「Kurenai no Kioku」 (Kurenai no Kioku)
“Crimson Memories”

After a few weeks of almost nonstop action, it would make sense that we would get an episode to slow the tempo down a bit to build up some different types of tension. Also, you know what blew my mind? I can’t believe only one day has passed in the anime.

Real Life Woes

After bringing it up a few episodes ago, it finally feels like the show is trying to drive Kirito’s PTSD home. With the symptoms ranging from recurring nightmares to deteriorated performance during high intensity situations, there’s no doubt that Kirito is going to have to find some way to come to terms with what he’s done. And while I whole heartily believe a hot and compassionate nurse is definitely the way to get the ball rolling, the comments from the previous two episodes made me rethink how I felt about how the show is handling all of this.

At least, it made me rethink the way they’re using it in an attempt to make Kirito’s character more whole. In the comments someone mentioned how introducing flaws into the nearly perfect Kirito is one of the ways you increase the longevity of a character. Something about how being too perfect can be almost as bad as being too derp — and I kind of agree at least in principle. I say in principle because for such a big show like SAO I think it’s best to take what you can get since I know there are a ton of even worse ways to flesh out a character. At the same time I don’t really watch anime with a very critical eye so I can’t say much.

On the other hand even though it was short and sweet, I really enjoyed how Kirito’s nurse handled his biggest outbreak to date. While I can’t remember exactly when she was introduced to us, her first appearance this season rubbed me the wrong way. Due to her actions I assumed she was doing her job more for entertainment than actually helping others — and I couldn’t have been more wrong. If there was an MVP for this episode, it most definitely would be her.

Angry Sinon and Looking Ahead

It still blows me away that in the show only one single day has passed — but I suppose that’s the power of playing online games am I right? Anyways, I for one am excited for the BoB tournament to finally start. Not only is Sinon hopefully going to kick some butt while opening up to us but I can’t wait to see how Kirito actually fares with the top players of GGO gunning him down. Sure he may have plot armor thick enough to shield him from the highest caliber of rifles but with his PTSD flaring up it would be interesting to see him falter a bit.

‘Till next week!

50 Comments

  1. Liking the season, but this pacing is positively glacial. I can see how it might be frustrating for non-book-readers. Personally, I like delving into characters’ mindsets, though I can acknowledge that the action isn’t nearly as frenetic as it was last season.

    Still, I feel that the BoB tourney will solve that handily. It’ll be interesting to see how they move this forward after the Gun Gale arc…

    Seracen
    1. Kirito might have sneaked in some chest rubs on Nurse Aki as well,
      at least that’s what it looks like if you watched a particular scene without audio and without subtitles…(around the 15:26 mark, right when he starts screaming)
      Camera angles didn’t seem to show her being grabbed…more like push and pull..

      Techim
    2. Yeah they really slowed it down and got intimate. Lots of hugs & comforting going on.

      It was a good episode but it did make me miss the first arc of SAO (Season 1). But I guess it is time to slow down the pace and do more character development

      Rick Anime
    3. The nurse hugging Kirito blew me away; making me think that I once imagined Nurse Aki x Kirito sinfully XD

      But this episode’s one BIG break from the major BoB scenes that had happened in the past two episodes. And yeah, the excitement for the finals still burns inside me.

      Konata Kamijou
  2. https://randomc.net/image/Sword%20Art%20Online/Sword%20Art%20Online%20II%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2019.jpg
    Closest representation of onee-san character in this series..
    I hope nobody rages at me if I start to ship Kirito x Nurse Aki..

    I believe that
    (not officially in the LNs but just my speculations)
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Techim
    1. Huh…interesting idea.

      Though if you read his original renditions of the story…all sorts of weird stuff happens. I am rather glad those “rough drafts” aren’t canon anymore. The current arcs are more well planned, IMO.

      Seracen
  3. Soooo much talking.
    It doesn’t help I can’t bring myself to even care about Kirito’s sudden PTSD. It was explained in a way that made up for it’s sudden appearance…but Gawd I do not care at all.

    Also…Sinon is a biiiiiiitch. She needs to cease with leading that boy on immediately.
    But yeah, a lot of talking. Maybe too much, but whatever I suppose. The amount of action recently is reason enough for a bit of a break

    Kabble
  4. The Bullet of Bullets should really be labelled the Thaumatrope of Traumas at this point considering how hamfistedly Kirito’s “weak side” is trying to be pounded into the viewer. A whole episode devoted to PTSD that never existed until last episode? It feels out of place, overplayed, and as mentioned last week, an attempt to revert attention from Sinon to Kirito; we cannot have characters with differing and unique traits, oh no, Kirito must have all the traits and be the best at them/have them worse off than everyone else.

    I agree with some commenters that this episode likely could have been trimmed down by half at minimum. Ignoring the faults of how Kirito’s new condition was introduced, last episode summed it up succinctly without need for this degree of further fleshing out. You cannot just ignore character development following a serious event to then suddenly plug it in (and expand upon it) at a later date after discovering it’s needed, it comes across as jarring and artificial, disrupting both the immersion and sense of disbelief for the viewer.

    It’s incredibly annoying to have this issue as the GGO arc bar Kirito’s PTSD introduction has been all round better than the previous two so far. If the condition had been properly positioned during the original SAO arc (as discussed last week) most of the structural problems and character defects plaguing SAO would have disappeared overnight, along with a good chunk of the infamous criticism surrounding the show.

    Pancakes
    1. Amen.
      The PTSD is painfully out of place.
      It’d probably be easier to accept if it was a bit more gradual throughout the show.
      But this mess went from like 5 to 100 in just an episode. sigh

      Kabble
    2. I don’t think PTSD is the own Kirito is experiencing now. He is perfectly fine but very cautious and all knowing the fact that someone might be there to get his life, but what really triggers his anxiety/fear that we are seeing right now is the Death Gun himself, it was well portrayed during his flashbacks, I think Kirito’s actions is very well inline with the situation he has now.

      Ghostalker
    3. I remember absolutely lol’ing when Kirito said he doesn’t even remember their names. It’s as if it’s enough reason that the audience shouldn’t have known about it either until just this moment too.

      plushkin
    4. I think part of the issue is how people view violence in different societies. For example, if a middle schooler saved a bank full of people in America, people would sing praises, even while being concerned for the kid’s mental well-being. Conversely, Sinon seems to be ostracized, for all that she, the victim, managed to save the lives of everyone in the bank. I wouldn’t be surprised if the bank-goers repressed the memories, and held Sinon just as culpable as the gunman.

      Similarly for Kirito…it seems that the heroism of what he did is less important than the “deviancy” displayed in being able to do it in the first place. I don’t agree with this ideology…but it seems to be a prevalent opinion in the stories presented in cultural mindsets outside of the US.

      Seracen
    5. Yeah, I still feel the PTSD feels really phoned in JUST to allow Kirito and Sinon to have an “understanding”. The way it is now, with Sinon having practically just tossed Kirito aside as soon as she found out “she” was a he and feeling (rightfully) betrayed by his dishonesty (even if he meant no harm), it’s like they’re just trying to make Kirito suddenly look like a lost and weak little puppy who needs affection by “someone who “understands him” rather than aggression.

      And even though Asuna and Suguha are RIGHT THERE offering their support and can tell something is wrong, he has to be the “strong man” and keep it bottled up inside and even tries to excuse it with the whole “Death Gun might hurt them to get to me so I can’t put them in danger” thinking. Well what about Sinon? Does she suddenly not matter in whether or not Death Gun might try to hurt her to get to him?

      It just doesn’t make any sense nor does the attempt at explaining it.

      HalfDemonInuyasha
      1. Not knowing Death Gun’s objective, it’s impossible for Kirito to know that Sinon, a top-ranked sniper, is a one among Death Gun’s target. So, it doesn’t like Kirito doesn’t care about Sinon.

        TeruM
    1. Part of me hated Sinon for putting a guy in the dreaded “friendzone” because I think it’s pretty clear that she has no intentions of getting intimate with him yet she asked him to “wait for her”.

      Part of me loved how she pushed him away because the guy’s such a prick. Not because you do a favor for a girl, in his case being there for her(?), means that she’s required to reciprocate his feelings. You don’t randomly forcefully hug a girl out of nowhere and expect her to answer your feelings.

      But damn, Kirito causes too much friendzones (Sugu’s friend and this one)

      The Story You Don't Know
  5. Okay soooo we…… start off out of the game…… what exactly hap–RANDOM SUGUHA!!!! AAAAH OH GOD YOU CRAZY INCESTUAL WOMAN!!! THAT SMILES SCARES ME AS FUCK!!!!

    Yay Klein! I don’t see near enough of you! Why isn’t the show about THESE GUYS?? They’re fun to watch and they have great dynamic!

    starss
  6. I can imagine more H-doujins of Nurse Aki in the next Comiket. On the other hand, has anyone noticed a slight change in the opening song since Episode 6? Instead of showing Death Gun’s “Death Gun” burning away with his bandaged hand after he appears on his mecha steed, it’s replaced with a scene emphasizing his Laughing Coffin tattoo while his bandaged arm burns away.

    A_Certain_Anime_Viewer
  7. Nurse Aki being familiar with Kirito isn’t strange as she is the nurse that took care of him for years during his time in SAO. I guess she also helped him recover afterwards too.

    Znail
  8. First comment on here but I have wanted to say this for a long long time. The comment section sucks. You can’t post anything negative around here because you will get downvoted.

    I LOVE reading negative comments about my favourite series. Why? Well if I’m enjoying anime then I already know why other people are enjoying it too. That’s why I love reading negative comments. I want to hear different opinions, different points of view. But you can’t do that here. So what if someone bashes your favourite anime. People have different tastes and opinions. You can still continue to enjoy your favourite anime, but you would also know the reasons why people don’t like it. Don’t be so butthurt about everything. Be open to new opinions.

    I love Anohana for example, but I have had so much fun reading all the negative reviews it has gotten, because at least now I know why people might not like it. And they have made really good points too. Try to respect different points of view. Please.

    Now let’s see how many downvotes I get. I honestly think that I have a really good point.

    Shikamaru
    1. You bring up some valid points, and I will try to address a few of them, at least from a personal point of view.

      I also enjoying reading constructive criticism. Regardless of what anyone may say, there is no truly perfect series, and minor flaws can always be found. However, the key word there is “constructive”. Simply bashing the series or people who like it is far from constructive, and leads nowhere except to arguments. Worse is when some people resort to name-calling or degrading others as unintelligent or tasteless. There is no room for such poor behavior in real life, so why should it be acceptable online?

      If people will point out the flaws of this series, then I welcome it. But this should be done in a civilized manner. That way, people can have a normal discussion about what each other’s opinions and views are, as to why people dislike certain parts. Then perhaps, you can both agree on what works and what does not.

      I do believe you are correct in some parts, so I will give you an up vote for this.

      MasterDragonKnight
    2. Funnily enough RC is one of the more open areas for criticism and divergent thought, at least from my experience. Forum sites such as MAL are usually the ones featuring the herd mentality as you point out where any form of criticism is beaten down (just need to look at the latest threads for Akame ga Kill and SAO here to see how ridiculous it can get :P).

      Like MasterDragonKnight states though the key is to be polite and respectful, do those things and the downvotes won’t matter because there are many of us here who will upvote for well constructed and thoughtful comments. For those people who refuse to engage in a constructive manner just ignore them, rabid fans and trolls are only a pain if you let them be.

      Pancakes
    3. I think the issue with negativity here is that a lot of people seems to hate SAO for the sake of it. They dont bring anything constructive or reasoning behind their opinion.

      I never understood why SAO get all the hate it does. The show is not perfect but it’s still one of the better shows I’ve seen. Even if the script is poorly written, it still has that great world and atmosphere that draws you in and makes you want to see more.

      YanDaMan
  9. I think Stilts missed out on some metaphorical significance in this episode.
    Anybody noticed the red balloon? http://tinyurl.com/knlvssj

    —comment i read somewhere about that balloon–

    Well, there’s always been this thing about the red thread/string of fate symbolizing star-crossed lovers or something like that. In this case, since it’s a red balloon and it flew by Shino and Kirito, it could mean that their destinies are intertwined or that their lives are similar in some aspect. I mean, the balloon flew off a little girl’s hand who walked by the park when Shino was with her friend and we did see a flashback of her when she was younger and killed this guy. Earlier, Kirito was also crying about the 3 people he killed in the past. Maybe it’s to say that their pasts are similar in a way that it traumatized them?

    Techim
    1. The red balloon was a great story element. It brings Kirito and Sinon closer together in the real world. They are both dealing with the same trauma. And having the red balloon pass by both of them as they make a step forward really pulls them together. Sinon is able to point her hand like a gun without PTSD starting, and Kirito is able to express some of his pain and receive some consoling.

      The red balloon also brings them physically close together. They could be on opposite ends of Japan, but the red balloon shows they are near each other. They may even have unknowingly seen each other just walking down the street.

      It also foreshadows the possibility of them meeting in the real world!

      The Pointman
  10. Shinkawa got friendzoned hard heh

    Nurse Aki is really giving a lot of counseling to Kazuto LOL xD

    Anyways nice parallels between Kirito and Sinon.

    They’re really taking this slow and steady.

    Netto
  11. It’s a strange thing I have with SAO II. I started out from moderately liking the 1st season initially,to going “meh” half-way through,followed by joining the hater crew for the entire 2nd season,like many others have done. Yet,I’m really liking this season so far and not just a little but significantly more than the 1st. I planned to watch it with a “so bad it’s good mentality” but so far it’s proving to be genuinely good. I know it’s better than the 1st but is it that much better or was I,like many others,too harsh on the 1st season? Or maybe it’s because I watch this right after Mahouka,which I REALLY struggle to go through,then when watching SAO II I realize just how much fun it is in comparison.

    I can’t be the only one here who’s had this experience,lol.

    MgMaster
    1. I planned to watch it with a “so bad it’s good mentality”

      Why is SAO always associated with hate-watchers?
      If there’s a need there’s always IS2, ImoCho, Pupa and Mahou Sensou..

      Techim
  12. While i still think Sinon is best girl, I just cant comprehend how Kirito just sideline Suguha, the possessor of best tits in SAO. It is as the great saying of the internet once stated: Incest is Wincest

    Ginobi47
  13. you know I don’t mind the whole ptsd thing. It’s perfectly reasonable that it remained relatively suppressed after he got asuna back. He has his emotional anchor, his daughter, his friends, he’s going to school, then the coffin tattoo triggers it all again. In general, I think you’re all just complaining too much. To hate a character for being too perfect then being angry for it being phoned in is hypocritical. I would wager it only seems “phoned in” because the guy who wrote the LNs (what was his name again?) came to the same conclusion you did, that kirito was too perfect and needed some new flaws

    nyanlol
  14. Honestly I don’t see how Spiegel would no connection to death gun or something bigger behind the scenes with what was shown in this episode. It made him out to be clearly manipulative of Shino. Despicably so.

    And i don’t think that they did that creepy scene where he rubs her face on the computer screen to paint him as some desperate guy. In all likely hood he’s hiding his true intentions behind the “good friend” facade he constantly puts up.

    I don’t know what it is but his presence just screams “insincere” and it’s very clear he’s hiding how he really acts.

    leatherhead333
  15. It was a split second but did people catch how Kirito reacted to the farewell by Nurse Aki when he jumped online? Death gun might be a woman as the mask distorted the look and voice. Nurse Aki did call out Kirito’s game name then, which I think he hasn’t told the nurse in the real world.

    sevenfarn
  16. https://randomc.net/image/Sword%20Art%20Online/Sword%20Art%20Online%20II%20-%2007%20-%2001.jpg Kirito: “Didn’t you wear those clothes during the winter Sugu? How are you not sick with any illness right now? I can be malnutritioned from lying in a bed playing a VR game, but you can’t get sick from fucking wearing short shorts and that same dirty ass jacket all the time?! Fuck That Shit!” Suguha: “Well that’s obviously the power of an Incest Loving Cousin for you. Everytime I call you Onii-chan I gain a powerup :)!” Kirito: “B-b-but Asuna is mai waifu!” Suguha:”For now…..(Fuck That Bitch)”

    https://randomc.net/image/Sword%20Art%20Online/Sword%20Art%20Online%20II%20-%2007%20-%2010.jpg “Who the fuck wears short shorts and a jacket in the house let alone outside in this weather Sugu?! WHO?! You better watch your back because soon it’s gonna be in my scope!”

    magoiichi
  17. What is so wrong about OP characters? That everyone instead wants to find faults in them? Kirito used to be a cool OP character, now he is just an emo OP character, damn he went worse. It’s like Inaho from Aldnoah to start crying like a bitch, but unlike that series this was just a game, real life consequences or not, no blood was shed and no direct death was shown.

    I swear people that looks for a deeply flawed character that isnt OP and just trains for so many episodes to become one is rather typical that it’s boring. There are only a few OP characters, thats why I appreciate such a character type, I prefer them Gary or Mary Stus compared to pathetic weak characters that cant do anything but cry, whine, and train just for them to be OP in the last arc or episodes.

    X
    1. OP chars usually come from bad writing. Main problem is lacking of suspension of disbelief because an OP char looks a little too unreasonable to bear. The story becomes main-centered and is ruined by that.

      Not that you can’t have an OP char or two, but everything else has to be levelled to the main chars’s op level to balance it all. This usually leads to ludicrous development.

      Other examples are Black Bullet where the opponents are far too OP, forcing over the top battles with tons shonen like powerups and deux-ex-machinas.
      One good example of OP chars done the right way is in No Game No Life, where the main duo can’t loose by script. This forces everything over the top, but strategies are still well done and entertaining.

      Solaris

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