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Sword Art Online – 09

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「青眼の悪魔」 (Aome no Akuma)
“Blue-Eyed Demon”

I would hate to take part in a SAO boss battle. Let’s take a step back and look at how boss battles generally work in an MMO. It’s rare for things to go quite to plan – if it’s not a ‘Leeroy Jenkins!’ then someone will purposely ignore simple instructions, or fail to listen during the multiple explanations you give resulting in complete chaos. Even if by some miracle you avoid wiping completely, leaving nothing but a pile of corpses in the boss room, many people will go down due to that situation. Heck, even with the perfect strategy and no foolishness on the part of the members, it’s still rare for there to be no deaths and resurrections. If there are no corpses scattered around the room with healers frantically attempting to raise them, it’s not a true boss battle! Or rather, not a sufficiently challenging one.

Now what happens if we apply this to SAO? Complete disaster. On the plus side, as callous as this may sound, at least there would be no need to deal with the clowns and the individuals who refuse to listen to instructions – they probably wouldn’t last long. However if, even with flawless strategies and constant healing, players still go down and need to be revived, things would be bad enough. But there are two major issues right there. The first, and possibly most obvious, is that SAO has no healer class – there is no-one to raise dead players and provide healing to keep everyone alive (I would hate to play a healer class in a death game… so much pressure…). Healing magic isn’t the only thing that’s missing here though… boss battles in SAO would lack one other major thing: strategy. You can’t look up guides to see what previous groups have done to be successful; there’s no way to be sure exactly what skillset a boss might have, especially given that the AI is becoming less predictable the higher up the tower they venture; no-one will know that standing on the dragon’s tail and doing something to provoke its wrath will result in a Spike Flail and oh god the carnage that follows! Sure, it would be possible to send in scouting parties to ‘test’ the boss and see what they could figure out, but that alone would be extremely risky – the chances of any of them coming back alive would be pretty low… lower perhaps than a successful first run with an enormous number of players as backup. I don’t even want to imagine what the failed runs would look like – dozens of corpses breaking into shards of light in an instant. Were I in charge, I would always have one player holding back near the entrance to the boss’ lair – that way, if the entire group were to wipe to some secret move it uses at low HP, he or she would be able to flee and spread word to the few players left to challenge it the next time.

Even despite knowing all this, I have to admit to bursting into laughter at the sight of Kirito and Asuna fleeing in terror from the boss room. Their reaction was justified, but the way it was handled was pretty funny to watch. As it turns out however, their reaction may not have been quite as justified as it seemed, given how easily Kirito was able to take down the boss having finally revealed his ultimate technique, the dream of all youngsters: dual wielding. This may be the reason why Kirito doesn’t actually use a shield (Asuna’s desire for enhanced speed being hers), but I do wonder why he didn’t pick one up anyway. Since he was neglecting the use of his second sword to keep the skill hidden, why not take advantage of that and wield a shield in his offhand for the added defence? Perhaps it could be justified by similar reasons to Asuna’s, but as a solo player it would make far more sense to keep a shield around just in case it proves necessary.

One unit of The Army (whose designs actually remind me a lot of the Shinra troops from Final Fantasy VII), led by Cobert (Inada Tetsu) gave a perfect example of what I mentioned above. Their failed attack showed just how rushing in without a strong strategy can prove fatal, even to scouting parties. Without the ability to use teleport crystals, they were pretty much doomed the moment they entered the boss room. In reality, it’s entirely possible that the best way to take down bosses would be a war of attrition… though the loss of life would certainly not be ideal in this situation. Even Kirito and Asuna’s desire to take a large group armed with shields for defence could prove a mistake – we saw how easily the boss swept aside those members of The Army who bore shields. There’s no guarantee that a boss would not have the ability to penetrate such simple defences.

I always find it rather interesting how SAO gives us glimpses of the human psyche, whether completely intentional or not. In complete contrast to Kirito who seems very much at ease in this world, we have Asuna who spent an entire year working to replicate the flavours of foods from the real world. As Kirito said, she would certainly make a fortune, especially from those who long to escape the game as Asuna evidently does. We also have The Army, a group who considers itself to be working towards everyone’s benefit and thus expects some sort of tithe in return, such as the maps which could have been sold for a hefty price – exploring is a risky business after all! But no, if it works towards the common goal of escaping the game, they feel they have the right to demand it. I can understand their reasoning to an extent – it would be to the benefit of all to provide resources to help one another… but the real world doesn’t work like that either. Even advancements towards mankind’s betterment aren’t free. Perhaps Kirito would have been willing to give the map up without charge either way, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt for them to act less like taking it was their god-given right.

Lastly on the psychology track, we have Kirito’s reasons for hiding his unique skill. Gamers are jealous. It’s often true. Particularly us completionists who aim to unlock and complete everything. The idea that there’s a single skill out there that we don’t have is frustrating… just like that Summon Mistfire Wolf skill in Guild Wars 2 that sits on my skill page greyed out, demanding that I upgrade to the Deluxe Edition just to unlock it for completions sake… must… resist… But as I was saying, as soon as people find out about Kirito’s unique skill, everyone wants to know how he unlocked it. Why should they believe him when he says he has no idea what the prerequisites were? For all they know he could be lying just so he can be that one unique player who’s different to everybody else.

And so the episode closes as Heathcliff (Ookawa Tooru) finally makes his appearance to challenge Kirito to a duel. Will Kirito win and claim Asuna? Or will he lose and be forced to join the Ultimate Number One Guild in the entire game? Wait… that last one actually doesn’t sound particularly bad anyway…

tl;dr: @MoombaDS – And so #SAO reminds us why it was one of the most anticipated anime airing this season.

Random thoughts:

Full-length images: 01, 07, 09, 31.

 

Preview

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End Card

Sword Art Online   09   End Card
September 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm
176 comments »
  • September 1, 2012 at 4:13 pmSilentCid

    Lucky guy he had a very prolonged hug by Asuna. Let’s see with he’ll do with the duel next week.

    • September 1, 2012 at 4:49 pmflCer

      I was wondering… when will they make a comment about Asuna hugging Kirito with not a hint of movement while everyone was talking for like 5 minutes.

      Surprisingly it didn’t come. For a while I thought Asuna fell asleep.

      • September 1, 2012 at 5:24 pmhaseo0408

        That was a good scene but they left out the part in the novel where Kirito licks the mayonese of Asuna´s finger, that was hailarious to read, but oh well the episode was awsome none the less.

      • September 1, 2012 at 7:55 pmPtolemaios00

        To preserve that scene, they even skipped the part where Asuna stuffs a potion down his throat.

      • September 1, 2012 at 9:08 pmJello

        It’s not a good premonition of things to come ;<

        What are they gonna do about *heavy spoiler*Show Spoiler ▼

      • September 1, 2012 at 9:44 pmacolyte

        @Ptolemaiso lol you know what? I was waiting for that moment, then I was like ‘oh crap they cut it out. ptooey’

    • September 1, 2012 at 7:28 pmMasterDragonKnight

      *would love to get hugged by Asuna for such a long time*

  • September 1, 2012 at 4:15 pmAlfredonm

    Nice episode loved it, brought me back memories about Ao no exocista.

  • September 1, 2012 at 4:16 pmKTNO

    Not completely faithfull to the LN on some details but they did take more time with this arc.
    Next episode should be nice, but the one after might be epic (or maybe it will be for episode 11? )

  • September 1, 2012 at 4:16 pmLonghaul

    Starburst stream seems to be some sort of long channel/combo type attack, but not broken by taking damage.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • September 1, 2012 at 4:27 pmacesoldia

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • September 1, 2012 at 4:50 pmKTNO

        *facepalm*

      • September 1, 2012 at 4:52 pmflCer

        Light novel spoiler regarding the duel:
        Show Spoiler ▼

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • September 2, 2012 at 12:27 amAnonymous

        Show Spoiler ▼

    • September 1, 2012 at 9:25 pmSuppa Tenko

      Starburst Stream is a 16 hit combo attack with endurance frames which prevents Kirito from being knocked away during the combo. I had always imagined it would look like Sieg’s Infinity Blade.

      Can’t wait to see Kirito’s [The Eclipse] skill.

      • September 1, 2012 at 10:57 pmbakakubi

        Ah, a Grand Chase reference. ^_^

      • September 2, 2012 at 9:20 pmRickyMack

        did you read the news reports? it was a 50 hit combo!!! :)

  • September 1, 2012 at 4:27 pmoliviaven

    that sound when the camera was focused to kirito’s healthbar ruined the moment

  • September 1, 2012 at 4:34 pmAlan

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • September 1, 2012 at 5:55 pmacolyte

      The focus in this episode regarding the boss is:
      * Kirito does not want to immediately help them
      * Asuna went mad and charged in
      * Kirito can’t leave Asuna in danger (not shown enough)
      * Klein helps in (not shown enough)
      * They were not focusing on beating the boss. They were supposed to leave an opening so the soldiers can run away. But the soldiers are too tired, even with the help, there’s still a bunch left who are exhausted (could be longer, but not emphasized)

      So yeah, 1st floor boss episode would be better in showing the intensity of the boss fight, but this part was intended more to show how Kirito wants to protect Asuna, and protect the soldiers, and Klein thinks of Kirito even though he still feels guilty. Something like that.

    • September 1, 2012 at 6:36 pmPtolemaios00

      In this adaptation, Gleameyes did die awfully fast after just one ultimate combo. The fight felt somewhat more prolonged and epic in the LN. They did seem to be kind of rushing it. Maybe they are trying to get the Volume 3-4 arc into this season too.

      • September 1, 2012 at 7:41 pmMasterDragonKnight

        The ALO arc would take some time too, so they may be forced to skip some content. At the rate SAO is going, it probably will be around episode 15 when they finish this arc, giving them only 9 episodes to work with for ALO.

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • September 1, 2012 at 7:53 pmPtolemaios00

        Yea that timing sounds about right. In hindsight, the Murder case really did not deserve 2 episodes if it still cut out the important cameos (Heathcliff and the person with red-eyes).
        I’m also getting a suspicion they will try to animate something anime original on the Laughing Coffin guild seeing the focus on the tattoo (PoH’s?) during the Kuradeel duel.

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • September 1, 2012 at 8:31 pmMasterDragonKnight

        Mmm, true. The mystery side-story could have been compressed to one episode.

        I hope they do not try to delve into the PK guilds with a halfhearted attempt. If anything, they should try to save that for a second season with GGO.

        Show Spoiler ▼

      • September 1, 2012 at 9:36 pmacolyte

        Yui stuff should go to spoilers :)
        Show Spoiler ▼

      • September 2, 2012 at 1:43 amecho

        ‎9月15日 第11話「朝霧の少女」
        9月22日 第12話「ユイの心」
        9月29日 第13話「奈落の淵」

        Yui seems to take around 2~3 episodes. cant remember the original titles but i think that should be related to Yui too

  • September 1, 2012 at 4:34 pmBlackStealth1989

    This will probably be the first Anime DVD purchase I’ve made since Samurai Champloo.

  • September 1, 2012 at 4:39 pmAccess

    Oh, Heathcliiff. I love how you ruined a perfectly classy banner with the most retarded font possible.

    That aside I was glad to finally notice the presence of (good) music this episode. Last time that happened was in the first episode. I’m glad Kajiura thought of actually trying for once.

  • September 1, 2012 at 4:43 pmdefunktbots

    heal potion…. I NEED A HEAL!!!!!

    in the land of fine margins Kirito is king! really enjoyable episode tho,

    yet again 24minutes seemed to disappear all to fast…

    but it was good to see the return of klein, and the egil /liz cameo at the end was good too.!

    about shield choice, shield requires the use of one arm, and is difficult to use with two handed weapons, (would become a buckler) kirito seems to alternate between one and two handed blows, so as much as anything i could see a shield hindering this as much as speed alone,

    also i assume shield use would require skill points, which kirito would probably want to spend maxing agility and power skills to complement his dual wielding.

    • September 1, 2012 at 5:41 pmacolyte

      Yeah the episode went in a flash.
      You’re right about the skill points. Although throughout the sides stories he’s also shown as never wearing a shield, so there’s basically no reason for him to not use a shield initially, just the author’s setup

      • September 1, 2012 at 9:28 pmSuppa Tenko

        But when Kirito duels Suguha IRL, he tends to switch the hand using the shinai to chain combos together.

  • September 1, 2012 at 4:45 pmAlcren

    In SAO the regular safe limit for dungeon is actually ten levels above the floor you actually at so let’s say at floor 50 your safe level would be sixty. Since they’re at Floor 74 you’d think that the kirito’s level is high eighties but as Klein said he is a battle maniac so I’d guess he’s already in his 90′s if not mid 90′s

  • September 1, 2012 at 4:56 pmacolyte

    God. I’ve read the light novel and after seeing the manga, I expected the anime wouldn’t be on par with the LN.
    I was wrong. They animated it well. Maybe not 100% faithful to the novel, but still well. Leaving viewers enjoying it and wanting for more.

    • September 1, 2012 at 8:45 pmShadow74

      I read the manga and I say this nicely done in anime, even if reading the novel would still have the same opinion. Even if you’ve read or seen in manga, anime or light novel that matters is how it is expressed:
      -In the novel, the words, the dialogue and the narrative style you convey the action and excitement.
      -In the manga are the layout and details of the scenes and characters drawn.
      -In the anime is the animation, the music, the colors of the scene, the voices of the characters.
      Each medium has its way and followed depends on the person that you think best.

      • September 1, 2012 at 9:34 pmacolyte

        The problem is since a while ago, while original animes are good, anime adapted from VN/LN/eroge/manga are often not up to par with the adapted’s quality. With manga, usually it’s either subpar or equal to. VN/Eroge usually have multiple endings so that’s a no, and we lost the details in the LN, often shifting the genre/mood, like ZnT or Campione.
        All in all, I’m glad that they didn’t mess up the animation :)

  • September 1, 2012 at 5:09 pmKamui04

    stepping on a dragons tail and you get a face full of Spike Flail, I see what you did there Moomba XD.

    About the map, yes, Kirito mentioned that he would be sharing the map data after leaving the dungeon, more than likely most of the people from the frontlines too. Being a place where scouting and getting information is critical to avoid unnecessary deaths. What’s annoying here in SAO and MMO is people from lower levels coming up to you and demanding you to handle that stuff for free, like you said as if it was god-send right for them, as if you didn’t work your ass to get it and without so much as a thanks.

    When they mention the Army haven’t been on the frontlines after their floor 25 failure, one would assume that platoon wasn’t high enough level to challenge a frontline boss much less one as strong and unexpected as this one. And just jumping into the boss room without any preparation or even ignoring any advice from veterans felt like a Leeroy Jenkins to me.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • September 1, 2012 at 5:12 pmderpy derp

    It’s interesting how in the opening they Asuna and Kirito take out that boss together (last hit) but in the episode he just dual wields his way to victory alone

    • September 1, 2012 at 5:20 pmAccess

      This actually surprised me. It’s been a while since I read the novel but I was under the impression that they had better teamwork going on, and yet in the anime she ended up being fairly useless.

      • September 1, 2012 at 5:47 pmacolyte

        Yes, looking at the content, they just can’t afford too long for the battle scene. There’s just too much to cram in.
        The drama for saving the soldiers is apparently more important than the Asuna x Kirito compatibility in this episode.

  • September 1, 2012 at 5:18 pmhaseo0408

    Kayaba is insane for real! Are you telling me that players have to beat that thing without healing items!? How in God´s name is that fair!?.

    • September 1, 2012 at 5:20 pmLonghaul

      fight with overwhelming numbers, normally

    • September 1, 2012 at 5:23 pmKamui04

      Well although there’s no magic and consequently no healers in the game, but they got healing crystals and potions. Since the room is an anticrystal one they would be left with only potions to restore health. But one can guess that potions take too much time to be of use or aren’t easy to handle in a battle scenario unless it’s well planned to switch out injured people.

      • September 1, 2012 at 5:27 pmhaseo0408

        Potions doesn´t have as much healing effcts as crystals and fighting with overwhelming numbers is suicide in SAO, you need a concrete plan for each boss fight with the right number of people or you are screwed.

      • September 1, 2012 at 5:43 pmacolyte

        That’s correct. In fact, potions are heal-over-time, and they have to have the ones that needs healing switched out, just like the floor 1 boss episode.

      • September 1, 2012 at 11:12 pmhaseo0408

        If the boss fight keep getting harder and spice up with traps by the time they reach the Final Boss ther would only be a few dozen skill warriors left! I say it again, Kayaba is rising the difficulty of the game to an insane level, his world is already alive so what is he aiming for by creating this suicidal boss fights?.

      • September 1, 2012 at 11:43 pmacolyte

        @haseo You’re asking a question which in the novel is still considered even in v10.

    • September 1, 2012 at 7:15 pmhwighting

      have you not seen the previous episodes with mob fights? they employ attack rotations called switchy. and drink health potions when they are off rotation.

  • September 1, 2012 at 5:25 pmGrandier

    LOL at Kirito and Asuna’s initial to Gleam Eyes. I remember when I played RO and first laid eyes on Baphomet.

    • September 1, 2012 at 5:54 pmAlan

      OMG YES! I couldn’t remember what that boss is called. Well done sir.

    • September 2, 2012 at 3:00 aml3reezer

      Baphomet Jr. even, haha

  • September 1, 2012 at 5:35 pmKal

  • September 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm†Croos†

    Somehow I was not impressed in this episode.

  • September 1, 2012 at 5:57 pmSacchi

    Really good episode. I read the first volume of the novels and I really liked SAO until this point. After the duel, it becomes a bit boring IMO. Anyways, I believe I should clarify on two things

    1) If memory serves me well, it’s not “anti-transportation crystals” rooms, it’s anti-crystals rooms. So players wouldn’t even be able to heal in that boss room. They lose hp, it’s not going up. Unless they beat the boss or run.
    2) Regarding sending scouts to check out boss battles (very minor spoiler, more of a fact that hasn’t been introduced than spoiler)

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • September 1, 2012 at 6:56 pmewok40k

      Ouch! So Kirito and Asuna were really lucky to escape this time, next time it would be
      Show Spoiler ▼

  • September 1, 2012 at 5:59 pmShiawase

    “Are you lagging?”

    Huh, didn’t know one could lag in a game like this…
    That’d be awful, if it were to happen. I’d be like “OMG, DID I DIE?! WTF” D;

    • September 3, 2012 at 8:58 amKamui04

      Lol it would be god awful if that would happen in SAO during a raid or fight, having experienced that playing MMOs.

      Also if the network infrastructure in 2024 wasn’t robust enough to avoid lag or disconnections, add that the players are in danger of dying if anything happened. I’d provide or ensure the connection to those players in the hospital were redundant with two or more separate ISPs over a multi-WAN router.

  • September 1, 2012 at 6:28 pmkookaa

    Epic episode. I hope Kirito pulls a Zoro( third sword held through mouth).

    • September 2, 2012 at 4:58 amVaan

      Tri wielding!

  • September 1, 2012 at 6:28 pmPtolemaios00

    Finally! We could have gotten this Kirito kickass-ness in episode 3 already. Some flashbacks would not have been there though I guess.

    Anyway…
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • September 1, 2012 at 6:32 pmMutare

    I thought there was more depth given to this fight than what was in the light novel through flashbacks to Sachi which I thought and OMG Lisbeth gets more screentime, and Heathcliff YEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH.

  • September 1, 2012 at 6:35 pmRyner

    I really love this episode! Finally it shows Kirito’s trauma when he thinks about what happened to his guild and to Sachi, that he will even risk using a skill that will get his life in more danger and will make him stand out (popular) just so he can save the rest, which I believe he really doesnt want at all since he’s a solo player.

    I even notice how when he woke up after the battle that he sees Sachi first before he realizes it was Asuna calling for him.

    A question to novel readers out there, I would appreciate it if you can answer my question, it’s not a question that will spoil the plot or anything:

    Was Kirito in love with Sachi?

    And also I know that last episode Asuna joked around that Kirito was not popular with girls, but did she ever knew Kirito’s past with Sachi and everything? It looks like in the anime, dont know about the novel, that they even sleep in the same room together (I think this was mentioned in the anime when Sachi said that each night Kirito would console her that she would survive).

    • September 1, 2012 at 7:11 pmJoanmoco

      About Kirito and Sachi
      Show Spoiler ▼

      • September 1, 2012 at 10:19 pmHolmes

        Well, uh, didn’t the first one get violated sometime in episode 3?

  • September 1, 2012 at 6:51 pmewok40k

    Interesting insights into boss battles in the SAO… no wonder mortality rate in the game is so high. I am not sure I would muster the courage to fight “on the frontlines”.
    Kirito dual wielding is sure badass, but Asuna’s “max dexterity” style is grat too – it reminds me of my NWN days when I used to run finesse rangers…
    I wonder if Asuna’s cozy flat costed so much, how expensive is that grandiose Guildhall?

  • September 1, 2012 at 6:55 pmTopboy

    Since Suzimiya Haruhi 2009 Ended,I never have to wait for new episode of any anime series,until SAO air. I like SAO so much.

    -Still this boss not seem to be much a threat as my expected from last episode.
    -I don’t expect Asuna be the one to rush in(but expect Kirito) to save players who fighting boss.
    -So Kirito is the only one player in the whole game who possessed dual wield skill ?

  • September 1, 2012 at 7:20 pmOtaku Dump

    So they plan to finish all of this in 12-13 episodes eh.

    • September 1, 2012 at 8:53 pmJello

      There’s actually a lot of content still remaining for this arc, or rather, until the next arc starts. I think it’ll be more like 14-15 episodes. The next arc is more straightforward, so I’m guessing they can get through it fine with less episodes.

      • September 1, 2012 at 9:17 pmOtaku Dump

        Regardless of how much LN material there is, they are pretty much limited to 12-13 episodes considering the fact that they’ve been rushing a lot of things.

      • September 2, 2012 at 8:24 amKamui04

        The series is scheduled for 2 cours which is 24-25 episodes.

      • September 2, 2012 at 11:26 pmOtaku Dump

        So they plan to include the fairy arc I guess. =D No complains here.

  • September 1, 2012 at 7:53 pmricz

    A really good episode for an LN adaptation

  • September 1, 2012 at 7:59 pmJanus

    “doing something to provoke its wrath will result in a Spike Flail” Nice ffxi reference there :)

  • September 1, 2012 at 8:15 pmtruestampede

    As a LN reader, things I really liked with this episode:

    1.) The Music. When I was reading this part, I just couldn’t think what music would match the epicness of Dual Wielding’s reveal.

    2.) The Animation. The speed and light trails of Starburst Stream were really awesome. The way the skill slowly speeds up all the while getting a peek at Kirito getting hit every now and then was a nice touch.

    3.) The Humor. Klein oh Klein. This guy deserves more screen time just because he is hilarious. Really, this guy deserves more content not just in the anime but in the light novels as well. More Klein = More Fun.

    4.) Lisbeth’s cameo. I understood they had to leave out Kirito sharing his dual wielding to Lisbeth (since she was confused in the LN why he needed another one handed sword of equal quality as Elucidator), but I was still a bit disappointed since it takes away the amount of trust Kirito had given to Lisbeth to reciprocate her feelings. This little cameo addresses that.

    5.) A glimpse at what Kirito was thinking at the time. This is why I believe (with some minor constraints) doing it chronologically would make more sense for the anime rather than making the sudden jump to this arc after episode 1. Here we get to understand why Kirito jumped in to help after Asuna charged in (not just because he wants to save Asuna, more on that…) and why he chose to reveal his dual wielding (since if he hadn’t kept secrets he could’ve avoided Sachi dying – at least this is what Kirito felt).

    Things that would’ve made me happier (as a LN reader):
    1.) Kirito licking (or was it sucking?) Asuna’s finger for more of the sauces. If this won’t please you, nothing will. XD

    2.) If I remember correctly there was more party battle chemistry shown between Kirito and Asuna. That’s what I felt when reading the LN. It was much more so than what was shown in Episode 2 as they were trying to make a way for the Army’s escape. Around the time when everybody’s HP was already getting at dangerous levels, even Asuna and Klein, that Kirito decided to dual wield. This was not the case as both Klein and Asuna’s HPs were still in the green by the time he decided.

    3.) I really dislike how they show the HP Bars slowly drop. As an RPG player, it feels like Kirito’s been afflicted by a damage overtime skill/spell rather than outright receiving damage. I guess its to show how much damage he received from what he initially had. But they could have done it differently like red out the outright damage taken and let it slowly fade to nothing. This doesn’t have to apply to all states of damage, just the instant one like hits and slashes. They can keep their current animation for DOT, like being stabbed or something. Minor gripe I know, but chipping HP is better than draining it in my book. XD

    4.) How Gleam Eyes dies. Should’ve been more epic I guess. A final roar or actually falling down to ground with all that weight felt shaking the floor would’ve given how the boss monster more credit with regards to his strength and ferocity. He could happily shatter to bits after that. Oh well…

    Overall I like the episode. Its not 100% transition from the LNs but at this point none of us LN readers are expecting that anyway. As long as they give justice to the key scenes and try to keep as much close attention to what made the LN so great then it would be fine.

    Next up, looking forward to the Duel between Heathcliff and Kirito. I expect to have cameos here seeing as Lisbeth has already made one.

    • September 1, 2012 at 9:32 pmKranyte

      I agree this epi was pretty awesome.. I’ve been looking forward to it since last week.. hell the cliffhanger last week is what made me wanna read the LNs.. In the last 6 days I read through the first 8 LNs.. about to start the Alicization Arc XD

      As for your qualms:
      1. Yes I soo wished for that scene as well.. I REALLY hope they add in this one though:
      Show Spoiler ▼

      I didn’t mind too much else.. but I really wanted to the see the potion bottle as well, and Asuna calling Kirito an idiot for rushing in..

      Though, I’m looking forward to next week’s episode, not as much, simply cuz I want the after-effects to watch when
      Show Spoiler ▼

    • September 1, 2012 at 9:41 pmacolyte

      Good analysis. Again, there are some other things that could be sacrificed from the episode, but it’s the studio’s decision for which part to cut off :\
      I guess they don’t want to make Asuna x Kirito too extreme.
      Do you notice they rely more on flashbacks for Asuna x Kirito than little details, in the LN, like the ones you posted, to enforce their relationship??

  • September 1, 2012 at 8:50 pmJello

    Omg yusssssss. Kirito’s Dual Blades moment and Asuna’s charge-in moment was as goosebumpy as I had hoped from the Light Novel.

    Sachi’s shadow appearing as Kirito woke up was an interesting added tidbit though :o…

  • September 1, 2012 at 9:06 pmTingster013

    Looking at how crazy skilled Kirito is, Commander Heathcliff will not be much of a problem… And Dual Blade: My prediction is that the GM probably gave it to the best beater around at that time?

    • September 1, 2012 at 9:19 pmAzarum

      Wow Tingster, you are seriously close with that Dual Blades guess, can’t wait for the next fight between Heathcliff a.k.a leader of the best guild, and Kirito a.k.a “leader” of the soloers

      • September 1, 2012 at 11:21 pmAureateFlux

        The dual wield skill has to do more with the player Kirito himself than anything he’s actually done in-game– it’s one of the linchpins in the overarching theme of the LNs that the in-game world and the real world are intimately tied together and ultimately as real and important as one another.

  • September 1, 2012 at 9:17 pmeuler271

    hahha, you are soooooo Show Spoiler ▼

    Tingster

  • September 1, 2012 at 9:17 pmRandal

    Yay we get to see Lizbeth again! And did anyone realise that when Kirito was using the Star Burst Stream, he kept saying “faster, faster” , just like Haruyuki in episode 1 of Accel World when he was playing squash

    • September 1, 2012 at 9:41 pmacolyte

      In fact, the anime kept on focusing on the ‘faster, faster’ -_- I was like ‘errr.. do we really need that?’

  • September 1, 2012 at 9:22 pmBoo

    I think the requirements to acquire the dual wield skill could be from using one handed sword only for a set of time.

    • September 1, 2012 at 9:35 pmKranyte

      You’ll find out later in the anime but if you’re really curious and want to know.. go and read ahead:
      Show Spoiler ▼

      • September 1, 2012 at 9:42 pmacolyte

        Kranyte, is this in the LN? I missed that part! To date I still didn’t know why o.o

      • September 1, 2012 at 10:17 pmKranyte

        Yeah, its explained when:
        Show Spoiler ▼

  • September 1, 2012 at 9:39 pmacolyte

    In fact, the anime kept on focusing on the ‘faster, faster’ -_- I was like ‘errr.. do we really need that?’

    • September 1, 2012 at 9:41 pmacolyte

      Wrong place for comment..

  • September 1, 2012 at 9:41 pmSerapita

    no-one will know that standing on the dragon’s tail and doing something to provoke its wrath will result in a Spike Flail and oh god the carnage that follows!

    Spike Flail! Ah… good old FFXI days when random LS wiped on Faf/hogg.

  • September 1, 2012 at 10:00 pmPassingBy

    Meh-ish episode. The animation is not up there for a show of this massive level of hype. Compared to some relatively recent stuffs like Another, Mirai Nikki, Ao no Exorcist, the animation is disappointing. I’m not even gonna go in Fate/Zero. The only thing SAO animation could compare to is possibly Persona 4 the Animation that I can remember.

    The supposedly badass people stood basically useless on the side and watching the guy solo just because they are not the main POV character. Which is disappointing. He was only able to solo due to plot armor. *dislike*. Needs moar badass girl and Klein action. Once again, the guy saved the girl. Why can’t Peach be of some use to Mario, save him for once?

    People fall in love way too easily. The romance is shallow, where’s the development? The only characterization that the girl gets is that she is a badass hottie in the strongest guild, and a good cook. That doesn’t set her much apart from the rest of the girls he met so far, except that she is the most badass of them all. And that comes with a bunch of unfortunate implications which I will not get into. The guy is a one dimensional badass and generic handsome, gallant (help girls only in his sidestory) chick-attracting nice guy. Heck, Klein only has less than 3 episodes of screentime thus far, and I know much more about his personality and like him more than Kirito. Also I kinda dislike how he only rushes in after Asuna charged in to save them. Which does nothing to help my opinion of him as “help-girls-only”. Something is wrong here when the main character doesn’t have much of an agenda, and I am supposed to like the main character…. Bottom line is, everyone needs more of a personality! That means more than one side to the characters.

    Two episodes (or around 2 days) plus breast-grabbing is not enough for two people to automatically get closer, at least not for me. What did they do together in two days? Not much, just dinner, then fought monsters. This problem is prevalent in all of the girls Kirito met so far. I would have been okay if he spends quality (emphasis on quality) time with every single girl, then the harem makes some sort of sense. This is definitely something that the story should dive more into to explore, and not those useless sidestory to show how much of a nice guy Kirito is. Another alternative to such a rush romance is to have Asuna only with such love-at-first-sight treatment, but no, every single girl he met has to like him, because he is the main character. That very idea loudly screams Mary Sue when carelessly handled. They would become interested at best, in such a short amount of time, before having any form of a crush. It takes time to find out more about the partner and care about him enough to cry for him when he almost dies, like Asuna did. I call it, SAO is more of a harem than action, with very little emphasis on actual romance! I was expecting a little bit more quality in the main story, instead of wish-fulfillment. Of course there is nothing wrong with the realization of your desires in fiction, if done well that it doesn’t really appear irritating. Why is it irritating? Because usually in real life, you have to work your ass off to get a single girl to like you, let alone two, or three, or a harem. This lucky guy gets all of them basically for free!

    Maybe it is not the fault of the author or the story itself, but the rushed directing decision of the anime crew. I really should get around to read the novel and verify my conjecture…..

    • September 1, 2012 at 10:30 pmacolyte

      PassingBy, that’s a great analysis from a viewer that hasn’t read the LN yet.
      As one of the LN readers, I notice your arguments are valid yet I didn’t feel that way when I was reading the LN, so here’s a few of what I notice:
      1. The ‘mood’ SAO sets is unlike those which you showed. The genre is different. It’s a niche genre, and it’s much more light-hearted. The ones you referred to are mostly hardcore shounen and some psychological. This one is shounen but more colored with romance and drama. Might not be your cup of tea. In fact, I love the story because I love RPG, especially MMORPG. role-playing game that is, not monster-killing.
      2. Kirito is definitely viewed as badass and he’s the MC so pretty much a given he has that invincibility granted by the author :p Asuna in fact is a hardcore gamer, given that she’s pretty much the strongest female player, but this is not the story’s focus. This is not those action shounens or the like. It’s has more focus on the drama between. Asuna didn’t get much lone action time. Show Spoiler ▼

      But you are right. Asuna and Klein doesn’t get enough action screentime, even in the LN. But that’s just the genre. You pretty much have to appreciate it while not trying to compare it against other anime works. .hack maybe, in .hack twilight, the sister didn’t do much either.
      3. Eh? Romance development? The LN is crazier. It has like so few chapters of romantic development. Show Spoiler ▼

      Remember, 2 years has passed since SAO began, by episode 8. Regarding her vs other girls, remember what Lisbeth said. Asuna is the one who can protect him by his side in the frontlines, she only could provide him with the weapon to do so. Asuna actually has a place in his heart, that’s why he rushed in. It may not be obvious if you just watched the anime, and if so that’s the anime crew’s shortcoming. Good observation. And as I said multiple times, I think trying to cramming all the story creates these shortcoming. It could’ve been better, but I say for an adaptation, I’ve seen many many worse adaptations, and this is good enough, no?
      4. Again, it’s not 2 days. Asuna pretty much was the first girl Kirito associates with, and the girl in the frontlines with him. Asuna is the earliest and the latest by his side. The girls (which are side stories of the LN), indeed spent ‘quality time’, but Asuna watched Kirito far longer than the other girls, especially since floor 50. SAO is far from a harem. It’s more like Kirito never guns for anyone, lost trust in having close allies, wanting to go alone. Show Spoiler ▼

      The other girls, he sort of ‘picked up along the way’. The main story, which started from episode 8, has no harem element. Episode 3-7 are pretty much side stories. He’s also not lucky, because while he’s aware of the romance, he detached himself from those, because, he is obsessed in clearing the game. Show Spoiler ▼

      I think this kind of comment is what Moomba is looking for the last episode.
      I like the progression of the anime but it may give different impression on the non-LN readers.
      You should read the novel. It’s worth a read. Maybe after the anime is over so you can have a good comparison. For me, the anime’s more of an icing, to smooth the image that’s been floating around in my head from the LN.

      • September 2, 2012 at 4:11 amPassingBy

        Thank you for your great insights! Clear things up for me a little bit better.

        I have been thinking for the past 9 episodes that SAO is a shounen that’s geared towards action, dark psychological stuffs, and death-game survival thriller (like Mirai Nikki or Battle Royale). Kirito seems to solo for cynical reasons (now I know that he’s not). That was why I set the bar kind of high for the animation. With your explanation about the focus on drama (though I think so far there aren’t much in the anime yet), I can see why they don’t put all their efforts into animating battles.

        What was Moomba looking for? Comments from people who didn’t read the novel yet?

        I will read the novel, soon when I get the better of my general laziness! I hope I can enjoy much more about the intended drama that the anime falls short on re-creating.

        Thanks again for the helpful comment! I previously questioned, after every single episode, “What’s the buzz about this show? I don’t see it” and you nailed the perfect answer. I really like it that you can explain why you like the show, more than just the overused “it’s awesome”. Many people can’t do that, hence the reason why I get massive hype backlash effect (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HypeBacklash) from SAO. Finally I can see where you guys are coming from and acknowledge that this is not my cup of tea. Now I realize not to take SAO for more than what it is in its genre. I think I can enjoy SAO a little bit more now that I am not seeking for the perfect masterpience that wasn’t meant for me!

      • September 2, 2012 at 4:53 amPassingBy

        Oh nvm I see Moomba’s question now. I didn’t really catch it when I skimmed through his summary last week. I’m going to give a direct answer to: “How would I feel if the anime goes with the novel continuity from Town of Beginning to Floor 74?”

        In my opinion, I think the sidestories could have been much better off as OVA instead of going in SAO-verse chronological order. The anime started off fairly slowly and yet ironically the pacing of the sidestories was extremely rushed. I was losing interest by the time episode 6 comes around and my friend told me that have to wait for 2 more episodes before the “good” stuffs happen. Character development is severely lacking, and again, the problem with the way SAO handles romance doesn’t sit too well with me.

        Episode 4 and 7 felt really empty for me. From how I see it, neither of them added anything worth caring about to Kirito’s characterization, other than the fact that all the hot girls want him.

        Episode 3 was supposed to be the WHAM character development episode as to why Kirito acts the way he does as a solo player. However, I didn’t feel any emotions upon the guild’s doom (a friend told me I was supposed to cry lol, but I didn’t) because I never really have much time to warm up to them and they didn’t exactly do anything meaningful together. So they really bombed that one. This arc was important to Kirito’s personality, and I feel that it deserves at least two or three episodes, but sadly that didn’t happen. One thing that really bugs me though is that Kirito only wants to get the resurrection item ONLY for Sachi, the only girl in the guild. Why is that? Double standard? Is it because she is the only female in the guild? “I want to hear her last word” is not a good enough reason. You just cannot show favoritism in light of life and death.

        Episode 5 and 6 were out-of-place for SAO setting. With that said, I do prefer the murder mystery arc more than Silica and Lizbeth’s sidestories about how they both fell in love with him within a short amount of time and no noteworthy developments. Then I didn’t like how one of the main division commanders of one of the strongest guild, Holy Dragon, got so freaked out with the killings. One would think he would be used to be in the face of death at that point already given his battles on the front line. Then the last scene with Griselda ghost was also out of place. You can’t have a ghost in VR.

        Episode 8 got somewhat better but it still felt inadequate. Accidental breast-grab for bonding, it was supposed to be funny, not my kind of thing.

        I already discussed episode 9 so I will not repeat myself.

        I think the problem here is that the viewers were supposed to finish the main story first to get a good view at Kirito’s agenda and his motives. He pretty much appeared to me as an empty shell, nothing more than a nice-guy NPC. The sidestories only serve to expand, not to introduce Kirito’s character. At the time that the novel readers get to volume 2, they have a clear picture about Kirito (something that the first-time anime viewers do not have, hence the empty shell effect) and therefore can fill in the puzzle of the sidestories. That might have been the dissonance between the original writing and the adaptation. The decision of the production crew to put them all in chronological order could very well have been the reason why some viewers are left wondering about what the hell the guy is thinking and why he acts the way he does. The MC was meant to be liked even by those unfamiliar with the source materials.

    • September 1, 2012 at 11:43 pmRaine

      Asuna fell in love on that scene in A Murder Case in the Area, where Kirito was sleeping and Asuna slept beside him. That’s not within the two days of Asuna and Kirito meeting each other. And the anime really didn’t show a lot of Asuna fighting the boss, which is really the case in the novel.

      • September 2, 2012 at 4:12 amPassingBy

        Oh, thank you for clarifying that!

        Btw are you the same Raine from ISML Facebook?

      • September 2, 2012 at 7:47 pmRaine

        @Passingby

        I’m afraid I’m not the same, sorry. And also, glad to be able to clarify stuff for you. :)

    • September 2, 2012 at 7:17 amstalkingpanda

      Passingby, you are absolutely right with your first comment. You need a bunch of thumbs ups rather than all those negs. It is harder to be fully drawn into the anime-version sword art universe due to these issues (I’m fine with the animation quality though). I guess this is a shounen anime, and we were hoping it would have been a seinen!

      • September 2, 2012 at 10:31 amPassingBy

        Yeah I thought it was Seinen at first too. That raises my expectation quite a bit when I really shouldn’t have. I was looking forward to something much deeper, darker, a little bit more mature (like Fate/Zero and Mirai Nikki, again, both are death-game kind of shows like SAO) and thrilling survival psychology. I guess I am not looking at the right show.

        I’m going to correct you that SAO is not your typical shounen either. As Acolyte has made it clear that it focuses more on the drama instead of the action and psychology. So anyone who was looking for that would also be disappointed like the people who were looking for seinen.

      • September 2, 2012 at 10:42 amPassingBy

        It is all a matter of what you’re looking for. Now I know what kind of a show I am getting into it easier to enjoy SAO for what it is, and not what I expected it to be. The hype and praises didn’t help much.

    • September 2, 2012 at 7:52 amboingman

      I (anime only watcher) agree with what you said, but you can’t be serious when you mention “Persona 4 the Animation”. That show had terrible animation problems on par with Muv-Luve Alternative TE.
      Animationwise this SOA episode was fine.

    • September 2, 2012 at 8:52 pmtruestampede

      I agree with PassingBy at some level that, the anime adaptation could be at fault for some of the weird character development. I wouldn’t blame the chronological format though as in my opinion it could have been done better if some episodes were stretched to two. I know I posted it on the last episode so I’ll repost it again with some minor changes…

      So here’s what I think would’ve been a better

      Episode 1: World of Swords
      No complaints here. In my opinion they’ve done this adaptation justice.

      Episode 2: First Day (adapted from Volume 8 Story 3)
      This could’ve better fit for a second episode for various reasons. It delved deeper into the fear and tension ofter Kayaba’s revelation at the plaza as well as into Kirito’s guilt on leaving Klein. It also expands on Kirito’s prior knowledge of the game via the beta test and gives the viewers a perspective on why the vast majority of SAO’s population hates beta testers after what they did on the first days of SAO. It can also develop the world by expanding on quests and rewards. Only downside to this is that it may be a bit to grim and that we don’t get to see Asuna until Episode 3

      Episode 3: Aria of the Starless Night
      Done well save for Argo being ommitted. Hate for Beta Testers would have been justified after watching First Day. The underlying dealings for selling the Anneal Blade and the earlier meeting with Asuna (and subsequent stay at Kirito’s place) were omitted just fine. They could have split this to 2 episodes but I think they did alright as the audience needs some early action. More world building can be done later.

      Episode 4: The Red Nosed Reindeer
      Everything that has been animated has been done well save for a few tidbits (like Klein had a duel instead of his whole guild fighting off the other guild). I do recognize that it shouldn’t have been squeezed to one, but I have no idea how they can stretch it to two whole episodes. The LN showed Kirito’s powerleveling more thoroughly and the Christmas event in the anime adaptation could’ve shown the whole boss fight to sort of ‘add’ on to what was shown on the LNs.

      Episode 5: The Black Swordsman
      Also was done almost faithfully save for the horrendous trench coat Kirito starts wearing. I believe this cannot be skipped as it adds to Kirito’s character post-Sachi’s death and that Silica will re-appear later on in the story.

      Episode 6: Warmth of the Heart Part 1
      As much as I love how well executed the scene where Asuna falls asleep under the tree, I’m willing to sacrifice seeing this quite early to give more development with Lizbeth. The adaptation failed to describe how she had to change herself to survive in SAO (why she dyed her hair pink, the attire, and how/why she needed a shop with a water mill, and finally the loneliness she was already feeling at that point in time which explains why she fell for Kirito so easily. They also could have expanded more with the Frost Dragon fight scene and I surely wished the Dragon was not CG. This episode could have ended with a cliffhanger after they get blown away by the frost breath attack.

      Episode 7: Warmth of the Heart Part 2
      Having split it to a second episode would have given more time with emotional scenes with Lisbeth in the dragon’s nest & expand more into the blacksmithing mechanics. Again, this would have given Lisbeth as well as Kirito, more character development. The blacksmithing could also have been done well in that the stats could still be random, and that whole “let me be your personal smith” could’ve been explained further. Episode 9 gave Lisbeth some justice in that it reveals that Kirito DID reveal Dual Blades to her at some point as in the LN Lisbeth actually inquires why Kirito needs two blades of equal (or atleast similar) stats to which Kirito obliges (which in turn shows the level of trust they developed).

      Episode 8: Black and White Sword Dance
      No complaints here. Some changes did happen though not too much.

      Episode 9: The Gleam Eyes
      They remained faithful for the most part save for a small fan service in the sandwich scene. The reveal of the dual blades was also well done in my opinion save for a few facial expression weirdness here and there (Kirito’s face while asking for 10 seconds was a bit off for me). A nice addition to the adaptation was Lisbeth’s appearance which gives her more justice considering her involvement in forging the 2nd sword for dual blades.

      So there, I just believe that if they did it this way, non-LN readers would appreciate the story more even if presented chronologically.

      The only important part of the murder arc was the scene under the tree with Kirito & Asuna which would have meant more if were presented in a flashback. The whole Murder Arc would have done better as an OVA as someone was cut out to preserve some secrets to the story and none of the characters introduced this arc will be referenced back in the future anyway.

      • September 3, 2012 at 3:29 pmryujin

        agreed for most everything except aria – they skipped out a ton of terms and world elements like switching/pot rotation/efficiency – he mentions when he first meets asuna that repeatedly using sword skills actually takes a ton of mental focus

        it’s important because it establishes that Asuna is a complete noob to MMO – but highlights her talent and ability by soloing the first level with a bunch of crap newb gear and doing reckless suicidal solo raids with the most basic Rapier Sword Skill – because she’s decided she doesn’t want to rot away in her room afraid if they’re all going to die anyway

        the feeling that this is a DEATH game is highlighted when she reveals that it’s been months and they’ve still gotten nowhere with the FIRST level because people are dying and they’re losing hope

        it shows the reason Kirito a selfish solo player who gave up the chance for relationships in this game at the expanse of survival reaches out for the first time because of the reckless but vivid image of another solo player with incredible talent… (Asuna)

        basically there’s a lot of development for both characters in that chapter that lends credence to their romance later and fleshes out a great deal about the world and setting which gives it authenticity – and of course it all comes to a head and leads into the first Boss Battle and the fallout from that which influences the rest of the story for both characters and how they end up where they are later

        it really should have been one of the lynchpins of the show besides the first episode and so a great deal of the lack of establishing character and the vagueness of why their relationship should matter happens because the adaption of that story was rushed

        sorry – that section of SAO along with rondo of the transient sword are one of the highlights of the LN for me so to see it get shafted when we got so much murder mystery…argh

    • September 3, 2012 at 3:41 pmryujin

      to be fair it’s also important to remember that this was supposed to be a one shot one vol novel for a competition – but ended up being too long and then was reluctantly pushed onto the web where it got popular and had a bunch of sequels written up

      right now the author is going back and planning to write more stories from aincrad lvls 1-however many they cleared

      i think in trying to build that world he wrote a bunch of different characters to highlight specific elements of both the MMO – the psychology of the players in a death game like this – and of course his constant theme of experience in the virtual = (has the same value of) experiences in the real

      so lisbeth’s sidestory was meant to highlight the industrial side of players who weren’t out fighting raids but instead chose to become merchants or other non combat trades – the importance of her shop, of the process, and what someone else mentioned what you’d have to do to run a successful business as a non fighter + flesh out the world as more than just guys running around swinging glowy blades

      Dragon tamer chick – had the introduction of pets, of player group dynamics, female players, criminal pvp – and the psychology of players who thought there couldn’t actually be a death penalty.etc and the disparity of strength between mid-low level characters who weren’t fighting on the front lines

      it’s true kirito doesn’t really get much benefit as a character from those “sidestories” and while the author could have done better in that regard, i think it’s also important to see it as a kind of fill in the edges for the world where Kirito isn’t the main character as a way for us to experience more of Aincrad

      • September 4, 2012 at 10:34 amPassingBy

        You talk about this death-game psychology, I don’t see much of it after episode 1. Episode 3 has a little but not emphasized enough. Maybe it’s just the anime. Mirai Nikki definitely did a better job at capturing the mood of fear, distrust and betrayal in this kind of genre. I was expecting something around that level for this kind of survival game. Simply reacting isn’t enough, it must be shown throughout the story. Everyone is so easygoing, at least the main cast.

        Another thing that really bugs me about this psychology of survival and fear:
        Asuna: I didn’t come here to eat good food
        *Then spent a year to analyze all the recipes and ingredients, raise her virtual COOKING skill where that could have been better invested in other attributes.*
        Not to mention, rare spices cost a lot, don’t they have better things to do?

        I think the sidestory didn’t explore that much into the game mechanics of SAO, instead shows how desirable Kirito is to women with little to no believable developments.

  • September 1, 2012 at 10:16 pmTypeAlpha

    Man I lol’d so hard when Kirito thought Klein was lagging XDD

  • September 1, 2012 at 10:27 pmKinny Riddle

    Before realizing his feelings, Kirito already wants to monopolize on Asuna’s recipes. XD

    No wonder all the single-men in Klein’s Fuurinkazan looked so jealous. LOL

    Kirito, don’t waste your luck.

    As for the episode, it’s been a while since episode 2 since we’ve seen an epic SAO fight. To play Devil’s Advocate, I would argue that A-1 Pictures actually did a good job arranging the side-stories before this episode, as now they could now brilliantly insert back Kirito’s painful flashback of seeing the Black Cats’ tragic annihilation, which had a profound impact on him and which led him to do what he did this episode – revealing his secret technique.

    BTW, Liz said afterwards she also knew about Kirito’s duel wielding skill, was she bluffing just to “show off” or did she actually knew beforehand?

    • September 1, 2012 at 10:34 pmKranyte

      It was more than likely added in the anime for her to show-off..
      I don’t remember her saying anything about it when it was revealed.
      Not sure if spoilers, but just in case..:
      Show Spoiler ▼

      As for the side-stories, yes, it did work out, afterall :P
      Although, there are quite a few more side-stories they can add in.. which I hope they do XD

    • September 1, 2012 at 10:34 pmacolyte

      In the end of Liz’s episode (ep7), I think Kirito showed Lisbeth, why is he using two swords. It’s not in the LN though.

      • September 1, 2012 at 10:56 pmFelipito

        Actually in the LN he does show her. They didnt in the anime because they didnt want to reveal it too early i guess. Remember in the LN the side story for her was in the second book.

      • September 1, 2012 at 11:00 pmSaangi

        Well based on my memory, the anime didn’t show Kirito showing Liz the Dual Wielding.
        Though
        Show Spoiler ▼

      • September 1, 2012 at 11:41 pmacolyte

        Memory sucks. Getting old. It’s in LN only. Liz’s side story, before Asuna came in to check on her.
        Show Spoiler ▼

  • September 1, 2012 at 10:40 pmFuuka

    That entire battle was what I was expecting from SAO when they first announced it. I DO really like how they showed the Sachi flashbacks when Kirito was deciding what to do, and remembering what happened last time Teleport Crystals did not work. Like I said from the beginning, the Sachi episode was needed. I love the little MMO lines in this episode “Are you lagging?” ahahahaha! how many times have I heard that one?
    Liz’s line at the end about his Duel Wielding being their secret did not make sense since they took out the scene where he actually SHOWS her his Dual Swords skill.

    • September 2, 2012 at 2:05 amU Doh

      Since she is supposed to be Kiroto’s special blacksmith who exclusively does repair and maintenance of his weapon now(hey half of her wish actually got realized, although it’s all bittersweet now) it wouldn’t be farfetched if you assume she already has asked him why he wanted the 2nd sword which is basically just as good as the 1st one.

      • September 2, 2012 at 12:50 pmFuuka

        She does ask him, but he does not show her. As an LN reader, I am probably just nitpicking. But he actually shows her in the LN his skill.

      • September 2, 2012 at 9:03 pmtruestampede

        The anime kinda wants you to assume that at some point between EP7 & EP8 Lisbeth actually asks and Kirito obliges.

        And yes, in the LN Volume 2, Lisbeth does find out before Asuna comes barging in.

        *A little sidenote for the LN Readers. Near the end of Warmth of the Heart, Kirito did say that he will be using Dark Repulser primarily (which means on display on his back) after he gets it as a form of thanks to Lisbeth as well as advertisement. So is it safe to assume that from then on Dark Repulser should have been his primary and Elucidator should’ve been the one hidden on the menus for dual blades. Continuity problems. LOL.

        ** I do recognize that for the anime adaptation, it was their way of teasing the audience. XD

  • September 1, 2012 at 10:51 pmTakuma

    ok fine I know its too early for this but….when will Kirito and Asuna DO IT?! Gosh the hug scene is very beautiful.

    • September 1, 2012 at 11:36 pmRaine

      Two words.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Though it could be considered canon or non-canon, but the general fanbase and the author himself considers it as non-canon.

      • September 2, 2012 at 12:34 amsumimasen

        Nope. It’s canon.

  • September 1, 2012 at 10:56 pmFrontier

    If I had to come up with a word describe my initial impressions of this episode, it would be “wow.”

    First and foremost, I have to bring up how awesome the fight scenes were in this episode. From Asuna making the first move against the boss, Klein getting in on the action, and of course, Kirito’s Dual Blades. The moment Dark Repulsor showed up, my mouth dropped a bit and it stayed dropped as Kirito finished the boss in style. A-1 certainly saved their budget for the right moments and it shows. Off the top of my head, I’d compare the action to episode 11 of Accel World with how fluid, dynamic, and awesome the action was. I hope people wanting more action from Sword Art Online had their wishes fulfilled.

    Oh Klein, how I’ve missed you. He’s still the same bro we met in the first episode, but a bro who will get down and dirty to help his friends. He’s also 24 and single, in case anyone was wondering. For some reason I think Kirito has an insatiable need to hit Klein whenever he tries to make an advance on a woman. First it was when he talked about his sister and now Asuna… I’d hate to see what would happen if Klein met the rest of Kirito’s harem.

    I think this episode showed, at least to me, that despite the strength Asuna outwardly portrays to people as the vice-commander of the Knights of Blood, she’s really not as strong emotionally. There’s no doubt she’s a strong fighter, and the she well deserves her title as “The Flash,” but at the same time I think underneath that is just a normal girl trying her best in a world fraught with hardships. Her reaction to the Cobert’s death, to jump out and try to save whoever was left and prevent anymore death, tells me she hasn’t come to terms with the reality of death in Sword Art Onine, or at least not the cruelty of it. Kirito mentioned that there hasn’t been a death by boss since the 67′th floor, so Cobert’s the first person she’s seen killed in probably months. Her exterior further crumbles around Kirito, from her breaking down when she thought he had died to her breaking off from her Guild just to spend a day with him. I guess it goes to show that even though she’s forged herself into a warrior intent on completing the game, deep down she’s still just a normal teenage girl thrust into a situation no human should have to face. And a girl in love to boot.

    The episode also brought out another side of Kirito, though one all too familiar by now. It wasn’t until I saw the flashbacks that it hit me how similar the situation was to the Black Cats, only with much more people, and I could understand why Kirito was starting to go through a mild version of PTSD. the scars never went away, it’s just their impact has been lessened over time thanks to Kirito’s own acceptance of Sword Art Online and from his interaction with others. Kirito’s adamant nature of refusing to allow anyone else to die in the game, stemming primarily from the Black Cats, along with his desire to protect his friends and Asuna, force him to finally reveal the true extent of his abilities. It goes to show some of the positive effects of having the Side Stories shown before this arc. Speaking of adamant, Kirito really proved himself as a determinator during the fight. Even as the boss kept hitting him, from sword slashes to even straight up punches, Kirito still kept attacking.

    Lisbeth’s cameo was nice, and it’s nice to see that Kirito trusted her enough to tell her about Dual Blades. She might not be able to have him, but I think she can take solace in the fact that at least for a time he trusted her with a secret he didn’t intend to tell anyone else.

    Not much to say about Heathcliff, though Asuna gave me the impression that he’s probably not a terrible person, and if he could earn her trust that must mean something. Though I’m sure I’ll have more to say about him after his duel with Kirito, whatever the outcome may be.

    So, to sum up once again, “wow.”

  • September 1, 2012 at 11:28 pmJhacks

    Can’t wait and see the duel between a Dual wielding DPS and a Shielder Tank. And like in any MMORPG I played, I always go for the fully armored dude holding a BIG damn door blocking any kind of attack. And they always have some kind of a skill that will make them “invulnerable” and just laugh at the attacker.
    Great episode and adaptation also, I always just keep reminding myself that even though I hear Kajiura, this is no Ufotable.

    • September 2, 2012 at 2:17 pmGrandier

      Quite the opposite for me: I prefer to ‘kite’ my enemy if I can. Screw being up close, that’s how you get killed! That being said, I’ve always wonder if there was anyone who took advantage of the “Throw” skill in SAO and became strictly a Range fighter?

  • September 1, 2012 at 11:48 pmTez

    I had a feeling he was keeping that sword to dual-wield, but I definitely didn’t expect him to use trigram: 64 slashes!

  • September 2, 2012 at 12:00 amVaan

    Awesome Dual blades boss fighting action.

    Needs more Lizbeth!

  • September 2, 2012 at 12:21 amfragb85

    Raiding, one of the most fundamental and frustrating need for an MMORPG. Its funny because one of my fondest memories in an MMORPG is when my guild wiped on a raid in 10 seconds. We all had a good laugh after that, reminds of how fun it is just trying (and failing A LOT). Here there are no second chances, and it only proves what a sadistic bastard the SAO creator is to design and MMO with only one life.

    I’m rather aghast that Kirito nearly soloed a raid boss. I wish I could do that on my raiding days. It was still great to look at him dual-wield though. I’m really glad to see Klein and his buddies too, since every other guild have been uptigiht A-holes, its nice to see one that can be casually friendly.

    Asuna is a disappointment though. For a supposed frontline fighter, she was reduced to a damsel just to make Kirito look cool. I find her to be weakest character of the show. I can never shake of this feeling that she’s a carefully manufactured perfect waifu. And she doesn’t have Kirito’s character development to make her interesting.

    • September 2, 2012 at 9:15 pmtruestampede

      Probably due to time/budget constraints they couldn’t have shown the chemistry between Asuna and Kirito during this fight. In the LN she holds her ground quite well, and the point when Kirito decided to dual blade was when everyone was in danger of being one-shotted – The Army was all in the reds, I believe Klein and Asuna were at most orange by then. I can’t remember if it was in the LN but I also think the boss HP has been reduced as well or its just me that can’t believe simply Kirito’s dual blades took down all the boss’ HP by himself. LOL.

  • September 2, 2012 at 12:36 amAnonymous

    At the rate this is going, I wouldn’t be surprised if the story goes into ALfheim Online. Show Spoiler ▼

    • September 2, 2012 at 9:17 pmtruestampede

      At the rate things are going

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • September 2, 2012 at 1:13 amJHN

    I dunno why some people are complaining but that was one awesome episode.

    I have this tendency to have a weird smile on my face when things get’s crazy-awesome. One eye will produce tears when it get’s omgwtfbbq-awesome (Times that that happened can be counted on one hand). Kirito solo’ing that boss, made it happen.

    Maybe if I had read the LN it wouldn’t be as awesome, but as an anime-only watcher I say they did it masterfully. In fact, I won’t bother reading the LN beyond what’s been done with the anime just to not potentially ruin stuff for me. ^_^;

  • September 2, 2012 at 1:13 amteutates

    Thanks for you hard work :)

    spoiler about what i read in the manga
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • September 2, 2012 at 1:25 amflCer

    Hope this story gets 2cour

    • September 2, 2012 at 2:17 amU Doh

      2 cour, 25 episodes to be aired. Confirmed.

  • September 2, 2012 at 1:57 ama42

    That’s it? The reason he’s such a badass is because he can wield 2 swords? Any amateur can do that. You gotta fight with THREE swords in order to be a true badass.

    • September 2, 2012 at 2:18 ampaiser

      Well he is the ONLY person who can currently wield 2 swords in SAO… So he officially Unlocked Achievement “BADASS YOU B!*^H@$$”

    • September 2, 2012 at 3:09 aml3reezer

      Zoro got lost and is playing the pirate-themed MMO instead.

    • September 2, 2012 at 2:39 pmGrandier

      You’ve got it reverse: Kirito isn’t a badass because he has Dual Blades. Kirito has Dual Blades because he’s a badass.

  • September 2, 2012 at 2:39 amKalkon

    I like to see what kind of item that boss gave kirito.Such powerfull boss should drop a lagendery item right? Some unique weapon or armor ?? But there wasn’t any info about it.Aaaahhhhh I want to see that rare item…

  • September 2, 2012 at 3:10 aml3reezer

    The whole time after seeing Kirito’s hp at near zero, I was paranoid about a status ailment like poison or bleeding that would’ve caused him to die anyway.
    “Shove a potion down his throat guise!!”

  • September 2, 2012 at 3:14 amWhatsht

    Hah, level 74 is actually not so hard compared to level 75. Level 25 and 50 were stated to be very difficult.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    • September 2, 2012 at 8:43 amWhatsht

      Rewatching the episode really brings back memories from playing RaiderZ’s closed beta, I partied with a group of people and fought a boss together with them, no words were said and we automatically took turns to distract the boss when 1 attacker moves back to heal.

  • September 2, 2012 at 3:41 amDjalaal

    This is my fav episode so far. I love the execution of Kirito’s fight against the boss.
    And I like how Kirito and Asuna slowly get closer. It’s believable, unlike many other anime.
    NOW I’m starting to really like SAO!

  • September 2, 2012 at 4:27 amc2710

    Now it gets bearable to watch. The first 7 episodes were X_X

    • September 2, 2012 at 4:29 amc2710

      And justice is finaly done to Yuki Kajiura’s music!

  • September 2, 2012 at 4:35 amBakaro

    This episode…
    Nothing to complain…
    So much to love…
    Words failed me…

    <3

    Note: Guess this show how weak my English Vocabulary is. =P

  • September 2, 2012 at 6:07 amyin13147

    I’m confused. Why would the Knights of Blood Oath want Kirito to join them? I thought that in the world of SAO, everybody doesn’t like ‘Beaters’, despite of their strength. Don’t mistake me for insulting Kirito, but he is labeled a beater by many. Can’t just the consequence when he loses be that he doesn’t get to have Asuna as a battle partner or something?

    Side note: Kajiura’s music is as epic as ever!

    • September 2, 2012 at 7:53 pmRaine

      Two years in the game Kirito’s beater status doesn’t bother as much people as it had before, and Heathcliff stated that they need all the strong players that they can get. So this is more of Heathcliff objectively assessing Kirito’s strength as a proper price to let Asuna be with him, thus Heathcliff acting similar to a father-figure for Asuna.

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • September 2, 2012 at 6:28 amFlanders

    I’m actually a loss on how to describe this in words. Memories of the RPGs I played when I was a teenager suddenly coming back… I exactly had that feeling watching this episode, Final Fantasy (not the new ones, III, V, VII, etc), Chrono Trigger,… wow.

    Watching Kirito wield his dual blades skill was just… awesome. Having read it in the LN, and seeing it, can make one shed manly tears.

    Maybe it’s just me, but the anime, especially with this episode and last episode enforces my opinion, that it really complements the LN (yes, not perfectly) quite nicely.

    Looking forward to the next episode!

  • September 2, 2012 at 7:47 amShuA

    My favorite after the 1st episode

  • September 2, 2012 at 8:33 amInsodp

    Why does Klein always ends up crying at the end of an episode?

    • September 2, 2012 at 11:59 pmD-LaN

      The mantears of bro.

  • September 2, 2012 at 8:47 amAndré

    One of the best anime episode that I’ve watched since I started watching anime in 1994. Absolutely awesome.

  • September 2, 2012 at 9:20 amKyon12

    I was worry for a sec there, I though that boss fight would end up like the OP………….but it did not……….lets see what Headcliff can vs Kirito……..

  • September 2, 2012 at 11:13 amEmD

    I don’t think Kirito took down the boss ‘easily’ at all.

    The boss had already lost a bar of HP from the Dumb Crew. Then Asuna did some damage. Klein jumped it. And then Kirito unleashed Dual Wield on the weakened mosnter and it still left him with like 10 HP.

  • September 2, 2012 at 11:27 amElmundanito

    what happen if i put monkey grip skill (use two handed weapon in one hand) and dual wielding o.O?!?!

  • September 2, 2012 at 8:03 pmTorrigan

    Gotta say it was better in the manga. I hate saying it but the manga was alot more technical in it’s portrayal of the ability in this ep is seemed starburst stream was just a random chain of attacks while the manga shows it as an extremely hard multi hit combo. He also shows no hesitation when deciding to use the dual blades once Asuna gets hurt

  • September 2, 2012 at 9:34 pmJounouchi

    Everything was awesome until Heathcliff showed up. He made it sound like Asuna was their property and she had no ability to make decisions on her own. To switch from a powerful vice commander to an object to be owned was a pretty harsh transition imo. I haven’t read the light novel nor do i want to now that the anime is running so i assume it will be explained. But talk about applying human concepts to a virtual world, where power and ability are reduced to stats and leveling, being shackled by our own perceived limitations is something that doesn’t just end when they no longer exist.

    • September 3, 2012 at 12:48 amGrandier

      Given the situation, I imagine being part of the most powerful Guild in the game is the equivalent of being in a real military. You just don’t up and leave, especially if you’re on the front line, just because you want to hang out with a friend for an undisclosed amount of time. The Guild doesn’t own Asuna, but she doesn’t want to quit either. But there are likely set rules to taking ‘leave’ as the Vice Commander. If Asuna was just some KoB peon, I doubt Heathcliff would’ve given two cents on her taking leave.

      • September 3, 2012 at 11:17 amJounouchi

        You bring up another interesting point, there are themes in this MMORPG that should not exist. Of course players join guilds for reasons of friendship, protection and survival, even more so due to the whole die in real life thing. For The Army to stupidly rush into a boss battle and be decimated instead of leveling up begs the question, “Who are these people who signed up to play this MMO?” Certainly no player I’ve ever seen. Teenagers, wives, husbands and grown adults…. and even soldiers, all who play an MMO know the rules of a guild, to be able to leave voluntarily just as you voluntarily joined. Military and guilds, the difference is you can’t leave the military, but you can leave or in this case take a break from a guild.

        And a side question, how in the hell do no one know each other even after fighting on the front lines for two years? The boss battle was epic but i am starting to see the story is turning into a “damsel in distress” scenario which is another theme that should not be taking place in an MMORPG.

  • September 2, 2012 at 10:26 pmnagi

    Not much love for Klein? I think the concern he showed for Kirito in this ep went to epic BRO levels (well not on Iskandar’s BRO levels but still!)

    Good to know I wasn’t the only one who thought of Shinra Army on those armed guys. That retards who killed Zack!!!!!!!!

    And once again, Kajiura Yuki is alive!

    • September 7, 2012 at 6:55 amBlacksun88

      lol I am also one of those that reminded of shinra trooper…

  • September 2, 2012 at 10:33 pmSortedevaras

    So I know this is going through Alfheim, but is it going through Gun Gale too?

    • September 3, 2012 at 12:07 amtruestampede

      Its quite possible.

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • September 3, 2012 at 12:19 amD-LaN

    The red dude in the end card is Heathcliff ryte?? Too obvious foreshadowing??

    YES Sachi (oky its a flashback) and Lizbeth cameo!! (Silica next plz?) And the fact tht Sachi (or Kirito imagination of Sachi) making sure Kirito doesn die….

    And the YK music been quite good lately!!

    http://randomc.net/image/Sword%20Art%20Online/Sword%20Art%20Online%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2008.jpg
    The horrors of being single and lagging.
    Also dat Klein smile.

    http://randomc.net/image/Sword%20Art%20Online/Sword%20Art%20Online%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2002.jpg
    Horror quit??

  • September 3, 2012 at 2:47 amAnonymous

    “Asuna! Klein! Keep it busy for ten seconds!” Starts counting.

    14:02 to 14:12 Asuna and Klein gets knocked around.

    “Okay! I’m ready!”

    ……… Wow. I’m really surprised. This is my first time ever to see something actually happen in ten seconds. Most of the time, media will drag the scenes on an extra 45 seconds or so before the count down finishes. Just my little observation.

    • September 3, 2012 at 11:23 amJounouchi

      They used real time as opposed to “Goku fighting Frieza” time where 5 minutes equal 140 minutes (roughly seven episodes).

  • September 3, 2012 at 6:11 amThe Moondoggie

    Finally we get to see some dual blade action XD! I’ve been waiting for this episode for forever!

    I tell you people, MMORPG’s are all about dual wielding melee. Nothing beats that satisfying flurry of attacks that shreds any enemy like your some kind of food processor and watch enemies’ hp drop. ATKSP > Hi-DMG after all…

    And SAO isn’t any different. I loved how good the LN was at this part. I wish the anime could have done better, like better music(something that would remind us of the best bossfights in the videogame world) or more dramatic expression, but what the hell.

  • September 3, 2012 at 1:09 pmP. Brax

    50 Hit Dual Wield freaking Combo!!!! Awesome episode!!!! After this episode I think it’s safe to say that this is the standout show for the Summer Season. Too bad it’s ending at 12 episodes…

    • September 3, 2012 at 3:09 pmAnonymous

      It’s actually a 16-hit combo. The news brokers exaggerated.

      • September 4, 2012 at 2:08 pmP.Braxt

        50 or 16 it was a pretty epic sequence for a show that hasn’t fell off yet.

  • September 3, 2012 at 7:41 pmKaply

    I think one of the reasons that the unique skill wasn’t revealed was that it might have made him a target for pkill. Unique skills were unique to the world. Only one person had the skills. It was never explicitly stated whether or not a second person could ever learn the skill. This would make Kirito a target for pkills.

  • September 3, 2012 at 8:14 pmJin

    fuck me… this episode made me break down and start reading the light novels.

  • September 4, 2012 at 2:59 pmMike

    although I think that the last 2 episodes finally in the main plot are quite awesome, I agree with the opinions that they could be something more… I could not say what, but at each episode, I find that something is “missing”..

    in this episode I’m a little disapointed with the dual wielding moment… not the equipation of the second sword but more disapointed with the “combo” it seemed to me to have very simple moves and, like I felt in the novel, a growing awe in the people staring at Kirito at each new slash… that didn’t got into the animation in my opinion… or maybe I was simply over-hyped with de Light Novel and the scene in the episode was less spectacular than the one I have in my imagination for reading the book :P

    I really liked the Liz’s cameo, but I liked even more Asuna asking Kirito why he is not using Liz’s sword after all the trouble she went in the making, a nice way to link the episode/sideStory with the main plot in the animation, more useful than simply show the character hanging around at the end of the episode.

  • September 5, 2012 at 2:57 amAleksander

    For all of you who knows even a whiii bit about Grand Chase,
    is Seighart (*more specificaly duelist*) like Kirito right here or is it just me?
    /random voice/:” Who the f@#k cares?!”
    Who said that? o.0

  • September 6, 2012 at 11:59 amkumakaori

    “Easily”?! Moomba?! He made it out with like less than 10 HP remaining @_@! That was far from easily!! GAH!. freakin idiot making everyone else worry about him @^@!.

    Kirito freaking brute forced his way through that boss with an absurd damage output. “Faster, Faster” .. He knows he cant go toe to toe with the boss, but brute straight up MURDERIN’ the dude is the only tactic he can see at that point. Freakin Kirito, still totally a beater X3;. Freakin’ idiot *sigh*. ^_^;;.

  • September 6, 2012 at 8:06 pmElywood

    I really liked the episode. But i whish they had skipped the part were they started eating. it did not really flow well with all the tension of the boss battle had.
    I though it was not really necesary besause last episode they had alredy demostrated how good is asuna cooking.

  • September 8, 2012 at 12:31 pmPandafrag

    Am I the only one who laughed my ass off when Kirito yelled “Starburst Stream” I was half expecting a Blue-Eyes White Dragon to pop out.