Sword Art Online – 12
「ユイの心」 (Yui no Kokoro)
They say that opposites attract – that two people who are completely different are more likely to make a better pair than two people who are very similar. I guess it’s true in a sense, and the Asuna/Kirito pairing certainly seems to conform to this idea. Putting their taste in clothing aside (strange how Kirito has gone back to his regular black while Asuna continues to wear guild colours – perhaps it’s become too routine for her) along with their obvious disagreement on what can be considered edible, they both frequently react very differently to any situations which arise. With the appearance of Yulier (Shiraishi Ryoko) this week, we learn a little bit more about The Army – it was originally established by a guy called Thinker (Mizushima Takahiro) with honest and possibly even noble intentions and has only descended into the horror that it is today thanks to the rise of Kibaou (the mouthy guy from episode two) and his faction. With Thinker trapped unarmed in a high level dungeon having been betrayed by Kibaou, Yulier’s only recourse is to approach Kirito and Asuna for help.
This is where Kirito and Asuna’s reactions diverge. Asuna immediately wants to verify Yulier’s words – she’s already learned the hard way that you can’t just trust anyone you meet (case in point: the reason she and Kirito took a break from the guild in the first place) and The Army has certainly done nothing to merit any trust so far. Why should they believe this random stranger who’s turned up claiming to have heard about two ‘strong players’ who just happen to be the strongest duo in the entire game and wants them to come to a high level dungeon they didn’t even know existed? There’s a lot of potentially shady stuff right there. Kirito, on the other hand, has far less reservations about the whole thing – a girl is crying in front of him, and another girl is telling him that he can trust said first girl… what could possibly go wrong? Asuna manages to end up being swayed by Kirito and no-one questions the reliability of what Yui has to say. Maybe they all feel that Kirito is indestructible, but I can’t help thinking that they should’ve put more thought into the whole thing regardless of whether or not everything turned out fine in the end.
I would love to know what’s going through Yulier’s mind throughout the episode. How must Kirito and Asuna seem to her? First they bring a young child to a highly dangerous dungeon and laugh nonchalantly about the whole deal. Sure, she insisted, but that doesn’t make it any less of a strange thing to do on the surface. Then we have Kirito gleefully cutting swathes through hordes of monsters, practically laughing all the while. You can certainly see how much he’s been missing combat during their time away from the front lines, but by this point they must appear to be bordering on insanity to Yulier.
And so with the appearance of the unreasonably high level boss in a (relatively) low level area, we finally learn the truth about Yui. She was never a normal player to begin with, rather an AI under the Cardinal system designed and programmed to keep track of players’ mental health and act as a counsellor of sorts. As a system meant to operate without the need for GMs, it’s no surprise that such a program would exist, nor is the idea that it would be programmed to feel human emotions to make it more relatable. Glossing over AI corrupting due to witnessing players’ distress and being unable to intervene, I have to wonder a little as to why Yui was created in the image of a small girl. Surely players seeking comfort and reassurance of some kind would be far better off getting their counselling from someone a little… older perhaps? Or maybe she’s meant to serve the role in a different capacity. Or just an oversight. It might work for the younger children in the game though… I imagine it must have been extremely hard for them to be separated from their parents for such a long time. Even as adaptable as children can be, I’d think Sasha played a pretty large role in keeping them alive for so long.
tl;dr: @MoombaDS – A little background on The Army, a close shave for Kirito, and a horrible innuendo I almost unconsciously wrote. #SAO
- Sometimes there are moments in SAO I really shouldn’t laugh at. I can never resist though.
- What’s with that stance? Not to apply real-world standards to a game (okay I’m totally about to do just that) but that guard would be so ridiculously ineffective.
- Small Girl, Big Gun or perhaps Black Magician Girl is more appropriate in this context. Either way, always pretty damn cool.
- Kirito worked awfully quickly to turn Yui into a game object there. If programming is that easy in this future, then maybe it’s less of a stretch to believe that perhaps Kayaba built the entirety of Sword Art Online single-handedly!