「黒と白の剣舞」 (Kuro to Shiro no Kenbu)
“The Sword Dance of White and Black”
There’s something rather meta about blogging SAO while playing Guild Wars 2. It’s rather an odd feeling to – oh god they’re at the gates again – uh… anyway, where was I? Oh, it’s rather an odd feeling to be writing impressions about a story set within an MMO while playing one at the same time. All MMOs share core similarities, – I think I’ve been over this at least once before – which extend not only to the systems but also to the players themselves. Kuradeel (Yusa Kouji) – who looks a lot uglier (and a bit older) than I always imagined (though I think this look does him justice) – is a type of player who is not entirely uncommon. In fact, he’s a type of person who is not particularly rare either (especially not in anime). That guy who hangs around the cute girl – whether because he was ordered to as protection or just because he chooses to, – likely has feelings for her, and is eventually cast aside without a second thought… I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve seen it both in and outside of fiction. He’s that sort of slimy character who’s incredibly vain despite not being particularly attractive (his sword broke because it was more a vanity piece than for practicality. Actually, Kirito could be argued to use a lot of vanity items – just look at the variations of black trenchcoats he wears – but he has the benefit of being the MC so they ‘just happen’ to come with uber stats. Funny how that works huh?) and you just know that he’s not the type who will let that sort of insult go.
Super rare pop monsters are another staple of most great MMOs – there’s that rush that comes from lurking in an area where one will spawn (usually referred to as ‘camping’), killing it, and hoping for an awesome drop. Especially with those ridiculously rare, long respawn-timer types such as the Ragout Rabbit. I’m actually a little surprised that no-one else was camping him given how much the meat is worth and the ease of the kill. Or perhaps there was someone hiding behind the scenes watching in horror as Kirito appeared from nowhere at just the right time to steal his prize. Who knows! It happens. Had I been in Kirito’s shoes, I would almost certainly have elected to sell the meat – even if you seem to be set financially, you never know when you might need those extra funds. Heck, he could probably have bought a house just like Asuna’s with it!
However, choosing not to sell the meat gives us the perfect opportunity to spend some time with the ever-adorable Asuna. Her many reactions are priceless, just as Liz’s were last week! On top of that, the cooking scene was handled far better than the blacksmithing scene in the previous episode – this is what I would’ve liked to have seen done. Instead of having her moon over feelings, we actually get to hear some of Asuna’s thoughts on the process – how she considers it ‘oversimplified’ and ‘boring’ compared to cooking in the real world. It tells us a lot about her character – that while she loves cooking for the joy and the flavours it brings, she also enjoys the work that goes into preparing the food – she doesn’t skimp on hard labour. Strong, independent, skilled at cooking, more than capable of gutting you if you look at her the wrong way… she’s the perfect waifu!
I feel no surprise to hear that more and more players are losing the heart to fight as clearers. Two years is a long time and spending so much time with such intense immersion, it would be pretty hard to deny how ‘real’ the world may seem just as you cannot say with any true certainty that the ‘Matrix Theory’ is completely false. They might remember the world before, but it may have become a distant memory. For many, this reality could even be preferable – gaming (particularly MMOs and even more so with VR) is often associated with escapism, so after the initial shock, people could plausibly grow to legitimately like this new reality of theirs. Naturally, players dedicated to clearing still exist (a whole five hundred of them), but I wonder how many among that number are doing it entirely for the thrill of combat rather than the eventual possibility of clearing the game and setting everyone free.
To close, I want to ask a question. Those who are familiar with only the anime (i.e. have not read any of the light novels or manga whatsoever) – how would you feel if after episode one, the story had skipped straight to this point in time, completely bypassing the side stories (episodes two through seven)? Just a passing curiosity since that was how it was delivered in the light novels. I’d like to see how people who aren’t readers of the light novel feel about how the series has been structured so far.
tl;dr: @MoombaDS – We’re kicking off the main storyline with a bang this week! Lots of pretty cool action and some adorable Asuna! #SAO
- That’s a lot of meat from a small animal! Well I guess it’s no less strange than the termite that dropped a greatsword for me earlier today!
- Archer would undoubtedly approve.
- Kirito claims to believe that other party members would hold him back – it’s actually hard to say whether these are his true feelings on the subject or if it’s just something he uses as an excuse to avoid another Sachi situation. Alternatively, it could be a bit of both – it might have started as the latter, with the continued pretence eventually becoming a truth to him.
- I have always wanted to be able to do this. With pens though. Knives might be a bit risky. Never quite managed to get the hang of it unfortunately.
- Why would you hesitate? Ever? I mean like really?
- And thus, after surviving for two years as a front-line clearer, Kirito died, slain by an angry girl. There’s a lesson here folks.