Sword Art Online: Project Alicization Vol. 5 Manga Review – End of an Arc
Title: Sword Art Online: Project Alicization, Vol. 5
Author: Reki Kawahara
Release Date: July 5, 2022
Publisher: Yen press
We’ve come to the end of another Sword Art Online arc; Sword Art Online: Project Alicization Vol. 5 concludes the adventures of Kirito, Eugeo, and Alice. This manga adaptation gave fans a visual treat of some of the most impactful moments of the series. However, the last chapter to bring it all home ultimately came up short.
The pacing in the opening chapters of Sword Art Online: Project Alicization Vol. 5 is excellent. There’s a back and forth between Kirito and Cardinal and Kirito and Eugeo climbing the Central Cathedral. The conversation between Kirito and Cardinal detailed the mission, but you get all the information in small bites. You learn more about this digital world and its AI characters. It’s laid out expertly and easy to understand, as if every event led up to this moment.
On the other end, Kirito and Eugeo fight against the Administrator’s knights as they climb the floors. Some action-filled moments are paced between the calm scenes in the library. Kirito has a weight put upon him concerning the fate of this world, and time is running out. Once the pair reaches Alice, other story points are pieced together, which brings us to the final battle.
Here’s where the manga slips up. The ending is abrupt and overshadows some pretty impactful scenes. It hurts even more because what is shown is gorgeous. The encounters are powerful and flow nicely through the panels. I enjoyed following them from page to page and then flipping back to experience the scenes again. The characters’ facial expression in the heat of battle is impactful and weighs on the pages as you can see these characters approaching the final battle.
The illustrations are on par with the entire series. This volume has a lot of action, and each encounter is expertly depicted. The scenes chosen to be shown do well to illustrate the trials that Kirito and Eugeo face in these battles, but I would have preferred this be separated into two volumes so that the scenes could be even longer.
Sword Art Online: Project Alicization Vol. 5 concludes the manga adaptation and does a great job at it. I wish it were longer. The conclusion was anticlimactic, though. What should have been a chapter-length fight was reduced to pages. Regardless, the art and scenes here are some of the best, and I’m glad to have been able to experience the manga version of this must-read SAO adventure.
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