「ダークテリトリー」 (Daaku Teritorii)
“Dark Territory”

Holy crap — this guy is a bonafide psychopath.

General Impressions

I have some real mixed feelings about this week’s episode. Specifically though, I’m a little bummed that we lost some cool characters who would have probably made the story real interesting and I’m also a little baffled that the new main bad guy is a god damn psychopath.

Starting with the former since that isn’t infuriating, it really sucks that the two people who were vying for peace barely had two episodes to them. Because after the revelation that there are other humans (or humanoid?) that exist in the Dark Territory, it doesn’t seem too crazy to think that both sides could try to work things out diplomatically. Man, if I’m being honest, I was really looking forward to two old men trying to talk things out with a crazy battle going on behind them. Not because it would have been anything earth shattering, but I think it would have been cool to see both sides try to empathize with one another since it’s been hundreds of not thousands of years since the split occurred. That and who’s to say the people who exist now even remember why there’s animosity between the two sides?

Moving on to the other topic of the week, I guess we have to talk about Gabriel’s disgusting fetish with souls and the phenomenon he experienced after brutally murdered what I would assume was a close friend. Frankly speaking, I feel negative empathy toward this sick fucker. Like, how terrible is it that he literally committed murder by stabbing someone through the ear and making it to their brain? God, it’s so disgusting when you stop to think about just how messed up a character has to be to commit such an act. What’s worse though is that Gabriel gets off on “absorbing” other people’s souls. Something that not only feels insanely voyeuristic but borders on whatever comes after creepy on the scale of things you shouldn’t do.

Man, what a weird episode. Between watching someone turn into the Avatar and seeing a child commit cold blooded murder, I’m not really sure what else I could say about this episode besides that it was just.. weird. No matter what happens from here on out though, I do hope someone smashes Gabriel’s head in (preferably multiple times) both in the virtual world and in the real world.




      1. What a stupid reply. Not even in the villain department everyone is a “rapist” as Kayaba, the villain of Ordinal Scale (written by Kawahara in 2016, more than 10 years after Aincrad began in 2002 and 10 years after Alicization began in 2005, yes, SAO is that old) and Quinella aren’t like that. Everything you’re watching is from a much older writing, and the adaptation in anime for his future works will be the same.

  1. Was it necessary to have Gabe’s childhood friend be named Alicia, and show her reading Alice in Wonderland? Is this going to end up being a ridiculous name-based drama like “Martha”?

    Magnus Tancred
  2. https://randomc.net/image/Sword%20Art%20Online/Sword%20Art%20Online%20Alicization%20WoU%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2018.jpg
    Anime logic, murder is easy to get away with. His parents are rich so I imagine it was easy for him, as a kid, to get away with things. But that was disturbing, to kill a girl that loved him. Guy was a person beyond saving as a child.

    So I assume he wants to eat Alice’s soul, and disobey his employer’s request? OR he will probably make several copies of Alice’s soul to eat. Regardless, his personality is fitting for a “demon king.” A part of me wonders if he studied the LORE of his Avatar before making his speech- “I was expelled from the heavens blah blah blah.”

    (sarcastic tone in use) Anyway, good like finding Alice, I mean Alice is like a Common name for a girl. He might even get the wrong “alice.”

    1. https://randomc.net/image/Sword%20Art%20Online/Sword%20Art%20Online%20Alicization%20WoU%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2015.jpg
      On the extra note, did Gabriel chose to kill Lipia just to eat her? It seems smarter to want to eject Lipia’s mind into the real world and use her as an insurance incase Gabriel fails to get Alice. He wanted an NPC that can do murder, one just came to his bedroom right away.

      And I never understood how someone become “superman” here, or why he lost his clothes, but it seems rebellion attempt was wasted for reasons I don’t understand even after reading the light novel.

  3. As an anime-only secondary, the thing I’ve found most surprising about the these last two episodes is that there are (were?) reasonable humans in the Dark Territory. I’d kind of assumed that everyone was either monster or twisted. But now we have someone dropping in from the outside who seems like what I expected to find there in the first place, pure evil.

  4. Gabriel’s family is big all right – Show Spoiler ▼

    Gabriel’s insanity is his own thing though…

  5. It would have been a nice twist to have Gabriel just be a competent mercenary doing his job. Have him jump into the system to pull Alice out, find out how human everyone is and then try to find a way to get her out while minimizing the damage from the “Stress Test”. Then you could have Kirito fighting a villain who was actually a better person than his mass murdering allies.

  6. When I read of Gabriel Miller in the novels,I thought of him as kind of like Sephiroth. Pretty much evil, but in a cold, calm, collected manner with little emotion, so to see that expression of euphoria on his sociopathic mug is a little jarring and unsettling.

  7. Gabriel eagerly wanted to witness that soul leaving for himself, perhaps even catch it. But no matter how hard he stared through the magnifying glass, no matter how careful his experiments, he never caught or even saw any thing leaving an insect’s body. He spent long hours and expended immeasurable enthusiasm in his secret lab deep in the woods behind his house, but he never found the slightest bit of success for his trouble.
    Even young Gabriel had an instinctual feeling that his parents would not welcome this interest of his. So after the incident with the mantis video, he never asked his father about it again, and he never told anyone about his experiments. But the more he hid it, the deeper his obsession became.
    Around that time, Gabriel had a very close friend his age.
    Alicia Clingerman was the daughter of the corporate board member who lived next door to Gabriel’s family. The children went to the same elementary school, and their families got to know each other. She was shy and quiet and preferred staying inside and reading or watching videos, rather than going out and playing in the mud.
    In his youthful naïveté, Gabriel assumed he would end up married to Alicia. Perhaps one day, he’d actually get to see her soul for himself. Given how angelic she was, it was certain to be the most indescribably beautiful thing.
    Gabriel’s wish would come true much sooner than he realized, but only half of it.
    In September 2008, a major bank collapse triggered a worldwide financial crisis.
    Glowgen Securities’s cautious business model paid off, and they were able to keep the damage to a minimum, but the Clingermans’ real estate investment company suffered huge losses. By the following April, the family had lost all its assets, including the mansion, and was going to move to Kansas City in the Midwest to rely on some farm-owning relatives.
    Gabriel was sad. He was wise for a ten-year-old boy and understood that there was no way he could actually help Alicia. He could easily imagine the hardships that awaited her in the future.
    All his privileges—a large home kept safe by perfect security systems, every meal prepared by experienced cooks, schools full of other rich white children—would become things of the past for Alicia, replaced by poverty and hard labor. Worst of all, Alicia’s pure soul, which was supposed to be his one day, would now be tarnished by someone else, some stranger—and that was the hardest thing of all for Gabriel to bear.
    So he decided to kill her.
    On Alicia’s last day of school, after she said her good-byes, Gabriel invited her to go into the woods behind their houses when they got off the school bus. He guided her there along his secret route, skillfully evading all the security cameras along the roads and fences, ensuring that no one saw them, walking over fallen leaves to hide their tracks, until they reached his secret laboratory, which was hidden in an especially dense area of shrubs.
    When Gabriel put his arms around her fragile body, she returned his embrace, having no idea of the countless insects that had perished in this space. The girl sobbed and hiccuped, telling him she didn’t want to go anywhere, that she wanted to stay there in that city with Gabe forever.
    In his mind, he silently reassured her that he’d make that come true. He put his hand into his pocket and pulled out the tool he’d prepared: his father’s four-inch steel needle with a wooden handle, used for killing insects.
    Alicia blinked in wonder, not realizing what had just happened, and then her body abruptly went into violent spasms. A few seconds later, her blue eyes lost their focus.
    And then, Gabriel saw it happen.
    Something luminescent, like a tiny gleaming cloud, emerged from Alicia’s forehead. It floated gently toward him, right between his eyes, and passed without sensation directly into his head.
    He took Alicia’s body to an oak tree he’d found with a deep, gaping pit beneath its roots and tossed her body down into it. Then he examined himself very carefully, plucked two long golden hairs from his body, and dropped them into the hole, too. After carefully washing the needle, he returned it to his father’s tool kit.
    The local police never succeeded in finding any clues to Alicia Clingerman’s disappearance, and the case went cold.

  8. In other words, even the woman who attempted to assassinate the emperor with a mere knife was still a soul bound by the absolutes of law. Yet, when Gabriel asked—no, ordered—she did not reveal the name of her master. In other words, this woman prioritized her fidelity to her master more than the orders from Gabriel, her emperor and god. Or rephrased yet again, she thought her master was stronger than the emperor was.
    In order for this operation to go smoothly, Gabriel—Emperor Vecta—would need to demonstrate his fighting ability to the generals and officer units so they understood that he was indeed the strongest being in the world. But he certainly couldn’t slaughter every last one of those generals. So what could he do?
    No…in any case, he would need to eliminate only one of the generals: whichever one gave this woman the intent to kill him.
    “If you start a war now, history will lose a hundred—no, two hundred years of progress! We mustn’t go back to the days when the powerless were tortured!!”
    Once again, Gabriel was mildly surprised. Was this woman really at the stage before the AI breakthrough? If so, was it this woman’s master who’d put those words in her mouth?
    He leaned closer, staring directly into those gray irises.
    Determination. Loyalty. And hiding beyond those things…
    Oh. I see.
    In that case, he did not need this woman anymore. Or more accurately, he did not need her fluctlight.
    Following his decision, Gabriel spared not another word, squeezing harder with the hand he had around her neck.
    Gabriel instantly opened his mouth to suck in the woman’s soul.
    Bitterness born of fear and pain.
    The sourness of frustration and sadness.
    And then, upon his tongue, the indescribable nectar of Heaven.
    A vague, hazy light flickered against the back of his closed eyelids.
    Young children frolicking in the front yard of an older two-story house. Humans, goblins, orcs, too. They looked to him, faces shining and arms outstretched as they ran closer.
    The image vanished and was replaced by the torso of a man. His chest was broad and strong, warm, and powerfully enveloping.
    “I love you…my lord…”
    The faint voice echoed and faded away.
    At last, he had again experienced the phenomenon he’d dedicated his life to finding. He absorbed the final emotion, the last fleeting love the dying woman felt, and savored it to the fullest. It was like manna from Heaven amid the barren wastes of the desert.
    I must have more.
    I must kill more.
    Gabriel rocked back, shaking with silent laughter.

  9. And here I thought we’d have a nice little unexpected conflict of interests within the dark territory thanks to Lipia and her commanding officer, but nope, “We hardly knew ye” had to be applied by Kawahara-sensei to those 2. And not in the nicest fashion either.

    I mean, what in the living hell was that even?? No satisfying explanation was provided for how Gabriel killed him. The moment Lipia’s head was shown off, I knew his death would come next right away, so any old fashioned way of execution would’ve sufficed, but from a visual perspective, I don’t know if this is A-1’s or Kawahara’s idea but either way, all I got was an unnecessary feeling of utter confusion at the whole scene.

    Granted, being that Lipia and her commanding officer (totally forgot his name) were the only ones in opposition to the dark territory’s goal, they wouldn’t have lasted long, but at least make her death earned instead of her just rushing toward it without proper planning with her commanding officer, and make his death… well, anything but THAT SMH

  10. Yeah that was… disappointing. When it looks like you might have some nuance in the series, the waveform suddenly collapses and we’re back to having psychopathic murderers so that there’s no possibility of moral ambiguity for our heroes. Not only do they have to be victorious, but righteous as well. As much as I’ve heard people hyping up this section of SAO, this along makes it feel like it’s not holding up.

    It’s interesting that Accel World manages to pull off the evil yet still relatable and logical villains moderately well while SAO continues to trip over its own feet in regards to it. Part of it may be that with the former series, the author was more comfortable with admitting that while the repercussions of the conflicts might be important to the characters, they were ultimately not earth shaking (or even physically dangerous).

  11. are you waiting character develpment and deep lore in a series written by kawahara? hahahahahah no…. wrong thing to say this is sao the only side that matters and is rigth is the side of kirito period

    1. Except that both of those characters have an entire chapters on the original light novel about them. Don’t talk about Kawahara when you didn’t even read his work and is just watching an adaptation.

  12. I know it’s not the right forum to say this but I want to give my opinion on the forum whose name is:
    I didn’t like Quinella’s death, I would have liked to see Alice, Asuna and Quinella fighting hand in hand to defeat the underworld war.

    I think she did not deserve that end, it is unfair to her since she did not see her as the real evil villain, but her circumstances led her to that end, I see her rather as a tragic end for her, an end that He left a feeling of grief precisely for Quinella, he deserved a scolding and realizing things but not perishing along with Chudelkin’s clown.

    Quinella Randeres

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