It’s just a flesh wound!
Kirito and Eugeo raid the armory for their swords (and a quick costume change), but are soon attacked by another Integrity Knight, Deusolbert Synthesis Seven, who specializes in arrows. Not long after the fight begins, he initiates Perfect Weapon Control, which utilizes the original materials of which his weapon was made from. He chastises Kirito and Eugeo for “corrupting” Eldrie, when all they did was remind him of his past. Deusolbert explains that Integrity Knights have no past and only exist when they are summoned. He prepares to fire a shot from his Conflagration Bow, which Kirito blocks with his sword while Eugeo attacks by accessing the power of the Blue Rose Sword, freezing the knight and stopping his flames.
With Deusolbert defeated, he realizes they truly are swordsmen of honor and apologizes for accusing them of corruption, but warns them that their tactics will not serve them against the other Integrity Knights. He also reveals his name to them, which Eugeo recognizes as the knight that took Alice away all those years ago. Eugeo goes into a rage and almost kills him, but is stopped by Kirito, who tells him this is the Axiom Church’s fault for messing with the knights’ memories. Truth is, Deusolbert doesn’t even remember taking Alice. He remembers being relocated to the cathedral and rewarded with his current armor at that time eight years ago, but not what he did to be rewarded. Kirito surmises that his memories of that day were wiped because Alice was to become an Integrity Knight herself, which would contradict the narrative that the knights have no past.
Despite this, Deusolbert still has fragments of memories, including one of what appears to be his wife, so Kirito gives him the choice of reporting him and Eugeo or joining them. Leaving him behind, the two continue their way up the levels and plan their next offensive, hoping to use their own Perfect Weapon Control in tandem to throw off the remaining knights. Though before they can continue, they come across two wandering kids carrying knives.
Sword Art Online returns to what I personally like best about it: the combat. This episode focuses mainly focuses on the fight against Deusolbert, which is sufficiently bright and flashy while also showing off Kirito’s tactical mind, highlighting the Perfect Weapon Control that was explained the last episode, and expanding on the mind control situation going on with the Integrity Knights by fully explaining things to one of them. That said, while it’s pretty drawn out, the fight is oddly short. Deusolbert fires a few shots before firing up his charge attack, which is then blocked and frozen and…that’s it. It was definitely cool to look at, but the actual sequence of events ends up feeling lacking when you think about it.
Similarly, with how this knight, in particular, was seen in Ep 12 and apparently was first shown as far back as the first episode of the season, him being defeated in a single battle also kind of deflates the threat level of the remaining knights. Their assigned numbers don’t necessarily have to be a ranking system, and a newbie like Eldrie or one of the younger knights (aside from Alice, since she’s likely an end boss) is probably going to be easier to beat than someone more experienced, but wouldn’t Deusolbert be one of the more experienced knights since he’s the seventh oldest made? And yet he’s still beaten by some kids, well taught as they are, in a single encounter. At the very least, the future fights will most likely LOOK cool, so I know I won’t be bored, and hopefully, the remaining knights will continue to diversify up the fighting style a bit. Eldrie used a whip and Deusolbert a bow and arrow, so who knows what’s next.
And I can’t finish this review without talking about the boss new Opening and Ending credits that will take us to the end of this part of the season. Not that I particularly disliked the first opening, but this one seems like such a marked improvement. Really enjoying the song choice, which was particularly good at getting me hyped to watch this episode and will likely do the same for the rest it’s in. And with all the new characters shown here, it naturally raises some questions to keep me thinking about it after the episode is over, such as whether or not Kirito, Eugeo, and Alice’s memories of each other will play a part down the line. And who’s that creepy clown guy? And will Kirito and Eugeo ever do that cool handshake that they do in this and the previous OP? Because they haven’t done it yet. All stuff I can’t wait to be answered either way.