doubts"
While I'd argue that the level of development a character has is highly subjective there's still a fair amount of details that MB skips out on like
-Bercouli's uncle-niece type relationship with Alice Synthesis S30
-How despite being confident, he still holds a casual and informal air while talking to Eugeo.
-And again, despite being confident, he's humble enough to admit his failures in the past (how he lost badly at first against the forces of the Dark Territory). "You can bet I was beaten senseless at first".
-His cleverness in his fighting style, instead of working with brute strength and overwhelming power, which contrasts Eugeo and Kirito. Rather than adapt himself to the situation, he adapts the situation to himself.
-How he cares towards Fanatio, though that's a more subtle point.
And even then, that's with about 15 minutes of screentime.
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