After episode ten’s torture-porn and episode twelve’s moe-murder-porn, I just have very little left to say. I just… I…
Look, let’s just watch the episode.
0:11 – Well, uh, so much for rushing back to the front lines to save your adopted daughter, I guess
0:16 – Nice. Kirito really needs to expand his wardrobe, though
0:47 – It’d be nice to explore more characters like this. People who’ve actually just settled into life here, and maybe even treat this is a second chance at living the way they actually want to.
I honestly never really got the “Sword Art Online’s premise had so much potential!” complaints before I started watching the show – the premise seemed pretty standard to me. Now that I’m actually watching it, it’s much easier to see all the interesting things this show could really dive into and sadly doesn’t.
I suppose I could just steal all the good ideas for myself…
1:34 – This is a pretty strange transition from last episode. Apparently the whole moe-puppy-killing subplot was a side story from a future book, which I guess means we’re still suffering the narrative-skewering side effects of the adaptation. “We’ve got to save our daughter! But first, fishing.”
3:10 – Well that’s promising
3:32 – Dang, they’ve got that ‘idyllic mountain cabin’ atmosphere down pat
4:02 – Yeah, this is some crazy mood whiplash. Well, whatever. I actually like the slice of life stuff, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain
4:26 – Another cute instance of applying the videogame logic to a practical situation
4:59 – Yep
5:03 – Oh wow, getting really direct this episode. Kinda funny to bring up the original, perfectly reasonable motivation for what they do directly after killing off the artificial motivation-sweetener
5:34 – There we go
6:22 – The funny thing is, this actually does kinda remind me of my time playing MMOs. Getting together for silly rare fishing events or whatnot is certainly part of the routine of the digital life. Now we just need an episode of Kirito and Asuna hopping in circles in the main city while waiting for a healer to log on
6:35 – I can sense his resolve
7:24 – I am a fan of this episode
8:05 – Asuna is not impressed
8:35 – Slayer of lungfish
9:52 – This guy is much, much better motivation than friggin’ moe daughteru. A grounded, believable character who actually digs at some of the stuff that makes this world interesting, and can act as a stand-in for all the people depending on our protagonists. This half-episode has been miles better than the previous two.
Although I actually liked the first halves of the last two episodes, as well. So, uh, hope that pattern doesn’t hold up this time
10:45 – It’s interesting that this show pretty much only gives us post-character arc Asuna. That’s not even necessarily a bad thing – although exploring her journey beyond “at first I was really conflicted off-screen, but then I met Kirito” would probably lead to the audience being more invested in this “what validity does this world have” question in a more immediate emotional sense. That’s kind of the power of fiction – to imbue greater questions with grounded, empathy-based significance through well-realized characters and situations that naturally play ideas off each other
11:20 – This author isn’t really one for subtlety, huh. Time to review Asuna’s character arc!
For some reason, my mind wanders to that moment at the end of Monogatari Season 2 when Kaiki silently destroys the phone where Senjougahara could reach him, as he realizes his own relationship with her mirrors the issue of Araragi and Nadeko. A beautiful piece of narrative bow-tying and character growth, all summed up in a single wordless image.
What am I doing here.
11:43 – Yep. It’s the human connections that made this life valid for her
12:18 – That’s a very nice reduction of the question to arrive at. “Is a life in a virtual reality a valid life?” “It doesn’t matter. Life is worth living.”
13:15 – We meet again, old friend
13:28 – Pretty creepy. I’m actually a big fan of how people die with that chintzy disappearing-particle effect in this world. Making something so important look so cheap and artificial kinda drives in the grim joke of this world. Like the world itself doesn’t respect these people
13:46 – I’ll let this world burn if I have to. I’m a fan, Kirito
14:16 – That’s our hero
Honestly, I get where he’s coming from. This isn’t a gender thing, it’s a “you’re the woman I love, I want to protect you above anything else” thing. It’s just that in the context of a show where pretty much every problem is solved by Kirito being awesome and rescuing a helpless girl… yeah.
14:37 – And yeah, the show knows this is very selfish of him, which is good
14:49 – Okay wait what
14:52 – OKAY WAIT WHAAAAT
Welp, you heard it here first, folks. Asuna has no reason to live in a world without Kirito. Kirito is literally her reason for existence.
Sword Art Online: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
15:41 – Alright cool great worldbuilding can we get back to the part where Asuna’s existence is given meaning by the boy she’s fake-married in a videogame
So I guess we’ve actually switched from “Kirito has to protect all the women” to “Kirito and Asuna should both fight… because Asuna’s life has no purpose if Kirito dies.” Wonderful
I wonder if the writers of stuff like this or Twilight understand that Romeo and Juliet was very consciously about stupid teenagers, and not an actually sincere articulation of The Most Romantic Form of Love
15:49 – This is how she convinces him? What about all that “carrying the hopes of the either players” shit you were talking about? You know, the stuff the show is actually about?
16:17 – This scene is making me tired
16:56 – Hey, it’s those guys! We like those guys!
I’m actually pretty excited for this fight. It’s gotta be the final boss of this arc, right? And no moe daughterus to ruin it this time
18:56 – Nice shot
19:43 – THE SKULL REAPER. IT IS TIME TO REAP SOME SKULLS
20:06 – SKULLS: REAPED
20:30 – ADDITIONAL SKULLS
20:42 – Ooh, nice. This CG is kinda distracting, though – having a CG monster directly fighting traditionally drawn characters kinda exacerbates the issue
21:25 – Really nice shot
That was a good episode! There was that one terrible Asuna scene, but aside from that, it was a pretty nice mix of motivation-establishing slice of life and solid action. It kind of reminded me of something like Yozakura Quartet or Chaika, actually – not a particularly ambitious show, but a perfectly pleasant ride. I would be happy with more of that!
That Asuna scene, though. Yeah.
Well, either way, one episode to go before we can put Aincrad behind us. Make it count, SAO!