Sword Art Online – Episode 10

Holy shit it’s Sword Art Online. This episode promises to be terrible, what with it literally starting with Kirito fighting to earn Asuna the right to take a vacation from a guild that she is the goddamn vice-commander of holy shit I can’t believe I even typed that goddamnit Sword Art Online. That’s cool though, because once we get through Kirito saving the day, we might actually emerge into some normal banter between the two of them.

I’ve very often complained about this show never getting around to exploring its central conflict, but last episode proved that might actually be for the best. Sword Art Online’s biggest problem remains Kirito, and Kirito is always at his worst when the show presents an actual conflict. When it’s just adventuring or slice of life, he can interact with other people normally – but when there’s a dragon to slay, suddenly everyone else is useless, and Big Man Kirito takes the stage. It’s the show at its most transparently pandering, and as someone who’s not really getting his rocks off on how awesome Kirito is, it has me checking my watch basically every time it happens. Even this might be forgivable if those action scenes were good, but last episode’s climactic fight just wasn’t particularly well-designed, either. I enjoyed it because it was very silly, but it was not a quality piece of entertainment.

That’s cool though, because if actions scenes tend to demonstrate this show at its worst, then the non-action Kirito-Asuna scenes are clearly the show at its best. Asuna’s actually a reasonable character, and Kirito can interact more or less like a normal person when he’s not required to be Captain Hero. If Building a Better SAO requires kind of ignoring the actual plot, then so be it. Let’s get through this dickwaving contest and on to some much-earned vacation time.

Episode 10

0:09 – IF NOT, BOTH OF YOU SHALL PERISH goddamnit this episode whyyy

Sword Art Online

0:12 – You know what’d be kind of interesting? If he actually did lose, and was forced to engage with the guild, and maybe even grew from the process. And then we’d actually get a view of this game’s reality from inside a do-or-die guild, and there’d be this element of inherent antagonism, and Kirito would no longer be the only importOh wait that’s why they’re not doing it

0:26 – Holy shit, this guild takes vacation requests seriously

0:35 – Kirito #1 baka. Don’t worry Asuna, I feel this way about 2/3rds of this show’s twists

0:59 – Alright, now’s your chance, SAO. Show me a sweet fight

Sword Art Online

1:09 – Ahahahahaha.

Oh. Sorry, I guess I’m supposed to respect this game’s balance as a thing. Ahem

2:57 – Reminds me of a Shiki episode title

3:23 – Nice detail. The best game stuff always seems to be the little incidental details, not the plot-relevant pieces. Though I suppose that might be reflective of how making arbitrary game rules plot-relevant kind of always seems a little fabricated, unless the game is simple enough that you can actually lay out all the relevant rules before players start messing with them. Not possible with the MMO itself, but probably something this story should have invested in when it came to the combat system specifically

3:30 – …I say, moments before the protagonist uses his super-secret protagonist-only dual-wielding ability

4:19 – This bit here is nice. The warping of perspective lends a lot of energy to the exchange

Sword Art Online

4:31 – Kirito I really don’t understand this “keep whacking his shield” strategy

4:44 – Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be to the first strike? Eh, whatever

5:40 – Yes, because your usual outfit is so understated.

Also, hey, Kirito lost! I don’t know how he lost, and I also know it’s not actually going to end up counting, but still!

5:52 – Man, this could all end up being a pretty okay metaphor for how, as the cliche goes, ‘life is what happens when you’re making plans.’ Kirito ends up kind of accidentally accustomed to his role in the guild, which might play in interesting ways off the theme of any place being a valid reality if you can find humanity in it

Look, I gotta talk about something, and if it has to be my own theoretical rewrites of SAO, so be it

Sword Art Online

6:35 – Alright, guess we’re going with it. I will do my best to assume this Kirito is a
Kirito who was affected by the events of episode three

7:53 – This is pretty cute

8:38 – And I like that she immediately acts on being overprotective of him. When the show’s base subtext is “women need protecting,” that’s pretty lame, but individual characters of either gender having an instinct towards overprotection as an actual intended part of their personality is obviously a fact of life that can be handled in all sorts of ways. The problem really comes when Kirito does all the work for everybody, and the universe itself says “this is awesome and correct.” You generally need some distance between your characters and your authorial tone, or the story comes off as protagonist-worshiping nonsense. It’s basically the difference between Mahouka and OreGairu – “this teenager has the whole world figured out” versus “wow, this protagonist sure is a teenager”

9:15 – Oh boy

Sword Art Online

9:33 – It’d be nice if this guy were just kind of a proud jerk, but I don’t really trust this show to not have him be MWAHAHA evil


10:16 – I actually laughed at this. I like this Rider fella (and wow that resemblance actually is uncanny)

11:21 – Okay see this is what I was talking about

Sword Art Online

12:10 – Okay, so his motive is “Kirito made me look bad in front of a girl, thus I KILL TWO MEN”?

12:20 – This fucking show. Alright, I’m laughing

12:39 – Rider noooo

Man, this scene is just so, so dumb. I don’t even know what to say about it. This guy doesn’t make any sense. This is all just designed to be momentarily shocking, but it isn’t, because none of this is grounded in anything. This seems like a parody of itself


Sword Art Online

12:57 – Nope, you’re just a cartoon villain this show created to have more Bad Guys for its hero to murder

13:00 – From what I’ve heard, this line is going to get infinitely more rich by the time we reach this series’ conclusion

13:53 – I dunno, it feels kinda like a teenager’s idea of gruesome drama. Not sure I’m gonna make it through this show, you guys

14:16 – This is actually a very nice shot

Sword Art Online

14:40 – Nope, the poison’s worn off, bringing the arbitrary drama of this juvenile torture-porn to an end

15:17 – Aw shit, Asuna! And he’d almost run out of drama-bar, too!


15:40 – I do not fucking care how you explain Asuna’s last-second rescue. This scene is so dumb make it be overrr

16:12 – Haha yeah! Fuck him up! This guy was Evil, so now we get to fuck people up AND be Good!

Forget everything I said about this show not understanding the appeal of videogames. This show understands videogames all too well

Sword Art Online

16:41 – Oh man, those Evil dudes! YOU CAN’T TRUST ‘EM!

17:05 – Oh no. What have I become?

You killed a cliche, Kirito. The story was designed to force you to kill him but have it not really be a moral question. Don’t be so hard on yourself

17:29 – No, this is the writer’s fault


I can’t even tell how the show is supposed to be making me feel right now. This scene is one of the most ludicrous things I’ve watched in recent… no, just general memory

Sword Art Online



Is the moral of this story that a gamer has to kill a man to achieve an erection

18:52 – This is Kirito’s “I killed a man today” face

19:26 – Like, seriously? We’re actually going straight there? WHAT the FUCK

19:43 – Aw jeez, I dunno if I’m ready for this, Asuna!

Sword Art Online


20:34 – At least Asuna doesn’t have one of those butt-hugging CC-style covers

20:39 – This is actually important theme stuff, but this episode will not fucking recover from that ridiculous middle scene. I just can’t take any of this seriously. My god

20:56 – Why oh why did they place this after an episode whose central plot event was a man torturing Kirito and then being killed by him. Why did that scene even exist. Why did the first nine-tenths of this episode exist at all


Sword Art Online

21:51 – Gotta do these things in the right anime order!

22:02 – I’ll never forget that day, that day you were tortured, killed a man, and then proposed to me in a videogame

And Done


Can’t even believe that episode. Easily the worst, most ridiculous, most goddamn stupid one yet. WHAT DID THEY EVEN WHY DID… gah. I give up. SAO, there were parts in that ending where you started pretending to be a show worth respecting again, and you’ve pretended that reasonably well from time to time, but after that nonsense in the middle… no. Maybe I should take a day off before returning to you. Maybe that’ll help me be fair again. Because right now, I don’t feel like being fair. That was a real dumb episode, SAO. That was real, real dumb.

62 thoughts on “Sword Art Online – Episode 10

  1. What the anime adaptation left out with Japanese modesty was what happened between the WHACKY SEXY MISUNDERSTANDING and Kirito and Asuna waking up naked in a bed together. Luckily, the author himself spelled it all out in the “unofficial” chapter 16.5. In great, pen… I mean, painstaking detail.

    Here’s a sample:

  2. In your Week 8 Review you said you were ‘only watching good shows’ and I got worried that you had dropped Sword Art Online – I’m so glad you stuck with it long enough to review this episode.

    • You aren’t lying man. After episode 24 I just couldn’t fathom what the fuck I was watching. I mean at that point you’d expect every episode to be awful but it still manages to take nose dives despite having reached the bottom of the ocean ages ago.

      It’s also pretty funny how the villain in this episode can be considered subtle compared to a certain other one later down the line.

      Bobduh, these episode reviews of yours are incredible fun to read and I wish you’d go the full two seasons but the truth is, you probably won’t be able to persevere. I think I personally started skipping through episodes after ep5 or 6 already. Season two is so bad and boring that it’ll feel like hard work going through it.

  3. A few notes.

    A) In the original draft, Asuna was the one who killed Kuradeel, not Kirito. Because that actually makes sense, would give her character a new dimension, and would actually be interesting…we can’t have that.

    B) The first fight in this episode is even MORE bullshit once you have some more information later on, in fact everything in this episode will be even more bullshit after that.

    C) THE GREATEST LOVE STORY EVER TOLD (actual quote [more or less])

    • Asuna killing Kuradeel would probably have been better.

      On the plus side, the likely reason they changed it was not to protect Kirito’s HERO status but to protect Asuna’s WAIFU status. It’s slightly better.

    • Nope, gotta have Kirito perform the killing blow. How else will we understand how XdarkXtorturedX he is?

  4. Everything up to now was candy canes and sunshine, soldier. Here is where the SAO experience begins in earnest. War is hell.

  5. I dunno, I think you might be exaggerating the problems a bit too much. It is funny though.

    I mean, Kirito ended up losing. Asuna called him out on being an idiot for pointless agreeing to a duel when she was just going to leave regardless. Later on he got being saved as Asuna. And then Kirito and Asuna ended up in an actual relationship, rather than staying as a standard anime pseudo couple.

    I’ll never forget that day, that day you were tortured, killed a man, and then proposed to me in a videogame

    While that sounds a bit ridiculous but that actually fairly normal in fiction? Plus, ever heard of the suspension bridge effect?

    • Kirito ends ups losing because: cheating. The series never gives him a legitamite reason to lose, and that makes every loss pointless.

      All of the ‘good points’ you just listed are vastly overshadowed by the lack of thought the author put into this story. Neither are they good points to be frank; it’s executed terribly.

      That quote is bad no matter what context you put it in.

    • Point is, in this episode he loses to someone, is almost killed by another and is then saved by Asuna. That’s kind of worth noticing.

    • Kuradeel’s really the low point so far. Nothing can justify the way his character was portrayed this episode.

  6. I think there’s may 0.5-1.5 relatively good-ish episodes left in the entire series? There’s some okay Kirito-Asuna domestic fluff, and some brief mentions of Log Horizon-ish issues.

    Other than that, better start breaking out the bottles, pal. May you long for the good ol’ days of mediocre vignettes. Or write more Swordboiled Art Online. Please write more Swordboiled Art Online

    Onwards to moeblob children bullshit!

    • *maybe 0.5-1.5 relatively…

      Oh yes, and perish the thought of Kirito now technically being geldedguilded ever being brought up again. Batman don’t join no Justice Leagues.


        Although actually, it would be vastly entertaining if Kirito actually acted like Batman and came up with Blood Knights Protocols or something, and Asuna had to confront the fact that her boyfriend had contingency plans to kill her. I’d read that. Wait, I did read that. That was during when they were shipping Batman/Wonder Woman in the comics. Good times.

  7. Keep up the good work, Bobduh! I swear all of your suffering will be worth it by the time you finish the show! Maybe not for you, but certainly for us. We appreciate your dedication. Now I’m off to go kill a man and then get a Jamba Juice. Hell, maybe I’ll kill the dude in the Jamba Juice.

  8. Would this have been better or worse if he enjoyed killing the cliche who was designed to be killed without having it be a real moral question?

    • I think the Sword Art Online Abridged Episode 4 answered that question magnificently – better, definitely.

    • At this point, I’m gonna go with “better” just because it’d be more interesting, though really the solution is “don’t introduce comically evil characters just so your protagonist can kill them.”

  9. Man this was too funny! You should do this at least once every year! (pick up a bad show and comment on it)

    • I actually did writeups for Crime Edge last spring, Free! last summer, and Kyoukai no Kanata last fall, all of which were… not very good.

  10. “13:53 – I dunno, it feels kinda like a teenager’s idea of gruesome drama. Not sure I’m gonna make it through this show, you guys” I can’t believe it took you ten episodes to realize and/or admit that you might not make it all the way through, the AND DONE part had me laughing hysterically since now I just really want to see you deal with the rest of the series (and remember, season two comes out this summer so you gotta finish before then!)

    • That scene might have been the first time I actually though “what the fuck am I even watching” to myself. Some kind of breaking point…

  11. Keep it up, Bobduh!! You’ll reach the end eventually!! Someone of your caliber surely has the strength of mind and heart to bear it all until the bitter end! Meanwhile I shall greatly enjoy watching you suffer the same pains I went through… muahahhaa

    But honestly, I do feel a little sorry for you. Just a little. :’)

    • I’ll get through this. Even if I’m propelled only by bitterness towards you people for encouraging me, I will survive.

  12. You know Bob, I would feel bad for your plight of having to watch this if it weren’t for how wonderful these write-ups are. Your SwordBroiled Online post was one of my favourite things you’ve done, and believe me when I say that there will be much, much more material in this dark, disturbing rabbit hole in which you tread.

    Oh, and as mentioned above, the Original Author did indeed pen an actual sex scene in place of the “Wacky Misunderstanding”, if you’re interested: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8539671/1/Sword-Art-Online-Extra-Chapter-16-5

    As if you needed any proof of the writing prowess contained within, the quotes “gushing deep into Asuna as she trembled into yet another climax” and “two years of semen made a glopping noise as it flowed endlessly into Asuna” are some of my personal highlights.

    “Self-Insert masturbation material” is an arguable definition of the series as a whole, but chapter 16.5 is just about as close as I’ve seen to the literal definition of that. Enjoy.

    • Funny thing is, when I first watched SAO, at this point I thought that AT LEAST they weren’t beating around the bush. I mean, we’ve got so many anime where the protagonists are all ~uguuu~ and will barely hold hands because otherwise it’s too ~hazukashii~ and here, bang!, straight to second base. Kinda bold in a sense. Of course it would work better if it wasn’t fundamentally slash fanfiction levels of writing, but still.

    • I appreciate that the author’s added sex scene of his own characters is now hosted on fanfiction.net.

      And yeah, holy shit, “glopping noise.” I can’t deal with that.

  13. Good job getting this far! I suggest taking a break before the next two episodes, I remember them being really hard to sit through. Episode 13 is imo the best in the series though, so keep it up!

  14. Oh wow, if your ripping on it this hard /now/, how will you be able to watch the second arc. I’m so, so sorry.

    • I know right? If you think Kuradeel is a Scooby Doo villain, you still have seen nothing until you’ve met Sugou.

    • Yeah, the author does terrible villains when he’s trying to write villains. Accel World has similar chaps.

      • But then again, like at Randomc, Sugou took things over the camp edge right back into entertaining. At this rate, Bobduh will need to watch it in a so-bad-it’s-good mentality to retain sanity.

        Come on, internet, do an edit where they dub Sugou with Tim Curry. You know you want to.

      • The worst offender in Accel World would be that annoying kid in the final arc, definitely. But I don’t think it was THAT bad – I mean, he was a spoiled brat and a bully, fundamentally, so part of his villainy-for-the-sake-of-villainy could be believed better than these grown up men acting irrationally out of hate for a 17 year old boy.

  15. “this “keep whacking his shield” strategy” – The “First-Strike mode” basically passes the victory to whom ever can land a direct hit, OR if the opponent’s health hit’s the 50% mark, as even blocking causes you to lose some health. But hitting him might be a better idea.

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