If super strong, sakuga Kirito was what you’ve been waiting for, episode four provides it as well as anything could. Not only does he blaze through the grunts, taking them down in rapid succession. He goes toe to toe with their big boss, a goblin easily triple the sizes of the average ones. With the nostalgic soundtrack playing in the background (with an added twist), Kirito does what he does best and glides his blade through the air. Kirito fight scenes are as good as they’ve always been, evoking the perfect level of hype and satisfaction from the strength he’s developed over the past seasons.

Unfortunately for our black swordsman, this world is not exactly as simple as the virtual MMOs of his past. The goblin’s blade nicks his shoulder, sending him into a world of pain as the blood streams down his arm. As an ace player accustomed to much lower pain thresholds, it’s not surprising that his would throw him off. It’s possible his overall stats are also much lower than the other games he’s played, making the fight much harder than it had to be. Aincrad, Alfheim, or GunGale Kirito would take this goblin down with ease, but in this world, a teenager can’t solo a huge goblin TOO easily.

When Kirito is on the brink of being killed, Eugeo steps up to the plate. Inspired by the actions of Kirito, and also angry at himself for his cowardice when it came to Alice, he vows to protect Kirito. He puts up a valiant attempt against the goblin, and he actually did much better than I thought he would, but he’s cut across the stomach! I initially thought Eugeo would straight up get caught in half considering the size of the goblin’s biceps and the weight of its sword, but it only cut him deep enough to be fatal. Luckily for Eugeo, Selka uses a life transfer technique and saves Eugeo. It’s honestly a ridiculously strong technique, and I can’t help but think you could save anyone from the brink of death as long as there were enough life donors to help out. Are there any drawbacks? It’s just a bit too convenient at the moment.

Once Eugeo is back up and running, they return to the Gigas Cedar. The amount of time we’ve spent by this tree is actually hilarious, but that time quickly comes to an end. Kirito wields the blue blade and decimates the tree’s health total, eventually handing over the sword to Eugeo and teaching him the way of the sword as well. A small training montage ensues, and the tree crashes down very quickly! Finally! We’re done with this damn tree. At first it was a sight to behold, allowing Sword Art to flex its lighting and shadows, but it quickly became a curse that held Eugeo back. Thankfully, it’s gone forever and the real meat of the adventure can now begin.

Kirito speaks his words of wisdom to Selka, telling her she’s not just a replacement Alice, and that she’s her own person. It’s nice that he’s developed a way of words after meeting so many different people. Eugeo also makes up with Selka, vowing to bring Alice back from Central City. Almost as if Selka is the quest giver, but this quest is something that’ll take a long, long time.

The episode ends with Eugeo and Kirito departing on their adventure, with Eugeo’s new calling as a swordsman. It almost feels like everything we’ve watched so far is an epilogue of sorts and the real good stuff will start now. I’m unbelievably excited and the sense of freedom of having nothing holding the two back is relieving.