「心の温度」 (Kokoro no Ondo)
“The Temperature of the Heart”

Not all MMOs are focused entirely around combat. In fact, the majority usually have some form of crafting or profession system for those who prefer to play a supporting role away from the battlefield or as a reprieve from the constant battles. SAO is no exception to this. For me, Lisbeth (Takagaki Ayahi) is one of the more interesting side-story needs-more-deban characters to follow. Sachi… well Sachi can’t really be followed anymore and Silica would be similar to Kirito in her combat antics but with the addition of a pet. Liz, however, gives us a window into an entirely different side of the community in SAO with her choice to train blacksmithing and assist the front-line fighters from backstage. I have to admit I do find it a little disappointing that we haven’t actually met a character who is entirely devoted to their profession and lacks combat skills altogether – both Liz and Egil have fighting capability and can handle themselves fine in battle. It would be nice to have some more solid evidence that there are players who get by while avoiding combat entirely, something that should be perfectly feasible. That’s not to say that I dislike having characters who can handle themselves, rather that I feel SAO heavily downplays the value of players who dedicate themselves entirely to their craft.

This was rather an interesting episode in terms of some of the light shed on Kirito’s personality and how he’s perceived by others. Given his penchant for always wearing long black coats, it’s no surprise Liz would see him as somewhat sketchy on their first meeting. In fact, he might come across as some kind of grim, edgy youth who names his character something along the lines of ‘xXxDarkSephirothRavenxXx.’ He also acts awfully sure of himself, even rejecting Liz’s aid and instructing her to hide while leaving everything up to him. We can probably attribute that to his unwillingness to allow people to die in front of him, but on the outside it appears more arrogant than anything. Even his philosophy prior to meeting Liz was somewhat dour – preferring to die alongside someone else rather than survive alone, regardless of the fact that were he to survive he could potentially save others in the future. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I like these opportunities to see a character through the eyes of another observer. Normally I would leave it there and write off everything as images seen through a different lens, but there’s one comment that I want to bring into focus – Kirito’s mention that he would rather die with someone… especially if they were a girl. I’d say my thoughts on the subject were pretty clear back in my write-up of episode four and this has certainly done nothing to change them.

I have to praise Takagaki Ayahi for her awesomely bloodcurdling screams of pure terror as Liz plunged towards her death. Just imagine her thoughts at the time, knowing she’s about to die after surviving so long in the death game… and all because of one small mistake. It was undeniably one of the more effective scenes of the episode, owing mostly to the seiyuu’s outstanding performance. There was also a fair bit of humour to be had in Kirito’s failure to scale the wall, and some impressive scenery porn and badass action during their final escape from the dragon’s lair. I’m also glad to see A-1 cut out certain details since now is not really the ideal time to bring them up – their reveal should come later, at the point it was originally done in the main story. That right there is a good adaption choice. I only wish they hadn’t used CG for the dragon, though that may be my personal dislike of CG when it clashes with the rest of the art.

My only real issue with this episode is that for the first time, the romance aspect manages to get in the way of world building. Admittedly, it’s not a huge issue, but while forging Dark Repulsor, it disappointed me to have Liz moon over Kirito when she could’ve been giving us some proper insight into how crafting – blacksmithing in particular – works in SAO. In fact, all we really got was a shot of her face as she marvelled at how warm Kirito’s hands had been and suddenly a sword is forged. Given the inclination the series has had towards explaining most of its other systems in extreme detail, it surprises me to have this one entirely glossed over. On the plus side, next week we should finally be moving on to the main storyline!

tl;dr: @MoombaDS – Crafting, dragons and a quest for materials. It’s just like a real MMO! Exceptmaybethegirlsfallingforyoupart. #SAO

Random thoughts:

  • There were a few moments this episode where the music was reminiscent of Mitsuda Yasunori’s wonderful Chrono Trigger score. This is exactly the sort of thing I’ve been hoping to hear given the MMO setting!
  • I can’t actually remember if this was in the light novel, but if you look carefully, Dark Repulsor is a generally weaker weapon than Elucidator. If this wasn’t an animation error, I guess that means the only reason Kirito chose to stick with Dark Repulsor was that it was made by Liz!
  • Sadly, you can almost see the moment her heart breaks… poor Liz. She never really stood a chance.
  • She does pull some cute faces though!

Full-length images: 07, 09, 13, 17, 20, 32, 39, 40, 45.



End Card


  1. “I can’t actually remember if this was in the light novel, but if you look carefully, Dark Repulsor is a generally weaker weapon than Elucidator.”

    Maybe this is a game where stat modifiers have a bigger role in damage vs. weapon attack strength. I noticed that the Dark Repulsor has a higher Strength buff.

    1. That’s certainly possible, but in that case, wouldn’t the much larger drop in Agility potentially be an issue there? I guess it’s hard to tell really without full details on how attack damage is calculated!

    2. If you’re gonna look closely, the Elucidator has Armor while the Dark Repulser has Running. In the case of SAO where it’s a twitch-based action MMO, the additional def is worth sacrificing if you’re gonna get increased mobility. No one cares if you’re a glass cannon if you’re not getting hit.

    3. It certainly does look weaker, but the main difference I noticed is the difference in the equip names. They are Dark Repulsor +0 and Elucidator, which makes me think Dark Repulsor has some additional levels or something (+1 form, etc.). That would explain why Kirito would take it over Elucidator.

    4. lol the entire sub-thread dedicated to comparing merits of two swords in an FICTIOUS MMO…
      but, isnt comparing the strength of fictional weapons (all MMOs are fiction after all…) any less strange?
      I must admit I have been crunching numbers on weapons effectiveness since I’ve got into cRPGs long ago in the times of Baldurs Gate… so I fully understand. I also will tell you that it is often a playstyle of certain player that will decide what weapon fits him best. From the most obvious, a sneaky rogue-style backstabber is better off with short sword ususally, while armor-clad knight can afford to swing twohander, etc. My personal example would be my fave from BG2, a twin-sword (sometimes katana, sometimes longsword) kensai – simply because it was a best way to get dps (note that the term hasn’t been even coined at that time…)
      In all MMOs I play I tend to pick up some sort of weapon making skill, this assures I will get appropriate weapon for the level regardless of random drops and/or ability to get into party quests rewarding good weapons. In some of them I can get also lucky and critically craft a better weapon than usual!

    5. Stat bonus is definitely one of the main points in SAO. Remember back in Yoruko’s arc, they said that it was a ring that has an Agility buff? I think that’s it. It works perfect with Kirito because in the LN, he said he was stacking Strength rather than Dexterity or Agility. All of these were in preparation for his newly acquired skill. And having a sword a few pips weaker is common in MMO’s if it were used as an offhand. ^_^ You wouldn’t want an offhand to overpower your main hand.

      1. If I recall correctly, it said in the LN when he and Asuna were running away from the boss room they found early on that they were both fast runners due to the points they had added to their agility; I don’t remember it ever mentioning him pouring stats into strength.

    6. I think its possible that elucidator cannot be upgraded anymore or maybe monster dropped weapon cannot be upgraded in SAO . if u see the name elucidator has no +0 while dark repulsor has a +0 making it a possible stronger sword when its fully upgraded.

    7. I don’t think the fact that Dark Repulsor is weaker than Elucidator is that big of a deal. He needs a second sword for dual wielding, if that’s not apparent from the title of the next episode. In fact, I’m impressed that it’s stats are actually comparable to the Elucidator at all. The Elucidator is a drop by the boss by the lvl 50 boss, which is stated to be much harder than normal in the light novels (every 25th floor comes with an extra powerful boss), so it can be assumed to be really very powerful.

      Silver Coin
  2. Yea they didn’t mention Kirito testing out his new sword and Lisbeth in awe of ‘that’
    I’m loving this series so much ^.^ The music is probably one of my favourite aspects. But overall, alright episode. Atleast the plot starts rolling. Can’t wait for next saturday~

  3. Disappointed that they cut a lot out of it from the LN T_T

    They didn’t explain why he was looking for a new sword and some of the general story was missing.

    I guess it goes Novel > Anime > Manga in terms of information provided.

    Kurisu Vi Britannia
      1. Don’t understand how you think a Manga provides more information when all Mangas are basically stills of varying time intervals.

        Oh well, I guess seeing as they’ve added the side stories it won’t be as cool as the feeling I got when I read that part T_T

        Kurisu Vi Britannia
      2. I dun really care
        anime LN and manga are different so I viewed them differently I do compare them but I dun whine if my fave part from LN or Manga are not on the anime

        That’s life I admit that I dun really buy official stuff to support the anime so I guessed I haz no right to whine but I can at least give some critic on the episode or the anime itself (the hell I’m saying )

      3. derp I forgot to answer your question
        we all know why anime cant givee all the details they want too and that is time
        and if u read a lot of manga “turn to anime” the difference is quite noticeable

    1. I think the main reason they cut out the ‘demonstration’ part from the LN is so we still have the “WOW” feeling in the next episode (which I think will cover chapter 1 from LN).

  4. I’d imagine there’s a number of reasons Kirito was happy with the Dark Repulsor even with it’s lower stats, aside from Liz’s feelings and all.

    For one it’s a crafted weapon while his original sword is a monster drop, rare monster drops in games tend to have the better stats compared even to the best forged weapons.

    Then you have upgradability. The Dark Repulsor has a +0 while the Elucidator has no modifier. So while the Repulsor can be updraded to +1 through however high the system in the game goes the Elucidator is stuck with it’s initial stats forever.

    1. yeah Kirito talks to the dragon saying something like “once we tell people about the true nature of the material you won’t have people coming in trying to kill you!” though obviously he knows he can’t speak to dragons (or maybe he doesn’t know he can’t…) but i think lots of people would have the same reaction as lizbeth after finding out what the ingot really is haha!

  5. Lisbeth or Lizbeth, that is the question.
    The shop sign says Lizbeth’s Smith Shop and the end card says Lisbeth Smith Shop. But the end card was not drawn by the anime staff, but by a VN game creater/illustrator. So Lizbeth should be more accurate and official spelling I would guess.

    U Doh
  6. Randal
  7. Gaaaaaah disappointed. This was my favorite arc and a lot of good stuff was left out. Oh well, on to actual commentary.

    We’ve just crossed the halfway point of the season (so 25% overall?) and this episode was the first that really looked at the weapons system. The various interactions between weapon types and the Sword Skills they can perform is pretty important, and we get a brief (and very nebulous) glimpse at what stats you would want to itemize for. While Asuna’s archetypical style of preferring agility and swiftness lead her to use one-handed rapiers, Kirito prefers heavier one-handed swords that forego some of that speed. In other words, Kirito’s style doesn’t make sense, and his appearance truly belies his incredible skill (among other things). Watchers who are well-acquainted with the LN understand the plot-driving elements throughout this arc, but I do not think A-1 did a very good job conveying that across in this short episode that honestly felt more like filler.

    And Kirito, who allegedly deals not with the shenanigans of the womenfolk, is awfully GAR for not even being flustered by Liz’s *obvious* advances on him. What a bastard.

    1. Well they can’t make the reasons obvious until the big unveiling. Though there’s plenty of hinting so far. Show Spoiler ▼

      He was embarrassed but didn’t want to hurt her feelings, it’s actually one of my preferred things in the LN that despite all the distractions there’s none of that ambiguous feeling about the relationships. Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Ah, I see, that’s unfortunate, I’m on Volume 6 and I was enjoying it up to there.

        Show Spoiler ▼

  8. Dammit, they cut it out… ._.

    But, in retrospect, they did quite good with the “unrequited love” scene…

    Also, in SAO, there isn’t really a set formula to blacksmithing other than there is a “required number of hammer hits” and then everything else is system automated. Also, crafting is completely random, sometimes yielding specially named items, like the “Dark Repulser”, or generic items like let’s say “Long Sword of Smiting” etc. etc. That being said, the novel didn’t expound on player item creation that thoroughly as gameplay is focused more on monster drops and legendary items (quintessentially what Diablo III is all about).

    Having said that, we’re only 7/25 and if they devote all other episodes to the main story arc… UGHhhh… it’s gonna be great!

  9. “I can’t actually remember if this was in the light novel, but if you look carefully, Dark Repulsor is a generally weaker weapon than Elucidator. If this wasn’t an animation error, I guess that means the only reason Kirito chose to stick with Dark Repulsor was that it was made by Liz!”

    If I remember correctly, that’s not an issue at all. I read book 2 awhile ago so my memories might be a little hazy:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    *Warning! Goes without saying, but don’t click the spoiler tag if you don’t want to know about a major plot point later on.

    1. I just finished reading first few novels recently, and I’m kinda sad they left out one part, during the scene at the bridge he actually switches Dark Repulsor with Elucidator and tells Lisbeth that “from today onwards this sword will be my partner.”

    2. As it is obvious, Moomba has read the LN too so he knows about that. Disregarding DR’s true purpose like you mentioned, comparing the stats of the two swords, Elucidator is clearly superior. It’s a bit weird to use a weapon that is slightly inferior to your current one. That’s why Moomba said that, with a bit of a joking tone I think.
      But I remember that monster drops are mostly superior than player made ones. It was said that DR is a bit similar to Elucidator in weight but a bit inferior overall. DR is still a good weapon though

      1. Yeah I just went back to that part in novel 2 again and re-read it. You and Fallendrgmaster are both right. He does switch Elucidator with Dark Repulsor for his main weapon at the bridge in front of Lizbeth after comforting her. Yeah, it seems like he chose DR for the sentimental value of it being made by her despite it being slightly inferior.

        I mean, most of time when he is fighting, he is well within his safe limits, even at the front lines, so the slight dps decrease by using DR really does not matter. The only reason why he had it made is, again, saved for a future reveal.

    1. Hmmm… I don’t know… I mean as long as it makes money, he’s fine with it. It’s Ramus after all… now… when are they ever going to do a remake of Lunar 2? And where the hell’s Lunar 3?!?! (no. Lunar Dragon Song does not count.)

  10. “My only real issue with this episode is that for the first time, the romance aspect manages to get in the way of world building.”

    Yeah there was a good amount of exposition at the very beginning of the side story about the nature of crafting and lizbeth in general. She talked a bit about the nature of crafting, the fact that she saved extra money to buy the house with the watermill as the location of her shop, that her choice of clothing was suggested by Asuna, all at the very first scene before Asuna comes in to ask about having her weapon polished.

    1. I totally agree with you.

      It’s the first episode I’ve watched after reading volume #1 and #2 and I enjoyed a lot as I’m more focused on details since I already know what will happen next 😛 but in the other hand, if something is missing I’m more disappointed since I know it 🙁

      Important stuff is explained in this side story in the light novels. In the chapter is clear that it’s ommited and will be explained in the future, when it will make real sense.

      But stuff like the blacksmithing process and the internal thoughts of Lisbeth about it it’s a pity that are simply discarded… it really made the making of Dark Repulser a bit “mechanical” instead of the equation of system-randomness + the-blacksmith-attitude-when-forging that it’s suggested in the book. Also, I missed some comment on the aspect and dress style of Liz. In the novel it’s clearly explained that she doesn’t like at first the maid-ish apperance and the kawaii pink hair but she then she got more sales after doing those apperance changes. A Hint is given in the photograph and the End Card (I liked that the photo suggests the existence of “profession gilds” in Aincard).

      Also, it’s a missed opportunity to show that, although everyone has a representation of their real face and constitution, the hair is still customizable.

      Finally, regarding the dragon part of the episode, I found another missed oportunity to show repeteable quests in SAO. I felt this way as well with the light novels, but in them, there is more explaining that there is a rumour, that the dragon has been fought many times, and as you say, the final words of (good guy) Kirito to the dragon wishing that after the info is widespread less people will come to kill it. I think that a little NPC interaction could have been very funny in the moment when Liz and Kirito need to speak with the elder in the town to start de quest for the dragon (it could have been awesome to se some typical NPG reaction like the kind of repeated sentences when the player has already used all the dialog options xD)

  11. Dark Repulsor and Elucidator were relatively the same stats, with Lisbeth saying so herself, thus leading her Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Yup they start with 3 skill slots and need to level to get more. Iirc Kirito had like 12 at lvl 98 which means you get a skill slot every 10 levels.

      Rising skills is separate from leveling, since you need training or constant use to rise your skills.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Yeah I thought so, so without leveling they wouldn’t be able to acquire the skills required being a blacksmith or merchant.

        Show Spoiler ▼

  12. From a purely viewing perspective, it seems that Kirito’s relationship upgrade with Asuna was a little rushed. The last episode ended with the two of them on a fairly improved note, given that they added each other as friends as compared to their rockier disagreement during the BOSS fight. It took an entire episode for them to move from “clearing acquaintances” to “friends”, yet Asuna quickly promotes from merely “friend” to “now-really-interested-in-you” to the point of dressing up to meet him. Between episodes.

    For people that have no experience with the LN, I’d imagine that this seems somewhat out of the blue. The OP hints that they are the main couple, but it still seems like the pacing of their relationship was rushed a little too much.

    1. Episode 5-6 were in mid-April, this episode is at the end of June. I wouldn’t say it’s unrealistic for feelings to develop that quickly. In reality, some people get married after just one year of dating(on reality tv shows some marriages last only a month haha). Heck, we saw how quick Lizbeth was able to utter the su- word!

      and as it seems you’ve read the novel
      Show Spoiler ▼

    2. Episode-wise only yes I can see that. But then when you look more closely at the time stamps at the beginning of each episode a good amount of time has actually passed.

      Edited for SAO Spoiler:
      Show Spoiler ▼

    3. Well the LN went from the opening events direct to two and a bit years into the future. Everything we’ve seen after the first episode was added in short stories after the actual main arch story was finished. So the stories actually jump around a lot, they’re doing a pretty good job of linking them into a consistent series.

      As I’ve said before, the intermediate events between the last episode and this one were likely dull grinding / boss clearing in which he stays the only person Asuna meets that seems interesting and genuine. The sad reality of most mmos is the grind is dull, its all about those random encounters with people and party adventures.

    4. Kirito felt it was kinda long time no see when he wasn’t seeing Asuna for just 2 days. That says a lot about how often they have met in a few months after that mystery stuff. And I assume most of those meeting weren’t lead group related. Because you just don’t raid bosses everyday. Not every other day either. Maybe once a week or something like that. I can easily see that they have been going out quite often, and I bet that’s what Liz saw there.

      U Doh
  13. “I have to admit I do find it a little disappointing that we haven’t actually met a character who is entirely devoted to their profession and lacks combat skills altogether – both Liz and Egil have fighting capability and can handle themselves fine in battle.”

    Totally forgot to mention in the post above, but this really makes me want to put in a plug for Guild Wars 2 since it comes out next week (or this Friday midnight for pre-purchasers). You can actually level up from 1-80 SOLELY from leveling all your crafting professions, of course assuming you have the materials. Aside from that game, I think EVE Online is the only other game where you could build your character to focus on crafting and trade. As a disclaimer I only seriously played WoW and EVE (4 and 2 years respectively), and only tried out FFXI and Warhammer Online.

    1. @RickyMack………..I know what you mean about the Guild Wars 2…..SAO inspire me to buy Guild Wars 2 early then I expected….. It’s nice to see lisbeth I did not read this on the LN since i wanted to this animated first Show Spoiler ▼

    1. There is one more side story, and probably one of the most important.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      But that one will be covered once Kirito gets a little closer to Asuna. I can’t wait for the last little character to appear. ^^

  14. Literally “Warmth of the Heart” this episode is. Too bad it didn’t last long, Asuna why do you interrupt? Σ(゚∀´(┗┐ヽ(・∀・ )ノ

    Adaptation in not bad at all, I pretty much enjoy it, like I did in the novel. Guess any kind of story that have an unrequited love story is always a win for me.

  15. I think this is the only series where I loved every single character (That was important) and every single episode that the anime has shown so far.

    But one thing I noticed. And Lizbeth confirms this…Kirito ALWAYS does crazy things, and he ALWAYS takes extremes to confirming his theories.

    To find out if the blade can really kill in the safe zone he is prepared without hesitation to stab his hand with it.

    To find out if the sword is durable enough, he is prepared to sacrifice his own sword and says “If that happens then it’s just too BAD!!!”

    Lol seriously Kirito needs to cool down. But seriously, you know you’re a badass when you take on a CG animated dragon and practically win

    But I love every female character this show has given so far! Asuna, Sachi, Silica, Lizbeth. I love them ALL!! Can’t wait for that special little girl we all have yet to see 😉

    1. Also I’m surprised this show has pretty much maintained it’s art consistency. It looks almost the same as it did Episode 1. In most 2-cour series I’ve seen the art always differs each episode. One week it’s awesome the next week it’s pitiful. SAO hasn’t had pitiful art or animation yet

  16. Actually both Elucidator and Dark Repulsor can be upgraded (they eventually both reach +50 in one of the side stories), so the only reason Kirito uses Dark Repulsor over Elucidator at this moment in time is because it was made by her

    1. Well I imagine that they would with their current pacing. Dragging on the story arc that’s going to start next week to the end would just be too much considering the material they have…

    2. SAO’s story in general doesn’t stop in Aincrad.
      Show Spoiler ▼

  17. I can’t actually remember if this was in the light novel, but if you look carefully, Dark Repulsor is a generally weaker weapon than Elucidator. If this wasn’t an animation error, I guess that means the only reason Kirito chose to stick with Dark Repulsor was that it was made by Liz!

    The actual stats of the two swords were never outright stated or compared in the novels. The closest we get is the following line about Dark Repulsor: “It had a physical strength requirement that was not inferior to the black sword Kirito holds, «Elucidator»”. It’s not impossible that the author came up with the exact stats and just never found a good place to put them in a novel, but it’s also possible that the anime people just made them up on their own.

  18. SAO is a just a better show when it actual focuses on the game and its people. I guess that’s the reason why I didn’t like the previous arc since it felt out of place. Here we get to see the side of the crafters which is interesting in its own. Back when I played MMO’s, I loved the feeling of farming for rare materials and getting a particular item that I wanted. Its really fun to watch episodes like this because it gives nostalgia to an MMO player.

    I really like Lizbeth too, since she gives a lot of personality in one episode. She’s probably the most intresting person in Kirito’s “harem” right now. Quite frankly I don’t find Asuna interesting at all. I find the focus on short-stories to blame for that and Asuna just doesn’t have enough screentime to stand out. And yes ,I know that there are time skips but that doesn’t excuse the jarring changes in personality. There’s a reason why “Show Don’t Tell” is a very important aspect in visual media.

    1. I agree. Having read the light novels, I have to say this is one of the things that I think elevates SAO over stuff like .hack. .hack sort of lost sight of being a reasonable MMO in the name of its plot. SAO nearly always keeps the systems of the MMO being played in the story coherent and understandable, and furthermore, very logically applies how people would react to those systems if they were trapped in that world.

      Crafting, property, guilds, combat, items, Show Spoiler ▼

      , even item drops; the author uses them all in a fairly logical way, especially in SAO. Some of the other MMOs get a bit more random, but the first one is near perfect, which is part of why I think he keeps coming back to it in side-stories.

  19. Does this mean we can get on with the main story? Some parts were left out, but considering this is all in chronological order, they’ll probably use it for added effect when he does go around to using his swords. But really, have we finally reached the arc? XD

  20. i love all of the fine details in this show. in both aspects to the game and character development. a little development for kirito and a heck of a lot for a side character in one episode. kirito, again, you are one badass protagonist.

    animation was also very fluid this episode. it was getting a little wonky recently tbh.

  21. We say he sticks with Dark Repulsor, but you see later in the ep, He’s still got Elucidator in his Scabbard >>;. Also the +0… UPGRADES~ WHOO~ It’ll eventually be better all around than Elucidator… eventually. … Which is why he probably still has Elucidator in his scabbard for now o3o.

    That End Card is /Adorable/. ~w~… Welp we’ve seen all the girls in the intro now except the one surrounded by screens of static, or data I’m not sure which. and if we have seen her already I haven’t recognized her >>;;;. Onto the Guys! nishishishishi.

  22. I wonder why they left his display of Dual Swords. That was a big thing for his character and his relationship with Asuna. The only reason he shows Liz is because she is friends with Asuna and he likes Asuana.

    1. first off, everyone else has been doing a very good job of not spoiling that, so shame on you for spoiling it. Secondly, that is not why he showed Liz, Kirito likes Liz just fine for herself, she’s not just ‘asuna’s friend’ to him. Kirito is a very genuine guy, even if he is a man of few words. The series shows this constantly. It’s why he builds a harem even though he’s never wishy-washy at all, he’s always VERY clear on who he’s actually with.

  23. A very nice episode of Sword Art Online, mixing a love story with a fun romp for dragon feces… wait, what?

    Kirito’s actions in this episode struck me as the most indicative of his experience with the Black Cats. From ensuring that Lizbeth had a way of getting out of there in case things got hairy, to talking about how he’d rather die together with someone than to just watch them die. The scars are still there, though slowly I believe that they’re healing from Kirito’s experiences with Asuna, Scilica, and Lisbeth. Or should I say, his harem.

    And there’s still Kirito’s determination to end this game and see just what the point of it all is, Sachi’s last wish, which was probably what began the healing process by giving Kirito a method of atoning. Makes me curious as to whether Kayaba is still in the game somewhere, because if anyone should confront that monster about what he’s done it should be Kirito. After all, he is kinda a “fan”.

    I really like Lizbeth. Strong, passionate, prideful of her work, and with awesome/hilarious facial expressions. In a way she’s a good contrast to Asuna, with Lisbeth as the down to earth every girl to Asuna’s honorable knight. Though what they both have in common is that once you get to know them they’re both really nice girls, who happen to share an interest in a certain black-coated swordsman….

    I liked the little love story between Kirito and Lisbeth. Though condensed into one episode, I could buy her falling for Kirito. From her confession while they’re falling into the sky, to her putting her feelings for him into the construction of Dark Repulsor, scenes like that got me rooting for her… though I knew it wasn’t to be. As soon as I saw her face when Asuna showed up and she figured it out, I really felt for her. Of course I have nothing against Asuna, but seeing a girl find out her best friend is interested in her first love, and trying her best to keep her feelings repressed so she doesn’t cause trouble for either of them, made me want to just pop in there and hug her. Count me in the camp that hopes she reappears again in the show.

    Once again the question of what is “real” in Sword Art Online comes to the forefront. Lisbeth is an interesting perspective on this, considering her entire job description in a sense is making fake items for people. But I really liked how the show conveyed that even if there current selves are just data among nothing but data, the feelings and emotions that they carry are indeed the real thing. Even in a world where death is rampant and people quest for freedom from a virtual prison, you can still fall in love and find something in this world worth living for.

    I’ll agree that today’s episode did not have the best action, but you can tell that A-1 is probably saving up their budget for big action scenes. I’d hate for them to waste their budget when they don’t have to, considering the fight in this episode is really in a way just a plot device.

    Also, Kirito and Asuna are finally in their designs from the opening. And it only took us 7 episodes… ah well, I think it means that we’re about to finally get into the meat of the Sword Art Online story and I’m all for it.

    1. The question of what is ‘real’ is easily my favorite part about the first arc of SAO, and basically the series as a whole. In fact, once they lose that core question as they move on to new arcs I think the series, while still good, loses that spark of brilliance it has in the first arc.

      As for Lisbeth, she’s great, like all the female characters in this series. Honestly this is one of the most weirdly tragic harem series I’ve ever read, because nearly every love interest that Kirito meets is already to late to have a chance against Asuna, and yet the author just keeps introducing more, and they’re all well done.

      Personally I think it’s probably the one sign of poor writing in the whole series, because it seems like the author almost doesn’t know how to use other kinds of supporting characters or just have female friends that don’t all have crushes on the main character. Still, when they’re such good characters it’s not too annoying.

    1. This is one of the unfortunate side-effects of doing the anime in chronological order rather than the published order of the novels. The original first LN was entirely about Kirito and Asuna’s relationship, and then the side-stories of the second LN introduced all these side-characters and fleshed out the world. So by the time all this other stuff was shown to you you were completely invested in the main romance.

      Doing it in chronological order presents it as a bit more of a standard harem plot and opens it up to some of the weaknesses of more standard harem plots.

  24. Just a question to the novel readers:

    Does Asuna know that all these girls are in love or at least was in love with Kirito? Like Sachi, Silica, and now Liz?

    Quite an interesting episode, especially to see a new character and her development, too bad it ended that way, instead of how they ended it with Silica, which basically gave her hope that they will meet again in either the game world or even in the real world. Too bad here, Liz got shot down after seeing Asuna’s reaction towards Kirito, she’s really quite a good friend to be able to understand right away. I really really wanted to see how Asuna would react if she came a minute later and saw Liz confess to Kirito.

  25. I think the world building must necessarily play second fiddle to the flash of romance from Lizbeth in this episode. One of the recurring themes in these 7 episodes of SAO is, one can say, “reality”. Which is only proper considering the anime is set in a virtual world. As Lizbeth notes everything, even their physical forms, are just a bunch of voxels. The ‘something real’ that Lizbeth was searching for was relationships between the players. In comparison to the swords she makes (which, incidentally, broke and disappeared rather easily; let’s pretend that’s symbollic) she considers her feelings for Kirito “real”.

    Oh, and I guess death is real. It sucks. Which may be why it’s these near death experiences and the white knight shenanigans which make the girls swoon for Kirito.

  26. Still all we get is talk about front lines and how they send most of time fighting but only episode 2 gave us some real front fight so I wonder will we ever get some real action pack

    1. While there is a fair amount of action in the series, it’s really more about the relationships than the fighting, especially the actual main plot of the first LN. If anything, there’s an unusual amount of action in the side stories of the second LN that you’ve seen animated so far, even if they’re mostly curb-stomp battles since Kirito is so much more powerful than the enemies in the side stories.

  27. “I have to admit I do find it a little disappointing that we haven’t actually met a character who is entirely devoted to their profession and lacks combat skills altogether – both Liz and Egil have fighting capability and can handle themselves fine in battle.”

    However, in the MMO’s I’ve played (and admittedly, I’ve not read the novels so dunno how SAO handles it), but you generally have to have some combat skill to gather the materials needed to do the actual crafting (and thus, level up the crafting skill). To boot, some of the items are as Kirito found out, someone of that profession has to be around to get it in the first place. Someone who focuses strictly on crafting would be weak in terms of experience with their combat skills (compared to someone who isn’t a strict crafter), but would probably have some of the better armor/weapons since they’re most likely to get the recipes for their own class/wishes.

    1. There are more problems in SOA then they, but the short version is that it’s not practical to be a level 1 crafter in SOA.

      Show Spoiler ▼

    2. Well taking for example FFXI. For fishing you didn’t even need to level to rise your fishing skill as long as you were careful to choose safe zones like lakes or ponds inside cities. As for crafting as long as you could get a steady income selling what you produced, you’d buy materials from player stores or auction house. So you could rise your skills without ever seeing combat or leaving a city, I did master some different crafting skills with lvl 1 mules after all.

      Back to SAO you can take Agil’s example, he’s basically a merchant that buys cheap and earns an income from selling at higher prices, what comes down to brokering goods between players. In essence besides the appraisal skill he wouldn’t even need to set foot outside a city or see combat.

  28. as to the crafting, as described in the book all you need to do is hit the thing the correct number of times (I think time based too?) and it’s crafted, beyond what material you use the rest is random and based on skill level. It’s told via inner monologue in the novel, so there isn’t much to find out.

  29. Poor Liz. I’m lost for words to console her.

    But could Kirito going to console a heartbroken Liz means he’s actually perceptive enough to avoid the usual “Dense Main Character Syndrome”? Despite inadvertedly scoring so many Romantic Flags with her.

    Kinny Riddle
    1. Fortunately, she managed to console herself a bit, and show Kirito smiling face at the end… I envy her mental strength 🙂
      Sometimes there is just no way to fight OTP
      I hope she will get someone “just for her” eventually in life, real one or in-game…

    2. And speaking of that subject. There are people complaining about Kirito tracking Liz himself instead of asking Asuna to check her friend list. If Kirito was perceptive enough to realize Liz feelings and the mood inside the shop that caused her to ran out crying, I think it isn’t ridiculous to think that asking Asuna would be a bad idea. More so if after asking her to track Liz, she felt compelled to follow, her presence wouldn’t have been a good thing there.

  30. Moomba although I agree that most MMO that have a craft system could get away with just doing that craft. But in SAO if you didn’t learn to fight properly in the early levels would probably would have died. There no reset when your hunting mission for materails goes awry either. O_o You HAVE to be capable to defend yourself in this world.

    Unlike the kanata forgers of Japan thing blacksmiths in Europe.

    Also is the tittle “The Warmth of the Heart”?

    1. I’m sure SAO has some players who have never engaged in combat – the ones who chose to hide away in the starter towns for one. Unless you’re suggesting every player that couldn’t fight is already dead? It’s not like you actually have to go on all the hunting missions yourself either – all you really need is some friends willing to do it on your behalf.

      As to the episode title, that’s something to take up with Crunchyroll.

      1. No I totally think there is people just hiding out in the first 20 levels waiting. And yes a swordsmith/item smith in this game could piggy back hunting parties with friends to acquire items. But to make a go at a proper shop you need a lot more time from others to acquire the materials and funds needed and the fact their is a sort of drop rule most parties are willing to split on, the ones that don’t fight would get slim pickings most likely making it a less then ideal way to get around/acquire goods for you shop.

        I could however see a partnership with a swordsmith and a hunter to start up a shop. The Swordsmith would forge the items and man the shop while the Hunter would be doing the grunt works for materials and coin.

        I just don’t foresee anyone getting far into the levels without at Hunter that acts like a bodyguard or someone that can at least defend them self against an ambush attach once you get to higher levels. You don’t want to be at level 10 and get hit with a level 5o monster that has a attach strength that is a 1 hit OK. It’s still in the swordsmith best interest to do some leveling even with a partner.

      2. This isn’t a plot spoiler at all, but I’ll put tags just in case, but yes Show Spoiler ▼

        I love the weird little societies that the players build up during their time in SAO, whether it’s the guilds, the Army, the ‘civilians’, or even the evil PKers (who in this scenario are ACTUAL murderers). It’s very interesting.

  31. He did order a one handed sword and his current sword also seems to be a one hander. I have never seen him using a shield, and yet i have seen other characters with them, so its entirely possible he will just keep both weapons and dual wield them. SAO seems to be pretty open with combat rules, so i dont see why he wouldnt be allowed to dual wield.

      1. Ah, but…

        Are you sure you want to read this? Then read on

        Show Spoiler ▼

  32. @Moomba, in SAO IIRC the crafting system is basically: Get a material–>Heat it–>Hammer it X time–>System will then decide wht it will pop up
    I think they decide to go for “show but no tell”.
    Well they R ppl who doesn’t do any combat in SAO…. You will see it later in the main story. But still, ppl lk Egil and Lizbeth need to go for material hunting too…

    Kirito and Lisbeth must’ve hv some d*mn good stats if they can survive a fall tht high….. Not to mention Lizbeth…… wht-tht-thing size??

    Poor, poor Liz…. she got friendzoned….. But at least she kinda slightly got over it and knows Kirito is happy and well w/h her BFF.

    PS, just who is the shining girl who looks lk she frm AW OP/ED??? Or is the “GF of the week” not over yet??

    -Final words-
    Those crystal forests and Lizbeth reactions lol XD

    1. In the LN, they used a teleport crystal. Falling from that height would be instant death in that game.

      Also, the “morning dew girl” you’re referring to won’t get mentioned until a couple more episodes. It’s a spoiler to reveal who she is.

      1. I dont’ think they used a crystal as it’s a no crystal zone and the crystals only teleport you somewhere you know the name for (ergo bottom of this hole wouldn’t work), pretty sure in the LN Kirito used his sword in the wall to slow the decent… Doesn’t really matter though.

  33. I think their’s a valid reason why the “support-class” characters of SAO like Liz and Egil have decent fighting skills rather than concentrate on their support skills, and one needs to look at the predicament they’re all in.

    Despite wanting to help from behind the lines, SAO in the end is clear-or-die situation where survival is the ultimate goal of everyone. Needless to say, Liz and Egil will need their fighting skills in the unlikely though possible event that the SAO population dwindled drastically to a desperate few, that the two would be forced to the front lines in order to have a chance to survive.

  34. I can’t actually remember if this was in the light novel, but if you look carefully, Dark Repulsor is a generally weaker weapon than Elucidator. If this wasn’t an animation error, I guess that means the only reason Kirito chose to stick with Dark Repulsor was that it was made by Liz


    Show Spoiler ▼

  35. Even thou this episode is pretty much 90% fateful to the LN, I just can’t help but get that feeling of it being a bit too fast pace, don’t know why it just feels that way watching this episode, weird since reading the LN I didn’t get this feeling at all.
    Like someone mention meeting for first time, doing a quest, spending a night, fall in love, have her heart broken, everything happen within a day just feels very fast pace and weird.
    Guess we won’t see Yui-chan till later, to be honest out of all the side story hers is the only one I really love to see.

  36. “I can’t actually remember if this was in the light novel, but if you look carefully, Dark Repulsor is a generally weaker weapon than Elucidator. If this wasn’t an animation error, I guess that means the only reason Kirito chose to stick with Dark Repulsor was that it was made by Liz!”

    Another thing about the Dark Repulsor being weaker is that Lizbeth mentions it was a monster drop. Generally all the bosses every 25 levels are of a higher difficulty than other bosses, and in exchange they drop better loot than other bosses. If I recall correctly, Elucidator dropped for Kirito on Level 50, meaning the next strongest weapon would drop on the 75th floor. So despite Dark Repulsor being weaker, it’s most likely the strongest player crafted weapon at the moment.

  37. Good episode. I like Liz, I hope to see more of her. That vista shot was beautiful. The episode had a really sweet tone throughout and it did feel like a kick in the gut when she got her heart broken. But I am happy to see them avoid the usual harem developing.

    Mike F.
  38. Is there a story for how he got that Elucidator sword? Or was there no mention of what kind of monster he defeated to get it? Unless we’ll hear about it in later eps. of course.

  39. Oh, and Asuna probably knows, but as you will see when they finally get into the main plot, it’s not important. Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Me too. Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Agree. At least I can believe that more than one girl would want to vie for Kirito’s affection. They’re not doing it just because Kirito is….wait for it…nice. *shivers*

  40. I think there is a world of difference between Kirito and generic harem protagonists… he has made a choice (Asuna) ans keeps the faith, trying not to give other girls unnecesary hopes, yet staying friendly nonetheless. I actually admire his skills in turning down girls without hurting them too much. This has made the show even more noteworthy in the cookie cutter age…
    To quote certain other great swordsman: “Few other griefs amid the ill chances of this world have more bitterness and shame for a man’s heart than to behold the love of a lady so fair and brave that cannot be returned.”

    1. I agree, and in fact I would argue that, when seen in published order rather than in chronological order, Kirito isn’t even truly a harem protagonist since none of the other females are even introduced in the main plot of the first LN, just the side-stories in the second LN (and then a couple others later, but they’re WAY too late by then).

      I really think the harem aspect is more a weakness in how the author presents supporting characters than a real part of the story. The author himself admits this if you read the author notes at the end of the LNs, he apologizes each time he introduces a new love interest and says he needs to stop doing that. It’s tongue in cheek but I think he’s a little serious given that this story has a VERY official couple.

    1. Also, in the LNs they explain that in VMMOs you basically have to play your gender because it’s mentally damaging to use a different body shape long-term (I believe the specific example was that for men to not have their junk makes them go a little crazy).

  41. Hello !!!!!!!Sorry for my english i’m french !!! So,I’m sorry for Liz!! But my favorite female character is Asuna and it will remain Asuna !! 😀 Liz knows Kirito since then one day,and she confessed,what the fuck? Brief,Liz for me is just one more person in the kirito’s harem! 🙂 I am for the couple and Asuna x Kirito. *o*

    1. Ah nevermind, he puts the other into a different scabbard. Still, considering his sword is always on his back, the fact that he left Elucidator in the prime position implies he’s not going to use the Repulser.

      1. there’s more to it than that, you’ll see. Also, you don’t ‘see’ the items they’re carrying around. It’s a game with game systems so they have an inventory. At one point in the first LN Kirito looks though his inventory and if I remember right he explains that he’s actually carrying around a failry large amount of equipment.

      2. Sorry, double post. The reason for this is commented on by a few people but Kirito, being one of the two or three highest-leveled players in the whole game, has a very high strength stat and a very high inventory weight limit, and he’s pretty rich and has access to rare monster drops from places few of the other players can even survive in.

  42. Well now that was the last of the side stories, so we can only get more Asuna right? I think next episode will be the Laughing Coffin raid, or introducing Heathcliff. “Black and White Sword Dance” has to mean one of those right?

    1. Not actually, the title heavily implies it will have the first boss battle from the LN (which is cool) for reasons you don’t seem be aware of so I won’t spoil. And there is one more side story, but it’s actually set during the later events of the LN, so it will be later.

  43. Black and White Sword Dance next episode. Take note of the respective colors of Kirito’s Elucidator and Black Repulser. Asuna’s Lambent Light can also count for the other color.

  44. I don’t think I understood it too clearly in the first episode but from the way the anime is progressing and from the comments of some users, there are 100 stages with 100-floor towers in each stage? Or is it just 100 floors of one tower?

    Also, heartbreak is part of MMO romance! :’D…

    Though…d’awwww the girls of SAO so far are all so…*_*. If there were categories for “Best Female Cast” and “Best Male Cast”, I’d vote SAO! I’ve been so bummed out that the female characters come and go in the story, but the show must go on! Kirito is pretty badass too for having what I initially thought was gonna be one of those wimpy, pitymepls personalities.

    1. Sword Art Online (the game) takes place on Aincrad, a floating castle with 100 ‘floors.’ However, each floor is like 10 kilometers square or something, with at least one town (often more) and forests, lakes, dungeons, etc.

      In addition, somewhere on each floor is the dungeon that leads to the next floor up which, obviously due to where they’re going (up) is a tower itself. These little dungeon towers are never described in detail (at least up to volume 6, maybe a side story later covers them) and seem to vary from floor to floor other than the obvious fact that they go up so they must have stairs or floors of some kind in them, and there is a safe zone somewhere in them.

  45. Ohhh, I finally noticed some awesome BGMs in this episode. Kajiura Yuki you’re alive!!!!

    I really thought this will be a 2-episode arc because of next episode’s title but it’s a GOOD THING they didn’t spoil Kirito’s secret. The battle next week will be epic!

  46. In MMOs, you can’t just entirely dedicate yourself to your “craft”, say if you’re a leatherworker or blacksmith, etc etc… It would take too much time because normally workers have at least some of their own materials– hence, higher level items come from higher level creatures, which, indeed, need a high level to defeat. :/ Combat is involved there.

  47. I just started the anime ytd and finished at 4am this morning. loved this episode the best, i kinda want him to end up with Liz, lucky Asuna came back ltr on in the episodes or else i think i ship him and Liz. so sweeeet!!


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