「コード871」 (Koudo Hachi Nana Ichi)
“Code 871”

Not This Shit Again

What is with Sword Art Online and sexual assault scenes? Two episodes down the line and already, we have Subtilizer mentally raping Sinon and almost forcibly kissing her against her own will, in an extremely rage inducing way. Like why? On the other hand, she was able to recover and is seeking to put up the fight of her life to buy time for Alice, having incarnated her GGO guns into the Underworld. I really hope they show us the fight – instead of having her off screened. It’s the least they can do to make up for featuring yet another awful scene – though I won’t deny that it does an amazing job of demonstrating just how overpowered Subtilizer is.

Yanai is Mentally Unstable

Yanai has many screws loose. His obsession with Quinella reminded me of many weebs and their supposed waifus. And I could imagine AI corrupting people to further their own agenda if they happened to gain sentience the way Quinella did. All I can say is, god help us if technology ever reaches that level of sophistication. Turns out this guy was the one who maliciously sabotaged the Underworld – inducing pain in the right eye of its denizens for disobeying Code 871 and rigging it so that his descendants and Quinella could have free reign over the world. With Rinko and Kikuoka realising way too late. In terms of the artificial serfdom, that’s really fucked up, if you consider that fluctlights are akin to humans – and can experience suffering. But I guess that was to be expected from one of Sugou’s lackeys, considering the blatant lack of empathy these people had back in Alfheim. Not to mention he was a mole delaying the realisation of the first Fluctlight – which gave the Americans time to attempt hijacking the project. He says he did it for the American dream – but I gotta say, that’s a pretty twisted interpretation. And I would be surprised if the Americans held up their end of the bargain. Why keep such an unreliable person with knowledge of the most sensitive technological secrets alive?

Prince of Hell, More like Piece of Shit

As expected from the original leader of Laughing Coffin, PoH is also a PoS – a.k.a Piece of Shit, who revels in seeing maximum chaos and suffering. He’s overjoyed to see the Aincrad survivors suffering so much – having plotted to saddle Kirito with the mental burden of killing real humans during the original SAO, sadistically pleased to see the Chinese and Korean players massacring both the Japanese players and Underworld denizens, and gleeful to see Kirito in a comatose state bound to a wheelchair. He can’t keep getting away with it. So how is he able to do it? PoH is able to grasp this tribalistic essence of human nature, and even when Syune tries to defuse tensions and properly explain the situation to SAO, he preys upon nationalistic resentment to whip up players into a hysteria where they disregard the logic and reasoning that temporarily confused them to continue crushing the Japanese. Unfortunately, if the real world shows anything, politicians who play up nationalistic sentiments are often pretty damn successful – with the likes of Trump, Bolsanaro and Abe heavily promoting similar xenophobic sentiments. So it’s pretty true to life.

Concluding Thoughts

Unable to change the mind of Korean/Chinese players, Asuna begs every Japanese player to stand down so that the denizens of the Underworld can be spared – though PoH has finally obtained his prize that they had so desperately tried to protect – Kirito in a wheelchair. And with Yanai intending to kill Higa as a sacrifice to Quinella in the real world, the story demands a crazy Deus Ex Machina at this point lest Kirito becomes donezo. Speaking of Kirito, it seems that a fragment of his Fluctlight protected Sinon from being sexually assaulted by Subtilizer. So that would indicate his consciousness is out there somewhere, and I expect the trigger for his return will be the need to protect his loved ones from the onslaught of Subtilizer, PoH and the hordes of Chinese/Korean players.

Additionally, it tore my heart to see the Chinese and Korean players killing off these lives. It’s just a game to them, and they cannot distinguish these actual, arguably living creatures from humans who won’t suffer consequences in the real world. Which really goes to show how human these fluctlights are – to the point actual humans can’t tell the difference. And that’s a really well-written moral basis that Reki integrated into the overarching framework of the story. So while I wouldn’t be a fan of Kirito somehow turning the tides and saving the day (I can’t see how he can do it), Reki’s set up the stakes in such a way that I feel coerced into wanting it to happen. Because the alternative would be too cruel.

Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you next week to find out if PoH will abuse the comatose Kirito, and whether our protagonist will show any signs of waking up before it becomes too late.


  1. I think it should be clear now to anime only viewers how Kirito will wake up and who his next fight is with. For the most part I think viewers know whats coming to PoH is deserved and so satisfying.

    1. On another note its good that dark teritory and humans found some semblance of peace amongst the chaos gripping thier world. DT folk know they have been manipulated into war and have seen the real cost of it. Both sides grew up with a mutual dislike of one another, arguebly xenophobia and now here they are bonding after discovering that although they look different on the outside theyre all people too and dont need to hold such hatred anymore.

    1. I recall the author’s LN afterwords saying the foreign players thing was from the original webnovel – Kawahara was merely echoing earlier period gamer sentiment when Japanese players were far less accepting of foreign gamers on Japanese MMOs.

      Kawahara apologised for coming off as nationalist (“it was not my intention, I was just writing in sentiment of the times) but said he still kept in for the LN version because he couldn’t think of any other way to rewrite the “foreign gamers invasion” without totally changing the story.

    1. I don’t tend to reference politics. But I’ll have to respectfully decline, because I write to express my thoughts. If I were to censor myself, I would not be able to truly convey my thoughts in a way that could be interpreted correctly by others. In essence, this is my writing style and I would not be willing to make compromises.

  2. This episode should have been titled, Twenty Minutes of Despair, or better yet, Leaving Las Underworld.

    FWIW, I’ve always felt that the whole ‘Kirito suffers from having had to kill those two’ was lame. Having Asuna go off on PoH for that particular issue disappoints me. PoH, and his merry band, murdered many, perhaps countless players during season one and continued to do so during season two. This was the whole purpose behind the mission in question — well the wrong, shallow purpose as we learn here that the true purpose was to hurt Kirito’s feelings. His rating as a villain just dropped significantly. I can only imagine that Accelerator wouldn’t be impressed either. He needs to get his act together.

    I guess part of the backbone of SAO as a whole is how Kirito feels bad about stuff that nobody else thinks is an issue but is oblivious to people’s feelings in general. Still, I’d have been more impressed with Asuna if she’d just called PoH a filthy murderer or something like that.

    1. The way I see it, PoH wants to break Kirito’s will. He enjoys seeing people suffer. His actions aren’t born from the singular desire of hurting Kirito’s feelings, but to inflict suffering on all beings. It’s why he’s loved wreaking havoc and murdering in the Underworld. He can continually do this without facing any kind of repercussion whatsoever, and it satiates his sadistic desires.

      It just so happens Kirito is his final boss. Time and again, Kirito always rises back up. Say PoH has 100% completed a video game. Crushing Kirito’s willpower would be the cherry on the icing – the optional endgame boss, or Platinum Achievement so to speak. I agree the interaction between PoH and Asuna felt fairly weak. But I could totally see why Asuna would react in such a way. If I knew someone was out to torment my loved ones, being powerless would make me despair as well. Even though we’ve known her to be emotionally strong, PoH has essentially crushed Asuna’s willpower – which has been demonstrated by her feeble rebuke to his villainy. There’s Kirito left to go – so I suppose this sequence of events is trying to construct a clearer setup to the inevitable showdown between Kirito’s willpower and PoH’s sadism.

      1. I won’t argue with anything you just said and I agree with much of it. However, I found the use of the entire episode — from the first second to the last — to make things as gloomy as possible was excessive (the few seconds of Leafa leading the orcs in excepted). It’s kind of cheap and it makes all of the characters in the scene seem kind of pitiful (NB not referring to the Northern Chasm or the Ocean Turtle scenes here).

        And where Asuna was concerned, I feel that the writer had an idea a decade ago and here it was slavishly clung to even when it wasn’t especially good and interfered with the moment. Something much worse could happen and she doesn’t clue in that it’s showtime.

    1. I had to look back at the previous episodes. If she was wearing it, it wasn’t visible. So my first instinct was that the pendant appeared as a manifestation of her incarnation – which is pretty likely seeing how she used incarnation to summon her guns from GGO into the Underworld.

      1. I just did the same but actually, she explained it some when Subtitlizer laid his greasy paws upon her: It was Kirito’s, it just appeared, and she didn’t know why except it was him saving her yet again. I looked to see if he wore it previously but if he did, it was in the distant past (i.e. not since Underworld 00). The lightning effect when it appeared seemed to match the effect when she brought in her gun so you’re likely right about how it got there except maybe it was Kirito sending it rather than her bringing it in.

  3. Late to the party, but I wanted to praise a great review and comment on this particular point:

    So how is he able to do it? PoH is able to grasp this tribalistic essence of human nature, and even when Syune tries to defuse tensions and properly explain the situation to SAO, he preys upon nationalistic resentment to whip up players into a hysteria where they disregard the logic and reasoning that temporarily confused them to continue crushing the Japanese.

    I’d say it’s more than just nationalism. As I commented on a previous episode, the bad guys are taking advantage of the secrecy of Project Alicization.

    Syune’s explanation was well-intended and, for a time, it worked, but it was full of holes. A game by a Japanese company? Which company are we talking about? Why was PoH’s side the ones who made it public instead of the alleged Japanese owners? If the Japanese are the legitimate players, why are they the ones converting avatars from other games, whereas the “invaders” have to fight with the standard equipment? Those are points lampshaded in this very episode.

    The truth is, the good guys can’t just unveil the truth without risking making things worse. That would definitely awaken patriotic fervor in many (“Ah, so this isn’t a Korean-Chinese-American game invaded by Japanese hackers, but a shady Japanese project to create super AI for military purposes? Now we have even more reasons to destroy everything!”).

    1. Great point Mistic. I totally didn’t consider that angle – where Alicization is a Japanese military project. Kind of easy to forget that stuff when the main focus has always been the Underworld and how its citizens are very much alive – and human-like. Again, you always come up with some really insightful stuff Mistic – have you ever considered joining the team? (wink wink)

      Jokes aside (though definitely apply if that idea interests you), I still think PoH was able to grasp the situation really well and play it up in his favour. If he wasn’t there to stir up shit, proverbially speaking, the plan probably would have fallen apart since it looked like Syune was on the cusp of convincing the Chinese/Korean players.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *