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Sword Art Online II – 22

「旅路の果て」 (Tabiji no Hate)
“Journey’s End”

Well then! Let me go find my box of tissues…

Traversing The Line Between Realities

Before getting into how the episode itself didn’t get me tearing up until the very end and how that makes me very mad at both myself and the creative team behind the episode, let’s have some real talk about this arc as a whole and some of the harsh realities it decided to highlight. Yeah, I know that the arc itself hasn’t come to a close just yet but I can’t help but think next week is going to be even sadder. And by then I might be too busy wiping my face.

From the very beginning of the Mother Rosario arc, it’s been extremely clear that Asuna’s been the main heroine. Taking the spotlight straight from Kirito’s hands (for the most part), it’s been a pleasure seeing the story from a different perspective. While it’s a bit of a departure from the game-focused material that I personally love, there have been constant reminders that you can’t run from real life no matter how hard you try. From Asuna’s overbearing mother with a wicked tongue but honest intentions to Yuuki and the Medicuboid that’s literally keeping her alive, it’s never been clearer that an important and rather harsh world exist outside the game.

And while I don’t expect to see any of our beloved characters have a life changing realization about how they view the worlds they’re a part of, I’m really hoping that we get to see some growth out of some of them. As small or insignificant as it might be, things like watching Kirito strive to bridge the gap between the virtual world and the real one gives me hope that we’re heading down the right path. Because at the end of the day, as much as I want to believe that you can make a living and become a better person through playing games — I’m slowly getting old enough to realize it ain’t happening.

The Medicuboid and Yuuki

I don’t know why I’ve never thought about it but after listening to the theory behind the machine that keeps Yuuki alive, the idea of using Full Dive(TM) technology to aide all types of patients sounds like a dream come true. Giving someone the ability to do the things they used to be able to do is literally the embodiment of nothing less than a miracle. A miracle that I hope one day surfaces on our side of the screen.

Anyways, and I can’t really put my finger on it, but I didn’t start feeling the feels until the very end of the episode. Maybe it was because I was expecting too much from last week’s comments or maybe it’s because hearing a baby getting infected with AIDS in a developed nation was just too much of a shock — but it all wasn’t clicking until they revealed that Yuuki somehow lost all of her family within the past few years. At that point the story started unfairly tossing in extra emotions and thoughts that didn’t need to and well, I’m sure we all know what happened from there! I mean, who wouldn’t get emotional by the time the show was done unleashing all of that on us!?

Looking Ahead

With only a few episodes remaining, I can’t wait to see what’ll happen from here on out. While it might be a little obvious what Asuna’s plan is for Yuuki to attend school, I’m willing to bet there’s going to be some feels hidden amongst whatever’s about to happen — and I’m ready to face them! Until then, make sure your tissues are ready and I’ll see you next week!

P.S. Isn’t a nice change of pace to actually see a doctor who’s not only cool but not some sort of creep?

December 7, 2014 at 7:37 pm
91 comments »
  • December 7, 2014 at 7:40 pmbakakubi

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

    • December 7, 2014 at 8:08 pmMike

      • December 7, 2014 at 11:38 pmbakakubi

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

      • December 8, 2014 at 3:39 amBubba

        Blood borne disease transfer happens more often than you think. If you don’t tell them at the point of donation of a disease or medical issue, they will not know about it. There’s no way to test every blood donation.
        It’s a dramatically under reported issue.
        -Medical Professional

      • December 8, 2014 at 4:21 amMike

        every misfortune? here’s another hint: people with AIDS ARE often prejudiced against, they also tend to have a shorter life span, and while it may be shocking to you, but there are indeed support groups even for AIDS patients.

        what you think are series of unlikely misfortunes is just Tuesday for many AIDS patients.

      • December 8, 2014 at 11:43 amKamui04

        @bakakubi I guess in your mind Japan is the land where no kid is bullied ever.
        Besides what people already mention that the issues presented are indeed “Truth in Television”, bullying is too. And japanese kids bully for the most fickle or stupid of reasons. I have a few japanese acquaintances, one was bullied in school in Japan just because he was simply 1/4 foreigner. And like others said people with HIV get even more prejudice, not only in Japan but all around the world.

      • December 8, 2014 at 11:52 amNitro

        the bullying and the dead family and dead friends are all direct consequences of Yuuki contracting AIDS from the blood transfusion. it’s a perfectly natural progression.
        1. people with AIDS get bullied all the time, even today. i know we’d all like to believe otherwise, but it is a thing that still happens.
        2. both her mom and her twin sister would have contracted AIDS from the same blood transfusion, and it’s perfectly reasonable that her dad would have contracted it through sex afterwards, before it was detected.
        3. her friends are all chronic/terminal disease patients that are part of the same group undergoing treatment with the Medicuboid. it’s not impossible for some of them to have passed on first.
        and to address your original comment:
        4. normal circumstances? let me tell you what normal circumstances would make for: a bad story. apart from slice-of-life, chances are any good story you’ve enjoyed is built from a set of unlikely circumstances, whether they’re based on the real world or not. characters are written to serve a purpose in a story; what’s “normal” in their world doesn’t matter.

      • December 8, 2014 at 6:32 pmbakakubi

        I seriously don’t see how you all come to conclude I think certain issues and disease does not exist in today’s world and society. I merely said that certain aspects of this episode’s writing was bad (in my opinion) and thus lessened the experience for me. Alas all you are all blinded by rage since I didn’t praise to Madoka how great this episode was.

        Tried to have a simple discussion here, but I guess I was asking for too much in the SAO section.

      • December 8, 2014 at 10:45 pmMike

        @bakabuki

        it’s one thing to say that you don’t like how it was written, it’s another to say that “aids virus in blood is freaking bs”, or “cop out to make the story/situation sadder than normal circumstances”, or go on and proclaim that things that what terminally ill patients of all kinds deal with everyday is ” excessive “.

        People aren’t bashing you for your opinion about the episode, just your sheer ignorance.

      • December 9, 2014 at 2:18 amNitro

        @bakakubi

        your entire argument for the bad writing was that it’s an unrealistic set of circumstances. that counts. by that logic, the majority of world history and the life stories of millions of people would be “bad writing”.

    • December 7, 2014 at 8:21 pmWanderer

      And yet it happens in the real world. The most common cause, and what’s believed to be the cause in this case, is HIV’s window period: the period of time after infection required for the virus to develop sufficiently for tests to be able to reliably detect it. Whoever donated the blood had only recently been infected: thus tests on them did not detect the virus. Yuuki and Aiko were infected at birth, due to the blood transfusion their mother received. Their father was unspecified, but was likely infected through having sex with their mother at some point in the next few months.

      Welcome to reality. This sort of stuff happens. It’s not commong, since it requires a certain set of not very likely circumstances to occur, but it is entirely possible. That’s part of what can make this tragedy so painful. A real sickness that really can be caught the way the author says it was caught, and which really does what he says it does.

      • December 8, 2014 at 11:16 amThePointman

        That is true. But add to that aids is a relatively new issue. It wasn’t something you ever heard about 50 years ago.

        There was a time where nobody screened blood donations. It wasn’t until people got infected from a blood transfusion that they backtracked and realized this was a danger. It was big news when the first people were infected this way. So if the mother received infected blood during pregnancy, it’s very possible for her unborn children to get Aids. And if not caught soon enough, the husband could easily get it too….

    • December 8, 2014 at 10:44 pmMike

      @bakabuki

      it’s one thing to say that you don’t like how it was written, it’s another to say that “aids virus in blood is freaking bs”, or “cop out to make the story/situation sadder than normal circumstances”, or go on and proclaim that things that what terminally ill patients of all kinds deal with everyday is ” excessive “.

      People aren’t bashing you for your opinion about the episode, just your sheer ignorance.

  • December 7, 2014 at 7:47 pmstarss

    Even in an arc as sad as this, it doesn’t excuse how it has to have SOME bad writing. Like, not only does she have AIDS, but her family died already, she was bullied, AAAAAND she’s living the last moments of her life as a vegetable?? It’s like they took every single bad thing they could imagine in her situation and put it into one story.

    That said…….. my god, I almost teared up here. As long as the rest of the arc is written good enough, I’m not sure if I can keep it together by the end. ;_____;

    • December 7, 2014 at 9:12 pmBlue

      I’d agree if all the bad things that happened to her were separate, unrelated incidents, ut in this case, everything bad that happened to her originated from a single incident; the infected blod transfusion. It doesn’t really feel that contrived to me because losing your family and the bullying (or at least prejudice from people who aren’t really informed about AIDS) are all believable results that do happen in real life.

    • December 8, 2014 at 12:45 amHalfDemonInuyasha

      @bakakubi and @starss

      If this were all completely separate incidents just picked up and thrown in, I would agree, but it’s not. As mentioned, it was all one negative chain reaction from a single blood transfusion her mother was given when the twins were being born. Everything that happened to Yuuki because of that one incident is entirely plausible, even if uncommon, of happening in real life, and quite a bitof it is more common than you’d think.

      The bullying for instance. You speak of it as if it’s just something pulled out the ass and thrown in in order to make us feel more sorry for Yuuki, but the fact is that even today, despite everything we have learned about HIV and AIDS for the last few decades, especially since the 80s during the huge jump in AIDS cases in the US, people who end up contracting it in one way or another tend to end up ostracized by others because of irrational fear, such people believing that they can end up catching it from infected people just by being in the same room as them, treating such infections as if it’s as easily contagious as the common cold.

      Just look at how irrational a bunch of paranoid people in the US were about Ebola when corporate news started talking about “outbreaks” and “epidemics” in the US even though there were less than ten cases, with the only cases actually being contracted in the US itself having been cured, with two who had come from West Africa having died (one of which could’ve potentially been saved were it not for poor handling of his case). You had people going as far as talking about travel bans and mandatory three week quarantines (symptoms window) of anyone who has had any contact with someone who has/has had Ebola. (Of course, notice how Ebola talk has just vanished from corporate media now that mid-term elections have passed, but that would be getting completely off-topic.) And keep in mind, these are adults in government positions who were acting so paranoid.

      Now imagine how a fourth grade class, whose brains are not yet fully developed and can have wild imaginations, would react if they hear one of their classmates is “sick” with something that will eventually kill them and can’t be made better. Of course a bunch would probably bully that person about it simply because they don’t fully understand it. But bullying doesn’t necessarily mean stealing Yuuki’s lunch money, pushing her around, beating her up and such. It could just as easily have been bullying like being told by others in the class that she’s not allowed to sit with or play with them, that she should die before she gets them sick too, and other such things.

      And then having her family die. Again, entirely plausible considering they all had AIDS (the dad presumably at least). The mother, Yuuki, and Aiko all got it from that one single transfusion and, as mentioned, it’s quite possible the father got it from the mother later too. Not everyone reacts the same with AIDS nor lasts the same period time. Some people can indeed last decades with medication and treatment, but others just as easily die within a month, so Yuuki having her parents and twin sister all die within a span of three years is also entirely plausible. The only reason Yuuki lasted as long as she did was because of being confined to that clean room and doing nothing with herself except diving in games, minimalizing the change of infections outside of her own body’s workings.

      As for dying friends, it was even specifically said that she met the others through a medical server for terminally ill patients like her, again, entirely plausible as there are websites for such people in real life as it’s a way for them to connect to others who can actually understand their situation, so it’s very likely that such things existed in the SAO world too, only through gaming.

      One of the saddest things about this is that, at least here in the US, AIDS is still an ongoing problem in the country, and its research is going much slower than it could be because of budget cuts into such things (a problem that was brought up when Ebola talk started). Instead, you got politicians and religious fundamentalists using such things to gain donors/followers and constantly trying to get people to play the blame game and point fingers at homosexuals and such.

      …but anyway, the point is…it’s not a cop out, it’s not BS, it’s not bad writing.

      • December 8, 2014 at 3:49 pmNitro

        i think to elaborate further, it’s writing that suits the purpose of the story. they didn’t just throw every bad thing at her for no reason; it’s to drive home whatever point they were trying to make. Mother’s Rosario has been emphasising pretty often the difference between the real world and the virtual world, and what it means to be strong in either world (a similar theme to the GGO arc’s story). Asuna herself faced this in a previous episode, lamenting over how, no matter how much strength she had in ALO, she still had to face the harsh realities of the real world, where she was weak.
        Yuuki herself is the embodiment of the theme in this story on one extreme; she is so weak in the real world that they have rejected each other, and the only world left for her is the virtual one, where she is quite possibly the strongest one of all. Asuna’s mom is on the other extreme; cold, but practical, one who has worked hard to become successful in the real world, and sees no need for the virtual world. And of course not forgetting Kirito, the one who is working to build a bridge between the real world and the virtual world.
        There’s a lot of things it can say, but the point here is that it is in no way bad writing. It serves a purpose to the story and theme.

    • December 8, 2014 at 10:00 amSherrisLok

      Now that is drama for drama’s sake at its best!

  • December 7, 2014 at 7:48 pmDio

    • December 7, 2014 at 8:34 pmstarss

      So far, better or worse than Sinon Ass Online?

    • December 8, 2014 at 4:38 amMasterDragonKnight

      All abord the feels-train! We are going on a feels-trip to Feelidelphia.

  • December 7, 2014 at 8:11 pmkobato

    nooooo!!!yuuki why do you have to go away!!!you are so nice of a person!

  • December 7, 2014 at 8:22 pmBlahto Blahtoto

    Poor Yuuki, that’s why medical personnel should double check those blood pack

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • December 7, 2014 at 9:44 pmKamui04

      That depends on country or blood bank policies. There are some that do double check blood donations, once when received and a second time after the window. The problem is that sometimes they don’t have the luxury of time when they have a high demand and low supply of some blood types.

      Also Japan even if it’s a 1st world country sometimes you find they have really dubious or questionable practices or traditions.

      • December 7, 2014 at 10:11 pmL002

        Indeed, point there.

      • December 8, 2014 at 2:52 amSaburau

        >you find they have really dubious or questionable practices or traditions.

        You would find those kinds of stuff literally anywhere on the planet, including US and other 1st world countries though.

    • December 8, 2014 at 8:36 amZnail

      The only way to recheck is to store the blood and then recheck the donor later to see if he has developed far enought to be detectable. This is more time consuming and costly then what most want to spend on this as it’s still a fairly low chance of happening.

  • December 7, 2014 at 8:45 pmL002

    One of the nice things, about anime, is that it does reflect real life; had some friends that suffered prejudice because of either AIDS or Hepertitus B, mostly due to idiots overeacting too much as they don’t know that it is not that easy to be transmitted.

    Anyway, as the anime pointed out, something like “virtual reality” would’ve been a blessing of a technology; a blind or crippled person would walk or see for the first time. And so forth. Yuuki as the perfect example, even though she mentally has the fastest reaction capapabilties, her body is unable to keep up.

  • December 7, 2014 at 8:56 pmBeedle

    what, no HBV? With how overkill Yuuki’s situation is, I was expecting a bit more feels :( where are the other Sleeping Knights? Are they also using Medicuboid too?

    • December 8, 2014 at 12:05 pmThePointman

      Some people here are critisizing that yuuki’s trauma is TOO much to be real.

      I sadly have some personal experience that relates to this. I use to play online a lot. And there was this one girl, mid twenties that was a lot of fun. She and I were friends In a small but very tight group in the game. But all the time I knew her, she was dying of cancer.

      Yuuki didn’t have a boyfriend that couldn’t handle her dying and DUMPED her.

      Yuuki didn’t get treatments that made it look like the disease was gone, only to be crushed by a relapse. THREE TIMES.

      And to have parts of her body removed to fight the disease only to have it come back. And win.

      My friend didn’t have aids, but cancer. Cancer at 24. But I think I’m a good judge to say Yuuki’s story doesn’t stretches plausibility in any way. To be honest, her story seems a bit softer than the reality.

      I don’t mean to say people aren’t justified in their opinions here. But Yuuki’s story is definitely plausible.

      • December 8, 2014 at 12:08 pmThePointman

        OOps. Sorry Beedle. Didn’t mean that post as a reply to you but as a general post to this thread.

      • December 8, 2014 at 3:56 pmNitro

        sorry to hear that man, and hopefully all this “criticism” of Yuuki’s circumstances doesn’t get to you.

  • December 7, 2014 at 8:56 pmFlayvorOfEvil

    Also remember this was written way back in like 2001 or 2002 when dying from AIDS was still very real and a really big deal.

    • December 7, 2014 at 9:06 pmBeedle

      Ah, that’s a very good point.

      • December 8, 2014 at 8:22 amstarss

        Seriously. It’s like no one has seen RENT before.

    • December 7, 2014 at 11:08 pmoliviaven

      Was it? I know that the original volume 1 was written a long time ago early 2000s and he didn’t continue writing it until he won a grand prize from Accel World which was late 2000s (2008, 2009? I don’t remember). Unless he came up with the current arc before GGO and ALO.

      • December 8, 2014 at 12:53 amCryarc

        He keep writing SAO as a web novel regularly before writing Accel World, and the published version of current SAO is the rewriting/edited version of the old web novel. So indeed it’s written around middle 2000-2008.

      • December 8, 2014 at 3:45 amJustCommenting

        Zettai naru Isolator wasn’t also written before AC and publishing both SAO and AC? I remember reading that this book was also a web novel from Reki.

  • December 7, 2014 at 9:02 pmSain92787

    Even though the episode was mainly focused on Yuuki and her illness, the saddest part about this episode for me was when Yuuki said that two of the current members of the Sleeping Knights only had about 3 months to live and that they’ve already lost 3 members. That actually hit me a little harder than Yukki’s story since I’ve grown to really like the Sleeping Knights as a whole in such a short time.

    • December 8, 2014 at 3:39 amJustCommenting

      Better that previous arcs, but not the best one – Alizication arc is better than all other books that Reki wrote till this moment.

  • December 7, 2014 at 9:54 pmPancakes

    Starting to see why lots of LN readers consider this to be the best arc in SAO. Unlike Sinon or Asuna Yuuki’s back story didn’t feel forced or overplayed, it felt–dare it be said–natural and a logical progression. Whether it has to do with the lack of Kirito and his harem building ways no idea, but this arc IMO is a good improvement upon the less than tasteful conclusion of the GGO arc.

    • December 8, 2014 at 3:40 amJustCommenting

      Better that previous arcs, but not the best one – Alizication arc is better than all other books that Reki wrote till this moment.

      Sorry for double comment, clicked in wrong place before. ‘-.-

      • December 8, 2014 at 3:10 pmLyfe

        Alicization is good but I’m also enjoying his Accel World LNs which I think he’s been more consistent with his storytelling, and the quality of his writing is better too.

  • December 7, 2014 at 10:05 pmMarkJMD

    This episode hurts. Being a microbiologist/doctor, It made me regret my decision to stop my attempt to find a cure to this AIDS…. I realized I gave up too early because of discouragement without thinking many would have been saved if I have made some advancement in the 20 years I wasted doing nothing. I am sorry yuuki., Thanks SAO. I will now continue my research. It doesnt matter if I am an unknown old otaku medical researcher/doctor…from now on I will never stop. Even if I made only a small step towards the cure it would still mean hope to the rest of AIDS victims.

    #inspired

    • December 7, 2014 at 11:32 pmThe Last Idiot

      You go sir! Never give up. Your statement alone is already providing hope to many AIDS patient. Your success would ensure that there would be no IRL yuuki that will suffer in the future.

  • December 7, 2014 at 10:51 pmporn

    I think this would have more impact if the disease are vietnam rose. after southpark made aides as funny in the past…. it does not feels right to comment about HIV…. no matter how glaring i feel how SAO write them.

    you see… imagine that girl yuuki has vietnam rose instead of aids and the doctor explain it to asuna without caring about hipopotamus oath about secrecy…. though i had to admit quite shocking too see that anyone bother to explain how could an orphan do pay all those medical expense for such sophisticated magic box things and the hospital has not ordered any plug off… seeing that they can’t even harvest her organ for transplantation…. must have been a hospital and doctor in fairy magical land… while here in real world…. stupid insurance money, stupid medical fee, medicine, consultation and visitation whatsover money…..

  • December 7, 2014 at 10:58 pmplushkin

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

    • December 7, 2014 at 11:05 pmMike

      you got something against people with AIDS? or have you not realized yet that its an ongoing pandemic?

    • December 7, 2014 at 11:46 pmkageKun

      Ah well! Hasa diga Eebowai!

    • December 8, 2014 at 4:30 pmMasterDragonKnight

      You do realize that none of the other illnesses you mentioned is contagious. There is no conceivable way for the rest of her family to also die from that same illness.

      Also, most forms of cancer develop in late adulthood, so it would be impossible for Yuuki to contract it from birth. Many also have insidious onsets, meaning that on initial discovery, it would not be serious enough to warrant Yuuki using the Medicuboid.

      But if you want cancer, some of the other members of Sleeping Knights do indeed have it. So it is not like the author did not think of it, just gave it to someone else since AIDS fits Yuuki’s story better.

  • December 7, 2014 at 10:58 pmRandom Guy

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

    • December 7, 2014 at 11:10 pmelior1

      no she wont add to kirito harem in fact she wont be after mother rosario at all with everyone and not show up anymore after mother rosario

    • December 7, 2014 at 11:37 pmanon89

      No, she will be in Asuna’s harem:).

      • December 8, 2014 at 2:08 amelior1

        of course if she die asuna harem will end

    • December 8, 2014 at 4:32 pmMasterDragonKnight

      Can we not have one episode or new character without someone shouting that Kirito is going to have another harem member?

      This arc is not about him. He barely even said two words to Yuuki.

  • December 7, 2014 at 10:59 pmshadow1251

    The adaption of this novel is going very well so far. I wonder how they will end the season though. Show Spoiler ▼

  • December 7, 2014 at 11:26 pmRaw

    2real4me

  • December 8, 2014 at 12:56 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Definitely one of my favorite episodes of ALL of SAO in its entirety.

    Being real is probably one of the big reasons. There’s no comically bad villains, there’s no hax power-ups, there’s no Gary Stu/Mary Sue moments, no flashy battles…just one extremely unfortunate girl and a new friend who is powerless to stop it, but still wants to do everything she can.

    Yuuki is someone who Asuna can really learn strength from, just like any of us could, who may like to think we somehow have the worst problems in the world. Asuna may have believed she had it tough with her overbearing and controlling mother, but now seeing Yuuki’s position…there’s just no comparison. Asuna’s life at the moment would be like a heaven for someone in Yuuki’s position, but it’s a life she has little to no hope of having, and yet despite that knowledge and so many unfortunate events that have taken place in her life, to the point where it could take that life at any moment, rather than staying locked away and wallowing in self-pity, Yuuki continues to try to soldier on with a smile on her face, trying to do what she can with what time she has left.

  • December 8, 2014 at 1:15 amewok40k

    Oh well, gotta admire Yuuki for remaining as cheerful and brave in the face of incoming inevitable death…
    Asuna, props to you for going “the extra mile” to find Yuuki.

    • December 8, 2014 at 8:28 amstarss

      I do admire her so much for her outlook on her situation. Would you rather make your last moments worth it and live in the present, or wallow in pity? The first option looks much more attractive.

  • December 8, 2014 at 2:44 amRyuuzaki

    with all the hype that this arc is going to be quite dramatic, in the end i didnt feel anything for the characters here mainly because the characters didnt grow on me just like how it was while im still watching angel beats. empty feels.

  • December 8, 2014 at 3:43 amBubba

    What’s with all the garbage comments this week?

    • December 8, 2014 at 6:24 amRaijin

      Not everyone is as sympathetic as we would wish people are. When people are healthy, they tend to ignore the struggles that other people can have. HIV probably seems like a foreign concept to many people in developed countries, where cases are more rare or under medical control.

      • December 8, 2014 at 12:56 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

        The same can be said for a lot of negative things in such countries – unless it’s something that ends up personally and negatively affecting that person or at least someone close to them, then they don’t believe it’s (that big) a problem. Same the other way around – something people believe IS a “problem” is suddenly not so much so if they or someone close to them is in that position.

        “Poverty? But I’m not poor and I don’t know anyone who is poor, so it must not be that big a deal.”

        “Police brutality? But I nor anyone I know ever had that happen to us, so everyone else must be blowing it out of proportion.”

        “Stricter gun laws? But there are hardly ever any shootings around here, so I don’t see any problems.”

        “Homosexuals? Evil! Deviants! Immoral! Hate! Eh, what? My own son/daughter/brother/sister/etc. is a homosexual? Er, homosexuals are treated unfairly! They deserve equal rights!”

    • December 8, 2014 at 8:29 amstarss

      Unfortunately not everyone understands HIV or AIDS unless they actually have it. :(

      • December 8, 2014 at 11:57 amLola

        That’s definitely not a valid reason. We have charities, walks, centers, and research set up by the healthy. They do understand and we see it every year.

        IMHO, this episode was just bad, bland, and unimaginative. The unnecessary drama actually took away from one of the better new characters in this season. It adds no depth to the character, she is now viewed as a helpless victim, where Asuna can’t do a thing. She is, once again, taken from the spotlight to a sad damsel. The author needs a slap.

      • December 8, 2014 at 10:56 pmMike

        Breaking News!

        All terminally ill patients are now declared helpless victim/damsels by order of the Almighty Lola, remember kids, apparently the mere fact of suffering from diseases automatically robs you of your agency and dignity.

        Funny yiu should say people do understand AIDS, I’d say this comment section is a great example of how many people don’t, you included.

      • December 9, 2014 at 6:24 amLola

        Please read it again. I spoke about how the new heroine was made into this sad thing. Tragedy upon tragedy for the sake of it. Asuna, as the main, becomes the weak damsel again due to not being able to do a thing. The author chose these sequences and this specific disease for impact. It onlys hurts the characters. Not only that, Kirito had to save the day TWICE on this short arc.

        Out of topic, I have a cousin with cancer and a close friend with HIV. My comments are purely reflected on the shows world, culture, and characters. The season so far has been average and this arc showed promise due to the new character introduced, idk why the author would chose this route.

    • December 8, 2014 at 1:02 pmWorldwideDepp

      There are just people who have the barking sound to get attention

  • December 8, 2014 at 6:59 amDude

    Ok the feels aside, I marvel at the ability for Japan to actually foot the bill to not just develop but also to rehabilitate several test subjects in such a fashion. It doesn’t seem that anyone is willing to foot the kind of bill like that.

    • December 8, 2014 at 7:32 amZnail

      They said that she got it for free as a test subject for the experimental equipment. This was at the time of the first episodes of the SAO and with all that going on so was there no people lining up for this prototype.

  • December 8, 2014 at 7:41 amGracelyn

    Perhaps it was obvious, but I liked how the guild name “Sleeping Knights” finally made sense. I thought it sounded sort of romantic at the beginning, but know it’s obvious they were being literal – they are physically sleeping (both literal and soon to be figurative) and yet still battling on to enjoy the last of their lives.

    It was at that point – realizing that all those kids are terminal patients – that I started tearing up. While I was surprised by the reveal about Yuuki being an AIDS patient (my only guesses having been that she and her twin had somehow merged their consciousnesses into one unity in virtual reality), it made a ll the pieces fall into place for me, and also sort of ruined the next episode. What is with anime giving too much away with their OP and ED sequences?

    On the other hand, Show Spoiler ▼

    Finally, I think I like Kirito best as a super-powered supporting character. I don’t mind him having awesome abilities if he only ever uses them to nudge the ‘MC’ in the right direction when they get stuck. That he didn’t tell Asuna his suspicions (I’m going to allow them to gloss over how he found the exact info about the hospital) or take the decision to hear about Yuuki’s condition out of her hands goes down as A++ behavior in my book. That’s a male character I can respect and cheer for.

    • December 8, 2014 at 8:32 amZnail

      They didn’t gloss over how he found the hospital. It was the only hospital that was testing the experimental dive equipment Yuuki was using.

      His exact train of thought to figuring it out was somewhat glossed over in the anime, but better explained in the novel.

  • December 8, 2014 at 9:08 amCarVac

    That was a touching episode. I was crying by the end.

    My only issue with it was that even if VR could give blind people vision and deaf people hearing, they won’t necessarily feel freed by it, and the doctor’s attitude was a little too patronizing. From what I have read, they don’t feel particularly disabled, just inconvenienced. It could certainly be interesting what they think if this actually does become possible.

    • December 8, 2014 at 9:45 amZnail

      It’s a diffrent thing if you a born blind/deaf then if you get it by accident. I for sure wouldn’t mind being able to visit VR if I got blinded. The other problem is that someone who have never had vision is unlikely to be able to handle the sensor input anyway.

  • December 8, 2014 at 11:03 amThePointman

    Takaii, if haven’t yet, take another look at the end credits. It’s possible we’ve been staring at the final scene in this show all this time. Take a look at what Asuna is doing.

    :(

  • December 8, 2014 at 1:53 pmMgMaster

    I had to punch something to regain whatever I could of my manliness after watching this ep.

  • December 8, 2014 at 2:48 pmLastywinfan

    I think that this is the first time that I saw a patient with AIDS being in an anime. Someone know about another that talk about this disease. I can’t believe it has never being mentioned.

  • December 8, 2014 at 3:14 pmLyfe

    I want the author to come back to this when the Alicization arc is over. There are some questions that could be answered, and some things that he could do to evolve the series a bit. I would explain but I’ll wait until the final ep so I don’t spoil.

  • December 8, 2014 at 4:02 pmNitro

    To all the people complaining about “bad writing”, look to world history. Look to the cases and life stories of people with cancer or AIDS or any chronic disease. Is that “bad writing” to you? This shit happens, don’t fucking pretend you know what it’s like.

  • December 8, 2014 at 6:03 pmRick Anime

    “I don’t know why I’ve never thought about it but after listening to the theory behind the machine that keeps Yuuki alive, the idea of using Full Dive(TM) technology to aide all types of patients sounds like a dream come true. ”

    Yeah the concept of this technology is quite fascinating. Good blog overall that I agree with

  • December 8, 2014 at 7:02 pmRico

    Dawm…I haven’t had a tear jerker since ash was petrified…So many feels!!

    • December 9, 2014 at 3:18 amLastywinfan

      I cry when they saved him, Damn it!!!! Why did they have to do that?

  • December 8, 2014 at 7:08 pmrandom viewer

  • December 8, 2014 at 8:08 pmornehx

    Weirdly, I was actually more moved by Log Horizon this week rather than SAO… did anyone felt the same?

    • December 10, 2014 at 10:39 pmFlayvorOfEvil

      I thought Log Horizon was kinda boring this week. The whole “We are gamers” thing doesn’t resonate with me.

  • December 9, 2014 at 1:42 amKabble

    I wasn’t ready for this.
    And holy cow some of yall are a-holes.
    Is it that hard to believe that a child was bullied, BY OTHER CHILDREN, because of a disease they had that nobody knew or understood?
    Wtf?

  • December 9, 2014 at 9:33 amYanDaMan

    Wow, I didnt see that coming.

    I kinda figured there were some negative health reasons like this from the way Sleeping Knights were acting. But I didnt realize it was this serious :O

  • December 10, 2014 at 10:53 amSeracen

    It was sad to actually SEE what Yuuki had to go through, although in the book, it didn’t seem like they were throwing everything and the kitchen sink at her…perhaps it was the pacing of badnews…

    For all that I am appalled at the occassional lack of sympathy for her (“whipping post” sort of character or not), I’m surprised nobody made the comment “of course they’ll kill off the one person who beat Kirito in a fair fight!”

    Still, I never saw her as that. I saw Yuuki and the Sleeping Knights as almost sempais for Kirito…the idea that anyone with the work that Kirito put in could do what he did, if only they could match the will as well.

    After all is said and done, Yuuki will have positively affected the lives and determination of those she’s touched in the series. Moreover, she sets up the thematic idea of “what is life?” Is Yuuki, living vicariously through the Full Dive system, somehow less “alive” than Yui, who is “stuck” in the virtual world?

  • December 11, 2014 at 8:40 pmMormegil

    This arc is doing wonders for Asuna’s character.

  • December 13, 2014 at 2:11 pmShrubbery

    This entire arc isn’t really working out for me. It’s supposed to be all sad and misery for our characters, and it has shown us it can be. However, the pacing is far too fast, we haven’t had any time to bond with Yuuki, and yet almost from the beginning they’ve thrown hints at us that something terrible was happening or going to happen to her in RL. There was no shock effect at all, and no time to bond, leaving me too emotionless to have this arc work for me.