「妖精たちの国」 (Youseitachi no Kuni)
“Land of the Fairies”

With episode sixteen of Sword Art Online we finally return to some of the aspects that the series excels at. Our new game for the rest of the season is ALFheim Online, an MMORPG built using the same systems as Sword Art Online but with magic replacing sword skills, environments that are somehow even more beautiful than its predecessor, the ability to fly, and a complete overhaul of the level and skill system. On top of this, we actually get to see character creation for the first time, minimal though it may be!

Personally, something about the idea of random character appearance generation repulses me – I’ve always been one to carefully shape my characters to my liking and I’m sure I’m not the only one who does so. Removing that part of the character customisation entirely seems to clash with some of the ideas that arise from gaming as a form of escapism – if you can’t decide exactly how you’re going to look in-game, you won’t have your ideal image to play as. I wonder if there’s a cash shop that allows appearance changing post character creation… there certainly would be in any modern MMO with similar character generation – you’d make a fortune off people who are unhappy with how their characters turned out!

While on the surface the level system appears to have been removed, in reality it’s only been remodelled – individual skill levels still exist, so you do still have to grind and level up in that sense. The only thing that removing an overall level does is require a different method of stat increase – where normally stats would increase as you level up, things like gear would suddenly become a lot more important if they’re the only source of stat boosts. Since combat is apparently based on athletic ability, Kirito will now have a chance to show off the magical ninja skills he learnt while in a coma and likely face off against actual athletically skilled individuals. Truth be told, it seems like an odd choice for an MMO system – you could potentially alienate a large portion of your user base by requiring a baseline of athletic skill to actually be competent in battle. The introduction of magic seems like a potentially good counterbalance to this though – I imagine very little is required in terms of athletics to send fireballs hurtling at your foes. Flight is also a nice addition since it adds a whole new dimension to combat and strategy (and the opportunity to see Kirito repeatedly land on his head).

Along with this new world, we have a couple of new avatars and the return of an ‘old favourite’ – Yui. I can already see the gaping divide of opinion forming over her return. While I personally have no huge issues with Yui, I know many people apparently do. On the plus side her role is that of a guide fairy and there’s probably no feasible way she could ever be worse than Navi. Our new characters come in the form of Recon (Murase Ayumu), who seems to fall a little under the latter category of player I mentioned above – the less athletically inclined type, and Lyfa who isn’t even given a separate seiyuu entry in the credits. Unlike Recon, she appears to be skilled in combat, holding her own against her attackers up until Kirito appears and perceives a damsel in distress.

It’s a little ironic that Kirito was called a Beater (beta x cheater) all through his time in Sword Art Online, only to actually become a cheater in ALFheim Online. Were it not for the fact his only purpose in the game is to rescue Asuna, I’d like to imagine he’d be honest enough to turn himself in to a GM and have them fix his glitched stats rather than continuing to exploit them. As it stands, he immediately became one of the strongest players in the game only seconds after starting. The battle scenes certainly set the tone for things to come with how easily Kirito brushes aside other players as little more than annoyances.

There’s also a little bit of comedy here and there, with the story of the group who tried to fly to the top of the tree (more of these stories should be included – they’re actually fairly entertaining) taking the fore and Kirito’s momentary panic at being unable to get his menu to appear following closely behind. Getting stuck in yet another MMO without a log out button… now that would be bad luck! In complete contrast, we also have the attempts at sentimentalism on Yui’s reappearance. I didn’t find the flashbacks particularly effective and don’t really see why they needed to be included, but perhaps others did.

tl;dr: @MoombaDS – After an episode in the real world, #SAO throws us back into a new MMORPG!

Random thoughts:

  • It was pretty awesome seeing Egil’s bar, empty though it was. You know what would have been a really effective scene at some point in the episodes since clearing the game? Klein finally getting a pizza. The poor guy has waited two years for that pizza and we’ve been on the edges of our seats with him!
  • I’m a little surprised that the government never confiscated the microwave death helmets that kept the victims of SAO hostage for two years. Who knows whether they could be used to do something similar again. At the very least, I hope they removed the battery!
  • Maybe it was my imagination, but the music this episode seems a lot more Kajiura than it has been up to this point.
  • Of course Kirito just happens to pick the race that’s wearing entirely black clothing (minor edit because people apparently aren’t realising this is a minor joke at the expense of Kirito’s fondness for black clothing). You’d think he’d put more thought into it than that…
  • Yui gets a very minimal magical girl transformation sequence!

Full-length images: 10.

 

Preview

End Card

178 Comments

    1. Sugu and Yui are so cute I found myself at odds in certain situations while watching this episode.

      When Sugu was choking on that muffin all I could think of was “Kawaii! Moe!” because of her facial expressions. And when Yui was being poked by Kirito, all I could think of was “Ecchi! Ecchi!”

      (x.x) I need to get out more….

      Horus
  1. “Maybe it was my imagination, but the music this episode seems a lot more Kajiura than it has been up to this point.”

    Yuki Kajiura does the music for this show?!?!

    I would have never known if you hadn’t mentioned it (I’m sure you mentioned it in previous posts, but I must have missed it, or not believed it).

    Tre
    1. Well, you should have recognized Kajiura’s music with all those themes with chorus. Actually one of the themes during the Skull reaper fight sounded so similar to one from Xenosaga, that it’s almost a copy/paste.

      Kamui04
      1. I guess I can only really notice her presence when the show launches a consecutive attack of seriously epic boss battle themes. Now that I look back, I see it, but there wasn’t enough grandiosity in the music in this show for me to notice it on my own (or it’s more like there aren’t enough action sequences to fit them in).

        Tre
    1. She is; her voice and typical plot progression confirms it. I’m betting the old switcharoo happens as well where Leafa/Sugu falls in love with Kirito, finds out Kirito is her onii-chan, and suffers another epic heartbreak a la Lisbeth. She’ll get over it though. Hopefully I’m wrong and Sugu would give Asuna a run for her money. Then again, Yui might object.

      I want a Yui pixie…

      Beedle
    2. If she is, it would be a really dumb and incoherent plot turn.

      who in ther right mind would put one of those helmets on after having some one close to you in a coma for two years.
      Also, she was outside of the house before he logged into the game. The girl being chased was already in there playing with a friend.

      It wouls make sense for Sugu to come in and help later on after he confirms that Asuna is there.

      Trunkmonkey
    3. I would be supremely shocked if she wasn’t. She has the same sword stance as a Kendo fighter and even uses the characteristic calls for her attacks.
      It’s a far cry from saying “I hate her!” but I just find her character up to now largely an annoyance; she pines for her brother – ew. Err, sorry… her cousin. Wait. No, still ew. – she practices Kendo, aaand… that’s about it? Seriously, she seems to have no other personality outside of that. I liked how she comforted Kirito, but aside from that I just see her so far as a hopeless suitor for our hero. Hope her role expands beyond these constraints soon. I want to like her.

      While I never bought into Yui’s heart-tugging, saccharine sweet place in the story, I still found myself liking her a little bit. More than that I liked Kirito and Asuna’s perception of her being their surrogate child in their real-in-an-unreal-world relationship, so her reunion with her “Daddy” was rather sweet.

  2. FYI, here the nine races of ALfheim Online:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Saturo
  3. One of the main reasons I put up with SAO’s shortcomings was because I really liked the aspect of an MMO focused solely around weapons skills, with no magic involved at all.

    I’ve still really enjoyed SAO thus far, but I’ll remain sceptical of this next arc for the time being. Not really a huge fan of high-fantasy. Especially when it involves pointy ears and fairy wings.

    herpderp
      1. Boob Grab is a standard skill for harem male leads! Kinda surprised he wasn’t in a position to grope anyone else, though. He’s nowhere near Rito’s god tier XD

        What else does Kirito grab? I can’t recall Kirito grabbing or groping anything else unconsciously or out of reflex.

        Beedle
  4. “I didn’t find the flashbacks particularly effective and don’t really see why they needed to be included, but perhaps others did.”

    The flashback annoyed the heck out of me. I felt the time spent could have been used for new content. More fighting and boss battles, demmit!

    “Of course Kirito just happens to pick the race that’s wearing entirely black clothing. You’d think he’d put more thought into it than that…”

    I think Kirito chose that race because of the black clothing…

    Anywho, it does feel really cheap that Kirito suddenly gets maxed out stats but I guess, this way, Kirito can blitz through the game as he heads towards Asuna. Still, wouldn’t other players wonder how this obvious newbie is so overpowered?

    Beedle
    1. A thought just hit me after thinking about Kirito’s convenient level-up: can’t Kirito gather Klein (and his crew) and Egil to storm through the game? That would be rather epic (though unlikely, given that it would diminish Kirito’s efforts to save Asuna).

      Beedle
      1. It might be so. But unfortunately, Agil and Klein both do have real world priorities to take care of now. They are working adults after all. Kirito has alot of time now cuz…
        Show Spoiler ▼

        Euzio
  5. In the LN I believe you could decide your looks in the game but Kirito decided to go random so no one from SAO especially his evil nemesis that praised him as Hero-kun would recognize him ingame. The next arc however does feature character randomization and its a big part of it as people sell their accounts containing rare or cool looking characters.

    1. Pretty sure the character name Kirito set off tons of alarm if his evil nemesis were to see it. But then again, I won’t like it as much if Kirito uses a different name and I have to remember OH RIGHT< XXXX is Kirito's IGN.

    2. Iirc in the LN you could pay extra to customize your appearance. As for Kirito’s name in SAO it was spelled with Roman alphabet and in ALO he decided to spell it in Katakana or something.

      Kamui04
  6. I was actually let down by the level of animation in this episode. During the fight scenes, it felt like they skimped on the frames, as if a person could move from point A to point B without moving a muscle. Also their movements felt slower than usual.

    Granted, maybe that’s what mid-air fighting in a game would look like, without a ground for people to brace themselves on or push off of.

    However, I can’t shake the feeling that it would be nice if they took a page from some of the better Gundams or Code Geass in making human-shaped objects fighting in the air more dynamic.

    Rasen
  7. Yay!! Adaptation good so far! The arc I really loved~ And which a bunch of people think is one of the least interesting arcs~ I hope that the fight scenes are animated well – in a way there feels like more fight scenes in the LN in this arc than SAO. 9 episodes to go.. I hope the story is paced well!

    acolyte
    1. You know, why is that every arc so far, people say that it was “the least interesting” arc?? Seriously people, go back to pervious comments for past episodes and voila, you will inevitably find people who read LN commenting that the arc was the least interesting and would get better. Now I am NOT picking on acolyte especially, but this is very strange.

      Is every arc of SAO “the least interesting”? Not to mention that it’s illogical, I smell a constant attempt to lower the expectation by saying this arc that is happening right now is the least interesting arc.

      hadouken
      1. Personally I love this Arc as well as the other ones that follow in the LN… but the anime its self is rather lackluster ,IMO, Especially if u Haven’t read the story there’s Alot of small details in the LN that don’t transfer over very well in the anime and in all honesty its the small things that made the story for me when reading it..

        Naske
    2. SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT I’d say the reason most people consider it as the least interesting arc is because Fairy Dance is the only (i’m not counting MOther’s Rosario, which could be considered a Fairy Dance side-story) one where people are not really afraid of death. When you compare the SAO death-game, the Death Gun killer and the Fluctlights from Alicization, Fairy Dance isn’t that much thrilling. The thing I like the most about this arc is how Kirito finally have time to show the results of 2 years of putting his life at risk.

      Eduardo
      1. thanks, MasterDragonKnight. znail, they sure are in danger, but the main characters are fighting without a real fear of dying, and even these subjects have a special reason not to be killed

        Eduardo
      2. Get your spoiler tags out people -.-
        And I get what Eduardo is saying.. We’re not talking about the pov of everyone, just the pov of a -generic player- of the current ‘world’. Thanks for the take.

        acolyte
  8. I just loved Kirito’s Line in Egil’s bar ‘A game where you can die is to easy.’ I was like FUCK YES IT IS GO RIP SHIT UP BRO!

    Glad to see Yui back although I think it was done a lot better in the LN then the anime since its from first person (Kirito’s view) it comes off more impactful but either way nice to see her back.

    Glad to see Lyfa finally, can’t wait until next week.

    Anza
  9. i’m usually the first one to say revival cheapens a character’s death… but some how i am completely fine with yui’s revival… perhaps its because yui is actually data and technically data can’t die??? so it doesnt feel like a forceful revival.

    N0216332
  10. “As it stands, he immediately became one of the strongest players in the game only seconds after starting.”

    He sure did start as a really powerful player, but his skills are not so much related to that. The battle system in ALO works based on 2 things: speed of hit and weapon power. By raising, say, One-Handed Sword, Kirito wouldn’t deal more power, he’d just be able to use a larger variety of swords. The way he killed that Salamander at the end of the episode was related to how fast his brain processed information and produces it in the game. Anyone can get to a high level of speed in the game, being it by training out of system (martial arts) or playing for a long time. Kirito not only played for 2 years non-stop but also had the highest reaction time among the SAO victims

    Eduardo
  11. I’m just glad Kazuto acknowledges the “cheating” in his (glitched) stats from SAO transferring over and it actually was explained. If it just so happened to have been that way, it would’ve just pissed me off, lol.

    HalfDemonInuyasha
  12. This was most likely lost in translation, but he actually didn’t pick the same name. He used a different spelling for Kirito then he did in SAO. Japan has lots of signs with the same sounds, but different meanings so the ‘same’ name to us can be spelled differently.

    To add some fuel to the powerlevel discussion. Lyfa has one more reason to boggle at Kirito’s one hit attack. Remember that Kirito deleted all his old stuff and was thus left with only the noob gear for ALO. Kirito looks exactly like someone who just logged on for the first time, using his trusty ‘Rusty Sword’ or whatever it’s called here.

    Dark
    1. Oh to add “Athletic ability” was also a bad english-japanese translation i think, is more like mental reflexes(agility), in ALO what makes your attacks strong are your skills with specific weapons like sword, axes, ect(Kirito have all maximised because of SAO data transfer) and the speed of your attacks with are set by your mental agility, and people from SAO front lines who were training his/her mental reflexes(agility) for 2 years non- stop while fighting monsters are overpower in mental reflexes. Mental reflexes are important for dodge and of course to set your moviment speed too. And of course strong itens are important, and are the only thing Kirito is lacking at the moment.

      Dark
      1. You’re wrong when you say that the skill have any influence in damage. By raising a skill, the player wouldn’t deal more power, he’d just be able to use a larger variety of weapons. The damage in ALO, considering everything is based on: weapon damage, speed of attack, precision of attack and enemy armor.

        Eduardo
    2. Here is the quote from the light novel detailing how the damage system works, for those who are interested.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      MasterDragonKnight
  13. For once, I actually enjoyed an episode, because it focused on SAO’s only strong suit at this point: Its emphasis on game mechanics. Kirito’s fiddling with his interface was actually funny to watch.

    I dread when we have to go back to what SAO loosely calls “character development” but now there is a definite timetable of one week maybe I don’t have to see jarring time skips.

    The only thing I didn’t like was how Kirito was literally spoon fed his plot-convinent stats, but at this point its pretty clear SAO writing focuses on worshiping Kirito awesomeness. I’ve already lowered my expectations for SAO so maybe I won’t offended anymore.

    fragb85
    1. as discussed in other comments, the stats he got from SAO aren’t that useful regarding damage. Throwing a bit of spoilers, the only usefulness of these is that it allowed Kirito to get a high-damage sword (something it’ll happen next episode).

      Eduardo
    1. Kirito eventually changes back to his old hairstyle, after this arc.

      The main reason for that is because Yui complained his spiky hair makes it hard for her to sit on his head. XD

      MasterDragonKnight
      1. v8 – Caliber SS
        Show Spoiler ▼

        acolyte
  14. Kirito chose Spriggans because he did no prior research on the benefits of each class and just chose the ones with his favorite clothing.

    Also Moomba is right about one thing. The reason why ALO has a randomization character creation is so that they can squeeze money out of people who want to customize their looks. They charge extra to let you reroll or customize your appearance. Remember this game is made by Sugou after stealing SAO’s data.

    Suppa Tenko
  15. I just realize something! Kirito erased all his items to avoid the error detection program form targeting him, that means he erased his sword Elucidator and Asuna´s rapier Lambent Light since they shared the storage! What a waste!.

    haseo0408
    1. Come to think of it, Kirito and Asuna were married in SAO (thus share storage) if he deletes the shared storage wouldn’t Asuna know immediately? Maybe their storage was separated? But Asuna’s rapier was with Kirito at the end of SAO so probably it got deleted anyway. No use mourning over old items.

      Mashiro
  16. Yui is back~ My wish have been granted! =D

    Now with the scent of death gone from the plot, i wonder how the author gonna keep up with the intense atmosphere this show have been known of?

    PS: Kirito is like equipped with wall hack and auto aim bot in a game of BF3… I envy hate cheater!

    Bakaro
  17. Just a question. Is there any restriction on Yui such as accessing certain maps or a flight timer? If there isn’t, then couldn’t she go find Asuna and do some scouting while Kirito is gearing up?

    Shadiic
    1. We’ll actually, after the people who did that multi-stage flying method (to attempt to get to the lower branch) failed, the programmers put a boundary line that wouldn’t let anyone attempt that method again so Yui can’t really scout for him.

      Dualash
    1. If there’s a competition for “Cutest Oppai Character 2012”, then Suguha and Sawa from Tari Tari would be competing for the final two spots surely.

      Based on recent tongue-in-cheek “chichi kurabe” (chest size comparison) chart released by Kyo-Ani, Hyouka’s Empress and Chitanda would also be strong contenders. 🙂

      Kinny Riddle
    2. I forgot to mention, but it was said that Taketatsu Ayana (Suguha’s VA) herself is quite well-endowed in the chest area.

      And back to the story, as Taketatsu also voiced Lyfa, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out Suguha IS Lyfa, and notice how Lyfa is also similarly well-endowed.

      Kinny Riddle
  18. I was playing the intro of D&D: A Shadow over Mystara on my head when Kirito finally dive into ALO. For someone who is waiting for the return of Yui and Kirito to save Asuna-mama, nothing beats the feel of finally seeing this episode.

    We also see Suguha in action, and Egil too! Very nice episode.

    The Moondoggie
  19. Wow… I think I can hear Enzo/Anti-Yui mob sigh across the net ocean for the return of Yui.

    Sugu, why do you make me “Kawaaii” when you choked?? She made choking moe lol ^.^; Looks like me & croos-tan is on the same wavelrngth momentarily lol.

    I guess tht end card is drawn by kei?? Lyfa looks like Kagamine Rin with long hair lol. Even the colouring style is similar.

    As a LN reader, no complains here. They adapted it quite well this time around.
    I’d like to play the game just to fly XD Though I think I will get PKed frequently til I get the hang of it T.T

    IMO I think those elves design is OK and I didn’t even pay much attention to the elf ears… Those salamander design looks cool, Kirito wears black again (lol), and Lyfa looks good. So no complain here. And finally Recon face.
    Is tht a Night Elf I see there??

    I surprised tht Kirito HP is not depleted with two of the head landing…. Not exactly the best way to look cool…

    D-LaN
    1. From your Screenshot and Saturo’s Race translation, I got this (the ones in quotes are literally guesses)
      ----------------------Spirrigan
      ----------------Gnome____________"Imp"
      --------"Puca"__________________________Undine
      --------Salamander______________________"Cat Sith"
      --------------"Leprechaun"_______Sylph

      have fun linking the positions back to the picture…cause it may be completely wrong…

      another thing: this looks familiar…

      info600
  20. You reviewed this new game very much like a “current gen” MMO, and the mention of a cash-shop has to be the worst part of our current gaming economy. The best part about this show is that it can do new and unlikely things, far from our current comfort zone, and it works because it’s just a show…

    (p.s. – I think he just picked random character appearance because he doesn’t care, not because there was no other option. He just wants to save his damsel.)

    Colentas
  21. Yep, SAO is as immature as it’s always been like Little Busters and K. Something just doesn’t change. I’m off to watch Psycho-pass and Jormungand as I’m too old to watch this type of shows; enjoy the show, kiddos!

    Kenna
  22. Actually, I’ve come back to SAO following this blog entry – and wasn’t disappointed. The series is much better when at home in virtual reality, with breathtaking scenery and sword-skills showdowns! On the other hand I’ve already found some things that made me go “huh?”
    “Imported” skills and stats for Kirito… pretty strange, isn’t it? It’s like someone has prepared place for him – also the sudden dispalcement of his char from starting town into wilderness. Also, I was pretty sure that name “Kirito” would have been already taken! Yui getting “decompressed”, and then, “transcoded” to local system was suspiciously easy, too!
    As a tiny pixie she’s even more cute than usual, though!
    Other than that – Suguha has claimed a title of master of provocative poses…
    Egil’s bar looks like great place to have offline meet. With pizza!
    One last thing – for those who play adult VNs, Cat Sidhe makes for a good chuckle!
    http://www.animecharactersdatabase.com/character.php?id=11753

    ewok40k
      1. Because ‘Kirito’ is a hero. Just like some kid that loves hero X went into MMO and tried to use the nick X. (Not going to name anything here else I got butchered by anyone)

        acolyte
      2. Kirito is not famous yet. Remember there was only about 20 survivors who saw him beat Heathcliff, and I doubt any of them would be very talkative about the experience, Kirito definitely wasn’t. Also very few of the lower level players knew of him beyond you know general stuff like how Asuna was “The Flash” he was “The Blackswordsman”

        Xacual
      3. Believe me, saving 5000+ people from death is going to make you famous… if not legendary!
        Lets just say, hardly a MMO player doesnt know of Leroy Jenkins – and he was someoene who legendary screwed… imagine how much more famous would be the man that defeated the deathgame endboss and saved thousands of real lives!
        I guess the few months of recovery allowed the media hype to cool off, but first few days would have Kirito getting meddia aggroed like perfect tank!

        ewok40k
      4. It’s likely that the government blocked the media from publishing both real names and character names. It’s also likely that a large number of SAO ‘survivors’ probably aren’t that willing to talk about it. So all you’ll a bunch of rumors. In which, I’m sure, the ‘black swordsman’ has 12 different names.

        moridin84
    1. he’s not famous. only the people involved in the SAO incident know who exactly cleared the game. also, all the SAO players didn’t get any flak from the justice system because they were in a special situation.

      elucidator
    1. There is apparently some “death penalty” but, fortunately no more dying in RL!
      This also means much more PKing is going to take place than in SAO where relatively few people were evil enough to do “murder by avatar”. Also with inter-racial rivalry written into game scenario we can expect even open warfare…

      ewok40k
    2. When a player dies, they lose 30% of their non-equipped inventory (chosen at random) to the player who defeated them.

      But more importantly, when they die, whatever skills they were raising gets reset back to 0. This harsh death penalty is why many players would rather surrender and hand over all their items than risk dying in battle.

      MasterDragonKnight
    3. “what happens to those who “dies” in the game? The avatar is deleted? starts again from lvl 1? Back to hometown? the brain has melted?”

      Selpheed~~, you silly. They die and get spared from having to watch this show and suffer unlike the rest of YOU!! ba da bum tsch. ha ha

      Booya
  23. After going through the hell that was SAO, Kirito breathed a huge sigh of relief at discovering there’s actually a “Log Out” button in ALO. I know I shouldn’t really be laughing, but I just couldn’t help myself from giggling.

    Another funny bit was Kirito looking extremely hesitant to toss away all his error SAO leftover items as Yui advised him to, and sighed when he finally did so. I totally know how he felt, as it just feels almost criminal to toss away items in an MMORPG, especially those which you’ve spent so much time and effort into amassing.

    Kinny Riddle
  24. One disappointment I have is that the aerial battles seem kinda slow.

    Also everyone says that since Death is no longer the penalty of dying in ALO there’s no more pressure. There’s one thing you have to remember. Kirito has less than 1 week to rescue Asuna. If he dies, then all of his travel time to the world tree (about 2 and a half days) will be wasted and he would have to start over.

    Suppa Tenko
  25. My only complaint in this episode is that A-1 didn’t even care to hire another seiyuu for Lyfa. Seriously, while I was reading ALO back then I thought, “If this will have an anime adaptation they MUST have two different seiyuus for Lyfa and Show Spoiler ▼

    for the plot to work right?”. So much for that thought.

    Other than that I like ALO more than SAO at this point because the pace is more coherent and enjoyable. However that’s only for anime because LN-wise SAO >>>>>>> ALO.

    nagi
    1. It’s feature, not a bug! game probably uses sampled voice of player for in-game voiceover… Plus it is hint to viewers, along with sword style…
      It isn’t more of a plothole than some Magical Girls keeping their identities hidden in front of close friends or family…

      ewok40k
      1. You guys have gave enough clues for even slow people like me, to figure out the spoiler.
        Hope it’s not a big fun dumper. =/

        Man, i really should just ignore comments for SAO…

        Bakaro
      2. Actually the author never really addressed how the whole voice thing works seeing how it seems to work differently in each game. In SAO and Alicization everyone has their true natural voices. In ALO, it was never mentioned, but in GGO it’s stated that Kirito’s voice changed to that of a girl’s with his new avatar.

        Suppa Tenko
    2. By having Taketatsu Ayana voice Lyfa, as a non-novel reader, I was under the impression that Suguha and Lyfa being the same person is not supposed to be as big a deal as the Heathcliff/Kayaba revelation (voiced by different seiyuus), and that Lyfa will be confirmed as Suguha soon enough with little fanfare.

      Kinny Riddle
      1. Maybe i’m in the minority, i tend not to check the seiyuu cast list, just to avoid any serious plot spoiler. Using your example, Healthcliff being Kayaba came as a nice big surprise for me.

        Anyway, i already admit it’s about me….so ya. =/

        Bakaro
    3. Maybe A-1 should have cast a different VA like Sawashiro Miyuki or Nakahara Mai for Suguha. In the former’s case, I was so used to her Celty Sturluson and Kanbaru Suruga voice (low and husky) that I couldn’t believe she was Dalian (and I still don’t, to be honest). Nakahara Mai’s case is similar as well; her voice as Watashi (of Jinrui) is, to me, almost unrecognisable from her voicing of Musashi (of KyoukaiSenjou) and Takamura Yui (of Muv-Luv TE). Compared to these two VA’s, Taketatsu Ayana’s is, while very cute, easy to pick up.

      Having said that, I’m of the same opinion as Kinny Riddle, being a non-LN reader: maybe the Lyfa/Sugu reveal isn’t that important to this arc’s plot.

      Beedle
    4. I understand what you’re saying, but from another perspective, it’s more realistic that way. Why would anyone have a different voice than their real one? Kirito doesn’t in ALO. Most people aren’t going to great lengths to hide their identity (unlike Kayaba), so while they may want to change their appearances, it’s less likely they’d modify their voices.

      I’m actually more at odds with people who DO change their voices. Unlike my appearance which I only see when I stare in a mirror, the voice I hear when I speak is very much a part of my identity. If the voice coming out of my mouth was suddenly that of a teenage girl’s, that would just be discombobulating.

      Incidentally, Lyfa’s identity was never a secret in the LN. The only secret was how long it takes for Kirito and Lyfa to learn each other’s identities.

      Rasen
      1. But it could be that kind of anime. “You think you’re so clever, having read the LN or heard the voice and saw the sword. THBTTTTTTTTTTTTTT”

        Campione didn’t seem to have any compunction about this.

        Rasen
  26. Kawahara posted on his twitter that all NerveGears where confiscated but Kirito could keep his own as part of the deal for information about Asuna.

    Which explains why KIrito has his haxed stats, and why he is only one who is able to have them because he is only one with NerveGear.

    Tranquin
    1. It would make sense that Kirito would want to keep his NerveGear. After all, Yui is saved in the external drive of his NerveGear, and there was no way he is going to hand over his daughter.

      MasterDragonKnight
      1. Ha thanks that’s new info. I didn’t know the NerveGears got confiscated. I only took it as it gained status as a taboo item and noone wants to ever use it.
        On Kirito’s side, the LN make it sound like he doesn’t have enough spare cash (allowance) and he desperately need to assess the situation to gather information about Asuna.
        Even I shivered a bit when Kirito was thinking of putting on the NerveGear. It’s basically a piece of metal full of bad memories and trauma.

        acolyte
  27. If anyone is wondering
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Flanders
  28. Moomba, I believe that in most of the SAO Cardinal System MMOs that have random character generation, you can pay extra for more options in character creation. Also, in some of those games (like GGO), the randomly generated character can be very lucrative since you can be given a rare body-type that people are willing to buy off you. You can then sell your character and make a new one. Kirito gets at least one or two offers for his character in GGO because of its extreme rarity.

    AureateFlux
  29. How well is this story working? The ALO storyline (well, all of the storylines in this set of novels, but this one in particular) was highly dependent on the internal thoughts of the various characters in order to make things make sense. What I’ve seen of the anime, on the other hand, only gives us an external view, without revealing what the characters are thinking bodily and conversational cues. I question how well things can really be conveyed without the windows into people’s feelings that we have in the novels.

    Wanderer
    1. You can. I’m not sure if I’m allowed tell you where specifically, but Google sword art online novel, and follow the first link.

      As a note, I would strongly suggest that, after reading through chapter 3 of the first novel, you scroll down on the index page and read the Aria in the Starless Night side story before continuing further.

      Wanderer
  30. Sword Art Online introduces a new world of adventure, though one barring the threat of death, in this entertaining episode.

    Alfheim Online is certainly a much different beast than Sword Art Online. With more of an actual in game mythology, different races to play as, actual real life skills replacing Sword Skills, and of course the ability to fly high in the skies, Alfheim Online offers a much more varied experience than its predecessor. Of course this is only a small introduction into the world, and I’m sure there’s much more to ALO than what we’ve seen so far.

    I love how Kirito remarked about the irony in that he really is cheating in ALO. Being the gamer that Kirito is, I’m sure he would prefer to play ALO fairly and learn from experience instead of waltzing through it, if only the circumstances gave him the time to do so. He doesn’t have two years like he did in Sword Art Online, only a few days, which does not leave him the time to work from the ground up and become the ALO equivalent of the Black Swordsman to reach the World Tree. Luckily through an unforseen design component, he’s able to carry over his stats from SAO, making his new Kirito a “new game Plus” version, and providing him with a means of skipping pointless level grinding. Of course, all the strength that provides is no substitute for actual game experience which may leave Kirito at some disadvantage against other ALO players.

    I welcome back wholeheartedly Mahou Shoujo… oh wait, wrong genre. Anyways, it’s nice to see Yui back. I found her very cute and endearing in her arc during the SAO half, and as such I don’t really have any problem with her coming back. I look forward to her future interactions with Kirito and to see her character further fleshed out now that she has left Sword Art Online.

    Our newest addition to the cast, Lyfa, intrigues me quite a bit. She seems to be a veteran player, judging from her skills against the players attacking her and her attitude towards them. Arguably she might be able to give Kirito a run for his money since she may have a better handling of the games mechanics than he does. I’ll have to see more from her before I decide whether she’s a worthy addition to Kirito’s harem, but so far she’s looking like a good candidate.

    This was good introduction into the world of Alfheim, and I look forward to seeing more of it as Kirito journeys to save Asuna.

    Frontier

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