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Dated 14 July 2020: Sword Art Online is back and it's the SAO we know

Alice
I still don't actually know what "Alicization" means, unless it involves energy beams to the face.

The final cours of Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld began on Saturday, picking up where it left off six months ago. First, a quick overview: Sword Art Online is the franchise. Alicization is its third major season (and once complete, will be four cours long—as long as the first two seasons combined). War of Underworld is the double-cours second half of Alicization.

Alice
I bet that sleep spell wouldn't have worked if Alice S. 30 had an N95 mask.

The original SAO cast was absent from most of the previous 12 episodes, which focused instead on Alice Sythesis Thirty, a UCLA Bruin introduced for the third season. Kirito has been present during War of Underworld, sort of, but relegated to mostly convalescing in a wheelchair while Alice S. Thirty pushed him around so he could be nearer to people who want him dead.

Kirito and Sinon
He's probably trying to figure out what's going on with your outfit.

Kirito has been showing signs that he's still awake somewhere behind his dead-fish eyes, so it's a cinch he's going to make his grand return at some point. Kirito's, uh, new best friend Eugeo also features prominently during the opening and closing credits of the new season, so maybe he's going to be back, too.

Asuna and Sinon
Somehow Asuna is the only one to recognize flying is a big deal.

Asuna and Sinon both joined the titular war at the end of the previous cours. Leafa and Klein logged in during the first episode of the current cours. So yeah, they're getting the old crew back together for the season's big finish. Fans of the original cast who have been dying for more Silica and Lisbeth deban presumably won't have to wait much longer. First-season characters are not the only thing that has returned, though. Sexual assault is also back.

Quinella
I'm including the time the pope Jedi mind fucked Eugeo.

Actually, sexual assault has never really left. Attempted rape, etc., is such a common occurrence in the Sword Art Online franchise that I'm not sure I could name all the times it appears without accidentally forgetting a scene or two. I don't even object to its inclusion on principle, necessarily—it's just always contrived and presented so poorly and obnoxiously, though.

Leafa
I can't rule out the possibility Suguha just enjoys suffering.

In the instant case, Leafa logs in, makes a new friend, and is instantly tentacle raped by an exaggerated over-the-top villain (the most common sort of villain in SAO). It goes beyond even the infamous first-season example involving Asuna. (That's specific enough to identify which one I mean, right?) Leafa suffers through it for entirely unconvincing reasons.

Gabriel Miller
You can identify SAO villains because they all make this face.

Maybe Sword Art Online includes these scenes and presents them in this way because possibly a significant majority of SAO fans enjoy and appreciate them, but I'm optimistic enough to hope it's done out of deference to Kawahara Reki's light novels. I don't know how much the SAO anime deviates from the source material, but I sort of get the feeling that it's not doing it enough.

Alice
I don't remember Alice S. XXX wearing this outfit before.

If you listen to the commentary track for Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale, it's quite obvious the production team changed or rejected a significant number of Kawahara's ideas and scenes. I can only guess at what the movie's original script might have looked like, but I think all but the most puerile viewers can identify with certainty which elements of the television show desperately needed re-working.

Dated 22 October 2019: I am legit stoked about Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld

Alice
The most powerful swords are the ones without blades.

I am counting on reports from the Twitter that the War of Underworld arc of Sword Art Online: Alicization will be mostly Kirito-free for all of the next cours and a third of the final one. Based on how the AIDS "Mother's Rosario" arc and the Gun Gale Online spin-off panned out, I'm expecting to enjoy this quite a bit. For one thing, I already view Alice Synthesis Thirty pretty favorably, even though it's mostly because she sounds like an old sourpuss instead of a teenage girl when she talks, and because I think her armor's yellow and blue color scheme works really well—never mind that I sort of dislike UCLA.

Alice
I wanted to see unattended Coma Kirito fall off Alice's dragon.

After a perfunctory recap episode and two proper episodes of Sword Art Online: Alicization - War of Underworld, the anime seems to be off to a good start. True to SAO form, there sure are a lot of sneering assholes among the various unimportant characters. I'm okay with it, because Lalatina is entirely too resilient for any of these scrubs to fuck with, and I don't really care if random schmucks are dicks to Kirito for no reason. Honestly, I don't even know what War on Underpants War of Underworld is even about (so far it is about playing a Goblin Slayer simulator on easy mode), but it sort of doesn't matter as long as it's at least indirectly about Alice being very yellow. She sure ditched that eye patch rather fast, though.

Dated 24 March 2015: Scott D. Crain, cortana, 1968 - 2015

2015-03-20-20:22< cortana> This is Scott's mother, Janet Crain.
2015-03-20-20:22< cortana> Scott passed away in his sleep Thursday, March 19, 2015 in Xenia, Ohio. Scott was born December 8, 1968 in Xenia, OH.
2015-03-20-20:22< cortana> Memorial services will be held on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 6:00 PM at the McColaugh Funeral Home Inc. 826 N. Detroit St. Xenia, Ohio 45385. Family will receive friends 5:00 PM until the time of service Tuesday at the funeral home. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.mccolaughfuneralhome.com.
2015-03-20-20:22< cortana> More information can be found here:
2015-03-20-20:22< cortana> http://www.mccolaughfuneralhome.com/memsol.cgi?user_id=1546070

I must have known Scott D. Crain (strictly by his Internet moniker cortana) for close to 15 years. Although I never met the man personally nor even spoke with him privately, his death comes far too suddenly and much too soon. I only knew Scott as cortana and he only knew me as Evirus, partly due to my now anachronistic insistance at divorcing my Internet persona from the rest of my life, and partly due to my paranoid suspicion that the Internet harbors mostly miscreants and misanthropes. cortana was neither of these. He was, without a doubt, one of the genuinely good people who brought decency and civility to our anti-social fringe of the dark web's acretion disc. (Including the IRC channel directly responsible for spawning 4chan, for crying out loud.) I can't do justice to the loss his passing brings, but I hope this small memorial will at least help someone who stumbles across it years from now (perhaps searching for c0rtana or cortana from #raspberryheaven and #marimite) appreciate that the myriad people who Scott knew globally from all walks of life uniformly thought fondly of him and valued his friendship. Scott, you will be missed.

Dated 12 December 2011: The Infinite Stratos OVA is a harem comedy so pure you could use it for titration

Charles and Cecilia
Cake goes in here.

The IS: Infinite Stratos OVA dispenses with the robots and powered armor hijinks almost entirely in order to focus exclusively on The Only Boy in School and the girls with the best chances at doing him. Well, at least in theory. Surprising no one, I'm sure, ol' Potato-kun is completely oblivious to their charms and absolutely ignorant of their intentions. Charles, Cecilia, Laura, Rin, and Houki pile uninvited into Ichika's home one day for some wacky good times. It's not top fuel hilarity, but the OVA is a pleasant diversion that relies heavily on the characters to amuse the viewer. It's anime junk food, but it tastes all right, and it won't spoil your dinner. (Wisely, the cast is united in their opposition to British cooking.)

Charles and Laura
Why does every party end up in the kitchen?

Unfortunately, this OVA basically ensures Charles will not be 2011's Girl of the Year. She had a good start, and was understandably a fan favorite throughout the series, but the non-ending ending all but doomed her chances. The Infinite Stratos Best Girl deserved better than to be lumped into such a cliche harem comedy ending. This OVA was her opportunity to come from behind and salvage her hopes of landing the 2011 title.

Laura
That eyepatch is still funny.

It didn't happen. All the Char scenes in the Infinite Stratos OVA are all right, but nothing to distinguish her in the way most of her scenes from the series made her so popular. What the OVA does do, somewhat unexpectedly, is convince me that Ichika's best match is Laura. Her straightforward no-nonsense nature and general assertiveness complements Ichika almost perfectly because, let's face it, he's a "bottom." Good luck, Potato-kun. You're going to need it.