「強さの意味」 (Tsuyosa no Imi)
“The Meaning of Strength”

For all of us who thought all the small talk was over, boy were we wrong.

Ace Detective Kirigaya Kazuto

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been awfully curious about how Death Gun has been getting away with murdering people from within a virtual game where the equipment has strict safeguards in-place to prevent anything of the sort from happening. But to think that the whole thing was just a bunch of smoke and mirrors to give some SAO survivors the thrill of PKing got me a little irked. It might be because of the new point of view but when things change from fantasy and theory to simple murder by cardiac arrest, it’s just not fun anymore. Because no matter how you look at it, the pair who make up Death Gun are simply murderers trying to give their insane acts some kind of meaning by being flashy. I mean, at least during the SAO era it was kind of (not really) justified by the fact that no one really knew (at first) what happened when you died.

On the other hand, it looks like Kirito has absolutely no reason to fear Death Gun now! Which hopefully means we can be done with all of this soon and watch Kirito slice the crap out of him without the slightest sense of remorse! Unless his PTSD decides to kick in, then maybe it’ll be watching him get the crap get kicked out of him until Sinon takes out Death Gun!

Random Thought about Subtitles

Seeing how a majority of the community consumes anime with subtitles in their native language because not everyone in the freaking world can take the time to learn Japanese, I found it kind of funny how much the mood can change depending on how liberal the person behind the translation decides to be. While it might be on a teeny tiny scale, you have to wonder how much different your anime viewing experience could be. For example (as a lot of commenters have been pointing out), would you have put Sterben or Steven/Stephen every time someone said Death Gun’s name? Sure, we see Sterben in all the menus but based off of how all the characters have been saying it, you could assume Sterben was just a derp misspelling of Steven or Stephen. What do you think? Is it more important to spell things correctly when you have a proper translation or do you keep things phonetic in order to preserve the original meaning the author was trying to get across? Because as far as I can tell, based off of the spoilers I’ve pieced together from the comments, Show Spoiler ▼

Looking Ahead

With a lot of expositional baggage cleared, it looks like the big fight is finally ready to happen! While it remains to be seen whether or not Kirito and Sinon can actually take down overpowered Death Gun who has presumably paid to win at GGO, I can’t wait to watch them try! -squeals in excitement-


  1. https://randomc.net/image/Sword%20Art%20Online/Sword%20Art%20Online%20II%20-%2011%20-%20Large%2008.jpg
    Sinon Ass Online. Did they really need to focus on her ass?

    It seems that it’s becoming more obvious that they’re trying to put some fan service to make up for how the current and previous episodes were boring due to all the repetitive conversations about PTSD and stuff. Hopefully we finally get some action next week.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    The Story You Don't Know
    1. I actually had to laugh at that part, but at least it did make Kirito deduce that there was more than one “Death Gun”; at least with finishing all their deductions, they’re more inclined to face off Death Gun.

      And from what I can remember from the novel, they only hugged each other for a while, so the scene may have been interpreted longer than usual. (Though its not a major gripe since its not over the top and the conversation was pretty interesting to listen to)

    2. I’m making a bet that Sinon’s outfit was likely based out of some of the characters from Burst Angel, the author must have been a fan. Don’t know what other anime/manga that outfit could be based out of.

      I would be shocked if there was actually something like that being worn for combat purposes in real life.

    3. Womens Logic: Sinon uses stripperific armor, gets mad when Kirito sees her in underwear that covers MORE of her a$$!
      The amount of unnecessary fanservice is ridiculous, but I am already chuckling at the thought of Asuna reacting to the vid the camera has taken in the cave…
      Kirito, gratz on solving the most obvious case in history… since there is no way to induce heart failure from inside game, there needed to be real world accomplice doing the deed.
      Also, this means (unless there are more accomplices) Death Gun can only do one kill at a time, and only on those who live alone without properly secured doors. So, other than Sinon, at least other players are safe, and Kirito is perfectly safe in the middle of hospital with nurse at his side.
      One thing that bothers me is why LC members are at large at all instead of being behind bars? done with the use of video game, a murder is a murder, and they did it repeatedly…

    4. > Sinon Ass Online. Did they really need to focus on her ass?

      But it was obviously plot-relevant as directly afterwards Kirito could uncover the Death Gun scheme. So her assets seem to enhance his reasoning powers.

    5. I laughed ridiculously hard during that scene. All the focusing on Sinon’s a*s, with Kirito then taking a long hard look before the lightbulb goes off in his head concerning Death Gun. I like T&A as much as the next guy, but I haven’t ever had it assist me in logical deduction. Hell logic is furthest thing from the mind when dealing with that 😛

      It’s as though the screenwriters know how weak the main plot of the GGO arc is so they’re trying to make up for its deficiencies by giving plentiful amounts of Sinon fan service.

    6. Kirito isn’t that of a perv. Sure that long staring at dat @ss reminded him more of an injection than pervy stuff and so… Of course anyone else would’ve thought the same while staring at such a fancy ass, that’s normal, right? :p

  2. I’m kinda wondering about the Sterben pronunciation. You’d say that if it was based off the German word, that a Japanese person wouldn’t pronounce it like ‘Steven’. After all, they’d probably say it like ‘Suteruben’, or something similar. That’s mainly what confuses me, really. Then again, the Dutch word for Sterben is spelled ‘Sterven’, which would be closer to that, although the pronunciation would still be wrong. And as far as I’m concerned, German is the language that so many Japanese people seem to love, not Dutch.

    1. If I’m allowed to make a guess, the reason is probably as simple as the author not knowing how Sterben is pronounced. Or to be precise, thinking the “e”s are pronounced the same way as in Steven. B and V are phonetically pretty similar, so that’s pretty easy mistake too I think, especially for someone speaking language in which only one of those exists.
      They might love it but still not be good at it 😛

    2. But Kirito doesn’t know its German, so why would he use a German pronounciation at this point? Thus it’s more logical, that he assumes it might be some kind of English like the like the similarly written Steven as uses this as his pronounciation reference.

    3. The pronunciation is strange if it was intended to be interpreted as “sterben”. Sterben sounds similar to “stairben” for us English speakers, so using Japanese phonology it would be pronounced as “Suteruben” (with the u’s left silent of course). Makes perfect sense however if it was meant to be interpreted as Stephen/Steven. In this case I’d make the assumption that we are not supposed to know about the connotations of sterben, with Kirito & friends assuming that sterben is simply an additional spelling of Stephen/Steven.

      1. btw, even Google do it wrong.

        Sterben is Dieing in English. Death is in German Tod

        To dieing = zum Sterben
        He is Dead = Er ist Tod
        He not fear Death = Er fürchtet nicht den Tod

        So Death Gun = Tod Pistole? more accurate would be Todes Pistole or Pistole des Todes

        So just translate Death into Sterben is not right

  3. Show Spoiler ▼

    The episode itself. I liked the first half more with the detective game than the secound.
    All characters repeat things which you already know…boring
    (is there a quote for screen time to meet for each?).

  4. Trap Kirito and Sinon brought GGO to life. Without those two, Phantom Bullet would be rekt by Fairy Dance.

    Still, in my opinion,
    Aincrad>Alicization>Mother’s Rosario>Phantom Bullet>Fairy Dance

  5. Can’t remember season one all that well, but wasn’t that the hospital Asuna mentions the same hospital that the bad guy from the second cour owned? I really don’t think Kirito is as safe as it seems. Death Gun went out of his way to try confirming if Kirito was that Kirito, doubt he wouldn’t try killing him at first chance.

    Well, he is the main so he’ll be safeish.

    1. Nope, Azuna was in another hospital then Kirito. Azuna even mentions it this episode that it was where Kirito went through rehab, with Nurse Aki’s help incidentally. It would be strange of her to say it like that if it had been were she herself was hospitalised.

  6. The detective work here was pretty interesting, the result is… Really creepy, to be honest. Especially with the reveal that they’re in Sinon’s room… Yikes.
    It’s interesting too though, I’ve been wondering if breaking and entering the room of someone in virtual world was possible since season 1. I was thinking burglars, not murderers, though.

    Honestly, GGO having a system that makes it impossible to log out during the competition is just plain stupid though. Who in their right mind would do that?

  7. “just a bunch of smoke and mirrors to give some SAO survivors the thrill of PKing got me a little irked”
    I have to agree, I was hoping for something more profound but it was irking to find out how simple the trick really worked. To be frank, as I was originally hoping I was wrong, the moment we saw how players actually put down their real life addresses, and so forth, it seemed obvious that it was likely Death Gun was killing people in the real world, using some drug and so forth. But I dismissed that idea when it seemed rather impossible for the police to not find the real cause of death in an Autopsy, I mean if the victim was given an injection then you would imagine that would be easy to find, not to mention other things would be found like unidentified footprints or fingerprints. However, as Kirito mentioned, it does make sense, I think; considering how the body just simply decomposes, and because of the police were just lazy as to conclude the hardcore gamers just die because of their unhealthy lifestyles (not to mention we saw how messy their room was), where it is common knowledge that gamers often lack of proper nutrition or a sense of hygiene (no offense to any gamers out there), then it sounds legit to a certain extent. I don’t know to what extent autopsy can find the cause of death, but was this all because Death Gun was lucky so far which is why he wasn’t caught yet? I mean, so he was lucky because all the top gamers just happened to live alone, which allowed the body to decompose, and the police just happen to lose their chance to find the evidence.

    Kinda sad that our Sinon is in danger mainly because our new heroine lives alone, why again is she living away from her mother, I really find it morbidly sad that she possibly dies just because she lives alone?

    Now for the second worry. We have recalled how Death Gun “cheated” on the first person he killed. So let’s hope he won’t find a T.V screen with Sinon’s image on it.

    Overall, Deja-vu, detective Kirito must be the decendent of certain people from Gosick XD. A gun salllute should be given to him for discovering the rather cheap gimmick behind Death Gun’s “power.”

  8. Saw the episode, more of a lay the plan and execute sorta episode with them revealing how Death Gun’s trick is done, its good in its own way. Least there was barely any PTSD to ruin the episodes ambiance, other than actual life or death scenario going on. And that ass, Sinon be packing more than her sniper rifle.

  9. As expected of the number 2 Gary Stu of the season, Kirito’s overly abundant manlyness causes Sinon to ignore the fact that they have just ment and just went ahead and touch each other like it was natural. I cant even recall if Kirito was that flirty with Asuna

    Kirito is truly a man among men.

    On the other hand, we get another piece of Sinon Ass Online. Sinon’s butt crack more than makes up for the lack of action in this episode.

    PS: Tatsuya is this season’s number 1 Gary Stu. Seriously… Im starting to wonder if the writer of Mahouka was on drugs when he made Tatsuya’s character. Kirito and Inaho (Gary Stu number 2 and 3) doesnt even come close to how messed up OP Tatsuya is

    1. People do need to stop misusing the term ‘Gary Stu/Mary Sue’. Ridiculously overpowered/overintelligent main characters are a dime a dozen, and that doesn’t always make their story bad. What does make a Gary Stu/Mary Sue is (a) the kind of perfect image that politicians can only dream of, i.e. always being ultimately right and everyone and their dog singing their praises, and (b) rendering most or all other characters basically plot irrelevant with their presence, being the sole and only reason things happen or move forward.

      By that yardstick, Tatsuya has (a) in spades, but is pretty far away from (b), and Inaho is nowhere near either. Kirito, on the other hand… is both, and has been since SAO.

  10. This episode was quite creepy due to the revelation of 2 death guns. So there is potentially a creepy guy in the room with Sinon. Ugh… Let’s hurry up and kill Death gun’s avatar in GGO so the other creep leaves her room. Wish they could send an email to the cops while logged in.

    This is an interesting situation the show has presented us because it could actually happen in an actual VRMMO once humanity gets to the stage of supporting being ‘jacked in’ to the game.

    And yeah I agree with the Takaii this episode was very slow

    Rick Anime
  11. …….why cant the SAOII staff draw an ass properly? What is going on in those screenshots; Im so flabbergasted XD. Well, it seemed like my theory about death gun 8 eps ago turned out to be completely on the money. let’see how things get resolved

  12. Ok, I have a serious problem with the direction taken by the characters. Why doesn’t Kirito have Sinon kill him so he can use his police contacts to have a swat team deployed on her apartment. I mean the plan that they are hatching is moronic.

    1. Well if they do that then 2 things could happen:
      1) The Death Gun in GGO hurries up and finds Sinon. She suffers PTSD or panics making herself easy prey to Death Gun ingame.
      2)The Death Gun in the real world runs away soon as Kirito gets killed by Sinon. The author already established Death Gun(s) are suspicious of Kirito but we don’t know to what extent. It is a long shot but they could get spooked and flee.

      Plus, I know I wouldn’t want to leave my loved one logged into the VRMMO alone. I wish that SAO strike team or whatever was monitoring Kirito. He’s supposed to be a special agent. He needs a way to communicate with the outside world.

      Rick Anime
    2. “Why doesn’t Kirito have Sinon kill him so he can use his police contacts to have a swat team deployed on her apartment.”

      This will not work as even if you get killed in-game you can’t log out during the tournament. This was mentioned some episode before.

  13. Without a doubt Sinon has now gone from semi interesting character to another “pick a number” Kirito harem member. It’s really disappointing how quickly Sinon’s raison d’etre has been transformed from “find strength through personal struggle” (ignoring the inconsistencies in its approach) to “get strength from Kirito”. We could have had a good secondary character and much needed growth outside of Kirito himself, but it’s as though the Gary Stu went “lol nope” and then co-opted Sinon before she could steal his thunder.

    Also Klein continues to live up to his name. The investigative captain comes in, is largely hated by all fellow Kirito harem members, and yet still positions himself in the centre of all of them, while dear Klein still has his a*s halfway across the room. Alone. Goddammit Klein.

    1. Yeah, I mentioned that last episode, all of Sinon’s development being just broken down and thrown away to be totally reliant on Kirito. And it did feel like Kirito was being shoved down our throat this episode, especially with all the girls saying how good he was and such.

    2. I agree with you 100 %

      The sad thing about it is Reki Kawahara (writter of SAO) doesnt seem to know any other way of presenting females.

      Regradless, Sinon is still leagues better than the most of the female cast. In my opinion, the only other female that is as decent as Sinon is still 6 light novel volumes away. Odds are, the non LN readers might never see her T.T

    3. I actually completely disagree and think that this is a very interesting case of reading into something that is not there and applying gender analysis to the story in a way that is a bit unfair.

      Sinon is actually given what is normally a male character story. It’s most similar to the cop subplot from Die Hard, where Sergeant Al Powell kills a child with his gun and is unable to ever fire a gun again. He confesses this to John McClane and in order to save him, ends up shooting again. Afterwards he recovers from his trauma and goes back to being a field officer.

      This is basically the same thing happening here, except, that I would argue that Sinon’s story has a much better foundation and that thematically and from a character perspective, it’s much better developed. Our introduction to Sinon immediately presents her “two conflicting selves” the girl that acts with confidence and the girl that suffers from PTSD and essentially lives her life as a victim. The conflict in these identities is one of the core things that must be resolved or addressed in order to make the GGO arc tell a coherent narrative and for Sinon to be an actual complete character. PTSD is not exactly an easy thing to deal with and it’s really more often used as a male war story trope. If anything, I think it’s more sexist to associate crying/inability to pull the trigger with femininity.

      The theme of IRL/Online identities is a major theme of SAO in both seasons and this further ties into that as well as continuing a few other thematic discussions. The core difference between Sinon and Elizabeth and That One Girl That Keeps Losing To Flower Monsters is that there is actual substance there.

      The area where SAO is being extremely formulaic is that they used the same setup for Sinon that they used for Kirito’s sister. They both have some obvious loser guy also advancing on them and I think that’s more born of narrative laziness than anything else.

      Let’s face it, there isn’t a harem. A harem is a situation in which there is some sort of possibility of mutual romances. SAO is not exactly subtle about it’s message that Kirito only wants Asuna. He hasn’t exactly been vague about his feelings. If anything, this is more of a romance/drama like ToraDora. Multiple girls want the main character. The main character already made his decision.

      I actually had written this series off entirely because I believed it was a harem show from what I had heard, however, having marathoned all of S1 up to S2 Ep11 in the last 48 hours, it really definitely is not a harem thus far and I feel like Sinon’s character has been managed pretty well.

  14. After much consideration I have to say that Death Gun is one of the best villains Kawahara Reki has created, hear me out for a second:

    He´s something way more terrifying than an actual monster or a ghost as Sinon and Kirito initially thought, he´s a legacy of the ugly truth reveal by Aincrad. The lives of all the players of SAO change that day when Kayaba made Aincrad into a new reality and many experience good things as Kirito, Asuna, Lisbeth and Slica, they found their true selfs or answers that have been looking for a long time; then there is Laughing Coffin, what they found inside themselfs in that game was something horrifying, a dakness like what you see in the mind of a psycopath or a serial killer, Kirito said so himself, Virtual Reality game only magnify your true self and that´s what Death Gun is, a monster wearing human skin as disguise that found himself in Aincrad.

    The horrible point is that most people don´t notice this, be in real life or virtual reality, people don´t pay attention to those little thing that give away a true monster like Death Gun, yes his avatar is intimidating but only someone who has seen true madness like Kirito, Asuna or Klein could notice as they did there is something horribly wrong with that guy. This is what I love of the Phantom Bullet novels.

    1. If she was watching there would be no mere Kirito, she says she is not a jealous person but the other girl now better than that, seh´s scarya as hell at the momment of defending her husband. XD

  15. I don’t know why people hate all the talking, the story is easily the best part of SAO2 and the dialogue solidifies that. Unless you’re here for more shitty harems and mindless action, in which case, sure, whatever.

    1. Now there are 2, or maybe more deathguns, we can take it that the real life one is watching the game, and unless the deathgun in the tournament had shot the victim, they can’t go kill them off.

      So what going to happen when the game deathgun die instead?

  16. So, this Death Guy, is in real 2 Persons. One that is Online and doing the Game, and one break into the Online enemy’s House and kill or force them Offline?

    Well, i heard of some real hardcore LoL Gamers, that wold break in in the Enemy Team Houses and cut the Power off, to force an Link Death Connection (that must be also possible here. What will happen if there is a Power outtake while Online?) to Win the game Online. Dont forget in some countries there is much Money in game…

    This is To be on Top on all costs Extreme Mode gamer…

  17. “it looks like Kirito has absolutely no reason to fear Death Gun now!” I have a bridge that I want to sell you! There is no evidence for the conclusion that DeathGun2 is standing in Sinon’s room. In reality, either Kirito’s ‘hot nurse’ is in league with Death Gun or she has been cold conked and DeathGun2 is standing in Kirito’s hospital room! This is reinforced by Asuna going to check on Kirito’s safety.

  18. I was thinking before that maybe Death Gun was sending some signal through the network that caused the heart to over stress and cause a death.

    But I think this answer is much better. I think it makes for a better story than some new power. It adds depths to the villains. It makes them even more screwed up. Where before they were evil killers that enjoyed killing, now they seem more deranged and pathetic. They are pitiful and warped. I’m sensing a bigger reason than just “I like killing”.

    I also think this raises the drama up to a new level. While Kirito is now safe, that doesn’t matter as much. He’s always been the type to willing give his life to save another. But now Sinon danger level is through the roof. There is a serial killer next to her, and she can’t move. For Kirito this is much worse. As bad as he feels about killing those LC guys, what really makes Kirito suffer more than anything else is when he can’ travel someone. He would rather die with someone than watch them die.

    The Pointman

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