「グランド・クエスト」 (Gurando Kuesuto)
“Grand Quest”

And here it is, the moment we’ve all known was coming ever since Leefa and Kirito’s very first meeting. I’m not really a big fan of love drama in anime, at least not this kind. It always tends to go exactly the same way – someone gets their heart broken, there’s lots of screaming and shouting and then everybody goes their own way with a noticeably uncomfortable air. Knowing that it’s coming for several episodes makes it worse because it doesn’t even come as a surprise, and when it’s placed right in the middle of the climatic part of the story, that climax suffers too.

If suffering made one a magical girl, Sugu would be amongst the finest. First she’s forced to watch the ‘brother’ she fell in love with remain stuck in a coma for two years. When he finally emerges, she discovers that he met another girl and fell in love with her instead. When Sugu finally finds a new love, overcoming the heartbreak of realising her cousin would never love her back, she finds out that this person is once again her cousin. Not only is her heart broken twice in a very short space of time, but it’s broken twice by the exact same person. As romantic lives go, hers is pretty fucked up that’s for sure. Especially when you take into account that she’ll probably fall back in love with Kirito anyway since no female character is allowed to evade his charms.

Kirito has two rather large character flaws (amongst others). The first is that he’s incredibly dense. While it’s a general trait found in all harem protagonists, it’s still a flaw and he really is dense not to have realised why Sugu was upset at discovering his identity. Even putting aside the idea that his own cousin would be in love with him, he should’ve noted the possibility that she’d be in shock having discovered that she’d fallen in love with someone who turned out to be her ‘brother’. But apparently this part of the equation is unimportant (perhaps Kawahara Reki himself didn’t realise that possibility was there) and Kirito skips all the way to wondering why on earth she’s sad because there’s no way she’d be in love with a member of her own family or anything.

The second flaw is his immeasurable arrogance. Sure he really wants to save Asuna, but does he have to attempt everything alone? He’s already been told countless times that in the period since the game began numerous groups have attempted the quest in large numbers and all have failed. Yet somehow he truly believes that he could conquer it with no assistance. Even if it is just a game this time, he should have learnt not to be so stupidly reckless from his time in SAO. At least he did learn his lesson this time for once, pierced by a mass of blades… oh wait, he was going to go back in alone immediately after being resurrected. I guess his extensive flashback and words about how he’d taken ALO too lightly were- wait, why were they there at all if he was just going to ignore them entirely?

On the plus side, Kirito did actually manage to fail in this episode. It seems inconceivable, but he was unable to shatter the invisible walls with sheer willpower alone and he actually succeeded in dying this time (though it took an awful lot of blades to accomplish). The battle did have its moments too, particularly when Kirito was outmatched and overpowered, thousands of arrows raining down upon him. My only disappointment here is that he didn’t make it to the door to the next room, only for a popup to appear saying ‘You must defeat all foes to proceed.’ Now that would’ve been brilliant!

tl;dr: @MoombaDS – After several episodes of tiptoeing around the subject, Sugu finally learns the truth. #SAO

Random thoughts:

  • It seems an odd design choice to make it so that admin controls can only be accessed from specific locations within the game. What if something important came up while a GM was off adventuring and he would then have to run all the way to the nearest console before actually being able to do anything about it? Rather than the plot being built around the game, ALO often feels like the game was built to bend around the plot.
  • Now here’s a Kirito I might’ve been able to get behind!
  • Pain in ALO appears to be really inconsistent. Characters feel pain from taking arrows, having their foot stepped on and being slapped. Kirito doesn’t seem to care about the sword that’s almost severing his arm.
  • Eh? What’s this?
  • Rather than finding Kirito’s poses ‘cool’ as they’re no doubt intended, they tend to come across as comical to me.

Full-length images: 08, 10, 35.



End Card


  1. Light novels have changed. They’re no longer about character depth, development or relatability.

    They’ve become an endless series of proxy stories, self inserted into by loser Otaku and NEETs. Light Novels, and their exploitation of the basest of urges, have become a well-oiled machine. Light Novels have changed. Generic Gary Stu heroes carry over powered Gary Stu weapons, wearing dark and edgy Gary Stu gear. The wish fulfillment inside their bodies enhance and regulate their abilities. Genetic control. Information control. Emotion control. Harem control.

    Everything is monitored, and kept under control. Light Novels changed. The age of bold characters and interesting plots has become the age of predictable self insert masturbation fantasy. All in the name of averting catastrophe from the the NEETS. And he who controls the LN market, controls the anime adaptation. Light Novels have changed. When the industry is under total control, shitty self insert stories… become routine. Light novels…. have changed.

      1. Light novels…
        Light novels never change…

        Since the dawn of literature, when our ancestors first discovered the enlightened path with pen and paper, ink has been spilled in the name of everything, from Gary Stus, to harems, to simple masturbatory urges.

        In the year 2012, after a millenia of written conflict, the destructive nature of the animu industry could sustain itself no longer. The world was plunged into an abyss of shitty adaptations, and otaku fandom.

        But it was not, as some had predicted, the end of the industry. Instead, the apocalypse was just the prologue to another bloody chapter of animu history. For otakus had succeeded in destroying the world..

        But light novels…
        Light novels never change…

    1. The rise of Gary Stus and Harem kings has been steady of the last decade. For we have lost much in the times of competent and deep characters due to Otakus and NEETS given a protagonist which they can fantasize living their lives. Unfortunately in the anime industry, these people are the ones who are buying everything, this is the prodominent market and thus creators and LN has shifted their focus to these type of stories just to stay afloat.

      1. I don’t understand the japanese anime fascination with being blood relatives and if you discover you aren’t then incest is ok? Sugu loves Kirito because she knows its ok due to their not being a blood brother and sister? If you are raised in the same house since little kids believing you are brother and sister and you find out one is adopted that other sibling is STILL your brother or sister.

        I wouldn’t for a moment consider my adopted sister a love interest no matter how hot she is when we been raised as siblings since we were just out of diapers.

      2. @Magoiichi: Everyone is blood related to everyone else to some degree or other, whether you believe in evolution or not. The real question is exactly how much of your genome is it advisable to have in common with your partner. In most countries, with the notable exception of many states in the USA, even first cousins are reckoned to be OK. In some places, first cousins are advised to have genetic counseling before starting a family, which is a sensible precaution, but apart from that there’s no real reason to treat their relationships as incest.

      3. @Karmafan:

        My take on it is like this. Do you believe childhood friends can develop romantic interests in each other? This is just taking it from next door to the next room over.

        This is a person who knows you at your best and your worst, your strengths and your weaknesses. And vice versa. Despite all that, if you manage to fall in love with each other, it seems logical that this relationship would be a lasting and fun one. Versus say, someone you met online, and went out for a couple dates, only to visit their place and find a shrine to Hitler.

        And of course, it’s not like incest is a purely Japanese concept. The American midwest chugs out a news-story every so often.

      1. So being pathetic at everything while your sister is perfect (& you’re being called out about it all the time) is somehow the perfect life for otaku. I can’t think of any way to relate SAO with Mahouka at all.

      2. @Mega you should read the LN at least 1 vol before commenting. What you said is anything but the truth. It seems to me that you only read 1st chapter or even just the summary.

        And again, being a series that has a special MC doesn’t automatically make it SAO-family.

      3. And you are ignoring everything else about it except having a special MC. Should we continue this? This is rather subjective. I probably should apologize for even starting this i guess. Can take this somewhere else, since this whole thing not related to this episode in the first place.

      4. Oh how nice, I read up to vol 3 b4 I gave it up (which is a hard thing to do even for me). Yeah he’s special when he have his stick, so what. It was boring to me, that’s all. I wouldn’t put it on the same lvl as Index though, not that it means anything.

        Unlike Touma who didn’t hardly do anything through his whole series, it felt like they were forcing Tatsuya (or whatever his name was) to shine left & right, especially through vol 3.

        Anyway, how does this relate to SAO…

      5. @megas nah i am just commenting on the part you said he was being pathetic while his sister is perfect. While actually he got something going behind. That’s all. I can’t debate how one should feel about the plot itself since that is another thing entirely. Sorry that i was being rude in that post.

        And yea, this whole thing doesn’t relate to the episode itself in anyway. I forgot and dived into it a bit too much.

      6. It was a boring read for me but I think it’s only a matter of time b4 it becomes an anime. They already shipped it on Accel World and all. I actually wouldn’t mind watching it either. It’d easily kill 80-90% of the junk that’s on now.

      7. there is already a plan to make it into anime.

        Show Spoiler ▼

      8. I think a lot of people are going to be put off by how it starts.

        Show Spoiler ▼

      9. The synopsis for Mahouka is misleading. Tatsuya is an even bigger Stu than Kirito.
        Show Spoiler ▼

        Kirito pales in comparison to Tatsuya. So yeah.

      10. well

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Also kinda should stop this here since it’s SAO place xD

    2. Since you said this, no offense but i think you probably didn’t get to read much LN and only based your opinion around those that are translated/being translated on Baka-Tsuki.

      1. It’s true that the best sellers are often self insert and it’s not true only for Japan.

        In itself it doesn’t make something bad automatically, Fairy Dance is bad (not to say worse) but some other Arcs are much better.

      2. Translated good LN’s, you say?

        Utsuho no hako to zero no maria
        Scrapped Princess
        Spice & Wolf
        Rememberance of a Certain Pilot
        Monogatari Series
        Kaze no Stigma

        I can think of off the top of my head. Also, some SAO is actually pretty decent, its just that Fairy Dance is a very MEH arc. The GGO and the Alicization arc are very decent.

    3. obligatory “90% of *blank* is pure garbage” comment. To me, it’s not so much of light novels devolving as it is a lot of what comes out is junk, and you gotta sift through the junk to find the gems. It happens in any form of entertainment.

    4. While I agree that the otaku problem in Japan is reaching the point where it might ruin the genre, I disagree that all anime and light novels suffer from this. For every SAO there is a Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, a Spice and Wolf, a Maoyū Maō Yūsha. Sometimes it’s hard to find the gems, and sometimes they don’t get the recognition they deserve, but please don’t abandon an entire genre because of a handful of shows.

    5. @Anon: Are you a NEET Otaku on drugs on denial?? First you said light novels have changed, then say they never changed. Man you must have some serious bipolar tendencies or you’re just really high. Either way CHILL OUT! IT’S JUST AN ANIME!

    6. Um, not sure what you are aiming at: SAO is old. Like 10 years old. The after that we get things like To Aru Majutsu no Index(and suddenly, Anti-Gary Stu appears!), Gosick(which the only power is Sherlock Holmes power), Dantalian(same with Gosick but with the power of a LIBRARY!).

      So if you’re complaining that LN for these ten years have all been Gary Stu’s with harem and world shattering powers, you’re being silly.

    1. This is proof that you can´t choose who you fell in love with. Poor Suguha fell in love with the same guy without knowing it, she can say she didn´t know she wants but there is no mistaken with the Kirito charm.

  2. Not trying to be a character basher or anything but…I am so happy that you think that Kirito is way too arrogant! Truthfully when I watch this show its not because I think he’s cool…because I dont think he is. Its because the other characters and how much they’re sufferring from him not using his head. If he would actually ask for someones help then I would maybe start to like him…maybe, but I doubt that’ll happen…

    1. well if you look at it from his perspective asking for help from other players would be equivalent to burdening them with his troubles which i think is quite understandable given the situation.

    2. Who would actally belive him? Just a SAO survivor cuold understand his story and have the actual mental streaght to give it all to reach the goal, some people might be playing this game seriously but not as serious as Kirito because he´s really fighting for the woman he loves. Not waiting for anyone else, put yourself in his position, he clock is ticking for Asuna so every second wasted could be fatal for Asuna. Arrogance? Not at all, it´s desperation for not being able to be with his beloved one.

    3. I think it’s something he had from SAO brought over to ALO. He went solo in SAO so that he wouldn’t have to see people die in front of him due to his incompentence, he unconsciously followed that in ALO.

    1. I blame every Ep from 17 to 21. Seriously, the only events of any meaning could really just get summed up as “Lyfa is falling in love with Kirito”. What this ends up translating to is extremely long and redundant exposition such that when the reveal finally happens, it’s more a sense of “Fina-F***ing-Lee” and not sympathy.

    1. >Baaaaaawwww onii-chan won’t love me because he already has a girlfriend
      >Well, it’s okay. I still have that cool and nice guy I met in an online game

      Forever Suguha.

  3. Isn’t it a huge security flaw to have a GM control card in the form of a tangible item that normal players can acquire, rather than being directly accessed via a GM’s virtual panel? I know someone mentioned it was a “necessary plot device” last episode, but uh…

    1. I’m just pasting this here, you guys seem to forget it every time new episode airs

      “Key cards and pass codes could be explained very easily as well.

      Fairy King Oberon (Sugou) is a PRI director in reality, being at such high position in a semi-secret research institute (in which they use human test subjects) he probably has to deal with pass codes and key cards for security reasons, so being a creator of Alfheim online he just made familiar to him system in the game. That way he doesn’t have to learn a new way of interacting with virtual reality, which would in turn distract him.”

      1. I saw that comment, but I just don’t buy it: assuming that GM cards are not just limited to the research facility, one of the developers of the game HAD to have noticed that “access cards as items = bad idea”. Although it is true that keycard access would be easier to adjust to, wouldn’t a system that simply recognizes authorized people be easier? There are a number of options that Sugou could’ve easily adjusted to…I suppose this just irks me because it’s a terrible security flaw that could easily be fixed.

        As for the comment saying that players can’t access the consoles, Asuna managed to access the console just fine…

      2. @Zanibas

        Here’s a question for you, have you seen Sugou do anything in ALO apart from sitting, walking or talking? He does not comprehend (or refuses to) limitless possibilities he got whilst being inside the game, he is not even 1/10 of Kayaba, if this ALO Arc is guilty of anything, it’s the most lamest inadequate antagonist in history.

      3. Well you have to realize that Suguo isn’t really managing ALO as a proper VR game.
        He’s more focused on his mind manipulation experiment. He couldn’t care less with the game. And those consoles are like what Edios mentioned, it makes using the place easier.
        Plus, it’s not like players from the outside can really go inside the tree to manipulate the consoles. They’re already restricted as it is. Limited flight time, upper limit in the sky, difficult quest in the Tree. It was only Asuna who exploited the weakness in having a physical system in the game that all can use and she’s an exception since she’s already trapped inside.

      4. Blame the adaptation, not the source material. This was mentioned in the novels that things inside the tree were made like that because Suguo prefers it. He has his sense of aesthetics and wants to stick to it even inside the game, hence the keypad in Asuna’s cage.
        Most LN readers agree that this is a poor adaptation but don’t go blaming the source material for leaving out explanations for this and having to resort to assumptions.

      5. I’ve heard that reasoning before and I admit, I have seen that some of the explanations are done in the source material that haven’t been done in the anime. But the fact that there have been so many issues with the anime has to in part reflect on the source material has, not to mention from what I’ve seen, the source material still has his fair share of flaws and events that don’t quite get details on either. (Also doesn’t help the author has also apologized in some of his author’s notes for occasional things and that he’s working on more SAO to fill in details).

        I digress however. I don’t wish to go into a discussion/argument about the LN since I’ve only peeked at it and heard second-hand discussion, so I’ll just say that I agree wholeheartedly that SAO is a poor adaptation.

        As for the LN reader opinions, I won’t comment on that either, and perhaps it’s true… but the thing that annoys me isn’t necessarily the LN readers, but rather the viewers that have only watched the anime, and the majority that keep saying it’s the best series ever and has no flaws, despite the fact that this is utterly untrue.

      6. Yes, the source material still has its fair share of flaws and things that are hard to understand or even having lack of explainations(Asuna deus ex). But the things that don’t make sense in the anime, most of them are explained in the LN and that’s why LN readers try to say that it’s not as unfounded and bad as most say(and putting the source material down because of that). The main thing here is that this was a poor adaptation and really shouldn’t reflect back to the source because of the incorrect handling of the anime staff.

        And I know about that. I can’t do anything about it since that’s their say(I certainly am not one of them).
        But just saying, it’s not really right to diss them just because you think it’s a bad show. The show has glaring flaws, fine. You don’t like the show, fine. I have no problem with that. But telling other that they’re wrong from saying that they think it’s the best show just because you don’t, it’s not fine. That’s pushing your own opinions on others.

        But I’m gonna have to back down from here. I don’t want to go into this discussion and I’m not good with forming arguments for this. Nice talk though.

      7. I have to wonder how many complaining about the flaws in Suguo’s plans were also complaining about the lack of flaws in Kayaba Akihiko’s plans? Personally I don’t see the problem. We got one genious antagonist and now one less then perfect one. At least it’s fairly consistent as it should be obvious that Suguo isn’t as brilliant as he believes himself to be.

      8. I think this is a decent adaptation. It would be difficult to explain all of those details in an anime. It’s simply a difference in mediums. Supplemental material in BD/DVD releases or magazines could be used to fill in the gap, but you can’t take time out of the anime to explain everything. I think the only real flaw of the adaptation is the animation budget, but that is something that is difficult to work with as a studio so I don’t hold them to it as much.

    2. I agree with you on this. Isn’t having an option in your virtual panel to leave from anywhere in a game much simpler to program than making a virtual card that needs a virtual card reader? But they made it this way so that they could have an excuse for making that tentacle spectacle last episode.

      Just Passing By
  4. Amazing execution of the episode.
    Seems like they cut out quite a bit of the drama of the Fairy Dance arc, but the second half of this episode still has a good impact. They sure focus on the action.
    I was wondering how much will be covered in the next 3 episode (bleh and when the last episode air I’ll be in Japan vacationing o_O ) but the first half sure goes by in a flash.. All those fighting..

    1. Mentioned this in the previous episode comments

      Ep 22
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Ep 23
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Ep 24
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Ep 25
      Show Spoiler ▼

      So far episode 22 panned out exactly how I thought it would. The end of this series will come just before Christmas. A wonderful present it would be I muz say 😀

  5. Onii-chan… ROFL. Yeah, it’s only funny since we knew it was already going to happen. I can only imagine how a person in the dark would feel about this episode – All I have to say about that is:


    All of this is translated upto the nonsense in vol 12. Not knowing what will happen in a sad little anime like this is just plain torture. How where’s Sugou?!

  6. The lack of music variation is starting to get to me. I am a huge fan of Kajiura, but it seems like the OST has not changed what so ever since the beginning, it’s basically the same battle theme every time something important happens. This week was even more jarring in that they basically repeated the same song twice in Kirito’s fight (the same song plays in every fight to date). They stopped the song in the middle and restarted it in the beginning again to be able to have it play during the whole fight.

    Also, what is up with this week’s logout process. I thought when someone logs out (even inside a city), they have to do so in an inn or their in game avatar would just stand there idle. I remember that’s what happened when Kirito and Leafa had to guard each other during their dinner breaks a couple of episodes ago. This time Leafa’s avatar disappeared right away when she logged out, and they are definitely not in an inn.

    1. It really is disappointing. Considering the standards of Kajiura’s usual work, this is very poor stuff in comparison. It already started bothering me after the second episode and I get more and more irritated about it with each new episode.

      Once again I cannot help but compare it to .hack//SIGN, a show with a very similar premise and for which she also did the OST. The difference is like night and day.

    2. Till this ep, it is the same. If one never mentions that the music is being done by her, i would have never known. Literally feel like she dropped the ball after a few tracks.

    3. Well, it’s quite simple to understand. Kajiura realizes from episode 4 that a crap shows deserves no better, hence her underwhelming performance. Now she can save her creative efforts for the next Madoka or Fate Zero. It’s a good thing. If SAO gets a second season, I hope she turns down the offer!

      1. If you put it that way, well that would seem to be her fault largely. Since she accepted something she didn’t research all the way, and is doing a half-baked job because she herself felt like it is crap. If you accept the job, do it decently at least.

        Just saying though, i myself also think that A-1 is not doing a good enough job to deserve her full-attention.

      2. It is called “responsibility”. She could have turned it down but here she accepted it. Since she did, it IS her responsibility. There is something wrong with your thinking, implying that one can do wtv with their job because they will be paid regardless.

      3. Look, man, when you can only do so much to salvage something, there’s a point when you go “I give up.”

        Ask video game developers who are stuck working on crappy IPs that will never sell and will get bad reviews regardless of how much effort they put in.

        I’d rather they save the energy for better endeavors.

        It all boils down to SAO not deserving that kind of budget.

      4. I am anything but bashing her. I am just speaking based on what Passing By mentioned. You sure must have read above that , in the end i generally agreed that the show does not worth her attention. Just that she could have refused it from the start rather than this.

      5. I’ve thought about this/mentioned this quite a few times to friends before (about how there just hasn’t been much of an OST for SAO in general)… and to be honest, I think it’s just because of the way SAO has ended up that’s the reason–that there haven’t been many moments for her to flex her creative imagination, rather than her “slacking on the job” so to speak.

        For instance, quite a few of her more intense works revolve around battle/fights/combat in some shape or form, of which SAO has not provided much consistently or of any long extended duration. I mean, you’ll probably note that some of her better SAO themes in general were during the battle scenes in the SAO arc.

        Combine it with the fact that the first eight episodes were pretty much jumping around and changing the environment every episode with short scenes and a lot of transitions… there just haven’t been many scenes in general for her to do anything with for the most part.

        Of course, she’s definitely capable of better regardless… but who knows. There’s always the alternative where she’s just being placed under restrictions by the producer, or there was some kind of concrete choice higher up saying “we want music here, but not here.”

        As for the whole put effort into what you sign up for, it’s admittedly an admirable sentiment, but it’s not quite fair to say it’s her fault because she didn’t read the source material, as it can probably be said that many composers don’t actually have time or just don’t ever end up reading the entirety of the source material they end up being requested to work with. More than likely, she was given some basic previews and the premise, and made her judgment from that. What’s more, is that if you assume this is true, it makes even more sense the result that has happened because then she would’ve been caught off guard by the producers and their decision to insert the side stories in at the beginning… which makes it more conducive to just “not giving a darn” anymore.

      6. Point taken. I guess being caught-off guard is another way to put it. I know to make music you need the “feel” so i am not really meaning anything bad towards her. In the end, i am just a fan and somewhere along the road i was disappointed in the quality thus some complaints.

        Do hope she can get a better series to work on next.

      7. Yeah. -_- I think the term to describe it for me is that Kajiura was “wasted” on this role. During the time span she took on SAO, there’ve been quite a few other shows she probably could’ve worked her magic on easily. But alas…

        Then there’s also the fact this series seems to get 10x more budget than a lot of other series too, but I digress.

  7. “The first is that he’s incredibly dense. While it’s a general trait found in all harem protagonists…”

    I’m going to have to disagree, in my opinion Kirito is anything but a stereotypical harem protagonist. For starters the guy is an alpha male that is sure of himself and of what he wants. This is shown not only through his actions and thoughts but by the way those around him perceive him as someone strong and as a leader.This is as far as a typical harem protagonist as you can get.

    Moreover he is not dense, he’s just a (well meaning) jerk. I think SAO show that he knows the girls are in love with him (or at least like him), he just doesn’t care because for him that is normal. This is not some loser protagonist who wonders why should anyone love him; this is typical alpha male who enjoys flirting but in the end is committed to the one he loves.

  8. Sorry, but i can’t really feel sad for someone that fel for a guy she barely knows and who she only met in an online game. That he turned out to be her cousin who was never intereseted in her in the first place, made it just more amusing.
    This whole Suguha romance thing was just a failed attempt of forced drama anway. We all knew that she had no chance.

  9. I often ask myself whether or not you actually enjoy watching the show, Moomba.
    It’s clear that you have some gripes with it. It’s becoming more and more noticeable each post and I find it rather amusing because I often ask myself why I bother to keep watching, especially since I already read the novels.
    It makes for good reading material either way.

    On a side note I think A-1 overdid Kirito’s awesomeness once again. I think he had more trouble in the novels. The anime makes it look like he could’ve easily made it to the door if he had just concentrated on speeding through instead of showing off what an awesome fighting god he is. Or maybe using Leefa as a distraction.

    Speaking of poor Suguha.. well, it was bound to happen.
    I still scratch my head on the whole matter.
    Instead of having a genuinely interesting and thought-out subplot about a girl who tries to reconnect with her estranged brother after the SAO incident, the thing just falls apart and we get another case of I WANT TO MOUNT MY ONII-CHAN. It’s like people gave up on even trying to write good stories.

    1. I have been wanting to post a similar comment for a while. I am glad not the only one thinking that Moomba does not seem to be enjoying this show very much. Your comment is very well written, Access.

      @Moomba: you show try to speak more about the things you like in this show, instead of bringing out all the defects of the author, the main characters, and half of the show’s staff. Sure, it has many defects, but it is also an enjoyable show. If you don’t enjoy it, maybe you should stop watching it? I don’t know if you realize it, but you encourage a lot of hating in the comments. Such as this comment.

      I’d rather have Stilts blog this show. I really liked his “My Philosophy on Aniblogging” post. After I watch a SAO episode, I don’t wanna come here to just read all the snarking and borderline trolling comments. I want to come here to enjoy the show a little bit more and to learn more about it.

      1. If you think what I have to say is harsh, you really don’t want to be around when Stilts starts unleashing his thoughts on it. Certainly not a pretty sight.

        Go back and read some of my earlier posts, you’ll find I was far more positive when SAO showed much more promise earlier on. You’ll also find that the snarky troll comments and haters were present even then.

      2. Just stumbled upon this and gotta say though, if you really want Stilts to write SAO posts, that’d probably be possible… but as Moomba says… the results will not be what you expected.

        Really, I don’t understand the complaints about Moomba’s posts and how he says things, because they’re much more tempered than any of the other blogs out there–most of which are all blindly supporting SAO or blindly raging at them.

        I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have someone trying to straddle the neutral line by pointing out flaws they see and some occasional things they liked, rather than some guy who comes in every week saying “oh my god, SAO IS THE BEST SHOW EVER” or “SAO is the worst show ever” or something.

        But alas, it seems like you would prefer the latter though, in which I cannot help you.

        tl;dr – You may dislike some of what Moomba says, but he’s hands down the best person to blog SAO on RC. But I guess it’s as they say. You never know what you’re missing till it’s gone.

        I’m telling you now, if Moomba wasn’t blogging this series, it’s likely the posts would’ve gone into full-on rage by this point or been outright dropped a long time ago. So… still wanna switch authors?

      3. I dunno about Moomba being really negative. I really like the Sword Art Online series, I even re-read the entire series twice this summer, but if I were to blog an anime about it, I would probably nitpick at all the points that the anime failed to deliver.

        Nonetheless I thought this episode was a lot better than the previous few episodes, though there were certain things that could have been conveyed better.

        Suppa Tenko
      4. Suddenly Stilts sounds like a final boss!

        Well that aside to me Moomba is fine, he is just writing his opinion/review about the ep like he supposes to. I am here to see a different view of the ep rather than mine, not really seeking for an agreement. Everyone has different kind of take on things and if you believe/enjoy the episode then this shouldn’t affect you

        You should have seen Aroduc on Tenka Seiha about SAO~

      5. I`d like to read some STILTS HATE for once. Maybe in the double episode review format, Moomba being his usual self ans Stilts going batshit. Others may chime in too.

        Better still, make it a podcast.

      6. I would like to see parody-dramatic-comedy-podcast where Moomba acts as Suguha, and Stilts voicing Kirito, only because Stilts has experience being called onii-chan. *wink* :3


      7. @ Takurannyan

        That’s because I am the final boss, bwahaha!!

        @ Angry-kun

        I appreciate your enjoying my Philosophy post! It didn’t get as much play as others, so it’s good to hear that it resonated with some. As for how I would approach SAO were I blogging it, you’re not wrong. I stand by my desire to dive into the wonderful things about a show and keep the magic going for as long as possible, because that’s what I feel I’m here to do.

        …THAT SAID, I feel compelled to note that, with what I know now, there’s absolutely no way I would choose to blog SAO. Keeping the magic alive implies that there’s magic for me, or I can at least understand where it is for others, and that’s dreadfully hard with this show. There’s something compelling about the worlds of SAO – that is, both Aincrad and Alfheim – but as far as the characters and story go…well, I’m going to pull my punch. I don’t want to damage your enjoyment of the series. I’ll just say that mooms and zephy are right – if I were any more positive than Moomba, it’d only be because my SAO posts would be far, faaaar shorter. And even then I’m not sure I would be able to resist.

        That is to say, part of being optimistic and keeping the magic alive is taking yourself out of situations where you’d have to struggle to keep it up, ya know?

        Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that! Good luck, mooms ^^


        @ Moomba

        While that’s true, you’ll just have to figure it out. After all, I’m eternally everyone’s onii-chan! >:D

      8. I second the call for a podcast. Whether they like it or not, seeing stilts and the others talk about it would definitively be quite interesting.

        Not to mention, if they really do end up doing a parody drama of SAO, I’ll probably die of laughter if Stilts is in it. The things he talks about just makes me laugh my ass off almost all the time.

  10. This was STILL written in 2002. From 2000-2003 there was this HUGE crazy onii-chan craze where there were atleast 3 shows each quarter that involved “lovin ur onii-chan”. Kinda like what its is now. This show had huge undertones of that from the start to the point to where temptation was more or less a storm from screaming fans – but there were many who couldn’t forgive this for being the ‘onii-chan/uber MC’ version of its humble predecessor .hack which became an anime that year.

    I salute them for sticking with the novel teat-to-teat, even if the onii-chan stuff seemed over dramatic & extremely generic. But Sugu’s rant would have still been deemed over the top even by 2002’s standards.

    1. I have to say, what character progression?

      Kirito hasn’t changed since episode three, and they never showed anything concrete regarding how/why he made that transition from normal person to “godly savior” either.

      *And before people say there have been moments that contributed, note that every single event that could’ve potentially linked to that transition was never even mentioned again or referenced after they were shown in some side story, and as such, there’s no way they could be the trigger that caused this transition.

      1. What are you talking about? Whats this transition from normal to “godly savior”? There was no transition at all. He was godly to begin with just because of his exceptionally quick reflexes and this was mentioned in the anime. This whole SAO world is just a big game with stats and game mechanics. I think people forget this. He got stronger just because he’s good at hardcore level grinding. Quite easily inferred.

        It’s not surprising to have that 1 individual who seems above and beyond anyone else in skill. Ever play fps games? There’s always that one guy who has a 30:1 kill:death ratio just because he has quick reflexes and godly aim. That skill usually translates to any other game and almost always be really good without much practice. It’s called talent.

        But I agree Kirito didn’t really change much as a character. Yes, it’s uninteresting but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Introverts usually don’t show any drastic outward changes in personality anyway. Though we do see him value his relationships with people more as the show progressed. Is he unlikeable? Maybe. I would say he’s a somewhat realistic portrayal of an introverted gamer. Those kind of people are just misunderstood. People tend to no like things they don’t understand.

        Chillax Mang
      2. Is the death of the people you care about not enough to “trigger” a change in oneself? I mean just knowing that you’re one of the most powerful players in SAO wouldn’t you think that Kirito realized he should start using his power to save people? It was clear that after the death of the Black Cats guild he vowed to never let anything like that happen again. His attitude change wasn’t sudden either. He was traumatized by that and temporarily avoided grouping with other people just so he didn’t feel those feels again. It was only until met Asuna again that he realize there are actually competent players he could trust that won’t die as easily LOL.

        His arrogance stems from his awareness that he was THE SHIT in stats and level in SAO. After 2 yaers of being the strongest player, who wouldn’t be arrogant? Especially knowing his 2 years worth of stats carried over to ALO. But of course he got a rude awakening from the world tree mobs. I bet he ain’t feeling so tough now.

        If that isn’t character progression then I don’t know what is. I don’t really care about such things anyway. This is just how I saw things and it makes sense to me. The time skips might make it seem jarring to people but anyone can just connect the dots and be content with that. I might be missing some details but whatever. Works for me.

        Also I dunno about him being unlikable. If it was specified what exactly makes him unlikable then we could talk about that. I would say he’s just misunderstood. Kirito acts the way he does because hes an introvert. Introverted people are simply misunderstood most of the time. People tend to not like things they don’t understand.

        Chillax Mang
      3. So let me get this straight. You’re saying he was godly to begin with. Am I right?

        Because I don’t quite see how that makes it better to be honest. I really don’t.

        Uhhhh cause… if he started out as godly to begin with, doesn’t that just power the theory he’s a character made for the sake of being powerful/godly/saviour rather than someone he developed into? I don’t know about you, but this sure looks like it supports the fact that he’s a Gary Stu more than anything at this point.

        Also, you say all that stuff about talent and what not, but despite the low percentage, there are others at any given time with a similar talent level in any FPS. You’re trying to tell me that out of all the players here, he just so happens to be the only one who rises above all others? (Oh yes, let’s also mention the only one to get the dual-wield skill out of nowhere… amongst other Deus Ex Machinas that have occured… and personal skills that he just so happened to have at opportune times).

        One could go on… and on…

        Re: Your Second Comment

        And as I mentioned before, the deaths from that were never referred to again pretty much, so you can’t argue they ever made any proper impact on the guy. Heck, a lot of the side story stuff pretty much were stand alones that didn’t play much in the grand scheme of things aside from potentially filling out a few answers about how he met people. You can’t use that stuff as a concrete reasoning for why he became who he did.

        Also, you can’t say he was godly to begin with and didn’t have a transition and then argue that he did.

        And also, used his powers to save people? WHAT? That’s the biggest malarchy I’ve ever heard! He never did such a thing! He only did it when it was for his own gain! You even said yourself he was avoiding people! How could he use his powers to save people when he was avoiding…

        You’re saying one thing in one post and countering them in another.

      4. >But I agree Kirito didn’t really change much as a character.

        > It was clear that after the death of the Black Cats guild he vowed to never let anything like that happen again. His attitude change wasn’t sudden either. He was traumatized by that and temporarily avoided grouping with other people just so he didn’t feel those feels again.

        >didn’t really change much as a character.

        >He was traumatized


  11. Bravo SAO. Bravo. The episode was mostly annoying Gary Stu again but the last 10 minutes made up for it for being the one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen.

    Kirito’s raid was total BS, because its should be impossible to solo even a single mob in real MMO’s. At least there was that moment if catharsis where Kirito fails. He’ll probably just return to a Gary Stu again but I’ll take what I can get.

    The last scenes were gold though. Its so hilariously pretentious. It all can be summed up as “FEEL SORRY FOR SUGUHA!!!! PLEASE CRY AUDIENCE!!! WE WAN’T YOU TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY!!!” Its like everything terrible about this subplot just blows up into this over-the-top mess. Especially since the VA’s are just busting their acting chops for a scene that’s too stupid for their great performance.

    P.S. Kaijura’s music is too intelligent for this show.

    1. Wasn’t mentioned in the anime but it was noted in the light novel that the mob was actually pretty weak.

      The reason why the raids before failed was because there are bazillions of them.

      1. To me they are quite the same. They got super hype at the beginning, than fall short later. And till now if you go to GC video on YT for example, you still see fan calling it best series ever existed. But this happens to every series, there will always be some fan thinking the series the best of the best.

        Another common point is that due to the hype people are x10 harsher on it than normal show.

        But hey, at least, Guilty Crown has pretty nice OST.

      2. The way I see it there are two major ways to fail and GC/SAO are perfect representations of them both:

        1) GC – a series that failed because it tried to aim for the ceiling with an original production and couldn’t deliver.

        2) SAO – a series that just never tried to break the mold and plays off of things they know viewers will like.

        Which ever you think is worse changes from person to person, but I’d take the show that tried over the one that didn’t any day.

      3. SAO’s SLIGHTLY BETTER than GC. Relativeto it, it has a coherent story line.

        The thing about GC was that quite a number was in its favour. From Redjuice’s beautiful art to ryo’s involvement. It truly fell short in the writing.

        As for SAO, the thing that I truly hated wasthat in the first arc, it time skipped alot and it felt utterly disjointed. To me, its saving grace was Kajiura’s music and yes… To those posts that commented on her music in SAO, it feels as though her wings were clipped for this series.

      4. Zephyr, you got the two shows mixed up: Guilty Crown basically took all the concepts they think would make a show popular and tried to make a story around those elements. It failed because it tried to pander to too many people instead of making a coherent story.

        SAO fails in that it took a mediocre story and tried to adapt it verbatim instead of drawing inspiration from its source material to create a more robust story. I don’t need to point to the tentacle rape scene to make my point, do I?

      5. Why are you bothered with that some people like a show you don’t like? I am pretty sure that you like some shows I don’t, but I could hardly care less about that, so why do you care? Does it really hurt your ego so much that a series you don’t like is popular with a lot of people?

      6. There are no similarities worth mentioning between GC and SAO. Only the Hype, expectations, and army of haters are the same. I don’t know why people keep comparing the two. One has an convoluted story with hard to pin down goal(what the hell is going on and why doesn’t anything make sense?) and the other has an easily digestible story with a clear goal(Beat the game, save the world/Save the princess).

        It’s obvious that Guilty Crown was trying to hit a homerun(Code Geass writers and all) whereas Sword Art Online is clearly playing it safe. Only the hype of LN readers would make you think otherwise.

        Having read many blogs, and forums like animesuki and MAL. I can say for sure that GC has more haters than people liking it. People who said they enjoyed it only do because its a hilarious trainwreck. SAO on the other hand has an even split of like/hate. There’s also extremists who think SAO is the best thing ever(Kotaku article saying ‘SAO is smartest anime in years’ LOL). I’ve only seen GC get ‘worst anime ever’ posts on the net.

        Chillax Mang
      7. @Zephyr
        “Guilty Crown doesn’t have fans calling it the best series ever though. SAO does. That doth annoy me more than GC.”

        if some people call, SAO the best series ever, then for them it is the best series ever.why do you think your opinion or judgment on animes are better than theirs? never considered they might just have different tastes from your own?

    1. Mad critics… lemme try.

      Ugly Butt Space Bros. is terrible – The protag is an ugly shit and the plot is unintelligent and unfunny.

      Time-traveling scientist shenanigans anime is terrible – They do time traveling WRONG!

      Giant, mother-based robot driving emo anime is terrible – the fans even calls fapping an act of love, LOL.

      Who-do-you-think-I-am loud protag anime is terrible – so over-rated when the plot is so ordinary.

      Am I a critic now?

    2. The reason why SAO was considered so good but failed to deliver.

      It’s widely acknowledged that SAO is one of those super huge Inheritance series level cliche storms, however the way the author writes the story and interactions not only keeps the reader engrossed in the book, but also allows their imagination to fill whatever places that cannot be reached by words alone. That is why when people say that SAO is the best series ever, they are saying that from a mixture of the author’s writing and their own imagination.

      The anime lacks all that. There were pacing issues, characters that weren’t important to the series (Lizbeth, Kibou, and Silica) were put in to either sell figurines or fill the episode gaps. There was a general lazyness in animation in some places which is the exact opposite of using one’s imagination to replay the scene. Also the anime cuts out many of the monologues and explanations which are not only essential to the plot, but also cuts out some of the flair from the novel. These traits do not only apply to Sword Art Online, they also apply to almost all LNs.

      Suppa Tenko
    1. The fact that I believe your comment about “lot of hate here for stuff I see people loving in other animes” is mostly false aside…

      There are quite a few reasons for this. For one, SAO was pretty much the most hyped series during its debut season. Thus people came in expecting more and instead received repetitive elements found in other series. This wasn’t what they wanted or expected from the series, so it reasons to see why there’s “so much hate.” For a show with such hype, originality and novelty are expected, but they weren’t delivered.

      It’s about expectations and chances are the other series were series that have advertised the elements in question and thus people go into those series knowing what’s coming and know they’re choosing to watch a show with those elements. SAO is not one of those cases.

      Also, it doesn’t help that for some of these “things” you talk about, SAO fails to pull them off properly and/or makes it look ridiculous.

      1. So you would have a different oppinion about SAO if it had not been so ‘hyped’? I guess it’s good that you know yourself well enough to realise that you are being irrational. But wouldn’t it be even better if you judged the series on it’s own merits then?

      2. Actually, you misconstrue my response as one representing my own. It’s more of what a lot of others seem to be basing their opinion on. It’s what I saw with GC and what I saw with SAO. He wanted an answer why and I gave him one corresponding to what I’ve seen.

        Personally I do like judging a series mostly by its own merits, which is why I inserted first and last parts about how I believe that it’s not true that a lot of the stuff people complain about in SAO are things people love in other series and why it’s a justifiable reasoning even if it is similar in elements because SAO just doesn’t do various elements well. You’ll note from comments in previous posts that I wrote up a whole article explaining exactly why I dislike certain elements from the story too, so it’s not like I’m sitting here just spouting nonsense or irrational commentary. In addition, you’ll note from my MAL that I have a tendency to rate shows higher than average exactly because I believe in judging by merits and enjoyability.

        Notably though, you say all this stuff about separating hype and judging from own merits, but when you hear all this hooplah about a series, you’re naturally going to have somewhat higher expectations no matter how you try to ride the fine line. Thus, it is a valid argument to expect at least slightly more from a hyped series. It’s like subjectivity vs. objectivity. It’s impossible to separate the two in the end. You’re going to make comparisons whether you want to or not. The only thing you can control is how much you do.

        And if you want to argue about irrationality regarding this matter, you also have to realize that people loving aspects in some shows and hating it in SAO, theoretically is a great example of non-bias and judging on own merit actually, because they don’t care about the fact they like it in other series and are just disliking it in SAO because of how SAO does it.

  12. I liked Kirito’s flashbacks of Asuna.

    Is this the only room they have to pass to get through to the top? Hopefully it isn’t.
    Anyone who went in there would realize that you need an army to get through it, number counts for everything unless there is a limit for players who can go into that room at once. All the players could have just beaten it by pure force. The enemy attacks aren’t even very strong.

    My heart needs to hurt, I need to feel the pain but Sugu’s situation takes the mind to feel sorry for her rather than the heart. It was too obvious from the start.

    1. Despite of my overall disappointment of the series because i got too hyped for too much, this is actually a nice ep with many well-done things. Like bakakubi said, if you enjoy it then it is good. Don’t let the hate flow through you!

  13. SAO 2.0 You can (NOT) do it alone, Kirito!
    I was happy to see Kirito fail and die for once, which was made possible since it was not fatal in RL as in the first SAO. Sadly he has not learned anything and tried to repeat his own suicide charge, until the whole problem with Suguha took priority…
    poor, poor Suguha… falling in love with her not-entirely-brother, losing him to sleeping Asuna, and falling in love with the same person in his online avatar…
    I really wonder how things will proceed now, since the situation with Suguha has deteriorated into “beyond repair” status. Now she has openly declared her love, there is no going back into siblings status, and Asuna is still Kirito’s true love. Things went FUBAR…
    And all the while clock is ticking on Asuna’s forced wedding…

  14. wow at how much the fanbase and even the posts have progressed since the premiere

    so much hope and love for this series in the beginning.. now it’s just a general consensus that it sucks.

    1. If a question like that is asked to me 20 years ago, I would be on SAO like it is Godly, of course we learn that there are simply too many anime(s) to watch.

      What I have written are:

      1. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
      2. Dennou Coil
      3. Akazukin Chacha (12 years ago)
      4. Magic Knight Rayearth (16 years ago)
      5. Eve no Jikan

      1. Ironic that the fans can classify haters as smug and be just as guilty of it. Sure blame it on all the detractors and play the victim. Its not like the SAO fans also took part on this clusterf*** to exacerbate the conflict. Whatever makes you sleep at night.

      2. @fragb85
        true but also unfair, how would you react if people were saying that one of your favorite shows were worthless? who would read let along comment on posts of a show they hate anyway?

    2. This face/heel turn on SAO is one of the dumbest things I’ve seen from anime fans in a while yet I knew it was coming pretty early on. You can’t hype the shit out of something and then blame the show for failing to live up to it. As for those who bought into the hype and expected everything people promised….why would anyone ever do this and be so gullible. Don’t believe pre-air hype plain and simple. Instead watch the show, find what you like and don’t like for yourselves and discuss it like some (strong emphasis on some here) are doing here, but don’t blame the damn show because it didn’t live up to whatever absurd trumped up expectations you yourself you tried to impose on it.

      People….people…by the way I smell 4chan raid a little on this weeks commentary. The tone and language kind of some posters kind of gives it away a bit.

      Kaioshin Sama
    1. Isn’t this episode exactly what everyone who criticed Kirito for being too PERFECT is waiting for.

      People hate him for being TOO PERFECT yet they still don’t like when he shows some of his flaws which is why HE FAILS to rescue Asuna this episode.

      Call it poor judgement on Kirito’s part, but Asuna is almost within his reach, its just above him, so he lose his reasoning and just go there thinking nothing but Asuna {just watch all those images of Asuna on his mind)

      1. It all comes to grasping at straws. Kirito’s Gary Stu qualities are his most common criticism so once he screws up or does something great, there is a sudden need to focus on that as a debate. Just because he screws up or shows flaws doesn’t instantly negate the criticism against him.

        Being a Gary Stu is more complex than just character qualities or actions. It also involves how the plot revolves around the character, how others interact to said character, and how the bias of the writing is to that character. Sadly it seems this term has become misunderstood by many.

      2. @Anonymous
        “Kirito fails when the author deems it necessary for plot and drama. It’s not a measure of his capabilities.”

        seriously?? if you didn’t know, EVERYTHING in the story falls in the category of what the author, of the story, deems necessary.what you say here can be used to criticize ANY part of ANY story you don’t like.

    2. Which is why I LOL at critics calling Kirito a Gary Stu/perfect character/whatever: in any game, unless he is, or knows he has, admin/admin powers, he’s mortal, he has limitations and he’s nothing more than a player.

  15. The only thing that didn’t surprise was the blogger’s reaction to this episode, VERY PREDICTABLE

    I am assuming he read the LN and this blog feels like it’s already been finished even before the airing of this ep.

    This is very unfair for non LN readers like me…

    1. Writing the posts before the anime airs? Hmm. Sounds like a good idea! Thanks for that one!

      Joking aside, I’m confused as to how having read the LN is ‘unfair’. Are you suggesting that LN readers should not be allowed to watch anime adaptions of things they’ve read?

      To be entirely honest, I barely even remember ALO since I read the thing so long ago.

      1. I wrote that post with the assumption that as someone who have already finished the novel, no matter have unbiased/bias he claim it is has a indirect/direct effect to his impression on this episode.

  16. You know, for all the flaws in the material, Kawahara (and this adaptation) still do the feels quite well. It’s awesome as long as your tolerance of Obvious Dumb is a little on the high side.

  17. He’s so cloooossseeeeeeeee- it’s within his grasp.

    Till he took an arrow to the knee- shortly followed by a couple swords to the body.

    On the side note, I think the ultimate troll award would go to Kirito, sorry Sugu :\.

    1. I don´t think there that many flaws in the anime but yes, when Kirito gets all serious he´s an opponent to be feared and respected. Just wait, the next episode it´s going to redefine the meaning of awsome battle for you.

  18. I’d like to think otherwise on Kirito being dense. His facial expression did change when Lyfa was about to confess to him, which may signify that he did realize she has a crush on him.

    Then again, he wasn’t spot on with Sugu’s reason for getting mad so either he was playing it safe by not directly pinpointing Sugu’s crush on him or he’s really dense.

  19. Yeah, Kirito is arrogant and wants to do everything alone. But he has always been like that even after he met Asuna, Clyne, and his other friends. Even in the end of SAO, he chose to fight Kayaba alone even though everyone was trying to stop him, telling him they will have other chances. I guess he still has the blood of a Solo Player up until now – and will always be. Show Spoiler ▼

    The Story You Don't Know
    1. Putting aside the “blood of the solo player,” another way of looking at it might be: he’s spent the better part of 2 years fighting by himself, and the one time he worked with people of a lower level than him, they all died.

      Granted, ALO is not the same kind of situation, but old habits die hard.

    1. 254 now, when you take the fact that the show is quite popular it’s not uncommon to hav a large number fans commenting but in this case at least 40% of comments come from haters too(probably because it’s popular).

  20. My comment will likely never be acknowledged as it’ll be buried under the mass of other comments, but I feel like you’re being arbitrarily negative towards some Kirito’s actions; you don’t seem to understand the context of these things you call “stupid,” either, Moomba.

    I’ll zero in on the the overwhelming issue I had, which was his arrogance. Yes, Kirito is arrogant. I acknowledge that. It’s pretty undeniable at this point, but there’s very good reason for his arrogance, and SAO has been very forthcoming in detailing why Kirito acts the way he does. It started from his BETA days. Kirito possessed an advantage in knowledge and skill due to having more experience with the game, and like all great progressions in shounen(-esque) anime’s, this helped immensely, particularly with the first boss. If you notice, Kirito didn’t take on the first boss himself. He, instead, relied on teamwork. Yet, in later episodes, you can see Kirito doesn’t rely on teamwork any longer. Why? It should be obvious. Kirito was poisoned by his own advantage(s).

    But your real criticism, with regards to Kirito’s “arrogance,” is how he behaved in the dome. That he was being “stupidly reckless.” Well, yes, but why do you think? All those flashbacks of Asuna should’ve given it away. When you’re desperate, you’re willing to try almost anything, regardless of the consequences. I don’t like having to support myself in an argument on SAO with real-life stuff since SAO isn’t known for its realism, but if you’re going to critique Kirito based on real-life emotions, I’ll critique your critique (critique-ception?) through real-life psychology. The super-ego tends to operate like a blown out light-bulb when fear, desperation, other extreme emotions, become dominant. That’s why Kirito acted “stupidly reckless.” That’s why Kirito wanted to try and get to the top of the dome once more.

    As for the flashbacks: They were there to convey how Kirito’s humility and desperation clash.

    1. Thank you for saving my brains…I don’t really understand what he is trying to point at.

      How did he came out with the He’s (Kirito) incredible dense? Did he really watch the episode? Even if I try to analyze the entire paragraph he had written, it doesn’t seem to match what was shown in this episode at all.

      and this…

      The second flaw is his immeasurable arrogance. Sure he really wants to save Asuna, but does he have to attempt everything alone?…

      Did he not know that Kirito simply lose his “wit” that time? They criticized Kirito for being too perfect a character, but FAILS to see that Kirito is MORE human with him losing his “reasoning” while thinking that Asuna is nearly in his reach?

      1. It’s even more funny to see the same people that critique Kirito for his flaws earlier complained about Kirito not having any flaws. Are these flaws not the ones you were looking for?

      2. It’s funny, in some of my earlier posts near the start of the series, I pointed out many of these same flaws at which point fans began to scream at me because Kirito was ‘perfect’ and completely flawless! Then when I point out that he’s a Gary Stu, people start yelling about how he’s not a perfect existence and thus doesn’t qualify because he has ‘flaws’.

        I have no idea how I’m supposed to please you people.

    2. Spot on. The comments you’ve made is exactly what I was thinking. Kirito might be portrayed to be rather super like, but its pretty obvious he has his ‘human’ side. He’s flawed as much as he is perfect. Its been shown at times that he loses his reasoning when he tries too hard, especially when it is with regards to Asuna.

    3. I believe the root of his arrogance originated in SAO not because he was poisoned of his “advantages”, but rather because of his experiences. But yes, he did use his “advantages” to level up faster than most other players.

      Why did he decide to join a team to take on the 1st boss?
      It was mentioned that at least half of the BETA players are already dead by that point because of their “arrogance”, knowing that they have advantage only to find out that most monsters have changed. After that boss fight, he was hated by other players for being a “BEATER”. After that, he avoided others as much as others avoided him.

      His very first guild – The turning point
      If you clearly understood this SAO Arc, he was very careful with his guild members. If he’s arrogant because of his advantages, he would have jumped right off to higher level areas to help his guild level up faster but instead he took his time helping them in lower level areas where his guildmates are more capable of holding off on their own.

      The treasure chest accident that happened to his first guild
      He was very reluctant about opening that chest because he knew it was highly possible that it was a trap like they are in higher levels yet he didn’t tell them because they’d know right the bat the he’s a BEATER, and he’s afraid of being alone again because they’ll surely isolate him. That surely shows that he likes to be in a team rather than being solo. If he was blinded by his arrogance, he’d surely think that he can handle those monsters himself. But then, the accident happened and everybody died and he blamed himself for it. The whole guild died, his guild master jumped off a cliff, and he’s alone again. He blamed himself for what happened and refused to join groups unless it’s about boss fights.

      Why does he avoid grouping with others unless it’s about boss fights?
      He was traumatized from that experience. But he has his own share of responsibilities being a high level player himself so he joins clearing groups.

      The last boss, Kayaba
      Was he arrogant of his skills thinking that he can take him on alone? No. He was almost sure that he’d die in that fight. Why did he do that then? 3/4 into the game and they lost all those men in that boss alone. At some point, most high players with them right now will be dead and it will take ages to help other players level up. Most of them would just give up as well, knowing how many people in the clearing group have died already. He knew they wouldn’t hold out and lose more people in the higher levels. He knew Asuna and his friends would surely die if they did it the hard way by climbing the tower. It was a once in the lifetime chance to finish the game, and it was a chance where he will be the only one to die if he fails.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      The conclusion
      He was never arrogant of his skills, but rather he avoided dragging others into fights because he’s afraid of them dying on him. From SAO to GGO, that was the case and will always be the case.

      In this case, he lost all reasoning because of Asuna and his “solo” attitude got the best of him. He knew it would be hard alone, yet he chose to be alone. Yes, that’s stupid.

      Well, this must be a story you don’t know. Lol.

      The Story You Don't Know
    1. I tend to believe the only people who can relate to any thing about SAO’s world and characters are mmorpg players, introverts and maybe less critical minds.

      This show is enjoyable but flawed fluff. That’s it. Anyone expecting a masterpiece and got swept up in the hype are sheep, and haters are sheep too for bashing the show/fanboys every week with nothing really good to say anyway. Stop it. We get it. Light novel readers should also stop hyping shows to shit. That’s not how you do it. You need to set the bar low and you’ll see more positive feedback.

      Yes I seem arrogant for saying stuff like this but I can’t help but feel this way when certain things have equal amounts of hate and love. There has to be more people who take the middle ground.

      Chillax Mang
      1. I believe I’ve made this point before on Enzo’s blog, but probably the reason why people find Kirito’s character and the other flaws in the writing so much more jarring in SAO than in other shows is due to the contrasts. Kawahara Reki is obviously talented in creating a vibrant and fascinating setting, but turn to the characters and the actual plot and he’s really no better (and possibly a bit worse) than many other LN authors.

        Not that much worse, though. So why all the hate? Because, again, of the juxtaposition of the wonderful setting… and the horrifically derivative and wish-fulfillment characters. Nobody cares about trash being trash – there are tons of ridiculous harem LN out there, and the vast majority have trash settings to go with their trash plot and trash characters, and generally have the popularity they deserve.

        SAO, on the other hand, feels that much more jarring to the critical mind because of a sense of wasted potential. Here you have a setting ripe with myriad nuances, a thousand stories waiting to be told… and we’re stuck following a ‘designated main character’, with so many potentially fascinating plot elements thrown in as mere roadblocks or ways to make said designated main character look better. Tricks that we’ve all seen in dozens of other mediocre stories, all across the world… but which feel that much more annoying in something that could very well have been so much more.

  21. After reading the comments here, I ask you all this:

    Can’t we all just get along?

    Still, thanks for the interesting read guys. I find it entertaining and interesting seeing how both sides battle it out here in the comment section each week.

  22. Kirito has two rather large character flaws (amongst others). The first is that he’s incredibly dense. While it’s a general trait found in all harem protagonists, it’s still a flaw and he really is dense not to have realised why Sugu was upset at discovering his identity.

    Well duh, why is everyone calling him perfect and hate him for it? He’s dense, even in SAO.

    The second flaw is his immeasurable arrogance. Sure he really wants to save Asuna, but does he have to attempt everything alone?

    He’s not arrogant.There are many factors that contribute to why he choose to work alone: one is that he’s used to “work alone”. Here, he is desperate too: he now knows Asuna is up there. With those two, of course, he’d attempt it all by himself, and right away too.

    On future arcs he acts alone so his friends wouldn’t have to get hurt or worry.

  23. What’s the point for Leafa going the trouble to “save” the dead Kirito’s place holder (the purple flame) ?

    I’m asking as a genuine question, I’m a bit confused. 600 seconds is just ten minutes, then you respawn, so why ? would he respawn far away and have to redo the journey ? or was it just Leafa going for Kirito because “Kirito kuuuuun!!!” ?

    Sorry for asking something stupid, if this have been answered by the show itself, I didn’t catch it.

      1. Because it gave a “beautifully moving moment” of Sugu/Lyfa risking herself to save her beloved. I assume the flame hanging in midair in the tree room meant that Kirito would respawn there (illogical as it may be) and he would be killed all over again. I think many of the scenes are there for just this kind of emotional moment, ignoring the logic of the game. Like Kirito and Asuna’s love though, what can I say? I’m a romantic. And I find it VERY hard that anything – even the worst of amateur porn movies – would be worse than the ENTIRE Twilight and Dawn series and the monstrosities it spawned, like Red Riding Hood.

    1. I would assume that he’d respawn far away and have to redo the journey. At least that’s the impression that’s been given. I don’t think there’s been any real elaboration on how setting home points and the like works in ALO.

      1. I’m pretty sure he’d restart in the same town. When they were facing the Salamanders on the bridge, the thought was they’d respawn back in the Slyph city if they were wiped out. So you likely respawn in whatever the last town you were in was, or the last town that you logged in at.

        What Kirito would be at risk for is losing weapons, items, and skill points. The Salamander that retreated when he saved Leafa was worried about his level 900 magic skill, and the Salamanders he defeated on the bridge lost money, equipment, and items. So if Kirito waited for respawn, he could potentially find himself with no equipment, no money, and even if he got help gearing up from Cait Sith and Slyphs, find himself no longer able to equip the best gear available.

    2. Someone can correct me this later if i am wrong.

      It has been sometimes since i read this part but if he didn’t get helped here, he will be respwn at the starting place of their journey which means starting all over again. There won’t be enough time then to save Asuna.

      1. Thanks Moomba and Takurannyan. Your answers yield yo another question though: when was a time limit enstablished for saving Asuna ? and could Kirito know about it ?
        this time I really feel like that was said in the anime but I can’t remember …

      2. Sugou is marrying Asuna within a week of him and Kirito meeting.
        1st day, Kirito fights Suguha, Kirito meets Sugou, Kirito goes home and cries, has some cuddly time with Suguha.
        2nd day, Kirito wakes up, gets mail from Andrew Mills (Agil), meets Andrew and gets ALO. Logs onto ALO and saves Suguha.
        3rd day, Kirito and Suguha meet Sigurd and leave town. Fights the Salamander formation and saves the Caith Sith and Sylph meeting. Continues on and gets trapped underground. Manages to get out of underground at around the 4th day.
        4th day. Escapes from underground, Suguha goes to school, they see Asuna together.
        Evening of the 4th day. Lyfa cries to Kirito, Kirito attempts to challenge grand quest and fails. Suguha discovers Kirito is her brother.
        Late afternoon 5th day
        Show Spoiler ▼

        3 months later
        Show Spoiler ▼

        Suppa Tenko
  24. “he actually succeeded in dying this time (though it took an awful lot of blades to accomplish)”

    ALO has only been running for a year, but in SAO Kirito fought 2 years straight, sometimes without rest. It’s understandable to me that he has boss-class health…

    1. Not sure if it carried over, but if Kirito’s health regen skill is still active then his health and tank status would just be ridiculous. He might as well be a damn boss in the game.

  25. Didn’t have time to watch this till just now as I had to go through the grilling hell that was the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1 today.

    Anyway, before coming here, as a non-novel reader, my gut instant reaction to the drama at the end was “OK, poor Suguha finally learned the truth.” Suguha deserves the pity she gets, but nothing too tear jerking compared to the stuff Key dishes out, but maybe my tolerance is low, so neither did I thought it was poorly done.

    Then I come here and was honestly very taken aback not by the number of posts, but by some very strong passionate arguments behind them in terms of “hating” characters and/or scenarios.

    Perhaps it would have been better in terms of pacing and dramatization if the SAO arc were 2-cours (24-26 episodes) long, with this current ALO arc involving rescuing Asuna being moved to a second full season (24-26 episodes). No?

    Kinny Riddle
    1. No, the problem with SAO is not the fact that it’s abridged. The problem is that it’s stretched too far. The Aincrad arc should only have been around 6-7 episodes long, but it was stretched to 14. The Fairy Dance arc had some problems with efficiency with too many still frames and they cut out 25% of the story arc (though that part was kinda useless) If anything, with around 30 episodes they could do the entire first 3 arcs of Sword Art Online.

      Suppa Tenko
      1. The problem with SAO is that Kawahara Reki originally wrote it in an unconventional format that had lots of time skips, side stories and abrupt resolutions to arcs. He never expected it to get this popular and was just writing as a hobby, though the thing is he’s actually acknowledged this short coming of the story now and gone back to rewrite it in a new set of novels called Sword Art Online Progressive. Unfortunately this just started up as this show entered it’s second half so this is still based off of the intriguing and still pretty fun but narratively flawed first draft of SAO.

        Kaioshin Sama
  26. Kirito, to me, has always been a flawed individual. And those flaws came to a head and hit Kirito like a brick in this episode.

    Kirito really does have a bad habit of going it alone in dangerous situations. I personally think it stems from both his solo player lifestyle and his commitment from troubling others, which leads him to take on more than he can actually handle on numerous occasions. He’s forcing himself into this Messianic role, where he takes on the brunt of the work load no matter how dangerous so that nobody else has to, and justifies it by relying on his skills and the fact that he really just couldn’t care less whether he dies as long as it’s not someone else. Asuna helped pull him out of it in SAO, difficult though it was, and here in ALO Leafa is doing the same. He’s stronger with a partner than he ever is on his own.

    In fact, the reason Kirito is alive right now is not because of his Gary-Stu powers or because of his skills, but because of support and assistance from others. Without Asuna, he would probably not have gotten into the fray against Gleam Eyes and Kuradeel would have killed him if not for her rescue. Without Yui, both he and Asuna would have fallen against the “Fatal Scythe” boss. Without Asuna’s death, Kirito wouldn’t have had the motivation to exceed the system and kill Kayaba, who for all intents and purposes had beaten him and won the duel. Without Leafa, he’d have been burned alive by Salamanders and wouldn’t have had a sword he could use to duel wield against Eugene.

    As for his denseness… I don’t think it’s as bad as most harem protagonists, because Kirito is certainly not a traditional harem protagonist. I also think there are times where he’s not completely oblivious. He realized what Liz meant when she wanted to be his personal blacksmith, but tried to play it off. Here, it seemed that Kirito realized Leafa was about to confess to him, and seemed regretful that he had to turn her down. After finding out she was really Suguha, well I imagine he was just as confused about how things had turned out as she was.

    I hope Kirito’s failure here will inspire him to finally drop his loner attitude and accept assistance in climbing the World Tree.

    Something I realized very early on is that Sugou is very much the anti-Kayaba. I mentioned before how the difference between the two was in essence the same as a hardcore gamer and a casual gamer, but then I realized that when it gets right down to it Sugou isn’t a gamer at all. He’s just using ALO as a method to continue his experiments and further his own god complex, so he doesn’t care whether something fits or makes sense within a gaming aesthetic. All the admins are his subordinates, and their mission is not to have “fun” playing the game but to finish Sugou’s pet project. Kayaba designed SAO as a real MMO, an adventure/fantasy that would become a reality for both himself and the players. SAO was meant from the start, at least for Kayaba, to be a hardcore MMO game that would become real in the eyes of the players. One of the reasons Kirito was able to figure him out as Heathcliff is because he realized that the gamer in Kayaba couldn’t resist playing his own world. The fundamental differences between the two, personality wise, leads to the fundamental differences between the games they play God in.

    As awesome as Kirito’s scene was, fighting mercilessly against the Guardians to reach Asuna, I think the best scene of this episode was when Leafa rushed in their to save his flame after he was killed. She had less chance of surviving than he did, but she managed to hold her own and outwit the Guardians and escape. Even after Kirito left her to go on his suicidal rescue mission, Leafa still risked herself to save him from a fate brought on by his own stubbornness and rash decision making. If ever there was a scene that showed why Leafa was such a famous character in ALO, I believe it would be this scene.

    But the real kicker was the final scene of the episode, the Kazuto and Suguha talk. True, it was bound to happen but that didn’t stop the scene from feeling powerful and sad, at least to me. Major props to Ayana Taketatsu for her performance during the scene, she really made me feel Suguha’s pain. And then comes the revelation that after learning that they weren’t really siblings, Kazuto stopped being a brother and distanced himself. The fact that Suguha said he was a jerk during that period makes me think that he treated her like a non-existence, or acted like more of an ass to her without the kindhearted troll antics he’s known for now. In the end, Kazuto messed up big time, in more ways than one, and it’ll be interesting to see how he tries to fix things next episode.

  27. Kirito’s characteristics:
    Haters vs Fans
    Arrogant = Confident + Independent
    Selfish = Independent
    Gary Stu/Perfect/Godlike = Talented/Skilled/Calculating (respectively)

    It’s not just the show but also the people who watch it.

      1. i agree, even the things i dislike/hate or just think is plain bad can be viewed differently by someone else, which i assume is what the people complaining about show are doing, but what i don’t get is why people watch a show they think is bad(let alone comment).anime is supposed to be entertainment so why watch it if it’s not entertaining for you?

  28. Oh, here an interesting idea: A pod cast or thread where all the writers of randomc (or as many as possible) discuss about this anime. I personally would love to read or listen to something like that. I’m almost certain it’ll be quite entertaining.

  29. I dont really like Indian foods, the curry is simply too strong for my taste. But the Indians dont really like our foods either, its too bland for tjeir taste. The reason is not having bad taste though…its just how it is.

  30. Kirito’s action of going gun-ho and tried to take on the entire fleet of guardians is actually justifiable. In SAO his main concern is dieing, while in ALO his main concern is TIME. Just to remind you that Asuna is about to be married off to the-idiot-jerk (regardless that she hasn’t regain consciousness) very soon. And I do not have to remind you how much he love Asuna, so taking time is not an option. Someone who is desperate tends to do drastic things that doesn’t involve the brain.

  31. Good writeup, Moomba. But good doesn’t mean I agree with you on the two flaws.

    Doubtlessly, many have already debated those two, so I’ll keep it simple. The first flaw wasn’t all that big, actually. We have a third-person perspective as viewers and are entitled to frown at, criticise, complain or even rage at how “incredibly dense” the MC is. Thing is, you aren’t in his shoes. Neither am I, or in Kawahara Reki’s for that matter. It seems a little unfair to label him as “incredibly dense” and compare him to other dense harem leads in general. Perhaps we could all go back a little and watch how he interacts with Sugu to have a better understanding.

    That being said, it is the degree to which you took the flaw to that I disagree with, not the flaw itself.

    The second flaw has a great argument from The Story You Don’t Know. Nicely analysed and discussed, so I don’t see a need to bring up much, though I thought the one scene showing his thoughts after his in-game death probably revealed that Kirito himself already knew the “stupidity” of such a mammoth task, yet has the determination to do it anyway without trying to trouble others. That is pretty stupid, yes, but not arrogant.

    Moving on, I only had sympathy for Kazuto and Sugu this episode. One is desperate, racing against time and fighting the best way he can for the one he loves and has brought color into his life, while the other has her heart broken over and over again by the same person. It’s also precisely why I liked the confrontation between Kazuto and Sugu, where the latter pours out her feelings and frustrations instead of enduring and bottling them up.

    It is obvious that adds another weight unto what Kazuto is already carrying – Asuna still lying in a coma, the race against time to save Asuna from the damning engagement to an ultimate slimeball, making up for lost time with his sister by repairing the relationship he damaged over the years and now with the feelings Sugu has for him.

    The show has its flaws, but what matters right now is that I’m taking what’s good and enjoying it, while giving the bad an objective point of view as much as possible. Still looking forward to see how this gets resolved.

  32. I’m a big fan of the series both LN and anime. I agree with some dislikes that people have with the anime…true they could had done it more for people that haven’t read the story but overall they did a good job transferring the overall story in animated form; its better than nothing. Anime provides the fun outwards appearance while the LN provides the deep inter-thought discussion. I bet they make a season 2 to for GGO and Mother’s Rosario, more money for the anime industry but even so I would like to see it visually then by imagination. I also don’t understand how people dislike something just because its popular, it should be based of all personal taste for story.

  33. I had a thought while watching the episode, the thing about Kirigaya Kazuto is that, he lives multiple lives, one as the ordinary Kazuto, the other as the Spriggan Kirito. The difference between the 2 of them is mostly their abilities.
    He acknowledges that “Kazuto” is unable to do things “Kirito” can and despite that, fights back(He can’t stop Sugou as Kazuto, but as Kirito, he can save Asuna and stop Sugou)

  34. I cant believe nobodys going to mention the arrow to the butt.
    Im sure everybody noticed.

    Also, from the Light Novels Have Changed Guy, that can be said about entertainment media in general.
    Did u not notice Twilight or say Vampire Diaries or the like…?

    Guilherme Mamede
  35. oh god can’t believe I cried. The scene where Kirito berserk, trying to reach Asuna with all those attacks. His endearing voice repeating Asuna’s name…dang! Its been so long since the last time I cried after angel beats. Im grateful J.C Staff isn’t doing SAO/ALO

  36. The last few minutes (between Sugu and Kazuto) was intense. I loved the voice acting and facial expressions here. I don’t really know what will I do if I would be in Kirito’s shoes.

    Also, I do not think Kazuto/Kirito was being dense in this case – as I see it, he avoided Sugu even before (when he learned that Sugu wasn’t his real sister), the thing is he allowed himself to be seen as a jerk by Sugu because probably he didn’t want Sugu to fall for him (and truth be told, if you were in his place, what would you do if the sister you had known for a long time turned out to be not really your sister? Awkward). This way of allowing himself to be seen as such was apparent when he allowed himself to be called a beater in episode 2. He allowed himself to be degraded so that he could protect Egil and Asuna.

    However, those things (and his attitude of being a lone wolf and tending to put everything to himself and to solve things by himself) bit him hard in the end (with the case of Sugu, and also with the case of the Black Cats in ep 3).

    Kirito/Kazuto is ultimately flawed by his ability to relate with people (and insisting on doing things by himself just because he doesn’t want other people to get hurt). I cannot blame Sugu for what happened. It was Kirito’s fault mostly.


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