「紅の殺意」 (Aka no Satsui)
“Crimson Killing Intent”

Noooo after all this time, they didn’t use the line about ‘love breaking the bounds of the dexterity stat!’ I’ve literally been waiting this entire run for it so I could laugh at the absurdities Kawahara Reki frequently writes into his stories. I mean really, just imagine gaming if strong feelings could influence and surpass the stats. That would be entirely broken. Oh well, I guess it’s actually a positive since that whole concept was kind of stupid. Better to just sidestep the issue entirely. After all, there was nothing to suggest that Asuna couldn’t run the distance once she knew there was something up, only Kawahara’s decision to try and pull a ‘love conquers all‘ moment.

Setting that aside, we have our second unique skill user this episode. Heathcliff, leader of the Knights of the Blood Oath, has what is possibly the most fitting skill for his position. Perfect Defence is not exactly a unique concept in RPGs, featuring in a myriad of forms, particularly in the MMORPG genre. It makes a lot of sense for the leader of what is essentially a Knightly order to possess a skill so often associated with variations of the Knight and Paladin classes. His personality is also ideally suited for the style, as evidenced by his impressive duel with Kirito. There’s a huge contrast between the two – where Kirito is a hot-blooded youth, Heathcliff has the cool composure and calm of the older and wiser. He so easily controls Kirito’s movements, almost like a matador baiting bulls and casually turning them aside. At the last moment, that hot-blooded nature seems to get the better of Kirito – he takes a dive which bounces uselessly off Heathcliff’s shield – and he loses the duel. This would be the first time we actually see Kirito lose in combat. Truly a perfect defence.

On the subject of the duel, a duel which would have allowed Asuna to take some time away from the guild had Kirito won, some people seemed to have been concerned about why Asuna could not just have up and left anyway, without the need for this duel. The thing is, Asuna didn’t want to leave permanently, just take some time away. Even in a real MMO, without that threat of death looming and the need to clear the game as fast as possible, you don’t just walk away from the biggest and most powerful guild in the game and expect them to let you come back. It would be even worse in SAO since a lot rides on these high-level players within the larger guilds – they’re some of the very few people actually trying to clear the game. As we saw last week, The Army acts in an extremely militant fashion and it’s entirely possible that the Knights of the Blood Oath also treat themselves as their name suggests. You don’t join a Knightly Order and expect them to let you wander off at will.

To be frank, it was fairly obvious what was coming from the moment Godfrey (Ebara Masashi) thought it would be good training to take away everyone’s only emergency lifeline. Kuradeel had already managed to establish himself as that creepy guy who would be out for revenge, and what better time to do it? The revelation that he was once a member of Laughing Coffin (whose emblem is hilarious) doesn’t really serve much purpose since he was already blatantly insane and there was no discussion of his motives for joining the Knights of the Blood Oath despite having once been a notorious player killer. His plan was rather flawed though. I actually have to wonder about some of the plans characters in Kawahara Reki’s works come up with – are they intended to be as stupid as they actually are, or is it an oversight on the author’s part? We clearly saw Kuradeel’s marker turn orange upon attacking Godfrey. Even had he claimed that he’d merely killed the supposed attackers, had they already killed Godfrey and thus their markers turned orange, from what I remember this would mean that Kuradeel’s marker would not change after killing them. Therefore, he was already screwed from the moment he committed the first murder. I would leave this alone as nothing more than a character written to be both psychotic and unintelligent, but this is not the first time such a plan has appeared in Kawahara’s works. Nor would it be the first time such a plan was treated as a serious possibility.

I have a footnote here in the short sentences I wrote while watching the episode. It says ‘Try to avoid using “glop” and “two years” in the post.’ Whoops, looks like I just failed that one. Anyone want to make bets on how many comments containing either of the two are going to materialise on this post? I’ll be legitimately surprised if the first comment, likely sniped by an opportunist waiting for the appearance of the post, does not feature some variation of them.

tl;dr: @MoombaDS – Duels, death, and implied sex. An eventful week in the world of #SAO

Random thoughts:

  • Kirito looks like he’d make a splendid exhibitionist!
  • …wait… those clothes aren’t black! Did the world just turn on its end?!
  • SHAFT head tilt? Almost?
  • That sounds rather painful… hold up… what happened to pain not being a factor in SAO? Am I forgetting something or is this just inconsistency?
  • ‘Sorry, I woke you didn’t I.’ Dude. Poking people in the face will do that. What the hell?

Full-length images: 03, 17, 20, 30, 34.



End Card


      1. 16.5 is the infamous sex scene supposedly written under a different name by the writer of SAO. But word has it that it was not actually written by him so we don’t know if it’s true or not.

      2. 16.5 was part of the original web novel the author posted before SAO was made into an actual novel. I honestly don’t understand why people keep saying that it’s not canon when chapter 16 itself clearly implied the fact that they had sex.

      3. Sorry but it really is NOT part of the original novel. Can’t you tell by just reading it??? The writing style is completely different. Try reading Ch16 and 17, then read that 16.5. The syntax and word choice are not the same. The biggest clue is that there are TONS OF GRAMMATICAL ERRORS in that chapter. Can you at least see that???

    1. First: Congratulations to Kirito and Asuna.
      Second: Kirito when you tell a girl you love “I want to spemd the night with you”, what do you think it means!? Seriously, where do you think things were going!?.
      Third: I´m really sure I am going to die of jelousy.

  1. OMG I was squealing during the entire episode. Finally, a perfectly matched couple!! I would’ve loved an extended version of the fights, but it was still an awesome episode. And now, the wait for another week….

    1. YES! Seriouslly can’t wait for Show Spoiler ▼

      .. been waiting for this next episode or 2 since I read the LNs a few weeks ago..

      How doya think they’re gonna handle:
      Show Spoiler ▼

  2. Edited for spoilers
    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Do not read unless you want to be spoiled
      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. Kirito’s defeat in the duel certainly wasn’t so one-sided in the LN. Show Spoiler ▼

  3. I found it rather strange that it’s implied that they have sex on the very first day they start going out. Let alone at that age.
    Then again, sex has never really been portrayed accurately in any anime / manga I’ve seen so far, so I should hardly be surprised.

    1. Going out?

      The whole ‘going out’ scenario in modern society is stupid. They’ve spent a load of time together and just because they’ve only just made their feelings clear doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or strange that they have sex on the first day.

      It’s not rare.

      Kurisu Vi Britannia
      1. That´s true, what those two felt for each other was as clear as day to many around and even to themselfs, they just were afraid to say it outloud. So it´s not strange they had sex in their first day as an official couple. Poor Lizbeth, she´s going to have a meltdown when she finds out of the marriage.

  4. “At the last moment, that hot-blooded nature seems to get the better of Kirito – he takes a dive which bounces uselessly off Heathcliff’s shield – and he loses the duel. This would be the first time we actually see Kirito lose in combat. Truly a perfect defence.”

    really? i thought heathcliff had another unique skill that let’s him either move faster or slows down his opponent’s movement. why would kirito look so surprised when it happened if what you said was true. i was half expecting him to ask heathcliff about just what happened and how was he able to do that.

    1. same here. i dunno why what happened was just brushed off by the writer. im pretty sure it’s more than just kirito being all gung-ho and losing because of it, he’s smarter than that.

    2. Only read below if you want major spoilers/an explanation
      Show Spoiler ▼

  5. My feels:
    “Aw sweet a duel, this is going to be- he’s lost. Okay, he’s a Knight now, I wonder how he’ll interact with the- oh shit, he’s almost dead! Oh shit, his hand’s gone! How horribly ironic for the only dual-wielder! YES, SMOOCHES! Woah, sex, (oh, his hand’s back) that was fast. When did this turn into an ero- MARRIAGE!? MY SWEET BABIES!”
    Point being, they should have probably explored the story-beats, but that was one wild ride.
    P.S. Way to go, hiring an actual murderer as the bodyguard for your Vice-Commander, Knights.

    Bio D
    1. There is an explanation for Kirito’s hand-to-hand skills, although I doubt they’ll address it in the anime. I forget exactly what part of the LN it’s explained in, I feel like it’s a side story…but I digress. It’s not particularly spoilerific, but I’ll hide it just in case:

      Show Spoiler ▼

  6. Slightly different than how I expected it to be animated, and slight changing of the events from the LN, but overall worked out. While I, and some other LN readers, may be a bit let down at some dialogue missing, the overall following of the 2 chapters (or was it 3? I think it was 2? maybe it was 1? ol ) went generally straight forward.

    I did really want them to say “we finally admit our feelings for each other” when they were talking of leaving the frontlines, but ehh, can’t have everything right? 😛

    Overall, yet another solid episode of SAO.. I just watched up to epi 7 and then delved into the LN and finished up to the middle of Volume 9 😛

    I’ve already written it on some comments people asked, but I’ll write it in a direct comment.

    Only read the following if you want a major spoiler
    Show Spoiler ▼

    OHH and I CANT WAIT FOR… Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Dude. Stop. Seriously. Just how many more times do you need to include that spoiler in this post, giving away what is arguably the biggest secret of the entire SAO novel? It’s like the third time already. I don’t care since I’ve read all of the novels, but most anime-only viewerss will kick themselves over and over again after clicking on that spoiler.

      1. Indeed, it’s very “what the hell” thing to do it three times, even with spoiler tags.

        There’s a difference between people asking for spoilers and people who are just speculating about what happened in the story. It should not be that difficult to distinguish between them.

  7. “I’ve literally been waiting this entire run for it so I could laugh at the absurdities Kawahara Reki frequently writes into his stories.”

    “I actually have to wonder about some of the plans characters in Kawahara Reki’s works come up with – are they intended to be as stupid as they actually are, or is it an oversight on the author’s part?”

    Well, I’m in full agreement with you, Moomba, since this is (almost) my biggest gripe with the guy. Kawahara Reki tends to shoot for an overly-thespian and provocative effect rather than something logically sound. However, the end result oftentimes comes off as fairly silly or ludicrous, and that’s never good for the mood.

    My sense says that he tries to make them (and by extension, their plans) into something incredibly theatrical and absorbing, but it hardly ever works out and their actions often come off as completely preposterous or even silly at times. A good example of this which comes to mind is Grimlocke, who’s motives and penultimate moment in the spotlight were shaky at best, and that’s being entirely generous. Their schemes are supposed to be vastly dramatic, but they often leave you with a hanging “huh?”

  8. It’s been a while since reading this part of the novel. But I’m a just go ahead and ask. Since this is by the same author, the strike that Kirito used to finish off Kuradeel, was that something like the Incarnate Ability in Accel World, or something entirely different and normal in SAO?

    Anyway, as always, amazing episode. A-1 really loves to go beyond in the fight scenes in this show. But not a bad thing in the least! Everything else went exactly how I expected it to go. Yet ANOTHER episode exceeds my expectations.

    And Kirito should wear that guild coat more often. It suits him, even if he doesn’t think so XD

    1. It’s one of Kirito’s Unarmed skills, which he has almost completely mastered. Along with his level 96 strength stat, it is more than enough to deal a finishing blow.

      Also, if you look closely, the part he stabbed is under the chest armor, in the unprotected abdomen.

    1. That’s false. Something like that won’t work in SAO. It’s because…

      Show Spoiler ▼

    1. No, killing an orange or a red doesn’t make you orange, because they are already recognized as a criminal. In many MMOs that allow player vs player, criminals can be attacked without repercussions, just like this.

    1. I’m really disapointed too! I think that discussion is important, it could’ve made more obvious that they had sex later… also, why is Kirito clothed?? it’s so unnecessary and confusing… damn Japanese, so polite…even to disguise a nice bed-time with 2 people really in love…

      I hope that in the next chapter they explain a little bit more the “Marriage” system, it’s only a special type of permanent party of 2 where there’s only one shared inventory… of course the decision implies strong feelings between two players, but that’s completely independent of the system

  9. This episode went better than what I imagined in the novels (yeah, yeah, some parts removed, but hey, it’s an anime – they did it well!). Definitely an intense moment. It’s one of the reasons I was sucked into reading it in the first place – the love of Asuna and Kirito is just beautiful (the LN for me was never about the fights, it’s just the characters that just endear you to it).

      1. I’m under the assumption that they have their sense of touch in the game.
        So you’d still feel the sword enter your body, and although the game probably won’t cause the pain itself, your brain would still instinctively generate the pain from it.

      1. No. It’s still the same. They don’t experience the pain. Remember the episode with Silica where Kirito just stood there to take the PK’s attack? He did not flinch or reacted in pain.

    1. Also you need to take in mind the mental state of the person being attacked. Imagine you’re completely helpless and having your hp slowly chipped away, knowing you will die at 0 hp, every hit becomes seemingly real in the mind.

    2. Actually according to the LNs pain is mitigated. In other words you feel pain but not as seriously as if you were stabbed in real life. So the pain is light compared to real life and you get a sense of realism in the game.

      1. Right, there’s some kind of “Pain Absorption” feature that reduces the amount of pain you feel. So you still feel “pain,” you just don’t feel it as much. This comes up again later in ALO, where we see it being adjusted in various circumstances.

        So there’s still pain, it just isn’t as intense as it WOULD be. And there’s a sword slowly sinking into his belly. That’s scary enough to warrant sympathetic pain– the pain you feel when you see someone get kicked in the crotch.

  10. “At the last moment, that hot-blooded nature seems to get the better of Kirito – he takes a dive which bounces uselessly off Heathcliff’s shield – and he loses the duel.”

    Sorry Moomba, I’m not one to usually criticize others’ opinions, but I guess I have to make this an exception.

    Unlike we’re watching completely different scenes, it’s was practically acted out that Heathcliff was using some sort of auto-parry ability or another unknown unique skill that he kept hidden like Kirito has. Time practically stopped and he was moving like as if he was using Physical Full Burst from Accel World, either he had special weapon attached skills or special unique skill unrevealed yet (which is more likely). Not to mention his reaction to Kirito completely changed after the strike, his casual attitude turned stern and almost distaste after giving Kirito one last glare before he left instead of greeting him and congratulating him entering the guild as you would expect of his personality.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say it’s a pre-developed version of brain burst and Accel World, considering the fact Haru was looking at Nerve Gear’s information while searching for Naomi’s weakness. My bet is SAO was a trial version of the Accel World that came way into the future, and Heathcliff is probably as close to the first ever burst linker as they could get. (Not sure if the two stories are interconnected like xxxHolic and Tsubasa Chronicles, but if they are, I’d put my money on Heathcliff somehow connected to the origins of Accel World or even one of the first ever beta Burst Linkers)

    1. Kayaba stopped the game’s time using system assist.

      Also Sword Art Online is the predecessor of the predecessors to Accel World and brain burst.

      Read for spoilers
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Suppa Tenko
    2. You have no idea how hard it is to comment on something when you know exactly what’s going on while sidestepping spoilers. Normally I would say nothing and leave it to slide by, but mentioning his defeat was important in itself.

      Also wow, that was quite the spoiler fail from @Suppa Tenko. I’m only sorry I wasn’t here to delete it when it happened.

    3. I am almost entirely certain there is no confirmed connection between SAO and Accel World. I had a long and epic argument with two other people about this, including how that one side-story is considered non-canon

      1. Except the fact that the NervGear appeared in Accel World too. It’s the author’s “plot machine” along with VR online games.

        I still believe that AW and SAO happened in the same world.

        The Moondoggie
    1. The NervGear intercepts the signals coming from your brains into you body. So aside from accelerated heart rates and maybe an erection, there probably won’t be any semen flowing out. Of course they would probably also have wet dreams. The gel beds they sleep on break down waste and thus requires very low maintenance.

      Suppa Tenko
  11. I’m surprised that no one has make the Shining Finger joke. I mean seriously, Kirito’s [Embracer] skill is Shining Finger.

    While Kirito’s being stabbed, he says that he feels an uncomfortable coldness running through his body. Also if someone stabbed you, you would probably yell even if it didn’t hurt that much.

    Also I think Kirito looks pretty good in KoB colours. Its far better than his manga counterpart where he had a white cloak thingy on top of his normal black clothes.

    Suppa Tenko
  12. In reference to your comment about pain being a factor allow me to use a reference from The Matrix. Morpheus says “Your mind makes it real.” Also remember not to underestimate the power of suggestion. We’ve seen how that affects Accel World which takes place in the same continuity if I’m not mistaken.

  13. ‘Sorry, I woke you didn’t I.’ Dude. Poking people in the face will do that. What the hell?

    My exact thoughts, lol

    I’m curious as to whether people age in SAO, since it doesn’t seem like they do. If they don’t, then this is the closest thing to eternal youth anyone can get, which would definitely contribute to the reasons why people start giving up on clearing the game.

    and DAT end card.

  14. Action with unforseen(for me,at least) result,Betrayed by guildmate,Intense moment between Death and alive,and super cute Romance so Best episode so far.

    I was just listening to song named truly madly deeply and replay some part of episode again and again—>

    I’ll be your dream I’ll be your wish I’ll be your fantasy.
    I’ll be your hope I’ll be your love be everything that you need.
    I’ll love you more with every breath truly madly deeply do

  15. Defeated in the duel Kirito looked so dumbstruck… “How it happened?” was written on his face…
    It is good that despite all epicness of his skills he gets three important lessons this episode:
    1. There is always bigger fish – and in this case it is leader of Asunas guild (and now his guild too…), who makes a perfect balance of attack and defence. He might have some even more powerful tricks up his sleeve as it seemed he did SOMETHING to thwart his attack…
    2. There are underhanded, sneaky ways that can lay down even strongest fighters… like poison, for example. That bastard who tried to PK him came all too close to his goal…
    3. There are others who care about him and are scared not to lose him, first and foremost Asuna, and he can rely on them when he gets defenceless.
    Last lesson, while in a non combat situation, is, when you get girl all determined and ready to go all the way, you dont leave her hanging on… At least he makes up with the marriage proposal immediately.

  16. I’m starting to get rather irritated with a lot of the character models for this series. Too many player characters in SAO look like your generic anime models when they are supposed to look like real life people, or at least portray real life features. You mean to tell me that Heathcliff, in reality, looks like some 40 year old dude with long hair who plays video games all day? Or the dude that was murdered looks the way he did in real life? Asuno and Kirito I’ll give a slight exception to since they are the main characters but other characters in the game look just too “anime”.

    Also, I was under the impression Heathcliff cheated in some way which explained that sour look on his face after the duel.

    1. Pss, I’m gonna tell you a secret, it may come as a shocker to you, but you’ve actually been watching SAO the ANIME, not SAO the Live Action series.

      As far as the hair goes, it’s one feature that is customizable in game, but then you’d know that if you weren’t so busy wondering why characters in an anime looks like anime characters 😛

      1. I knew someone would react to my comment this way. Okay, take for example the first episode when Kirito and and his buddy looked the way they did before Kayaba told everyone they were stuck in SAO. Everyone in the game at that time had a customized look, essentially their avatars. It wasn’t until Kayaba told everyone about their situation and forced them to look as they did in real life did we really know what Kirito looked like. We were even treated to a comedic moment where what appeared to be a young cute girl and her strapping boyfriend were actually two dudes. When everyone in the crowd was transformed back there was nothing but generic ass looking people with plain features and brown or black hair. So I guess that little blacksmith girl really has “blue” hair in reality and all the “ugly” people in SAO have already been killed.

      2. Well basically they look like anime versions of real world chars (aka anime style) rather than anime version of game chars (aka avatars).
        So yes they’ll still be anime chars.
        Has a side benefit to the animators when they have to draw the chars in the real world — no change needed!

      3. I knew someone would react to my comment this way.

        Then perhaps you should ask yourself why 😛

        So I guess that little blacksmith girl really has “blue” hair in reality

        I think the word you were looking for is “pink”. Also, thank you for so clearly demonstrating your lack of ability to pay attention, I’ve already told you in my earlier reply that HAIR CAN BE CUSTOMIZED IN SAO, even after Kayaba changed everyone’s face. Lisbeth at the beginning as seen at episode 1 had brown hair.

        and all the “ugly” people in SAO have already been killed.

        Yea, because there are a whole bunch of ugly non-villain characters in anime :rolleyes:

    2. Way to stereo type people there. People playing computer games aren’t any uglier then anyone else in general. It’s also not only a case of Hollywood homely as both Asuna and Silica are considered top girls of the community.

  17. I never read the books, so I’m really confused about the part where Kirito loses his hand and suddenly gets his back. To me this seem really way over the top, and prime “WTF?!” moment. How did he get his hand back? Was it through the use of a potion? Did it regenerate? Was it a skill? I’m so confused! I know this is a game world, but is there a rule that says you can replace limbs within an hour of detachment? Can you even lose limbs permanently?

    This is crazy!

  18. From the subs I watched, after Kuradeel dies, Asuna says “I shouldn’t, I should stay away”? Is that correct or something I’m missing? Anyways, good episode xD. I liked how he got laid when he didn’t plan to do it in the first place. :p

    1. Yeah, it was quite a funny scene in the LN (in a nutshell of the scene):
      Show Spoiler ▼

  19. SAO only follow the HP of player, it reproduce the effect of lost limb but after you a pot or a healing crystal, U are good as new.
    Kuradee only cut his left arm, kirito still have his right arm to use Embracer FTW
    Embracer kill Geofrey so he was a orange. Green can kill a orange without any consequence

  20. @MoombaDS – Duels, death, and implied sex. An eventful week in the world of #SAO

    Feels like I’m watching Game of Thrones again, funnily enough Grandzam gave me an image of looking like Harrenhal when reading the novels while Starting City is King’s Landing.

    1. Actually, Asuna punches him but is stopped by the Town Protection. Then they get naked on the bed and have slightly awkward sex with a dialogue in between to explain how the SAO system lets them have sex.

      Suppa Tenko
    1. Wouldn’t have caused his color to changed. If they attacked him while he was green, he could have killed them all without changing his color, because they would have turned orange by attacking a green. A green can kill oranges and reds without affecting their own color in the slightest.

  21. -SAO Players

    Tired of getting beaten-up in PvP? Getting bullied because of lack of skills, Lag, or you just don’t have the time to grind for levels & equipment because you have your so-called “real life” that those other online gamers you think doesn’t have.
    Worry no more….

    Introducing Our Latest Sword Art Online DLC Package.

    “The Limited Special Edition
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Armor Pack”

    For a less than your average game price of $59.95, you can add this Amazing DLC pack to your arsenal of equipment so your desire for Owning everyone in PVP will be a dream come true.
    Skills? …You don’t need them! A total Noob like you can defeat a top player with ease.
    Lag? …No problem! With this Awesome piece of DLC that will never be an issue. So blaming your cat for playing with your internet cable will never happen ever again.
    So why endured other players bullying, when you yourself can do the trolling.
    Don’t wait anymore for other DLC that we will release again couple of weeks after this.
    Buy it now and we will include the Limited Edition 16.5 Uncut DVD.

    -Kayaba Akihiko

  22. キタ━━━(゜∀゜)━━━!!!!!

    The moment everyone has been waiting for. Mainly thanks to some misunderstanding and over-eagerness on Asuna’s part concerning the definition of “spending the night together”. XD

    In the space of 24 hours (Japan broadcast time), we’ve now seen AW’s Chiyu strip down to her bra, and now Asuna does the same with greater impact as she ended up seemingly having “done” it with Kirito and married him (online at least).

    Did Kirito just killed Kuradeel using something that looked like AW’s Incarnate System? Could Kirito’s “mind over matter” skill inspire the AW developer a decade later to come up with a similar system for the elite Burst Linkers?

    Kinny Riddle
      1. Kirito has a skill called Meteor Break that uses both the Sword Skill and Martial Art skill. It’s kinda like Ike’s Aether attack that starts with a shoulder charge.

        This hand of mine glows with an awesome POWER! It’s burning grip tells me to defeat you! Take this, my love my anger and all of my sorrow! SHINING FINGER!

        Suppa Tenko
  23. Somewhere in Aincrad, Liz and Silica went (O__o) (Oky I will stop here)

    As @Moomba said, its quite eventful indeed…. First we hv the awesome looking duel between Kirito and Heathcliff. (Why do I had the feeling Heathcliff did some hacking/cheat??)And wow, the KoB uniform looks good on kirito despite the white colour.

    Godfrey might as well have a bulleye marked on him… And Kuradeel definitely lost it ady. His plain crazy and creepy if he think his plan will work. (SHAFT head tilt not helping to make him less creepy.) Yeah just kill him off, no worries. (Like how they should kill Shido off ady in HSotD.)

    And I don think Kirito and Asuna did it lol. (Unless he change cloth bet scene which is possible…) And lo and behold Kirito propose to Asuna….. And I wonder how Asuna come to the conclusion of sex lol.

    So they r skipping the Show Spoiler ▼

  24. Action, intrigue, and romance collide in a very exciting episode of Sword Art Online.

    First and foremost, the duel. Kirito actually losing was a bit of a shock, especially after the debut of his Twin Blades and his owning of the boss in the previous episode. And yet, having Kirito win every single fight he was in would make for quite the boring protagonist so in that regard the loss was a plus. At the very, least he did get some good hits in on Heathcliff. Though just like Kirito, I am a little curious as to how exactly Heathcliff managed to beat him.

    I haven’t quite gotten a grasp on Heathcliff yet. I was under the impression that he was a more jovial and friendly guy, from how Asuna seemed to talk about him and how he spoke last episode, but here he seemed really detached and stoic. The only time he even showed a hint of emotion is when Kirito grazed him with Elucidator. Of course, his strength can’t be denied as Kirito had to really work to even get one hit on him. A nigh-perfect defense is invaluable in a world like Sword Art Online, and it would make sense for the leader of a top guild like the Knights of the Blood Oath to have such a strong ability. Though that doesn’t quite explain how he was somehow able to stop Kirito’s attack when Kirito clearly had the advantage. Heathcliff is a bit of an enigma to me at the moment, and I hope further episodes help shed some light on him.

    I expected Kuradeel would join up with Laughing Coffin, but I didn’t expect him to have been a member this whole time. Once he revealed himself, he went from creepy to downright monstrous, which surprised me since I didn’t think the knightly part of his personality was an act. As of right now, Kuradeel is our best look into the mind and behavior of the Laughing Coffin Guild. People who take pleasure in torture and killing, taking joy in the fact that they’re taking someones life as if it means nothing. Axe Crazy would probably be very apt in describing most members. I’m not surprised he didn’t think his plan through, since I think you’d have to be pretty unhinged in the first place to join a guild like Laughing Coffin.

    The Kuradeel situation gave both Kirito and Asuna a chance to shine, as Asuna’s status as the “Flash” let her both save Kirito and give Kuradeel a much deserved beat down. The only reason she didn’t finish him is because unlike Kuradeel she actually values human life, even if the life in question is a veritable scumbag. I’d imagine a person like Asuna would believe more in justice than vengeance anyways. Though Kirito, who values human life just as much, was forced to take Kuradeel’s to save Asuna. I can’t help but think that Kirito had always prepared himself for when he would have to take another persons life. His actions toward Rosalia in the Silica episode gave me the impression that after the Black Cats, Kirito hardened himself to such a degree that while he may feel some remorse, he would be prepared to take the life of anyone who would willingly kill others.

    But of course, I couldn’t discuss this episode without talking about the romance aspect and Kirto and Asuna finally hooking up. I though the anime developed their relationship quite well, from their first meeting in episode 2, to their growing closer during the Murder arc, and the culmination of their development in this episode. Kirito and Asuna have become each others physical and mental support in Sword Art Online, protecting one another while at the same time giving each other the mental stability required to keep going in the crazy world they find themselves in. Of course, that’s what any couple should be for each other and it holds true even in the world of Sword Art Online. I thought the kiss was perfect, in timing and execution, as the weight of what’s been going on and what happened with Kuradeel let their emotional barriers down and their true feelings and passions surge through. Both Kirito and Asuna needed that kiss. What transpired after was both hilarious and heartwarming, as after a comedic mix-up you don’t see every day in any media, the two finally consummate their relationship and vow to forge a new life for themselves in Sword Art Online. Ah, love…

    As a side note, the Knights of the Blood Oath uniform really doesn’t work for Kirito. With any luck, he’ll be back in his old cloak by the time he and Asuna settle down.

    All in all, a very exciting and heartwarming episode of Sword Art Online. I can’t wait next week for the marriage.

  25. A marriage proposal? Wow! My memory may be very hazy or maybe I haven’t watched that much anime yet with the main character actually asking for marriage with a very serious tone, but this is as memorable and as wonderfully beautiful like that when Tomoya asked Nagisa for them to get married in Clannad After Story. Well maybe not as dramatic and have a lasting impact like Clannad does but still…I love this episode 🙂

  26. If Moomba didn’t just took the words right out of my mouth (not exactly) I would have commented on the Orange marker and Kuradeel’s psychotic stupidity. But I want to add on how quickly/easily Kirito had let his guard down with Kuradeel just because Godfrey was there. I also saw that Kirito had two teleportation crystals and I thought he should have just gave Godfrey one and kept the other one for emergency (just like how he was an inch away from death). I am so glad that Kirito didn’t lose his hand for good over something like that. That is, blocking with his hand when he had a sword on his back. But I think it’s either he had no time/reflexes to get the sword or he just wants to kill the lunatic with his bare hand-who knows.
    And after seeing what Kirito and Asuna had gone through together in the past few episodes, I am happy for them to be together. It was too embarrassing for Asuna to jump right to that conclusion after dinner. But isn’t she sleeping without any clothes later on! Did Kirito do more than just poke Asuna’s face?! Would that be the reason behind the sudden marriage proposal? Ahem…that end card is such a welcomed spoiler.

    random viewer
    1. @ the 2 crystals: you’ll note that one of them was blue and the other is green – the blue one is a teleport crystal

      but the green one was the antidote one (Kirito yells at him to use it but Godfrey slow and fails)

  27. If there is but one complaint, it is that Heathcliff’s block needed to be animated more clearly for what it was.

    No spoilers, it is just such a big plot point they could focus a little more on it, maybe another angle? or more pronounced abnormal movement.

  28. Wow i didn’t expect SAO is R18/21 game…(where do i sign up? =X)

    Look like they gonna get married and “retire” away from the front line.
    Although, i think it’s a safe bet people won’t leave them alone for long.

    Note: I’m concern about Kirito mental health… from the start of the show it’s going down hill all the way. Now that he have his “first blood”…

  29. The duel was great. Its short and sweet, and Kirito finally shows that he isn’t infallible. At least Heathcliff looks like a decent fellow. I also liked how Kirito was uncomfortable in a guild. I can relate, its just like how a real MMO Endgame Guild feels different after you spend most of your grinding levels solo.

    Kuradeel was awful. He turned from a creeper into a complete joke. I half expected him to twirl his fingers like a Saturday morning villain. I’m glad Kirito killed him, Accel World already features an awful antagonist and I couldn’t take another from the same writer.

    Asuna was disappointing again. She turns from a perfect, flawless manufactured waifu, to a perfect, flawless, manufactured, LITERAL waifu. She would have had a chance to be awesome by saving Kirito. But noooo, she can’t be a perfect waifu if she could do stuff on her own so Kirito has to save her AGAIN! Feminism marches on!

    1. But Asuna did save Kirito. And she could’ve easily finished off Kuradeel in one blow, especially after she beat the tar out of him, but unlike Kuradeel she actually gives a damn about human life and isn’t a murderer. I think that’s more of a reason to respect her than anything else.

      1. You just proved my point. Asuna HAS TO BE perfect and flawless. So she fell for the oldest trick in the book so her man Kirito can save her. Any attempt to give her character some edge falls flat because the writing goes out of the way to make her guiltless and this comes at the cost at her coming across as incredibly incompetent. That’s why she feels so manufactured to me, she’s designed to be Kirito’s perfect waifu rather than the a strong figher that the show keeps saying she is.

    2. I don’t think it’s a matter of being incompetent, it’s a matter of being human. I can’t expect a teenage girl, a girl who hasn’t been established as a cold blooded killer and will go out of her way to ensure life isn’t lost, to just willingly kill a man on his knees. Especially after she had beaten him to presumably the red zone. I’d think less of her if she did.

      And their relationship is a two way street. Here Asuna saved Kirito from a situation he had no way of getting out of, even when he tried to remove the sword. Without her, he would’ve died just like Godfrey. Kirito then saved her afterwards after she had dropped Kuradeel’s health to the red zone which let Kirito finish him off. While in the last episode, Asuna was the one who was able to bring Kirito out of his episode when she was the first one to rush in and try to save the Army. If she hadn’t done that, Kirito might not have gotten involved at all, let alone use Dual Blades against the boss.

  30. As usual, each new episodes is flooded with countless reviews and comments, and from what I could read, close to everyone is happy about how the story is going ^^
    I really regret spoiling myself, I think the events seen in ep10 would have had a lot more impact on me had I had no idea what would be going on…but regardless of that, it was of course very enjoyable 😀
    I was worried about so many things being thrown together in a single ep (Fight, Kuraddel betrayal, marriage…), but it ended up being alright~
    I would have liked to see more things in the…night scene between Kirito and Asuna, preferably both talking in bed better than one stark naked and the other fully clothed…but that is just my personal complaining 😛

    1. You might want to read the LN if you’re looking for more “bed” conversation. The anime is a little different from the LN. Like the poking thing. In the light novel, Kirito is doing something else and that is not poking.

      1. Yes, I know about the LN ^^ I actually read the 6-7 first chapters but then stopped, thinking that I might not enjoy the anime episodes as much if I went any further… If the anime was any less good, I would have switched all together to the LN (I love reading!) but seeing how they’ve been doing quite a good job if this TV adaptation, I want to watch without comparing everything with the novel material. But I still can’t help complaining about some things in the end hahaha~

      2. I have to agree on you on that one. I’m also a fan of the light novel and every now and then the episodes somewhat disappoint me. Nonetheless, the anime’s good and I still like it.

  31. Does anyone else feel bad for Godfrey? I’m always a little bit bummed when a character gets introduced just to be killed by the bad guy. He and his facial hair never had their time in the spotlight.

    He should have been born a girl. Then Kirito would have cared more that he’s dead 🙁

    1. I completely agree. I like your name LOL! We can possibly be soul mates 🙂

      What I hate the most about SAO is double standard….

      Remember when Sachi died? He only went to look for the teleport crystal for Sachi alone, when other members of the guild didn’t even get much of a mourning. Same for this Godfrey guy since Kirito just went ahead and had sex with Asuna after the whole deal and completely forgetting about the guy. Sachi death is overemphasized in Kirito’s mind. Is it because she is a girl? Probably. You can’t discriminate in the face of life and death. “I want to know her last words” is not an excuse! That is why Kirito ultimately fails morally as a character, ignoring his Mary Sue tendencies.

      Kirito cares more about the women and interact with them more than men, that Mary Sue. He pretty much told Silica and Lizbeth (more obvious) to “stay in the kitchen”. It’s like those girls only exist to show how powerful and manly Kirito is. Then comes Asuna, he fell in love with her because she is the most dependable woman of them all and she will not die on him. That comes with its own problem. To sum it up, does that mean being feminine and not good at combat is undesirable to Kirito? Does that mean he thinks of those other girls as “burdens”? This seems rather obvious in the case of Lizbeth as she was the one who got in his way and resulted them both in falling into the hole in the first place. This goes back to the insufficient romantic development from prior episodes, at least in the anime, I never read the novel. This unfortunate implication can be solved if Asuna has more than just a tsundere, good cook and good fighter tag glued to her personality. Yes, she needs much more development. And so does Kirito.

      More information about this particular double standard, see here (do note that the wiki page for this trope is currently messed up as its editors are still trying to figure out how to rework that page, but at least they got the definition down, somewhat): http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RealWomenDontWearDresses?from=Main.RealWomenNeverWearDresses

      1. Now that you mention it, yeah, SAO is really a masculine anime, basically the male protagonist has a filter for just females.
        Show Spoiler ▼

  32. In episode 3 someone jokingly called Kirito a bot for leveling so fast, but now we have Heathcliff using speedhack. 😀

    That sudden pause in the middle of the duel (and the abrupt stop of the background music, no less) just seemed way too unnatural to me. I have my own guesses as to what really happened, but I’m agreeing with other commenters who pointed out that Kirito’s defeat certainly wasn’t a result of his own hot-bloodedness, and more of some sneaky trick that Heathcliff has up his sleeve. The scene immediately reminded me of a battle in Umineko EP8, where one side won by basically stopping the story in its tracks and ‘overwriting’ the entire battle from a higher plane of existence so it ended in her victory. It makes more sense in context.

    I guess Heathcliff must really want Kirito in his guild then. For what nefarious purposes, I wonder.

    The scene with Kuradeel stabbing Kirito again and again was a little bit frightening to watch. It would be one thing if you were risking your life in a battle against some particularly strong foe (last week’s The Gleameyes), but to be left completely and wholly at the mercy of someone else…even if the SAO system renders pain insignificant, I wouldn’t be surprised at Kirito’s screams. Asuna’s big damn heroes moment had me cheering for her, and the sheer look of murder on her face…oh man, I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that blade. Despite what some other commenters here seem to think, I thought her hesitance at dealing the finishing blow was a nice touch to her character. She still is a teenage girl, and as witnessed from last episode, not nearly as used to the concept of death in SAO as Kirito is. It’s realistic for her to hesitate when, through the fog of her anger, she realizes that she’d be an actual murderer if she swung down that sword.

    Poor Iskander. A moment of silence for the poor sod. 🙁

    Now to read the novel portion of this episode…

  33. I was wondering one thing: if emotions are transferred to real bodies with the helmet when they had sex in SAO, what happened to their real bodies on the bed? She was wet and he had an erection? 🙂 Anyway, good episodes. Too bad the next sunday i have to attend a wedding ;_;

  34. This episode is the best episode so far. It’s good, but only relative to the previous episodes which were not so good. I gotta give it to them for the improved animation and at least some notable developments between Kirito and Asuna, at last! I am gonna get a lot of vote-downs for the following statement, but I don’t care, it’s opinions. This show is severely lacking in the romance development. The author isn’t good with writing romance, just like the disaster that it was in Accel World. But like I said, this episode did well in that department.

    We all saw Kuradeel’s bastardry coming, it was totally predictable given his raging when he lost the duel to Kirito. That was rather anti-climatic. A boringly shallow villain with a petty agenda. But he did his job well to serve as a plot device to further advance the relationship between Kirito and Asuna.

    However, this one episode is not enough to save the horrid mediocrity of this show. I really do hope that SAO lives up in its hypes, which it has not. This episode somewhat has the right track, and they need to keep that up and do interesting things for the rest of the show to be truly special. A shounen in an MMO is not enough to set itself apart from other shounen. Not that shounen is bad, but this show doesn’t seem to live up to its praises, for me. It’s not a bad show, just not really the “big deal” like everybody has been saying.

  35. Nobody mentioned the Incarnation Attack learned by Kirito, which he also taught Asuna. This episode shows how both of them utilized it, with Kirito killing Kuradeel with it, and Asuna punching Kirito for being stupid.

    1. Can I emphasize to you, 16.5 is not part of the original LN. The author never wrote that one and personally I think that was just a story written by a fan. You can basically tell from the writing style. They are TOTALLY different.

  36. Whew so many comments.
    Nicely animated, for the worst/most annoying scene of SAO (Kuradeel).
    And great capture of Asuna & Kirito’s feelings throughout.
    Too bad they didn’t include the ‘you can really do that?’ by Kirito o.o I’d love to see that.
    And Kuradeel looked way too meek when teaming up with Kirito, but that gave a great impact instead when he went mad.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Also.. I wonder whether just before Kirito whacked Heathcliff last – did time stop?
    In LN it was just Heathcliff did a sudden special move wasn’t it? Was it the case that the animators imply, you think?

  37. No 16.5?!! LOL

    I think you have talked about it. But I was bummed they did not go into details this episode about the VR world. Like during the duel with Heathcliff and he obviously pulled something fishy. And Asuna’s comment about turning off the Ethics Button. I feel like that was good world building and emphasizing the fact that Kayaba really made SAO out to be like the real world.
    Loved the duel scene and of course anything with Asuna!

  38. To those who complain that there was no 16.5:

    16.5 is a “this is how it could have happen” chapter anyway. As long as we understand that they had sex that night, it’s all the same anyway. I know how you guys feel, but it’s just sex. Nothing to get crazy over… XD

    The Moondoggie
  39. This episode was stuffed with a lot of developments. The pace seemed quick and abrupt at times and thoughtful at others. The time constraint seemed evident but still enjoyable. What strikes me the most is that Kirito and Asuna decided to once again do what they gonna do in the previous episode. Thinking about it, this episode went through all the dramatics just and go in a complete circle. Yes, Kirito suffered his first defeat and even worse almost needlessly died at the hands of a lunatic. And yes, the bond between the Kirito and Asuna were made stronger through the experience, making it important to be shown. I still find a lot of flaws with Kirito’s character. This episode was essentially an epic fail for Kirito in all aspects. Though his prowess was displayed during the duel with Heathcliff, Kirito failed. Being poisoned and almost tortured to death, and even not understanding an intimate moment when he sees it…. I’m like dude, say “suki” already. Good show, can’t wait for the next.

    Side Note: Kirito felt so much pain being stabbed in the leg but what about the whole hand chopped off thing??? I think the SAO said fuck it, you’ve been in so much pain I’ll give you a pass on this one, lol.

  40. The irony about all the spoiler space fail here which reminds me of the Fate Zero comments sections is that now us non LN readers know that there’s something up with that guild leader. Even WITHOUT having read the spoilers. Its obvious that hes cheating in some way and the reason seems clear. Once again LN readers spoil the fun.

    If it werent for the naked Asuna lying in the bed I’d be sure that they DIDNT do it. That caught me off guard since she had punched him in the scene before that, thus practically ending the posibility of such a development. Well maybe well get some kind of confirmation in one of the next eps.


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