「圏内事件」 (Kennai Jiken)
“A Crime Within the Walls”

If there’s one thing you don’t see very often in an MMO, it’s a murder mystery. That’s mostly because murder is never really a big deal in an MMO after all – sure PKing is often frowned upon, but unless you’re playing a game like EVE Online, it’s relatively rare that anyone will go to great lengths to solve such a case (not that it’s actually hard to solve in the first place). But a murder mystery is exactly what we get this week, focused around a guild going by the name of ‘Golden Apple‘ and their quarrels over a rare item drop.

In typical fashion, Kawahara picks up yet another common issue which permeates nearly all MMORPGs and uses it as a plot point in SAO. It’s certainly not uncommon to see immense drama caused by rare item drops with superior stats or high monetary value. Golden Apple would not be the first guild to break up over such an occurrence either. The voting may have seemed civil on the surface, but rare items do funny things to a player – sometimes even the most respectable person will ruin their reputation by sneakily making off with an item if they’ve been seeking it long or hard enough. Of course, this sort of murder mystery could only arise under the conditions of a game like SAO – a game which, to some of the players, may still seem like a game despite the threat of death looming over them. In a sense, even knowing the consequences, killing a player in-game could still feel far less real than performing an actual murder, despite amounting to exactly the same thing.

As in any murder case, we have our victims, our suspect, and plenty of panic. Normally it would be right to wonder why apparently competent fighters such as Yoruko (Yamamoto Nozomi) and Schmit (Katou Masayuki), a Holy Dragon Alliance tank, would be afraid of being PKed, particularly given that the latter is a clearer (one of those who actually fight on the front lines and are amongst the highest level players) and generally surrounded by guild members. However, given that these murders take place in safe zones – places in which killing should not be possible except in a duel gone wrong – there’s no longer any guarantee of safety. If such fundamental rules can be broken, what’s to say that any rule holds true? What’s to say that levels even matter? Doors which protect you from all intruders at night might not even be viable anymore, leaving you with no safe place to sleep! That’s not to discount any of the other things to worry about either, like why these killings are happening six months after the guild disbanded, or why the killer isn’t immediately apparent.

Having mentioned the topic of distinguishing reality from the game in some form earlier, it makes sense to talk a little about the differences in Kirito and Asuna’s characters. It actually seems apparent at this point that Kirito may be having some difficulty telling apart what’s real and what’s not. Case in point, the NPCs. Asuna on the other hand is much more of a realist – she understands that the NPCs are not truly alive, despite how lifelike their programming may make them seem. The only reason for which Kirito could possibly care about the wellbeing of the NPCs would be if he had begun to see Sword Art Online as reality. If the safest way to kill a boss monster – the way which results in the least player casualties – involves sacrificing non-living AI beings that respawn after a set time, then that option makes logical sense does it not? I’m completely with Asuna on this one.

But that’s not to say that Kirito’s mentality is entirely wrong either. It’s hard to pick a side in the clash between Kirito and Asuna’s vastly differing mentalities. They’re both right in different ways. On the one hand, even if the world isn’t actually real, you should still take the time to find what pleasures you can, especially when death looms around every corner. If it’s a beautiful day that only comes once every year, simulated or no, why not take the time out to enjoy it? The refreshing break from grinding and killing could even prove beneficial in the long run. But at the same time, their ultimate aim is to clear the game in order to save everyone, so that time out is one extra day that everyone else is forced to suffer.

Unlike many other readers of the Light Novel, I was not left unsatisfied by the interaction between Asuna and Kirito in the second episode. Why exactly? Because for me, that was never the important meeting between the two. The romantic in me was always much more interested in the meeting under the tree which the novels originally implied to be the most important of their early interactions. And I felt it was perfect. A-1’s portrayal of it, combined with the choice of music from Kajiura Yuki more than realised the hopes I had for the scene. Asuna fans should be pretty glad too!

tl;dr: @MoombaDS – A murder mystery? In an MMORPG? Not something you see every day! #SAO

Random thoughts:

  • What is it with using the word ‘guilty’ in names exactly? Relevance aside, it seems to be one of those typically overused words like ‘raven’ or ‘black’ or ‘dark.’
  • A-1 Pictures gives us some shots from rather interesting angles! Last week too!
  • I’m certain a lot of people will be glad to see this side-story split into two episodes rather than compressed into one.
  • Although… I’ll admit to a morbid curiosity as to how they would actually cut it down to squeeze it into a single episode!

Full-length images: 02, 06, 07, 09, 26, 29, 31.



End Card


  1. I’m glad to see Asuna again after being away since episode 2. This being the first time that an arc hasn’t ended with only one episode it’s a nice change of pace. Will be happy to see the conclusion next episode.

      1. unless of course they NOT going with the chronological order of Kirito’s experiences, aKa if something happens in previous episode it doesn’t mean character will remember it

        derpy derp
      2. Kirito’s battle healing only heals 5% if his hp every 10 seconds which in a MMO is a really crappy skill that only lets you save money on low level mobs. The 75th floor boss can instant-kill a tank type character in 1 hit.

        It’s a shame Heathcliff didn’t show up else it would have been pretty interesting.

        Episode 7 will be the debut of Kirito’s Black Wyvern Coat, Elucidator 1h sword and Dark Repulser 1-h Sword!

        Suppa Tenko
      3. 5% every 10 seconds is actually pretty good in a MMO that doesn’t have any healer class. The only way to heal otherwise is with potions, that also heal over time and the more expensive crystals. SOA actually feature tank rotations on a large scale as the tanks have to slowly heal up with potions and crystals that have reuse timers.

  2. The discontinuity between the side stories (which this arguably isn’t, since this is THE encounter) can be pretty jarring, as we see Kirito struggling tremendously to deal with his guilt to the point where it guides his actions – to the carefree attitude he holds in this week’s attitude. What makes Kirito’s ideology particularly different is not that he is idealistic or challenged in distinguishing fact from fiction, but rather recognizes that if you – your body, your emotions, your thoughts – are completely imported to a new world, it is pointless to deny that your experiences constitute a reality of its own, even if it is manufactured.

    Overall, this episode was well done, and it’s nice to see a little Asuna before we get to Show Spoiler ▼

  3. It’s all a serious scene until they start inserting dat ass in there, right Moomba?

    Anyways, to a slightly more serious note, although the episode itself was great, I can’t help but feel that the sudden reintroduction of Asuna as a much more confident character who already has re-met Kirito behind the scenes as…a little empty? I understand that for the sake of pacing you can’t spend too much time reintroducing every character, but I was left at the beginning of the episode wondering, “Did I miss something in the past episode? Since when did they meet again?”

    1. well that’s what the scene in the beginning is supposed to imply. that they’ve occasionally met during boss planning meetings. personally i don’t like how the Aria SS (episode 2) had them meeting in the first floor, but it’s not too big of a deal. of course the author does mention in his notes for this story that he did make a continuity error as Kirito says in vol. 1 he only really knew her casually and hadn’t even gone to a NPC restaurant with her. oh well.

    2. The assumption is that most, if not all of the front-line players, are at least somewhat familiar with other prominent players (even if by name only). This makes sense, since in almost any game with progression, the top players like to keep tabs on one another. Furthermore, we know that the clearers in SAO are a very small sliver of the overall population, and Kirito does occasionally mingle with them.

      But I also won’t deny the basis of what you’re saying. Kirito is making pretty large leaps in character as well. He was a pretty chill onii-chan last week but now he’s definitely living it up. Makes me scratch my head a little.

  4. [quote]– she understands that the NPCs are not truly alive, despite how lifelike their programming may make them seem. The only reason for which Kirito could possibly care about the wellbeing of the NPCs would be if he had begun to see Sword Art Online as reality. If the safest way to kill a boss monster – the way which results in the least player casualties – involves sacrificing non-living AI beings that respawn after a set time, then that option makes logical sense does it not? I’m completely with Asuna on this one.[/quote]

    I think you are under estimating the mental health aspect of sacrificing NPC. The players have been in this game for about 1 and a half years already. Some players have already crack with the PK presented in this ep. Sacrificing NPC who look exactly like real players/people could potential push more people over the edge. If the frontline Players start to sacrifice NPCs in boss fights this time, what else are they willing to sacrifice next time? The more lines you cross the easier it becomes to cross the next line.

      1. Kirito was in total control of the situation with Silica where he won’t let anyone get hurt. The boss fight on that particular level they are just allowing NPCs to die.

    1. That´s one reason, the other one being that if don´t treat Aincrad as real you can´t truly be scared of dying and that´s the fastest way of getting you kill. Both Kirito and Asuna were in the right, one for safety of the players and other for the safety of the players sanaty, belive this game has already destroy the mind of more than one.

    2. In the new Continuity, Aincrad-First Day Kirito is comforted by an NPC and sees the interactions between the NPC mother and daughter which heals his heart (for the moment at least.)

      Suppa Tenko
      1. It was before Show Spoiler ▼

    1. He may be in the next episode. I think that they wanted to focus on Asuna and Kirito. I think that they really want to build up their relationship from now on. Especially if they are going to do SAO and ALO in 26 episodes.

  5. No, ramen?
    Anyway, it is still good adaptation for me. Well, I wish next episode I will hear that cheesy love quote that Kirito said to Asuna, it’s one of the things that I remember and love in this chapter of the novel.

      1. Yeah, it would only work if they did the anime in non-chronological order like the LN since
        Show Spoiler ▼

  6. I just want to clear something, was it Yoruko, Schmit and the other members of the GA that killed their guild leader who had the rare item? So basically, our suspect here is only trying to avenge his wife (in-game) ? Correct me if I’m wrong ..

  7. I kind of hate myself for reading the LN and spoil myself about this arc, cause once I know what happen it makes me feel the chacacter emotion Show Spoiler ▼

  8. Kajiura Yuki is my favorite composer and she also did the similar show .hack//SIGN’s OST, which I consider her best work by far, even out of her outstanding compositions so far.

    Sword Art Online’s OST, however, has been nothing but utter disappointment so far.
    I find it hard to believe that this is the same person.

  9. Having not have read the LN, I’m gonna make a wild guess that the suspect is Yoruko. Even though its shown she dies, looking at the next episodes name, maybe theres a skill or item that can create illusions? Faking death to draw away suspicion is common in mystery novels or manga.
    She was the only person we know that was with the first guy to get killed, and I always like to suspect the person that seems the most innocent =D

  10. Yoruko becoming agitated was entertaining to watch, it was like Higurashi all over again.

    Show Spoiler ▼

      1. I like the way you think. =)

        I bet when Asuna and Kirito bag and finally unmask the villain, he/she will say, “I could have gotten away if it wasn’t for these meddling kids!” ala Scooby-Doo style. XD

  11. Did I just stumble into .hack//Law and Order?

    Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this episode as much as I’d like. This whole murder mystery is played so straight it actually challenged my suspension of disbelief. Right from the start, the exposition on Sleep-PK was incredibly clumsy. The last part where the suspects where freaking out though, was so dramatic I thought it was hilarious. Kaijura’s top-notch score only made it even funnier.

    Make no mistake, its an interesting mystery, but it feels jarringly our of place compared to the last 4 episodes which where about the game and its people.

  12. Woah, what? Everything was going very, very smoothly for until that last scene in the room. Yikes, what the hell happened there? It kind of just… devolved into some kind of Shuffle! scream fest. Talk about over dramatic and out of place.

  13. I’m going to sit here and cry my eyes out. Finally get to see Asuna again and the “meeting under the tree” scene *o* so beautiful and really romantic in a sense. Greatly appreciate it. ;-; *grabs tissue* Can’t wait for next week ep. Time to get more screenscaps of Asuna and THAT IS A NICE ANGLE! WOOT

    1. Well, in theory it’s supposed to, since the Nerve Gear receives the brain signal and sends it into the game. So unless the personality of people is stored somewhere else that’s not the brain, it should reflects that in the game as well.

  14. Yoruko, while I mourn for your death, I do have to exasperate at your “cleverness” of sitting beside the windowsill with your back facing outwards when you know very well your life is being threatened.

    Oh, and Asuna is beginning to show some forms of tsundereness. <3 Also lol at Kirito's awkwardness in addressing her properly.

    Kinny Riddle
    1. I actually think that she’s the Primary Suspect after that scene. Putting my mystery-savvy hat on, her death feels way too convenient. Its been established that there may be specific ways to cheat the PK system but not in the way she “died” where she conveniently happened to be on the perfect open spot right AFTER she made a wild statement of ghost’s haunting her. That’s way too suspicious in my book.

  15. Another solid episode of Sword Art Online.

    I have to admit, I can see why people have been clamoring for Asuna since the second episode. She’s strong, fair, cute, a nice contrast to Kirito, and beautiful to boot. Not to mention Haruka Tomatsu gives a lovely performance as always. It’s interesting to see how Kirito’s last words to her from episode 2 wound up landing her in the position of vice-commander of a top guild. She’s certainly moved up in the world of Sword Art Online. I’m reminded of how proactive she seemed in episode 2, refusing to just sit at the inn and allow the game to beat her. Also, she’s very cute when she sleeps 😉

    As for our hero, it appears that he’s accepted the reality of Sword Art Online more than most. From the horrors of episode 2, to the beauty and innocence of episode 3, they’ve helped him to come to terms with his current reality and existence which he’s been conflicted about since episode 1. Finding the time to relax and enjoy the world is probably what’s keeping his sanity in check, considering all he’s gone through and seen.

    I find it fitting that after episode 3 established PK-ing in Sword Art Online, we get an episode about a murder. And considering the circumstances, the citizens are forced to come to terms with the reality of murder in an online game. The game is slowly but surely becoming a real world of its own, with an actual marriage system for couples and even restaurants to hang out. I once again question Kayab’s motives for creating Sword Art Online.

    Oh, and Klein cameo FTW.

    1. At first glance, you might think Kayaba has a god complex. In retrospect however, SAO’s creator is simply a man fulfilling a long-held vision of his.

      Whether or not he holds any particular feelings for those sacrificed in the process is up for debate, but one thing is near for certain. He couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of him or his dream if he tried.

      Ryan Ashlight
      1. @Suppa Tenko:

        In that they’re both men chasing after their dreams with their lives, yes.

        One important difference. Kiritsugu, in spite of everything, knows his dream is an impossible one. Kayaba has no such reservations. He honestly believes it from the depths of his heart.

        Ryan Ashlight
  16. So glad to have Asuna back!! The tree scene was adorable.
    Glad to know I was not the only one who noticed the butt shots. I actually reminded me of the camera in FFXIII-2 where it would randomly focus on Sera’s butt. Perhaps that is what they were going for? The random ass camera shots in RPGs?

  17. Stop killing off people i am starting to get annoyed. I get it after 5 episodes they can die for realz. I am starting to see all new characters as death flags and its so obvious. Should i feel something for characters i know 10 min? It feels pretty artificial for me.

    1. Your overconfidence is hilarious. You must think Klein is overdue for death. Silica as well as Lisbeth too. Even Asuna.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Overconfidence where? 3th episode yea cant remember 1 name without Mr Google :D. I don’t read the LN. Maybe it works there but not here for ME at least. As I see it people who survive to the end of the episode they where introduced have a better chance to live :D. Show Spoiler ▼

      2. I’m not taking anyone’s side but you can’t flat out point out something that only LN readers would understand. Not everybody here has read the LN so even if you say “pay better attention to references”, it’s quite a given that they would not understand.

        The Story You Don't Know
  18. I’m callin this SAO (ifuknowwhtimean) if those shots appear again lol. Trying to compete w/h FT DAT ASS eh??

    And nvr knew u can do murder mystery in a MMO lol. And for a second I thought Yoruka might go crazy and kill them lol. And why a small blade is able to kill them so fast??? Or is it the impact tht kill her???


    1. Guys, WTH r u all disliking my post!? IIRC I didn’t post anything doenright insulting or in any bad way so why was I getting disliked for!??? If its my fault then I shall correct my mistake in the future. This is bugging me AAHHH!!

    2. It will never hurt you if you read the LN. In fact, contrary to what other people think, knowing what will happen next will at least let you understand the events more when you watch it, knowing that the anime version will leave out tons of facts just to make the series fit.

      The Moondoggie
  19. Kinda obvious that Yuroku is playing them to try to get at the remaining guild members, innit? I mean, as if there weren’t enough obvious tells that she is the killer. The rapid cut-aways and little inserts when certain points come up in conversation. Her perking up when Kirito said that he knows Schmidt… it’s not too difficult to figure out who dunnit.

    Of course I could be wrong and have egg on my face next episode. ^^

    1. Yui will be the last side story before the main story kicks on again. It’s not sure they will do it, but she does play a role in ALO and it seems they will do that arc as well.

  20. I may have missed it in the 80+ comments, but I think you’re slightly off on why Kirito doesn’t want NPC’s killed. “It actually seems apparent at this point that Kirito may be having some difficulty telling apart what’s real and what’s not.”

    Not a spoiler, but for those who are trying to avoid ALL LN info.
    Show Spoiler ▼

  21. I thought that we might’ve gotten shown the fight between Asuna and Kirito during a boss meetingShow Spoiler ▼

    Also, here’s the timeline (may have errors) of the sidestories so the ones ppl want might be coming up soon. Show Spoiler ▼

  22. Yes. Wonderful episode. I have no complaints. I was worried they would cut it down to one episode like they did Aria, but I guess at 40,000 words, that’s too much even for them. Much happiness on my part.

  23. I’m happy that they did not force the whole arc into a single episode. But while most would say it was a good episode, I’d like to disagree. I know that it couldn’t be helped to skip some good scenes because if they did not, it could easily be a 4 episode arc which is too long for a side story. What I’m disappointed about is that they missed out one of the most important plot points in the arc.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Other than these things I pointed out, I have no more complaints. Everything else was great!

    The Story You Don't Know
  24. Kind of getting confused here. I am reading some of the first volume of the light novel and it takes place in a completely different place, am I reading from the wrong volume or something?

    1. The novels are written in a bit random order. If you are reading the translated version so is there a timeline on that page as well. To sum it up, the original novel makes quite a time skip early on and that whole is filled up later with some short stories to clarify things that originally are only mentioned in passing. The anime simply use the side stories in their chronological order and will in a few episodes get to the part where you are at.

    1. – try to get someone friendly from rl to play with you, and maybe introduce into the game if you have gamer friends…
      – get armor +99 vs pickup attempts, ASAP (aka be prepared to be hit upon all the time)
      possibly even do a Role Play of male char, if you like to mix things a bit 🙂
      – if you feel like peaceful player, get into PvE server – most games do have those with limits on PK/PvP
      – read the friggin manual – most games have dedicated players websites full of useful info, ranging from skills to equipement, to quests… and of course the game manufactures often put a detailed manual too!

    2. the default suggestion would probably be WoW, despite the fact that i quit 4 years ago and haven’t looked back since. being the largest MMO there’s actually a large amount of female players. some of my friends got their non-gamer GFs into it too. it’s pretty casual friendly, macaulay culkin got mila kunis into it when they were dating. if you’re feeling ambitious you could try EVE online (Space/Sci-Fi setting over WoW’s high fantasy), it has a notorious reputation for having a steep learning curve, but i found it’s not really that bad. those two games are pretty much the top rated subscription MMORPGs.

      Another game which deserves a mention is Final Fantasy XIV, though it’s going through a major overhaul right now, they’ll be releasing a completely updated version of it in a few months on PS3 and sometime later on PC.

      Free to play rpgs Show Spoiler ▼

      like ewok40k said, most of the games do have very dedicated player websites so you want to look into those to get info. usually there’s going to be info for beginners as well as in depth info into the classes so check them out and see if there’s a particular type of playstyle you want to utilize.

      overview of MMORPG class typesShow Spoiler ▼

      you should try to figure out which kind of role you think sounds fun to play as it’ll make your experience a lot more fulfilling.

    3. If you prefer to solo in a game more often, then you have the choice of DPS or Tank. DPS char deal high damage and their lack of DEF is made up for in decent gear. Tanks can do high damage, but their attacks tend to be far slower, which may hurt when you’re face with a mob of AGIL monsters. At really high levels, DPS and Tanks are practically interchangeable.

      Once you get good at playing a warrior class solo, you can graduate to some more challenging classes. Such as a stealth type char (Thieves/Hunters) or AoE types (Mages/Healers). A good game I strongly recommend for starting out and getting a good feel for the genre is Guild Wars. Not only do you pay once for the game, it’s an MMORPG that doesn’t require a monthly fee. Also, every expansion has a good solid story line to them and a companion system – so you don’t have to just grind or fight by yourself if you’re a solo.

      1. funny you mention guild wars, i was just about to post that i’m highly considering getting GW2 even though i haven’t played the first one. i went to the website and it looks really fun!

        apparently if you pre-PURCHASE the game you can play it 3 days before it launches. so you too can be a Beater just like Kirito!

        planning to roll a female thief, because yes i play female avatars =D hopefully there will be no facial and body scanning!

      2. Personally I don’t put much importance on if there is a monthly fee or not. MMO’s reqire quite a lot of time investment anyway and that kind of makes the fee the lesser investment. If it is fun enough to devote hundreds of hours to, then the money cost feels so irrelevant as the cost per hour of playing is about as low as any entertainment can be.

      3. well i think there’s other considerations in terms of the monthly fee. while the game may be worth paying the fee, a sporadic play schedule makes it difficult to justify subscribing. which is why i had to drop EVE, skills are trained in real time so you don’t have to be playing the game to level up. but in the four months before closing my account the only reason i logged on was to fill up my skill leveling queue.

        of course i completely agree with you, if you want to be in one of the top guilds you need to be heavily invested in the game. when i was actively playing, the way i’d justify paying a subscription fee is if i go out to dinner and get drinks i’m spending at least 15 bucks and that’s just for one night.

  25. Kirito looked like erm, male version of Shana here… ss#6
    I liked his “carpe diem” attitude too…
    I am starting to look for minor characters showing up again… ss#33

  26. Looks like plenty of people here loved the episode. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it as much as I would have wanted to. The mystery case is not even that compelling IMO in the LN. Also, haven’t people noticed the drop in animation quality? The OST is also boring me to tears (I’m a fan of Kajiura Yuki T_T). The KiritoxAsuna parts are fantastic though. I’m only excited next week for more of those 😀

    The titles for the next 3 episodes are out
    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Hmm, that title looks like something else…
      Show Spoiler ▼

  27. What’s up. Ahem well nice place.

    Yeah I want to mention EASY LAME WAY to make money. I wonder how bad it will get. Certainly ass shots are not that great in one’s viewing face.

  28. Why do people perceive Kirito as some really cool kid, when really hes just your typical cliche male archetype.

    Kirito just seems so drab and predictable. It must be the Fujoshi’s of Random C finally speaking their minds.

    The show is itself is decent as I am not a SAO fanboy so I have no bias.

    1. While I agree that Kirito’s is a bit drab and predictable, I wouldn’t label him as the average JBB often found in most Shounen anime. For starters, he’s actually competent – good things just don’t happen to him out of nowhere, he makes things happen. He doesn’t just get by on the bare minimum and gets praise for doing ‘normal’ things when he puts in more effort. He’s also not one of those overly idealistic morons who constantly professes his belief six times per episode (Narutard anyone?). Maybe this is me reading the LN, but he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty when the time calls for it.

      Also, and this is why I like the guy, he’s a survivor and a go getter. Kirito didn’t sit around like some self pitying idiot, moping around when shit got real. Despite feeling just as scared and panic as everyone in Starter City, he plotted out a plan and proceeded to execute it.

      I’m actually glad we get a Shounen male character who isn’t just a ‘nice guy.’ Kirito’s a good guy, but he’s not the usual push over ‘nice guy’ that plagues shounen plotlines.

  29. “That’s mostly because murder is never really a big deal in an MMO after all…”

    I sure hope you are joking. In RO, years ago, with the introduction of the PK system, Pkers are a pain in the ass: when you die you lose exp. I expect everyone here is familiar of the almost impossible task of leveing without bots, exp multipliers and good equipment(I only have a +10 quadruple-bloody Main Gauge and a couple Nimble Clips for my daily Orc hunting.)

    And when I don’t expect it, a cocky Hunter or ASSassin appears and bang! Your on the floor -3hours worth of exp.

    On the episode it’s nice that we get to see Asuna now. I was wondering how much of the SS they put in SAO, having never read the SS parts.

    The Moondoggie
      1. you ever play a consol rpg and accidentally save over your data when you wanted to make a new file then found out you did something wrong and the closest save is 3 hours ago? sure it’s not a big deal, but it sure as hell is annoying.

  30. …to some of the players, may still seem like a game despite the threat of death looming over them. In a sense, even knowing the consequences, killing a player in-game could still feel far less real than performing an actual murder, despite amounting to exactly the same thing.

    I don’t think, at this point, they see the game as just ‘a game.’ In fact, going as far as to kill someone may prove just how real some of the players see SAO. In a game where ANYTHING can kill you, what would you do to gain an advantage – even if it’s just a little? As a vet, I’m not sure what I’d done if someone had found a ring in a combat zone that could offer me the ability to dodge bullets. I’d like to believe I wouldn’t go as far as the kill someone on my team. But that’s just me. I was station with plenty of guys who had kids. Would a father of a new born child be willing to kill me, someone who is single with no children, just to get an item that would better ensure their survival and go home to see their kids? Or how about the guy who’d been station there three months longer than he was supposed to be, just saw his best friend killed in front of him, and all he wants is to make it home? If he discovered I had such an item – would he be tempted to kill me?

    Hell, there were fist fight over beer tickets. Mind you, these weren’t even sub-par beer. They were the beer that weren’t good enough to make it to the market, but the company had to get rid of them somehow and gave it to the military as a tax right off.

    I think most of the players, at this point of the timeline, has come to grips with their own mortality. Probably even more so then those irl, since in the real world we don’t have mobs of monsters spawning just outside our city limits, programmed to attack us on sight.


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