Sword Art Online – 21
「アルヴヘイムの真実」 (Aruvuheimu no Shinjitsu)
“The Truth of ALfheim”
This week’s sudden break in immersion, brought to us by an automated system maintenance warning, brought to mind something I hadn’t really thought about until now. Just how much of ALO’s playerbase participates in roleplay? It’s always been a big part of MMOs and I can only imagine it would become even more widespread with the introduction of VR as immersive as that displayed by SAO and ALO. To the player, the world must seem real – just how many of these people actually live out fictional lives within the game, going beyond merely playing to hit things with a stick? Kirito and Leafa certainly don’t seem to care and Recon hasn’t given any indication that he sees it as any more than a game. It’s a topic ALO could’ve made use of but doesn’t seem to have elected to touch on at all. The closest we’ve come is the racial leaders, but even they didn’t act outside the bounds of what’s expected of a player.
It’s really no surprise that everyone who was trapped in SAO would be herded together and thrown in the same school for surveillance. Just imagine how many psychopaths might have been born, trapped for two years away from those they loved, killing things on a daily basis just to survive. Things would be even worse for the PKers, particularly those who never believed it was truly a death game. Those few who tried to justify their actions by saying ‘it’s just a game!’ would have to face the fact that they’re now essentially mass murderers. In fact, there’s probably a fair bit of iffy legal work to handle in that department.
With this episode, Sugu finally decides she wants to meet Asuna. I suspect it’s because she felt she was no-longer quite as hung up on Kirito – she feels like she can finally move on because she’s fallen in love with uh… Kirito. Well, the version she’s not aware is actually her cousin. Before now, meeting Asuna would require her to come face to face with her ‘love rival’ – the one her beloved cousin obsesses over. She’d be forced to acknowledge her loss, that she had no hope left on that front. Finding a ‘new’ (goddamnit) love helped her come to terms with the idea that she needed to move on. Of course, as everyone does, she underestimated the effect it would actually have on her and still ended up with a broken heart anyway. What a mess.
So here’s a question to ponder: is non-comedic tentacle rape ever not in poor taste? The combination of a scene we’re meant to interpret as being serious coupled with copious amounts of fanservice has never really sat right with me. If terrible things are happening in this scene – if we’re supposed to be so horrified by it – then why is it using a trope that exists almost entirely for the purpose of fanservice? It would be like PSYCHO-PASS deciding to give us a plethora of panty shots while some guy hacks people to bits with a bonesaw. Poor taste. But I digress. I always wondered how the tentacle monsters would look in animated form… they’re certainly… tentacle-y. Actually, I never really understood the point in it to be honest. Is it meant to try and emphasise how slimy and disgusting these horrible, ugly, pure evil, completely devoid of ethics, [insert further exaggerations of evil] scientists who would trap and experiment on gamers are? If so, it’s a little too heavy-handed to give it much meaning. But then again, that is frequently how Kawahara Reki seems to roll.
tl;dr: @MoombaDS – Once again, a bit of time outside the game and some more heartbreak for Sugu. The ride never ends! #SAO
- Sneaking Asuna is surprisingly cute!
- There’s something rather macabre about all those floating brains, even if they are digital.
- It has paws… how is that practical? We have opposable thumbs for a reason!
- Sugou needs to realise that he can use admin powers. All these physical objects and keypads are really poor ideas. Surely anyone can see that.