Five episodes to go. That’s less than half a dozen. That’s shorter than FLCL. That’s barely a movie’s worth of time.
This arc has been slow, and bad, and regularly pointless, and gross in a lot of ways the first half never even threatened to be, but…
Five episodes left. That’s doable. That’s fine! And people say this is as bad as it gets, meaning once I’m through this, I can actually look forward to the next season! And those’ll be going up as it actually airs, so I don’t even have to listen to you guys chuckling to yourselves about whatever horrors are still waiting for me. We’ll get to experience it together.
Five episodes left. If we’re going by the current ratio, that means we’ve only got maybe fifteen more minutes of horrible Asuna-assault scenes to get through, IN TOTAL. And hell, she’s actually gotten out of her little cage! I doubt this show will actually let her do anything, but it might mean her next couple scenes will be relatively rape-free, at least.
How have I reached the point where I am comforting myself with sentences like that.
Alright, fuck it. Let’s make it to four episodes left.
0:09 – Man, you really can’t fault the environments in this second act. We have been getting some gorgeous backgrounds
0:24 – Oh shit, and we’re already at the tree! PROGRESS! Alright Deku Tree, reveal to us your secrets
0:34 – Another beautiful shot
0:53 – Aw shit dun dun dun
1:36 – The way this place wavers between being an MMO and just straight-up being a fantasy world is kind of silly. What does it matter to them where they log out their avatars for the night? Do you get better rest bonuses for higher quality inns?
3:31 – ALL WILL BE REVEALED
4:06 – Man, the programmers of these places are really dedicated to authenticity. Though I can’t blame them – I imagine if I were an evil villain designing my own personal MMO, the interior decor of my secret lair would be a pretty high priority. “But sir, no-one’s ever going to see that content-” “IT HAS TO BE PERFECT”
4:54 – They always have her stand like that. Sugu has some pretty distinctive spinal issues
5:33 – Man, it is super-refreshing to be getting an Asuna episode. It’s also nice that her narrative isn’t just “go towards the big game goal!” She’s actually sneaking around, and there’s ambiguity in how she’ll actually fix anything. Hell, even the fact that we know this is really Kirito’s Big Adventure lends an element of danger, because it just seems kind of unlikely she’ll actually accomplish much independently. I never thought depriving female characters of agency would be successfully used to build tension!
6:16 – Dang, Onii-blocked by his comatose waifu. I know that feel, Sugu
6:47 – I like the narrative structure they’re using this episode. Spacing Metal Gear Asuna out with these little casual vignettes kinda builds anticipation all on its own. When you alternate the mundane and the tense, you can really build a “when’s the other shoe going to drop” kind of suspense in the audience. This episode seems much more purposefully designed than the last few
Jeez, I’m barely halfway through my beer. Is this episode going to be good?
7:25 – He’s overclocking their pain neurons! BRaIn sCiENcE!
7:35 – A nice shot. Asuna has a nice design/profile for setting up pretty compositions
7:53 – Goddamnit Asuna, do you WANT him to get away with this? You can’t SAY that!
8:09 – The fuck
8:11 – What
8:20 – Wait, aren’t those people? Like, Evileye McToothSmiles’ secret technicians, right? Why are their avatars blob-monsters?
8:53 – Nice detail. That’d actually be an interesting social dynamic to see play out
9:09 – Rockin’ hat, Sugu
9:19 – Wow, I really like this. How indifferent he’s acting towards the events of SAO – this feels like legitimate characterization. Like it’s all something apart from him
10:37 – Unfortunately for Asuna, unlike Kirito, she can’t SUPER HACKING, and has to actually figure out what consoles and operating systems do
10:46 – JUST HIT THE FUCKING BUTTON WHY DO YOU PEOPLE DO THIS
10:48 – GOD FUCKING
11:01 – Yeah, that whole outfit’s pretty sweet. Must be nice for the character designers to get to dress someone who hasn’t watched The Matrix fifty times
Goddamnit, I can’t believe I’m reduced to complimenting character fashion sense. Help me
11:30 – Considering how Asuna originally felt about real versus digital worlds, that’s actually a nice detail
11:45 – Sorry show, you’re not gonna convince me just by putting the words in his mouth
11:56 – WHAT THE FUCK
12:06 – STOP MAKING THOSE NOISES
12:41 – WHAT IS THIS ANGLE
12:44 – greatest love story ever help
12:51 – This show is currently playing on Adult Swim to introduce new people to the wonderful world of anime
13:29 – Sure. Get it all out. Our intrepid author was apparently raised on Bond films and tentacle porn
13:39 – Hahaha, rape!
14:05 – why
14:09 – greatest
14:11 – greatest love story
14:55 – what are you even trying to do, show. what are you trying to say. this adds nothing. it’s just… it’s just…
I don’t even want to talk about what this is adding. It’s increasing the rapeyness tenfold, which most charitably could be conceived of as increasing the perception of Asuna’s helplessness, and thus the stakes.
That’s using Asuna as an object to be raped for cheap dramatic effect. Cool.
Next down the list, it could be reminding the audience out there that if Kirito doesn’t hurry up, Asuna won’t be pure anymore! Holy shit oh wow oh no what’ll we do then.
Yeah, that’s a pretty great “clock” to be going for.
But finally, and, you know what, most obviously, this is happening just because the author fucking likes it. There are so, so, so many ways you could increase tension in this story. There are so many choices you could make. But no, Asuna gets molested by a tentacle monster because for this guy, that’s just a fucking awesome thing to do to your female characters.
Wonderful. Beautiful. Absolutely staggering work by all parties.
15:11 – At this point, I only see all of these words as coming from the author’s mouth, and I only see the author as one of those slug-monsters, and maybe that’s just the best way to get through this experience
15:36 – incest joke
The show’s not gonna play that scene as a big deal, of course. It’s just a thing that happened to Asuna, and Asuna is just a thing that’s important to Kirito. We shouldn’t get too worked up over stuff like that
17:01 – Why do you put these scenes after your awful shit, SAO. You’ve done it before, and I’m sure you’ll do it again. I mean, I know the answer – it’s because you don’t understand drama and consequences and human beings. It’s because you’re written by a boy who likes stories more than he likes people.
Goddamnit, just go back to Kirito whacking stuff and making girls blush. You’re kind of okay at that!
17:14 – SAO I have a real-life problem with you right now so it’s cool let’s just talk about this
17:20 – It’s not even sadness Kirito I just feel nothing how do I feel
17:24 – Yes but what do you do if your author doesn’t understand emotions
18:50 – The big questions
18:55 – I think you’d get the same answer if you asked any female character the same question
19:30 – How can they just walk around like nothing happened. How can they not know what this story has done
19:59 – I can barely believe it either
and done and done and done. Dun-dun-dun, da-da-dun, dun, done.
SAO why do you do these things. Why do you do them. I can’t even…
No. No despair. I have to be stronger than this thing!
We’re gonna make it through this, guys.
We’re gonna make it through this.