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Sword Art Online Part 3 Masterpiece,
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This review is from: Sword Art Online Part 3 (Episodes 15-19) [DVD] (DVD)
Continuing from my reviews of Parts 1 and 2, the third part of Sword Art Online raises the stakes to a whole new level (no pun intended). Least of all because the series now takes place in both the real world and a new online game, Part 3 gives out completely different feelings to the ones I had whilst watching the first half of the series. Although there is no longer the threat of dying in the real world if you die in the game, some players now face a fate that's far worse than death: their minds and memories could be altered and experimented on. There is uncomfortable tension as Asuna's mind is held prisoner in the game and she is forced to play queen to her captor - who is a king in the game, and a sick, twisted man in real life, who Asuna has always despised, and who wants to take advantage of her in every way he can whilst her body is unconscious in the real world. After becoming such a loveable character in the first half of the series, and everything she was built up to be with Kirito, it just makes everything that happens to her in the second half feel so wrong. There are even times when her situation gets so bad that it's literally unbearable to watch. Strangely enough though, this gives the second half of the series more intensity. It makes Asuna's predicament more desperate, the villain more intimidating, and Kirito's mission to save her more important. It's like the the classic hero saves the damsel story, but with much more depth to it - though I don't like the idea of Asuna as a damsel. Plus, with old and new characters - including one unlikely ally for Kirito - the series stays fresh and you always want to keep watching until the nightmares are resolved.