「悪魔の子」 (Akuma no Ko)
“Prince of Hell”

The fact that pain is 100% simulated while diving into the STL made this episode extremely uncomfortable to watch. Kudos to SAO for extracting such a visceral reaction from me. Seeing Sinon having her legs blown off made me wince, and Leafa getting speared through the eye and howling in agony made me extremely queasy beyond compare. But seeing both girls soldiered made me really really like them. People can complain that these two are poorly written characters. But through the sheer resolve they’ve been endowed with, for the sake of the person they love, I can really respect and admire their tenacity in going through literal hell because Kirito means so much to them. Anyway, with that uncomfortable segment out of the way – let’s move onto greener pastures.

Eiji and Yuna

Never seen Ordinal Scale. Never seen Eiji and Yuna before. So I can’t comment on their cameo as established characters – sorry, I suck. Just that it seemed pretty damn random, but fun as heck – Eiji having a vibrant and exciting way of fighting, with Yuna singing her champion on. Even though Eiji is no match for PoH – who takes him down, it isn’t for naught. Yuna’s fame as a virtual idol in the VRRMO-sphere giving credibility to the idea Underworld is a Japanese server that it’s players would transfer their accounts to. And that she wouldn’t unreasonably choose the ‘bad’ side. Unfortunately, this is far little too late. The Japanese players have been all but decimated. Not to mention PoH has a skill that allows him to sow negative emotions and induce players to turn on each other.

PoH’s Backstory

I can’t say I’m too confident about PoH’s background. It seems too contrived. But I can understand why he has such a hate boner for Japanese people. To the point he would risk his live by fulldiving so that he could freely engage in the act of taking Japanese lives without repercussions. He had a shitbag Japanese father who forced him to give up a kidney – and has conflated his deep hatred towards his father and half brother to all Japanese people. Perhaps it’s a social commentary on how hate can derive from Now that I think about it, Kirito looks like PoH’s half brother – which would actually explain why PoH despises Kirito and will go after him with a singleminded determination.

Now, it disappoints me because the hate isn’t well justified. I can understand why PoH hates Japanese people and Kirito – but it doesn’t feel cohesive. There was no real indication towards this outcome until now. And I was personally hoping for a psychopathic villain like Johan Liebhart or Kotomine Kirei – who utterly lacked empathy and have a complexly twisted joy in seeing others suffer. But it will do for now – fact is PoH has the Japanese players cornered and a comatose Kirito that is unable to fight back. Something tells me he will have too much fun beating Kirito’s comatose body – and will come to regret it once Kirito makes a full recovery, as has been teased towards the end of the episode. That said, even if he does make that recovery, I have a hard time seeing how Kirito can defeat PoH, Subitilizer and all the Chinese/Korean players too. Alicization will have too much explaining to do if Kirito singlehandedly Jesus the whole thing.

Concluding Thoughts

Thanks to Rinko’s timely intervention – Yanai slips to his death (which is a kinder end than he deserved), giving Higa the freedom to continue rescuing Kirito. And so all three girls – Asuna, Suguha and Sinon initialise through the STL and connect to Kirito. Something tells me this isn’t enough – with Eugeo’s voice echoing through the shattered blue rose sword at the end of the episode. He might have passed on. But if Alicization has been trying to convey a moral – it would be that when an individual deeply influences someone else’s life, they engrave a bit of their soul upon them. So while Eugeo’s primary soul is gone forever, a fragment of him will forever exist in Kirito – and I expect this fragment to rise up at a critical juncture when all hope looks lost, to reinvigorate Kirito and remind him of everything he needs to fight for.

Anyway, that was about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post. And see you next week as the series journeys into Kirito’s fluctlight.

19 Comments

  1. Truth be told, I never imagined SAO could be so visceral. Sinon losing her legs seemed brutal enough, but then Leafa took a spear to the eye. That was probably Suguha’s worst and finest moment, especially considering all that actual pain they’re suffering (By the way, what about the American/Korean/Chinese invaders and the Japanese reinforcements? Do they feel pain too?).

    Alicization will have too much explaining to do if Kirito singlehandedly Jesus the whole thing.

    Ha, ha, ha, good joke, Zaiden XD

    No, seriously, from what I’ve been told, the anime has been cutting out a lot of things from the novels basically since the beginning of Alicization. Given that Kirito’s feats can be handwaved with rule or cool or the fact he’s the protagonist, I won’t hold my breath.

    Case in point, PoH’s backstory:
    It seems that the novels included more details about how his father manipulated his mother from the beginning, how he found himself as an immigrant without prospects in Japan after the surgery and how he earned a living in the country’s criminal underworld (he didn’t get into Aincrad because he hated the Japanese, but because he had a job to do there).
    It doesn’t change the fact that War of the Underworld is constantly playing the “Japanese are attacked by evil or deluded foreigners” card, and I do agree that a pure psycho would have been a more fascinating opponent, but at least it was better than the oversimplified background we got.

    Mistic
    1. My understanding is Ordinal Scale ended up as retcon canon.. so not sure how half this episode fits into the original WN/LN.

      Definitely a wild ride this episode, I’d forgotten about the whole STL pain thing, I don’t think it applies to the same level with amuspheres as we saw back in the Alfheim rescue Asuna arc.

      kiryuu
    2. The Japanese reinforcement seems to be under the same mechanics as Kirito – they bleed when slashed/ stabbed/ impaled.

      The Global army seems to be under different mechanic – they “shatters” when defeated.

      Q: The supergirls were shown diving using STL beds, but did they mention where do Klein and the rest dive from?

      LGrey
      1. If I recall, they play normally with their own devices like all the other players, just had to convert their own account to play.
        I think the 3 girls had to use the STL beds to use the god accounts or they just used these because that’s what they had available in the ship.

        Chris
  2. “That said, even if he does make that recovery, I have a hard time seeing how Kirito can defeat PoH, Subitilizer and all the Chinese/Korean players too”
    Actually I have a harder time swallowing the current scenario.
    We have seen Alice wipe out thousand of soldiers with a single spell.
    The 3 girls have 3 damn god accounts, and they seem to have trouble handling some level 1 character and somebody who just converted a character from another game?
    In all games if you pit a level 1 monster against a maxed out character, the maxed out character won’t even need to defend because there will be essentially no damage, but instead here we see gods slaughtered by them, like what the heck?!

    Chris
    1. It’s not just something common to all games — it’s been showcased in this world. In S1E04, we saw that a high level character didn’t even need to defend himself against an assassins’ guild. An entire party of experienced assassins was incapable of even wounding him (in practical terms).

      Obviously, different characters have different abilities but with all these red guys oscillating between being tackling dummies whose purpose is to demonstrate how awesome a converted character is and tough enough to take down those converted characters, I find it hard to care much about how good or how terrible things look at any moment. Even the fighting becomes melodrama.

      Mockman
    2. > The 3 girls have 3 damn god accounts, and they seem to have trouble handling some level 1 character and somebody who just converted a character from another game?

      Yeah, that’s yet another explanation that the anime seemingly cut out. Or at least an explanation they could have refreshed from previous episodes.

      Remember that the Underworld follows different rules than other game worlds we’ve seen in the series. To begin with, there are no levels; the true game breaker is the Incarnation system, which allows people to alter their own reality with the power of their will and their imagination. Basically, as long as the girls using the goddess accounts believe they have the powers of said goddesses, they can indeed unleash glorious amounts of damage.

      However, it has a drawback: as long as they believe swords and spears can harm them, they can be hurt too. According to what novel readers have said, even their exhaustion and stress is translated into wounds. Surely, Kirito would be the kind of player able to visualize himself as an invulnerable superman if given a god account, but it’s human to flinch when being hit with a pointy object, especially when pain is real in this virtual world.

      Mistic
      1. I heard about this incarnation system and lack of levels but it doesn’t seem what has been shown in the anime at all.
        We have seen some pretty linear progression and regular level ups, in both terms of strength and skills, starting from the big tree to the whole school arc.
        Like you said Kirito being the badass that he is and with the whole experience that he had in the past in all online games, had to start exactly as these converted enemies, but instead he starts as a wimpy child.
        We don’t see him standing any chance against the knight that came to take away Alice, why the opposite should be true?

        Chris
  3. I hate to state the blindling obvious but Kirito will have one priority(besides helping those he cares about) and thats kicking PoHs butt. The rest just falls into place.

    Lyfe
  4. Eiji and Yuna make no sense without having read the novel that came with ordinal scale on DVD (Cordial Cords). The ending of the movie is completely disconnected from what went on here without those events: Yuna seems to be erased and Eiji is in police custody. In the novel they explain how Eiji and Kirito manage to restore Yuna without hurting anyone and Eiji and her end up encoded on the old SAO sever. And the novel is of course not available in English (officially), so especially for the American fans this seems to come from nowhere.

    Void
    1. Well, this is self inflicted. It all began with the point when the Japan Defense Army looked the other Way, so their could have their time

      So if they complain, it is self made

      Worldwidedepp
      1. All it takes is a few corrupt folk in positions of power to divert their gaze while the bad stuff went down. Its not that the JSDF are at fault here as a whole. Think about it, to the average JSDF personel who are aware of Ocean Turtle everything is just peachy. But thats because the corrupt folk can supress/limit the information revealed to just their circle.

        Lyfe
    2. The world isnt against Japan in the story. The bad guys lied to the Koreans & Chinese, Americans along with everyone else and played on the jingoistic aspects.

      If these countries knew what Underworld was and that inhabitants had human souls they would think twice, at least I think so, about mass murdering.

      Lyfe
      1. Much like how they revealed that Chinese couple who were suspicious about the story being fed to them by team bad guys. If team good guys were big bad hackers with god tier skills/equip etc, why are they fighting so desperately? Their behavior never really reflected to some that Japan was really evil in this scenario presented to them.

        Lyfe

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