Sinon meets Alice
While he died on his own terms, it was pretty painful to be reminded that Bercouli has passed on. But I have to say, the somber mood was quickly swept away by Sinon’s wholehearted confession to Alice that she loves Kirito. Kissing Kirito directly on the cheek in front of Asuna was suspect. But this just outright confirmed it. She better watch out. Anyhow, with Sinon saying it’s what Bercouli and Kirito would have wanted, I’m not sure what will happen once Alice reaches the World’s End Altar. Nevertheless, I’m expecting it to be an incredible moment that will be worth the wait.
If Sinon wanted to buy time for Alice to fulfill that mission, setting up traps and nuking Subtilizer from long range as he spawned in would have been the most optimal play. Of course, she doesn’t do this and ends up buying virtually no time at all – since Subtilizer instantly crushes her willpower. Considering this guy is absolutely monstrous and insanely powerful – and we don’t know for sure but I’m willing to speculate he’s as powerful or even more powerful than Vecta – Subtilizer will have no issues catching up with Alice in no time.
Sheyta and Iskahn: Last Stand
We also pivot back to Sheyta and Iskahn – one of my favourite romantic pairings in recent memory. Unfortunately, they’re pretty fucking doomed – especially since Sheyta’s incarnation of wanting to slice everything faded away due to how she found the person she did not want to slash in Iskahn – which causes her heaven piercing blade to shatter. I don’t see any way their injured, exhausted and insanely outnumbered entourage can even hold up against the Chinese/Korean reinforcements that have flooded into the Underworld. It was gut wrenching to see how they realised their love for one another just before they die. But hey, better late than never. And I suppose they will be getting that measure of comfort from the closure – unless Reki comes up with a Deus Ex Machinana to bail them out – most likely Leafa in this scenario. Which I wouldn’t be complaining about for once.
Japan vs China + Korea
On the other side of the battle, despite successfully repelling the Americans, Asuna and Co are also being pelted with a crushing wave of Chinese/Korean reinforcements. Having been radicalised by nationalistic sentiments by PoH – ‘Those evil Nihonjins couldn’t stay in their own exclusive VRMMOs and had to ruin the one you guys have been waiting to try out all this time’ – these indignant players surge into the Underworld to crush the poor Japanese players that are trying to hold out for Kirito’s sake. Again, it isn’t looking good – seeing how they’ve had to play multiple hours straight without rest while the enemy forces rotated. Even if Kirito returns, for all his plot armour, OPness and Gary Stu power levels, there’s no flipping way he can singlehandedly save everyone. In other words, I can’t wait for SAO to prove me wrong and make me eat my own hat.
Yanai Betrays Higa
Finally, turns out Yanai was every bit as villainous as he looked – pulling a gun onto Higa to prevent him from saving Kirito. And I reckon he was the Rath scientists that tampered with the Underworld – implementing the restrictive code and instituting his descendants as rulers. While anyone paying attention could have seen this coming from a mile away, his motives are still unclear. So I’m excited to find out the deeper specifics of Yanai’s situation – and hope he doesn’t just get written off as a mentally unhinged person who’s an unexplained asshole just because that’s what the story required.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post – and see you next week to find out whether Higa can successfully rescue despite having a gun pointed at his head, and what this forbidden code 871 is all about!