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Sword Art Online – 21

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「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

Random thoughts:

  • 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.

Full-length images: 15, 26.

 

Preview

Sword Art Online   21   Preview 01

End Card

Sword Art Online   21   End Card
November 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm
184 comments »
  • November 24, 2012 at 2:04 pmSilentCid

    Yeah more Asuna!

    • November 24, 2012 at 4:49 pmdimasok

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

      • November 26, 2012 at 3:55 pmJoker

        lol, people really like long ears.

    • November 24, 2012 at 6:28 pmSaturo

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

    • November 25, 2012 at 5:06 pmSilentCid

      ehhh 17 dislikes? People be hating on Asuna!

      • November 26, 2012 at 3:54 pmJoker

        that’s probably because you made this comment on the episode with tentacle-action.

  • November 24, 2012 at 2:07 pmHorus

    I feel so bad for Sugu. She’s such a strong and adorable girl but has such bad luck with romance. She decides to move on only to be heart broken again, however, her character shows me that she’ll learn to move on (again) despite this. That really impresses me about her compared to other love-stricken heroines.

    Sugu will overcome her weaknesses without anyone advising her. Sure there will be someone to lend her a crying shoulder, but it’s all her own strength.

    My personal favorite heroine of the YEAR is Sugu. I really hope whether here or in the VNs she finds someone who deserves her and will make her happy.

    On a side note, no comment about tentacle wrapped upside down almost half-naked Asuna

    • November 24, 2012 at 2:23 pmMasterDragonKnight

      Sugu can be really adorable at times. Not to mention, her reactions are pretty hilarious.

      Here is the scene with ice cold water down the back. ^^

      • November 24, 2012 at 2:51 pmHorus

        O.O Surprise BACK CHILL

      • November 24, 2012 at 6:58 pmDekomori

        Back Chill is a high level control spell

      • November 24, 2012 at 9:54 pmEuzio

        Haha. That was probably my fav scene this episode. Sugu screaming when Kirito poured the icy water down her back XD.

    • November 24, 2012 at 4:46 pmhoh

      Sadly speaking, that’s not how Kawahara Reki and the rest of the Otaku community roll.

      Sugu would simply move on into Kirito’s harem.

      This is a harem after all. Asuna being the wife doesn’t change that.

  • November 24, 2012 at 2:09 pmFallenrock

    Its really pissing me off how shes only being kept locked up to keep the story from being too short. Would it have killed them to at least let her fight a bit this ep?

    • November 24, 2012 at 2:49 pminferno

      didn’t Asuna’s skill/stats carry over? So can’t she just like flash away or something? lol but anyways, Kirito has arrived. Hope there’s more fight real soon

    • November 24, 2012 at 5:46 pmksjddragon

      Well she can’t fight thats the thing, she has no weapons or anything, if she tried to fight she’d just lose + she would be fighting against the admin’s of the game, you can’t win if they’re trying to keep you hold, they practically control you

      and if you’re tired of waiting, read the light novel

      • November 24, 2012 at 10:08 pmFallenrock

        Hmm I remember kirito taking down the assasin in the knights of blood oath bare-handed… But that was SAO

      • November 24, 2012 at 11:35 pmSuppa Tenko

        Yeah but that’s because Kirito has the Martial Arts skill which is a unique skill that only idiots would try to obtain. It involves hitting a rock with your bare hands for 3 days straight while having cat whiskers painted on your face.

    • November 24, 2012 at 7:14 pmThe Moondoggie

      When an admin wants you rendered useless, your useless. Since Sugou is admin, if he wants Asuna rendered useless, she is.

      • November 25, 2012 at 2:00 amKyral

        ^ This

        When Kirito logged in for teh first time, even Yui warned him about not getting caught by a moderator.

        Asuna on the other hand, was grabbed by the admin from the very start, I’ wouldn’t be surprised if Sugou has stripped her from every skill she possesed in SAO.

  • November 24, 2012 at 2:11 pmAlgent

    So, Key Cards and pass-codes in a virtual world ? Well ok it’s needed for the plot so why not.

    But seriously, admins using tentacles monsters avatars ? Come one this arc is like the worst is SAO, they could have removed the most useless parts :|.

    • November 24, 2012 at 2:21 pmEduardo

      Well, this is the worst arc in SAO. It’s a pity Alicization (probably) won’t be animated, and neither will Phatom Bullet

      • November 24, 2012 at 6:59 pmZnail

        We are pretty sure to see both of those the way it looks right now. SAO is the best seller of this season by a landslide, so it’s highly unlikely that we wont get follow up seasons.

    • November 24, 2012 at 3:17 pmEdios

      Key cards and pass codes could be explained very easily as well.

      Fairy King Oberon (Sugou) is a PRI director in reality, being at such high position in a semi-secret research institute (in which they use human test subjects) he probably has to deal with pass codes and key cards for security reasons, so being a creator of Alfheim online he just made familiar to him system in the game. That way he doesn’t have to learn a new way of interacting with virtual reality, which would in turn distract him.

  • November 24, 2012 at 2:12 pmEduardo

    The biggest disappointment this week was the fact that they skipped (or better, cut off) almost a full chapter. In the LN, Leafa and Kirito get trapped on the hardest dungeon in ALO (Jotunheim). Although not essential now, the Caliber side-story (just the best ss IMO) only makes sense with this part.

    • November 24, 2012 at 2:28 pmMasterDragonKnight

      I would love to see the Caliber side story animated, but they would have to finish GGO first before they get there.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • November 24, 2012 at 2:35 pmEduardo

        Well, is SAO having a good audience in Japan? If it is, them maybe it’s not a dream to wish for a season 2 with Phantom Bullet, Mother’s Rosario and maybe Caliber as an OVA

      • November 24, 2012 at 8:02 pmEuzio

        Well, Asuna and Kirito were recently voted the No.1 in the Best “Married” Anime Couple in some kinda poll XD. So it kinda proves the popularity of this show i guess :P

        And yeah, i’d love to see Caliber animated as well. Just that without the events from Jotunheim, not really sure how they will proceed.

    • November 24, 2012 at 3:56 pmU Doh

      It is essential only for the Caliber thing, not at all for the main plots of this arc, like saving the princess and love triangle. I believe that it will make even more sense if they put that part into the start of the Caliber arc of the possible 2nd season.

    • November 24, 2012 at 4:27 pmSuppa Tenko

      The Jotunheim chapter was completely unnecessary and was frankly a whole lot of BS. It was the only part of SAO that I didn’t like. I’m actually glad that they skipped it.

      Also to Moomba, Sugou is a very hammy person so of course he would make things slightly more inconvenient if it means he could do his pose every time he presses a button.

      BTW 5 second shoop

      NAKED ASUNA! Competely SFW
      http://www.imagebam.com/image/b071ca222143566

      • November 24, 2012 at 6:26 pmReaper201

        I see what u did there. :) but she wasn’t pro enough she triggered the alarm. !

      • November 24, 2012 at 7:31 pmhaseo0408

        It would have been cool to see them fight the undine hunting party though.

      • November 24, 2012 at 11:31 pmSuppa Tenko

        I put the exclamation mark there so more people can get the reference.

    • November 24, 2012 at 7:07 pmThe Moondoggie

      I’m guessing they poured all their budget in SAO and found they only have a little left for ALO.

      They should have done a 4 cour anime instead so they can include all the SS and GGO as well in one running.

  • November 24, 2012 at 2:12 pmMasterDragonKnight

    Just a thought, but the reason the staff are slugs is probably because of Sugou’s massive inferiority complex. He has to make everyone else lesser beings to feel good about himself.

    • November 24, 2012 at 4:17 pmShogoki

      I kind of disagree.
      If you considering that they are scientist, I think the reason that sugou subordinate using slug avatar is to experiment avatar VR dynamic movement and feeling.
      Because VR avatar in SAO universe is moved by using your real body nerve, they wanted to test how to move avatar that doesn’t have the same muscle and body than human,hence the slug avatar.

  • November 24, 2012 at 2:21 pmTranquin

    Paws girl really did remind me of MMORPG’s these days (first one that came to my mind was TERA lol).

  • November 24, 2012 at 2:28 pmRasen

    Regarding the level of roleplay, it’s not that surprisingly really. We hear about similar things in the Sims and in World of Warcraft, with people even getting virtually married. In a game where it actually is a virtual reality, I imagine such things would go up exponentially.

    As for the tentacle rape, I don’t think they were aiming for horrified, at least because it didn’t have time to develop that way. (Behold the power of excellent dental care!) There was something similar with Silica back in SAO too.

    As for your idea of panty-shots while killing in Psycho-Pass, you don’t have to make up a hypothetical. Just look at High School of the Dead.

  • November 24, 2012 at 2:30 pmXumbra

    I felt really uncomfortable watching the tentacles this episode. And it’s not like I was grossed out or anything; in fact, it was actually pretty tame.

    The main thing that concerns me is that what happened here was needless. Even if the whole point was to make us, the viewers, sympathize with Asuna and antagonize Sugou and his minions, the scientists who captured her could’ve been something other than tentacled snails, and the effect achieved in this episode would’ve been just the same.

    But this is different from, say, watching Silica getting harassed by tentacles because you know that in the end everything will be fine, and that Kirito will come in and save the day. Besides, it’s intended to be funny, especially with Silica telling Kirito not to look when he says he won’t but does anyway. And then everyone cracks loli and tentacle jokes and it’s all good.

    I guess this is my long-winded way of saying that I agree with you, Moomba.

    On an unrelated note, something about this bothers me a lot.

    • November 24, 2012 at 2:40 pmMasterDragonKnight

      On an unrelated note, something about this bothers me a lot.

      Is it because had this been SAO, the result would likely be this?

      • November 24, 2012 at 2:43 pmXumbra

        That’s exactly what I was thinking!

      • November 24, 2012 at 2:45 pmEduardo

        I don’t remember where, but it’s said that in ALO and other VRMMO (SAO not included) the players can’t choose to create a character of the opposite sex. It seems like it’s not healthy. Maybe it was only possible in SAO because it was already meant to be a death game where people would have their original appearances

      • November 24, 2012 at 2:54 pmXumbra

        I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that one couldn’t play as the opposite sex because of the severe disorientation that comes with looking at the private parts.

      • November 24, 2012 at 2:54 pmHorus

        ALO integrated the true gender system of SAO when the death game was started. Same reason, it’s healthier for the players.

        Don’t worry, girl nekos are actually girl nekos.

      • November 24, 2012 at 3:02 pmMasterDragonKnight

        Don’t worry, girl nekos are actually girl nekos.

        Minus the neko in the second part, I would hope. Otherwise, that is a completely different issue than just gender. XD

      • November 24, 2012 at 3:08 pmXumbra

        If the second part were actually true, then I suspect there would be a lot more signatures here.

      • November 24, 2012 at 3:15 pmMasterDragonKnight

        Okay now we are just being silly. XD

    • November 24, 2012 at 4:30 pmSuppa Tenko

      The tentacle slugs were an additional experiment along with the whole mind screw thingy. Of course it’s really just there so that we can have some token tentacle rape. And Asuna’s feet fetish.

  • November 24, 2012 at 2:40 pmjustin

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

    • November 24, 2012 at 5:23 pmjustin

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

      • November 24, 2012 at 6:31 pmGan

        Naaah, just proved that I am interested in having consensual sex with actual women, not in watching fictional 2D ones get violated in weird ways.

        Moving on.

      • November 24, 2012 at 6:53 pmjustin

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

      • November 24, 2012 at 7:28 pmThe Moondoggie

        LOL justin, you went over 80001 more than the max for suggestes “virgin protection level”…. XD

      • November 24, 2012 at 7:58 pmjustin

        loool, well, it`s time to upgrad the protection level… lmao

      • November 25, 2012 at 10:53 amhwighting

        what an odd fellow

      • November 26, 2012 at 9:11 amjustin

        lol, keep dislike to show how “awesome” you really are…..

        biatch, please.

  • November 24, 2012 at 2:42 pmAffy

    Awww, Yui found her mama =3

    • November 25, 2012 at 2:18 pmhaseo0408

      And papa is coming to the rescue at mach 7 speed!.

      • November 25, 2012 at 4:43 pmyoyo

        Clearly Kurosensei would have taught him how to fly at the speed of mach 20

  • November 24, 2012 at 2:46 pmHappy

    The new ark of SAO getting more weirder plot each day, not to mention more fanservices

  • November 24, 2012 at 2:54 pmLurker

    I rather liked the ep except for the slugs… and a minor novel detail I read elsewhere actually helped the scene make more sense:
    Apparently the scientists had been playing around with controlling different monster bodies (nothing to do with their actual work, just messing around). Unfortunately for Asuna, they were in the middle of trying out those tentacle-y ones when they found her.

    • November 24, 2012 at 4:05 pmBeedle

      Apparently the scientists had been playing around with controlling different monster bodies (nothing to do with their actual work, just messing around). Unfortunately for Asuna, they were in the middle of trying out those tentacle-y ones when they found her.

      I thought that was understood when the scientists said (as translated by those Commies) “we’re in the midst of an experiment in deep-sense mapping.” :’D

  • November 24, 2012 at 3:57 pmdimasok

    Incidentally, the digital brains are the transhumanists version of “mind upload”. Be horrified by that possible future..

  • November 24, 2012 at 4:22 pmlivevoid

    (Asuna sneaking around)
    “Yeah she’s definitely gonna get cau-
    (Tentacle scene)
    “HOLY F*^KING SH(T”

  • November 24, 2012 at 4:47 pmlyndine

    As far as I know Sugou has never been an admin, he’s just a benefactor for the ALO. So that means he provide the money, he acts like god, while let other people get the headache in maintaining the game. Obnoxious idiot-unaware jerk.

    • November 24, 2012 at 4:49 pmSuppa Tenko

      No, Sugou has Admin privileges, it’s just that he doesn’t have full privileges unlike a certain someone.

      • November 24, 2012 at 5:34 pmtruestampede

        I see what you did there. Lol. Foreshadowing at its finest…

  • November 24, 2012 at 4:51 pmpokpok

    Is this ALO part ??? will it air GGO after mayb the movie

  • November 24, 2012 at 4:56 pmTehJonel

    that end scene where kirito just launches himself into the air to go after asuna without so much as a plan was an awesome moment. go save her, kirito!

    • November 24, 2012 at 5:22 pmBeedle

      Impulsive Kirito will probably crash into another wall, though…

      • November 24, 2012 at 11:37 pmSuppa Tenko

        How jew no?

  • November 24, 2012 at 5:07 pmSuppa Tenko

    Judging by the pace of the shows

    Ep 22
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Ep 23
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Ep 24
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Ep 25
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Bonus episode: Haruyuki vs Kirito (SAO version)

    • November 24, 2012 at 7:03 pmThe Moondoggie

      So season two confirmed? They really have to do GGO at the least.

    • November 24, 2012 at 7:58 pmEuzio

      Actually it will probably end up more like this.

      Ep 22
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Ep 23
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Ep 24
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Ep 25
      Show Spoiler ▼

      That is how i think it will pan out. Although in some way, I am disappointed that they left out the Jotunheim part, it was probably a sound decision in a sense since that part was basically just a dungeon exploration thing. Though if they do intend to animate the Caliber story in the future, it might be rather confusing unless they change it abit or introduce some sort of flashback.

      • November 24, 2012 at 8:48 pmMasterDragonKnight

        I agree with your predictions.

        That sounds like decent pacing for the rest of the ALO arc, with plenty of cliffhangers between each episode.

    • November 24, 2012 at 10:49 pmShogoki

      I kinda conflicted about SAO season 2, in one hand I want to watch GGO get animated, but in the other hand I don’t want to see GGO poorly adapted by A1

      • November 24, 2012 at 11:09 pmEuzio

        Actually i think A1 pictures has done pretty decently in adapting SAO. It has a few chinks here and there but it has been mostly faithful to the actual novels.

      • November 25, 2012 at 7:14 amSuppa Tenko

        I think JC Staff can do a good job at animating GGO. But the only thing is after GGO is Alicization and that is super long and would take an entire anime season. Plus some parts are quite boring and tame compared to the previous arcs.

      • November 25, 2012 at 7:49 amEuzio

        Tbh, i’d rather not have JCStaff doing this show. They can be rather inconsistent sometimes… If it’s not A1 pictures, I’d go for Satelight.

      • November 25, 2012 at 10:58 amhwighting

        im definitely not anticipating season 2 with ggo adaptation. i couldnt even finish the ln thinking they are really just trying to milk this virtual reality theme. like world of warcraft becomes modern warfare but the main character stays the same.

      • November 26, 2012 at 12:13 amEuzio

        The possibility of GGO is probably more plausible than we might initially think though. ANN has listed Sawashiro Miyuki as Sinon in the cast list so they just might be hinting something. Also, story wise, GGO is actually pretty good. The events that happen in GGO can also serve as a lead up to the adaptation of other stories like Caliber and Mother’s Rosario.

      • November 26, 2012 at 2:10 ambelatkuro

        Don’t believe ANN. Sawashiro Miyuki was the one who played Sinon in the drama CD. Sinon is not even listed in the official website as opposed to Leafa who was already listed in the cast since before the anime aired(which was really an indication that SAO will cover up to Fairy Dance). They haven’t removed it yet for reasons unknown. So no.

      • November 26, 2012 at 3:36 amEuzio

        Ah that explains it. Guess we can only hope now.

      • November 26, 2012 at 9:33 amSuppa Tenko

        JC Staff isn’t great but we can’t really expect SAO to be animated by Ufotable right? Plus JC Staff made Hidan no Aria, though the anime wasn’t that great, it had some good gun porn, which is what Phantom Bullet needs.

      • November 26, 2012 at 9:26 pmVsin

        I don’t think this adaptation is especially poor. Considering how Fairy Dance is structured – in particular, its HEAVY dependence on internal dialogue – A1 has done as good a job as you could reasonably expect from a team pumping out Eps weekly. If anything, the adaptation kinda reveals just how flawed the Fairy Dance arc is.

        I don’t believe that Phantom Bullet, or even Caliber will have the same issues. In particular, I feel confident that a faithful Phantom Bullet adaptation would be just as enjoyable, if not more enjoyable than Aincrad.

      • November 26, 2012 at 10:06 pmSuppa Tenko

        I dunno, Fairy Dance had some pretty crappy animated battles with the exception of Kirito vs Eugene.

  • November 24, 2012 at 5:32 pmedo

    Poor asuna.. well tentacle rape for japanese otaku.

    Has anyone read the web novel? I’m afraid that maybe asuna actually got raped there

    • November 24, 2012 at 5:37 pmtruestampede

      Thankfully they didn’t, because if they did, stupid as they may be, they would have found the keycard she grabbed.

  • November 24, 2012 at 5:43 pmJust Passing By

    “I’ve Seen Enough H***** To Know Where This Is Going”

    Sorry! but it’s practically begging for it. XD

  • November 24, 2012 at 6:03 pmEntrav

    Tentacles. Really?

  • November 24, 2012 at 6:38 pmTopboy

    Scientist in ALfheim should be more or less equal to GM.
    What type of GM choose they avatar as slime+tentacle expect you major role is ‘only’ for rape player?

    • November 24, 2012 at 7:06 pmZnail

      The ones that are doing experiementations testing out if the brain can control a tentacle avatar.

    • November 25, 2012 at 8:45 pmtubehunter

      I suspect you have never played this game : Become Tentacle, Destroy The Town And Humiliate Girls!

  • November 24, 2012 at 6:46 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    It feels like the show lost a lot of impact since SAO “ended” (and moved on to here).

    With SAO, there was a real sense of urgency with so many lives, literally, on the line, and when someone dies, they literally died. Now, it’s not much more than the boy getting the girl, with a one-sided love triangle in the middle, while attempting to make the current game play some big dramatic role in it somehow. Unlike SAO, I just can’t really bring myself to truly care about these events and most of the characters. They feel mostly like filler material, honestly. Before, there were ones like Sachi and even Yui that I actually felt sad for with their dying (literally and figuratively, respectively) and they were also side characters at the time.

    Also, Sugou just isn’t interesting as a villain. At least Kayaba (attempted) to come off as more complex and not what he seems from when SAO first happened (thinking it was just some god complex of his or something ala Minaka Hiroto in Sekirei) and it made us ask questions about his motives, his goals, and such. Sugou is a step lower than even Yomi from Accel World in that, unless we see otherwise, he’s really not much more than a corrupt douche seeking money and power (at least Yomi had some kind of reason for becoming the douche he was with the trauma suffered at the hands of his older brother). We learn those reasons right from the get-go while the rest of the time is just him adding in creepiness along with douchiness.

    Even the few battles we’ve seen, while animated nicely, just don’t have that same feeling of epicness that SAO had brought forth. Add on the, as said, the fact that the players could literally die and all, and it put viewers more on the edge of their seats because you wonder who will make it and who won’t at times. I guess, on a more personal level, I got a bit alienated with Kirito starting off so strong with his bugged stats when, with SAO, at least he had to work his way up like other players, even as a beta tester, so while he was strong, at least we know he earned it. Now, even he admitted a bit that it’s cheating. As mentioned in the blog last time, IIRC, wouldn’t beating “the strongest player” like that ring some bells?

    I guess it’s been feeling a bit like a “typical” romance anime trying to play up the drama somehow.

    • November 24, 2012 at 7:20 pmRasen

      I think it’s generally agreed that ALO is one of the more lackluster arcs of SAO, but it does provide a virtual world setting for the main characters to relax in.

      And while the threat of death appears to be gone, some could argue that threat of marriage to Sugou is a fate worse than that.

      • November 24, 2012 at 7:26 pmThe Moondoggie

        Some could argue? Dude, who would want to marry, or even date, a rich narcissist who likes tentacle hentai monsters for online game avatars?

      • November 24, 2012 at 7:34 pmhaseo0408

        Nobody in her right mind would marry that lunatic. Captain Hook has a better chance of convincing Wendy he´s a nice guy than Sugou to make any woman fall for her.

    • November 27, 2012 at 4:14 amMichael Chandra

      ALO is a weaker arch, yes, because it depends on Kirito being in a rush to save Asuna in time or else. When that time limit isn’t urged enough, it weakens the plot. Fortunately in GGO the danger was brought back. Mother Rosario is a more peaceful arch which tries to get you attached to the characters so it can then break your heart, with as biiiiiig bonus that Kirito only has a very limited role in it, it’s from Asuna’s perspective and she’s pretty much the main character there. Alicization, finally, brings the interesting factor where Kirito starts at level 1 and is on his own.

      As for Kirito’s status, the only reason he hasn’t been busted by GMs yet is because ALO is purely a distraction so that Sugou can experiment. This is proven by the status of the door that stands in the way of ascension.

  • November 24, 2012 at 6:53 pmThe Moondoggie

    “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.”

    Rule of Cool has always been something Evil Overlords like Sugou fall for. The main idea here is that he thinks he can do anything he wants at his own convenience and no one will try to stop him…

  • November 24, 2012 at 7:28 pmhaseo0408

    They completely skiped the part where they into the underworld, Jutherhiem. It wasn´t all that important but at the very least I wanted to see them fight the undine.

    • November 24, 2012 at 8:50 pmMasterDragonKnight

      We could always have that as a flashback if they decide to animate the Caliber side story.

    • November 24, 2012 at 9:50 pmEuzio

      The Jotunheim part was rather unnecessary if we were to look at the overall plot for ALO. Though yeah, it was abit regretful that we won’t see the battle against the Undine hunting party.

  • November 24, 2012 at 7:48 pmMichael

    I didn’t think SAO would be an anime where I would see a tentacle r~~~~…nvm.
    This episode had me laughing with the water-down-the-back trick, had me in my serious mode in Asuna’s attempt at escaping, and finally had me giving pity to Sugu in the crying part. It was a kind of a rollercoaster for me.
    Anyways, good job at mixing all of these scenes nicely.

  • November 24, 2012 at 8:00 pmhaseo0408

    The scene in the hospital is the most beautiful and yey sadest in the Firy Dance arc. Suguha realize there is no limit to the love of Asuna and Kirito, a bond so beautiful, so strong that there´s not even a cance to fight for her love, in this life or any other.

    • November 24, 2012 at 9:47 pmEuzio

      Yeah. I was kinda disappointed they did not really put more effort into animating that scene out. When I read the novel, that scene was beautiful yet sad at the same time. Beautiful because it showed the love Kazuto had for Asuna but sad at the same time because it was at that moment that Suguha realised that no matter how much she wanted, she would never be able to attain Kazuto’s love.

      If they had expanded just abit more on that scene, the followup when Leafa cried on Kirito’s shoulder would have been even more impactful.

  • November 24, 2012 at 8:37 pmjn99y4

    First time commentor, so just wanna say, I really like your reviews. It shows me a new way of thinking I never really considered. I really hate how they skipped the underground adventure, but since it appears that they’re ending SAO (not counting potential OVAs) with ALO arc, it seems….somewhat justifiable. I’m just waiting for the “family reunion” scene with Kirito, asuna, and Yui, all together. I like how you pull in material from the light novels. I’m currently reading them, and while I’m still unsure of what is canon and what is not (like SAO Episode 2), seeing them in anime form makes me a little happy. Anyways, keep up the good work. PS: Thanks for putting the end cards up. I really like how they look. Shout out to the pig from Accel World back in episode 20.

  • November 24, 2012 at 8:46 pmhaseo0408

    Regarding the Pkers the goverment decided not to charge them with any crime, they just put them under psicological evaluations on regular basis. The full blame ofr the death on Aincrad is been put on Kayaba Akihiko since he was the responsible behind the SAO incident. Terrible decision if you ask me, many Pkers didn´t even care if the death was real because to them SAO was a world from the restrains of the human society, you cloud they were dormant psychopats wainting for hte right trigger.

    • November 26, 2012 at 10:04 pmSuppa Tenko

      Yes but some people in the Laughing Coffin were put under psychiatric evaluation.

  • November 24, 2012 at 9:09 pmMashiro

    The cities in RPGs are always breathtakingly beautiful from the outside, but the only places you actually get to explore are a few streets. With a city as beautiful as Arun, real people should just move to live and work in Alfheim instead of the outside world. Not everyone can ofcorse but at least office people should be able to.

    I love the background art in this episode.

    • November 24, 2012 at 11:40 pmSuppa Tenko

      After Asuna and Kirito unite together we are told that the SAO group and everyone else does spent a lot of time in ALO. The reason being that in ALO, you still have access to a computer terminal and thus can do your homework in the relaxing environment of fairies and trees with the bonus of your fingers never getting tired due to you not actually moving them. And perhaps a bit of vanilla this and that with your special person and no one will know.

  • November 24, 2012 at 9:45 pmfragb85

    Looks like we’re back to the boring A-plot. Oh joy. I’m at least thankful that there is no Sugou screentime . Still, its remarkable how much of a joke Asuna has turned into. “Lady you can’t press a button to save your life when you’re just a manufactured waifu trophy. Now get back in the kitchen and wait for your man to save you! Also, you’re scheduled for a tentacle raep session to pander the fetishists!”

    Suguha is still the only character worth watching, since she actually has a decent character arc when she isn’t in Kirito fangirl mode. Remember when this show had interesting side characters like Klein or Egil? I miss that.

    • November 24, 2012 at 11:21 pmDualash

      Well, you do have to admire Asuna’s persistence, how exactly would you define fangirl mode? Just out of curiousity…

      • November 24, 2012 at 11:41 pmSuppa Tenko

        Fangirl mode is whenever a female character falls within the gravitational pull of Kirito.

    • November 25, 2012 at 7:47 amboingman

      I had to roll my eyes when she was about to press the button, since it was so damn obvious that no way in hell would she be able to escape. She needs to be rescued after all.
      Sadly, pretty predictable.

    • November 25, 2012 at 1:38 pmRND

      these sexist comments are really uncalled for, for this show.

      • November 25, 2012 at 1:49 pmboingman

        But it’s asking for those comments. Take a look at all those boobs shots. ;)

      • November 25, 2012 at 2:23 pmRND

        “Lady you can’t press a button to save your life when you’re just a manufactured waifu trophy. Now get back in the kitchen and wait for your man to save you! Also, you’re scheduled for a tentacle raep session to pander the fetishists!”

        Actually what bothers me are comments like this, these people who were never bothered when Kirito needed Asuna to save him, time and again, suddenly starts to complain when Asuna is needed to be saved by Kirito. The hypocrisy is quite annoying.

      • November 25, 2012 at 5:00 pmfragb85

        You mean the hilarious scene where Asuna’s saves Kirito then her competency gets undermined a few seconds later so that Kirito can save her? Gee, I wonder why the man has to do the killing? Never mind the fact that Kirito never gets subjected to molestation or sexual harassment because he’s Jesus. Simply put, the way the story treats Asuna has very bad implications.

        I stand by my belief that Asuna is barely a character and just a manufactured waifu to pander to otaku. Normally I wouldn’t mind that, but at times its so glaringly obvious because the sloppy writing feels the need to give Kirito(our Lord and Savior) something equivalent to his Messiah feats.

      • November 26, 2012 at 2:20 pmRND

        downplaying the parts that doesn’t support your point and exaggerating the parts that do?
        excellent work.

  • November 24, 2012 at 9:47 pmEliteF22

    She was so dumb! Why didn’t she just wait until they left? The scientists also being despicable perverts is just so unoriginal.

    • November 25, 2012 at 1:16 pmRasen

      It is unoriginal, but it probably makes sense. What kind of person would work willingly with Sugou, and condone his actions of capturing hundreds of SAO players for human experimentation?

  • November 24, 2012 at 9:51 pmPtolemaios00

    They skipped TONKI!!

    • November 24, 2012 at 10:16 pmZnail

      I would guess that they will include it as a flashback, when and if they do the Caliber SS.

  • November 24, 2012 at 10:13 pmGhostalker

    Now I’m really starting to feel bad for Suguha, the man breaking her heart in the real world is the same man standing by her side in the virtual world…

    Fate…

  • November 24, 2012 at 10:25 pmmoonpie

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

    • November 24, 2012 at 10:33 pmMike

      certainly more logical than your pointless rant

    • November 24, 2012 at 11:19 pmDualash

      My reason for watching the show is I love the sense of adventure, and though there are flaws, SAO has always appealed to me because of the action and the suspense which always makes me entertained.

      Although you may have little regard to the show, that doesn’t mean you should just call us suckers because then your opinion is biased and holds no empathy on what people like to watch. Just move along and care for your own interests, and not just ranting pointlessly without justifying your reasons.

    • November 28, 2012 at 10:03 pmThe Moondoggie

      Still 1000 times better than “butt ugly bros in space”….

  • November 24, 2012 at 11:29 pmKinny Riddle

    Tentacle raep… o.O

    Surely Asuna could have waited till those tentacle scientists had left the room before she went to the log out console. There’s so many hiding spots in that room.

    Poor Sugu at realizing her love is unrequited, I don’t know what to think when she faces the inevitable double whammy of finding out the person she’s swooning over online is the same said unrequited lover IRL.

    • November 24, 2012 at 11:57 pmZnail

      But it were most likely the scientists who temporarily left the card in the console, so they would most likely have picked it up on their way out.

    • November 24, 2012 at 11:59 pmbelatkuro

      >baaaawwww Onii-chan won’t love me because he already has a girlfriend.
      >Well, it’s okay. I still have that cool guy I met in an online game.
      >BAAAAAAAAWWWWW he’s actually my Onii-chan!

      Forever Suguha

  • November 25, 2012 at 2:17 amKuntzy

    Gotta love the inappropriate fanservice. No matter how bad it is though, what’s the big difference between this scene and the one back in episode 4 with Silica that was played off as comedy?

    I understand the mood of the scenes were quite different but back then everyone was all like “OMG so hawt!” for basically the exact same situation. In the end nothing happened in either scene so really what’s the big rage deal? I could completely understand if something actually happened, but seriously some people really take these kind of things too seriously. Either that or it’s because I’ve seen some really rage worthy things in doujins that make this seem disney.

    Oh well, only one more rage scene left then we can say goodbye to this rather poorly written arc and hopefully onto season 2, where SAO really starts getting good.

  • November 25, 2012 at 3:48 am†Croos†

    let me guess. Double damage will be dealt on Suguha in the future.

  • November 25, 2012 at 4:10 amJhacks

    Seriously? Tentacle Rape!?, how low can SAO go.

    http://youtu.be/7TPpq2HRx98

    • November 25, 2012 at 8:38 amd-LaN

      I find it ironic tht your avvie says “deal with it”….

      • November 25, 2012 at 11:56 amJhacks

        …Ok. If that’s what kids are into these days, I guess I just have to deal with SAO’s pathetic attempt to gain the audience’s sympathy via the use of a distasteful form of fanservice.

      • November 25, 2012 at 6:36 pmD-LaN

        Go read my comment, sir. I too agree tht the tentacle fan service/disservice is not needed.

    • November 25, 2012 at 1:17 pmRasen

      They went so low they actually failed to achieve tentacle rape?

      I don’t know what you’re surprised by though, Silica had the same problem with a flower.

    • November 25, 2012 at 2:10 pmMetal

      Yea that scene threw me off. I guess they are running out of ideas so they are just throwing everything out there to keep the viewers entertained.

      • November 25, 2012 at 2:30 pmRND

        hellooo, faithful LN adaptation, remember? so no need to come up with new ideas and pretty sure the author wasn’t running out of ideas either, since he continued to write a few more volumes.

      • November 25, 2012 at 4:28 pmMetal

        @RND: I haven’t read the manga/LN so I am not sure what to expect. But my stance still stands to that of the LN then.

  • November 25, 2012 at 4:13 amOwaranai

    I facefaulted when I saw the “fanservice”. It’s tasteless, period.

    Seems like the light novels are plenty good with tonnes of material that the anime probably couldn’t do any justice to. Gotta agree with the opinion that the ALO arc has less tension and lower stakes than SAO. They could have expanded more on the different dynamics of gameplay and mechanics in ALO too. what a waste.

    • November 25, 2012 at 11:20 amdimasok

      That’s because its turning into a full-blown hentai..

    • November 27, 2012 at 7:34 amSuppa Tenko

      You can’t expect something in Japan to have tentacles and keep its tentacle rape virginity. The LN doesn’t go into any of the details on the tentacles, it’s just the anime.

  • November 25, 2012 at 8:36 amd-LaN

    http://randomc.net/image/Sword%20Art%20Online/Sword%20Art%20Online%20-%2021%20-%20Large%2021.jpg
    Strangly this place reminds me of a scene in “Prometheus”. Is it just me?

    At this point, I will just say: http://gargarstegosaurus.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/290659195.gif

    These shots are giving me a lot of .hack/BtW flashbacks…. I love the visual of this episode.

    And guys, isn’t the tentacle “rape” scene is suppose to be, well, distastefull? I agree tht this isn’t needed, but why are you guys even freaking out for a single scene? =_____= And ppl calling her weak? She F-ing bit the tentacle and stole the keycard. Blame it on the writer, not her.

    Poor, poor Sugu. NTR couple of the year. (I kid)

    So the Jotunheim arc will be in OVA/movie form? Or better yet, a new movie tht explore new grounds.

  • November 25, 2012 at 12:08 pmgarnet00

    Lisbeth and Sugu should meet and be friends.

    • November 26, 2012 at 10:02 pmSuppa Tenko

      They do.

  • November 25, 2012 at 12:27 pmHallelujahHaptism

    This​ made me laught so much :D Loved Kirito’s mischief grin :D

  • November 25, 2012 at 2:28 pmLaughingMan

    • November 25, 2012 at 2:44 pmJoker

      narrow minded people who can’t respect other peoples tastes just because they don’t share or understand them.

      • November 25, 2012 at 3:35 pmSol

        Oh, the irony.

      • November 26, 2012 at 3:31 pmJoker

        irony?

    • November 25, 2012 at 3:54 pmMagoiichi

      That’s exactly how I feel about the show.Suguha is just there for fanservice, not plot relevance.

      • November 26, 2012 at 10:01 pmSuppa Tenko

        Every hero needs girl company.

  • November 25, 2012 at 3:07 pmMagoiichi

    Getting tired of Suguha scenes.And stop calling Kirito your brother, he’s cousin.They only gave Suguha big breasts to make her seem less annoying.And did she empty the flowervase without putting water back into it? If she did, then not only is she annoying, but she’s also a bitch.

    I enjoyed everything else about the episode, minus the obligatory tentacle rape.

    • November 26, 2012 at 2:40 amSilver

      He was taken into his aunt’s family for a very long time. She grows up with him calling him onii-chan as if he’s her brother so it become natural to her.

      She replaced the water. You can hear her turning the tap.

    • November 26, 2012 at 9:37 amSuppa Tenko

      I call all of my cousins and people close to me the Chinese equivalent of Onii-chan and Onee-chan even though they aren’t really my siblings. It actually feels awkward to call them by their actual names. It’s a cultural thing and in English if you refer to someone as older brother and older sister then it just sounds weird.

      • November 28, 2012 at 6:31 pmMrBrownSound

        What are the Chinese equivalent to those Japanese prefixes?

  • November 25, 2012 at 4:53 pmSol

  • November 25, 2012 at 5:36 pmReagal

    Yes, tentacles!

  • November 25, 2012 at 7:53 pmSortedevaras

    Reading the novel I always assumed those lab techs to be scary or disgusting looking . .not pink tentacle monsters.

  • November 25, 2012 at 9:17 pmWhee

    Agreed, the tentacle scene was all too silly.
    At this point I’m wondering if the novel is really good at all anymore…

    • November 25, 2012 at 9:23 pmRasen

      Do the responsible thing and actually read before judging.

  • November 25, 2012 at 10:42 pmFrontier

    I took the scene with the slugs more as highlighting how Sugou and his team view the online world in contrast to Kirito and Asuna: That it’s a fake reality where they can do whatever they want without fear of retribution. They can mess with the heads of the people stuck in SAO, and come downright close to raping Asuna because it’s just a game to them. Of course, Asuna doesn’t take it that way, and as has been evident throughout the ALO arc, Kirito takes VRMMO’s as seriously as he takes real life.

    I agree that the scene was meant to be distasteful, and whether it was was actually needed in the long run is arguable. I probably have less of a problem with it because no matter how degrading the scene became, Asuna remained a strong character. She fought back, and managed to sneak the key card from under the slugs noses, putting her into a much stronger position than she was at the arc’s beginning. I doubt this is going to be her last escape attempt, especially when she’s adamant about not giving up.

    I think Sugou’s biggest flaw is that he’s placed himself in the evil mastermind position, yet he doesn’t have any of the qualities required to be an evil mastermind. He’s pretty lax when it comes to security and whatever may threaten his plans because in the end he just doesn’t care. He’s a business man whose trying to make off with his bosses daughter and get a profit off of something he’s developing. Sure it’s all morally scrupulous, but he doesn’t see himself as a villain, just as a guy trying to make a lot of money. He doesn’t want to waste time with anything he deems unnecessary when it could be better spent improving his own position. And his sheer arrogance prevents him from ever taking in that people could ever exceed his expectations or at least act differently from what he expects, such as that Kirito would never pick up a VRMMO game ever again, that Asuna would become submissive when put into a damsel in distress role, and that the races in ALO would just continue waging war against each other and never reach the top of Yggdrasill.

    If Sugou was as meticulous as Kayaba, which he’s not, things would be very different. While they both have a bit of a god complex, Kayaba enthralled himself within his own world while Sugou just uses his position as Oberon to inflate his ego and image. I guess it’s in a way the difference between a casual gamer and a hardcore gamer…

    Poor Sugu… but I have to giver her major props for being as mature as possible about her situation. That already gives her an edge over most of the brocon imoutos who seem prevalent this anime season. Of course, the difference is that Suguha has at least a real chance at a relationship, at least legally. But she’s aware that her feelings will never be returned and accepts that without harboring any resentment towards her brother or love rival.

    The saddest part about it is that, while I love Kirito X Asuna, I’m beginning to really enjoy seeing Leafa and Kirito interact. Their personalities, at least online, match well together which is a major contrast to how they interact as Kazuto and Suguha. They both like to snark to a degree, take pleasure in trolling others, and both have a strict set of values that they abide by whether it be in real life or in games. This is probably why the two have worked so well together since they partnered up. The only real difference is between the two is that Leafa is much more the straight man than Kirito, though to be fair, most of his harem is. While Suguha most likely had no chance with Kazuto, I think the argument could be made that Asuna would’ve had much more competition had Leafa met Kirito first. This makes me very glad that the PSP Game, Infinity Moment, allows for each member of the harem, Asuna, Scilica, Lizbeth and Leafa, a fair shot with Kirito.

    • November 26, 2012 at 9:41 amSuppa Tenko

      Even though SAO’s main heroine is Asuna there actually really isn’t any KazutoxAsuna action after the first volume. He just kinda pairs off with other girls in each game he infiltrates except Alicization where he pairs off with a guy. By that point it’s kinda hard to say Asuna is the main heroine anymore even though they have their couple’s moment every volume.

      Also Infinity Moment’s a VN/Turn based game!?

      • November 26, 2012 at 5:34 pmFrontier

        I was under the impression that since the rest of the harem are party members, and the game has multiple endings, that you can pair Kirito off with a specific girl and that they get their own ending.

        So essentially Infinity Moment is an RPG with Visual Novel elements, just like the Accel World games.

      • November 26, 2012 at 9:58 pmSuppa Tenko

        Eh, I read that the Accel World games were a horrible excuse for a game with crappy animations and turn based battling with lots of cutscenes and inflexibility.

    • November 26, 2012 at 11:10 pmAnon

      Sorry, bro. Your post is too deep for this show.

    • November 28, 2012 at 6:28 pmMrBrownSound

      I have to agree with you about the relationship between Kirito and Leafa being pretty fun, despite being a fan of Asuna and Kirito. It’s surprising that their real life relationship is different.

      Can you can give me your opinion on how Sugu will react when she finds out that Kirito from the game world is coincidentally (not really) her brother Kirito in real life.

  • November 26, 2012 at 5:02 pmMarc

    I bet SAO High School would have a badass kendo team.

    • November 26, 2012 at 10:01 pmSuppa Tenko

      Nay, SAO techniques aren’t useable in kendo. In kendo the only strikes that can net you points are the 4 basic men kote dou tsuki strikes. Also kendo and any type of sword style are completely different due to kendo not being a “practical” combat form. Kirito’s already relatively special for being able to reproduce sword skills without system assist, which most people can’t do.

      • November 28, 2012 at 6:20 pmMrBrownSound

        I never knew it had no relevance to an actual combat style. So it is just a sport and technique of in itself. intresting

  • November 26, 2012 at 8:53 pmNymphetamine2791

    “Mama is here!”

    TO INFINITY- AND BEYONDDDDD

  • November 27, 2012 at 10:12 amMormegil

    Fantastic character progression for Asuna!

  • November 27, 2012 at 4:57 pmewok40k

    True scientist drinks Dr Pepper, not Tentacle Grape!
    poor Suguha… she’s de-facto rejected IRL only to cry her heart out to the one she was rejected by in-game… this is SO wrong… almost like the mentioned earlier drink!

    • November 28, 2012 at 9:58 pmThe Moondoggie

      I even wonder why people say something like “Kirito’s harem” , when he shot down every other girl’s love since he has Asuna….

      • November 29, 2012 at 1:47 amewok40k

        It might be Unwanted Harem (T) but still girls flock to him like bees to honey.
        Look at any number of other shows where MC either has one favorite girl (Rosario to Vampire), or is too reserved to pick any girl and stays aloof. In fact it is rare show that takes the idea that male lead might actually try go for realising his harem potential serious (To-love-RU is one such show mainly due to one of girls actually pursuing this solution…)

  • November 27, 2012 at 9:00 pmvrr4141

    Please try these activities : read SAO LN , while you reach volume 7 at the last 3 chapters, listen to a song titled “Juushin Kakusei by LiveP (vocal Kagamine Rin)”.

  • November 28, 2012 at 2:36 amKarasu

    Jeez, what happened to the strong Asuna from SAO? She’s just some sissy damzle in distress now. And as much as I love wincest, Kirito’s sister is getting on my nerves. Everything about the series now is pissing me off.

    • November 28, 2012 at 10:02 pmThe Moondoggie

      Well she’s a kidnap victim right now, with no stats and weapons. Why is everyone still asking what happened to her when the show explained it as clear as day?

      • November 29, 2012 at 1:49 amewok40k

        to put this bluntly: she has been nerfed!
        I hope backup of her abilities and equipement exists somewhere, though…

  • November 28, 2012 at 6:17 pmMrBrownSound

    Yeesh, there is going to be a shocking moment coming soon where Sugu realizes, that Kirito from the game world is coincidentally (not really) the same dark haired devil as her brother Kirito in real life.

    • November 29, 2012 at 8:35 amewok40k

      I already pity Suguha… she thinks she has found someone who can help her forget her brother – only this someone is Kirito himself! truly cruel twist of fate, I can see her going thru some serious breakdown when she gets the news…

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