And now for the second arc of Sword Art…with extra fairies. Anyone else really wondering why they chose fairies? Seems kinda random to me…I guess whatever works. Anyway, we also meet Asuna’s messed up fiancee. Please don’t tell me he’s the main villain. I mean, he didn’t act too much like he knew anything, but he’s part of the team helping to maintain the servers…so it’s highly suspicious. But yeah, Sword Art managed to get even more .hack-like, with Asuna seemingly trapped in the game with three hundred others.
There’s also this thing with his sister/cousin…he married Asuna in the game, so she doesn’t count as a love rival, right? I’m not a fan of seeing Kirito as a wuss now that he’s out of the game…at least his kendo skills are decent from all the practice he got in game. So I guess the next part is all about waking Asuna up before she’s forced to be married? I hope it’s not “complete the new game and she’ll be saved”…that same thing again. At least do something different…like using Virus Cores to access the Lost Grounds and destroying Cubia…hypothetically. Oh, and new music is good…nothing much else to say about it.
Well, I guess that’s the end of the first major arc for this show. I feel like I really should have realized that Heathcliff was actually Kayaba, but I guess I thought the show was going somewhere else and I didn’t really consider it. Clearly, this can’t be the end of the game…the game is destroyed, but Kayaba isn’t dead. In fact, because he said something like “I don’t remember why I did it”, I almost wonder if there’s someone else orchestrating everything. It could even be an AI…Cardinal, perhaps?
The biggest cliffhanger for this episode is Asuna. We see that Kirito doesn’t actually die, but he’s already been proven to be the Chosen One, so it says nothing about her. Logically, it makes sense that she’s still alive, but why don’t they show it to us? That suggests that something’s wrong. I really hope I didn’t commit her to death with my death flag predictions. Also, next episode’s title is Return, so it’s pretty obvious Kirito is going to be drawn back in again. Will he continue being the Chosen One? I guess he has to be. Kayaba also has the chance of returning as an ally if my corruption analysis of his character is correct. Yui might be back too!
The return to the frontlines. Finally we get to see a real boss battle in action! So…five people doing all the work with a bunch of grunts for cannon fodder. Yup, sounds about right. At least Heathcliff is finally in the fight. I was hoping he’d show up and give us more information about his abilities.
I don’t know about you guys, but this episode gave me a weird apprehensive feeling. Like something really big was about to happen. I don’t want to say someone dies (because I’d feel bad if it happened), but something’s going to keep Kirito and Asuna from returning to that house in the forest. I just feel like they’ve left for good. Am I just imagining things?
And the title of next week’s episode is The End of the World, which is pretty worrying. The best case is that this is the name of an attack or a dungeon or event that’s going to be triggered. The worst case, of course, someone dies or the game ends for some reason (least likely). Man, this episode started off so silly with the fishing stuff that I was surprised…it got really serious really fast. I barely even noticed. Anyway, the only reason I bring up the end of the game scenario possibility is because of Asuna’s comment about their real bodies. It’s something I’ve wondered about for a while and I’m glad they addressed it.
Yup…Yui is an AI…not quite powerful enough to be Aura, but close enough. It’s too bad she was erased so quickly…I guess she would have been too overpowered to keep around with Kirito and Asuna. But her sacrifice wasn’t in vain! We have information now! This mysterious Cardinal maintaining Sword Art Online…is it supposed to be like .hack’s Morganna? If it’s the same, then we can expect it going crazy. The other option, of course, is that it’s basically the essence of Kayaba (the creator) and it’s his way of infusing his will into the game.
Kirito and Asuna have had their fun…it’s probably about time they returned to the front lines to do battle again. Next week’s title sounds kinda like a dungeon name, right? Should be interesting. I’m curious to see how their interactions with others will change after they’ve been married. Kirito’s still got that stigma of being a beater, after all…
And now, we have Aura! For all you .hack fans out there…you probably saw this coming as much as I did. Whenever we have this video game scenario, there always has to be that character that seems to be human but is different in some way. My bet is that she’s an AI just like Aura (or maybe more accurately Zephie for those of you familiar with .hack//Dusk).
Most of it coming from the fact that the game got distorted when she started acting strange…suggests that maybe code was being altered. Alternatively, she says something to effect of “I wasn’t here”, so she could be a real human who somehow got into the world without playing the game…just my auxiliary theory.
Still, while I enjoy the reference, my real hope is that Yui isn’t Aura, just because then the story sorta gets pigeonholed into the story of .hack. This idea of saving her from people who would want to delete her as an anomaly or something. Then again, does SAO really have a governing system like that? I suppose it’s possible that other players would want to “harness her power” if there is such a thing, but only the creator would have a problem with her being there. Maybe she’s just supposed to be the source of Kirito and Heathcliff’s abilities and she’ll give them out to everyone else?
And early romance strikes again! They’re already getting married…crazy kids. At least I don’t mind this pairing (looking at you, Haru). I like how they don’t care about that other guy dying. I suppose it was his fault for trusting Kuradeel…that’s just foolish.
Taking a short look at Heathcliff. I wonder if these powers are meant to manifest in particular people based on stats or something. You know, that traditional style where Kirito’s skill is the embodiment of offense (dual blades) and Heathcliff’s skill is the embodiment of defense (it’s a shield…). That would mean that Asuna would likely get a speed-related skill and maybe Klein, Lizbeth, and Silica get their own stuff too. Then they join together as the chosen ones and beat the final boss! Something like that.
So now Asuna and Kirito are gonna run away together. Wonder what comes next. I mean, of course they’re not going to be able to live peacefully forever (they’re frontliners after all), but they could go immediately into them or they could explore a different character’s story (like Klein). As usual, the title for next week isn’t all that helpful.
What would be have been interesting is if the orange cursor for Asuna (for attacking Kuradeel) and the red cursor for Kirito (for killing him) were have a role in the next bits of the show, but I assume they’re getting away partly to wait for those effects to wear off, so I doubt anything will happen.
The second sword finally comes out! Yeah…dual blades are pretty awesome. I can definitely understand why Kirito chose to hide it. Even if he doesn’t know how he got the skill, because he’s a beater, everyone would just assume that he’s hiding some special information that he got from the beta and he’d likely be killed for it.
People online can be pretty dumb in the respect. They would sooner think “this guy’s going around acting like he’s better than us” and try to kill him than realize “hey, this guy’s probably our best chance of getting out of this world.” He pretty much soloed that boss, after all.
I guess the anime decided to go a different route with this scene. In the manga, this seemed a lot cooler because the second sword from Lizbeth wasn’t introduced yet. Also, the scene with Asuna questioning Kirito pretty much gives it away. But I can’t really say that showing the “intro” stories was too bad because those flashbacks with Sachi were pretty effective.
Anyways, next week, Kirito confronts the infamous guild leader Heathcliff to try and get Asuna some free time. This is the last part I read in the manga, so I know who wins the duel…feel free to speculate. I’ll just smile and nod because spoilers are lame.
And with that, the main story of Sword Art Online has begun. A lot of battles this week…I was very pleased. I have to admit…watching Asuna in battle, she’s pretty good. I really wonder, though…if we were to just compare raw skills and level, would Kirito be the superior? I feel like he would. Regardless, it’s pretty ridiculous that Asuna can be so close to Kirito’s level while still sharing experience with parties.
It’s things like this that make me really question this ridiculous “beater” business. Seriously…how much advantage do they really have? I guess it would help if I knew how many of them were still alive. If not a single beater has died, then maybe it’s a little justified, but otherwise, they just start with a slight edge. In two years, it can’t be too hard to pass them…honestly. Just takes a little skill, you know?
I think the best part about the scene from this screenshot is that when Asuna comes flying into the area, none of the bystanders even turn around until she freaks out. They’re all just standing there like everything is totally normal. Also, there was that guy in the crowd during the duel against Kuradeel…was that tattoo supposed to be for Laughing Coffin?
Anyway, next week is another boss battle. We haven’t seen one of those in quite a while. I’m assuming Asuna and Kirito won’t face it alone initially (wait for reinforcements and whatnot), but they’ll definitely be the ones to finish it off. Should be fun.
Kirito got a new sword! Crystals and everything. And he’s also got a blacksmith to help him out…this guy makes friends pretty easy for a solo player. Being Liz is suffering, I guess…she was just about to confess and Asuna walks in to show her how good a relationship she has with Kirito.
At least Kirito is more perceptive than normal main characters and realizes that he should go find Liz and comfort her rather than sitting there with a confused look on his face. Maybe there’s hope for him yet. But I guess a fellow fighter like Asuna suits him more…
I feel like Kirito may be getting a little bit too used to how strong he is in the game. This whole idea of “oh, if we’re stuck in a giant hole, let’s just run up the walls!” Doesn’t really consider the logistics of getting Liz up and stuff. Honestly, I was surprised that the fall damage did so much to him (if you think about how his health compares to Liz’s)…must be percentage-based.
Anyways, the background stories should be running out…Liz was the last character to introduce, right? Should be getting close to the main story and all. This one wasn’t bad, but hey…Kirito needs to use that new sword and stuff! Would be nice to see some fights from the frontlines too…
Like I said before, it’s never the ghost. I figured there was something wrong with Yoruko’s death. I have to say, though…it’s pretty clever to use armor destruction to fake death…sounds like something I’d try. I guess I can’t really blame Yoruko and Kains since they were just trying to figure out what happened to Griselda, not steal the rare item.
But at the end of the day, Grimlock was a pretty boring culprit. At least he didn’t do it for the item…that would just be nuts (not that his reason was much better). But that aside, the scene with Griselda’s “spirit” at the very end was kinda suspicious. It kinda makes you think a bit more about what the PK said about death not being true in Sword Art. What if it was suggesting that Griselda didn’t die in the real world? But that’s just wild speculation.
Poor Kirito…the first decent food he’s had since he entered Sword Art Online and it disintegrates when it hits the ground. What an unforgiving game…the only place where dropping food on the ground can’t contaminate it and it enforces the 5-second rule. Asuna’s cooking skill does beg the question, though…she’s about as strong as Kirito, right? How did she manage that?
Kirito always made sense because he’s a solo character, so he would naturally gain more experience. But how does a guild second-in-command get so much experience that she can afford to raise a cooking skill? Another introductory arc has finished…how many more are left? This one wasn’t all that bad, but it’s nice to have a more overarching thing going on.
Just one last note: we’re introduced to the PK guild Laughing Coffin…just wanted to say that Kestrel was a much better-sounding guild name in my opinion. Also, Kirito finally has a friend!