Manga Review: Sword Art Online: Mother’s Rosary Vol. 002

Sword Art Online was undoubtedly one of the most popular anime of 2012. Based upon a series of light novels by Reki Kawahara, SAO’s near-future characters, gorgeous fantasy setting, and life-or-death stakes drew an enthusiastic fan following. Yen Press has released Volume 2 of the Sword Art Online: Mother’s Rosary manga adaption, and you can read on for the review. (For my reviews of  other Sword Art Online manga, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

Asuna joins forces with the Sleeping Knights guild in their quest to defeat a major boss, but inwardly, she struggles with her ongoing attachment to the VRMMO game. When the time for battle arrives, will she be ready? And when Yuuki’s secret is revealed, what will the consequences be?

The Review

Asuna’s mom makes only a brief appearance at the beginning of this volume, as if to remind readers about Asuna’s horrible real life, and then the rest follows Asuna’s interaction with Yuuki’s six-person guild inside New Aincrad. No sooner have the Sleeping Knights explained their goal of having their names inscribed on the Monument of Swordsmen than Asuna is fighting alongside them.

As in Volume 1, the manga follows the anime storyline fairly closely. That means battle scenes make up the majority of these chapters. The fight sequences are occasionally difficult to follow, but one advantage the manga has over the anime is the Background Guide, which provides better understanding on player strategy and interaction within New Aincrad. With action driving the plot so quickly forward, readers don’t really get a chance to know the Sleeping Knights as individuals, with the obvious exception of Yuuki. I had trouble remembering the names of the five non-Yuuki Knights, and the only one who left any sort of impression was Siune, mainly because she pairs up with Asuna to provide backup support.

Collaborating with the Sleeping Knights brings out a different Asuna than we’ve seen in other groups. Within SAO, she was at the vanguard as one of her guild’s top fighters. The skills of the Sleeping Knights, however, far exceed hers so she can’t play the role of elite swordswoman. As such, even though Yuuki recruited Asuna based on her fighting skills, Asuna winds up as group strategist, guiding them past the hazards inside and out of the boss’ chamber, while Yuuki takes the flashy part of ultimate fighter.

Extras include embedded Background Guide notes, the title page in color, a bonus mini-manga about Asuna’s friends preparing food, afterword manga, and sketch from Reki Kawahara.

In Summary

If you like fight scenes and confrontations, you will get your fill as Asuna and the six Sleeping Knights strive to take down the 27th Floor Boss ahead of the other guilds. While Asuna does play a key role, Yuuki is the MVP of the battle. This volume focuses almost entirely on external challenges best faced with a sword, but as it closes, it looks like the struggles ahead are shifting toward the internal type.

First published at the Fandom Post.

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