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Sword Art Online – 23

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「絆」 (Kizuna)
“Bonds”

Alright, I’m going to say something extremely controversial this week. See, I genuinely enjoyed the second half of this episode. Quite a bit in fact. Sword Art Online can actually be very good when the focus isn’t entirely on how ridiculously powerful and badass Kirito is supposed to be which, in truth, has been the major focus for most of the ALO arc. What Kawahara Reki seems to frequently forget is that MMORPGs aren’t about the individual, but what the many can accomplish when they combine their strength. The same can also extend to all other mediums – Stilts and Stereoman even wrote a post on the subject. All through ALO, Kirito has worked alone. Leefa has been with him every step of the way, but always pushed to the back whenever there was anything important to be done. The Sword Art Online arc never had the issue to quite this extent. Until the final moments where everything suddenly came down to Kirito, progress through the story – through the game itself – had been facilitated by co-operation, either with large groups of players, or with Asuna.

The latter half of this episode brought that back, and with it, the things that actually made the first arc enjoyable to watch. For once, someone else is allowed to do something cool, even if it did involve killing themselves in the process. How we actually take this action depends on our mindsets as viewers. In many parts of the western world, suicide attacks are seen as cowardly – a way to take out others without having to deal with the consequences that follow. But in Japan, there was a time where such actions were glorified as a noble sacrifice fuelled by bravery. That’s quite a clash of views. Regardless of how you personally see it, Recon did actually demonstrate remarkable courage compared to most other characters of his particular archetype – he actually managed a successful (ish) confession to Leefa. It was that courage that gave Leefa what she needed to actually face Kirito. Had it not been for Recon’s outburst, she would likely have walked away from the issue forever as she’d obviously intended to at that moment.

Amidst the action brought by the Cait-Sith and Sylphs, something else happens. This episode marks the very first time Kirito has actually viewed Leefa as an equal. Instead of asking her to stand back and provide him with healing support (which, admittedly, he did do earlier in the episode) he finally allows her to fight alongside him and protect his back. Now that wasn’t so hard was it? There was even a shot earlier in the episode, mimicking the first OP, which worked nicely with this context in mind (credit entirely to the director for that). This arc could’ve been a lot less painful had this development come about much sooner – had Kirito actually decided not to relegate others to trivial roles.

While the duel in the first half of the episode was well handled and the fact Kirito didn’t win was a nice touch, it felt like a lot of this half was too drawn out in comparison to how rushed the climactic battle ended up being. In fact, a lot of ALO has felt rather drawn out – why couldn’t more of this time have been spent on the climax? Or the endgame cavern interlude that was present in the LN? Its conclusion came too quickly leaving Kirito once again as the likely sole focus for the final two episodes. Personally, I would’ve preferred it had far more attention be given to the combined forces of the Sylph and Cait-Sith in battle than to Kirito and Leefa floating in circles.

tl;dr: @MoombaDS – Leefa confronts Kirito, Recon proves himself useful, and some unexpected – but sorely missed – guests arrive! #SAO

Random thoughts:

  • The concept of an unbeatable quest is a fair one. Given that Sugou has his labs at the top of the tree (why not keep them somewhere not physically accessible through a door in the game instead?) it’s hardly surprising that the whole quest would have been designed entirely for show.
  • What is he playing baseball? That’s not how you swing a sword!
  • I laughed at the sword just casually drifting on by.
  • Some rather rare Kajiura choral music this week! There hasn’t been all that much of it over the course of SAO which is kind of sad really. Vocal works tend to be amongst her best.

Full-length images: 05, 18, 24.

 

Preview

Sword Art Online   23   Preview 01

End Card

Sword Art Online   23   End Card
December 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm
177 comments »
  • December 8, 2012 at 1:45 pmSetsuna F Seiei

    … Wait, where’s the controversial thing you were going to say?

    • December 8, 2012 at 1:52 pmMasterDragonKnight

      Considering your name and my avatar, something like this?

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • December 8, 2012 at 8:05 pmKarmafan

        Aounds like 8th grader syndrome.

      • December 8, 2012 at 9:09 pmSAO

        The awkward moment when Leafa’s sword turns Kirito into a completely overpowered Strike Freedom…

      • December 8, 2012 at 9:20 pmEuzio

        He did kinda activate his version of SEED mode when he combined the 2 swords and turned it into Gae Bolg or something :P

      • December 9, 2012 at 12:14 amMoridin

        Strike Freedom was not overpowered Infinite Justice at any time could have matched it… wait… damn…

      • December 9, 2012 at 2:24 ampaiser

        he’s been in seed mode all along… you know how ridiculous his stats are? Compare to his level? This part was explained very very very shortly like less then a minute worth
        Show Spoiler ▼

      • December 9, 2012 at 3:43 amSortedevaras

        I would be more into this show if Kirito started wearing a mask and calling himself Mr. Bushido. . .

      • December 9, 2012 at 11:29 amSAO

        I was kind of waiting for Kirito to yell, “WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM? I’M THE DRILL THAT PIERCES THE HEAVENS”…

      • December 9, 2012 at 12:05 pmSuppa Tenko

        Nay, Kirito merely combined his two swords into Astray Red Frame’s Tactical Arms IL.

        But in the novels, Kirito was actually swinging his sword instead of rushing with it. The animators were just getting lazy.

    • December 8, 2012 at 2:05 pmXumbra

      The controversy is Moomba saying he enjoyed SAO, which might seem strange if you took into account how the readers thought he didn’t.

      • December 8, 2012 at 2:46 pmshadowalker

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

      • December 8, 2012 at 4:25 pmZephyr

        Gotta say shadowalker… week after week you seem content arguing points that make no sense or are unrelated to the topic at hand.

        You have to realize that Xumbra’s comment is merely a response to what was “the controversial thing Moomba was going to say,” and what he says is correct. I don’t see how you suddenly link this to what the readers say about Moomba not liking the series, because Xumbra wasn’t even trying to make a point on this topic. There’s nothing to disagree on or agree on!

        And on that note, it has already been said that there are some parts he dislikes and some parts he enjoys, and that this week he merely enjoyed some parts more than the normal. There’s no need to repeat this discussion week after week and no point to bring this into a discussion where it doesn’t belong.

        Furthermore, you say you don’t think Moomba’s reviews are bad, yet you consistently try to point out his view is different as if it IS something bad. You can’t say one thing then keep trying to point out something that’s insinuates the opposite. You can say you don’t intend to point to it like its bad, but if it isn’t, then what’s the point in discussing it in the first place then?

        In addition, I don’t see what’s wrong with his POV being different from supposedly “most fans” of the show (if that’s even true at all). It’s as neutral as it gets, the best you’re going to get from any writer at RC, and perhaps the least biased one you’ll find out there on any blog.

      • December 8, 2012 at 5:36 pmshadowalker

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

      • December 8, 2012 at 5:39 pmLibelula

        Haha, I’d say its more about the “suicide part”;)

      • December 8, 2012 at 6:57 pmbakakubi

        Oh for the love of…….. shadowalker, just because Moomba says he enjoyed the second half, you can’t just assume he didn’t enjoy the first. You can’t just put words in peoples mouth like that.

        Also, it seems that you don’t mean to start up anything and just stating your opinion, but your posts just tend to give off a negative view, as if Moomba having a different POV towards this anime is unacceptable. There is no right or wrong way to see this anime. Some may like it, others may dislike it.

        When you say that ” the readers are right”, it just sounds childish, and it seems that your not excepting any other opinions than your own.

        I enjoy watching this show, yet I also agree with many of the points Moomba makes. For example, this week’s episode does feel a bit rushed.

      • December 8, 2012 at 8:01 pmbakakubi

        *accepting

      • December 9, 2012 at 11:44 amshadowalker

        @bakakubi
        did you actually read my second post or just replied after reading my first one?if it’s not too difficult, may be you can read my posts completely before replying to it?

      • December 9, 2012 at 12:42 pmbakakubi

        Well, my comment’s below the one you already made, so LOGICALLY you would think I’ve read both of the.

        Let me be the mature one here. I’m not trying to start a flame war between fans of this series. I’ll still stand by my previous comment on that I think you’re not trying to be aggressive or start anything. Yet, comments like :

        “did you actually read my second post or just replied after reading my first one?if it’s not too difficult, may be you can read my posts completely before replying to it?”

        If that’s not being condescending, then I’m taking it the wrong way and that’s my own fault. But seriously, you need to stop giving off the vibe of an unreasonable idiot. You yourself may be trying to give off this vibe, but as of now, that’s all I’m getting off you.

        It’s one thing to like a show, but another to be extremely annoying when talking about it. Don’t turn into a Kirino now. :D

      • December 9, 2012 at 2:38 pmshadowalker

        @bakakubi
        yes, logically i would think tht but after reading your post, in which you addressed issues i had already explained in my second post, i had to ask you that.and yes, you are taking it the wrong way, although i do understand how it can be viewed as condescending as well(sorry about tht, but i do try to refine my posts when i have extra time).
        umm, Kirino? did you mean Kirito? in which case you would be making fun of a character i love.

        even though i tend to believe you were simply trying point out tht my posts give off a negative vibe(which btw i do appreciate), using terms like ‘childish’/’seems that your not excepting any other opinions than your own’/’unreasonable idiot’/’extremely annoying’ isn’t tht condescending as well?food for thought.

      • December 9, 2012 at 8:11 pmbakakubi

        Kirino’s a different character from “Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii WakegaNai”. Long story short, she gets REALLY annoying at times.

        But, back on track. I agree as well that my wording needs some refinement. Our opinions may not necessarily be the same, but lets agree to the old saying “to each his own”.

  • December 8, 2012 at 1:45 pmMasterDragonKnight

    Sugu is such a sweet and understanding girl. Best younger sister ever!

    • December 8, 2012 at 1:56 pmHorus

      Tiny Sugu…ahhhhh….moe heart attack…

      • December 9, 2012 at 7:26 amtubehunter

        Kawaii Sugu… ahhh… I came again…

  • December 8, 2012 at 1:48 pmEntrav

    SPIN SPIN SPIN SPIN SPIN SPIN SPIN. HOW LONG ARE YOU GOING TO SPIN FOR?!?!?!?

  • December 8, 2012 at 1:49 pmjingoi

    I assume this Recon doesn’t get to tap leafa/suguha later?
    ugh, I hate that type of humor.

    • December 8, 2012 at 2:03 pmMasterDragonKnight

      Recon tapped into his inner Vegeta.

      “FINAL EXPLOSION!!!”

      • December 8, 2012 at 2:37 pmMichael

        I actually loled at the fact that his eyes changed color as he attacked.

        Still, credit to the animators.

      • December 8, 2012 at 9:57 pmhaseo0408

        True, but stil nowhere near as awsome as Vegeta. All salute the Price of Saiyans!.

    • December 8, 2012 at 9:04 pmChris

      The dude is stuck in the friendzone. There’s no tapping anything in the friendzone.

      • December 9, 2012 at 2:21 amSaturo

        That’s okay. Looking at his hairstyle he seemed to bomb himself to the future.

  • December 8, 2012 at 1:54 pmRasen

    Saw the ep. I enjoyed it, but two points of criticism:

    They recycled animation for the guardians. It makes sense, given their autonomous nature, but still….yargh

    Kirito’s spear of piercing +1000….where the heck did that come from? It struck me as something that came completely out of left field and unusually corny, since by laying two swords on each other, he activated some sword skill with crazy power? It’s things like that which go against canon (and then cause problems when canon shows up later and says that can’t happen), which lead me to be against any statement of “anime directors should take liberties and make up stuff on their own.”

    Otherwise, fun ep.

    • December 8, 2012 at 3:25 pmSadifn

      Almost as bad as that episode of Gundam 00 when the guy decided to have 1000 clones to crash into Ptolemy.

      • December 8, 2012 at 4:07 pmRasen

        I don’t remember exactly, but didn’t those mindless clones still do something more logical than “try to stop a drill by pushing the very tip?”

      • December 8, 2012 at 4:23 pmacolyte

        @Rasen lol sshh.. It’s all the flashing lights that matters..
        That said, that short scene (Kirito’s face and the burning spear) reminds me of Gurren Lagann.

      • December 8, 2012 at 4:55 pmRasen

        Ah yes, the flashing lights.

        The guardians which were once attacking relatively intelligently are just attracted to the shiny tip like moths. “Oooooh-”ZAAAP

    • December 8, 2012 at 9:03 pmEuzio

      yeah the recycled animation part was abit disappointing. But it certainly did not irk me as much as part where they made Kirito just combine to 2 swords into a god spear that can pierce through everything…. especially when in the novel, i do remember that he hacked and slashed his way through instead of just piercing through….

      But beyond those 2 points, i think the rest of the episode went pretty well.

  • December 8, 2012 at 1:58 pmBBQ

    How the heck did Recon escape by poisoning the enemies when he was completely paralyzed with his head drowning in the water?

    • December 8, 2012 at 2:03 pmEdios

      backstab flag raised

    • December 9, 2012 at 5:09 amd-LaN

      Another part tht the anime cut out. To quote Recon in the LN:

      Well, after Sigurd left, my paralysis wore off so I killed the two Salamanders with poison and escaped from the underground waterway. I was going to kill Sigurd with poison too but he wasn’t in the Sylph capital, so I decided to go to Aarun too. I passed through the mountain range, training active monsters on people on the way, and I finally arrived in Aarun this morning. It really took a full night.

      • December 10, 2012 at 5:08 amTheMoondoggie

        Recon is actually assassin-tier on par with the Laughing Coffin people from SAO in terms of skill. Too bad he’s a side character.

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:00 pmMisk

    Why did his eyes randomly turn yellow during the final attack?

    • December 8, 2012 at 2:07 pmMasterDragonKnight

      Spiral Power, of course! That final thrust even looked like a certain drill attack.

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:08 pmZeon

    if SAO actually exist i wonder if we will played our role way too serious to the point express emotion. also bring real problem to the game and the game to the real world and be all emotional. if your teammate die in the game and u cry but they alive in the real world and if your AI die and u cry but they are not real example yui.

    • December 8, 2012 at 3:20 pmdeenman

      yui is real,she is sentient,she may not be of flesh but she still exists and is ”alive”

      • December 9, 2012 at 10:21 amPassingBy

        The show hasn’t done a good job fleshing out her supposed “human” qualities. She’s just a magical moeblob, completely a one-dimensional character. Doraemon is a perfect example of what Yui is severely lacking.

    • December 8, 2012 at 4:11 pmshadowalker

      to quote the light novel:

      “Lyfa whispered in dismay. That’s right— She remembered hearing about this kind of dark magic long ago. However, it had a death-penalty several times worse than that of a normal death, so it can be said to be a taboo incantation.

      Lyfa shut her eyes tightly, at a loss for words for a few seconds. Despite being a mere game; the experience, time, and effort Recon put into it made that a genuine sacrifice. From here on out giving up was not an option. She opened her eyes with determination while looking up. Then— “

    • December 10, 2012 at 5:10 amTheMoondoggie

      Unless it would really affect Real Life, no one would actually take a game seriously. Take Accel World for example: you’d think that everyone would act the way they did if it was “just a game?”

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:21 pmSeedStriker

    Remember that the whole issue of the ALO campaign is that Kirito is so overkill that he don’t want others to risk their in-game characters (permanently banned) with his personnal quest for Asuna. That’s why this whole arc has been the “1 man army”. But with such an unbeatable quest, even Kirito knew that he needed help. First with Leafa and Recon and then with the combined raid party.
    As for the “rushed” of the story, the narrative of SAO is like that: fast and swift (like any “light novel” should be), so don’t complain.

    • December 8, 2012 at 2:26 pmRasen

      Since when was perm-banning an issue?

    • December 8, 2012 at 8:56 pmGuest

      Yeah, risking game characters is a silly excuse to do this alone.

      Kirito should’ve just called in people from SAO who aren’t playing, and therefore wouldn’t be that upset if anything were to happen to their characters. I know the whole plot was told to Asuna so Kirito can’t expect that they still have their characters… But since he has his, isn’t it worth a shot?

      Even if they didn’t have characters from SAO, “ALO’s attack formula [...] depends on four things: Power of the weapon itself, where on the opponent’s body the attack hits, attack speed, and the armor worn by the opponent”. Starting from the end: Opponent equipment? Irrelevant as far as comparing SAO and ALO players, neither group can control that. Attack Speed? Determined by brain speed, which is increased with repeated use of the Amusphere. Kirito and presumably everyone else got this from their time in SAO. (The LN makes no mention of this, but I imagine the fact that the SAO people used the more intrusive Nerv Gear means the time effect is stronger, and an hour of Amusphere exposure is probably only half an hour of Nerv Gear exposure). Accuracy? They’d have better learned to be accurate, in order to survive SAO.

      Only problems I see here: Equipment and Skills. For the former, I say just make Kirito gear them up. The LN says the amount of money he gave away earlier was “One hundred thousand Yurudo Mithril coin” – A super round number. Without the word “over” in there, I’m inclined to believe they weren’t just rounding and Kirito kept some for himself. He probably still has funds to equip a few people, and he has no reason to refuse to since they’d be helping him and he doesn’t particularly care about his money with Asuna on the line. That just leaves skills, which are not listed as being part of the formula.

      Lets just pretend SAO people don’t get to keep their skills, because Kirito can’t expect them to. If skills weren’t listed as part of the formula because they’re achievements: whoop dee doo the former SAO people aren’t missing anything, and between the chance to save a fellow SAO player and Aincrad not being there yet, their characters should be disposable. If skills matter and the author just forgot: Kirito was still OP when he was missing equipment, I’m sure if someone has good equipment and SAO experience it’ll make up for a lack of ALO skills. Any skill bonus should be tiny anyways since the game is supposedly about the player’s real abilities.

      TL;DR Kirito should have called in the troops way back when it was established that speed = strength and living in SAO = ridiculous speed.

      Sure Kirito was the fastest, but SAO people should still outclass ALO people. And the excuse (from the LN anyways) that SAO players were traumatized and don’t want to play any more MMOs is ridiculous, since Kirito’s SAO harem is present in later Arcs (Can’t have the number of girls swooning over him decrease now, can we?) so that’s an over-generalization at best. Not to mention they can just get Amuspheres to be safer.

      • December 9, 2012 at 8:35 amRasen

        I see what you’re saying, but you might consider that SAO players might not be willing to go back to an online game (at least for now) Even Kirito had some trauma and didn’t touch his NERVgear during the whole time he was undergoing rehab. It wasn’t until he thought Asuna was in ALO that he decided to take the plunge again.

        This is not to say that they would not be willing to help, but rather that they are not necessarily an obvious choice to ask for help.

        And also, as has been discussed in this blog to near death, stats aren’t everything, and damage is determined through other factors as well. And veteran players of ALO also have top-notch stats as well.

      • December 9, 2012 at 8:38 amRasen

        Regarding your part about trauma being a ridiculous excuse, how so? Trauma can be overcome with time. What was true a month ago may no longer be true today.

        And it’s not just the player’s trauma you have to consider. What about the families? After losing someone for two years because of a game, most would be very unlikely to just say “go right ahead.” They’d have to be convinced, possibly through much arguing and over a lot of time.

      • December 9, 2012 at 12:14 pmGuest

        The thing is, the trauma excuse – while valid for many players – seems overly broad. Sicila and Lisbeth didn’t return until they could keep their SAO characters. Kirito didn’t return until there was a chance to find Asuna. Asuna wasn’t even said to have stopped playing VR MMOs for any length of time: She left ALO, knew that Yui was still there, and *immediately returned*. The person who was trapped longest, and should have trauma with ALO, *stayed*.

        What I get from this is that the trauma is totally misunderstood. The trauma used as an excuse is that people were scared to play games again, but really it’s just that they can’t look at games the same way again. Games are no longer just random fun, there’s something “Real” within them. For Kirito and Asuna it’s their family. Sicila? Pina. Lisbeth? No idea, probably bonds. Especially the one with Kirito. As far as Egil and Klien go, I don’t remember because they’re dudes and it always seems like they’re less important than Kirito’s harem. I don’t even remember if they show up in later arcs (excluding RL scenes I mean). Sorry about that. There’s also the dude from GGO, who I’m also fuzzy on but I think its safe to say that what he found was death.

        What I get from this isn’t that they were all necessarily scared of being trapped again (just get an Amusphere for that), but rather the key to returning is to have personally found something “Real” within the game like Kirito did. Without that Real element, ALO is just a random VR game, with nothing for any of them. There is literally no motivation to touch ALO when games are now something more, and that particular game doesn’t have anything for them. With the chance to regain something lost, suddenly ALO is worth playing.

        As far as familial trauma goes, I’m assuming you’re thinking of Mother’s Rosario when you point it out. My personal opinion on that is it’s ridiculous that Asuna was free to play online for all of volumes 5 and 6 before her family decided to make a big deal out of any of it. Maybe Asuna is a bad example to pick because she’s a main character, but she’s the only concrete one we’ve been given. Plus because she was stuck in ALO and returned to ALO, I think it’s safe to say that her situation should have been harder to resolve than someone who is trying to justify going from SAO to ALO.

        @Stats not being everything… OK, I don’t know if I didn’t say it clearly, or if you misunderstood me, but I tried to justify calling in the SAO cavalry with the assumption that they don’t keep their stats. Kirito has no reason to believe they would, after all. But they have literally *everything else* needed to kick ass. They have speed. They have accuracy. They don’t have equipment but Kirito should still have enough money for a couple sets. When Kirito first entered the game, he was already OP when he had stats but no equipment, so surely if he gives SAO players equipment it’ll compensate for any missing stats. They do still have overwhelming brain speed afterall. (Also I believe in ALO its skills, not stats. I don’t know about ALO but in general I assume stats have a larger affect than skills).

        @Other players not being the obvious choice, I’ll give you that. I’ve always found Kirito being a solo player to be kind of weird because I can’t balance him being the hated beater with him being loved by all the girls. Until I can justify SAO online to myself I can’t be that convincing about ALO. I still maintain that if Kirito was actually worried about getting people banned however (and he wasn’t just being antisocial) then its not like he knows absolutely nobody who would be fine warriors with no attachments to their ALO accounts.

      • December 9, 2012 at 7:42 pmRasen

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:27 pmoliviaven

    Pierce the Heaven!

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:30 pmMichael

    It was an awesome episode with all of the characters participating.
    Some Kazuto and Sugu character development here and there, too.
    Recon got killed just to save time, technically, and it was worth it to see him to go out like that.
    *salutes* Recon, you didn’t die a useless death! I promote you from a fodder to a minorly useful character!

    Jk at the end, lol.

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:31 pmyoyo

    Is it me or does Moomba have a thing for Sakuya. As for the ep my did it take the army that Kirito hired to arrive. But it was cool when they did. Both leaders controlling their teams to attack in an orderly fashion. Just like in an MMO. I did wish that there was more of that in the ep.

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:40 pmzleihsh

    I love this week’s Kajiura choral music, it is AWESOME!!

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:40 pminferno

    fight = good, more fight even better. Big raid party too good to be true. GO kirito! Make this a good end

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:44 pmEduardo

    Please Fairy Dance, have an ending. Everybody knows you are the worst arc of all SAO arcs.

    • December 8, 2012 at 2:59 pmAccess

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

      • December 8, 2012 at 3:10 pmcreaothceann

        GGO is good.

      • December 8, 2012 at 4:31 pmacolyte

        Alicization is an eye opener.
        Think most agree SAO’s somewhere in the middle.
        Depends on your preference, between GGO and Fairy Dance people usually like them the least.
        My vote to GGO, I prefer Fairy Dance, but I’ve heard both ways~
        I think because they feel tame compared to SAO & Alicization

      • December 8, 2012 at 6:17 pmMasterDragonKnight

        I have not read Alicization yet, but judging from the praises it receives, I will try to read it sometime.

        Personally, I liked the Mother’s Rosario arc the best so far.

        Yuuki… ;_;

      • December 8, 2012 at 9:06 pmEuzio

        Although I like Suguha/Leafa’s character, in my opinion, Fairy Dance is the weakest of the arcs thus far. Like MDK, i havent read Alicization yet since i’m waiting for it to be completed before i start reading it. And similarly, i thought that Mother’s Rosario is best of all the arcs thus far.

        Yuuki…. :(

      • December 8, 2012 at 9:24 pmEuzio

        Though if i muz say something, Fairy Dance despite being the weakest story wise, it actually has like the best ending of all the stories i’ve read thus far. Not really ending per say, but more like the end of chapter 8 of vol.4 The last 2 pages of chapter 8 is just beautiful. The epilogue which is chapter 9 just made it even sweeter :)

      • December 10, 2012 at 5:13 amTheMoondoggie

        GGO is actually good IMO. In contrast, Mother’s Rosario seemed a bit weak to me compared to all the other arcs.

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:51 pmLove

    Love the end card :3

    • December 9, 2012 at 1:08 amKinny Riddle

      This yet another example of why downvoting is inane. What is there to dislike or disagree about someone liking an end card that is not even controversially obscene or violent?

      You may disagree about someone’s opinion about the plot, the characterization, the setting, etc, but an endcard illustration?? Seriously?

      I’ve given Love an upvote out of support as a result from such inaneness.

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:52 pmEmD

    RECON!

    PLEASE DON’T BLOW YOURSELF UP AND SACRIFICE YOURSELF IN THIS FAKE, VIRTUAL VIDEO GAME!

    I might cry.

    • December 12, 2012 at 5:17 amTheMoondoggie

      Umm… Suicide Squad Attack…

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:54 pmAffy

    All thanks to Yui.

    • December 8, 2012 at 3:00 pmAffy

      Asuna first, logically.

    • December 9, 2012 at 5:26 amAI

      Nope, it’s threesome, they need each other. Asuna’s key, Yui programming and Kirito’s strength

  • December 8, 2012 at 2:56 pmAccess

    I found it quite silly how they kept spinning in midair like a pair of dancers during a supposedly emotional scene.

    That aside I finally realized one of the things that annoy me about this show, or novels, really. I find it hard to put into words, though. It’s like Kawahara has this idea for an awesome scene in his mind, like a puzzle piece, but keeps forgetting how to properly explain or build up to it with pieces in-between. What you are left with is a shallow Hollywood experience. It’s like he writes his story around those bigger pieces and retroactively tries to fit in the smaller ones.

    The raid at the end is a perfect example. The heroes are about to be overwhelmed, but at the final moment they are saved by the arrival of this huge raid group.
    This supposedly epic battle takes place and everything is awesome, except I feel nothing. This is no Big Damn Heroes moment. Why would I care about those people who came to save his ass? We’ve met them for all of one episode and they’re basically strangers.

    And then he gets Leefa’s sword, enters his golden-eyed Cybergod-mode again, and is suddenly able to execute this absurdly powerful attack the anime doesn’t even bother trying to explain.

    Oh well, two episodes to go. I think I will almost miss complaining about it.

    • December 8, 2012 at 2:59 pmRasen

      And then he gets Leefa’s sword, enters his golden-eyed Cybergod-mode again, and is suddenly able to execute this absurdly powerful attack the anime doesn’t even bother trying to explain.

      Ah, but like I said, Kirito’s Drill Which Pierces the Heavens is an anime-original. Can’t blame Kawahara for that one.

      • December 8, 2012 at 3:00 pmAccess

        Fair enough. I don’t really remember the novels. I read all of them in the week between episode 1 and 2 because I was so hyped for this show and couldn’t wait because I heard a so much praise for the novels.

        Imagine my disappointment.

    • December 8, 2012 at 5:56 pmLibelula

      If you really READ ALL the novels in one week (looking at the letters isnt considered “reading”) you must have spend hours every single day. that said, it must have been rather tedious for you – at times I too find the novels annoying to read so I give you that.
      BUT You wanne tell me you really spent hours and hours -every singel day – with something that is just “disappointing” for you? Im not buying that. Unless you tell me youre a masochist. But until now I never heard of someone being aroused by torturing himself mentally;)

  • December 8, 2012 at 3:05 pmShroompat

    what happened to Tonkii and the Excalibur part from the LN??!! i was looking forward to seeing the friendly monster and kirito’s experience in Jötunheimr!!

    otherwise, good episode

    • December 8, 2012 at 3:08 pmShroompat

      oh and i forgot to add, i hope they keep the anime going and include the GGO arc…. id love to see sinon get animated :P

      • December 8, 2012 at 3:23 pmKB

        yeah it would be awesome…but it would be super awesome if they keep the anime include the SAO fourth arc “underworld”

      • December 8, 2012 at 5:27 pmXRick

        Unfortunately, it won’t go as far as the end of this arc…
        But it seems sales (Anime & Novels) are going great, that may be a good omen…
        At least, I hope so…
        True enough, the story itself is not that great, and the Anime makes it a bit more incomplete due to time constraints but it somehow seems to draw people to it, for good or bad…

        Right now, I’m reading all Aincrad arc while rewatching the series for comparison intention.

    • December 8, 2012 at 3:08 pmMasterDragonKnight

      They skipped that part in favor of time.

      If they ever animate the Caliber side-story, then we may see that as a flashback.

    • December 8, 2012 at 3:12 pmcreaothceann

      *Excaliber

    • December 8, 2012 at 3:21 pmTranquin

      Betting on some kind of OVA from that, will see.

      • December 8, 2012 at 4:30 pmacolyte

        Also thinking if it ever get animated, it’ll be an OVA.
        I doubt it though, GGO would be more likely the one getting OVA-ed.

      • December 9, 2012 at 11:49 pmDualash

        I don’t thing GGO will be animated as an ova, its too long to be one and a lot has to be explained. The Underworld will be probably will an ova since it can fairly summarized in like 2 or 3 episodes.

    • December 8, 2012 at 9:08 pmEuzio

      If they animate Mother’s Rosario… I’ll literally go ballistic XD

  • December 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm†Croos†

    The only way to defeat an online rpg game server is to work together(flood the area with players).

    • December 8, 2012 at 3:44 pmTranquin

      Well zerg usually (sadly) works well on many games.

    • December 8, 2012 at 9:09 pmEuzio

      In their time, they must have pretty awesome servers powering their RPGs then…. Try doing that in our world and it usually ends up with the server crashing ^_^;

      • December 9, 2012 at 12:14 pmKob264

        LAG; your bigest, most anoying enemy in any online game…

  • December 8, 2012 at 3:40 pmFT5Havok

    Giga Drill Kirito!!!

  • December 8, 2012 at 3:45 pmshadowalker

    @Moomba
    “This episode marks the very first time Kirito has actually viewed Leefa as an equal. Instead of asking her to stand back and provide him with healing support (which, admittedly, he did do earlier in the episode) he finally allows her to fight alongside him and protect his back. Now that wasn’t so hard was it? There was even a shot earlier in the episode, mimicking the first OP, which worked nicely with this context in mind (credit entirely to the director for that). This arc could’ve been a lot less painful had this development come about much sooner – had Kirito actually decided not to relegate others to trivial roles.”

    while i’m not sure why you would call it ‘painful’, i think your missing some points here.Kirito didn’t relegate others to trivial roles, he just didn’t want to cause other people too much trouble to achieve his own goals.

    as for Leefa, i don’t think it’s a issue of viewing her as a equal(if you take their stats,experience,level in to account it’s obvious tht Kirito is much better), it’s more likely tht the difference of the situations was what caused Kirito to ask Leefa to stand back earlier and to watch his back now.
    when facing a team of elite players them or when facing a horde of AIs by themselves it’s better for Kirito, who is more durable,skilled and capable of doing more damage(plus not very good with spells), to attack in the front while Leefa, who can heal and cast spells, supported him from the back(also allowing them a better chance at retreating if things go wrong).but when facing a horde of AIs with a large party on your side as well it’s stupid for Leefa, who is probably better than most players of tht party, to stay back and heal Kirito, which is probably why Kirito asked her to watch his back(plus it’s their first battle after discovering Leefa is actually Sugu, so Kirito probably feels more comfortable asking her help).

    • December 8, 2012 at 4:02 pmSol

      >Kirito didn’t relegate others to trivial roles, he just didn’t want to cause other people too much trouble to achieve his own goals.

      And he did that by relegating others to trivial roles.

      >as for Leefa, i don’t think it’s a issue of viewing her as a equal(if you take their stats,experience,level in to account it’s obvious tht Kirito is much better)

      Equal in the sense that they support each other, everyone pulls their own weight, rather than having one person take everything head on, while the other sits in the back and plays footsies.

      Cmon man.

      • December 8, 2012 at 4:55 pmshadowalker

        “And he did that by relegating others to trivial roles.”

        others as in(from Kirito’s POV), strangers, from whom Kirito had no right to ask help from or a reason for them to help him.if he had no issue causing trouble for other people to achieve his own goals wouldn’t he be very selfish?

        “Equal in the sense that they support each other, everyone pulls their own weight, rather than having one person take everything head on, while the other sits in the back and plays footsies.”

        so how is this different from Leefa supporting Kirito by healing him and preventing him from being killed and Kirito attacking head on preventing the enemies from attacking Leefa and making headway?(aren’t they already pulling their own weight and supporting each other?)
        just because Kirito asked Leefa to stand-back doesn’t mean he thinks she’s incapable of pulling her own weight it just means tht Kirito thought tht, tht kind of tactic would be better suited for the tht particular situation.

  • December 8, 2012 at 4:13 pmVaan

    Sorry Recon, Sugu-chan still belongs to her oniichan and no one else. :P

  • December 8, 2012 at 4:26 pmiLveElephants

    This is one of the fewest animes I’ve watched were a heroine cring for almost all of the scenes.

    • December 8, 2012 at 4:27 pmiLveElephants

      *where a heroine is crying

  • December 8, 2012 at 4:47 pmPasserBy

    IMOO, the SAO story down to whatever abbreviated novel title it has published ever since, is largely average at best, an MMORPG based story without the MMORPG elements nor the dilemmas, combos, camaradarie, raids, rare finds and competition you can see by playing MMORPGs isnt present instead we get an uber plot powered (yui) NEET who by the mysteries of this universe and beyond seems to be haremizing every chick in the game w/o him even realizing.

    Typical shounen, the first boss battle was actually nice, i mean there where elements of strategies, struggle, surprise attacks and competition to get the last kill. well its just me though, SAO is not too appealing too watch when youre playing something like WOW and having loads of fun with your friends just playing.

    • December 8, 2012 at 4:51 pmRasen

      @PassingBy
      I actually find his haremizing to be more logical than a “mystery of the universe.” People are attracted to those that are confident and competent.

      When was the last time you saw a personal ad going “SWF looking for indecisive, whiny guy who can’t do anything right. Looking for a real fixer-upper.”

      • December 8, 2012 at 6:22 pmRasen

        I don’t usually respond to downvotes because I can usually see where it’s coming from even if I disagree. But this one has me buffaloed. I wasn’t attacking the previous poster, and I wasn’t expressing a concept that was considered morally “icky”….

    • December 8, 2012 at 4:53 pmRasen

      Also, if Kirito was a NEET, so was everyone else in SAO.

    • December 8, 2012 at 6:08 pmLibelula

      The story about the NEET, written by someone who is commenting on a show he doesnt like but that he still watched moments ago on the internet – episode 23 at that! – while still having enough time to play WOW at a regular basis. Now if that doesnt remind me of the exact same story…

      Sorry, I know Im being mean and of course I too have my faults. But I just had to get out the irony, or else I would have suffocated;) Now please – dislike this comment. Isnt worth reading anyways;)

    • December 8, 2012 at 9:18 pmEuzio

      Honestly speaking, I would agree that the entire SAO novel stories have been average, or just above average at best. Sure there are its good moments but it has its flaws as well.

      The reason why I think SAO has become so incredibly popular though, is because of the idea itself. A world where VRMMORPGs exist and the story that plays out because of it. Its kinda like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter (not to say that SAO is on their level). When we read these books, we wish we could be transported to Middle Earth or Hogwarts and experience the fantasy of their world. SAO is similar I guess. We wish to be able to experience what the characters experience in their world with VRMMORPGs.

  • December 8, 2012 at 5:49 pmCombobreaker

    @Moomba
    -> What is he playing baseball? That’s not how you swing a sword!

    http://moviesmedia.ign.com/movies/image/article/110/1103759/conan-momoa-swinging-sword450_1278274198.jpg Conan begs to differ.

    I doubt you’ve actually swung a real sword, so you shouldn’t criticize.

    • December 8, 2012 at 7:18 pmMooMiao

      @Combobreaker

      Agreed with you. I tried to put my hand on the position he had and changed to a few position. That’s the only way the sword can go all the way to the other side more freely without getting stuck or whatsoever. You guys should try it even its funny but it is worth as a knowledge of your own body mechanism. Try it.

    • December 9, 2012 at 4:26 amSpinning

      You shouldn’t make baseless assumptions. Just because you personally haven’t swung a sword doesn’t mean that no-one else has either.

      Even a fool can see that Kirito’s swing left him wide open.

  • December 8, 2012 at 6:29 pmNobody

    A thing to consider that might explain his Evil base at the top of the tree,

    ALO was around at least a year before suguo had access to and a need for an “evil base”. Before that the game already had this area never meant to be accessed by players that had an intentionally “impossible” encounter to prevent said access. It doesn’t feel like that much of a huge leap for him to just put his base in the area that was prebuilt for him to keep interlopers out.

    Also this wouldn’t be the first time MMOs had “impossible” quests programmed into them at the start of the game. I remember reading about the first time Lady Vox had ever been killed in everquest. I mean a creature that rains down massive damage, has the ability to heal a third of its hitpoints, and had the maximum hitpoint pool at the time in the game would NEVER die. When a group finally did it, there was nothing. A gm actually logged in to explain the situation and come up with a quick fix,

  • December 8, 2012 at 7:17 pmfragb85

    Moomba sums up the same problem I have with SAO. Aincrad and Alfheim look like wonderful worlds and present something very interesting to know about. But its all wasted because its nothing more than a setting so the plot can focus on masturbating to Kirito (our Lord and Savior). It doesn’t help that Kirito is by far the most bland and boring character. Might as well make the setting generic fantasy and nothing of value would be lost.

    Its why I loved .hack//, it was about The World and its people, filled with side-stories about different people on different quests. Its also why I was never fond of .hack//GU because the whole setting gave too much emphasis on Haseo (even the different materials starred Haseo) but at the very least Haseo was nowhere as bland and one-dimensional like Kirito. That’s also why my love my for .hack has been rekindled because stuff like .hack//QUANTUM are once again empathizing the setting rather than just its characters.

    The latter half of this episode if even more evidence for that. I’ve mentioned before that the best parts of SAO are when its about its world and its people and I actually enjoyed seeing The Sylph army and the Dragon Knights. All the time I keep thinking “Why can’t it be about these people?”. But nope they’re just bit characters to pave way for our Lord of Blandness Kirito.

    • December 9, 2012 at 1:26 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

      This is pretty much what I was talking about a couple episodes ago, quoting my post…

      “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.”

    • December 10, 2012 at 7:20 amTheMoondoggie

      The latter half of this episode if even more evidence for that. I’ve mentioned before that the best parts of SAO are when its about its world and its people and I actually enjoyed seeing The Sylph army and the Dragon Knights. All the time I keep thinking “Why can’t it be about these people?”

      I don’t think world building would be wise in this series, all because the whole series jumps from one game world to another. If we try to build the world, anyone involved in it’s making will be wasting time and money since on the next arc we’ll be jumping to another one. SAO and ALO, along with much of the side characters that died in SAO, are mentioned less and less as the story goes on.

      It can only be about it’s hero and his direct friends and their adventures on different worlds(games). Think Tsubasa Chronicles.

  • December 8, 2012 at 7:25 pmAnimesetsuna

    Kirito want to becomes the 2nd Setsuna F. Seiei. Because of his fighting style.

    • December 8, 2012 at 7:48 pmCombobreaker

      I don’t get how he wants to be like Setsuna, when he actually learned dual daggers as a fighting style and Kirito uses swords. Also SAO novels were released/published on the web in 2002, when Gundam 00 came out 2007 making it safe to say Gundam 00 and it characters were probably created around 2005-2006.

  • December 8, 2012 at 8:20 pmTopboy

    -So Game Designer just cheated all the player right, ‘Cause the door at world tree (which is main game objective to reach and go through it) can’t open by any mean other that system admin access permission?
    -After watch this episode I thinking of Lineage (MMORPG year2003) for some reason.
    -What Recon’s purpose of self-destruction? Anime just make it so much look like he just do it for nothing (funny)

  • December 8, 2012 at 8:46 pmSoraNoKaze

    THAT Drill moment and Kirito face… Pace was much better than previous episodes. At-least he entered in the final realm.

    It would’ve been lot better without cheesy drama and that early fight. I think Author is so much obsessed with drama overall. I wish if he had just keep it a bit straight even if that imouto loves his onii-chan.

  • December 8, 2012 at 9:05 pmJello

    This scene sent chills down my spine in the LN…but it felt unbelievably cheesy and forced in the episode. And if you thought this part of ALO was anti-climatic, you’re in for a tough conclusion in these next 2 episodes.

  • December 8, 2012 at 9:17 pmEliteF22

    The second half of this episode was hilarious. Hard to take the drama seriously when you know they can’t die for real. If self-destruction magic is so powerful, why haven’t the races just graveyard rushed the place and suicide bombed their way through? Life and death drama doesn’t work when your characters can’t die.

    • December 9, 2012 at 9:19 amRickyMack

      it’s been awhile since i read the novels, but iirc, if you die and aren’t resurrected, you get transported all the way back to the race’s hometown. such a strategy would require a good amount of healers to constantly rez or else on a full wipe everyone is sent back.

      transporting to the race’s hometown is the reason why Kirito dying would be bad, as it usually takes a few days to get back to the world tree and he’s only got a week until Asuna gets married.

      maybe it’s their religion or something, but marrying an unconscious person is not really legal, nor moral really.

  • December 8, 2012 at 9:46 pmJust Passing By

    Vegeta sacrificed himself by blowing himself up, but in the end it was Goku who was recognized as the “Hero” XD

  • December 8, 2012 at 9:47 pmhaseo0408

    The funny thing is that Recon was half beaten to death by Lyfa in the novel when he tried to “confess”, or whatever the hell you could call that, I´d love to see it because here it was just a punch. Poor bastard, forever alone alright.

    • December 9, 2012 at 5:16 amcreaothceann

      A punch and a flight of stairs.

  • December 8, 2012 at 10:13 pminfo600

    Don’t we all hate it when the animation studio run out of budget?
    (…with all those clip scenes repeated…)

    side note (since no one is doing it):
    who would’ve thought this girl would grow up to such a beauty?

    • December 8, 2012 at 11:22 pmI Love Kumin-Senpai

      always remember, puberty do magic

  • December 8, 2012 at 10:35 pmDerprito

    Points I’d like to point out

    * Recon’s sacrifice was anti climatic , In the LN he used the dark magic because he had no other choice and wtf was with Sugu’s reaction?
    it was totally lame and no emotions to it at all

    * Dual wield, where are thou dual wield, not some spinning ice cream cone

    why is there literally only 3-5 white knights at once when they actually fight and when they are staring at them there’s bazillion

  • December 8, 2012 at 10:37 pmChloesong

    @Mooba “This arc could’ve been a lot less painful had this development come about much sooner – had Kirito actually decided not to relegate others to trivial roles.”

    IMO I believe the main theme and driving internal conflict in Fairy Dance for Kirito is the fact that He does not rely on others, confuses virtual strength (stats) with real strength, and has an over exaggerated confidence in his ability to save others, so if he had recognized early on that teamwork would have helped, I believe a major theme of ALO would have been solved too early.

    Again IMO Among Kirito’s flaws, he has a major hero-complex, trust problem, and a fear of being “weak”, and through of the events in SAO (clearing the game, being the strongest player) he truly believes that his over-maxed stats equaled “strength/power” in reality, in other words he believes he is pratically undefeatable. But as the earlier episode showed, when he failed to clear the Grand Quest on his own (which should seem obviously reckless/stupid to the readers/watchers and characters alike), he finally realized “I’m just a high school boy good at playing games, I’ve mistaken my own power to save someone. The strength I had was just stats, I can’t do this….”. Unfortunately, after Suguha saves him, he thinks he can’t save Asuna and goes into that “self-destructive” mode/stubborn “just gotta keep trying” mode, (similar to when Heathcliff had killed Asuna and he mindlessly went toward distruction, in other words Kirito breaks down into despair).

    Thankfully through Suguha, Recon, and everyone else’s help, he, like you said Moomba, finally gets off his high horse, finds that he just could not break through on his own, and acknowledges other people as his equals and capable of helping him, which is a huge turning point! ( Remember that in SAO Asuna had to physically threaten him (iirc with a butter knife) to make him acknowledge she could keep up with him when they made a party).

    Long story short, I think you are supposed to be frustrated at how often narrow-minded Kirito is and his overconfidence in his self (especially when it comes to protecting other), which works sometimes (like the delegation negotiation bluff), but also fails spectacularly when his strength/stats fails (being unable to protect Sachi, getting Asuna killed by dueling Heathcliff alone, and failing at breaking through the World tree, risking starting back at the beginning.)

    The main focus of the arc ( in addition to the Suguha plot, and Asuna’s attempts at jailbreak) is not how badass and powerful he is, but that his attempts to solve major problems singlehandedly culminates and crashes down into this moment when he fails at soloing the most important thing to him, saving Asuna.

    Through this episode,I think Kirito has learned that teamwork is important, gradually relinquishes that “I am a solo player” mentality, and comes to terms that, no matter how overpowered he is as an individual, combining the efforts of others together allows him to accomplish more than he could alone. Before, he basically only trusted Asuna, sometimes Klein to have his back.

    Personally I think Kirito is a rather flawed character, with a really fragile self-esteem/belief in self. He felt awkward about his family issues and drew his inner strength from having high stats and ( in the SAO LN, often questions how much he actually wants to get back to reality when he’s so addicted to powering up and exploring dungeons), and through Asuna, was able to working clearing the game for her sake and have a powerful reason to get back to the real world, aka kept his sanity, focus, and avoided losing his way/getting absorbed in the unreasonable SAO world. In ALO I think it’s a very important quote, what he said this episode, that to him, SAO hasn’t and won’t end until Asuna wakes up, because really she was the reason he wanted to clear the game. He’s basically has a one-track mind “Save Asuna” and doesn’t have the emotional capacity to care for anything else (it’s pretty cold how he ditches Suguha right after he getting the card and tells her several times, I can head alone from here, I’ve troubled you enough.)

    Kirito is basically not in his normal state of mind here. Usually he’s somewhat calculating and intelligent, but in ALO he’s just completely reckless and headstrong. The looming marriage of that pervert who is planning to marry into Asuna’s rich family and the inherit family company, his inability as a powerless high schooler to stop the adult/business “marriage of convenience”, and his last hope that his superior game stats can somehow stall/stop the marriage all sum up to a really anxious, frustrated Kirito. That internal struggle, I think, is not always apparent in the anime because he tries to keep Suguha unaffected by his angst as they travel together,

    To me, ALO is the weakest arc of SAO, because there is this serious business of a kidnapper humiliating/harassing Asuna and operating human experimentation which awkwardly contrasts with all the lighthearted “fun” Kirito has while he travels plus the side romance/tragedy/ridiculousness with Suguha falling in love twice with Kirito.

    Despite all the ups and downs, I still enjoyed this episode. :)

    Wow, so so sorry for the TLDR!! >_< I am hopelessly wordy..

    • December 9, 2012 at 5:21 amcreaothceann

      ph3ar teh butter knife wielded by The Flash!

  • December 8, 2012 at 11:24 pmI Love Kumin-Senpai

    i want the episode 25 to be them reuniting alltogether to celebrate kirito’s victory for clearing <>

  • December 8, 2012 at 11:24 pmI Love Kumin-Senpai

    sword art online LOL!!

  • December 8, 2012 at 11:40 pmBeedle

    I was quite disappointed by this episode as I expected another epic battle akin to that SAO battle with that skeleton scorpion-thing or Kirito vs Eugene.

    When Leafa vs Kirito began, I felt something was off so when it was revealed that neither of them were serious during the fight, the blandness of the entire fight was acceptable.

    That final battle, on the other hand… the choreography was still flat, and even Recon’s sacrifice lacked a lot of impact with Leafa just flying in place instead of, I don’t know, rushing in to help the sap. I actually lol’d when it was revealed his sacrifice didn’t make any difference; maybe it’s my gaming preference, but I find suicide attacks stupid.

    And then that spear-thing… I wonder if the animators got lazy or if they are saving up their strength for something big.

    Based on the spoilers littered throughout the previous comments, Kirito still has two more ‘big’ fights to go, right? I wonder how those will be animated since, based on the way were described, they don’t sound too epic.

  • December 8, 2012 at 11:45 pmJhacks

    After witnessing one of my favorite dudes in boxing (that has a character and life story of your typical Shounen manga), lose a very important and greatest fight of his life, just seeing Kirito (OVERPOWERD as always) beating the F out of those cannon fodder mobs like nobody’s business, it felt great! (or i’m just drunk and lose a bet)

    Recon’s attempt to be heroic just looks pathetically stupid and dumb. SAO has a huge list of characters, sadly all of them felt more like a tool for Kirito to use and dispose or kept.

    And Oh please no more of this scene.

    • December 9, 2012 at 4:26 pmboingman

      Kiss her. :(

  • December 9, 2012 at 1:14 amKinny Riddle

    Sugou basically duped the entire paying population into thinking anyone could beat the Grand Quest by zerging millions of Guardians from his inaccessible door? He might as well tell them that there is no Grand Quest.

    Surely even if he wanted to conduct secret experiments in this world, he could have placed his labs in a hidden section away from the players’ eyes? So that players can conduct their Grand Quest without interfering with his real work.

    • December 9, 2012 at 4:29 amEuzio

      The reason why he did it is because when he imprisoned the 300 people from SAO, he needed to create another world for it using SAO’s structure as the base. Hence Alfheim Online. ALO would then also serve as a smokescreen to what he is actually doing but it wont be any good unless he had a large player base to mask everything. Since the actual area he was conducting his experiments in was behind that door (specifically, at the top of the world tree), he definitely would not want anyone to be able to get in. So to keep the players hooked unto the game as well as to prevent them from getting in, he created the “Grand Quest” and made it impossible (well almost since Kirito got through… hehe) for them to do so.

      • December 9, 2012 at 6:17 amKinny Riddle

        Yes, I get what you mean, but even if those room cannot be moved from the top of Yggdrasil, SURELY he could have cordoned off those sensitive room behind a hidden door or wall, or make said room hidden from view? Like say, making them only admins can enter?

      • December 9, 2012 at 7:49 amEuzio

        Well, in a sense he did make it such that only those with administrative access could enter. The sole reason Kirito was able to get through was because Asuna managed to steal the access card and dropped it to him. They probably never imagined that such a scenario could occur.

      • December 9, 2012 at 10:58 amKinny Riddle

        “Well, in a sense he did make it such that only those with administrative access could enter.”

        Still, it was incredibly stupid and arrogant for them to assume that their zerg swarm of Guardians was impregnable to the point of them putting their admin door right behind and calling it a Grand Quest.

        That basically amounts to fraud, and we haven’t even got around to the issue of illegal human experimentation yet.

      • December 10, 2012 at 4:59 amTheMoondoggie

        But without the card, ven if the people manage to beat the Grand Quest they would still be unable to find Asuna or the Lab.

      • December 12, 2012 at 3:50 amBeedle

        Bear in mind that it was Yui who discovered and confirmed that the door is not linked to the quest, and has no quest requirement to unlock it. Other players that would manage to bypass the swarm would assume they missed something or give up altogether.

      • December 12, 2012 at 3:56 amAo-no-Kenshi

        guys please remember it is still the first full dive system(correct me if im wrong, sogou just stole them right?) the fact that it is the “first” means even with greater technology in the future, it should have many holes and can’t be magically perfect just from the beggining.

  • December 9, 2012 at 2:35 amLaughingMan

    • December 9, 2012 at 7:25 amMike

      Haha, that feel when I’m looking forward more to the reaction video then the actual episode.

      SAO is far from perfect, but I stil enjoy the show for what it’s worth, but these reaction
      vids from draconis are entertaining in their own right :)

    • December 11, 2012 at 4:44 amMagoiichi

      I’ve been waiting for this XD

  • December 9, 2012 at 2:52 amZero X Cent

    Is been a while i didn`t post on this site but still looks at comment. This is what i watched and checked back, remember this scene where Kirito use the dual sword suddenly turn it to spear of piercing then Kirito eye turn yellow. Remember the previous where he fought with Kayaba Akihiko where he stab him back didn`t his eye turn yellow as well. So to make it short is like his hidden self or something been inside. The novel is nice if u read it but for novel there are too much things to show or explain in detail so it had to make it short and make to enjoy. It should turn it as understanding for new view and to enjoying as it flow. Everyone of us got our opinion suppose to be like this and that but at the end, SAO arc and ALO arc is to enjoy it and see how it turn out. I already read the novel that translate to English for both arc for a long time ago in the site and accepted it as anime :)

    • December 9, 2012 at 2:56 amZero X Cent

      The scene where Kirito stab Kayaba Akihiko he smile so he was expecting it to happen and so the reader know what it is when this anime finish ALO arc. That all i will say and will watch to the end is what we watch anime for then comment later :)

  • December 9, 2012 at 3:29 amAnanas

    • December 12, 2012 at 3:49 amAo-no-Kenshi

      yeah.. right… “everything grows”… does that includes your bone?

  • December 9, 2012 at 6:42 amBenigmatica

    I have a feeling that Asuna is finally demoted to a damsel-in-distress, and also the fact that Kirito cleared the first big floor makes things worse!

    I’m not reading the novels but next week would make me rage again if Sugou pulls a wild card out of nowhere that sends Kirito crashing down!

    • December 9, 2012 at 8:32 amjn99y4

      I read the novels, and while I can say it gets worse, I think that what was put in the light novels will not make it into the anime for obvious reasons. If you hate Sugou now, just wait til later.

      • December 9, 2012 at 4:39 pmboingman

        Sounds horrible. I hated Accel World’s Nomi and this villain is equally annoying.
        Please tell me that the next arc’s, which, considering the blu-ray/dvd sales, will surely also get an anime adaptation, will have less clichee enemies.

      • December 9, 2012 at 9:37 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

        As I mentioned above with my quoted post from a couple episodes ago, at least Noumi had a relateable and sympathetic, if very simple, reason for why he was the way he was (his older brother doing the same things to him). Sugou has nothing, and we learned that right away, thus there’s nothing interesting about him as a villain besides viewers just wanting him to die slowly and painfully for his corrupt and douche personality.

  • December 9, 2012 at 8:31 amjn99y4

    While I can appreciate Recon’s self destruction, I really thought that he should’ve been punched by Lyfa a few more times for good measure before.

  • December 9, 2012 at 8:43 amSei

    I wish they’d animate Gun Gale Online. The heroine DOESN’T fall in love with Kirito. Shit’s ace.

    • December 9, 2012 at 11:49 amznail

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • December 9, 2012 at 12:43 pmbakakubi

        O.o What does she do? If possible can you or someone else elaborate on this?

      • December 9, 2012 at 1:57 pmMasterDragonKnight

        She gave this bright smile and said:

        Show Spoiler ▼

    • December 9, 2012 at 2:35 pmbakakubi

      OMG! Thanks for the info. LOL the picture made it all so much funnier.

  • December 9, 2012 at 12:41 pmewok40k

    Epic army sized raid definitely deserved epic Kajiura score! bonus for getting dragons. EVERYTHING IS BETTER WITH DRAGONS!
    And I am sincerely hoping Recon gets Leafa’s broken heart to heal. He deserves it.
    Rest is history…

  • December 9, 2012 at 1:32 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    When Kirito got to the door, and it wouldn’t open, all I could imagine was a giant troll face on the door, lol.

  • December 9, 2012 at 4:38 pmShoe

    Every time when he’s about to break the game, his eyes turn gold. Is that some kind of no-cheat mark or something? I find it quite annoying.

  • December 9, 2012 at 6:20 pmKidokuOuyou

    So the purpose for an entire army of Cait Sith and Sylphs to be there is for Leafa to feel secure and give her katana to Kirito so he can one-shot the enemy using Giga Drill Breaker

    • December 9, 2012 at 11:53 pmDualash

      And the power of teamwork :D

  • December 9, 2012 at 7:41 pmRasen

    The thing is, the trauma excuse – while valid for many players – seems overly broad. Sicila and Lisbeth didn’t return until they could keep their SAO characters. Kirito didn’t return until there was a chance to find Asuna. Asuna wasn’t even said to have stopped playing VR MMOs for any length of time: She left ALO, knew that Yui was still there, and *immediately returned*. The person who was trapped longest, and should have trauma with ALO, *stayed*.

    The point isn’t whether they had trauma or not, (though Kirito DID actually demonstrate some signs of a comparatively light one) but whether he would feel right about asking people to play just to help him on a more-or-less selfish quest+possible wild goose chase, when they COULD have trauma. To put it in a different light, if you KNOW someone who went to war and who may or may not have PTSD, would you invite them to go out paint-balling or laser-tag? Unless you KNOW they’ll enjoy it, you probably won’t even mention it to them. Heck, you might even hesitate to invite them out to watch a movie, depending on the movie.

    What I get from this isn’t that they were all necessarily scared of being trapped again (just get an Amusphere for that),

    See, but working under the possibility that they have some trauma, using an amusphere won’t solve all the problems. Going back to the PTSD example, what sets soldiers off aren’t more guns or people dying. They’re back home, they’re relatively safe, but overstimulation or things that remind them of their experiences and they snap.

    As far as familial trauma goes, I’m assuming you’re thinking of Mother’s Rosario when you point it out. My personal opinion on that is it’s ridiculous that Asuna was free to play online for all of volumes 5 and 6 before her family decided to make a big deal out of any of it.

    No, I was not referring to Mother’s Rosario. Just a what you would expect from families in this situation. Assume you had a family member who was trapped in a game for 2 years, and you never knew if they’d come back alive. Now, if they decide to play a game that was in any way similar to it, you may not raise hell, but you would definitely express some reservations. Possibly even firmly refuse it. It would take convincing on their part, possibly yelling, before you let them do anything similar again. And time.

    And while Asuna did APPEAR to start playing ALO right away, I do not believe that’s the case. Just like there were months of time between Kirito waking up and his playing ALO I believe there was also time between Asuna waking up and Show Spoiler ▼

    But they have literally *everything else* needed to kick ass. They have speed. They have accuracy.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but Kirito was pretty much an example of why speed and accuracy isn’t enough. The Salamanders which he could one-shot demonstrated quite clearly that they have tactics which could suppress a melee-focused character, which is pretty much everyone from SAO. It would take the SAO players more time to become proficient at using spells, like the ever useful healing(without which, Kirito would have gone down FAST). And as ALO has demonstrated, the spells are the real power in ALO. Look at what Recon could accomplish.

    And in the face of the endless-spawning of the Guardians, the other SAO players would have been much less useful than the Sylphs or the Cait Siths with their high quality equipment, large spells, and dragoons with area-of-effect attacks.

    @Other players not being the obvious choice, I’ll give you that. I’ve always found Kirito being a solo player to be kind of weird because I can’t balance him being the hated beater with him being loved by all the girls.

    Well, for the most part Kirito wasn’t really a hated Beater either, except by the other players during that first floor boss. Putting aside that players are jealous by nature, if you consider the circumstances in which everyone was terrified for their lives and then there was this ONE guy who apparently hoarded all the good information for himself, it explains the initial hatred. But many many floors and levels later, whatever information advantage the Beater had was gone. Also, the other players have gotten used to playing. And lastly, the girls who fell for him didn’t know he was a Beater, just a Solo. (With the exception of Asuna, whom the book does a much nicer job of explaining their relationship development)

  • December 9, 2012 at 11:03 pmBeckett

    Man the guy who designed ALO should go to game design prison. Imagine if you will:

    “Congratulations! You have fought through all of ICC! The only thing standing in your way now is the lich king himself! You must have administrative access to confront Arthas.”

    Later: Mass unsubscribes.

  • December 9, 2012 at 11:07 pmkyuzo

    so wait… that’s all the had to do? join two swords together? wtf?! he could have done that two episodes ago.

  • December 10, 2012 at 1:59 amNaminim

    Was I the only one that was very impressed by the music this episode? I was very hyped throughout the entire second half of the episode. Yuki Kajiura you are a amazing

  • December 11, 2012 at 4:49 pmDelTaco

    It’s pretty obvious Kirito is Athene. He’s playing DEM GAIMZ. Best Spriggan of the World.

  • December 14, 2012 at 8:14 amKarasu

    Every time I hear and see Recon my ears bleed and I punch my monitor. Him offing himself was the highlight of the episode. Also, incest.

  • December 19, 2012 at 7:53 amAshen

    A few positive things I took away from this episode:

    Recon actually got to do something cool, even if it ended in his death. He’s been so irritating and whiny and pathetic until now and the spying bit that I almost couldn’t stand it. I wanted to like him, really I did. So I’m glad I can finally say I do a little. He’s not the broken base hero Kirito, he overcame his fear and confessed to the siscom he likes, AND he pulled off a nifty high-level magic suicide attack. A little part of me wished we could’ve seen his ghost floating where his fiery remains were, watching the battle with a smile.

    The last couple minutes, showing that Kirito actually DID need help and could be clearheaded enough to accept it (for once) in this arc was fantastic. Like you, Moomba, I wish it had come earlier and the fight had been longer, but for what we got, it was enjoyable.

    The fact that the end quest was unbeatable did a lot to appease my opinion regarding Kirito blatantly cheating throug the entire game.

    Hopefully with the flashbacks and that weird draw of a duel, the Suguha subplot tumor will be put on the back burner for awhile. I’ve actually come to like the girl somewhat, but I fought the urge to abandon the damn series every time they dragged out her incestuous crush on her brother (Oh, sorry. I mean her cousin. That’s totally different. Not creepy at all).

    Seeing a preview of the next episode, I’m reminded of some of the things I loved about the first arc; Yui and Kirito’s surrogate family desperately and earnestly trying to reunite with Asuna. I’m sure if they can pull off a heartfelt ending, even through the annoyances and plot/character trope issues, I’ll come out of this glad I stuck with SAO past its namesake arc

  • March 2, 2013 at 10:14 amiron2000

    I thought the card can’t be used without the terminal?
    (lol, I’m really late getting into SAO.)