「死の追撃者」 (Shi no Tsuigekisha)
“Pursuer of Death”

This week’s episode of SAO did a pretty good job at straddling the fine line between throwing too much or too little exposition at us by giving us just enough cool action scenes and fancy Sinon shots to make it all palatable. Unless you’re like me and enjoyed listening to Sinon finally open up, then yay!

Kirito Is the Man!

Somehow taking out the original target and securing her weapons before Death Gun even had the chance to point his illustrious handgun at Sinon, Kirito’s been completely on-point recently. While I still find it a little hard to believe that he’d be able to cover so much ground as quickly as he did, I’ll chalk this one up to his hardened battle skills from being stuck in so many sticky situations. Because out of all the fancy things he can do, facing and then defeating the impossible seems to be his forte.

Sinon vs Shino

Ever since Shino’s fear of guns and her plan to overcome it were revealed many moons ago, I’ve never been totally sold on it. Not only do I think it’s a little ridiculous to believe that being the best in a game that just happens to focus on shooting will help but the leap in logic that Sinon uses to justify her plan completely misses (avoids?) solving the underlying problem. Which is why I was happily surprised to see Sinon finally realize what that something important was after finally opening up to Kirito.

It isn’t and has never been about her real life persona versus her virtual one. As much as we’d like to fantasize about the freedom we’d have by not letting one side’s actions affect the other, you can’t change the fact that there’s only one person behind the screen. So as much as you’d like to favor one over the other, there’s no way to completely escape the burdens that either go through.

So yes, after episodes of ranting about Sinon’s misguided attempts at becoming a stronger version of herself by somehow becoming the strongest player in GGO, I can get behind the idea that she needs to accept her actions in real life but can try to move forward by proving herself in a different world where the stakes have suddenly become just as high.

Looking Forward

With all the emotional baggage finally dealt with, I really hope this is the last time we’ll have to watch Kirito’s flashback of the battle with Laughing Coffin. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the throwback to simpler times but I can only take so much of this stuff before it gets old. And seeing how Kirito and Sinon seem to finally be back at 100%, I’m hoping this means we’ll instead get to see Death Gun get his face bashed in.

P.S. A Gift for the Sinon lovers c;


  1. Yep I agree with you Takaii I really want to see Sinon and Kirito get back on track. I really enjoyed the episode but couldn’t believe how much time we spent in the cave. It was a very emotional moment and the writing was good


    It still reminded me why I loved the first arc in SAO. We were totally immersed into the virtual world. There was no ‘external’ interference from the real world. In this show, we see a lot of issues such as PTSD, etc. One advantage Log Horizon has, for instance, Show Spoiler ▼

    Rick Anime
      1. Well in Log Horizon anime Show Spoiler ▼

        Rick Anime
      1. ikr? the dudes look so generic, but the passerby female character look so unique…
        …you know what? it’s not that surprising at all considering the amount of crotch shots we got this episode. thanks A-1 pictures -_-

      2. She had to look like that so that Kirito would figure out she is not Death Gun by just one look. There was lack of time, rememer the position Sinon was in at the same time. If Kirito spent more time interacting with her Sinon would be shot by Death Gun. I have seen comments that she looks like Moka from Rosario to Vampire.

    1. I know, she looked seriously hot and cool. Almost feels like she is the cameo of a main character of another popular anime, but I can’t put my finger on it. Anyway, thank god Death Gun didn’t kill her with his whatever trick, I would have want to see her help Kirito in the future.

    2. Well actually in the LN, we got a really detailed description of how Kirito took her down. (He also talked to her).

      Seeing as how the anime adaption has been extremely faithful to the LN so far, I guess they compensated for the fact they took out the action sequence by at least animating her carefully?

    1. It comes from having not one, but two characters given the condition IMO. If Sinon alone had PTSD then the time allotted to its development wouldn’t be overbearing, but because we had Kirito too given a large amount of time towards his version anything after it feels unneeded.

  2. Dafuq, so Sinon was really bullied so long because she killed some robber? I personally found her action to be justified public service, I mean her mother could have been killed; I would want to be friends with her. Poor Sinon T_T the society was retarded.

      1. While indeed “cliche” sadly fiction can be based on truth. There are plenty of times where people simply do not understand the situation when they have never understood every detail.

    1. It stems from the fear of: Oh this kid had the capability to kill, will she kill me too?

      Parents would ask their kids to stay away from her. And kids start to get creative to add the murder label on her.

      1. That is more like paranoia than fear, no different from how people once thought camaras steal people’s soul.

        Thus, as the adults never fully grasped the info, then they are even more retarded as they tell their more ignorant children.

  3. I’m liking this season, but these episodes near completely devoted to the traumas of Kirito and friends are growing tiring, at least for me. The entire cave scene almost played out like a harem application that Kirito made for Sinon. Sinon fought and fought to get him to tear the damn thing up, but over time the Gary Stu successfully broke down her defenses and eventually got her to concede being a full time member of the Kirito girls club. It’s what irks me, Sinon is the first character outside of Kirito with any serious development and of course it’s Kirito who ends up the center of her revelation and growth, the catalyst needed to get her to realize what needs to change.

    It’s as pointed out a couple episodes back, Kirito’s trauma ends up overpowering what uniqueness Sinon’s originally had. Kirito suddenly coming to possess PTSD diminishes the impact of Sinon’s own troubles and leaves it appearing superfluous. Sinon for all intents and purposes becomes little more than a tool to add a further layer of intrigue onto Kirito with Sinon’s trauma being nothing more than the connection needed to get them closer to one another. This season would have been much better IMO if Sinon was the only one with the trauma, it would have lent much needed strength to the intended emotional impact of Sinon’s epiphany in the cave.

  4. Talking about your problems is really imprtant. Trust me, i’ve been on receiving end of serious depression in my life. Sinon is lucky that Kirito is not only great fighter, but great listener…
    Also, always it is better to act than to give up – even a complete miss bullet can hit something else and trigger the explosion… I was chuckling that Hecate truly came to its roots as anti-material rifle…
    I was slowly but surely forgiving the show hitting Sinon with nerfhammer so hard. First, it was Shino, the traumatized kid that was in shambles here, not the “cool sniper Sinon” – a mask she created in her quest for strength. Second, as Kirito has mentioned, use of TO cammo (section 9, did you lose one set of equipement or what?) made her as a VERY ranged fighter extremely vulnerable to Death Gun.

  5. And again, it feels like PTSD is being used as a way to force Kirito and Sinon closer together. I mean, Sinon has pretty much been completely broken down to be entirely reliant on Kirito now.

    It was fine with someone like Sachi in SAO who, as far as I know anyway, was always like that, but Sinon was someone who was trying to actually improve herself and trying to get over it and seemed to be making some progress, even if it had yet to truly “transfer” to real life whereas Sachi constantly wanted to escape from it all and completely clung to Kirito and now it feels like Sinon ended up almost like that and seeing Kirito as her “only” source of “real strength”.

    I dunno, maybe it’s because I haven’t read the source material, so things may have been left out, but I just had a problem with how this went…feels like girls that start out strong in SAO seem to constantly be reduced to damsels who “need” Kirito to be strong.

      1. I mentioned that last episode; why couldn’t Sinon be the one to leave to try to find a good spot, Kirito gets ambushed by Death Gun and freaks out and such (after all, isn’t he supposed to be the center of everyone’s attention and the one talking about how dangerous Death Gun is and how it’s his battle and such? ~_~), and have Sinon be the one to come back and save his ass?

  6. Have to say, Sinon letting her PTSD get in the way is beyond irritating, I was mentally screaming, “Just shoot damnit!” hell she couldn’t take care of the damn horse too. Ughh, Sinon was a rather likable heroine next to Asuna, but after this episode she dropped down a whole lot, that PTSD better not come up again cause that is just some straight up bullshit for character development.

    Now before you say PTSD this or that, please skim it over and just let her shoot someone. This is about guns blazing and a lone sword taking ass and kicking name.

    1. Yes! People who criticize her for morphing into another helpless girl reliant on Kirito should note just how scarring it feels to have PTSD. Kirito’s there to make sure Sinon remains the brave heroine everyone loves Sinon for!

  7. Wow I actually really enjoyed this episode. I thought the conversation between Kirito and Sinon was really heartfelt. That exchange when she realized that her rival “was consoling her” was really well written and animated, not to mention realistic.

    Maybe it’s because I read the LN so I can fill in the gaps, motivations, context, and inner dialogues, but it seems that I’m enjoying this season more than the other commenters… actually it’s probably definitely for this reason.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    I watch SAO for the action and setting, but also for moments like these when I can relate to the characters/explores real life implications of fictional settings. I liked Asuna as a character because I could relate to her RL family/school circumstances and her feelings of despair when she got stuck in SAO. I can relate to Sinon’s struggle between her pride and her yearning to depend on someone else. And honestly I felt really really sad at the bullying scene for Sinon because it reminded me of the Show Spoiler ▼

    I agree that Kirito’s PTSD is a bit contrived, but I think it would be natural for a sequel about a RL death game, to explore the consequences of adjusting to your old life/real life and being reminded of what you did in the death game. Sort of like, if you were in the Hunger Games and then you had to return to your community/daily life afterwards.

    Ironically it looks like from the comments that everyone would have liked this episode better if the studio had fleshed out Kirito’s flashy battle with Juushi X rather than Sinon and Kirito’s time in the cave. XD;

  8. And seeing how Kirito and Sinon seem to finally be back at 100%

    Well… Show Spoiler ▼

    so you’ll have to give them a bit more time.

  9. How dare Kirito kill Gunner X and not add her to the harem! That was so out of character!

    She looked pretty awesome for a generic character that’ll probably never appear again. I hope she appears again though :3

    1. Kirito thrusted his Kagemitsu G4 into the soft abdomen of Gunner X as she let out a soft moan.
      Kirito: Sh, sh, sh, don’t resist this will all end very soon.
      Gunner X stared tearfully into Kirito’s eyes… I can’t write anymore but you get the point.

  10. Btw! Why the heck cant they logout during the tournament?! I just love how they casually toss that out there. What’s the reason?

    Will they be disqualified if they logout or is it just totally impossible to logout? Because there is no way I am playing a game personally that I cannot log out of. That’s some SAO mess right there…

    Rick Anime
    1. Logout isn’t completely impossible, but it is forbidden voluntarily. A player cannot choose to logout during the tournament, in order to prevent players from cheating by passing information to each other in the real world. That’s why players who are “killed” (killed normally, not Death Gun killed) in the game stay there lying on the ground rather than disappearing.

      However, Amusphere has safety devices installed that force logout if they detect an irregularity in the player’s health. Extreme heart fluctations that could indicate a heart-attack, for instance. If a player falls unconscious in the game they will be automatically logged out as well. These are hardware-level restrictions, and the game can’t override them.

      1. Hmmm that made me wonder. Since it’s possible for the hardware to detect a player’s real life health then maybe the creators of the new amuspheres could have made it so that if there are irregularities in the players’ health while using the device, it would send a distress signal to the nearest hospital?

        That way it wouldn’t take them days or even weeks and wait until someone smells a rotting body until they discover that someone died while using the device.

        The Story You Don't Know
      2. Hey thanks for the explanation. I would never do that. My house could be getting robbed and set ablaze while I’m stuck in the game world lol. I just can’t see how that would ever fly but who knows!

        Rick Anime
  11. This episode did a great job at once again proving that either children in Japan are even worse than the devil…or the adults in Japan really want them to be.
    I’m trying to remember an anime where school age kids were actually, consistently, shed in a reasonable light.
    Nope, attempted sleazy scene here, mellodramatic jealousy for irrational reasons scene there, etc.
    And somehow all these scenes result in some sort of attempted rape or bludgeoning on a character >.>
    Juuust saying


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