「覚醒」 ( Kakusei )
Of course, the first thing Kirito does upon returning is to singlehandedly obliterate 20000 enemy players who had outnumbered and brutally slaughtered his Japanese compatriots.
Kirito settles the score with PoH
But I must digress. The Blue Rose Sword is fully restored – after being imbued with the remaining fragment of Eugeo’s fluctlight. It was one heck of an emotional return, and pretty unexpected – overwhelming Kirito with a surge of emotion and spurring giving him the conviction required to release recollection. Which painlessly freezes the invading Chinese/Korean players as well as logging them out. Using this nifty solution, Kirito eliminates the hate and suffering, thereby taking away the source of PoH’s power and actually converts it into life essence – which is the source of the night sky sword’s powers.
After which he proceeds to thump the ever living shit out of PoH. To begin with, PoH makes a fair point. No matter how many times Kirito takes him down in the virtual world, it’s not like he’s actually died in real life. He can come back and try over and over again – the scary reality when faced by obsessive types like him. Even if you got legal authorities involved, there’s a limit to how much they can restrict a relentless stalker. Not to mention if you don’t know who the perpetrator actually is, given the anonymity of the online world, you might never actually be able to find any kind of proper solution.
However, I think this is the end of the line for PoH. At first, I thought Kirito turning PoH into a sentient tree was simply his idea of a joke. Only Vassago’s allies on the Ocean Turtle have essentially doomed him. He’s logged into the STL, won’t get automatically logged out since it’s not one of the ones in Roppongi, and time acceleration has been turned up to a point where if he can’t log out, he will experience 200 years of time in the Underworld. And there’s no way for people to externally log him out – since it will damage his soul. So yeah. Can’t imagine spending 200 years in a state of sensory deprivation. But I think most people would probably choose death over going through that experience.
Time Accleration and its Implications
However, this is also a pretty dire situation for Kirito and Asuna. Since they’re also logged in through STLs on the Ocean Turtle, they are also at risk of being confined to the Underworld for 200 years. If they can’t rescue Alice in time, or are taken down by Subtilizer, then they’ll be faced with that dreaded outcome. And while Kirito might have mastered Incarnation, Subtilizer himself has exhibited some equally overpowered skills – and what looks to be an ability to directly manipulate other people’s souls. Which I can’t see Kirito winning from what little we’ve seen so far. And that’s why you won’t see me complaining about Kirito being unfairly overpowered. For once, I’m delighted to say Sword Art Online has provided an extremely fascinating villain that has matched if not surpassed his calibre. It would certainly be fascinating to see Kirito lose, because if he loses he probably doesn’t die. But the consequence would be extremely dire. So I would argue the stakes are pretty high – since he’s not protected by plot armour per se. But finally, this long awaited fixture has arrived. The Black Marksman vs The Black Swordsman. Who will prevail?
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post. See you all next week when Kirito finally takes on Subtilizer mano a mano.