「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.
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.
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.